About this project
Summary: Why Should You Care?
- If you're a fan of large, complex, richly-detailed RPG adventures... well, then, you should consider backing this one!
Dark Obelisk 2 is the next book in an enormous Adventure Path for Pathfinder and 5E roleplaying games.
Dark Obelisk 1 was over a thousand pages. That's 1,000.
Full-Color, Detailed Maps: Hexcrawl maps for the region, gridded maps for dozens of encounters and locations of interest. Over 100 full-color, detailed maps, including both GM and Player-redacted versions for every single map.
Novel-Caliber NPCs: Dozens of richly-detailed characters, each with a backstory, secrets, motivations, conversation trees, and behavioral/Attitude tracking.
Variable Challenge: Experience Dark Obelisk at any level of difficulty, ranging from freshly-rolled characters to level 20 PCs. Each monster and NPC has "quadded" statblocks--a version of that creature at each of four levels of difficulty.
- Dynamic Story: Multiple endings, options for NPC deaths, and what the PCs do matters.
Please check the product FAQ (below) for detailed and updated information as to estimated delivery of all project components. Short version is, despite what the Rewards section indicates, if you're looking to have anything but DO1 in hand for Christmas, you will likely be disappointed!
Unless otherwise specified, all "new" products listed will be offered as a free PDF for appropriate backer levels. For example, if you pledge at Citizen level, you'll get DO2-related PDFs free; if you're an Historian, you'll get both DO2 and DO1 PDFs. Hardcopies will be made available at reduced cost for backers.
- UNLOCKED! $2,000: Players' Guides for DO1 and DO2. Estimated to be around 64 pages apiece.
- UNLOCKED! $2,500: Berinncorte Basecamp module (DO2). This will describe the makeshift encampment around the titular city from DO1, with maps, full NPC detail, and other fluff, crunch, and optional sidequests. Although the plot of DO2 intends that the PCs leave Berinncorte fairly quickly, this module would be useful for GMs who want to make it feasible for the party to hang out a bit longer before setting out. Around 100 pages.
- UNLOCKED! $3,000: FlexTale Encounter Generator (DO2). This is a separate tool for the GM to instantly create dynamic and versatile side-quests on the fly, for when the party is adventuring across the countryside. For those familiar with the Borderland Provinces products from Frog God Games, the intent here is similar to the Journey Generator in that line... but supporting the full range of dynamic capabilities that the FlexTale concept makes possible. Probably around 100 pages.
- UNLOCKED! $3,500: 800-page Guarantee: I will continue to add content to the core DO2 book until it is at least 800 pages in length. This means more quests, more maps, more encounters, more new items and monsters, more ridiculously-detailed NPCs... more everything. While it's quite possible this length would have been achieved even without this stretch goal in place, as we saw with DO1's KS, my ability to estimate my own work is quite horrible! This provides some more concrete assurance.
- UNLOCKED! $4,000: Bridge Module to DO3: As a teaser/intro to Dark Obelisk 3, as well as a kind of fleshed-out epilogue to DO2, a "bridge module" (title TBD) will be produced and published. Estimated to be between 100-200 pages.
- UNLOCKED! $4,500: Western Realm Gazetteer: A separate hardcover book will be created, expanding upon the campaign setting of Aquilae, the Realm in which Dark Obelisk takes place. Dozens of random encounters, dozens of monsters (including several brand-new ones), items, spells, quests, villages, and of course richly-detailed NPCs. In addition, the ERG will go into more depth with the numerous Factions of the Realm, expanding the descriptions originally found in DO1 and adding several more too. Perfect as a companion to the Dark Obelisk adventure path; usable on its own to start your adventures in the campaign setting of Aquilae; or helpful merely as a treasure trove of ideas, inspirations, and "drop-ins"; this book will be an asset to any GM.
- UNLOCKED! $5,000: Aquilae: Bestiary of the Realm: A separate, mammoth tome (500-800 pages) collects more than 300 monsters from the Dark Obelisk adventure path and beyond. Every single creature contains quadded statblocks, meaning they may be used to support a wide variety of difficulty level and challenge. An essential, amazing resource for any adventuring campaign, the Bestiary of the Realm is an enormous value and reference for any GM.
- UNLOCKED! $5,250: Artifacts & Artifice: We'll create a series of specific legendary magic items which could be wielded by the powers of, or against, the Forces of the Obelisk. Each item will have a complete backstory, statblocks, and a handful of Story Hooks as to where the item might be inserted into your Dark Obelisk adventure. Depending on how large and fun this is, it may be a separate PDF/softcover, or may simply be an additional section in the core book. (Note that this product is not included in any pledge levels, but will be available as an Add-On during BackerKit survey following the campaign.)
- UNLOCKED! $5,500: Library Vitae module: A massive adventure set in the Western Realm, this module leads the PCs down into an abandoned library dungeon with tie-ins to the Dark Obelisk 2 mythology and content. A separate 256-page PDF and hardcover book.
- UNLOCKED! $5,750: Pregenerated Characters for Dark Obelisk 1 and Dark Obelisk 2: Fully-quadded statblocks with appropriate equipment will be created for each of the core classes in the rules system (11 for Pathfinder, 12 for 5E). Consists of two separate PDFs, and two separate softcovers. For those keeping score at home, that's up to 48 ready-to-play PCs.
- UNLOCKED! $6,000: Dark Harbor bonus standlone module & fiction book: A few years ago, I'd written and published a horror novella called Dark Harbor. As a book, I thought it was at best fairly decent, but it really worked as the starting point for a mythology and campaign setting. Rather than write one of the 5+ sequels I had envisioned, should we unlock this Stretch Goal, I will create a new campaign setting/adventure scenario which takes place in the context of the fiction book. This will be a dark, gothic horror, Ravenloft-esque, Castlevania-like sort of adventure, likely measuring in the 200-page realm. In addition, all backers who receive the PDF of Dark Harbor, the adventure, will also receive a free PDF copy of Dark Harbor, the fiction novella, absolutely free. (Add-ons will be available for a hardcopy of the novella and/or adventure.)
- UNLOCKED! $6,500: Echoes of Time Forgotten: A standalone companion module which may be pursued prior to, after, or concurrently with the events of DO2. The PCs happen upon a ruined city that allows them to glimpse what the city and its inhabitants were like before its fall. The PCs must jump to the past to unearth clues about the present. A 200+ page hardcover adventure and setting book with tie-ins to mythology of DO2.
- UNLOCKED! $7,000: Druid Enclave Setting Book: In DO2, The Druid Elders are the ones who commission the PCs to explore the mining city of Mondaria and investigate why they have lost contact with it. This companion book explores the Druid Enclave village in detail, mapping and describing each building and the mysterious Enclave chambers beneath. A separate, hardcover book with dozens of maps, this 200+ page tome is an optional add-on to the geography described in DO2 and its other companion volumes, useful for GMs whether they're running Dark Obelisk or simply looking for a well-fleshed-out and detailed druidic city.
- UNLOCKED! $7,500: NPC Cards for Dark Obelisk 2: A deck of reference cards for DO2. Each card contains vital information about key characters in the adventure. Think in the vein of Pathfinder's Face Cards. A useful reference for players and GMs alike! (Note that this product is not included in any pledge levels, but will be available as an Add-On during BackerKit survey following the campaign.)
- UNLOCKED! $7,750: NPC Cards for Dark Obelisk 1: As above, but for DO1.
- UNLOCKED! $8,000: TBD Northern Mountain Adventure: Like many of the others produced as Stretch Goals, this ~256-page hardcover mega-adventure may be pursued prior to, concurrently with, or after the events of Dark Obelisk 2 itself. The PCs venture deep into the largely unexplored and mysterious Northern Mountains, where they uncover horrible dangers; remnants of dark deeds; and most invaluably, lore about the Obelisks and their origins. (Note that this product is not included in any pledge levels, but will be available as an Add-On during BackerKit survey following the campaign.)
- $8,500: Fire & Gold (title TBC): A hardcover, ~256-page mega-adventure which takes the PCs into territory unexplored thus far in Dark Obelisk writings--the Eastern Realm. A standalone adventure, from a story perspective, Fire & Gold serves as a prologue to the next planned Adventure Path (which takes place after the Dark Obelisk Adventure Path): the Infinium Cloister. (Note that this product is not included in any pledge levels, but will be available as an Add-On during BackerKit survey following the campaign.)
- $9,000: The Highest Form of Flattery: A hardcover, ~256-page adventure arc which explores the mysterious act of Tribute so integral to life in the Realm of Aquilae. A colleague of Gorin Bakelight's (from Dark Obelisk 1) sets forth on a quest to uncover greed and corruption at the highest levels... only to discover a far greater intrigue than he had anticipated. (Note that this product is not included in any pledge levels, but will be available as an Add-On during BackerKit survey following the campaign.)
- $9,500: Prior Lives: A hardcover, ~300-page collection of smaller backstory adventures revisiting the previous experiences of the most interesting NPCs from Dark Obelisk 1 and 2. The most intriguing is probably Elena Lomazonne, the merchant princess, and her cunning and bloody past and rise to power. (Note that this product is not included in any pledge levels, but will be available as an Add-On during BackerKit survey following the campaign.)
- $10,000: Aquilae: Pantheon & Tribute: This book explores the various gods, religions, sects, and strife to be found across the Realm of Aquilae. Each of several dozen deities is profiled in full, with history, description, sigil/iconography, items, spells and equipment, prestige classes, character archetypes, and more. Each Faction also contains several NPCs, representing leadership, average members, ranks and order--and of course these NPCs are listed in Quadded Statblocks to support a wide range of difficulties for any adventuring group. Finally, each Faction has Quests and Settings, richly-detailed maps and encounters that may be inserted into any adventure that takes place in the Campaign Setting of Aquilae. A massive, hardcover tome, this is expected to weigh in at 500 pages or more. (Note that this product is not included in any pledge levels, but will be available as an Add-On during BackerKit survey following the campaign.)
Add-Ons:I will be offering Add-Ons at the conclusion of the Kickstarter campaign, coordinated via BackerKit.
- $50: Design-A-Nemesis: Work with an accomplished game dedsigner to developer a full-fledged villain, able to be dropped in anywhere in the Realm of the Dark Obelisk Adventure Path. Each villain will have character art, conversation blocks, and at least one Quest specific to that character... which may even tie into the overall plot of the Adventure Path! Of course, each custom villain will be scalable to a range of challenge levels, using full quadded statblocks, Attitude Tracker and Attitude Modififers. Each fully-fleshed-out nemesis will also get a set of signature maneuvers or powers, catchphrase, and physical appearance description, as well as backstory.
- $20: Dark Obelisk 1 PDF: A copy of DO1 PDF, in 5E or Pathfinder format.
- $20: Dark Obelisk 2 PDF: A copy of DO2 PDF, in 5E or Pathfinder format. (Since nearly all pledge levels already include this, the main reason for this is as a gift, I would imagine.)
- $65: Dark Obelisk 1 Hardcovers: A hardcover copy of both component books of DO1, in 5E or Pathfinder format.
- $40: Dark Obelisk 2 Hardcover: A hardcover copy of DO1, in 5E or Pathfinder format.
- $95: Dark Obelisk 1 Hardcovers (one copy each of two component volumes), AND Dark Obelisk 2 Hardcover
- $8: Players' Guide to Dark Obelisk 1 Softcover
- $8: Players' Guide to Dark Obelisk 2 Softcover
- $8: Berinncorte Basecamp Softcover
- $12: Bridge Module to Dark Obelisk 3 Adventure Softcover
- $4: Artifacts & Artifice PDF: A PDF of this product (which is not included in any pledge levels).
- $12: Artifacts & Artifice softcover: A softcover of this product (which is not included in any pledge levels).
- $40: Western Realm Gazzeteer Hardcover: A hardcover copy of the WRG.
- $40: Aquilae: Bestiary of the Realm: A hardcover copy of the ABR.
- $30: Library Vitae: A hardcover copy of the Library Vitae tie-in adventure book.
- $25: Dark Harbor: A hardcover copy of the Dark Harbor standalone module.
- $10: Dark Harbor novel: A paperback copy of the Dark Harbor printed book. This is an extremely rare first-edition printing, created only for this Kickstarter project.
- $8: Pregenerated PC Characters for Dark Obelisk 1: A softcover of this book.
- $8: Pregenerated PC Characters for Dark Obelisk 2: A softcover of this book.
- $30: Echoes of Time Forgotten: A hardcover copy of this bonus module.
- $35: Druid Enclave Setting: A hardcover copy of this bonus setting / adventure book.
- $20: NPC Cards for DO2: A printed deck of NPC reference cards for Dark Obelisk 2. Includes PDF too.
- $20: NPC Cards for DO1: A printed deck of NPC reference cards for Dark Obelisk 1. Includes PDF too.
- $8: NPC Cards for DO1 PDF: PDF only.
- $8: NPC Cards for DO2 PDF: PDF only.
- $25: TBC Northern Mountain Adventure: A hardcover and PDF of this adventure, assuming we unlock this Stretch Goal.
- $12: TBC Northern Mountain Adventure PDF: A PDF only of this adventure.
- $30: Fire & Gold AP2 Prologue: A hardcover and PDF of the Fire & Gold mega-adventure, assuming we unlock this Stretch Goal.
- $12: Fire & Gold AP2 PDF: A PDF copy of this adventure.
- $30: The Highest Form of Flattery: A hardcover and PDF of this mega-adventure, assuming we unlock this Stretch Goal.
- $35: Prior Lives: A hardcover and PDF of this huge collection of NPC backstory adventures, assuming we unlock this Stretch Goal.
- $15: Prior Lives: A PDF of this collection, if we unlock.
- $40: Aquilae: Pantheon & Tribute: A hardcover and PDF of this book, if we unlock it.
- $18: Aquilae: Pantheon & Tribute PDF: A PDF of this book, if we unlock it.
- $25: Infinium Game Studio T-Shirt: Your choice of size, with the IGS logo.
- $25: Dark Obelisk 2 T-Shirt: Your choice of size, with the DO2 logo.
- $25: Dark Obelisk 1 T-Shirt: Your choice of size, with the DO1 logo.
- $70: Mayoral T-Shirt Wardrobe: One each of all three T-Shirts, at a discount. Your choice of sizes. Show off your generosity!
For Veterans of the City of Berinncorte:
Welcome back! The first Dark Obelisk adventure was supposed to be 1) a 120-page paperback, and 2) to be the first in a series of adventures in a single cohesive Adventure Path.
Seeing as how that project instead turned out to be over 1,000 pages, I guess I'm happy at least one of those predictions was accurate!
This time around, I'm adjusting the Delivery Date to be a bit more reasonable. Also, I'll be releasing Incremental Content along the way (see below).
For Those New to the Realm:
Welcome! We hope you enjoy the attention to detail, richly-described and complex characters, and variable-difficulty statistics to scale your adventure to wide range of difficulties.
Dark Obelisk 2: The Mondarian Elective is the second component of a crazily-ambitious, absolutely enormous, multi-part Adventure Path (AP) for the Pathfinder roleplaying game and 5E.
The first adventure, Dark Obelisk: Berinncorte, was a successful Kickstarter campaign, and a massively successful end product.
The Adventure Path of which this project is a part is comprised of four adventures:
- Dark Obelisk 1: Berinncorte. This is complete, and available for purchase on RPGnow.com.
- Dark Obelisk 2: The Mondarian Elective. (That's this Kickstarter project.)
- Part Three. To be created in 2017.
- Part Four. To hopefully also be created in 2017.
The long-term goals of the campaign setting in which this adventure takes place are enormous: a full TEN Adventure Paths have been sketched out. That's ten APs, not ten adventures--for a total of about 50 adventures all in all!
This second adventure expands upon the ambitions of the first:
- Instead of a single town, The Mondarian Elective introduces a campaign map, hex-based navigation, and multiple villages and encounters across the countryside of the Realm of Aquilae.
- New spells, weapons, armor, feats.
- A broader description of the campaign setting in which these adventures take place. These can be ignored entirely, of course, and these adventures may be "plugged into" any setting of your choosing.
- At the end of development, you'll still get a massive adventure book. But along the way, I'll be releasing Incremental Content as well.
Of course, it will strive to keep the best elements of the first adventure:
- New NPCs, items, and auras.
- It will be a standalone adventure that can be played on its own, completely out of context of the larger Adventure Path.
- Tools to make the adventure dynamic, and play different every run-through. (For those who have played Ravenloft, think about that Tarot game the GM played in secret to randomize item locations and motivations, but expand it to many other aspects of the adventure as well.)
- GM tools to introduce new and innovative approaches to Experience Point distribution, variable and scalable difficulty, flexible story paths, and dynamic NPC character interaction.
Incremental Content (new for DO2!):
As the book is written, I'll "spin off" individual set pieces, side quests, and encounters of a suitable size.
- These will be published and available for sale, released from time to time during the development process.
- I estimate one of these a month once things get going, and a total of 2-6 of them.
- For most backers of this Kickstarter (at appropriate backer levels as noted), you'll get sneak peeks and early-release content that give you a glimpse into the broader Realm of Aquilae. Each is a ready-to-play piece of gaming material, suitable for a wide range of PC levels and challenge, and talented GMs will have no trouble dropping them into any existing campaign setting or adventure context.
- For non-backers, these releases will hopefully serve to drum up attention and interest in the Dark Obelisk adventure path... and the more revenue we get along the way, the better the final product will be in terms of pricing, artwork, and so on!
What Makes Dark Obelisk Different
You can take a look at exactly what makes Dark Obelisk so different from other adventures right now... for free! Check out all of Infinium Game Studio's products here.
- FlexTale: A simple solution that makes flexible storytelling and dynamic results possible. If you've ever used an RPG lookup table, it's the same concept... taken to the next level. Check it out here.
- Reward Stars: Dark Obelisk can be run with PCs of any level. One of the things that makes this possible, without a huge amount of GM headache, is Reward Stars and Candy XP. Check out this fun and easy alternative approach to character rewards here.
- Attitude Trackers: Complex storytelling demands complex, realistic NPCs... and Dark Obelisk devotes hundreds of pages to detail, backstory, and statistics crunch. One of the optional ways of making NPC interactions rich and memorable is Attitude Trackers; explore the concept for free here.
- Quadded Statblocks: Ah, crunch: the rules-lawyer's friend, and the GM's occasional bane. Making an adventure that supports a wide range of PC levels and challenge requires a variety of statistics... enter Quadded Statblocks. Check out the concept, and an in-game example from DO1, here.
Details, Background, & Inspiration:
Adventures are great sources of inspiration for RPG sessions, and can aid GMs/referees considerably. Done right, Adventure Paths (APs) can be epic and satisfying.
But one of the problems with some APs is railroading--players and the GM are all forced down a pretty narrow path in order for the plot to make sense across multiple adventure pieces. Another problem with many published APs is that the individual adventures can be pretty useless on their own. If you buy Episode 5 of a six-part adventure path, good luck running it on its own, completely out of context! Dark Obelisk is an ambitious counter to these typical issues.
Each component of this Adventure Path is not merely an adventure, or a link in the chain of an over-arching plot, but a standalone campaign environment that is ready to be played on its own, completely out of context.
What sets Dark Obelisk apart from existing modules, campaign settings, and Adventure Paths:
- Dynamic plot elements: subplots, NPC motivations, PC hooks, rumors, and more can all be different each time you play or run the adventure.
- Standalone, or part of an AP: Dark Obelisk is a valuable gaming resource on its own, and requires no other components of the Adventure Path to be run.
- NPCs who "feel real": I've been a novelist and storyteller for more than 20 years, and have hundreds of RPG sourcebooks going back to the very first origins of the world's most popular roleplaying game. My goal with Dark Obelisk is to combine these two passions into a product that makes running gaming sessions fun, memorable, and easy on both players and GMs alike.
- Richly detailed maps created in Campaign Cartographer and its associated tools.
Hardened Completionist Pledge Level
To clarify, the "Hardened Completionist" pledge level currently includes a hardcopy of each of the following, in either Pathfinder or 5E rules format. Note that some of these may be merged or folded around. Note that there are some Stretch Goals that are specifically flagged as not included in this pledge level.
- Dark Obelisk 1: Berinncorte: Players' Guide
- Dark Obelisk 1: Pregenerated Characters
- Berinncorte Basecamp (setting)
- Dark Obelisk 2: The Mondarian Elective (adventure path component)
- Dark Obelisk 2: The Mondarian Elective: Players' Guide
- Dark Obelisk 2: FlexTale Encounter Generator (supplement)
- Dark Obelisk 2: Pregenerated Characters
- Western Realm Gazetteer (campaign setting)
- Aquilae: Bestiary of the Realm (bestiary)
- Library Vitae (module)
- Dark Harbor (module)
- Echoes of Time Forgotten (module)
- Druid Enclave (setting)
- (Title TBD) Dark Obelisk 2: Bridge Module to Dark Obelisk 3
Universal Historian Pledge Level
- This pledge level will deliver PDFs for all unlocked products in both 5E and Pathfinder formats.
- Note that there are some Stretch Goals that are specifically flagged as not included in pledge levels; these are NOT included in this pledge level of course.
Risks and challenges
Although I now have the first Dark Obelisk project under my belt, I remain an indie RPG author, so any estimate of pagecount, time, and related factors is just that: an estimate. Timelines may slip!
Another risk/challenge is that this is not my sole focus. I have a full-time day job, a secondary job teaching college classes, and two children.
The good news that mitigates all of these risks and challenges is, I'm not starting from scratch here. As of the launch of this Kickstarter, substantial work has already been done on the outline, characters, story, and related crucial elements of the project.
This time around, I'm also attempting to mitigate some risk of release date slippage by planning to release Incremental Content along the way. So even if my estimates turn out to be wildly optimistic, you won't be empty-handed while you're waiting!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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