The Coming Dark, Chapter One: Into the Light is the first chapter in a three part campaign developed for the 5th Edition of the You-know-which-one roleplaying system. It is designed for a party of between four and six 1st or 2nd level characters, taking them up to at least 4th level at the end of the chapter.
The Village of Solis is a modest village at the Southern tip of a far away continent, isolated from most other known settlements.
Almost a century ago, the village suffered through a dark time where evil ruled the land, and back then that evil was vanquished by a group known only as “The Five”. After the defeat of the unknown evil and the disappearance of “The Five”, Solis rebuilt itself. As such, it has been at peace for decades.
Now a new, unknown evil looms, threatening to spread darkness and destruction over the land and dominate the continent. The village has grown peaceful since its first encounter with this evil and is no longer equipped to deal with this threat, so the call goes out for new adventurers to come to the aid of Solis and protect it from whatever may threaten it.
That might sound a little vague... that's on purpose. The party starts off with an idea of who the "big bad" is and what kind of threat he may pose to the village, but there are much more powerful forces at work that threaten the world.
It is designed to be somewhat of an introductory adventure, designed for a group of five 1st or 2nd level characters.
The adventure is divided up into three acts:
Act I - Homecoming: The players arrive in Solis and hope to gain employment as mercenaries working for the village elders, but are quickly caught up in a surprise assault on the village by an elvish warlock named Arlen and his undead army.
Act II - The Darkened Vale: After defending Solis, the players are tasked with retrieving a powerful artifact before it is acquired by the forces of evil. They must travel the perilous road north to the ruined city of Atrus and the Tower of Light.
Act III - Into the Light: Upon arriving at the Tower of Light, the players must ascend the tower, confront Arlen and retrieve the artifact.
The campaign is in a "far away land" (which, as it stands now, doesn't even have a name) and designed to be setting agnostic, not bound to any existing campaign setting. This was done not only for legal reasons and to remain compliant with the System Reference Document, but it allows this campaign to be inserted into your own world or any setting you may already have established with your players.
The concept of The Coming Dark originated from an alternate reality game we were once developing called Rachel's Walk. Due to personal strife at the time, that ARG never manifested itself but a lot of concepts from it found their way into TCD.
To say TCD has been in development for some time is somewhat of an understatement; it has been in development for close to five years, and has been converted to at least three other game systems (4E, 13th Age and Pathfinder) before finding its place in 5th Edition. Through the years, it has also been significantly streamlined; it was once close to 200 pages in bloat, but with the assistance and feedback of playtesters (it's been run on at least three online forums) and those who have read the campaign, it has been dramatically improved and has evolved into what it is now.
This campaign is being published for 5th Edition through the OGL and under the guidelines set forth in the System Reference Document 5.0 as provided by Wizards of the Coast.
Digital and printed copies will be fulfilled through Drive Thru RPG.
There have been a lot of other companies and individuals publishing content for 5E. A lot of these have done little more than take a Word document and export it to PDF, with no regard for the overall appearance and quality of the product, so long as they are first to market. We're not like that, and that's part of the reason this has been in development for so long: this project is very personal to us, and we want to make it the best that we can before the world sees it.
So if you're expecting another "black wall of poorly formatted text on a white background" style adventure, prepare to be disappointed...
All the existing cartography was done by myself (using Adobe Fireworks CS6 and creative assets from ProFantasy Campaign Cartographer 3). The adventure includes eight pages of maps, detailing all areas in the Tower of Light as well as supplemental areas such as The Wayside Inn and the village of Solis.
Creating exterior maps isn't exactly our strong suit, so if this Kickstarter does absurdly well we may commission a cartographer to re-create our world and city maps. There are certain well known cartographers that we would really, really, really like to do maps for this campaign.
The Coming Dark, Chapter One: Into the Light is pretty much written (clocks in at 85 pages), and is comparable in size to other hardcover adventures like Rise of Tiamat...
(NOTE: The temporary cover was created only so that the proof could adequately go through the Drive Thru RPG review process; they are picky at times, we couldn't get a proof without making a cover so there it is. Obviously, once we get a proper cover - which is what this Kickstarter is for - it will be replaced)
...but it has not gone through editing and - besides the maps some very simple images of certain key elements - does not have a cover or any interstitial artwork. This Kickstarter is meant to raise the funds necessary to give it the proper editing treatment it deserves and to at least get a decent cover worthy of the product. Stretch goals, if any, will be used to add more interior art and to make the product better.
The Coming Dark, Chapter Two (subtitle pending, but tentative subtitle is In Search of the Fallen) and The Coming Dark, Chapter Three: The Black Citadel are outlined and some writing has begun, but they are nowhere near being ready at this time. Depending on the success or failure of this project, we'll see what happens with those.
$1 Level: Thanks! Every little bit helps! You will get your name listed in the final product's credits.
$8 Level - Digital PDF: You will receive a code to download both a full color and a "printer friendly" PDF from Drive Thru RPG, as well as any stretch goals we decide to include at this level.
$15 Level - Digital PDF + Print-on-Demand: In addition to receiving the full color and "printer friendly" PDFs through Drive Thru RPG, you will also be able to order the full color softcover or hardcover through DTRPG's "print on demand" service at the cost or printing and shipping, with no additional markup. You will also receive any stretch goals we decide to include at this level
*NOTE*: At the $15 level you will still need to pay the printing and shipping costs to Drive Thru RPG but there will be no additional markup from us. We're still waiting for our proofs, but initial estimates put the printing cost at anywhere from $8 (softcover standard) to $16 (hardcover premium).
$40 Level (limit 20, four separate sessions of 5) - Online Exclusive: In addition to everything included in the $15 level, you will also get to attend a private game hosted online (likely through Roll20) at a mutually agreed upon time, where I will guide you through Act I (or more, time and fun depending) of TCD: Chapter One.
*NOTE*: Guidelines for character creation will be provided well in advance, or we can provide pregenerated characters if you are so inclined.
$75 Level (limit 4) - Circle of the Five: In addition to everything included in the $15 level, you will also get to create your own NPC as one of the members of the "Circle of the Five". Your creation will make a small appearance in TCD, Chapter One (as a memorial statue inside the Tower of Light) but will play a more prominent role in TCD, Chapter Two and TCD, Chapter Three . You will also automatically receive digital versions of TCD, Chapter Two and TCD, Chapter Three once they are written and ready (after their respective Kickstarters launch and complete), assuming of course those projects go ahead as planned.
$100 Level (limit 1) - Chosen One: The "Circle of the Five" has, surprisingly enough, five members. But one of the five members plays a pivotal role in TCD, Chapter Two and TCD, Chapter Three. In addition to everything included in the $15 level, we will allow you to create said NPC, including all aspects of their persona (within reason, that is), as per the "Circle of the Five" tier above. You will also automatically receive digital versions of TCD, Chapter Two and TCD, Chapter Three once they are written and ready (after their respective Kickstarters launch and complete), assuming of course those projects go ahead as planned.
The #1 thing that stretch goals will allow us to do is create art, art and more art. We'd like to keep our artist(s) as busy as we could, and the more money we have available the more we can fill the product with cool stuff.
Additional goals are still pending, but if we get that far along we'll think of something. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves just yet.
Don't worry... we'll think of something soon.
David Flor has been a software developer and game designer for over twenty-five years. He have published several products under his own company, Darklight Interactive, including the 2013 ENnie-nominated adventure A Night in Seyvoth Manor (re-published by Clockwork Jetpack; available on Drive Thru RPG). David currently lives in Miami, Florida - the city farthest from wherever the "gaming capital of the world" is likely to be - with his wife and son. He spends an unhealthy amount of time on Twitter at @BrainClouds and on his blog at rpg.brainclouds.net.
He is also, for now, the only person working on this project who isn't named "Brian".
Brian Patterson is a cartoonist and graphic designer behind the webcomic d20Monkey (www.d20monkey.com): A series following the in-and-out-of-gameplay experiences of lifelong friends and gamers, Sam Tigh and Brett Tucker. Adored by tens of loyal readers, Brian continues to publishes d20Monkey 3-days a week and operates as a freelance illustrator in the gaming industry as a freelance illustrator and cartographer. Brian currently lives in Denver, Colorado with his two cats (Emma and Gizmo). Brian plays games, draws comics, listens to music, and runs his mouth about all sorts of things on Twitter (comics, gaming, DIO) @d20Monkey. Seriously, he’s ridiculous.
Brian Casey is the Editor-in-Chief and Owner of The Mad Adventurers Society (www.MadAdventurers.com). He is also a freelance editor and writer and has worked on several projects in the Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars RPG line including the Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Corebook. He has been a gamer since red box, an editor for four years, and a general friend to mankind for most of his life except for his high school years.
Risks and challenges
This is our first Kickstarter, so we wanted to get all our ducks in a row before launching this project This is a very personal project, and we want to get it right the first time.
We have chosen to do a digital-only Kickstarter to lessen the risk involved. Quite frankly, we would rather not deal with shipping a physical product - which is one of the more common cause for Kickstarters ending up in the red - ourselves and would much rather have the folks over at Drive Thru RPG/OneBookShelf deal with the printing and shipping of our product. They seem to know how to handle that part of the business.
Like we stated above, the product is written (currently stands at 85 pages, without any interstitial art) but it needs some serious review by a professional editor. Besides the maps that I myself created, it has no art... and we would really, really like to have at least a cool cover and maybe get someone to crank out some interior art.
We have rushed product in this condition before and they have floundered due to lack of art and serious lack of editing (nobody's perfect). This campaign is very personal - symbolic of several years of development, a considerable personal investment, and quite honestly is dedicated to both my late parents - so I want to do this one right and give it the treatment it deserves.
That being said, one way or another, this product will see the light of day and get published. We hope you will support us in making it the best it can possibly be.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)