We treat our dead with reverence. We inter their bodies in the ground in expensive caskets, or entomb them in ornate stone monuments, or burn them and keep their ashes in urns. We remind ourselves, in this way, that death comes for all of us, but that even in death we are due respect.
How horrifying, then, when the dead won't stay contained.
In Undead, we examine the creatures of the Unknown that animate the bodies of the dead. These creatures aren't the mindless, hungry, infectious zombies of cinema. They are the spurned and jilted lovers who come back from the grave seeking a mouldering kiss. They are the wronged dead, the unhallowed dead, murdered and shoved into shallow graves or buried without ceremony and longing for the respect they are due. They are the innocent dead, killed before their time and wanting only to taste the life they never really knew.
Pity them if you wish, but put them down quick and hard. They are vicious and violent, and all them want to take company back to the grave with them.
Undead is a 120-page, full-color antagonist sourcebook for Chill 3rd Edition. Like Monsters, our preceding release, it is partially written "in character" by a SAVE researcher attempting to categorize and understand the living dead, and partially written for players and Chill Masters to allow them make full use of this horrifying class of creatures.
- Further insight into the history and workings of SAVE (the Eternal Society of the Silver way, dedicated to investigating and combatting the Unknown)
- 10 (or more!) new undead creatures, including the grotesque penangallen and the fearsome lich
- An in-depth look at how different undead creatures come to be, including discussion of the role these beings occupy in different cultures
- New pregenerated characters to be use as support or as PCs
- A new campaign-length case written by Morgan A. McLaughlin McFarland, one of the contributors to all of the Chill 3rd Ed line
- A brand-new comic by Leonard O'Grady
- New Edges & Drawbacks
If you missed our previous Kickstarters - welcome! Chill 3rd Edition was funded on Kickstarter in November 2014, and fulfilled in August/September 2015.
In November of 2015, we successfully funded our first sourcebook, SAVE: The Eternal Society, on Kickstarter. The pdf was released to backers in May 2016, and the book was shipped to backers starting in August 2016. In October of 2016, we funded Monsters, which was released in PDF in May 2017 and in softcover in August 2017.
The undead return for a variety of reasons, and all of them are terrifying. SAVE has to contend with these rotting horrors, as well as the vampires, ghosts, werewolves, and just flat-out monsters that also come slinking out of the Unknown. And we'd like your help in identifying these creatures.
For every 100 backers of Undead, we'll create a new case for free download on our site. The cases will be approximately 5000 words, and be written in the style of our other free cases (which you can download here, right now!).
But we need your help in finding these cases! So as the Kickstarter campaign progresses, we'd like you, the backers, to supply photographs of the places in your area where monsters lurk.
Take pictures of weird and creepy things, places, and situations that you encounter, and put them up on Facebook, Twitter (just tag @GrowlingDoor) or G+. Hashtag them #SAVEisonyourside, and we'll find them more easily. Our case writers will use these photographs as inspirations for the cases.
Here's an example!
You might notice that we haven't included reward levels that allow any combination of Chill Third Edition products; that's just because we already have a bunch of different levels and we didn't want to confuse things too much. That said, we definitely want to make the Chill products you want available to you!
As such, if you want to add products to your pledge, you can! All of our products will be available through BackerKit, but if you want to pledge now (which would be fine with me, since it gets us closer to goal!), the amounts are below:
- Chill Master Screen: Add $10 to your pledge
- Chill Third Edition Hardcover: Add $50 to your pledge
- SAVE: The Eternal Society Softcover: Add $30 to your pledge
- Limited Edition Boxed Set: Add $75 to your pledge
- Monsters Softcover: Add $25 to your pledge
If you pledge for items that are already available and you want them immediately following the Kickstarter (say, you want to get your Chill hardcover now and just get Undead when it's printed), you can do that, you'll just wind up paying a little more in shipping. I'll be in touch with instructions on that after the Kickstarter ends.
Looking at the rewards, you may notice that we're not charging for shipping during the Kickstarter. This is because any money that comes through the Kickstarter is subject to fees, and we'd rather charge what shipping will actually cost rather than mark it up to compensate for those fees. We will charging shipping through BackerKit when the books are ready to ship.
If you look at the reward levels, you'll notice four Regional Coordinator levels: Indianapolis, Toronto, Milwaukee, and Columbus. I've used those cities because I know I'm going to be there (for various conventions), but let's say you aren't going to go to any of those cons, but really want to take advantage of the fantastic deal that the reward level gets you? (In brief: $650 gets you five copies of Chill, five copies of Undead, custom artwork for up to five players' characters, and a custom scenario written and run for you by me.)
I'm happy to add a new reward level for Regional Coordinator: Wherever. Just drop me a line and we'll discuss it. This is all contingent on you living somewhere I can get to, but as any SAVE envoy knows, nothing is impossible.
(Backers of our previous Kickstarters might also note that I've raised the price on these. Why? Short answer: Everything is more expensive, including travel and art, and I need to keep up my margins.)
Valid question! Here's where your money goes:
- Paying artists. You can see some of the artwork from Chill on this page, and we'll be hiring these artists again to help bring the dead to life.
- Paying for layout. Enter Thomas Deeny, the same wizard who laid out all of the books in the Chill line, and who is going to make Undead magnificent.
- Paying the editor. Normally, Growling Door Games co-owner Michelle Lyons-McFarland edits our books, but she's finishing her dissertation (though she is also contributing to Undead as an author). Therefore, we need to allocate some funds to paying an editor.
- Paying for materials. Books cost money. Part of the money raised with this Kickstarter will go toward a print run, both to fulfill the rewards for backers and to send to retailers.
- Paying for the license. Growling Door doesn't own the Chill IP, and part of the funds from this Kickstarter are going to satisfy our contract with Martin Caron.
PDFs will be delivered as soon as they're ready (typically in late April/early May) and that part of fulfillment will be handled by DriveThruRPG.
Risks and challenges
This is my standard "Risks & Challenges" spiel, so it'll look familiar if you backed our other projects.
Any Kickstarted project carries a risk, one that I like to call "the flammable cat." When I worked for White Wolf Game Studio as the developer for the Dark Ages line, we would occasionally say, when a book was delayed, that somewhere along the way a cat caught fire.
Obviously, no actual felines were ever combusted (not to my knowledge, anyway!), but the point was that with an endeavor like an RPG book, any number of things can go wrong. They're not anyone's fault - people get sick, have car accidents, relatives pass away, babies are born, and so forth - but they do slow things down. The trick to keeping things on track isn't to safeguard against the flammable cat. That cat is GOING to catch fire at some point.
No, the best plan is to have a fire extinguisher handy. To break the metaphor, what I mean by all this is that I'm sure something's going to go wrong or get delayed. As such, I've built a lot of extra time into the schedule. The text for Undead isn't finished as of this writing, but the authors have turned in first drafts and I'm in the process of getting them back for revisions. I have no doubt it'll all be done before it needs to go to press.
We don't have all of the art contracted yet, but I have a number of artists lined up to work on the book, I know how fast they work, and we'll have plenty of time work with them even if something does go wrong in the interim.
It's also worth noting that we've licensed Chill from Martin Caron, and as with any licensed property we'll have a round of approvals. The terms of our contract, however, state that approvals have to be conducted in a timely manner, and I know from my interactions with Martin that he's just as keen to see this project realized as I am.
I don't anticipate everything going smooth, because as a certain space captain once said, it never goes smooth. I do anticipate that my team of professionals - writers, editors, layout folks, designers - can handle whatever cats catch fire. Growling Door Games has already delivered four products funded through Kickstarter, and I hope that you will join us for this one!
One other thing: Backers will receive the pdf of Undead before it goes on sale (I've labeled delivery for the pdf as "August 2018" for consistency's sake, but the truth of the matter is that we'll need it done in April if we're going to have it printed on time). The plan is to have the books shipped before GenCon 2018. However, if something gets delayed, we reserve the right to sell the game at GenCon. It's not economically feasible for us to turn down the opportunity to debut Monsters at GenCon, even if the books haven't shipped to backers. We can promise that the game will not go into distribution until the books have shipped.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)