When we released City Builder: A Guide to Designing Communities, a system-free manual that could be used in conjunction with virtually any roleplaying game or even as a writer’s guide or interesting read, it was immediately well-received by the tabletop gaming community. This universal resource and its collection of 70 places characters might visit in the course of their adventure went on, in fact, to become Skirmisher’s most successful title and a Platinum bestseller at the popular DriveThruRPG retail site.
We designed City Builder as a resource that storytellers could use to create fun and believable communities, and interesting and compelling places within them, for their game settings. Altogether it contained guidelines for creating communities of all sorts and sizes and entries for dozens of different kinds of places characters might visit or spend time at, from taverns and inns to temples and guilds, organized into 10 thematic categories (i.e., Craftsman, Entertainment, Professional, Tradesman, Mercantile, Service, Scholarly, Religious, Governmental, and Underworld Places).
As successful as City Builder became for us, it was still one of our earlier titles and eventually did not represent what we were capable of as a company in terms of writing, editing, layout, design, art, or access to technology. Our awareness that City Builder could be even greater was, in fact, our motivation for creating what we are now calling the Platinum Edition of the book and, in doing so, taking it to the next level and turning it into a publication that is representative of where we are today.
With the Platinum Edition of City Builder we have created a dramatically improved version of the original book and upgraded it in every way possible to make it more user-friendly, enjoyable to read, and visually appealing. As part of this we have:
- Completely redesigned the book to make it full color and give it a more contemporary and accessible look;
- Expanded the book from 176 to 192 pages (which, if all Stretch Goals are unlocked, will be further expanded to approximately 222 pages);
- Thoroughly revised all of the text, to include expanding and reediting it as necessary and reorganizing the contents of some of the entries or their places within the book;
- Made entries more standardized and parallel in structure;
- Added information to entries when applicable about how they might be approached in unique ways by various fantasy races;
- Added three completely new entries for specific places; and,
- Replaced the original disparate collection of images with a suite of more than 100 new illustrations that give the book an even nicer and more cohesive look and which have a complementary style reminiscent of Renaissance-era manuscripts like those created by Leonardo da Vinci.
This new edition of our most popular title is now an even more essential asset to storytellers creating villages, towns, cities, and other sorts of communities for ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and fantasy settings. We sincerely believe that the Platinum Edition of City Builder has a place on every game master’s bookshelf and have made every effort for them to want it to be. And if we exceed our basic funding goals for this project there is even more we will do with it!
Backers that pledge enough for a print copy of City Builder will receive a code for an at-cost print copy fulfilled by DriveThruRPG.com — print on demand costs of $16 have already been deducted from the cost of the reward. This will allow backers to enter their shipping details and order at their leisure, and helps us keep costs down for everyone while delivering your rewards reliably and quickly.
PDFs will be fulfilled with a complimentary download code from DrivethruRPG.com as well.
Following are a number of stretch goal rewards we will provide to backers of the Platinum Edition of City Builder if we exceed our basic funding goals for it. They include a suite of 12 full-page original images by fantasy artist Amanda Kahl and a number of new places by game developers Michael O. Varhola, Clint Staples, and William T. Thrasher in addition to the 70 that currently appear in the book.
$4,000: 12 Additional Full-Page Illustrations. If we exceed our basic funding goals by just $1,000 we will commission 12 full-page, full-color illustrations by noted fantasy artist Amanda Kahl and use them in place of the historic fine art images that currently appear at the beginning of the Introduction and Chapters 1-11.
$5,000: Pilgrimage Route (new Religious Place; Michael O. Varhola). Whether located entirely within cities or stretching through the lands between them, trails connecting religious places and walked by heroes, deities, and demigods can be great venues for quests of all sorts.
$6,000: Tournament Ground (new Entertainment Place; Clint Staples). From Medieval jousting fields to athletic facilities like Olympia, tournament grounds can be places for characters to both enjoy spectacles and test their mettle against others.
$7,000: Observatory (new Scholarly Place; William T. Thrasher). Knowing if the stars are right for launching quests, understanding constellations, and interpreting astrological phenomena are among the things that might lead characters to visit observatories of various sorts.
$8,000: Farm (new Tradesman Place; Michael O. Varhola). Agriculture is the basis of most civilizations and farms among their most common features and are, consequently, places characters are likely to visit in the course of their adventures.
$9,000: Caravanserai (new Service Place; Clint Staples). From fortified rustic inns to walled campgrounds in deep deserts, secure rest areas along trade routes are often vital resources for everything from merchant caravans to adventurous characters travelling from one land to another.
$10,000: Mortuary (new Tradesman Place; William T. Thrasher). Properly preparing the deceased for burial or whatever other way their remains will be disposed of is important in all cultures (and can be even more critical in worlds where the dead do no always remain quiet).
$11,000: Hermitage (new Religious Place; Michael O. Varhola): From hollow trees, rough caves, and lonely ruins, to neat woodland cottages, places used to shelter and nurture a spiritual environment for religious ascetics might be either deliberately visited or stumbled upon by characters in the course of their explorations.
$12,000: Laundry (new Service Place; Clint Staples). Characters who have to look their best and rid themselves of dust from the road or the blood of their foes might need to visit laundries (which can themselves serve as venues for interesting encounters and adventures).
$13,000: Water Feature (new Service Place; Michael O. Varhola). From natural oasis and springs to ornate fountains erected in city squares, places where people can obtain fresh water are essential to communities of all sorts and sizes.
$14,000: Mint (new Craftsman Place; Jim Clunie). Coinage is one of hallmarks of sophisticated mercantile societies and the places devoted to creating money are among those most closely guarded from bandits, foreign agents, and other enemies.
$15,000: Trade Fair (new Mercantile Place; Michael O. Varhola). Seasonal fairs where merchants meet to trade goods from different lands are key to the economies of communities and the countries of which they are part, and can also have important religious and entertainment aspects.
$16,000: Animal Trainer (new Tradesman Place; Michael O. Varhola). Whether they need to purchase wardogs and mounts or have creatures like griffons and dragons trained, characters will have to visit the facilities of animal trainers of various sorts.
$17,000: Map Maker (new Craftsman Place; Michael O. Varhola). Characters needing to navigate their way across foreign lands or distant seas may seek information about such strange places from those skilled at creating maps of all sorts.
$18,000: Colosseum (new Entertainment Place; Michael O. Varhola): Purpose-built amphitheaters used for everything from gladiatorial combats to mock naval battles are among the places built by affluent societies to entertain their populations.
$19,000: Taxidermy Shop (new Craftsman Place, Michael O. Varhola). Whether they want to have monsters they have slain preserved for posterity or more effective animation, or learn about obscure creatures they expect to encounter, characters might find themselves visiting the workshops of taxidermists.
$20,000: “In the Footsteps of Hercules” Companion Book. This specific example of a Pilgrimage Route will be at least twice as long as a regular entry of this sort (e.g., 3,000-4,000 words). It will include an overview of the trail and its history, synopsis of its twelve stages and the prevailing terrain and conditions associated with them, entries for all the major communities along it, and a number of adventure hooks. It will be system-free and compatible with any traditional fantasy campaign setting.
$21,000+: For every $1,000 from this point onward we will add one new specific place that can be found along Footsteps of Hercules pilgrimage route (e.g., a Temple devoted to Hercules, a pilgrim Hostel established in the ruins of an ancient citadel, a Shrine dedicated to the goddess Hera, the Tournament Ground established by Hercules for the Olympic Games). Each will include a detailed description, information about non-player characters associated with it, a custom map/floorplan, a custom full-color illustration, and two or three adventure hooks.
Risks and challenges
Print proofing is always a challenge, but the only real risk to this project is that the schedule might slip during this process. Skirmisher has published over 60 print titles, this project is in good hands.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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