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The Ultraviolet Grasslands (UVG) trpg is a rules-light psychedelic metal trip to the Black City on the edge of space and time.
The Ultraviolet Grasslands (UVG) trpg is a rules-light psychedelic metal trip to the Black City on the edge of space and time.
2,066 backers pledged $108,793 to help bring this project to life.

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The Ultraviolet Grasslands

$108,793

2,066

A quick note to every new visitor in the last 48 hours: we're well and solidly funded! There are going to be cool dice! A really long map! Art! Cats! Really a lot. Please check out the updates for more art, maps, t-shirts, and more. If you want to check out a work in progress of the books layout, here—we've got one. Ok, back to the rest of the kickstarter. :)

A Strange Long Trip

The Ultraviolet Grasslands and the Black City is a tabletop role-playing game book, half setting, half adventure, and half epic trip; inspired by psychedelic heavy metal, the Dying Earth genre, and classic Oregon Trail games. It leads a group of ‘heroes’ into the depths of a vast and mythic steppe filled with the detritus of time and space and fuzzy riffs.

The UVG is the work of the designer, artist, and writer Luka Rejec and was made possible through the generous support of hundreds of discerning fans at the Stratometaship patreon. Luka's previous work includes illustrating Chris Kutalik's acid fantasy Misty Isles of the Eld, co-writing What Ho Frog Demons with the Hydra Coöperative, and writing, art, and design on the already-sold-out adventure of witch-hunting: Witchburner.

In partnership with Exalted Funeral Press, the goal of this kickstarter is to finally give the UVG the hardback full-color print run this celebration of metal psychedelia deserves. The writing and art are all done, the editing and final layout are currently in progress. The estimated date of delivery is late August 2019.

The well-travelled way.
The well-travelled way.

"Honestly, this module is like you climbed up inside my head when I was feverish with malaria while listening to Blood Ceremony and Wolfmother and also with a 5th of bourbon in me, and then laid out all my weirdest imaginations in a far better, more organized, and interesting fashion than I ever could. The only way this module would be more my thing is if you tattooed it on me." —A Fan (Was it you? Who wrote that? It's well written!)

But those aren't our words.

A Module for Journeys of Discovery

The UVG is for referees and players who want to run a months’ long science fantasy Marco Polo-style voyage across a weird, old world.

The UVG is for any gamer who wants to mine it for inspiration, adventuring locations, odd characters, maps, items, and random encounters.

The UVG is an art book knitting together Luka's illustrations and maps and writing.

The UVG is loud, heavy music, and grinding, tectonic sci-fi given flesh as a rule-light old-school 'R' or what have you continent-spanning rpg adventure.

Hey, there's a free version of the manuscript available for download. That's what it is.

PT Helmet faces a Lamarckian Monstrosity. So brave.
PT Helmet faces a Lamarckian Monstrosity. So brave.

The Vast Edge of the World

"A world begins when it emerges from the mists of time. So it is with the civilizations of the Rainbowlands, which mark their count from when the Long Ago ended and the Now began.

The Rainbowlanders are the humans of a later era, undisputed masters of the fertile lands around the Circle Sea, dwellers in the Eye of Creation. They come in many shapes, colors, creeds, and faiths. They pile unkempt technology and misremembered lore together into a teetering whole. They rule the settled lands under their polychrome deities of ill-repute.

This story is not their story. This story begins at the edge of their world, at the Left End of the Right Road. At the westernmost outpost of humanity, the Violet City. Bastion against the hordes, entrepôt to the exotic sunset lands, and last port of civilization before the trackless steppe studded with the detritus of the Long Ago."

The dark sea at the edge of space.
The dark sea at the edge of space.

The UVG threads its way across seven time zones of vast continent to end at the fabled Black City, where time and space become one on the shores of the wine-dark sea.

  • Strange new humans, from the poly-bodied porcelain princes to the ever be-suited satraps and the mind-controlling cats.
  • Dozens of modular mechanics for handling caravans, survival, theft and trade in a vast strange country.
  • Thirty otherworldly areas, from the Porcelain Citadel to the Dead Bridge and the Forest of Meat, linking the civilizations of the Circle Sea and the mysterious Black City.
  • Over 100 points of interest, from the Fallen Iron Obelisk to the Erosion of War and the time-distorting Copper Hulls.
  • Hundreds of encounters, strange characters, odd magics, uncanny equipment.
  • Over 300 pieces of art by the author.
  • 80,000 words completed, loved, encouraged, and enjoyed by over 300 members of the Stratometaship patreon. Now being edited.
Traces of past times tunnel through the world like worms.
Traces of past times tunnel through the world like worms.

The People Behind the UVG

Luka Rejec, owner of WTF Studio, is a Slovenian designer, illustrator, and writer based in Seoul, South Korea. We've mentioned him before. He's done the art and the writing for the UVG, he's now working on the layout. He loves dogs, heavy metal, 1970s sci fi art, and rocks. Also penguins and owls.

Cristin and Matt Kelley of Exalted Funeral Press are building the place for the DIY and OSROWHY community to get all their printed materials. They got frustrated with searching for the books they loved, and decided to do something about it. They're printing and distributing the UVG after the successful collaboration on the first edition of Witchburner.

Fiona Geist and Jarrett Crader are the MoonRat Conspiracy and collectively responsible for editing Witchburner and also other works like the Spellburn podcast, Fever Swamp and Troika! from The Melsonian Arts Council, Sounds of the Mushroom Kingdom from LotFP, Solar Blades and Cosmic Spells from Old Skull Press, Phantasmagoria from Apollyon Press, the recent kickstarter Silent Titans from Swordfish Islands, and, not least, the Mothership Players' Survival Guide and Mothership: Dead Planet from Tuesday Knight Games. Whew. They're making sure the book makes sense.

Saker Tarsos is a grad student going into information science, and an ttrpg player since he was six. He's also behind a series of cool digital DM screens for other games, like Sean McCoy's acclaimed Mothership. He's joining the project to build a digital companion web page to the tables in the UVG, so you can generate results on the fly, from your handy personal digital assistant or using your desktop terminal console computing unit.

Yup, it's a sky church.
Yup, it's a sky church.

Funding the UVG

The goal is simple: to cover the cost of good editors and print 1,000 high-quality copies of this beautiful book. At $15,000 we've got this covered:

  • 2 of the most beautiful editors in the biz.
  • hardcover A4 books.
  • 192 full-color pages to hold all the words and the art on their heavy pages.
Stretch a bit further for the perfect selfie in front of the cerulean waters.
Stretch a bit further for the perfect selfie in front of the cerulean waters.

Overclocking the UVG

We've seen many kickstarters sunk by over-ambitious stretch goals, that's why we're keeping ours on a tight leash: none of these stretch goals involve any new writing or content. It's all about applying the extra funding to improve design, add some cool accessories, and make the game easier to run.

$20,000 — Accordion Map

The UVG has a 140-centimeter (55-inch) long map. Well, if we hit $20k we'll spruce it up, prep it for print, and get it turned into an folded accordion map where you can track your adventures as they unfold. We got this! Check out an early version of the map.

$25,000 — Dice Set

We'll design a polyhedral dice set just for the UVG, so you too can burn your gaming eyes on some deep retina-searing purple dice. Also got these!

We've also got some other color options. Check out the update above.
We've also got some other color options. Check out the update above.

$40,000 — The Game Master Screen

Our editors are compiling the most relevant tables, rules, and information in the UVG anyway, but it's a rough thing. If we hit $40k, we're going to lay out the whole thing, whip Luka to make a 4:1 landscape artwork for the screen, and commission a fancy limited-edition screen to complement this kickstarter edition.

UPDATE: early March, 2019: huh, you guys smashed that. Cool.

More stretch goals!
More stretch goals!

UVG kickstarter - new stretch goals

Dear backers! Dear fans of the Ultraviolet Grasslands! Dear people of infinitely good taste, you smashed all our stretch goals, so we've developed a few new ones. We worked hard to make sure that none of them should break our production schedule.

$60,000 — Book and Editors Upgraded

When we hit $60K we're upgrading the production and compensation quality of this kickstarter. The UVG book is getting a stitched spine and a ribbon (trying to make it purple!). Our editors at the MoonRat Conspiracy, Fiona and Jarrett, are getting their paycheck doubled for all their hard work (and they get to proofread the Big Map, too, hah!).

UNLOCKED! Our editors are happier!

This is a mockup of the regular cover. Final limited edition cover coming soon.
This is a mockup of the regular cover. Final limited edition cover coming soon.

$70,000 - Full Color Ultraviolet

If we hit $70K, we're paying Luka some extra cash to hide in a bunker for a couple of weeks and bring full color to the UVG. This doesn't mean every last page is going to be a riot of color (yes it does —Luka). Sketches and details will remain just that, but the rest of the book will get the high-detail treatment.

UNLOCKED! All the art that can handle color is getting color!

All the art will not be this eye-burningly multi-colored. Probably.
All the art will not be this eye-burningly multi-colored. Probably.

Last of the Stretch Goals

We've gotta be clear here ... when we started, we hoped we'd do well, but never imagined we'd find an audience this big. Lots of kickstarters sink themselves by going overboard with additional stretch goals that break the piggy bank and the project timeline.

Well, here we have it. Full technicolor. So what now? We're not going to add massive extra goals because we've already got a lot on our plate with the editors' #NeedsMore.

But stretch goals are ... motivational? So we're adding two final, ultimate goals. One is serious, the other is fun.

Colors! Bursting! Strange machines!
Colors! Bursting! Strange machines!

$85,000: Digital Reference Companion

At $85K Saker Tarsos gets paid to make a free digital reference for the UVG: with all the tables and generators set up on a single page. Sort of like what he did for Mothership but with more UVG art and Saker spending time to figure out how to make the work better and faster. This goal is completely divorced from the delivery of the physical goods and will be handled by Saker Tarsos. 

Minimum product is: a website with automated generators for everything UVG. Maximum product: we might get Saker to build a small tool that makes it easy to import random tables, spit out code, and embed it on other web pages. Think of this as all of us in the #OSROWHY (old school reorientation or what have you) giving gaming tools back to the world.

That was the fun stretch goal. 

Unlocked! And we made it! Thank you!

$99,999: Ultimate Stretch

We'll make a heavy metal, leather jacket yoga video for the ultimate stretch goal. It will be terrible, just like the pun. We will do it after the books are shipped. We won't prepare for it beforehand. We won't script it. The shooting quality will be dreadful. Watching it will not make you a better person, a better game master, or a better roleplayer. It won't even teach you much yoga (downward failing dog, maybe?).

Ok, but the serious bit: this is a bit of a joke, and if we reach this goal, we'll add more jokes—but all of them will be weird, silly things we'll do to express our gratitude after the book is done and printed and delivered. Right now our goal is to bring you the most epic world crawling game.

Great. Now Luka has to start actually practicing properly and getting a routine down. Sigh.

Beyond: $111,111 and the Infinite* Exalted Stretch

Ok, let's have some fun with an infinite stretch goal ... Matt's Metal Mindfulness Mountain Meditation.

Authors reserve the right to change the mountain without prior notice. Donkey not included.
Authors reserve the right to change the mountain without prior notice. Donkey not included.

After all the packing and shipping is complete, we're going to force march Matt up a remote Idaho mountain to become one with himself, experience wellness, breathe in love and breathe out heavy metal.

For every $1,000 over $99,999 Matt is going to spend a minute in silent, mindful meditation, while listening to heavy metal on top of a mountain.

If we reach $111,111 we are going to add a special extra six minutes and sixty-six seconds of meditation on top of the rest. And then, we'll add another six minutes and sixty-six seconds at $122,222, at $133,333, and so on. Ok, ok, won't be totally infinite. We're capping the maximum mindfulness meditation at 129 minutes—the length of the 1982 classic, Conan the Barbarian. The film crew has to have something to do while Matt sits and meditates, after all.

We're only going to release a Six minute and sixty-six second video though, trimming the full meditation session down, because otherwise it'd be kind of boring to watch. But we'll keep the video and the clocks running.

*Definition of infinity subject to change.

Note: this stretch goal has zero impact on the actual deliverables or outcome of the kickstarter, but it is going to force our Exalted Funeral members to take care of their health after shipping all those books.

Awakened from a forgotten time, the spaceonaut is perplexed.
Awakened from a forgotten time, the spaceonaut is perplexed.

Shipping Costs Estimated

We're calculating shipping as a separate charge when backer surveys are sent out. The numbers are not completely precise yet, because we're covering a range to account for the final weight of the book, the map, the screen, the dice. As a rule, with just the book, you're looking at the lower end, with the whole bundle, close to the upper end (all prices in USD).

  • USA: $4–8
  • UK and EU: $12–21
  • Canada: $18–25
  • Australia and New Zealand: $21–25
  • Rest of the world: $30–45
  •  Off-world: not available 

Exalted Funeral Press is negotiating shipping and distribution around the world. We're working with the Melsonian Arts Council for distribution in the UK and hammering out details with a couple of other companies to cover Australia, Canada, New Zealand the Continental EU (CEU), because Brexit is looming and we're trying to bring those shipping numbers down for you.

Why does the EU have such a spread? Well, there are 26 or 27 countries in the EU (depending on when you're reading this), each with their own postal service. Once we have the numbers nailed tighter for each individual country, the list will get longer.

Import duties, taxes (VAT), and additional charges are not included in the price or shipping cost. Any additional charges added on by the destination country will be your responsibility. Please check with your country's customs office to determine if there will be any additional costs, and what they might be. <- We took this paragraph straight from the Silent Titans kickstarter, because it seemed sensible. Thanks, Jacob!

How much will delivery of just the dice cost? Less. Not sure how much less, but quite a bit. We'll get those numbers out soon.

We'll be fiiiine. Right?
We'll be fiiiine. Right?

Estimated Timeline

Content Editing: 6 weeks [85% complete] - we've run into Luka having to write a few thousand supplemental words to cover the #NeedsMore hashtags.

Copy Editing: 4 weeks [80% complete] - most of the book is ready for layout.

Layout: 3 weeks [15% complete] - we've begun

Proofreading: 2 weeks

Final Layout: 2 weeks [end of May 2019]

Printing: 6 weeks [June 2019]

Shipping: 2 weeks

Extra fat month, just in case: 5 weeks

Total: 31 weeks [end of August 2019]

We've estimated how much work there is to be done, then added a bit more time on top, then added another month, because we suspect we missed something.

Risks and challenges

Ok, time for the scary stuff.

As we've said, the Ultraviolet Grasslands are written. They are currently being edited and laid out, and a digital version will be available no matter what. The purpose of this kickstarter is to give the UVG the print run it deserves. After all, the upfront costs of a solid full-color print run are scary for a small indie press.

But things could go wrong. Sickness, nuclear war (the author and designer lives in Seoul, after all) and global economic crashes could derail us.

A risk for EU backers will be Brexit, because our fulfillment in Europe is currently on the capable shoulders of the Melsonian Arts Council. If the customs and postage from the UK to the EU become ridiculously complicated, we will change the distribution arrangement. Fortunately, there's a lot of time between Brexit (29 March), the EU elections (26 May), and the delivery date (31 August) to sort that out. We should be fine, but this is the big risk to be aware of right now.

Fortunately the hard work (writing and art) are all complete and the tasks that remain are fundamentally technical: editing, layout, print, distribution. All of us organizing and participating in this kickstarter are doing our darndest to make ourselves replaceable in case something happens to us. None of the stretch goals require large additional work - dice designs or game master screen visuals would also work with a different artist (though, you know, Luka would be sad if that happened, for obvious reasons).

But, we're a small team, and that kind of trouble could delay us. To that end, we've laid out our timeline for you, and will communicate regularly to make sure you understand how things are going.

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    Watcher on the Walls

    The caravan leaves civilization for the strange sights of the utter west. You will watch for its return. ⚇ ⚇ ⚇ If you're a fan of the Ultraviolet Grasslands, love psychedelic metal, enjoy roleplaying games, want to keep an eye on this kickstarter for later, or just have an extra buck you want to pass our way, this is the reward for you. ⚇ ⚇ ⚇ Updates, progress reports, shout outs to a lot of great bands, and the warm feeling of supporting metal art and epic gaming.

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    Digital Ghost of the Caravaneer

    Put the cat coffee in the samovar and rub the sleep sand out of your eyes. You're heading deep into the Ultraviolet Grasslands with just your trusty digital edition. 🀙 🀙 🀙 192 pages, hyperlinked .pdf, full-color art, and all the psychedelic heavy metal inspiration that a gamer could handle. 🀙 🀙 🀙 Perfect if you're planning to explore the detritus of time and space and fuzzy riffs with your online trpg gaming buddies.

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    Oracle of the Bones

    Hear the screams of the butterflies and the prophecies of the biomechanical ghosts as you roll the bones of the Long Long Ago. ⚂ ⚂ ⚂ Get a deluxe set of eye-biting Q-workshop dice engraved with sort-of-roman-numerals just for the UVG and the the hyperlinked 192-page pdf. ⚂ ⚂ ⚂ This is a halfway physical tier, for those who really just want the dice, but don't want a heavy book full of gorgeous art to lug around.

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    Bookbearer of the Ages

    This is the artifact we're all here for: the physical incarnation of the Ultraviolet Grasslands. ☆ ☆ ☆ Hard-cover print, A4-size just like the bandes dessinées of métal hurlant that inspired the first sketches, full-color print, 192 pages of glorious metal weirdness between the odd future of the Rainbowlands and the half-known Long Ago. ☆ ☆ ☆ If you're joining this kickstarter to get the official game book of the Ultraviolet Grasslands, this is the tier for you. Hey, we'll throw in the digital edition, too.

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    Cartographer of the Weird Old World

    Don't get lost in the vastness expanse, bring a map along to guide you from the Porcelain Citadel to the Carnibotanic Disaster Zone and beyond. ☉ ☉ ☉ Besides the physical and digital book, you will also get both of the stretch goals: the big long accordion map, and the custom ultraviolet grassland polyhedral dice, so you can blast vomes and dodge body-hopper ghosts in style. ☉ ☉ ☉ At this pledge you're basically saying that you love our work and really want us to succeed. And we're saying, "thank you! A thousand thank yous!"

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    Master of the Force Screens

    Gird your golem walkers, strap on your satrap radiant gun, and get ready to break through the walls of reality when you reach the Black City at the end of space. 🂡 🂡 🂡 At this pledge level you get the book, the digital book, the dice, the accordion map, and the steppemaster screen if the final stretch goal is hit. 🂡 🂡 🂡 This is really the victory lap pledge reward level, you're just making that final march around, and we're waving palm fronds to celebrate your support. Seriously. Our gratitude.

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    First and Last of the Voidwalkers

    Slather on your sunscreen and finish off your vampire wine, you're getting one of the last tickets off this decayed old world - the voids are singing to you. ✵✵✵ This is a bonus pledge level, and the only limited one. We've talked with our printer and they say we can do a limited edition of 150 books with jet black covers and custom bookplates, each with a unique number, each with a signature and Pointyhelmet doodle by Luka. And, of course, the dice and screen and other stuff. ✵✵✵ This is a tier just for collectors. If you're in it for the psychedelic metal rpg, the previous tiers are fine. The paper will be the same weight and the words will be the same grade. Of course, if you do want it ... well, great!

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    Merchant of the Other World

    You think the UVG looks cool? You think it's going to touch the sky? You've done your market research and know it's going to sell? ✧ ✧ ✧ This tier nets you 10 physical books for your store. We'll add our blessings and our thanks to the package, that you may turn them into glorious profit swift and sure. ✧ ✧ ✧ This tier is for retailers only. Stretch goal products may also be available for retail.

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Funding period

- (60 days)