What’s all this then?
It’s a new fantasy role playing game, where you and your friends get together and make stuff up about spells, swords and shenanigans.
I’m going to make a couple of assumptions here. You know what an RPG is. This isn’t exactly your first rodeo right? Also, I’m reasonably sure that you’re also a GM, which means you know how books like this work already. All of which is good. I’ve written King of Dungeons in a pretty conversational tone. If I’ve got it right, then this should feel like one gamer talking to another. Rather than hold your hand through basic roleplaying procedures that you have seen umpteen times in the hoary old ‘What is a Role Playing Game?’ section that you probably just skimmed anyway, I’m just going to pitch this my way, to you, GM to GM.
Where did it come from?
I've been gaming since the days of yore (when everything was black and white, and you had to colour in your own dice with crayons). I've spent most of that time searching for the perfect dragony/dungeony-like experience. I've read so many other people’s iterations on the classics I thought it was time to brew my own. I call it a remix, or a cover version.
The inspirations and influences are clear: it is dungeoning and dragoning through a modern lens of systems, married to a mind-set of making it up as we go along. It’s not from any particular school, it’s just the way I like to play my games, hopefully presented with some passion and a sense of humour.
What are you trying to achieve?
I’m really bolting together three elements of play. I like tactical, action-oriented combats. I like free-wheeling exploration and interaction in my games. And I wanted a reason for it all to hang together, based on the core premise of; what if professional adventuring was an actual thing in the setting?
I also wanted to have the chance to record my personal thinking on gaming ideas without having anyone answer me back.
How is it played?
The system chassis is the Archmage Engine, which you might know from The 13th Age Roleplaying Game. That itself is a blend of the world’s most popular roleplaying game and the more indie narrative sensibilities. It’s been simplified and stripped right back. I’ve added other bits and pieces from all over the gaming spectrum and my own brainium. The system is to 13th Age what Basic D&D was to AD&D; compatible, but stands up on it's own.
The setting is implied. It’s heavily adventurer-centric. It’s actually more of an adventuring structure that you can drape over your own, or shop bought, setting of choice. Adventuring is a career, and after a while becomes its own raison d'être beyond simply killing monsters in ill-lit holes and absconding with their stuff.
How does it play with other games?
Awesomely. If you’re old school, then there might well be some bits you fancy nicking to liven up the downtime elements of your gaming. If you’re more new school then the more loosey-goosey soft-crunch might inspire you in some way. You can use all your old adventures as a skeleton for your sessions. For example, using the montage system, veteran gamers could drop the Tomb of Horrors into a session and have it done in one sitting. That would be cool right?
Why ‘King of Dungeons’?
Me and my mate Gaz always used to joke about how being a King would be cool because you could do anything you wanted. I even use the term as an internet handle. It’s all bravado really, just like the way I play most of my characters in RPGs. I like the idea of the GM being King, and of perhaps having a setting where the King of Dungeons is something you could actually aspire to be. Gender doesn’t come into it. It’s more of an attitude and maybe it’s a brand. If you’re the GM here, you’re the King of Dungeons, and it is great being King. Or Queen. Or Marquis.
What do you need from me?
Your sweet, sweet validation. Look, the game is ready. The book is A5 (digest sized) and clocks in at 138 pages. You'll get digital rewards as soon as the funds have cleared (usually a couple of weeks after the campaign closes), and the physical books will be ordered then too.
I will be using DriveThruRPG.com's Kickstarter fulfillment program to distribute all Kickstarter rewards. Some rewards are digital products (the PDFs) as well as the option to print the books at the same cost it costs me. I take no further money from you printing the book.
Estimated print costs are:
- Softcover: £3 or $4 (US)
- Hardcover: £6 or $7 (US)
Delivery varies, depending on location, speed, and the whims of global economics. Nah, they're not too bad really.
What I need is to understand how many of you fine folk are out there, who really want some King of Dungeons in their life. This funding pushes the game into your hands first (at an early adopter price), and then to everyone else later. Back me, and make me sweat for you. Force me to come up with stretch goals (I want to show you my campaign, the city it's set in, and all the extra rules stuff that I couldn't squeeze into the main book), encourage me to find new artists, guilt me into paying the good friends who've already done so much for the project with nary more than a promise of a pint. Please!
...and thank you.
One book not enough for you? Don't blame you. Surely the collective noun is a coronation of kings? (It isn't, I checked) Here's how you order extra books. Pledge for one reward as usual. Then, use the Pledge Manager option to manually add more funds to your original pledge. For example, if you want another soft-back, add another £12 via Pledge Manager. If you want to add two hard-backs to your single soft-back, that's £48. (Don't forget, you'll still need to stump up for the printing and delivery costs when I send out your At Cost Discount Codes post campaign.)
Once the campaign is finished, I'll fire up the spreadsheet and send out Backer surveys so that I can get your orders just the way you want them.
I'm going to set a hard limit of 10 copies per backer max on this. It's only fair.
Due to popular demand, I have some stretch goals planned for you lovely backers.
I have assembled a crack cadre of the UK's finest GMs to write adventures for King of Dungeons. These guys are truly masters of their craft, and they've spend decades behind screens and in front of Convention tables. I can't wait to see what they'll cook up, and I'm offering a simple threshold to get these.
£4000 gets the first adventure unlocked. £5000 gets the second one. And so on.
£4K - FIRST ADVENTURE UNLOCKED! Writer TBA
£5K - SECOND ADVENTURE UNLOCKED! Writer TBA
£6K - THIRD ADVENTURE UNLOCKED! Writer TBA
£7K - FOURTH ADVENTURE UNLOCKED! Writer TBA
£8K - FIFTH ADVENTURE UNLOCKED! Writer TBA
The writers include, in no particular order...
- Gaz Bowerbank. Co-host of the What Would the Smart Party Do? podcast alongside me. Veteran Con GM, incredible purveyor of pacey, gritty, dilemma driven plots, and my personal gaming inspiartion.
- Neil Gow. The man behind Omnihedron Games, home of Duty & Honour, Beta to Quarters and Era. The legendary Con GM of multi session spectaculars, and a major contributor to the new Liminal RPG.
- Guy Milner. Head honcho of the Burn After Running blog, and driving force behind the Go Play Leeds games days. Literally wrote the book on one shot gaming. Quirky, slick and always tasty gaming goodness.
- Dirk the Dice. You'll know his dulcet tones from The Grognard Files podcast, where he talk about the games from back in the day and today. The archetypal cabaret GM, with a laminator and a Sharpie by his side, Dirk never knowingly stints on the production values.
- Mat Hart. Doyen of the gaming industry for many years. Creative director for Steamforged Games, home of Guild Ball and the Dark Souls Board Game among many other Kickstarter breaking projects. And, more importantly, my GM in our weekly gaming group that meets up at least twice per year.
- Richard August. Freelancer and all-round RPG luminary, contributer to Conan, John Carter, Lamentations shizzle and many many more.
You'll get these unlocked adventures included for free with your pledges from Adventurer and up. They'll be in digital form, and they will come separately to your main order. These adventures are not yet written, but they will not slow down or delay this Kickstarter in any way shape or form. We'll take our time to get these right, but get you your game asap so you can get on with the gaming.
Risks and challenges
My word is my bond.
But seriously, the game is ready to go. It's written, edited, laid out, proofed and illustrated. The PDF is only a download away from you as soon as the funds clear. The physical books are a click away from launching. There may be fluctuations in real life, like illness, political upheaval or meteor storms, but I've kept this project simple enough it should be relatively bulletproof.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)