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A sourcebook that brings the science-fantasy stylings of Numenera to 5E, written by designers very experienced with both games.
A sourcebook that brings the science-fantasy stylings of Numenera to 5E, written by designers very experienced with both games.
5,536 backers pledged $520,207 to help bring this project to life.

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Arcana of the Ancients, a 5E science-fantasy sourcebook

$520,207

5,536

The metallic doors opened with a strange hiss. Mereston prodded it carefully with the tip of his dagger, suspicious. But if those doors bore traps of some kind, would he even recognize them as such? If the crafters even were people at all. These doors weren't at the right width and height for humans, elves, or dwarves. Everything seemed so strange.

Laera stood behind him, still examining the crescent device. It was solid like metal, but smooth like leather. A circle of glass at the center of it showed strange runes made of light that shifted and moved. If anyone could figure out what it did, it would be her. Mereston took a step forward, through the doorway.

"Wait," Glaur hissed through gritted teeth. "Something's coming." He gripped his axe so tightly that Mereston could see his knuckles grow pale. His eyes grew wide. "No, something's here."

Rearing up before them with a shriek, the monstrous beast resembled an insect, like a centipede, except that it was made not just of flesh, but also somehow interwoven with both glistening metal and solidified light. And it was larger than the house Mereston grew up in. 

Laera exclaimed as her hand passed over a part of the device and an eruption of seething energy burst forth and enveloped the three of them. The creature lashed out with a whiplike tail but it was repelled by the energy around them and rebounded harmlessly away.

Laera grinned at the device. "Hmm. I like this thing."

In the misty recesses of time, before the kingdoms and lands you know existed—before the elder elves, the dwarven ancestral lords, and even the dragons—civilizations undreamt rose and fell. And with their passing, they left behind remnants of the powers they wielded. They built citadels of metal, glass, and light, now hidden away in the deepest recesses of the world, and crafted wonders and harnessed energies we can only guess at. These places, objects, and even creatures all can be called Arcana of the Ancients.

Arcana of the Ancients is a sourcebook for 5th edition players and GMs to bring the wonders of mysterious technology and weird science-fantasy elements to their traditional fantasy campaigns. Designed by Monte Cook, Bruce R. Cordell, and Sean K. Reynolds, all of whom have years of professional design experience working on the world's most popular roleplaying game, this gorgeously illustrated hardcover sourcebook gives you everything you need to add a whole new element to your 5E game.

In Arcana of the Ancients, you will find:

Adventures: This book will start out with an adventure that you can insert into your existing campaign right away that will introduce the concepts of ancient civilizations, weird technology, and new strange creatures. From there, we'll expand on the concept so that it can become a feature of your setting if you wish.

Technology: Hundreds of new items, both new wondrous items and "cyphers" (one-use, cobbled together bits of ancient tech), for players to discover and learn to use. These items  harness strange energies, warp space and time, create permanent structures, and so much more. At first, figuring out how to use these items will be challenging, but therein lies much fun!

Creatures: Dozens of new creatures, each with awe-inspiring artwork, presented to use in your campaign. Science-fantasy creatures are notably strange, replete with mysterious abilities that create unique challenges and opportunities for your PCs. 

GM Advice: You'll get pages of suggestions and guidelines for how to incorporate all these concepts into your existing campaign, or build a brand new campaign with science fantasy in mind from the get-go. 

Player Options: Players can take on science-fantasy aspects all their own, including mutations, cybernetics, and more.  

Jaw-Dropping Artwork: This book will be lavishly illustrated by talented artists such as Kieran Yanner, Mirco Paganessi, Lie Setiawan, Federico Musetti, and more. We feel this is vital because so much of the joy of introducing the weird elements of science fantasy comes from a visual presentation of what the player characters actually see.

Monte Cook Games (MCG) was founded in 2012 and our first product was Numenera, a standalone science-fantasy RPG and setting. Numenera has won just about every award a tabletop RPG can, and produced a line of more than two dozen supplements, a licensed computer game, a board game, and a deckbuilding game, as well as a short film.

Monte Cook, designer of Numenera and creative director of MCG, is a veteran, hall-of-fame game designer with more than 30 years of professional design experience, much of it on products for Dungeons & Dragons, particularly as one of the designers of the third edition of that game. Likewise, most of the rest of the design staff at MCG, including Bruce R. Cordell and Sean K. Reynolds, possess decades of design experience with both D&D and Numenera.

MCG is comprised of eight game-loving, talented, passionate people. In addition to the designers mentioned above, our team includes: Shanna Germain (MCG co-owner and managing editor), Charles Ryan (MCG co-owner and COO), Tammie Webb Ryan (administration manager), Darcy Ross (communications relations coordinator), and Bear Weiter (art director).

The entire team at MCG is dedicated to producing extremely high quality, easy to use products. We feel the (more than 100) products we have produced over the past seven years shows this commitment and encourage anyone unfamiliar with us to check out some of our free sample products such as Ashes of the Sea and Escape From Jade Colossus.

We're doing this Kickstarter for one simple reason: because so many people have asked us for this. Our Numenera game is popular, and the following is growing every day, but 5E players have asked us if there would ever be a way to incorporate some of the elements of Numenera into their game. And finally the answer is yes.

If you want to learn more about Numenera, and in particular why the elements of that game might make pretty damn cool additions to your 5E game, go here.


You might be wondering, “How do I select an add-on?” It’s easy. Select the Manage Your Pledge button on the right-hand side of the Kickstarter page and increase your pledge for the amount listed for the add-on. For example, if you want Your Best Game Ever, add $50 to your pledge. It’s that easy. After the campaign closes, we’ll be using a service called Backerkit to collect your information, and at that time you can specify the add-on that you’ve already paid for. 

We have a lot of great rewards in this campaign, depending on what level you choose when you back us.

PDF OF THE ANCIENTS: This is the level to choose if you only want the PDF version of the Arcana of the Ancients book.

EXPLORER OF THE ANCIENTS: Choose this level if you want both the print and the PDF versions of Arcana of the Ancients.

EVERY PDF! Choose this level if you only want PDFs, but you want everything this campaign unlocks. We hope to fund not only Arcana of the Ancients, but through stretch goals, some follow-up products as well. If you have backed one of our Kickstarters in the past, you know this ends up being a fantastic deal for a number of products.

YOUR BEST ARCANA EVER: Choose this level if you want Arcana of the Ancients and Your Best Game Ever in both print and PDF. Your Best Game Ever comes out in the summer of 2019 and inside this gorgeous hardcover book, suitable for your coffee table or your gaming table, you will find advice and suggestions for enhancing your RPG experience at the table and away from it. This is an insider’s look at everything that goes into the hobby—finding a group, making a character, running a game, creating adventures, finding all the right ideas, hosting a game…and that’s just for starters. Go here for more information. 

EXPERT OF THE ANCIENT PAST: Choose this level if you want both the PDF and print version of not just the Arcana of the Ancients book, but the follow-up books we hope to unlock through stretch goals. Who knows how far the campaign will go and what will get added by the end? (As stated above, if you've seen our Kickstarter campaigns in the past, you know this will become a great deal.)

PURVEYOR OF ANCIENT SECRETS: This level is for retailers only. You'll get six copies of the Arcana of the Ancients book that you can sell, most likely earlier than anyone getting the book through regular channels.

PLAYTESTER OF THE ANCIENT PAST: Just like with the EXPERT level, you get everything this campaign unlocks, but you also get early access to the material. Basically, you’ll get the material when the playtesters do, and if you want you can provide feedback from your playtests like they do. However, you’re not obligated to do so. You can also just select this level and gain access to the manuscripts early.

TRUE FAN OF SCIENCE FANTASY: This level provides you with everything that the PLAYTESTER level does, plus your copy of Arcana of the Ancients will be signed by the design team. 

** WE HAVE CHANGED OUR SHIPPING POLICIES. PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING PRIOR TO BACKING **

IMPORTANT NOTE "SHIPS ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD" is Kickstarter's way of saying that backers anywhere can support our project. It does not mean free shipping. We collect the cost of shipping at the time of reward fulfillment.

REWARD REDEMPTION AND FULFILLMENT Because we will be shipping rewards at several times over the course of several months, our fulfillment process may be different than other campaigns you’ve backed.

A few weeks after this campaign ends, we will invite you to review your pledge on BackerKit. This allows you to confirm your pledge and add on anything that you might have missed. Although we use BackerKit to organize backers, pledges, and add-ons, we don’t fulfill rewards through them. Instead, your rewards from this Kickstarter campaign will be fulfilled through the MCG Shop, which puts you, the backer, in charge of redeeming them at your convenience. It also ensures that we always have your up-to-date address at the time we ship a reward.

Here’s a brief look at how it works: when your rewards are ready, we’ll notify you by email it is time to redeem a reward. You’ll log on to your already existing MCG Shop account, or—if this is your first MCG Kickstarter/purchase—you’ll create an account on the MCG Shop (using the email address you gave us in BackerKit). Once you’ve logged on to your MCG Shop account, you’ll go to your Coupons page, and you’ll see coupon code(s) that make your reward(s) free. You’ll decide when to redeem your rewards, and—if your rewards include physical products—to what address to have them shipped. You may delay redemption of your rewards for up to one year after the product’s release date.

If you move between reward shipments, you won’t need to tell us, since you’ll simply enter your new address the next time you redeem a reward. If this is a gift and you want to ship it directly to the recipient, simply enter the recipient’s shipping address as the Ship To address when you redeem your reward.

All backers (domestic and international) will pay for shipping when they redeem their rewards. We’ll offer a variety of domestic and international shipping methods from which you will choose when you redeem your rewards.

DOMESTIC SHIPPING You’ll pay for shipping when you redeem your rewards. There will be several shipping options from which to choose. Your rewards will ship from our fulfillment center in the United States.

INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING International shipping is expensive. We don’t have any control over that, and we can’t accurately predict what shipping rates will be at the time of fulfillment. 

You’ll pay for shipping when you redeem your rewards. Please be aware that you are responsible for import duties, taxes, and brokerage fees, and that we must comply with international law and cannot mark your reward as a gift or as a zero-value item.

Please see below for more specific information on shipping to your country.

SHIPPING IN NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA (not including the United States) Your rewards will be filled by our shipping center in the United States. You will be responsible for import duties, taxes, and brokerage fees (if applicable). There will be USPS International shipping options from which to choose when you redeem your rewards.

SHIPPING TO THE UNITED KINGDOM AND EUROPE Your rewards will be filled by our shipping center in the UK. United Kingdom backers will not pay import duties and taxes. We hope Brexit will not adversely affect the shipping of books from the UK into the EU, but at this time, due to the uncertain situation regarding Brexit, we cannot promise that EU backers won’t pay import duties, taxes, and brokerage fees. You’ll choose between tracked shipping (more expensive, but with a tracking number) and untracked (more affordable, but no tracking) when redeeming your rewards.

SHIPPING TO AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, THE SOUTH PACIFIC, AND ASIA Your rewards will be filled by our shipping center in Australia. Backers in Australia will not pay import duties and taxes; other backers will be responsible for import duties, taxes, and brokerage fees (if applicable).You’ll choose between tracked shipping (more expensive, but with a tracking number) and untracked (more affordable, but no tracking) when redeeming your rewards.

Risks and challenges

This is the fourteenth Kickstarter campaign for Monte Cook Games. All of our previous campaigns have been successful and jam-packed with rewards. Most of those campaigns are completely fulfilled, and we have a strong record for fulfilling rewards on time—we’ve delivered several hundred thousand rewards to date. These include such varied items as corebooks for Numenera and The Strange, leather-bound deluxe corebooks, boxed sets, dozens of hardcover supplements, signed bookplates, playtest access, special-access seminars, meetings and dinners with the creative team, online and in-person games, and so much more.

Thus, while there are always challenges that can arise, we've probably already faced them.

We are extremely proud of our track record. There have been bumps on the road, but what are roads without bumps? We're confident that the project will meet all its promises.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 20 or more About US$ 20

    PDF OF THE ANCIENTS

    You get a PDF of Arcana of the Ancients. Enjoy the weird new world of science fantasy!

    Includes:
    • Arcana of the Ancients in PDF
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    619 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    EXPLORER OF THE ANCIENT PAST

    You get a copy of Arcana of the Ancients in both print and PDF. The print book will be a lavishly illustrated hardcover sourcebook. A whole new world of adventure awaits!

    Shipping is charged at the time we fulfill your reward. See Shipping on the main Kickstarter text.

    Includes:
    • Arcana of the Ancients in PDF
    • Arcana of the Ancients in print
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    780 backers
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    Pledge US$ 60 or more About US$ 60

    EVERY PDF!

    You get a copy of Arcana of the Ancients in PDF, as well as a copy of every PDF unlocked in a stretch goal by this campaign.

    Includes:
    • Arcana of the Ancients in PDF
    • Every PDF unlocked in this campaign
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    1,877 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 95 or more About US$ 95

    YOUR BEST ARCANA EVER

    You get a copy of Arcana of the Ancients in both print and PDF. In addition, you will get a copy of Your Best Game Ever in both print and PDF. For more on how this book can make your existing 5e game (and any game you play) better, see the description and links in the main text. Your Best Game Ever ships this summer, or you can wait and have both books ship together next year.

    Shipping is charged at the time we fulfill your reward. See Shipping on the main Kickstarter text.

    Includes:
    • Arcana of the Ancients in PDF
    • Arcana of the Ancients in print
    • Your Best Game Ever in PDF
    • Your Best Game Ever in print
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    94 backers
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    Kickstarter is not a store.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    PURVEYOR OF ANCIENT SECRETS

    [For Retailers Only—status will be verified after the campaign closes.] You receive 6 copies of Arcana of the Ancients in print. We anticipate you'll receive your product before it becomes available through conventional distribution channels, and you are welcome to offer it for sale ahead of the official street date.

    Shipping is charged at the time we fulfill your reward. See Shipping on the main Kickstarter text.

    Includes:
    • 6 x Arcana of the Ancients in print
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    22 backers
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    Kickstarter is not a store.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 160 or more About US$ 160

    EXPERT OF THE ANCIENT PAST

    You get a copy of Arcana of the Ancients in print and PDF as well as every book unlocked through stretch goals in this campaign, in both print and PDF.

    Shipping is charged at the time we fulfill your reward. See Shipping on the main Kickstarter text.

    Includes:
    • Arcana of the Ancients in PDF
    • Arcana of the Ancients in print
    • Every PDF unlocked in this campaign
    • Every book unlocked in this campaign in print
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1,726 backers
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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 175 or more About US$ 175

    PLAYTESTER OF THE ANCIENT PAST

    You get Arcana of the Ancients in print and PDF, every book unlocked in this campaign in print and PDF, and early access to the material so that you can be a part of the playtest (or just to take a look-see for yourself—there's no requirement to give feedback).

    Shipping is charged at the time we fulfill your reward. See Shipping on the main Kickstarter text.

    Includes:
    • Arcana of the Ancients in PDF
    • Arcana of the Ancients in print
    • Every PDF unlocked in this campaign
    • Every book unlocked in this campaign in print
    • Early access to the material
    Less
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    124 backers
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    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 200 or more About US$ 200

    TRUE FAN OF SCIENCE FANTASY

    You get a copy of Arcana of the Ancients and every book unlocked in this campaign in print and PDF, early access to the material, and your print copy of Arcana of the Ancients will be signed by the entire design team.

    Shipping is charged at the time we fulfill your reward. See Shipping on the main Kickstarter text.

    Includes:
    • Arcana of the Ancients in PDF
    • A SIGNED copy of Arcana of the Ancients in print
    • Every PDF unlocked in this campaign
    • Every book unlocked in this campaign in print
    • Early access to the material
    Less
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    170 backers
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    Kickstarter is not a store.

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Funding period

- (31 days)