Project image
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$8,332
pledged of $9,400pledged of $9,400 goal
174
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, September 15 2019 8:00 PM UTC +00:00

SuperModule: The City of Vermilion

A city, wilderness, and dungeon(s) adventure for levels 4-8 for OSRIC and other OSR rule settings.

SuperModule: The City of Vermilion

A city, wilderness, and dungeon(s) adventure for levels 4-8 for OSRIC and other OSR rule settings.

$8,332
pledged of $9,400pledged of $9,400 goal
174
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, September 15 2019 8:00 PM UTC +00:00

About

If you want an idea of what this project is trying to do, please read this most recent review of the Red Prophet Rises by Endzeitgeist. We are trying to re-create the magic, but 5x bigger!

Check out a new review by Endzeitgeist for The Chest: http://endzeitgeist.com/the-chest-osr/

If the Kickstarter funds:

Adventure Tier receives a 50% discount code for The Chest through DrivethruRPG.

City Explorer and higher tiers receive a free copy of The Chest through DrivethruRPG.

Interested in EXCLUSIVE content? Please see Update #7, Update #9 for the Add-On: Vermilion Backer Special.

The legendary City of Vermilion: birthplace of a thousand legends, hiding place of a thousand secrets--this den of iniquity will form the centerpiece for a Sword & Sorcery campaign in the manner of Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser. Your adventures will take you from its steep, plastered rooftops to its decrepit, ancient sewers, to the silken parlors of merchant princes to the cramped and labyrinthine alleyways of the thieves quarter or even to the depths of the Maelstrom!

Artist: Enmanuel Lema Martinez
Artist: Enmanuel Lema Martinez

City of Vermillion is an oldschool tabletop roleplaying adventure set within the fabled island of Vermilion surrounded by the Zontani Sea, where our heroes will encounter perils and wonders never before seen. It's made for the OSRIC ruleset and fully compatible with other old school gaming systems (Labyrinth Lord, For Gold & Glory etc. etc.).

An example of a typical stat block:

Monster: (2) Boring Beetles: AC 3, MV 60’, HD 5, hp 27 ea, #AT 1, Dam 5d4, XP 218 ea.

The Zontani Sea
The Zontani Sea

The City of Vermilion is an adventure for characters of levels 4-8. 

The City of Vermilion is located on a vast island in the vibrant turquoise waters of the Zontani Sea. The Zontani Sea is brimming with ferocious sea monsters who've littered its murky floor with the sunken treasures of ages long past. Residents enjoy prosperous trade with wine and olive oil, but also suffer from ravaging pirates who claim the seas as their historic pillaging grounds and happily send merchant ships to watery graves. However, its greatest peril is the Maelstrom, ancient and immense beyond human imagination, whose ship-devouring currents have feasted on the wooden carcasses of a thousand ships. Once content to remain in one place, it now stirs and moves across the Zontani sea like some unfathomable leviathan of the deep, engulfing even the nearby sea town of Talpos. 

Artist: Dean Spencer
Artist: Dean Spencer

Each month, the terrified inhabitants of Vermilion seek to assuage the Maelstrom's continent-devouring hunger by casting a live sacrifice in its watery maw. This time the lottery has chosen Taerik, son of General Yasmoon, to be the chosen sacrifice. The love of a father...tested...as General Yasmoon locks down the castle to protect his son. Anarchy spreads through the city like wildfire as frenzied mobs battle against crimson-clad city-guards, demanding to hand over Taerik to the Maelstrom, while the Ruling Houses seek to settle ancient scores in the ensuing chaos. None are safe! 

The party has opportunities to get involved in the politics of the six ruling houses, infiltrate thief guilds and bypass fiendish traps laid for unwary intruders or be a challenger in their illegal fighting pits to seek fortune and glory! Or obstruct plans of strange cults, investigate a corrupt prison (mayhaps not by choice!), infiltrate a mansion, journey across the moonlit rooftops, and/or investigate the ancient sewers below the city that may lead to the rumored Pirate Lord Crypts. 

Sewers, Section C
Sewers, Section C

But it doesn’t stop there...the big island is decked out with thorny, cactus-ridden landscapes, to caves, to the sunken ruins of Talpos and the mysteries of the sunken temple of the Cult of the Squid. 

The Zontani Sea holds many islands, like the rocky arches of the mysterious Oracle or the steamy jungles of the Swammerdami Islet swarming with Scorpizards.   

Artist: Dean Spencer; A hero battles a scorpizard
Artist: Dean Spencer; A hero battles a scorpizard

Or the party may test their luck and explore the seas by ship or dive into the unknown underwater depths to seek lost treasures...or a watery death.

Artist: Enmanuel "Lema" Martinez
Artist: Enmanuel "Lema" Martinez
Rumor table for The Olive Branch Inn
Rumor table for The Olive Branch Inn
New Monster: Gilks
New Monster: Gilks

This is a passion project of mine and I want it done right! My business and creative partner, Jon Bertani, is finishing up editing and adding his thoughts. I'm also putting a professional team together to make this the best product it can possibly be for my fellow gamers. Check out the lineup of heavy hitters:

Samantha Chapman is a freelance proofreader and editor based out of Boston, MA. She has worked with Green Ronin Publishing on diverse RPG lines such as Blue Rose, Mutants and Masterminds, The Expanse, and Ork! The Roleplaying Game, and has worked with individual authors on DnD 5th Edition adventures. She also edits novels and short stories, and anything else with words. She can be found at SamanthaChapmanEditing.com and Facebook.com/SamanthaChapmanEditing. When not working, she performs with local community theaters and dotes on her two cats.  

Fulfillment for digital rewards (PDFs) is handled by DriveThruRPG. If you do not have an account with DriveThruRPG, please start one. When we collect survey information, we will ask you for the email address associated with that account. A code will be sent to the email for the PDF. For softcovers, a discount code will be sent to the email for the at-cost of the softcover and you will be responsible for shipping. 

For the hardcover reward, Friesen's is printing and creating the book. Packaging and shipping will be handled by the Merciless Merchants.  We enclose items in bubblewrap and use boxes to ship, not envelopes. Please note that shipping fees will be billed through BackerKit after the campaign is over.  

The adventure is benefiting from a great line-up of brilliant artists. I picked these artists because they know how to capture the scene and vibe of adventures. These artists are on board, fired up, and ready to tackle assignments. 

Enmanuel Lema Martinez: Check out his art above! Enmanuel will be tackling a scene of a sailing ship headed to the City of Vermilion for the wrap-around cover and some interior pieces. Check out some of his other fantastic art on his Patreon.

Del Teigeler: Del will be tackling several assignments throughout the adventure, just like this one below of adventurers fighting a new monster, the lampiris. His attention to detail is great and brings a situation alive! Other work of  Del Teigeler.

Artist: Del Teigeler; Heroes battle lampiris
Artist: Del Teigeler; Heroes battle lampiris

Spaghetti Quester: Spaghetti Quester has tons of experience illustrating for games and I'm excited to be working with him. Here is an example of another new monster found in Vermilion called the squill:

Artist: Spaghetti Quester
Artist: Spaghetti Quester

Courtney Campbell: Courtney Campbell is ready to deliver several more pieces for the project. His imagination and skill caught the scene of the bottom of the Maelstrom perfectly and I'm excited to see what he comes up with next: 

Artist: Courtney Campbell
Artist: Courtney Campbell

Designing a city adventure can be a challenge (and fun!), but an even bigger obstacle is to RUN a city adventure for your group of players. There is no confining walls of a dungeon to prod adventurers along and there are tons of NPC’s to roleplay, who all have goals and agendas. With that in mind, the GOAL of this project was to design a city adventure that can be easily scanned DURING play and have tools that are easily accessible for the DM to run things smoothly.

Artist: Dean Spencer
Artist: Dean Spencer

The adventure has a few pages of the city make-up, factions, laws, and tools to build the city on the fly. There is only a single page of  main storyline background that the party can become involved in...or not. This is a sandbox adventure where the character’s CHOICES determine the main adventure, while NPC's plots or storyline can continue on in the background. Choices will come from adventure hooks, side quests, roleplaying, timeline events, and situations that present themselves to the player. Players can run all over the place in a city, and this adventure's design is intended to deliver tools for the DM to easily facilitate a sandbox full of opportunities.

Artist: Maciej Zagorski--The Forge
Artist: Maciej Zagorski--The Forge

Along with a main storyline, the adventure has a series of 14 Situations which are quests/job offers and events that players can choose to involve their characters in...or not! These are tied together with important NPC’s, important groups, and members of the 6 ruling houses. Partaking in one Situation, may open doors for 1-3 more or raise the ire of different factions causing retaliation or political intrigue. Here, let me show you what I mean:

There is also a Timeline where activities occur with or without the player’s involvement, leading to the players making choices in an ever-changing environment.

My name is Malrex and I’m a part of a group known as the Merciless Merchants. I've been playing Dungeons and Dragons since I was 7-8 years old and the ember of passion for this hobby is still burning bright. You can learn more about me and/or the Merciless Merchant team at our blog. I’ve also helped out with layout on Issue #24 of Footprints at Dragonsfoot and tackling Issue #25 as Chief Editor (and could use more submissions...just saying!). But don’t let our charming bio’s sway you...check out the words and thoughts on a blog of a past customer.

I’ve been the author and/or co-author, cartographer, and layout for several adventures. A few of them received a ‘Best’ rating from Bryce Lynch at The 10 Foot Pole, like The Red Prophet Rises, Trollback Keep, and City of Illanter: Kellerin’s Rumble. Also received a good review from Endzeitgeist for Trollback Keep. If you enjoyed Kellerin’s Rumble (get it for free and check it out), then I believe you will enjoy the City of Vermilion as it follows the same formula of having a ton going on.... turned up to 11!! 

The City of Vermilion is a passion project of mine as it was inspired by a vacation trip where I faced my fears of swimming with really, really big fish. I had a life-changing moment while swimming with a gentle whaleshark with the Vermilion Sea Institute and it inspired me to write this adventure.

Artist: Dean Spencer
Artist: Dean Spencer

Funding the City of Vermilion

I want to give a shout out of THANKS to my Patreon members. They have supported me with the writing, two commissioned art pieces, as well as purchasing stock art for the adventure. They aren’t allowed to help me on this Kickstarter—they already graciously contributed and have supported the project! 

So I really need YOUR help too to make this dream come alive. If you read some of the reviews of past adventures linked above, most of our complaints from reviewers and customers is about the stock art. I want to take this adventure a step further and commission art pieces by professional artists to capture the scene and vibe of the adventure. 

The Main Goal is simple: Cover the costs for the professional editor--Samantha Chapman, printing by Friesens, 35+ commissioned art pieces for key scenes, and materials for packaging and handling. The $9,400 goal will cover all of this!

$10,000 Art, Art, Art!!

At this goal I can really have the freedom to have all of the art ideas and concepts I want complete. This includes illustrations of magic items, new monsters, 1/2 page battle scenes, map illustrations, and help capture the overall vibe of the city and its surroundings. 

Artist: Dean Spencer
Artist: Dean Spencer

$10,500 The Vermilion Assist

At this stretch goal, I'd like to made an additional PDF/softcover book that contains all the wandering monster tables and maps, right at the DM's fingertips. This is not new content--it will be in the main book already, but the idea is to have an additional book that will reduce the amount of flipping back and forth looking for the map or relevant tables. I'll also make a second set of the maps in the back-- With these maps, I'll comb through each map and unkey it (i.e. removing all the letters/numbers, trap annotations, secret door markers, etc.) so that it can be displayed to players without giving anything away for an online vtt. At this stretch goal, EVERYONE from the Adventurer Tier (Tier 2) and up receives the Vermilion Assist PDF and discount code for a at-cost softcover book (+ shipping) through DrivethruRPG. 

$11,000 Discount Codes

At this stretch goal, I'll toss in discount codes for two adventures that involve a sea coast and can easily be incorporated with a City of Vermilion campaign---Standoff at Sandfell Sea Fort (Level 4-7) and Scorchfire (Level 7-9). Discount codes will be $2.50 for the PDF's and $7 for the softcover book and will be sent out to everyone in the Adventurer Tier (Tier 2) and above.

$12,000 The Prince of Nothing!

At this stretch goal, The Prince of Nothing, co-author of The Red Prophet Rises, agrees to take the first crack at editing the adventure, provide his insights, and add additional  content with his own flair! We are a great team and here are a few more reviews to prove it: Melan, Trent Foster, and Vorpal Mace. Prince is known for reviewing hundreds of adventures and knows his stuff when it comes to what it takes to make a great OSR adventure. Go check out his blog here.

Additional content?!? That's right. Prince has been ranting about a new dungeon: The Halls of Nereus! Once a mighty king sought to defy the gods themselves. Punished for his hubris, now he is cursed to dwell forever in the sunken ruins of his former palace. An ancient promise to the water-nymph Leeta provides a means of egress into its sub-aqueous halls. Once every year, when the moon is in the constellation of Asrae the Hunter, the sea parts over the submerged Island Laön, home of the Halls of Nereus. Sea-weed covered marble is laid bare to the moonlight, and for a night, its deathless inhabitants may know a moment of respite from the eternal cold and darkness. Once per year King Nereus bargains with guests and offers strange boons in exchange for a terrible price. Once every year, men of boldness and daring may help themselves to bottomless coffers filled with ancient gold, mountains of pearls, a cornucopia of watery magical artifacts and the Legendary Nine-Horned Crown of King Nereus! Art though quick and daring enough? The Halls await!   

Here is my Timeline:

8/16/2019 –Launch Kickstarter

9/15/2019 –Funded (hell yeah!)

10/2019 All 1$ and previously published rewards get sent out to backers.

10/2019-11/2019 Prince provides a read-through for editing and insights, and continues work on the Halls of Nereus.

11/2019-1/2020 Samantha Chapman performs her editing magic!

1/2020—art complete, editing complete...begin layout.

2/2020—City of Vermilion complete! Send out City of Vermilion PDF rewards through DrivethruRPG.

4/2020--Proofs accepted, City of Vermilion softcover reward discount codes sent out through DrivethruRPG.

5/2020—Print and ship out hardcover copy rewards.

All these adventures are available as Add-Ons. Add-Ons will be managed through Backerkit after the campaign. You can pick the pledge level tier you wish, then add the cost of the Add-Ons you wish to pledge. Or you can wait until the campaign is over and make your choices on the survey at the end. 

All the Add-Ons will be fulfilled through DrivethruRPG with discount codes:

  •  5$ each PDF (receive 'free' discount code from DrivethruRPG)
  •  10$ each Softcover (discount code for at-cost (estimate is $2-$2.66) AND shipping through DrivethruRPG.
  • NOTE: I'm throwing in a free PDF with each purchased Softcover!
  • Click on the links below for more information about the adventures and links to their reviews.

The Willowmere Vagabonds

The Nevermore Mines

Of Beasts and Men

Trollback Keep

The Red Prophet Rises

Tar Pits of the Bone Toilers

A Thorn in the Side

The Covey ($1.50 for PDF only)

The Covey 5e ($1.50 for PDF only, for 5th edition)

Vermilion Backer Special (PDF $6, POD $12, fulfilled through DrivethruRPG. Discount code for at-cost price will be sent for POD option + shipping).

Note: Scorchfire, Standoff at Sandfell Sea Fort, and The Chest will be available after the campaign if STRETCH goals aren't met.

Risks and challenges

First of all, if you are considering backing this project, I really appreciate the trust you are putting towards me. I get it, you don’t know me, and this is my first Kickstarter and admittedly, it looks pretty ambitious. But I have a few things going for me:

1. I’m a Program Manager at my real job and deal with numerous contractors, situations, and problems at work to complete a variety of different projects. The Kickstarter process and working with artists and editors feels familiar to my everyday job.

2. The second aspect, and probably the most important, is I've got passion and believe in this project. I believe any gamer can find value in this product, either by using it as written or mining it for ideas, maps, magic items, and monsters. There is just a ton of stuff in it! Putting my reputation on the line by doing a Kickstarter is a big deal to me, and I plan to deliver an outstanding product so that I can sleep at night.

3. I have all the writing, maps, and tables done already. I even did layout for all 5 parts of the City of Vermilion adventure for my Patreon members, but it was using stock art. I'm only tweaking a few sections as we finish play testing it. So after the editors comb through the material and I receive the commissioned art, I just need to combine the five sections into a Supermodule, redo the layout with awesome commissioned art, and get it to the printers.

4. I honestly feel the project will be done early, but left some extra time for wiggle room.

5. Please feel free to ask me questions about the Kickstarter and/or project on my Kickstarter page or my email: Themercilessmerchants@gmail.com

Thanks again for your consideration in backing my project. I'm really excited about it and believe you will enjoy it.

--Malrex

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1

    Islander

    The Islander inhabits one of the many islands on the Zontani Sea. They embrace visitors coming to their island, but prefer to live away from the city.

    • Thanks so much for your interest and support—hell yeah! Thank you!

    Includes:
    • 1 page pdf of the new Lampiris monster (Lamprey Man)
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    1 backer
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 12 or more About US$ 12

    Adventurer

    The Adventurer is brave enough to sail across the Zontani Sea and curious enough to step foot within the City of Vermilion to make a name for yourself.

    All digital rewards shipped via DrivethruRPG.

    Includes:
    • PDF of the City of Vermilion, 165+ pages of adventure
    • All met Stretch Goals
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    43 backers
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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    City Explorer

    The City Explorer has started to cut their teeth on the dangers within the City of Vermilion and may have chosen a faction to pledge their allegiance.

    All digital rewards and softcover book options shipped via DrivethruRPG.

    Note: This reward level gives a discount code for the at-cost softcover book (at-cost estimated to be $5.60) through DrivethruRPG. Shipping prices determined by DrivethruRPG.

    Includes:
    • Softcover Book of City of Vermilion
    • PDF of the City of Vermilion, 165+ pages of adventure
    • All met Stretch Goals
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    52 backers
    $

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    Ruling House Member

    Ruling House Member

    A ruling house member belongs to one of the six ruling houses in Vermilion and they prefer hard copy books over scrolls…

    The hardcover is smyth-sewn binding, black and white interior, 8.5" x 11 and professionally made (printed by Friesens--this is no POD!). Enmanuel 'Lema' Martinez will be doing a beautiful cityscape view of the City of Vermilion, wrap-around cover. There is only going to be one hard cover print run...once they are gone, they are gone for good.

    Note: Shipping policy is USPS and media mail. Please note that shipping fees will be billed through BackerKit after the campaign is over. ***Please do not increase your pledge to account for shipping!***

    Includes:
    • Hard Cover of the City of Vermilion
    • PDF of the City of Vermilion, 165+ pages of adventure
    • All met Stretch Goals
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    41 backers
    $

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 90 or more About US$ 90

    Thief Guildmaster

    Thief Guildmaster

    Ruling a gang of thieves, you have seen quite a bit of interesting items pass through your coffers and rumors of ancient treasures. Although the City of Vermilion is far south of the Dragonback Mountains, you are curious about some of the legends of loot in the northlands....

    This tier is for those wanting the collection of adventures found in the Dragonback Mountains and want something to run/read before Vermilion is shipped.

    PDF's will be fulfilled through DrivethruRPG (sent out 10/2019)
    A discount coupon for at-cost titles (estimate around $2.50) for the soft covers + shipping and fulfilled through DrivethruRPG (sent out 10/2019).

    Note: Shipping policy is USPS and media mail for the hardcover. Please note that shipping fees will be billed through BackerKit after the campaign is over for the hard cover. ***Please do not increase your pledge to account for shipping!***

    Includes:
    • PDF of the City of Vermilion, 165+ pages of adventure
    • Hard Cover of the City of Vermilion
    • All met Stretch Goals
    • The Willowmere Vagabonds, PDF + Softcover discount code
    • The Nevermore Mines, PDF + Softcover discount code
    • Of Beasts and Men, PDF + Softcover discount code
    • Trollback Keep, PDF + Softcover discount code
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    29 backers
    $

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Funding period

- (30 days)