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A fantasy-art style bestiary of lethal bacteria and the antibiotics that fight them. Read more

Odessa, TX Art Books
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This project was successfully funded on March 31, 2014.

A fantasy-art style bestiary of lethal bacteria and the antibiotics that fight them.

Odessa, TX Art Books
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About this project

The Bacterionomicon is an artbook bestiary, with entries for 41 "Lords of Pestilence" (infectious bacteria) and 27 "Apothecary Healers" (antibiotics). 

It's a spinoff from, and expansion of, a card game called “Healing Blade: Infectious Disease Card Battle” – but you don't need to have played the game to enjoy the book!

ANYONE INTERESTED IN SCIENCE OR MEDICINE. Learning is more effective when it's fun! Paging through this book adds story, drama, and accessibility to the somewhat overwhelming fields of microbiology, pathology, and pharmacology.

MEDICAL AND NURSING STUDENTS. Study, study, study: It’s all you do! Take a break and page through this cool book. Guess what! You’re STILL studying. The mnemonic devices in this book will help drill this stuff into your brain.

• MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS. Stay sharp! Anything helps, and The Bacterionomicon will light up some other parts of your brain and give you some creative mnemonic devices. Plus, it’s cool to recognize all the little scientific facts embedded in these characters.

• RPG FANS. A great addition to any gamer’s collection of beasts and heroes. Make a campaign that travels through a metaphorical human body, ridding the land of evil pests, using inspiration from this book!  

• FANTASY ART COLLECTORS. A beautiful coffee-table book to rival any other. Put away the exobiology book for a while and dazzle them with some super-nerdy medical fantasy.

• WAITERS WITH UNEVEN TABLES. Have you run out of shims for your wobbly tables? Tear out a few pages from this book – hey wait, don’t do th – c’mon, we worked hard on that!

Our goal is to make a book as lovely and as wonderful as any other fantasy art book out there – truly, a special tome from a magical world. It's a 96-page hardcover, printed in full color on thick matte artpaper. If we exceed our goal, we'd love to upgrade the book and make it even fancier!

Production of the physical book will be managed by Make That Thing, which recently crowdfunded and produced Aaron Diaz's The Tomorrow Girl and Sam Logan's Sam & Fuzzy Omnibus: both beautiful, complex books that turned out great.

Here are a few sample pages!

Fusobacterium necrophorum & Haemophilus influenzae
Fusobacterium necrophorum & Haemophilus influenzae
Doxycycline & Erythromycin
Doxycycline & Erythromycin
VRE (Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus)
VRE (Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus)

Most of the work is already done, and if our funding is successful, we hope to send the book to print in June 2014 for delivery to backers around September. 

A few years ago, physician Dr. Arun Mathews was playing the video game Mass Effect, when he realized he was using similar skills in the game as he did at work. Making judgments about antibiotic treatment based upon "good reconnaissance information," such as bacteria cultures and patient details, reminded him of the virtual reconnaissance missions he carried out on his XBox. 

So he set to work creating a game about battling infectious disease, and along with his wife and his friend Francis Kong, created a mythological fantasy world called "Soma", which was under attack by Lords of Pestilence (metaphorical bacteria) and defended by Apothecary Healers (antibiotics)

Released in 2010, the card game Healing Blade proved a hit with medical professionals and fantasy fans both. Med students enjoyed using the images as a sort of mnemonic device for memorizing facts for upcoming tests. RPG fans loved the artwork and the incredible monsters and heroes.

Since there's only so much room on a tiny playing card, Mathews decided to create a poster of one of his favorite Lords of Pestilence, Bacillus anthracis, the monster that causes anthrax. 

“Anthracis” means coal, because of the coal-black lesions the disease can cause, so the character is depicted as a fiery coal-monster. It's surrounded by burning butterflies, a metaphor for the airborne spores that are one means of transmission. The poster allowed much more room for text and descriptions of the fantasy monster than could fit on a playing card:

This horrific Basilisk is a dreaded foe. Covered in a protein carapace, it thrives in both aerobic and anaerobic environments. It originated in black coal mines. Infestation results in the blackening of the earth and the release of spores that can remain dormant...

With the advantages of its amphibious lifestyle and a shielding protein carapace, B. anthracis is a formidable threat to Soma...Armed with fire, vicious fangs, and a venomous bite, B. anthracis has a lethal trio of weapons….

This description, using metaphors, provided clues to actual facts about B. anthracis: 

  • "Blackening of the earth": black skin lesions caused by infection; 
  • "Amphibious lifestyle": it can infect the digestive and circulatory systems, which are like the body’s waterways;
  • "Lethal trio of weapons": Anthrax toxin is a mixture of three protein components: protective antigen (PA), edema factor (EF), and lethal factor (LF) – which work in concert to kill the host, but are not lethal by themselves.

With the help of Brandon Patton (bassist for MC Frontalot by night, game designer by day) the idea for The Bacterionomicon – a bestiary, a full compendium of characters containing descriptions, icons, and awesome full color layouts – was born. 

Designer and layout artist Raul Gonzalez created a map of the world of Soma, which is a metaphorical representation of the human body. Lands and terrain such as Twin Heart City, the Respiro Forest, and the Skeletal Mountains provide the fantastic backdrop for the battles between the Apothecary Healers and the Lords of Pestilence.

In the world of Soma, balance, or homeostasis, once ruled supreme. Then, the Dark Lord Vallejio appeared, demonstrating the dark arts of Resistance to the Lords of Pestilence, threatening this precious balance and ultimately, the world of Soma itself. 

Apothecary Healers, heroic warriors struggling to stop the scourge of Pestilence from overrunning Soma, gradually appeared from distant shores. Initially, they fought alone against enormous hordes of invaders, and the Lords of Pestilence were forced to retreat. But the bad guys kept learning and adapting, getting nastier, until many aging Apothecary Healers struggled to defeat them. 

Occasionally, new recruits appear to Soma’s aid, but they are few and far between. Now the battle tactics are much more complex. Many Apothecary Healers fight in teams. Keeping track of enemy adaptations becomes trickier and trickier. Some of the heroes we thought were pure forces of good turn out to have dark sides, and some of the Lords have begun to show good sides as well.

There is still much to learn about these bizarre, complex, difficult characters, yet the battle for Soma rages on… 

Each of the entries for the 41 Lords of Pestilence and the 27 Apothecary Healers features a metaphorical description (attacks, defenses, classifications and more) and, like any good bestiary, a full set of stats!

UPDATE:
43 Lords of Pestilence (+2 from TAXONOMIST backers, to be announced)
28 Apothecary Healers (Oxacillin added)
More coming! Still waiting for decisions from other TAXONOMIST backers, and more stretch goals to be announced.

For a close-up look at the table of contents – listing all the bacteria and antibiotics included – click here!

At the base tiers, you can receive either a digital or a physical copy of The Bacterionomicon. But you can also pledge at a higher amount to receive these delightful items:

HEALING BLADE CARD GAME

Much of the artwork in The Bacterionomicon comes from our 2010 card game. The current version, Healing Blade 2.0, comes with an updated rulebook written by Brandon Patton. For more information, visit: healingblade.com

UPDATE: We are now SOLD OUT of all copies of Healing Blade, as all our existing inventory has already been spoken for by existing pledges and add-ons. 

ANTHRAX POSTER

Beautiful, full-color, 18 x 24" poster of one of the Lords of Pestilence, Bacillus anthracis.

OCCAM’S RAZOR CARD GAME

Occam’s Razor is a medical-themed card game about diagnosis, designed as a study aid for med students. For more information, go to: occamsrazorgame.com

DRAGON MINIATURE

We've partnered with Shapeways to offer a dragon miniature that comes closest to our art for Staphylococcus aureus, depicted as a golden dragon. Friedrich Julius Rosenbach distinguished S. epidermidis from S. aureus in 1884, initially naming each based on its appearance under a microscope. S. epidermidis was originally named S. albus for it's white colonies and S. aureus was named for its yellow colonies. ("Aureus" means "golden" in Latin.) The dragon has 24k gold paint, fits in the palm of your hand, and will come with our yin/yang logo. 

ADD-ONs! ADD-ONs! ADD-ONs! ADD-ONs!

If you don't see the exact combination of items you'd like, never fear! You can choose the minimum tier that has some of what you'd like, then add the following items to your pledge à la carte.

Simply add the dollar amounts listed below to your pledge, and we'll follow up with you later to find out exactly which items you'd like.

• A copy of The Bacterionomicon book: Add $35 (plus $20 shipping outside the US).

***THERE ARE NO MORE ADD-ONS FOR the Healing Blade card game*** We are sold out.

• A downloadable "PRINT and PLAY" (PDF) version of the Healing Blade card game: Add $12.

• A copy of the Occam's Razor card game: Add $30 (plus $20 shipping outside the US).

ADD-ON POSTERS!

We made it to $60,000. New posters are now available as add-ons!

Each poster will be 18" x 24" and feature a single character from the Bacterionomicon, with accompanying text at the bottom that describes the character in both fictional and real world terms. Price list:

ERYTHROMYCIN..................................................$13
ACINETOBACTER BAUMANNII............................$13 CIPROFLOXACIN..................................................$13
NEISSERIA GONORRHOEAE................................$13
HELICOBACTER PYLORI......................................$13 LINEZOLID.............................................................$13
BACILLUS ANTHRACIS ("ANTHRAX") .................$10

Shipping is free within the United States. For international shipping that is an add-on to existing shipping costs, please add $10 for a poster tube. (1 tube can fit up to 10 posters.) If this is the only item we are shipping internationally, please add $25 shipping instead.

Here are the poster images:

 *Text not designed yet - this shows just the artwork. Text will be similar to the other posters shown.

  *Text not designed yet - this shows just the artwork. Text will be similar to the other posters shown.

BRANDON PATTON COMES TO YOUR HOUSE FOR A DAY OF GAMING AND MUSIC 

Brandon Patton is a board game and card game addict, as well as the bass player for MC Frontalot and a solo singer-songwriter with 15 years of experience.

If you live in the contiguous Unites States, within 3 hours of a commercial airport, we can do this! You pick the games you want to play. Want to learn a game you've never tried before? Brandon will teach it to you. He can also perform a 45-minute acoustic house concert. Or not. Your choice! We can work out the details later. We’ll need to pick a convenient time before the end of 2014. Airfare is included in the pledge amount, and presumably he can crash on your couch.

DR. ARUN MATHEWS GIVES A TALK

Dr. Mathews will do a 1-hour talk at the venue of your choosing on either "The Creation of the Healing Blade" or "Disruptive Innovation in Healthcare and Medical Education by way of Gamification." AND you get all the physical goodies too! 

Thank you for supporting The Bacterionomicon! We’ll post updates as the Kickstarter progresses. 

– Brandon and Arun

 STRETCH GOAL: $60,000

If we hit $60,000 we'll print additional posters for Erythromycin, A. baumannii, Ciprofloxacin, H. pylori, N. gonorrhoeae, and Linezolid, available as add-ons. See update #5 for more details.

STRETCH GOAL: 1300 BACKERS

We will commission new art and copy for Oxacillin, the preferred hero for fighting non-resistant Staph aureus and Staph epidermidis infections. Oxacillin is part of the Penicillin family, but has the distinction of being one of the only heroes of that family that can withstand warriors who wield the deadly Lacta Mace. (β-lactamase enzymes can, through hydrolysis, break the β-lactam ring of many drugs, deactivating the molecule's antibacterial properties.) But despite this unusual strength, Oxacillin is no match for M.R.S.A. - a Staphylococcus dragon that has developed mutant powers above and beyond its weaker cousin Staph aureus.

Risks and challenges

Our main challenge is estimating the time it will take to complete production and fulfill orders. We're planning on printing overseas, and the shipping time from overseas can be several months, not to mention various unexpected delays because of customs. We're estimating September to give us plenty of time.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    17 backers

    "THE COMMON COLD" – A special offer for attendees at the AMSA Expo (The American Medical Student Association) in New Orleans! Stop by our booth and pledge $1 and we'll give away a free gift!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    306 backers

    "STREP THROAT" [PDF] – A digital version of The Bacterionomicon, delivered as a PDF download.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    1,247 backers

    "PENICILLIN" [PDF + Book] – Full-color hardcover edition of The Bacterionomicon! Plus the PDF download.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $40 or more

    50 backers All gone!

    "MRSA" [PDF + Game] – A copy of our card game HEALING BLADE (retail value $45)! PLUS a PDF download of The Bacterionomicon.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $45 or more

    222 backers

    "ANTHRAX" [PDF + Book + Poster] – Hardcover & digital editions of The Bacterionomicon, PLUS a gorgeous 18 x 24" poster of the notorious Bacillus Anthracis.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $47 or more

    94 backers

    "PRINT and PLAY" [book + PDF of book + PDF of Healing Blade] You will receive a digital download (PDF) of our card game HEALING BLADE which you will have to cut out with scissors and assemble yourself, PLUS hardcover and digital versions of The Bacterionomicon.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $69 or more

    50 backers All gone!

    "DOXYCYCLINE" [PDF + Book + Game] – Hardcover & digital editions of The Bacterionomicon, plus a copy of the HEALING BLADE card game.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    40 backers All gone!

    "LAST RESORT" [PDF + Book + Game] – Hardcover & digital editions of The Bacterionomicon, plus one of the very last copies remaining of the HEALING BLADE card game!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $99 or more

    50 backers All gone!

    "BROAD-SPECTRUM" [PDF + Book + 2 Games] – Hardcover & digital editions of The Bacterionomicon, plus a copy of the HEALING BLADE card game AND a copy of the OCCAM'S RAZOR medical diagnosis card game.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    7 backers

    "AUREUS" - [PDF + Book + Dragon Miniature + Occam's Razor Game] – Hardcover & digital editions of The Bacterionomicon, plus a DRAGON MINIATURE with 24k gold paint, plus a copy of the OCCAM'S RAZOR medical diagnosis card game.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    5 backers All gone!

    "TAXONOMIST" – Everything in BROAD SPECTRUM, *PLUS* we'll work with you to design and create the art and backstory for a bacteria or (generic) antibiotic of YOUR CHOICE, and we'll ADD IT to The Bacterionomicon. (See the description for a list of the ones already included.) You'll be credited in the book, and you'll also receive a signed one-off print of your creation.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $2,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    "HOUSE CALL" – Everything in BROAD SPECTRUM, *PLUS* Brandon will fly to you (anywhere in the U.S.) for game night! He'll teach you how to play Healing Blade, Occam's Razor, and/or any other board games or card games you like. He'll even make you a science-themed Magic the Gathering deck! Want a house concert? Brandon is also a professional musician with a solo career. So, sure, he'll throw that in too! Travel included in pledge; lodging to be arranged separately.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $3,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    "RESIDENCY" – Everything in BROAD SPECTRUM, *PLUS* Dr. Mathews will do a one-hour talk at the venue of your choosing on either "The Creation of the Healing Blade" or "Disruptive Innovation in Healthcare and Medical Education by way of Gamification" ($3000 does not include airfare and lodging; you will need to provide those separately.)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (27 days)