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A pamphlet for grim & perilous adventure gaming
178 backers pledged $1,640 to help bring this project to life.

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$1,640

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An evocative picture of an old world city with canals
An evocative picture of an old world city with canals

"The smoldering misshaped bones of the beast revealed just how deeply the affliction had marked the thing that had been Rutiger. The body had burned with a sickly blue flame after Harald had set it alight, flickering and sputtering in the early dawn consuming the tainted flesh with an unnatural speed and now the twisted blackened bones were all that remained."

The Old World Zine is a pamphlet for grim and perilous fantasy adventure games. We have been playing these games off and on for years. We wanted to provide our best practices for how to implement this style of game. There was a feel to these games that people really enjoyed, and we are excited to share how to bring this to your table. 

This publication is system agnostic, and can be used with games such as Zweihander, Burning Wheel, Miseries & Misfortunes, Dungeon World, or Forged in the Dark games.

This #ZineQuest kickstarter is to create a limited print run, with continued sales of digital versions.

Project Overview
Project Overview

The Old World Zine will start as a 24 page, black and white zine. Dimensions are 5.5" x 8.5" with saddle stitching. Cover is 110 lb uncoated craft paper cardstock, with text weight paper for the interior. As the writing and layout progress, the page count may expand as needed.

Contents include:

  • an introduction
  • advice and guidance for running grim & perilous games, including PBTA style Agenda and Principles
  • 3 quick start scenarios:
  • Last Coach House on the Left - in which the player’s stagecoach gets caught up by band of mutant mercenaries searching for just the right sacrifice...
  • Quarantined - trapped in a town during the plague, hunted by strange plague doctors and witch hunters while the bodies pile up. 
  • Village at the End of the World - a boat ride leads to a plague ravaged village and the dark revelations of what the villagers have done to survive.
  • Inglorious adventures of the Sewer Watch - a campaign framework

The current plan (if we reach at least 100 backer) is to create more issues after this one with additional contributors for release in a future Kickstarter campaign.

Inglorious Adventures of the Sewer Watch (a campaign framework)
Inglorious Adventures of the Sewer Watch (a campaign framework)

"The night before the dark moon of chaos will wax full and illuminate the Grand Masquerade in the Great City. The weeklong revels are in full swing the streets are packed with celebrants searching for a reprieve from the grim and perilous Oldish World by indulging in wild and debauched excess. But below the streets, deep in the ancient Dwarf built sewers the patrol of the Sewer Watch known as the Dirty Dogwatch is searching for a missing girl."

Included as a feature in the first issue will be a complete campaign framework for games involving the Sewer Watch - a group of miscreants charged with patrolling the sewers under the city for any dangers.

The Inglorious Sewer Watch

So who and what are the Sewer Watch? Well they are the poor men and women who (for lack of any other prospects) patrol the sewers below one of the great old world cities. They may have been respectable folk once, but now they wade through sewage fighting outlaws and monsters for just enough coin to get drunk enough to forget the smell. The worst part is that the sewers are crawling with all sorts of danger and doom that the City Above needs protection from - you have cultists, goblins, smugglers, insurrectionists, the unquiet dead and all sorts of deviltry just to start. High danger, low pay, lots of responsibility, no back up, no status, and little authority beyond the sewers. It’s a dirty job but someone needs to do it.

If Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay & Zweihander are fantasy Call of Cthulhu, then the Sewer Watch is blue collar fantasy Delta Green. 

Campaign Frame

As a campaign frame we are going to provide all the tools and set up you need to just roll up some characters in your favorite Grim & Perilous Adventure Game (Colin: my go to is WFRP 1st, but I have been itching to run this with Miseries & Misfortunes set below Paris…) and then get playing with minimum prep. One of the best parts of this framework is that it easily accommodates almost any character type. This is doubly useful if you are using a game with random character generation. It shifts the work of figuring out how a tomb robber, monster slayer, bawd and a wizards apprentice all know each other to instead asking how each of them ended up in the Sewer Watch. And to make answering that even easier we will be including a random table of motivations for doing the job and unfortunate circumstances resulting in your character being in the Watch. 

Once you have your characters all settled there is a random table for generating watch assignments to quickly create a task for the players - including who is involved and what complications they will have to deal with. Also included is the always useful Random Sewer Encounter Table which break up the under city between the Sewers, the Lower Deeps, and the Dark Below with the encounters getting progressively worse and unnatural the lower they go. Spread throughout the assignments and random encounters are some common threads and factions. After a few sessions a dark web of conspiracies and threats will begin to form for you.

This section will consist of:

  • Who are the Sewer Watch?
  • Details on their organization and how they fit in the city.
  • How to create procedural episodes - including random assignments/jobs.
  • Creating characters for Sewer Watch.
  • The world of the sewer - with random tables for sewer features, encounters, and diseases to inflict on poor watchmen.
Table: Random Diseases in the Sewers
Table: Random Diseases in the Sewers
Rewards
Rewards

There are 3 reward tiers:

Citizen - for contributing towards the project, but no rewards.

Bandit - you will receive a digital copy of issue #1 of The Old World Zine in PDF format.

Scribe - you will receive a print copy of issue #1 of The Old World Zine and also a digital copy in PDF format.

Physical rewards will be shipped in rigid cardboard mailers via US postal service for US residents. If there is any international demand, we can look at offering it via print on demand with DriveThruRPG.

There is currently no plan for stretch goals because we feel it takes away from the initial product. We would rather put out a great product instead of promising 15 products and not being able to fulfill them. That being said, additional funds will go toward: improving the quality of the book, paying ourselves for writing/editing/layout, and paying for art.

Schedule
Schedule

Once funded, we will finish the writing, go through editing passes, and layout the whole thing. Then we will get it printed, and ship the physical rewards out to backers. Digital rewards will be sent via DriveThruRPG.

March - Finish development & writing

April - Editing & Layout

May - Printing & Shipping

Team
Team

The team's combined involvement in tabletop roleplaying games goes back decades - we've been playing, tinkering, playtesting, designing, and running games for a long time.

Colin Jessup is responsible for writing on issue #1. Colin has been internalizing grim fantasy for decades - Warhammer 1st edition was the second tabletop RPG he played after B/X D&D. There has always been a special place in his heart for tabletop roleplaying games such as Warhammer 1st edition, Apocalypse World, Burning Wheel, Dungeon Crawl Classics, and Blades in the Dark and he wants to spread that around.

David Gallo is the chief enabler. He held Colin's feet to the fire to write this project, and agreed to take care of editing, layout, and running the kickstarter. He started with the red box D&D that his parents bought him at a grocery store and he has been playing ever since. He's worked previously on several other game projects including The Sprawl and Fateful Concepts.

Morgan Ellis wrote the fiction excerpts for the original Sewerwatch game using Burning Wheel and posted actual play reports to the old Burning Wheel forums. He's edited down selections for us to use. Morgan has worked on quite a few roleplaying games, including Atomic Robo, Shadow of the Century, Dresden Files, and Feng Shui 2.

Jason Tryon is working on cover art for us when he's not talking developers through sprints, playing hockey, or running games.

Cover Sketches by Jason Tryon (@JazzIsBlues)
Cover Sketches by Jason Tryon (@JazzIsBlues)

#ZineQuest
#ZineQuest

We are very excited to participate in #ZineQuest because we love these kind of projects. Colin and I probably came up with a handful of great project ideas before we settled on this one. 

We fully support the initiative and would like to direct you to some of our other favorites:

Risks and challenges

We have not committed to a certain size print run, so our costs are tied directly to how much demand there is. We will print enough copies to fulfill this project, with some additional units to address shipping issues or print errors.

We are sourcing and printing the physical rewards locally, so we will not be impacted by additional delays to have products delivered to us. We are going to use DriveThruRPG to fulfill digital rewards as well.

We will shipping within the US, using a sufficiently rigid cardboard mailer via the US postal service for cost efficiency.

We have generously scheduled our time appropriately to fulfill. Most of the writing has already started, and some drafts of layouts have been done. The expected delivery schedule allows for any unforeseen issues to be addressed and still remain on time.

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    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

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    Bandit

    Digital only version in PDF of the first issue

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    Scribe

    Print copy and digital version in PDF. Includes shipping to US.

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    • Print Copy
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Funding period

- (14 days)