About this project
Funded! Now its all about filling it full of awesome.
Stretch Goals and Add-on Prices
Here are the completed and upcoming stretch goals...
Most stretch goals (excepting large printed posters, game books, dice and larger than man-sized figurines) are included at the $75 level but can be added on to any pledge level $15 or more.
Introducing Whisper & Venom
Whisper & Venom is Lesser Gnome's debut gaming product. It is an ambitious, high-quality adventure and regional setting bundled with first-rate accessories and additional materials designed to enhance its enjoyment. The goal from the beginning was to make the game as beautiful to read and browse as it is fun to play.
The principle product of this project is this...
Whisper & Venom is Lesser Gnome's debut gaming product. It is an ambitious, high-quality adventure and regional setting bundled with first-rate accessories and additional materials designed to enhance its enjoyment. Our goal from the beginning was to make the game as beautiful to read and browse through as it is fun to play.
Written as a tribute to the fantasy adventures and role-playing game accessories of the 1980's, Whisper & Venom has been intentionally designed to be useful to players and game masters of any fantasy role-playing system.
Why Did Lesser Gnome Choose Kickstarter?
Simple. We wanted to make the single best fantasy role-playing game product possible. One that was designed with old-school role-playing games in mind but interesting and exciting for any fantasy role-playing system.
Plus, without the support of backers like you who want to see deluxe versions of these kinds of games, it would be prohibitive to create in the way I wanted to see it sold. How did I want it sold? I wanted it with as many top quality accessories as humanly possible.
Mostly though I wanted miniatures. Enough custom sculpted figurines from the adventure itself that any Game Master would have what they needed for every encounter. When I was young I always felt role-playing game adventures adventures should have come with the figurines needed to play. Well they didn't. So I just had to do it myself- with the help of every single like-minded role-playing game fan I could find.
The funds raised coupled with my own already significant personal investment will be enough to ship a superb high-quality boxed game that I will be proud to have made and all of us will be proud to own.
After the project funds everything gets exciting. Stretch goals are what can turn an awesome adventure and setting into a truly tarrasque-choking, box-busting product full of accessories and miniatures truly worthy of the best old-school style gaming has to offer.
As stretch goals are surpassed new rewards become available and to higher backer levels most are included free of charge.
NOTE: The becoming available means they will be available. At every level with a $15 pledge or higher they are available inexpensively as add-on purchases for backers (and for extras if you already got one included as a higher pledge reward).
The Whisper & Venom Kickstarter Project is the culmination of two years of work and significant up-front financial investment on my part (my meaning Zach Glazar,the Project Creator). The intent was to produce the best fantasy role-playing supplement I could imagine. Not only top-notch game content, but the highest quality components and extras possible—which enhance enjoyment for both players and game masters significantly.
All in a single box for a fair price.
What are the pledge levels and backer rewards?
I want as many people as possible to play and enjoy Whisper & Venom. To ensure it is accessible and affordable it is being made available in many formats at different pledge levels.
Boxed Set Level Rewards-
Together, we can find out just how high the quality can be pushed on a product. If the funding level is met, you will receive a complete supplement—in a commercial-grade box with game-play enhancing extras. As the funding level grows the value of the boxed-set grows with it making every new backer intrinsic to the final product delivered to everyone. Better printing, better dice, monster cards and a whole lot more are planned as upgrades to the basic boxed version.
Once Whisper & Venom has reached its funding goal, the sky becomes the limit. A complete set with high quality maps, custom dice and (with enough support), a custom figurine for every encounter. This ultimate goal is simple and can be logistically accomplished considering the investments already made in the core product. It will take huge support from you to get there but I can assure you the final product will be awesome!
The details. Then more details. Finally even more details.
I am going to attempt to limit updates as much as I can. I have backed a large number of products and do not mind getting them. I do however want to keep people from turning them off so most of the project information will be in the comments.
I will also be updating my Facebook page regularly- it is here.
General Information Regarding Stretch Goals
The Stretch Goals for Whisper & Venom will alternate between added and upgraded components. In order to have a good chance of funding the original goal was intentionally kept low. Enough to cover the cost of producing a retail quality adventure in four distinct formats. It was important to me to provide an affordable an experience with Whisper & Venom as possible- even the lowest pledge levels without compromising on quality.
Upgrade stretch goals increase the quality of the delivered product with commitment to incrementally improve some aspect of the reward for every backer. Examples of upgrade stretch goals being considered for inclusion are things like higher quality paper for every print product, expanded content that improves the game play for all backer levels, switching to color dungeon maps and more.
Expansion stretch goals are new game pieces or components that will be available for free to backers at the deluxe level or higher. Miniatures fall into this category; other possibilities are custom dice, laminate encounter trackers or monster cards.
All the stretch goals will be available as paid add-ons to any backer pledging for a reward level above $15 or higher.
Did you say miniatures a couple sentences ago?
Yes I did mention miniatures, briefly, but I want to elaborate on them some more.
I have always felt that a complete adventure should include miniatures- ideally enough to provide game masters with figurines for every potential encounter described in the given text. There are solid reasons this has not happened commercially on a large scale before- risk. With crowd funding that type of risk is minimized by galvanizing interest and support before the truly daunting costs, printing and manufacturing, are incurred.
So if you, like me, ever wished for more truly deluxe and comprehensive product choices this is your opportunity to be a part of just such a project.
To give you an idea of the potential relating to stretch goals I present to you this four word synopsis...
A lot of miniatures.
What defines how many miniatures are in "a lot of miniatures"?
Your support is ultimately what determines how many figurines and other upgrades will be included in the final product. There will be at least four minis produced if we only fund without reaching any stretch goals.
There are 16 more than 90% completed sculpts for miniatures that are ready for early stretch goals. All that is needed in order for them to be included in the final product is your support. That is it- no waiting on sculpts, concept artists or other bottleneck inducing production details.
Past the 18 (yes, 18 plans are in place for as many more to be made on time as funding will support. They will begin the production process as the project support grows enough to justify hitting the 'go' button. I can promise the down payments on them will be made prior to the end of the project- in fact it will happen as they are unlocked.
I have money set aside for this purpose. There really is no limit to how many except backer support!
The figurines that already exist have been sculpted by top-notch sculptors (Tim Prow, Mark Evans and Nicolas Genovese). I can potentially include one for every adversary in Whisper & Venom with even more possibilities from the players guide! Yes, that includes local fauna, townsfolk, standard monster selections types and even adventuring gnomes!
Add-ons are available to any backer who has pledged for the $15 Level or higher. Why? To be honest one of the guys who truly made this happen was Matt from Center Stage Miniatures and miniatures is his (increasingly successful) business. The worst way to thank him would be to get into miniatures only crowd funding. As it is I am close enough.
Shameless side plug. If you want miniatures from an old-school company run by a great guy who cares about quality then Matt is your go to guy.
Who is behind this exactly?
An impressive list of details regarding freelancers, contributors and everyone else involved in this project can be found in the FAQ. Lesser Gnome's Head Gnome, Zach Glazar, is the author of Whisper& Venom and the project facilitator.
Although many people contributed talent, advice and support, the gnome behind the curtain for this project will be Zach (me) and any personal pronouns and commitments are his and his alone. Feel free to praise everyone else though.
So What's Your Story?
As a lifelong fan of fantasy role-playing I have always wanted to create a product that I would be proud to purchase myself. I am a pretty good judge, as I am a borderline compulsive consumer of games buying nearly every one I find. I am especially drawn to products evoking a classic feel of the fantasy games of my youth. I love the early adventures and accessories from the classic companies of the 70's and 80's. I still do. In fact, there is an overflowing closet full of products from my childhood that sit there as a testament to my happy obsession. On the shelves next to the vintage stuff are hundreds of modern offerings each carefully cataloged after having been read at least once.
What gets me most excited when I buy a product? Quality writing and top-notch accessories. When sales were at their apex for our hobby, the most exciting games and modules came in boxes loaded with poster maps, dice and amazing artwork of the imaginative places you could explore.
More in the FAQ
A wealth of information is available in the FAQ to answer any questions you may have. If you have any specific feedback or questions for Lesser Gnome please feel free to leave it in the comments. If you would prefer to ask personally or have a question best asked outside a public forum, please feel free to contact me via Facebook or email.
The earlier you support the better the value of your reward!
Risks and challenges
Why should I trust you with my money?
Simply because I am capable of delivering and I have already put forward a great deal of money to see this through. I have backed 60 projects and learned something from each that turned out useful in the planning and execution of the Whisper & Venom Kickstarter.
Outside of Kickstarter I have professional experience managing projects in government and multi-unit retail game stores (for video games). I won't bore everyone with the details here but if you want to know more please ask and I will fill you in.
How can you guarantee my pledge reward? In truth I can't. I did the next best thing by alleviating much of the risk of being a backer. How? Simply by paying for everything possible upfront so that no unexpected costs can get into the way of your positive experience with Lesser Gnome.
What are the risks?
Well in Kickstarter the risk to the backer is in not receiving all of the reward that matched their pledge level. For Whisper & Venom I have done everything in my power to minimize these risks for everyone in advance. Primarily this has been done in two ways. First by being finished with everything except manufacturing and backer collaboration portions (which are important but minimal in scope to the final) and, more importantly, by having paid for all miniature sculpts, art, cartography and editing for the core product already.
Yes paid for, in full, with my own money.
I have paid for all the creative inputs from freelancers, sculptors and editors already in order to guarantee all the funds received from this project are available for fulfillment.
If you haven't been shipped anything by January 30th of 2014 I will do everything in my power to make it right. Up to and including a refund on what you haven't received. I will even eat the Kickstarter fees.
What about the endless delays experienced by some other projects? Delays on things I do not, and cannot, directly control are an unfortunate possibility but I have a solution. It puts the risk on me and at the same time gives a pretty powerful in incentive to keep the supply chain humming. It is also quite simple
I am glad you are taking a look at the project and hope you become one of our backers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The Retro-Module is not an included add-on until $175 level but it can can be added to any boxed-set level by adding $25 to your pledge. It will have most of the same content as the strictly adventure portion of the Adventure Sourcebook but will have some exclusive art and the style of the maps on the inside cover of the gate-fold will be decidedly retro. Not included in it (to limit it to a retro-friendly 24pp) are all of the regional setting material, the majority of NPCs, and all the appendix material (new monsters etc). The goal is to capture the feel of the modules printed between 1979 and 1983. None of the principle adventuring locations are to be omitted but the descriptions of some areas will be edited for length. I wanted to include it in he KS because I am a huge collector of modules and love the old style.
Lesser Gnome is Zach Glazar, the Head Gnome and author of Whisper & Venom, and his life-long friend and editor John Hammerle. John doesn't get into social networking much but his contribution was what started the whole thing and in the process birthed a cult of personality. My gratitude to him is without limitation.So the two of you did it all?Nope.There were so many supporters and contributors that I cannot list them all. If you are reading this now you are among them. However the following people need special mention.Two individuals were so integral to this project that if I was the King of Gnomes, rather than just a Lesser Gnome, I would knight them and give them land grants or something along those lines- yet still be in their debt. Both knew everything about the things that I did not have a clue about and took the time to contribute and teach me enough to make my dream a reality.Matt Solarz from CenterStage Miniatures contributed limitless knowledge of miniatures and crowd funding with great enthusiasm to a guy he never met. Without Matt's guidance I would not have had the sculptors I needed nor the proper standards in mind for true excellence that fans of miniatures expect. The majority of the amazing artwork, both in the product and for promotional/internal use, was created by Lloyd Metcalf. If I could have paid him triple I would still have gotten the better end of the deal. His art and skills are available to other publishers and projects- hire him and you will not be disappointed. If I am ever in a position to pay a salary he gets one and if an equity stake ever becomes more than a liability he gets some of that as well.Whisper & Venom is exponentially better thanks to these professionals whose praise I give effusively- even though their reputation within the RPG community is well known.Jeff Dee and Alyssa Faden are well-known talents and deserve every bit of thanks I can give them for their work and professionalism. They do not need my recommendation but I give it anyway- if any of you are looking for solid freelancing these are the creative talents that you hope have room on their schedules for your projects. Jeff's cover makes the final product evocative of every game I loved as a kid and the fact that it was his artwork then and it is his on my own is a great honor to me and a credit to Jeff since he suffered through so many first time commission questions he must have been sorry he got himself involved with such a greenhorn.Alyssa's map is a rival to the best of the best of the fantasy gaming hobby. Done perfectly with a complete professionalism. Fantasy maps have fascinated me since my first copy of the Hobbit and my love of old TSR maps is embarrassing in its extent. Alyssa created a map that surpassed my favorites and she truly is the best at what she does.The following sculptors traded their souls for talent as far as I can tell. How they do what they do is beyond my comprehension, let alone my ability. In the order I interacted with them they are: Mark Evans (Thopas, Goblins), Tim Prow (Venomous Attoral), Nicolas Genovese (Scavengers, Restless Undead, Nexid Demons, Murk Beast) and Michael Branch (Giant Spider, Monster Beetle, Mountain Bear and Grove Master). All are consummate professionals whose work you can judge best when you receive your backer reward.Tom Nelson (the Midwest Miniature Guy and mighty painter of little gnomes) is the fast, incredibly talented, and hugely flexible miniature painter that introduced himself to me back when my Facebook page had 12 fans. He was gracious enough to give advice and then enthusiasm about the figurines in Whisper & Venom. He also happens to be about the nicest guy I have ever dealt with professionally. He not only is painting for this project but is painting the showpiece miniatures that are destined to annoy my wife when they proudly sit in my living room.The cousin of mine who requested anonymity but agreed to be the face of the project in the video and in online ads. We worked with the gracious help of Jeff Wood getting the video finished enough for Lloyd Metcalf to make it even better.The following individuals and companies gave encouragement, support and advice in regards to the role-playing game creation process (even if they thought they were only chatting during smoke breaks) I am in the debt of each and hold them in all high-esteem.Tim Kask, Rob Kuntz, Frank Mentzer, and Jim Ward were all there in the beginning and never once hesitated to share what they knew about role-playing games as a hobby and as a business. Doug Rhea and Mike Badalato from the North Texas RPG Con for letting me hang around more than I deserved while pretending I was useful. The following retailers for giving support for a nobody who acted like he had something to sell: Noble Knight Games (Everywhere), Imperial Outpost Games (Phoenix, AZ), Games Depot (Tempe, AZ) and Empire Games (Mesa, AZ). They were supportive of my questions and intrusions into their busiest days. The following people for support and advice:Tavis Allison for having a lot of class on KickstarterBill Barsh for answering a large number of early questions and consistent enthusiastic supportMichael Curtis for good advice and dire warnings in addition to being a guy with a lighter.Alan Grohe for selling me OSRIC at GaryCon and politely not laughing when I told him I wrote a module.John Hershberger for being pleasant and not blocking FB messages from someone he didn't know.Matt Finch for giving permission to use some of his creations and giving advice about commercial adventure writing.Jeff Talanian for answering a frustrating question in two seconds for someone he did not know, if you like the box the game comes in thank Jeff.Jim Wampler for being cool and now for being a web guy. Dan Proctor first for writing Labyrinth Lord and then for permission to include Labyrinth Lord rules with Whisper & Venom.Jeff Sparks and Joel Sparks for advice and for Lesser and Mor.Jeff Tadlock for real early support and continued enthusiasm. I would also like to thank Jeff for not firing Kurt Christ and myself when we worked togetherThe Aceaum and everyone there whose support is huge. The easiest way to list them is to print a list of all the $250 backers and work down each high level pledge which they then took after the highest level ones were sold out. John, Ben, Bret, Cory, Ryan, Jeff, Martin, Mark, Joan, Bill, Hector, the Burntwires etc, etc. Of the members there I do need to single out Guy Fullerton for taking the time to read most of a very early draft of Whisper & Venom with direct and unbelievably helpful advice. If I had known then how important of a job he had I would have died of embarrassment considering the time he took to share what he knew.To my family for being supportive even though you don't know a Glaive from a Lucerne Hammer. Except for my Grandmother Beverly Jayne who read through every word of Whisper & Venom to make sure I avoided the kind of wordiness you see here. She now knows more about pixies and black-hearted gnomes than all of the rest combined.Finally, for my wife, nothing I could say could ever be enough to express my gratitude for allowing me the chance to do this project. My love for you is boundless and forever.So who are you again?I am Zach Glazar, author of Whisper & Venom and the gnome behind the curtain for this project. For clarity any first-person thoughts or pronouns in the project are references to me- Zach Glazar, author and project creator. I also go by the gnome de guerre "Nogrod" online in forums and while in games.
It is written specifically to provide a framework and location data to help Game Masters run their own game in their own campaign. The figurines, maps, descriptions and related artwork etc can be transferred anywhere. The adversaries do not rely overly on feats or spells, but they could be added without taking away anything from what is presented.
I honestly believe that the vast majority of game masters and players I know and have met will have no difficulty in its use with even very different role-playing games. Role-playing as a hobby is nearly 40 years old and many fans have been playing and game mastering a long time- often decades. The skill set of people generally attracted to our hobby is usually quite robust. Couple that with an average of many years spent playing or running games and carefully crafted rule descriptions are adjusted on the fly for personal preference based on need. In short I trust the GM to make use of the wealth of text, descriptions and material that Whisper & Venom provides in the manner they see fit.
What system did you have in my when you wrote it? What system did you play-test it with?The adventure portion was designed with older systems in mind simply because that is the style with which I am most familiar; I am confident it will work just as well with any system with minimal adjustments. The vast majority of you truly do not NEED system specific rule guidelines in any adventure product- I really believe that.That being said, while I did the bulk of the writing I wrote it using modern simulacrum rules- specifically Labyrinth Lord and OSRIC. The playtest sessions used the same.Which system do you personally play/prefer?When I played regularly I played the first version of the advanced edition of the worlds oldest and most popular fantasy role-playing game :) If I was to choose now from the actual older rule-sets I would lean toward the Moldvay/Cook BX Sets or the amazing BECMI sets by Frank Mentzer.I have played a ton of newer simulacrum varieties and updated FRPG sets at conventions or one off get togethers including: Labyrinth Lord; OSRIC; Adventurer, Conquerer, King; Dungeon Crawl Classics; Astonishing Swordsman & Sorcerers of Hyperborea; Swords & Wizardry and others I am sure I have forgotten. I have played but do not claim more than passing familiarity with: Pathfinder, HackMaster and the newest editions of the worlds most popular fantasy role-playing game. I like them very much but have yet to give them their due.So which do I prefer? The ones that use polyhedral dice :)
Add-ons are elements of the project that are upgrades or additional elements that are available but may not be included at certain pledge levels. I am trying to make this project have as much customization as possible for all backers
How to raise your pledge for add-ons…
If you are planning on adding anything raising your pledge now versus the last few hours of the project helps us both by unlocking more possibilities and enhancements earlier which in turn brings more backers. The busy point in any Kickstarter that has shown consistent daily growth (as this one has, thanks to you all) is the final 72 hours. Having a solid set of stretch goals exceeded by that point builds a potential snowball effect that makes everyone happier (me, those of you who want more options or extras included in your current pledges, artists who get extra work etc.).
If you would like to add-on something that is not included in your level or extras of anything here are the steps to take in order to do so.
On the right side-bar you will see an option that says manage your pledge, click on that and it will bring you to the pledge manager. On the top you will see a dollar amount that equals your current pledge. Add the amount for the add-on you want and hit the “continue to the next” step button. Which brings you to the Amazon Payments interface. Continue exactly as you did when you pledged initially.
For example- Thopas T. Gnome has pledged $75 for the Straight Thop! package and would like to add the retro-module and the 42”x30” rolled poster map.
1. Make sure you are logged into your Kickstarter Account and go to the Whisper & Venom Project Page.
2. Then add up $75 (the initial pledge) +$25 (module) + $30 (map) for a total of $130.
3. Click “Manage My Pledge” on the right sidebar near the project total funding amount.
4. Change $75.00 to $130.00 in the pledge amount field
5. Click Continue to Next Step…
Just like when you first pledge you are not charged at this time. You are simply giving an authorization.
If you have any questions (about anything) please contact me by clicking on the “Contact Me” next to my profile image on the project page.
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