Less than a hundred of the adventurers recruited to explore Hot Springs Island over the past three years have made it back to us in one piece. However, every man and woman savvy enough to stay alive has returned with bags full of treasure and a whole bard's worth of stories. They spoke of steaming jungles filled with lurid, magical plants, lost ruins, ravenous creatures and vengeful, feuding factions. We compiled these firsthand accounts, polished them off with a bit of wild assumption, and wrote it all down in this book, A Field Guide to Hot Springs Island.
Now, if you're wondering why we're giving you the keys to the treasure room when we've already got it, that's good. That's why we picked you. Our angle is simple: The more you know about the island, the longer you'll stay alive. The longer you stay alive, the richer you're going to get, and the richer you get, the richer we're going to get because the guild always gets its cut. How rich can you get? Well, so far ten fine fellows have paid off all their bounties on the mainland and retired in as little as six months, and there's at least one ex-marine who went on to buy herself a nice little kingdom in the Red Hills.
If you're worried you'll be at a disadvantage because you're not clever enough to read, don't be. There are drawings of every creature we know about so you can flip through the pages of this guide and match our picture with whatever's currently eating your companion. Then again, even if you can read, many of the things encountered here on Hot Springs have not been recorded elsewhere (that we know of), so the names of places and creatures have emerged over time. We've done our best to reference everything by its most popular name, but for every name we've written down there are probably three others that didn't make the cut.
The field guide contains a lot about Hot Springs Island, but not everything. Discoveries are being made daily, and if you find something new, or uncover something really old, especially if you see an ally die to it, let your guild representative know. We always pay handsomely for good information.
Hot Springs Island is a high fantasy sandbox adventure setting that
can be used with any table top role playing game. It's comprised of two
books: One for players and one for the game master.
A Field Guide to Hot Springs Island is a fully illustrated, 240 page book for players. It is written "in-character" and can be used by characters in the game world to help identify plants and monsters, translate ancient languages, and as a resource of advice and rumors.
The Dark of Hot Springs Island is the game master's book. It is a fully illustrated 192 page book. Hot Springs Island is a hexcrawl, and the Dark contains all the details needed to run a sandbox game there. There are 75 locations on the island, and 26 maps ranging from ogre villages to a ruined elven city to the volcanic lair of a vain efreet. Seven factions, 87 interconnected non-player characters and 300 problematic treasures are sure to generate plenty of lingering repercussions each time your players make a decision. Finally, 448 random events and encounter motivations help ensure that every play-through of Hot Springs Island can explode into wildly different outcomes from the same basic parameters.
The setting is system neutral, so there are no stats for monsters or prepackaged treasure parcels. No levels are assumed, and there is no path of advancement through this tropical wilderness. The monsters will likely be tough, and the intelligent factions even tougher, but the motivations for (and thus potential leverage against) everything with a modicum of intelligence has been detailed. Combat is expected to be approached like war, and not a perfectly balanced arena skirmish. Crack the mountains. Flood the dungeons, and burn everything to survive.
In the event that stats are an absolute must, most all monsters found on the island can already be found in the monster books you own for your system (e.g., efreet, salamanders, ogres, nereids, imps, elementals, etc). If they are not found there, the size and diet has been provided so you can sub in the stats of a "medium sized carnivore" or "large herbivore" as necessary. Finally, there are a few creatures of such size, age, and power that they'd likely be considered demi-gods. For these individuals it will be necessary to spend some time prepping their particulars, but there should be plenty of ramp up time before they make an appearance on the island.
The writing is DONE.
The layout is DONE.
The final 22 illustrations are in the works.
We've come to Kickstarter so we can bring in professionals to apply the final polish, and to create beautiful, lasting, fantastically constructed books with the help of Sheridan Books.
Specifically, the $18,000 goal will be spent on:
- Professional editing by Scott Fitzgerald Gray
- Purchasing ISBNs and Barcodes
- Printing 1000 copies of The Dark of Hot Springs Island
- Printing 1000 copies of A Field Guide to Hot Springs Island
- Freighting those books from Michigan to Texas
- Purchasing supplies for shipping and zines
In this age of digital files and print on demand our goal is to create beautiful books filled with quality content that can be beat up on the gaming table, and still last for 40+ years.
To accomplish this, the books will be printed and bound by Sheridan Books in Michigan. They will be printed on archival quality, uncoated 70# paper, and have smyth sewn bindings. This will enable the books to open almost completely flat for ease of reference during play, and the sewn binding will also help the books withstand years of being banged around on the gaming table and not lose pages.
The Field Guide will be covered in archival quality cloth and paper, and then foil stamped.
The Dark's will also be covered in archival quality cloth. The Hot Springs logo and part of the title will be "blind stamped" or debossed into the cover, and then the remainder of the text will be foil stamped.
If we can raise $19,500 we will deluxify the cover materials on both books! The Dark will be covered using bonded leather, and the Field Guide will be covered using bonded leather and cloth.
What's the "Zine Pack?"
All backers will be mailed a "zine pack", at no additional cost, regardless of your location. This will include three postcards featuring artwork by Ron Guyatt (see the above image), a totally sweet sticker, and the zine "Toxic Elven Smut".
The zine is 28 pages long and features a quick history of the elves of the Swordfish Islands, a map of the elven ruins (by Jason Thompson), information regarding the minor goddess Lady Hedonia and her cult, artwork by Scrap Princess, and the elven alphabet.
We plan to include other items in this pack (such as poster sized maps) If we are able to exceed all of our stretch goals, but we'll talk more about that once we have an idea of how many total backers there are!
It's been very important to our team that we not come to Kickstarter until we could confidently call our project done. Because of this, there are no stretch goals for additional content. That content will come, in time, when it's ready!
However, there are stretch goals to make the books even more beautiful and useful. And if pledges go absolutely stratospheric, we'll be able to have more copies of the books printed!
$19,500 - Upgraded cover materials: If we hit this level The Dark will be covered using bonded leather, and the Field Guide will be covered using bonded leather and archival cloth.
$22,500 - Ribbon book marks: Take a moment to imagine the way this luxurious satin ribbon will slide between your fingers as you turn the pages towards fresh unspeakable horrors to unleash upon your players.
$27,000 - 1500 copy print run: If we reach this goal we will be able to have 1500 deluxe copies of The Dark and the Field Guide created. All the books will have upgraded cover materials and satin bookmarks.
$31,500 - 2000 copy print run: This will let us print even more deluxe copies of The Dark and the Field Guide.
If you are in the United States, shipping is included. If you live outside the United States we'll ship out rewards with the US Postal Service as Priority Mail International. International shipping will be a separate charge calculated and collected when the backer surveys are sent out.
You can see a detailed breakdown regarding international shipping in Update #4 but this map will show you an APPROXIMATION of what the shipping costs will look like. There are numerous factors that could influence the exact charge when it is ultimately calculated, but we fully expect them to remain within this ballpark.
Import duties, taxes (VAT), and additional charges are not included in
the price or shipping cost. Any additional charges added on by the
destination country will be your responsibility. Please check with your
country's customs office to determine if there will be any additional
costs, and what they might be.
We understand that international shipping costs are not very fun. Because of this, if you live outside the US and you back the Kickstarter at one of the digital only pledge levels ($15 or $30) we will credit that pledge amount towards a purchase of the physical books at a later time. We haven't completely finalized how we will work that exactly, but it's looking like we will issue digital backers a coupon code of some sort. As we know more we'll let you know. In the meantime hit us with any questions you have regarding this!
Finally, even if you pledge at a digital level and live outside the US, we will still ship you a physical zine pack at no additional cost!
Risks and challenges
To reiterate, the vast majority of the work on this project is done. The writing is DONE. The layout is DONE. The final 22 illustrations are in the works.
At this point we need the assistance of two professionals to get this job finished.
The first is Scott Fitzgerald Gray. He is a professional editor with extensive experience editing RPGs for the largest RPG publisher in the world. Check out some examples of his past work (http://insaneangel.com/insaneangel/RPG/RPGEditing.html)
The second is Sheridan Books. Our contact at Sheridan has been helping books get made since 1986, and specializes in helping indie projects like this turn into beautiful physical objects. Because the layout of the books is complete, the pre-press team will be able to go over it months before it needs to go to press and help identify any potential problem areas. You can even take a virtual two minute tour of the facility where these books will be created: https://www.youtube.com/watch…
Finally, in the unlikely event things do go south, Evan, Donnie and Jacob have extensive experience in customer service, customer service management, and customer service operations. We will communicate constantly, transparently, and keep you fully informed of any situation as it unfolds.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)