The e-book format has much greater potential than simple PDFs. Let's make a great module and raise the bar for digital RPG modules.
SUCCEEDED! Stretch Goal - $3,000: We will make an ePub version of the module. ePub is supported on many devices including PC, Mac, Nook, and Android. If you choose a reward with a free version of the fully-featured e-module, you will be able to choose your format - iBooks or ePub.
Stretch Goal - $3,333: If you get at least the Peryton reward, we will invite you to the weekly project planning Google+ online Hangout.
8/21/2012 - New Griffon reward level added at $25! It includes the Peryton rewards, and it is also included in everything that has Leucrotta rewards, too.
8/15/2012 - Want to try out the proof of concept book on the iPad? There's a link to download it in the first update.
Read to the end for reward add-ons!
Why PDFs are uninteresting
While I love many of the improvements that PDFs offer over printed RPG books, I feel like they are just an evolutionary step. The vast majority of PDFs are simply digital versions of their paper counterparts. What we'd like to do with this project is to take full advantage of the e-book format to produce a revolutionary new e-module for the Pathfinder RPG that greatly enhances the gaming experience for players and their GM.
The next level of e-books
We will have embedded audio instead of block text for some of the NPC dialog. We will have the sounds of dripping water in a dank, dark crypt to add to the atmosphere. The GM will be able to choose different challenge ratings for an encounter to match the capabilities of the PCs. The players won't have to wait for the GM to flip around in a long module to find the information he needs when he needs it.
For this project, we are focusing on the iBooks format for Apple's iPad. The Apple iPad continues to hold around two-thirds of the overall tablet market. The iBooks format enables full layout capability, intuitive e-book navigation, embedded multimedia, and a host of interactivity. We will consider adding a stretch goal for those with Android tablets as we go along.
The setting for the module
The module is set in bySwarm's Dark Golden Age campaign setting for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game system, but it can fit in other Pathfinder RPG settings, too. The Dark Golden Age setting is a high fantasy setting in which magic reached a high point but then suddenly stopped working completely. Golems collapsed in place at construction sites. Merchants fell from the sky as their flying carpets failed. Magical beasts enchanted to fight in gladiatorial combat broke free and rampaged through cities. In the few years since the events that became known as the Collapse, magic has begun to make a slow return. The module will be suitable for any setting that has humans and animal-like humanoids called beastfolk living within the lands of what was once a great magocracy.
What some have to say about the Dark Golden Age
"The Dark Golden Age is a rich setting featuring imaginative beastfolk races and mysterious post-Collapse magic, all set amongst the ruins of an advanced magic-dependent civilization fallen back into darkness and barbarism. It's really neat to play a post-apocalyptic game where the recently-fallen civilization was a high-magic fantasy realm; this inventive combination of two beloved setting tropes provides a lot of inspiration. It plays well, the world and its buried history are a delight to explore, and it provides several clever twists on classic fantasy themes that really make the old seem new again. All in all, an excellent Pathfinder setting."
- Matt Banach, writer for Rite Publishing and Paizo RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16
"I had a blast playing a Galidine beastfolk (human-mongoose hybrid) in a session taking place in the Dark Golden Age setting GM'd by Mike at Gen Con 2011. The adventure was extremely well organized, engaging, and fun. I highly recommend a chance to enjoy even a part of the setting plugged into another game."
- John Reyst, d20pfsrd.com
We have a good chunk of material for the module already outlined and even drafted in many cases, and we have some of the proofs of concept moving along for the interactivity. Nicholas Kay created our cover art for the module that is shown with this project, and he is excited to do more work on the e-module. Doug Hagler has been involved with bySwarm since the setting conceptualization and contributed a lot of ideas and writing so far. He will continue to write and edit on this module. His most recent RPG work is published in the sci-fi RPG called Parsec. Mike Bohlmann (that's me) has lead the bySwarm effort from the beginning and will be the project manager, developer, technical lead, and general-role-filler as needed. It is likely we will bring in additional people as we move along, especially if we exceed our original funding goals.
We’re excited to get this project going, and we’ll be sharing more details about the proof of concept tests as the Kickstarter moves along. If you have an idea or a question, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
Want to get something a little extra with your reward? We've created a few add-ons that give you some options to add more support. Each add-on is separate, so add an amount for each of the individual add-ons that you want. For example, if you want the Peryton ($15) reward and the USB memory stick ($10), pledge $25 and choose the Peryton reward. We'll get in touch with you to work out the details for the add-on reward like t-shirt sizes and the like.
PDF of printable beastfolk paper minis - $10
Beastfolk miniatures can be pretty tricky to find. This PDF will include illustrations of beastfolk that you can cut out and fold. You can even print them on heavier stock or cardboard to put into stands. We'll include at least three characters for each of the playable beastfolk races, a minimum of twelve different characters.
2GB USB memory stick - $15
This memory stick will be the same as the memory sticks provided for the retailer rewards. It will be empty unless you also get a reward that includes a free copy of the e-module. Shipping is included for the US; add $5 for international.
Backer t-shirt - $25
We'll send you a t-shirt with the bySwarm logo. They will be dark gray and include the word "backer" on it. Show off your support of the project in style. Add $5 for sizes above XL. Shipping is included for the US; add $5 for international.
I have been thinking about how we could provide the book in other formats, and it looks like the ePub format has the most support. You can read ePub books with PCs, Macs, Nooks, Android devices, and just about every e-reader - everything except Kindle. So in order to do an ePub format book, we are adding a stretch goal of $3,000 in order to do an ePub version.
If we reach the stretch goal and you choose a reward that gets a free copy of the full book, we will offer your choice of format: iBooks or ePub.
Yes, you can choose whichever format you prefer of the ones we're making. In other words, if we hit $3,000, you can choose iBooks, ePub3, or PDF. If we do not hit $3,000, you can choose iBooks or PDF.
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Pledge $1 or moreYou selected
HIPPOCAMPUS - Every little bit helps. You’ll get a nice thank you e-mail for your support.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $5 or moreYou selected
WORG - Don’t have an iPad but still want to support the effort? You'll get a full PDF of the finished module. It won't have all the embedded media and interactivity of the e-module, but you can still enjoy the content and support the project. We’ll target the encounters for this static version at the most appropriate level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
PEGASUS - You get the full e-module for free, pretty simple. Have fun, and enjoy!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $15 or moreYou selected
PERYTON - Not only do you get a free copy of the e-module, you will also get HeroLab files for all the new races, feats, spells, and magic items used in it. In addition, we’ll put your name in the credits of the module.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
GRIFFON - This reward targeted at online Pathfinder RPG games includes individual images suitable for tokens as well as individual map images. Map images will not have GM-only information like traps and monster locations, and we will include versions with and without grids. It includes the Peryton rewards and is included in Leucrotta reward packages as well.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $30 or moreYou selected
ALCHEMIST'S SHOP - For brick-and-mortar game stores, we’ll give you five bySwarm-branded USB memory sticks loaded with the e-module and a countertop display to help you market them. These will only be available to retailers who back the project. We will work with all the retailers to create a display that will best help you sell the USB memory sticks. US retailers only, please.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $40 or moreYou selected
LEUCROTTA - You will get the Peryton reward as well as a special bonus encounter available only to backers included in your free e-module. The encounter will be conceptualized and voted upon by all backers at this level and higher. We’ll add stretch goals for more non-exclusive encounter but with Leucrotta and higher backer design input.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
DRAGONNEL - We’ll generate some anagrams of your name and ask you to pick one to go with an NPC or location. You’ll also get all the Leucrotta level rewards.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $55 or moreYou selected
WIZARD'S SHOP - This reward is the same as the Alchemist’s Shop reward, but it will include ten bySwarm-branded USB memory sticks instead of five. We’ll also put your store’s name, city, and link in the credits.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $75 or moreYou selected
THE BARD - Want to promote your gaming blog, gaming convention, or gaming accessories company? Send us a 336 by 280 pixel image along with your website, and we’ll include it in the e-module. You will also get the Leucrotta rewards. Please contact us before backing at this level for pre-approval of your site.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $80 or moreYou selected
3 backers Limited (1 left of 4)
CHIMERA - You choose an animal on which we will base another playable beastfolk race in the module, subject to our approval. You'll have input on the race's stats and abilities, too. The Dragonnel rewards are included.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $300 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)
PURPLE WORM - Do you want to get an exclusive, in-person game including up to four friends at Gen Con or Paizo Con in 2013? Mike Bohlmann will GM a 5-hour, in-person session for you. You are responsible for all your own travel, lodging, and convention-related expenses. It will also include the Dragonnel rewards for you and your friends who play in the game.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
PHOENIX - This exclusive reward for you and up to four friends will include 6 to 12 online game sessions over the course of 6 months that will help create some of the story for our future products. If you’ve ever wanted to see your gaming group’s adventures turn into the inspiration for published material, this is the reward for you. It will also include the Dragonnel rewards for you and your friends who play in the game.Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)