What is Snowhaven?
Snowhaven is a dark fantasy setting perched on the edge of a snowbound wasteland. Cut off from the outside world by icy seas for half the year and snowed in all year round, Snowhaven survives on the edge of the known world by the strength of its unimaginable mineral wealth which it extracts from the nearby mountains and the magical reagents found by daring explorers on the frozen tundra. Brilliant feats of engineering keep the city warm and habitable even in the depths of the worst winters, and one of their greatest discoveries – the secret of black powder weapons – is just beginning to become known to the wider world.
Vast sums of coin flow through Snowhaven attracting a sizable criminal element, eager to take their cut by any means. Greed and corruption abound within the city walls; the city’s politics are grim and cutthroat, filled with intrigue, with hordes of shady individuals looking for the right set of extra hands to carry out their dirty work. Beyond the city walls, the icy wastelands offer death for the foolhardy and the unprepared but promise a chance at riches. Those brave enough to quest for the natural treasures of the ice must survive the worst weather found in any corner of the world, as well as the monsters that prowl the tundra, waiting to make a meal of the unwary. Are your players clever enough to survive the deadly games of intrigue within the city’s darkest alleyways, strong enough to brave the dangers of the snow and ice beyond the walls, and smart enough to make it out alive? Journey to Snowhaven and find out . . .
Initially created during the original D20 Era the Snowhaven setting has seen extensive playtesting and design iteration, and now it is coming to a new edition and a wider market. Everyone that backs this Kickstarter at $7 or above will receive the fully complete 60-page first edition of Snowhaven immediately after the campaign completes. Snowhaven is compatible with the 5th Edition of the World’s Greatest Roleplaying Game. The Second Edition of Snowhaven will be fully compatible with that same system, and if certain stretch goals are achieved, it will be made compatible with Pathfinder and the Savage Worlds systems as well. 2nd Edition will also include the expansion of elements from this Kickstarter, including Monsters of the Snow Wastes.
The First Edition of Snowhaven comes with an adventure, "A Question of Greed" written by Justin Weaver, which showcases some of the neo-noir grimness of the setting while splashing classic fantasy RPG elements in liberally, and this adventure will be incorporated into the Second Edition of Snowhaven as well.
What is Snowpunk?
We believe that Snowhaven is the first offering in a new genre that we are calling “Snowpunk”. Snowpunk is characterized by the oppressive isolation of a winter without end and the powerful impact that has on the psyche, blended with a heady mix of near-steampunk levels of technology in a high magic setting, and filled to the brim with deadly games of intrigue and cutthroat politics played out amongst criminal elements that wouldn’t be out of place in a film noir. Snowpunk plays on many of the ideas of steampunk but with a harsher edge, a sense of chilling horror waiting on the frozen edges of the world, lurching its way through the hiss of broken steam pipes and the haze of gunsmoke towards the first of the new steam engines driving the future, though what shape that future takes remains to be seen. At the heart of this bitter cold, it would be easy for any ordinary mortal to despair and give up, but for others, even in this grim and desolate place, there stirs a faint glimmer of hope. Drawing strength from surviving the most trying elements of their frozen world, the hearts of heroes like the player characters champion the idea that a few brave souls can be a light against the darkness. In riding on the knife’s edge between survival and death, the player characters know there is a chance to turn the tables, to take a stand against the evils both without and within the city walls, and to challenge the harsh realities of their bitter, cold, and isolated existence with the ideals of a better tomorrow.
That is Snowpunk.
Snow, Smoke, and Steam
The world of Snowhaven is a fantasy world on the edge of an industrial revolution, caught between the incredible powers of high magic and the limitless promise of a technological future. This dichotomy is a major part of the setting of Snowhaven, and nowhere is it better represented than in the wonder of firearms.
The crack of a hand–held firearm loosing its shot with deadly accuracy seems out of place in most fantasy games, but here in Snowhaven, it is an integral part of the setting’s ethos. These cutting-edge weapons and the black powder to fire them are everywhere in Snowhaven, used to fend off the worst arctic predators and the most determined thieves and murderers with equal efficacy. Their power is available to anyone with the coin to pay for the expensive new weapons and the powder and shot to fire them, and can produce effects on par with the evocations of powerful wizards and sorcerers without any magic at all. Supposedly highly regulated under the laws of the city, it is nonetheless widely known that many in the criminal underworld have also acquired lethal firearms and dangerous quantities of black powder, and these shady individuals make extensive use of this new technology to intimidate, sabotage, and assassinate all those who would oppose them . . .
The firearm rules for Snowhaven have been playtested extensively and offer some of the most balanced versions of such rules we have ever used. Snowhaven's firearm rules include flintlock, early shotguns, cannons, and mortars. On top of the normal class rules, there are an expansion of Cleric rules for the faithful that embrace the art of gunpowder, and ways for other classes to expand their use. These weapons are a little stronger than most weapons in a traditional fantasy armory, but are balanced in such a way to make it easy to add this explosive new technology into your games as smoothly as you cock back the hammer on a single action flintlock.
The eternal winter landscape outside of Snowhaven poses its own perils, as the elements themselves are a pervasive and omnipresent danger. In the expanded Second Edition of Snowhaven, you will also find rules for simulating the worst of winter weather, including ice storms, blizzards, and avalanches, and rules for the conditions caused by exposure to extreme cold, including the maladies of frostbite, trenchfoot, and hypothermia.
An expanded selection of creatures unique to the frigid climate of Snowhaven, Monsters of the Snow Wastes, will be available to all pledges of $10 or more, and will include several new monsters common to the icy regions near Snowhaven. If certain stretch goals are met, this book will be expanded to include a selection of NPCs native to Snowhaven and its environs, tailor-made to support adventures in the frigid tundras and mountain passes far beyond the city walls.
Plus, you'll get extended rules for Warlock Pacts, Cleric Powers, and other elements that will help you add awesome things to any 5E game session.
Our goal is to create a more vibrant and detailed Second Edition of Snowhaven, and that's why we have come to Kickstarter. We have used quality stock art and non-exclusive art agreements to create the First Edition of Snowhaven, and would like to expand the setting with more content and bring it to life with more artwork. We have already filled the First Edition with fantastic art from Dean Spencer, Jereme Peabody, JH Illos, and JeShields. These are really high-quality pieces of art, far more than we expected for the budget that we set, but we would like to commission even more artwork and expand it in terms of diversity, style, and representation. We would also like to create a detailed map of the city, and we would like to fill the book with even more interior art pieces, and commission an exclusive piece of cover art that will be Snowhaven's and Snowhaven's alone. A successful Kickstarter that achieves its stretch goals will allow us to do all this and so much more.
Who Built Snowhaven?
Snowhaven was created by long-time RPG Player and Game Master Justin Weaver, and represents his first official foray into the publication of an RPG setting. With over 20 years of experience running and creating worlds, Justin knew how to create an amazing setting, but he wasn't an expert on getting his book out into the world.
High Level Games
That's where High Level Games comes into the mix. Over the last three years we have taken dozens of creator-designed small print game supplements and made them digitally available to people through DriveThruRPG, Storytellers Vault, and the DMsGuild. Plus, Josh Heath, Chief Operations Officer of High Level Games, has been friends with Justin Weaver for decades, so to both of them, this collaboration just made sense. As developer of the Second Edition of Snowhaven, Josh has brought on the talents of Tara M. Clapper, JC Stearns, Crystal Mazur, Ian Anghel, and Jim Deeley to help add elements to the world of Snowhaven, to expand its content, and to create a real polish to the setting. The Second Edition of Snowhaven is going to be more amazing than ever before, but we need your help to make it a reality.
Snowhaven’s Stretch Goals
Snowhaven’s Second Edition will be fully funded with a budget of $500, but if this Kickstarter is really successful, the book will only get more awesome as we add new content, artwork, and conversion rules to the game.
At $700 of funding, we will make the Second Edition of Snowhaven compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying System.
At $1200 of funding, we will provide conversion rules to make the Second Edition of Snowhaven compatible with the Savage Worlds System.
At $1500 of funding, we will expand Snowhaven with another adventure outside the city walls, on top of the one already included, and our art budget will cover the Monsters of The Snow Wastes setting.
At $2000 of funding, we will expand Snowhaven with a folio of NPCs who can be found around the city and its surrounding environs.
At $2300 of funding we will pay our writers a small bonus.
At $3000 of funding we will create a Snowhaven themed fillable character sheet for each of the systems we've developed the setting for.
At $5000 of funding, we will create the Grimoire of Steam and Snow which will detail spells appropriate to the setting.
At $6000 of funding, we will add a third adventure to Snowhaven written by Katriel Paige. This will create a tier 1, 2, and 3 set for the setting. Some maps will accompany the adventure.
At $11,000 of funding, we will add Artifacts of Snow and Smoke to the 2nd Edition. This addition will cover magic items, artifacts, and additional steam and snowtech.
At this stage we will no longer be adding stretch goals, but if we do get more backers we will be using the funds we raise to create more products in the setting, and creating other great works for High Level Games, as well as ensuring we have some buffer budget for Snowhaven itself. Thank you everyone for joining our project!
Risks and challenges
How Do We Know We Will Succeed?
The First Edition of Snowhaven is complete and ready to go out to backers in PDF form immediately at the close of the Kickstarter, so you will get to take that and run with the First Edition right away. Substantial parts of the Second Edition are deep in production and work is underway on the rest as this Kickstarter is ongoing, so we plan to deliver the PDF of the Second Edition as quickly as possible, so that you get what you pay for faster than most Kickstarter projects. We'll also be using DriveThru RPG for delivery of physical POD copies of the book, which will reduce the normal wait time for traditional printing.
This is the third Kickstarter that I, Josh, am running directly. Each of my other Kickstarters was successful and delivered on time. Additionally, we have built in some flex time for the Second Edition’s editorial, layout, and production schedules, and if everything goes to plan, we should be able to deliver the final product sooner than our target date.
With your help, Snowhaven is ready to become a reality.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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