You find yourself at the beginning of the 'Arcane Rites - Cult of the Pajoli' fantasy gamebook Kickstarter campaign page.
Above you is an aged banner depicting a tome which has been UNLOCKED.
And underneath this is another banner:
Before you, several paths lead off into darkness. You check your weapon and shield are ready, and step forward to examine them further.
What would you like to do?
- To discover more about Arcane Rites, scroll down to 2.
- To dig deeper into the Cult of the Pajoli, scroll down to 3.
- To gather all the book details, scroll down to 4.
- To answer questions about Kickstarter, scroll down to 5.
- To encounter the wretches who made it possible, scroll down to 6.
- To peruse the treasure on offer to you, scroll down to 7.
- To investigate the benefits of frequently backing, scroll down to 8.
- To dig for buried artefacts, scroll down to 9.
- To appreciate the passage of time involved, scroll down to 10.
- To see where the bounty is being spent, scroll down to 11.
- To read the guarantee being offered, scroll down to 12.
- To understand the risks you are facing, scroll down to 13.
You are a hunter and adventurer named Derilion crossing Pregeara, the only land you've ever known, making money by fair means or not-so-fair means.
Skilled with a sword, and bearing a magic shield, you seek fortune, or even, in the lean times, just enough to get by.
Recently, adventures have been scarce, and the few people you've spoken to all say the same thing; it's as if something is brewing. Of course, you take everything you hear with a pinch of salt, but you can't deny you've felt it, also. A foreboding you can't pin down.
For now, however, you have other things on your mind. In a recent quest, an innocent man was killed, and you promised to honour his dying wish to look after his daughter, Obishaa, as your ward.
It's a partnership which neither you nor Obishaa are happy with.
Return to 1 and find out more.
Obishaa has been taken by the Pajoli, a cult of magic-wielders whose sorcery is siphoned from the gifted children they take.
Time is running out, and you have to venture into the caves the Pajoli have carved into the mountain. Armed with your sword and flaming shield, you must face the monsters, traps and more held within the chambers.
Will you survive? There's a slim chance, but even a slim chance is better than some of the odds you've faced before.
Return to 1, and find out more.
You find a box on the floor, and decide to use your sword to break it open. Inside is an ancient scroll which, when unravelled, reveals a scroll of knowledge.
Carefully, you make a rune on the floor, and stand at its centre, as you read the scroll aloud.
You wait awhile, and nothing happens. Just when you're thinking of reading the scroll again, a light shimmers in front of you, and slowly, the light forms into words.
- 350+ fantasy gamebook pages
- 700 paragraphs
- 40+ full page illustrations
- pack sheet for inventory
- full combat rules
- an ending you won't see coming...
It shimmers in the darkness in front of you, and even though you're not sure what it means, you're certain what they say is important.
Next comes several images, each more fearsome than the next. What are these creatures? And are they friend or foe?
The words and images start to fade, and once gone, the scroll disintegrates, and you rub the rune out with the sole of your boot.
With some trepidation, you find your way back to 1.
At the end of the passage, you find a middle-aged man with long white hair, scribbling furiously at a scroll laid before him on a table.
"Hello," you say.
He doesn't look up.
"What do you want? I'm busy."
You point to a word at the top of the scroll he is writing.
"What is this Kickstarter you write about?"
"Well," he says, brushing the hair out of his eyes, "I guess I can tell you. Kickstarter is the way I raise gold pieces to pay Ricardo to print my work. It costs a lot of money, and allowing other adventurers to pre-order the scrolls means the work is as best as it could be."
"I'm also able to reward the adventurers by offering exclusive rewards, as well as the guarantee they'll be receiving the books first!"
"Plus, I'm able to receive feedback from the people who order, which allows me to build a community and improve on the work I do."
You nod as he talks feverishly about the Kickstarter, but have little clue what he's talking about. At last he stops, and you're able to bid him farewell.
Swiftly scroll back to 1, without looking back.
You make your way through passage, which opens out into the largest chamber you've seen yet. Hanging down from the roof is a large canvas, depicting three rogues alongside a description of their roles.
You don't understand everything the text says, but, thinking they might be of meaning, you stop and study each one.
After you read them all, you decide to return to 1, and choose a different path.
You follow a passage filled with the glow of treasure. At the end the room opens out into several chests, upon which are written such things as 'Vanishing Scroll' and 'Giant Mosquito Swatter'. You open each chest in turn and find treasures within, gradually getting higher and higher in value.
Perhaps there's enough here to allow you to retire from this adventuring life?
That is, of you wanted to retire from it...
After opening all the chests, you return to 1 to find out more.
This path is wide and well worn by many an adventurer who has gone before, and you feel a strange comfort knowing you are the not the first. When the room finally opens out there is a strange journal open on a table in the centre of the chamber.
On closer inspection, you see it's titled Blue Fox Frequent Backer Rewards, and shows pictures of various nefarious creatures you hope you never meet.
Whilst you like the sound of getting rewards for merely offering support, the exact details are lost on you.
You decide to leave the journal where it is and return to 1 to discover more.
You venture a little way down this passage which ends abruptly in a circular room. Scanning the floor for traps, you notice a couple of places where the earth seems disturbed. Using anything you can from your backpack you start to carefully dig in the spot nearest to you.
After digging for several minutes you uncover a red scroll depicting many exotic objects which also look familiar somehow. They look of use to an adventurer like yourself, and you wonder whether they can be found on your adventure, or perhaps purchased at a shop along the way.
Next, you dig at the other spot, but this one takes a little longer to excavate. In fact, you are on the verge of giving up when you spot the edge of this scroll.
These artefacts appear to be ancient texts the like of which you've never seen before. Whilst they might not help you on your adventures, they would probably help pass the time when in need of a rest.
Excited by your finds, you add them to your backpack and return to 1.
The pathway narrows, and the ceiling grows lower, until it is little more than a tunnel. You crouch and keep going through. As you move, you begin to hear what sounds like sand falling.
A few moments more, and the tunnel opens out into a round chamber, at the centre of which is a large timer suspended by what can only be magic.
The sand has nearly all run through to the bottom, and as you watch, the timer tips itself over and starts its task once again.
As the sand falls, you hear a voice whisper what sounds like a list. You listen hard, and make a note of them.
The sand continues to fall. When you have had enough, return to 1, and choose again.
This path goes on for a long way, as if someone didn't want you to go there. After a while you notice the cave ahead growing lighter with a golden colour.
When you step into the chamber, you immediately see why. The room is full of treasure. You take your time inspecting each one, before your eyes settle on 5 bags, set aside from the rest.
Each has a number on, as well as a word you can only assume is saying who they are for. Whilst you understand the Rewards and the Tax ones, the others are a little bit of a mystery.
You decide to leave the bags here. Take a trinket and return to 1.
This passageway contains several locked doors, lining each side. You put your ear to each one, and can hear work going on beyond.
You knock on a few of them, but receive nothing but a muffled voice saying, 'Go away, we're busy.'
On the last door you see a note with a seal underneath.
You've never heard of this idea of receiving money back if not satisfied with something, but it seems to make sense.
You reread the note, and make a note of this Blue Fox, in case you come across one on your journey.
Feeling slightly frustrated, you return to 1, to choose again.
Risks and challenges
This tunnel quickly opens out into a massive chamber with a large cavern running across the middle.
Fortunately, off to the right, you see a rope bridge someone has managed to build across the cavern.
You make your way over to it, and carefully test the first board. It holds your weight, and over the next few minutes you are able to pick your way across.
On the other side of the bridge, a creature sits, ticking off items on a list it holds.
"Who are you?" you ask. "And what are you doing?"
The creature puts the list down, thankful to have someone to talk to.
"I am Blue Fox, it says, and I'm making sure everything gets done."
Blue Fox nods. "Sometimes, Kickstarters can be tricky, even for me. Though the good thing is I've run seventeen successful Kickstarter campaigns, and collaborated on three other projects which gained full funding."
"What does that mean?" you ask.
"Well, it means we have a very good understanding of exactly what it takes, not only to run a Kickstarter campaign, but to successfully deliver on the rewards. Currently, we're on the fourth draft of Arcane Rites - Cult of the Pajoli, and are creating all the art required for the book."
"What happens when that's done?"
"As soon as it's complete, we'll send it to the editors, then design the book pages themselves, and finally, send it to the printers."
"Sounds complicated," you reply, looking at Blue Fox's list.
"It is, and should any issues arise, we let the backers know immediately, along with any action we have to take."
"So, you've got everything covered?"
"Indeed. But we always suggest backers look at our previous campaigns for evidence of our ability to successfully communicate with our backers post-campaign. If people would like to know more, they can always message me. Breaks up the day."
"Thank you," you tell Blue Fox. You stand and make your way back towards the bridge.
"Thank you," the creature replied. "And be careful yourself, taking on the Cult of the Pajoli is a pretty big risk in itself."
"I will," you reply.
Now, return to 1.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)