About this project
UPDATE: Poster Maps!
As an add-on you can now get two 18x12 inch poster maps, one of the city of Drakonheim, and one of the surrounding area. You can get both maps by increasing your pledge by a total of $5.
UPDATE: Extra Copies
If you would like an extra print copy of the book, you can just increase your pledge by $15.
Why are we nicknamed the City of Bones?
People first started calling us that a thousand years ago when the city's founder killed the dragon Ignomia and used her bones to build the walls of Drakonheim. It took on new meaning after the empire fell. The marble palaces became skeletal remains of a dead civilization. Now there is a third reason. The bones of the dead walk the street. Skeletons and zombies. Why don't we fear them? We do, of course. But what choice do we have?
—Gavin Kipper, street guide for hire
Back when the Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition entered the open playtesting phase, I wrote a trilogy of free playtest adventure: Rat's in the Sewers, Skeletal Society, and Defense of Drakonheim— collectively called the Heroes of Drakonheim.
The trilogy featured many shades of gray, as the heroes could choose to ally with goblins and necromancers to combat greater threats. Drakonheim itself was a decaying city, where decadent aristocrats ignored the needs of the populace. Once part of a might empire, by the time of the adventure trilogy, it stood as the last semblance of civilization in a hostile land.
For years I thought of going back to Drakonheim, and now I have.
Drakonheim: City of Bones vastly expands on the ideas of that original trilogy. Rather than tie it to a single game's rules, I created a system-free setting book that you can use with any fantasy roleplaying game. Drakonheim: City of Bones picks up where the adventure trilogy left off. The people are slowly rebuilding in the wake of a hobgoblin invasion that almost destroyed the city. A cabal of necromancers called the Gray Society now operate openly, claiming that they are the only thing that saved Drakonheim from total annihilation, while those who oppose the dark arts are forced into hiding.
What's In the Book?
The vast majority of the book is done, and backers can check out the current draft as soon as they back (see the first update). Right now the book clocks in at over 27,000 words, which means it will be around 36+ pages depending on the final formatting. The book includes all of the following:
- A history of Drakonheim, from its founding above a dragon's den, to the recent troubles that brought undead to the streets.
- Suggestions for integrating common fantasy races, classes, and archetypes into the setting.
- Major powers in the city, including the self-absorbed lord mayor, the necromancers of the Gray Society, and the Knights of the Eclipse—a clandestine order hoping to destroy all undead.
- The major districts of the city and the people and places within those districts, including the criminal gangs in the Docks, the dwarven enclave of Little Grendus, and the abandoned sections of the city called the Bone Yards.
- The dangerous lands surrounding Drakonheim, like the hobgoblin-controlled plains to the north, the lizardfolk dominated swamps to the south, and the mountains to the west, which are home to flesh eating monsters made of stone and fire.
- Adventure outlines that are more than just a hook, but not quite full adventures. These give GMs a solid foundation to create exciting adventures in and around Drakonheim.
Help Shape the City
I love the spirit of community and collaboration that Kickstarter campaigns can create. Thus, I want to to give you a chance to shape the book. Everybody can provide feedback on the text (which all backers can access through the first update), and certain reward levels can give further input.
One Hundred Random Citizens
The final book will contain a chart featuring one hundred random citizens of Drakonheim. This has not been written yet, because we want to give you a chance to get on the chart. If you select either the PDF and Citizen, or Print, PDF, and Citizen reward level, you'll be able to create one entry on the chart that includes the following: your citizen's name, race, occupation, a distinguishing physical feature, and a distinguishing behavior or personality feature. (All descriptions may be modified to suit the tone of the final product.)
More Detailed Collaborations
If you want to be even more involved with the creation, you can pledge at the Detailed Creation or Part of the Art levels. Both of these levels let you collaborate to create a person or location that becomes a part of Drakonheim or the surrounding area, and which receives several paragraphs of description in the final book. At the Part of the Art level, we will also include an illustration based on either a photo or a character description you provide.
Of course, getting your feedback is a great bonus for running a Kickstarter campaign, but that's not the main reason. We're still missing a key component for a great roleplaying game book: art!
The initial goal of the Kickstarter campaign is to raise fund for a full-color cover illustration, and the first few stretch goals all go towards adding more art to the book.
Speaking of stretch goals, here are the first few that we have planned:
$1,000 - Professional Cartography: We'll have a professional cartographer create high quality maps of the city and the surrounding countryside.
(If we don't reach this, I'll make the maps myself. They will be functional but not quite as pretty.)
$1,500 - All Original Interior Art: Joyce Mauriera will produce all original black and white art to fill the book's interior.
(If we don't reach this level, the interior art will be a combination of art we already own, public domain art, and art licensed from third parties. Anybody who pledges at the Part of the Art Level will still get an original illustration.)
$3,000 - Color Upgrade: The interior of the book will be upgraded to full color art!
Want to learn more about the city of Drakonheim or get a peek at what the writing is like? We've released several free previews that you can download from RPGNow or DriveThruRPG.
The Gray Society: A cabal of necromancers who have recently come out of the shadows and now operate openly in the city.
Knights of the Eclipse: A clandestine order dedicated to destroying undead.
Little Grendus: The dwarven section of the city, home to the descendants of the now ruined kingdom of Grendus.
Hobgoblin Lands: The territory to the north of Drakonheim controlled by hobgoblin war clans.
About the Creators
Matthew J. Hanson (Author): Matthew is the head of Sneak Attack Press, and has written RPG material for Kobold Press, Green Ronin Publishing, Dragon and Dungeon Magazines, EN Publishing, Expeditious Retreat Press and more. He won a 2014 Silver ENie Award for Broken Earth, another setting funded through Kickstarter.
Joyce Maureira (Illustrator): Joyce Maureira (@joyker) is a Chilean comic artist and illustrator. She first worked in video games, but her professional career developed around comics and role playing games. She's participated as an artist in comics for Zenescope Entertainment and as an illustrator for Fantasy Flight Games and Steve Jackson Games, among others. www.joycemaureira.com
Craig Hargraves (Editor): Craig is a freelance editor and proofreader who got his start working on Robin D. Laws's Hillfolk series (2014 Diana Jones Award). This will be Craig’s latest project with Sneak Attack Press after previously editing the Broken Earth series (2014 Silver ENnie - Best Electronic Book) and Abstract Dungeon.
Risks and challenges
There are many moving parts in an RPG book that might cause delays, from art, to layout, to printing.
That being said, the text of the book is already written and edited and will be available to backers the day the Kickstarter campaign ends. Our artist, Joyce Maureira has worked on many RPG books and always delivered great art in a timely fashion. Sneak Attack Press has run several successful Kickstarter projects. The first three have all been delivered to backers and the final one should go out to them later this year.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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