About this project
Hi! I'm John Wick, and I'd like to introduce you to Wicked Fantasy.
Wicked Fantasy is a brand new setting book focusing on ten races. It has been a year-long project for myself and Gillian Fraser, re-creating the "generic" races found in most fantasy roleplaying games. We re-designed humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, and halflings, and then turned our attention to orks, gnolls, ratmen, goblins and kobolds. Ten races, all with a wicked twist.
Our re-envisioning effort met with much critical applause with reviews calling the new races "brilliant," "sometimes near genius," and containing "lessons every gazetteer should look at."
Gillian and I have been working over a year on this project, releasing each race as a PDF download. Both of us are excited about the project for many reasons. First, we wanted to bring a fresh perspective to the races. Let's face it, some of the races (men, in particular) are a little boring, even cliche. We wanted to "spice up" the existing races.
Second, we wanted to show that the Pathfinder system is flexible enough to tell deep and moving stories, not just simulate skirmish level fighting. Gillian and I both felt too many new classes, archetypes, etc. focused on combat. We wanted to expand the races beyond just fighting, to show them in a wider context, and provide mechanics to make them "real" in gameplay. Not just a "+1 to Diplomacy," but something as robust and real as the Cleave Feat. The phrase "Social Cleave" was a very popular joke while we were writing the races, but it summed up our goals nicely.
Of course, Jill and I created a unique team for this project. I might even say "uniquely qualified." I've spent years in the game design industry, turning expectations on their heads with games such as Legend of the Five Rings, 7th Sea and Houses of the Blooded. I made orks into heroes with Orkworld, and did the same with your household kitty with Cat: A Little Game about Little Heroes. My unorthodox approach to RPGs--not just thinking outside the box, but throwing the box out the window--has created what others have called some of the most innovative RPG designs in the last twenty years.
When I teamed with Gillian, I found someone who not only loved Pathfinder, who not only wanted to put a distinctive twist on the races, but who also had a keen mind for mechanics and mathematics. Over the course of the year, we both taught each other a lot about game design, Pathfinder and storytelling.
We didn't want to make a "better Pathfinder." We wanted to add our own voice and vision to an ever-expanding game system. We looked at each race and asked ourselves, "Why are people fans of this race?" We found that key element, then turned the volume up to 11. A game about culture. A game about dangerous choices. A game that asks the question, "What does it really mean to be a hero?"
For an example of what we did, here is the PDF for The Reign of Men. Check it out!
This is the Pathfinder we wanted to play. And we found out we weren't alone.
When we released the first PDFs for Wicked Fantasy, the reactions were intense. We got a ton of good reviews and a few negative ones, but one thing was certain: everyone was passionate about what we were doing. That told Gillian and I we were headed in the right direction.
"It's good to see the humans strut their stuff first, for a change! And they do it with style!"
As for our look on halflings, Thilo G. wrote:
"Not only is the re-imagined halfling awesome... halfling secret agents rock!"
"Mr. Wick has been doing this for a while, and of course he produces top-notch work. The implied setting for the orks is evocative and interesting."
We've got tons of rewards folks, and I mean tons.
Everyone who pledges $25 or more gets THREE COINS FROM THE REIGN OF MEN. You get one copper, one silver and one gold coin. You can see pictures just below. Now, they aren't real copper, silver and gold, but they sure do look like it. And they're heavy. You drop these down on a tavern keeper's bar and they're gonna sound like you'd expect them to sound.
And since one of the rewards is GETTING YOUR FACE ON A COIN, the ones below have placeholder faces.
We've got CUSTOM WICKED FANTASY DICE made exclusively by Chessex for this project. You get a set of dice (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20) in gemini blue steel! The d6 and the d10 both have the Wicked Fantasy logo on the 6 and 10, respectively.
And, if you want additional dice (or if you want dice from a pledge level that doesn't include them), just add $20 to your order and we'll send you a set. In fact, for each $20 you add, we'll add another dice set! Get a set for everyone in your group!
We've got CHARACTER JOURNALS! These handy little books have your character sheet, a Wicked Fantasy quick reference rules guide plus a black and white map of the world of Wicked Fantasy! Plus, plenty of space for information about NPCs, locations, important plot poins and other notes.
We've got add ons! And it's the stuff gamers want! Dice, maps and a GM Screen!
If you add a map, the dice or GM screen to a PDF only order only, and you are ordering from overseas, please add $5 for shipping.
$20 / $25 - Wicked Fate!
A stand-alone B&W soft-cover book including information on all the races, the map and everything else, but translated into the Fate System by Mark Diaz Truman! $20 Domestic / $25 International
$20 - Dice!
Just add $20 to your order and you get a full set of Wicked Fantasy dice! In fact, if you want multiple sets, just throw in another $20 per set you want. A dice set includes one of each: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20.
$20 - GM Screen! (Unsigned)
Due to popular demand, we are releasing the GM Screen as an add on. The screen will be unsigned, however.
$50/$60 - Additional Book
If you want another copy of Wicked Fantasy added to your order, just add $50 for domestic orders or $60 for international orders. We'll throw in another copy you can share at your gaming table!
$25 / $30 - Wicked Fantasy Companion
Everyone gets a PDF copy of the Wicked Fantasy Companion, but you can pick up a physical copy of the 8.5''x11'' softcover book by pledging an additional $25 Domestic / $30 International. The Companion has the Savage Worlds and Dungeon World conversion, fiction by Mike Stackpole and Matt Forbeck, and a Wicked Fantasy Adventure and GM Advice from John and Jill!
$20 - Full Color Map!
Our incredible graphic designer, Jessica Kauspedas (Blood & Honor, Big Book of Little Games) has designed a 24x36 map for Wicked Fantasy. It is gorgeous. Color coordinated, easy to read and accessible, hang it on your wall with pride! We're adding to the map all the time, but take a peek at this (unfinished) draft.
In addition to the book, every contributor also receives a digital CD of soundtrack music from the world of Wicked Fantasy. The soundtrack contains both "race songs" and "tavern songs."
Race songs are themed after the ten races. Each race has one. For example, below you can hear "Goblin Caravan."
Or, if you prefer, check out one of our "tavern songs." These are tunes typically played in a tavern in the Reign of Men. For example, take a listen to "The March of Dervin's Volunteers."
Or, if you're looking for something dark and dangerous, here's a little a dark elf chanting "A Prayer to the Darkness."
For our book, we've enlisted two fantastic artists: Aaron Acevedo and Mauro Mussi. Hopefully, we'll be able to add even more art to the book! (See stretch goals, below.)
We also made videos for each of the races, looking at our decisions, reflecting on the results. You can watch all the videos at my Youtube Wicked Fantasy playlist!
For example, for dwarves, we picked the word "stubborn" and applied it to all the racial traits. We boosted their saving throws, we made them resistant to will-changing magics and we just made dwarves hard to kill.
For humans, we focused on "self-determination." Men are not bound by fate nor destiny: they make their own way in the world. They believe in philosophy and reason and science. They are their own masters with no gods, only a deep belief that humans can be greater than they are. We created feats, archetypes and other mechanics to reflect this.
We did the same for all the races. We made elves romantically tragic, we made gnomes true spirits of the earth, and we made halflings James Bond. Yes, halflings are James friggin' Bond. (You should watch the video below. It'll make sense.)
1) The Material is Awesome
If I do say so myself. But please, let me explain.
As a designer, I've always enjoyed collaborating with others, but I have to say working with Gillian has really brought out some of my best work. Our disagreements led to places we never thought we would go and created opportunities to do really fantastic work. That inspired our artists as well. Just take another look at the art up there. Mauro and Aaron worked hard to create art that matched the steam and fire Gillian and I were stirring up. This is a work of passion, and you can feel it in the words and pictures, steaming up from the pages.
Also, you can use Wicked Fantasy in just about any fantasy RPG. You don't need to use the Pathfinder rules. Many folks have told us, "I'm using this for Dungeon World!" or "I'm using this for Burning Wheel!" or just about any other fantasy RPG you can think of. So, if you aren't a fan of Pathfinder, don't feel like you can't use the book. You can!
2) Expanding Pathfinder's Horizons
Gillian and I really wanted to see just how far Pathfinder could go. We bent, twisted, stretched and kicked the system hard. We wanted to expand it to show that the system could really take on all the elements of fantasy storytelling. At the same time, Gillian kept reminding me, "What will this class do in combat?" We never lost sight of the role that combat plays in Pathfinder games. Wicked Fantasy is a game about race, politics, clashing philosophies, mystery and discovery... but in the end, someone is going to draw a sword. So, we wanted to expand that element of Pathfinder as well. We thought outside the box, looking for new and different ways to incorporate different kinds of characters into combat.
3) Breaking the Rules
We hope Wicked Fantasy will show other Pathfinder fans how diverse and powerful the system can be when you push the envelope. Wicked Fantasy isn't just a list of new classes, archetypes and feats: it's a whole different way to play the game.
We wanted rules that worked within the structure of the system, but looked like nothing else. We wanted to innovate. We wanted to create change. We wanted to inspire others to do the same: to look at the Pathfinder system with fresh eyes and do something different!
Gillian and I did that. We did it because we wanted to create a world and races that we wanted to play, but we also wanted to add some fresh ideas into the mix. To throw a brick through the window. To get the Pathfinder community to notice. And hopefully, to get people to think differently about what Pathfinder could do.
Now, all ten races are collected for the first time in one book, and with your help, we can add a whole ton of new material as well. We're looking forward for an opportunity to make Wicked Fantasy a book you'll be proud to own. We want to add a "wicked twist" to your existing campaign. And here's how we're going to do it.
Our last Kickstarter Project, "Wilderness," was a huge success in large part due to Mark Diaz Truman. He's going to help us with this project as well, handling all the shipping and production, so Gillian and I can focus our creative energies on meeting our stretch goals. If you want to take a look at that project, you can do so here.
$10,000 - UNLOCKED! MORE ART AND ARCHETYPES!
If we reach this stretch goal, we will double the art in the book. More full-color art from the amazing Mauro Mussi!
Also, Gillian and I will be creating TEN NEW ARCHETYPES: one for each race. Archetypes are specialized character classes, each filling a distinct niche in the adventuring party. Instead of a wizard, you play a witch! Instead of a fighter, you play a swordsman. For example, we could add an ork antipaladin, human inquisitor and a haffun burglar. You'll find out as we add them.
$12,500 - UNLOCKED! HERO LAB!
If we reach this goal, Gillian makes a Wicked Fantasy add on for Hero Lab!
$15,000 - UNLOCKED! SAVAGE WORLDS CONVERSION RULES BY JOEL SPARKS!
If we hit the $15,000 mark, Joel Sparks will write a SAVAGE WORLDS conversion for Wicked Fantasy!
$17,500 - UNLOCKED! DUNGEON WORLD CONVERSION BY SAGE LATORRA AND ADAM KOEBEL!
If we hit this goal, the authors of Dungeon World -- Sage LaTorra and Adam Koebel -- will write a DUNGEON WORLD conversion for Wicked Fantasy!
$20,000 - UNLOCKED! THE DARKNESS & THE ENEMY
In all the PDF releases, we hinted at two evil powers in the world: "the Darkness" and "the Enemy." If we hit this stretch goal, John and Jill will add these two new races to the book, further deepening the mysteries of the world of Wicked Fantasy.
$22,000 - UNLOCKED! Novella by John Wick
If we hit this stretch goal, John will include a digital novella from the world of Wicked Fantasy for ALL PATRONS! The novella will be in PDF form and may also contain more fiction from other authors you may know...
$25,000 - UNLOCKED! MIKE STACKPOLE!
If we unlock this tier, award-winning author MIKE STACKPOLE will add a short story to the collection! And there are more authors waiting to get unlocked. Don't make them wait too long!
$27,500 - UNLOCKED! 10 MORE ARCHETYPES!
If we hit this goal, John and Jill write TEN MORE ARCHETYPES for the book: one new archetype (specialized character class) for each race.
$30,000 - UNLOCKED! MATT FORBECK!
If we unlock this tier, author and gaming legend MATT FORBECK will add a short story to the collection!
$32.500 - UNLOCKED! 10 More Archetypes!
If we hit this stretch goal, Jill and I will add ten more archetypes to the book. That includes the human senator, the roddun sewer rat and the goblin wife!
$35,000 - UNLOCKED! Wicked Fantasy Companion!
If we reach this level, we'll be releasing The Wicked Fantasy Companion! It will include the Savage Worlds and Dungeon World conversion docs, the novella, short stories, "the WF map pack," and GM Advice (written by John and Jill)!
Everyone gets this as a PDF, but if you want a physical copy, you can get one as an add on for $25. Of course, this only unlocks if we hit $35k. The book will be 8"x10", B&W and softcover.
$37,500 - UNLOCKED! Wicked Fantasy Adventure by Jill and John!
If we hit this stretch goal, Jill and John write a starting adventure for your crew!
$40,000 - UNLOCKED! Wicked Fate!
If we hit this stretch goal, Mark Diaz Truman writes a stand alone conversion for Wicked Fantasy using Evil Hat's very popular Fate System!
Every backer receives a PDF, but if you want to get a physical copy of the book, we're offering it as a $20 add on!
$50,000 - Santa Vaca!
If we hit this stretch goal, John will release his brand-new roleplaying system based around the D&D Open Gaming License. It's D&D! WITH A WICKED TWIST! Every backer receives a PDF of this when John releases it.
Risks and challenges
I've been a professional in the game industry since 1995. I've been a project manager on the Legend of the Five Rings roleplaying game and collectable card game, the 7th Sea roleplaying game and collectable card game as well as running my own company since 2001.
I have acquired the skills and knowledge of Mark Diaz Truman who was a manager on two successful Kickstarter projects (The Play's the Thing and Our Best Last Hope) to assist with this project. Mark is in charge of shipping, development and production.
This will be my second Kickstarter Project. My first, Houses of the Blooded: Wilderness, was a great success. You can see the project here:
I'll be happy to answer any questions. Thanks for the opportunity.
John W.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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