For too long have dungeons been buried in enormous tomes, reliant on confusing referencing, obtuse layout and a little too much page-flipping.
A Doom To Speak hopes to revolutionise dungeon design, borrowing from traditions like the One Page Dungeon Contest, the Pamphlet Jam and the “Zini” (or mini-zine). With this Kickstarter, we're aiming to catapult the traditional dungeon formula into a short, hyper-useable system.
Every zini contains maps, dungeon rooms (complete with descriptions!) as well as monsters, random encounters and treasure, all in a dense, informative medium. There's a good smattering of art & illustration throughout all the zinis, and absolutely zero page-flipping required. It's everything you need to run a session on a single piece of paper that you can print quickly and cheaply in the comfort of your own home - no expensive shipping costs necessary!
We are SoulMuppet Publishing, and we make Best Left Buried, an OSR fantasy horror game where the monsters are scary and the players are scared. You can find out more about us and our games at www.soulmuppet.com, and find our books for sale at DriveThru RPG (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/254584) and Exalted Funeral. (https://www.exaltedfuneral.com/products/best-left-buried-cryptdiggers-guide-to-survival).
Best Left Buried has always promised bespoke, terrifying monsters and evocative, creepy dungeons. A Doom To Speak will bring both to the table, useable for Doomsayers of all experiences.
We are using this project to fund the production of a whole bundle of zinis, using not only the talent of the core SoulMuppet Publishing team, but also incorporating our in-house mapmaker, Foot Of The Mountain Adventures. We’re also working with editors Fiona Geist and Jarrett Crader, as well as a group of guest writers to fill out any stretch goals we might reach.
The zinis are intended for Best Left Buried, but the zini's conventions are light and intuitive enough to be used in other OSR games. We’re planning on including conversion guides for 5e in a separate PDF, as well as a glossary of any terms used in the zinis. We want to make these zinis accessible and easy to read for anyone.
We are starting with a relatively simple goal - £500. With this, we'll fund four zinis and distribute them via PDF, so you can print them at home.
As we raise more money, we’re going to make more zinis through stretch goals. Every £250 above the original £500 target will add an extra zini to the project, and every other zini after the first four will be written by a guest writer. Every zini comes with a map by Pat and a piece of monster art by Ben, and will be edited by Jarrett and Fiona.
£500 – Project funded! Zinis 1-4 created: The Seacaves of the Octoclops, The Wyvern’s Nest, Hearteater’s Hall, The Ravines of Karn, all written by Zach. Funded!
£750 – Zini 5, written by Zach. Funded!
£1000 – Zini 6, written by Cheeseboard Games. Funded!
£1250 – Zini 7, written by Zach. Funded!
£1500 – Zini 8, written by Zedeck Siew. Funded!
£1750 – Zini 9, written by Zach.
£2000 – Zini 10, written by Diogo.
£2250 – Zini 11, written by Zach.
£2500 – Zini 12, written by Michael.
£2750 – Zini 13, written by Zach.
£3000 – Zini 14, written by Mabel.
We’ve got loads more exciting stretch goals. We’ve got full 5e/OSR stat blocks planned, as well as colour art.
What can you pledge for?
Thanks for our social media stretch goal, all pledge levels will come with the Best Left Buried compact rules, broken down into 5 print at home zinis for mobile play. We're also making a single extra useful companion zini with info on stat conversions for other systems and a general style guide.
£1 – Crypt Scout - This gets you access to all of our updates, as well as the digital zini of The Seacaves of the Octoclops. Delivers in June when the Kickstarter ends.
£5 – Crypt Digger - The first four digital zinis (but not those funded by stretch goals): The Seacaves of the Octoclops, The Wyvern’s Nest, Hearteater’s Hall and The Ravines of Karn. Delivers in September.
£10 – Crypt Delver - The digital zinis produced by the project, including those funded by stretch goals. Delivers in September.
£20 – Hoarder - A premium softcover book containing all the content funded by product, delivered by Melsonian Arts Council. Also includes the digital zinis produced by the project, including those funded by stretch goals. Digital rewards will be fulfilled in September and physical rewards will be fulfilled in October. For shipping information, see below.
£50 – Fanatic - Pitch the SoulMuppet team a room, side monster, NPC, piece of treasure or environment, and we’ll work with you to incorporate write it into the zinis. Also comes with all of the physical and digital content from Hoarder. Digital rewards will be fulfilled in September and physical rewards will be fulfilled in October.
£100 – Monster Breeder - Pitch the SoulMuppet team a centrepiece monster of your design. Ben will draw it and then we’ll work with you to produce a whole dungeon around it. Also comes with all of the physical and digital content from Hoarder. Digital rewards will be fulfilled in September, and physical rewards will be fulfilled in October.
While the core premise of the product is a DIY, print-at-home product, we still want to be able to offer a high quality printed product for those who value that.
Once all of the zinis are written and out in the wild, we plan to collate them all together into one small print run of a physical book. This way so you can carry all the zinis in a complete, premium quality physical form.
We are hesitant to price shipping for physical copies of the product before the Kickstarter is completed, because the book could vary dramatically in size depending on how many stretch goals are hit. As a result, we’re going to calculate shipping once we have the final product, and charge it to users when they order the book from the Melsonian Arts Council website. Shipping will be charged later, not as part of the billing for this Kickstarter.
We will send each user who pledged for the physical copy a discount code via email once we are ready to ship physical copies, and from that email there will be a link to purchase your book for free using said code, and you will then only pay for your shipping.
Writing: Zachary Cox makes roleplaying games as the Project Lead for SoulMuppet Publishing. He is best known for creating Best Left Buried, an atmospheric fantasy-horror RPG where the monsters are scary and the characters are scared. As well as handling the writing, Zach also looks after layout, project management and social media for SoulMuppet Publishing products.
Art: Ben Brown has drawn very strange art from a very young age, and is a relative newcomer to roleplaying games. As well as depicting the nightmarish, cold-eyed monsters in Best Left Buried, he also dabbles in political cartooning.
Maps: Pat Eyler (AKA Foot of the Mountain Adventures) is a nerd who’s come back to gaming after many years. He draws maps, DMs games, and blogs. You can find his work on his blog and Patreon.
Editing: Fiona Geist and Jarrett Crader are the MoonRat Conspiracy and collectively responsible for editing Ultraviolet Grasslands and Witchburner from Wizard Thief Fighter, Fever Swamp and Troika! from The Melsonian Arts Council, Solar Blades and Cosmic Spells from Old Skull Press and Silent Titans from Swordfish Islands, as well as the Mothership Players' Survival Guide and Mothership: Dead Planet from Tuesday Knight Games.
Stretch Goal Writers
£1000 - Sarah Mew (Dungeons and Designs), Chris Cæsar (Labyrinth: The Adventure Game, Justins and Dragins) and Jack Cæsar (My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria, Labyrinth: The Adventure Game) make one page dungeons as part of Cheeseboard Games. They do weekly dungeon design streams on Mondays and NPC design streams on Thursdays at https://www.twitch.tv/cheeseboardgames
£1500 - Zedeck Siew is based in Port Dickson, Malaysia; he has been an editor, fiction writer, translator, and games designer. With artist Mun Kao, he is currently creating fantasy-RPG zines based on the mythistory and material cultures of Southeast Asia, collectively titled "A Thousand Thousand Islands".
£2000 - Diogo Nogueira is a Brazilian game designer and illustrator, founder of Old Skull Publishing and creator of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells, Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells and Dark Streets & Darker Secrets. He loves playing games and writing them, with a strong passion for Old School games and the DIY culture.
£2500 - Mike Lombardi is an internet plumber by day and a game designer by breaks, lunches, and night. He's an open source maintainer, technical community organizer, writer, and really, really loves writing and playing games that lean into danger and dastardy.
£3000 - Mabel Harper is a trans Filipina musician, writer, game designer, and digital artist. When she's not creating the stuff of nightmares, she's making queer pop music as Don't do it, Neil. Or she might just be vegging out on her bed and watching anime with her cats.
Risks and challenges
We want to deliver all of these zinis as soon as we can. The provisional delivery date for the project is the start of September, but our project schedule has a lot of room to anticipate potential challenges, and if everything goes to plan we should deliver it much sooner. The first four zinis are already prepared well before our launch date, and the ones we have left to have left to produce shouldn’t take too long to finish.
By moving into a predominantly digital fulfilment model and relying on you printing the products, we circumvent a lot of the usual issues concerning distribution and printing that many Kickstarters run into. Our small print run shouldn’t provide too many issues, and between ourselves and Melsonian Arts Council, we’ve brought close to a dozen print runs of this size to storefronts already and physical print products from Best Left Buried are already available around the world through our distribution partners. We’ve also allowed ourselves an extra month (delivery is in October) to anticipate any potential issues.
- (30 days)