NEXT STRETCH GOAL: None! We're all done!
Goblin Quest is like Itchy and Scratchy crossed with The Animals of Farthing Wood. It's like the first level of Dungeons & Dragons crossed with Paranoia.
I stand firm in the belief that, daft as it is, Goblin Quest is the greatest game I've ever written. But it needs a killer rulebook packed with art to do it justice. That's where you come in.
Set in a fantasy world full of monsters, it uses a really simple system focused around improvisation and rationalisation to build madcap, slapstick scenes that quickly spiral out of hand. All you need to play is a pencil, a sheet of paper, and a handful of six-sided dice; you don't even need a player to be the gamesmaster. Everyone can embark on the quest together.
I've been developing and writing Goblin Quest for nearly two years, and groups all over the world have playtested it for me. Here's what they've said about the game:
“Goblin Quest is the RPG I'd design if I was younger, better-looking and had more energy.” - James Wallis, Games Industry Overlord, creator of The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Once Upon A Time
“Goblin Quest is so funny I almost spat ice-cream out my nose whilst playing it.” - Malcolm Ryan, who is an actual Games Design Lecturer who teaches at an actual University
"We had to steal a Wizard's magic book, so to cause a distraction, I peed in a guard's face." - My nephew, Jonah, describing the very first turn of his game of Goblin Quest
"GOBLIN QUEST has held a solid appeal to me since I first read about it. It's both simple enough, and open-ended enough, to allow for maximum hilarity." - Sean Smith, Stage Mentalist and Word Magician
"My group's quest was to make an omelette. 16 goblins died." - Andrew Harvey
“Hilarious, entertaining, streamlined, fun; what more could you ask for?” - Nick Jewell
“Thanks so much for writing such a fun game! We had a lovely time trying it out.” - Brian Rinkoski
“Was it fun? If riding a burning donkey-cart straight towards a brick wall is your idea of fun, then yes.” - Magnus Nordstrand
“Keep making games like this, and I will keep playing them.” - Alex Winfield
"I didn't play RP games until trying some Grant designed. Since then everything is disappointing in comparison. Not just games: it's hard to get through the day. You thought you knew fun before Grant's games? Your life is grey veils and ash.” - Lydia Nicholas
WHAT YOUR PLEDGE COVERS
ART. This is the big expense – I want to pay my artists properly, and I can't afford to do that without your support. The lead artist for the project is Jon Morris – who inspired this project after sending me an awesome drawing of a goblin. We've got a couple of other artists on board, too, who'll add their talents if we hit our stretch goals.
LAYOUT. I've contacted Alina Sandu, a professional graphic design and layout professional that I've worked with in the past, and she's super-keen to make the rulebook look as good as it possibly can. I want to give her money to do that.
WRITING. The core book is finished, but I want to design more ways to use the system – mobs of kobolds designing ridiculous death-machines, brave investigators losing their minds as they pry into the Cthulhu mythos, and bands of loosely-affiliated Swordmasters avenging each other's deaths. If we hit our stretch goals, we'll put these in the game as bonus content.
PRINTING. Bulk printing, as opposed to print-on-demand, lets us save money on physical copies, but we need some cash up-front to make the order. We also need some capital to pay distributors to ship out books to you guys.
Breaking our KS target is just the start. Here's what we've got in store. Bear in mind that all of these rules-hacks will be part of the final physical book, not just in the PDF!
- PASSED! - £2500: KOBOLD QUEST. All backers at DIGITAL and above will receive KOBOLD QUEST, an illustrated rules-hack that lets them design barely-functional traps and use them to complete dubious schemes for their impossibly ancient draconic masters.
- PASSED! - £3000: MORE ART. We'll make the book bigger, and shove even more full-colour pictures of goblins in there.
- PASSED! - £3500 – INIGO MONTOYA JR. All backers at DIGITAL and above will receive MY NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA JR., an illustrated rules-hack that puts them in control of a school of elite swordmasters obsessed with avenging past misdeeds and, eventually, each other's deaths.
- PASSED! - £4000 – YES, GOBLIN OVERLORD! Tim Wilkinson Lewis of Yes, Hive Overlord fame and the original illustrator of Havoc Brigade will lend his pen to the project and scratch out a gaggle of mad-looking goblins for us.
- PASSED! - £4500 – FURTHER ART SOMEHOW! Iguanamouth, illustrator of The Homecoming Collection and master of adorable grotesquerie, will add her unique art style to the book with a selection of mad-looking pieces.
- PASSED! - £5000 – THE STARS ARE RIGHT. All backers at DIGITAL and above will receive THE CTHULHU FILES, an illustrated rules-hack that throws them into a world of slavering monsters, fragile sanities, and the hungry dark that lies behind the stars and underneath the ocean.
- PASSED! - £6000 - REDSHIRTS. All backers at DIGITAL and above will receive REDSHIRTS, an illustrated planetary exploration rules-hack set in the far future. You play one competent member of a starfleet ship and four clueless ensigns, and must explore a hostile alien world using your ensigns as cannon-fodd- sorry, research assistants - along the way.
- PASSED! - £8000 - NEITHER SUPER NOR HEROIC. When the chips are down, the government calls on teams of specially-selected superheroes to save the day. But they're all dead, or busy, or not answering their phones, so... you'll have to do. Play a team of rubbish part-time superheroes, endanger civilians, and sweep trouble under the carpet until the professionals arrive.
- PASSED! - £10,000 - GUEST WRITERS ROUND ONE. Naomi Alderman, Merritt Kopas, Meg Jayanth, Matt Forbeck, Graeme Walmsley and Frog Croakley will write ten adventure seeds each for inclusion in the core book.
- PASSED! - £11,500 - GUEST WRITERS ROUND TWO. Rob Heinsoo, Ken Hite, Robin D Laws, Meguey Baker and James Wallis will write ten adventure seeds each for inclusion in the core book.
- PASSED - £13,000 - GOBLIN TWINE. Working with Mary Hamilton, creator of Detritus, I'll release a free-to-play choose-your-own-adventure game online which will follow the quests of one brave clutch of goblins.
- PASSED - £15,000 - SEAN BEAN QUEST. Will Sean Bean ever survive all the way to the end of a film? Find out as you take on the role of five Sean Beans (in sequence, not in parallel) and attempt to endure the slings and arrows of the script. Gruff northern accents are a requirement.
- PASSED - £18,500 - COMMUNITY CHOICE HACK. Backers will choose one of these three final illustrated rules hacks to put into the book:
STICK A COG ON IT AND CALL IT GOBLIN QUEST: You're the new crew of this Steampunk Zepplin, and by George, you'll find Pulp Adventure if it kills you! (It will.) Get extra dice by engaging in steampunk cliches, like "Wearing superfluous goggles" or "Disregarding the poor".
CYBERPUNK X.0: "Inside the matrix, they built a new matrix - in fact, a matrix of matrices," says the man, sucking on a virtual e-cigarette and exhaling a cloud of low-resolution digital vapour, "and that's where you're going, choomba. Load up your five favourite avatars, and splice your headbox rigwards. We're gonna cowboy this joint." His red eyes glitter in the magnified darkness, and you smile through your chrome teeth. This is gonna be the best gig of your alt-life.
REGENCY LADIES: You play a matriarch in charge of five young ladies, all of marriageable age and handsome countenance (aside from poor Agnes, but she plays the pianoforte so beautifully). It's your job to get at least one of them properly married off before they descend into ignominious ends, poor arrangements, or destitute spinsterhood.
Once the Kickstarter is over, we'll look to get the book illustrated, designed and printed within six months.
You can expect to receive hard copies in February 2015, and digital copies a little before that. I'll be sure to keep you up to date with our design and print schedules as we go ahead.
GRANT HOWITT (Writer) is a journalist and games designer who lives in Sydney, Australia. He's been writing games for the past six years, and playing them for the past ten. He's built livegames for 20th Century Fox and the London Science Museum, and his tabletop games are known and loved throughout the indie community. You can download all of his previous games (for free) on his website Look, Robot.
"CALAMITY" JON MORRIS (Illustrator) is a Washington-based cartoonist, designer, writer, and two-fisted king of the hobos. He is the also the creator of the Ignatz-nominated webcomic “Jeremy – Just Turned Nine”, has appeared on This American Life, and has recently completed his first book, due for release in Summer 2015. He has also illustrated a number of previous games including Villainy!, InSpectres and Darkpages. His website is Calamity Jon, Save Us!
ALINA SANDU (Designer) has been a freelance design for the last three years, working on everything from stationery catalogues, to magazines to zombie survival materials. When she's not working she's building on her extensive collection of board games and building a dangerously interdependent relationship with her guinea pigs. You can see her work, and photos of guinea pigs, at alinasandu.co.uk.
Risks and challenges
This is my first Kickstarter, but I've been writing games for many years, now – and the core text is completely finished, having been through several rounds of playtesting. I've cleared the work, and the rates, with all my artists and designers. We're all on board and ready to rock.
However, life can get in the way. If I'm unable to write the additional content due to sickness or injury, or if Jon or Alina are similarly hampered, then it could put a significant speedbump under development.
However, I know other artists, and other designers, and while Jon or Alina having to pull out of the project would be sad, it wouldn't spell the end of Goblin Quest. It would probably slow things down a little, though.
I've got a great game, already played and loved by hundreds of people all around the world. Mary, my Business Manager, has a brain the size of a planet and is triple-checking all the figures at every stage of the process. This is ready to go; I just need your help to push it over the edge.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)