In the 70's and 80's, RPG box sets with booklets were all the rage. In recent years, many game publishers have shifted to publishing 200+ page RPG hardbacks instead of the much-beloved booklet format of prior years. Hardbacks have a great shelf-life, but many of us miss the convenience of smaller books which have streamlined mechanics and easily lay flat on the game table.
This project leverages OGL content to create a new role-playing game that is fully 5e compatible but optimized for old-school play. We had a prior crowdfunding campaign to develop digital versions of the game content. Now, we want to take the game to the next level by offering box set editions with physical booklets.
There are two versions you can choose from which have different booklets sizes. Each version will contain the same text content but packaged differently to fit the different booklet sizes. Both versions form a complete RPG system that is fully 5e compatible and can advance characters up to level 15.
Red Box Contents
The Red Box edition consists of two 8.5x11" booklets — a Player's Guide and a Gamemaster's Guide — each between 48 and 64 pages. Here are the planned contents of each Red Box booklet:
- Book 1: Player’s Guide — Solo Adventure, Character Creation, Game Rules, and Magic Rules with Spells
- Book 2: GM's Guide — GM's Guide with 150+ monsters and NPCs
White Box Contents
The White Box edition repackages the content into four 5.5x8.5” booklets. The Red Box Player’s Guide is split into White Box Books 1 and 2. The Red Box Gamemaster’s Guide is split into White Box Books 3 and 4. For space reasons, the Solo Adventure in the Red Box is not included in the White Box edition (though you’ll still get a Digital version you can print and use).
Here are the planned contents of each White Box booklet:
- Book 1: Characters & Combat — Character Creation and Game Rules
- Book 2: Eldritch Wizardry — Magic Rules with Spells
- Book 3: Worlds & Adventure — GM's Guide
- Book 4: Concise Bestiary — 150+ monsters and NPCs
Each box contains the booklets listed above.
- 5 Races — We will include all the rules and content needed to play the four standard races: Human, Elf, Dwarf, and Halfling, as well as Half-Elves.
- 4 Classes — We will also support the four standard classes: Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, and Rogue.
- Solo Adventure — We will include a choose-your-own-adventure style introductory game that is fun for learning or for solo play. Just like the original! (Red Box will have this in the physical booklets; White Box will not have it due to space reasons but you’ll get a printable digital copy).
The Gamemaster's Guide will give you all the tools to run the game, including a bestiary. The guide also provides unique tools to make running dynamic, sandbox games and hex-crawls a breeze! Here is a sampling of some of the tools you can expect in the Gamemaster's Guide:
- Old-School House Rules — Optional to make your game feel old-school (use as many or few as you want!).
- Mob and Montage Rules — Run mass battles or epic scenes with just a few dice rolls.
- Early Edition Conversions — Tools to convert 1e, B/X, BECM and other early editions to 5e.
- Hex-Crawl Rules — Rules to determine terrain and wilderness survival for true sandbox style adventuring!
- Encounters by Terrain and CR — Includes Encounter Twists to spice up any scenario.
- Various In-Game GM Tools — Quick NPCs, Tavern Names, Weather Tables, Event Escalations (‘Something Happens!’), Plot Twists, Encounter Design Tips, 10 Low-Prep Adventure Setups, Quick Treasure, Quick Magic Items, Standard Treasure.
- Bestiary — Over 150 monsters and NPCs.
In addition to the box sets, you can order the booklets individually (see the ‘Add-Ons’ section below).
To give you an idea of what the boxes and booklet interiors will look like, we've created some samples.
Our goal is to reach $4,000 which allows us to complete the layout of both sets of books and bring the physical box set products to our fans as soon as possible.
We have a version of the Player’s Guide and GM’s Guide already complete which is being playtested. Work is already underway for a number of stretch goals such as the Adventures in Redmark module.
In addition to making the 'Dungeonesque Red & White Box Sets' available to our fans, the Kickstarter’s stretch goals will also set the stage for future development of additional old-school products for 5e.
How do you support this project? It's very easy, just choose a pledge level and click "Back this Project." Here is a breakdown of recommended pledge levels (see sidebar text for additional details):
- $1 — MINION: Hat Tip to show your support!
- $35 — DIGITAL FAN: All Digital Products
- $50 — WHITE BOX FAN: Physical White Box Set + All Digital Products
- $50 — RED BOX FAN: Physical Red Box Set + All Digital Products
- $100 — OLD-SCHOOL OVERLORD: 1 Red Box and 1 White Box Set + All Digital Products
- $500 — ICONIC LEGEND: Framed Original Art from the Book’s Interior + 1 Red Box and 1 White Box Set + All Digital Products
- $1,000 — ICONIC KING: Framed Original Art from the Adventures in Redmark Cover + 1 Red Box and 1 White Box Set + All Digital Products
- $1,500 — ICONIC EMPEROR: Framed Original Art from the Box Set Cover + 1 Red Box and 1 White Box Set + All Digital Products
You’ll get the PDFs copies of the Red Box GM’s and Player’s Guide as soon as the Kickstarter closes and the payments process. Other digital products will arrive over the next three months as soon as they’re created. Final physical box sets will ship in around 4 months (if we manufacture locally) or up to 9 months (if we have high volume and print overseas).
At the following stretch goal levels we have several additional products we will unlock. As additional Red Box and White Box booklets unlock we will make them available as print add-on products which you can purchase as part of a '4 for $40' bundle in addition to the Digital versions you'll get as a backer.
We also have several additional products which we will announce as higher stretch goals are achieved!
$5,000 UNLOCKED!!! — Players Summary (PDF product: new edition of a one-sheet Player’s rules summary)
$6,000 UNLOCKED!!! — GM's Summary (PDF product: new edition of a one-sheet GM’s rules summary)
$7,000 UNLOCKED!!! — Form-Fillable Character Sheet (PDF product: form-Fillable character sheet with old-school art)
$8,000 UNLOCKED!!! — Pregens (PDF product: 6 pregenerated characters)
$9,000 UNLOCKED!!! — Hex Paper (PDF product: printable hex graph sheets)
$10,000 UNLOCKED!!! — Graph Paper (PDF product: printable square graph sheets)
$11,000 UNLOCKED!!! — Hex Region Map (PDF product: map of a local Redmark fantasy region to explore)
$12,000 (LOCKED) — Montage & Chases Cheat Sheet (PDF product: GM tool)
$13,000 (LOCKED) — Mob Rules Cheat Sheet (PDF product: GM tool)
$14,000 (LOCKED) — Last Will & Testament Forms (PDF product: player’s handout)
$16,000 (LOCKED) — Session Planner Sheet (PDF product: GM tool)
$18,000 (LOCKED) — Character Tracker Tool (PDF product: GM tool)
$20,000 (LOCKED) — Encounter Planning Tool (PDF product: GM tool)
$22,000 (LOCKED) — Additional Artwork for Products
$24,000 (LOCKED) — Hex Crawl Map Kit (PDF product: GM tool)
$27,000 (LOCKED) — Tide & Time Tool (PDF product: GM tool)
$30,000 (LOCKED) — Compatibility License (License, compatibility logo and templates to create your own Dungeonesque compatible products!)
$35,000 (LOCKED) — Insta-Treasure Die Drop Sheet (PDF product: GM tool)
$40,000 (LOCKED) — Adventures in Redmark Adventure Module (all backers get PDF versions, physical product available as an add-on item)
$45,000 (LOCKED) — GM Screen Inserts (PDF product: GM tool)
$50,000 (LOCKED) — Rogues Gallery Book (all backers get PDF versions, physical product available as an add-on item)
$60,000 (LOCKED) — Oracles & Inspiration (all backers get PDF versions, physical product available as an add-on item)
$70,000 (LOCKED) — Patron Adventures (all backers get PDF versions, physical product available as an add-on item)
$80,000 (LOCKED) — Campaign Codex (all backers get PDF versions, physical product available as an add-on item)
$90,000 (LOCKED) — Forms & Tools (all backers get PDF versions, physical product available as an add-on item)
$100,000 (LOCKED) — ??? (To be announced!)
$110,000 (LOCKED) — ??? (To be announced!)
$120,000 (LOCKED) — ??? (To be announced!)
If you want an add-on like a Dice & Dice Bag set, simply increase your pledge order by the amount of the products your adding. For example, if you want to pay $100 to get the RED & WHITE OVERLORD pledge level with a copy of both boxes, and you want to add $15 dice and dice bags to both boxes, increase your pledge to $130 (even though your reward tier is still the $100 one). In the BackerKit survey after the Kickstarter it will let you pick what you want (or even add and pay for additional items then).
Extra Empty Boxes — $10
If you are getting a box set and you want an extra empty box, just add $10 to your pledge level for each additional box you want. When we send out Backerkit surveys we'll ask which box you want. In most cases there will be no extra charge for shipping since we'll just put in in your existing shipment container.
Dice & Dice Bags — $15
Add a dice bag or dice to your boxes! Just up your pledge by $15 for each dice bag set that you want. We'll ask which color dice you want (red or white) when we send out the BackerKit surveys after the Kickstarter funds.
The ‘4 for $40’ Deal — $40
We know a lot of you will want more copies of these books! As part of the Kickstarter we are providing you the opportunity to buy ‘4 for $40’ — add any combinations of 4 booklets below for $40. Simply up your pledge by that amount. We’ll send out a BackerKit survey to get a final count of what products you wanted. You’ll pay shipping costs when you fill out the BackerKit survey. These are the physical booklets you can add as part of your 4 for $40 deal:
- Red Box Book 1: Player’s Guide — Solo Adventure, Character Creation, Game Rules, and Magic Rules with Spells
- Red Box Book 2: GM's Guide — GM's Guide with 150+ monsters and NPCs
- White Box Book 1: Characters & Combat — Character Creation and Game Rules
- White Box Book 2: Eldritch Wizardry — Magic Rules with Spells
- White Box Book 3: Worlds & Adventure — GM's Guide
- White Box Book 4: Concise Bestiary — 150+ monsters and NPCs
For example, if you wanted 6 extra White Box ‘Book 1’ copies and 2 extra ‘Book 2’ copies, just add $80 to your pledge. We’ll work out the details when we send out the BackerKit survey.
‘Redmark: Adventures in Varria’ 5e Adventure Module (Print + PDF) — $25
This physical print product ‘Redmark: Adventures in Varria' Module is a 40 page old-school 5e adventure that includes the PDF version. It is a collection of gamemaster tools and scenarios to run high-energy roleplaying sessions with very little preparation. The Land of Varria provides a quick adventure setting which you can use, modify, or even replace with your own.
The ten two-page adventures and three campaign arcs provide the opportunity for months of exciting adventures! Also included are sandbox GM tools such as random magic items, 3 bullet campaigns, random towns, random encounters, random trinkets, and random NPC names.
5e Adventure PDF Collection — $10
This set includes five One-Sheet Adventures. The adventures are PDF copies of the five 2-page adventures which include full-color map illustrations. All have stat blocks for 5e and can be run in about 4 hours. The bonus adventures are: 1) 'M1 Amulet of Shinkara', 2) 'M2 Raiders of the Virgins Pilgrimage', 3) 'M3 Tale of the Dwarves', 4) 'M4 The Fourth Wing Riots', and 5) 'M5 Mask of the Heart Tree'.
World of Redmark Digital Maps Set — $15
Digital copies of both color and black-and-white 24" x 36” world maps. Each map has a hex and non-hex version, for a total of four digital world maps. Additionally you'll receive 18" x 24” color digital poster maps of both the Redmark City-state and Sewers of Redmark.
Simply up your pledge by that amount. We’ll send out a Backerkit survey to get a final count of what products you wanted.
Please note that we are not including any shipping costs in your initial pledge. We'll be using the Backerkit partner service to sends surveys to our customers and let you pay shipping costs at the time the products ship.
Based on current postage rates, we expect to charge the following shipping costs. The below fees only cover our postage costs. In order to keep our fees as low as possible we're not charging extra for packaging materials or handling.
- United States: $11.95 fixed cost for either one or two box sets plus any optional add-ons you buy. For U.S. customers, getting two box sets is the same price as getting one box set. This is because we can use Priority Mail® Medium Flat Rate Box which has room for up to two boxes and doesn't change price as you increase weight. Including add-ons like dice and books doesn't increase the cost to you.
- Canada: $15.50 for each box set plus any optional add-ons you buy. So one box set is $15.50, and two box sets would be $31.00. Extra add-ons should fit in the box and we won't charge extra (even though our actual costs go up due to the extra weight).
- International: $24.95 for each box set plus optional add-ons. Yep, it's pricey, but on average this is what shipping will cost us (for some countries it will likely cost us more). It won't cost extra if you add in dice or extra books. Two box sets will cost $49.90.
- Retail: For verified retailers in the contiguous U.S., $16.35 fixed cost for 4 box sets plus any optional add-ons you buy (we are using Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box which doesn't change price as you increase weight).
[FYI, some companies have been nearly bankrupted as a result of the change in postage fees when delivery of physical items comes months after the Kickstarter. We don’t want to go out of business; we want to get these products to you! :-) We're using Backerkit to charge for postage fees when we're closer to shipping.]
The higher our funding level, the more products we can deliver! Help spread the news about our Dungeonesque Kickstarter to expand our product line (oh yeah, and as a backer, you’ll get more stuff!).
Rogue Comet is an RPG company formed by fans of the hobby who want to create time-saving GM tools to make gaming easier. Together with a hoard of helpers and supporters we strive to create fantastic products for everyone! Earlier this year we completed a very successful Kickstarter for 5e Adventures, and now look forward to expanding our product lines.
Rogue Comet is a company formed by fans of the hobby who want to create time-saving GM tools to make gaming easier. Together with a hoard of helpers and supporters we strive to create fantastic products for everyone!
Our creative team includes:
Stan Shinn — Stan has been playing RPGs since 1978 when his first character survived all of 90 minutes before dying in a fiendish dungeon trap. He's been hooked on role-playing ever since! Stan is a former US Southwest D&D Adventurer's League Coordinator for 5th edition games, moderator of the largest D&D 5e Google+ community, author of several indie RPGs, and creator of many 5e tools such as a GM Screen and 1e to 5e conversion tools featured in EnWorld articles.
Nathan Panke — Nathan has been playing and running RPGs for over 25 years. He played his first role-playing game at a Boy Scout camp. Since then Nathan has played every version of D&D and any other RPG that he can get a hold of. He has written adventures for several editions of D&D as well as other systems including: 13th Age, Call of Cthulhu, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Savage Worlds (Several settings), Star Wars Edge of the Empire, Swords & Wizardry, and White Star.
Paul Oklesh — Paul is a relative newcomer to RPGs, having only been involved in the hobby for 3 years. He got his start through the D&D 5E playtests but has since dabbled in many different systems. Paul has written several adventures for 5E and has been published by EnWorld Publishing's EN5IDER magazine - his work "The Business of Emotion" (which was coincidentally written for this campaign setting) serving as their free sample adventure.
Damien Goldwarg — Damien was introduced to RPGs with the advent of 4th Edition D&D. He quickly fell in love with GMing and has been designing content ever since. When 5E entered its playtesting phase, he was among the first wave of people to adopt and master the new system. Damien has earned a reputation for creating adventures that offer both memorable stories and satisfying combat encounters.
Question: What exactly IS Dungeonesque?
Answer: Dungeonesque is a concise version of 5e using a retro layout (white pages, clean design) and styled after 70s and 80s box set games. There will be a Red Box (8.5x11", two booklet) version and a White Box (5.5x8.5", four booklet) version of the core rules, along with with physical boxes for each set.
Question: Say, this looks familiar. I think I've seen some of this stuff on another crowdfund. Is there some overlap?
Answer: To test the market for interest, we ran a prior IndieGoGo campaign that ended in March to raise money to develop the content for the Dungeonesque Red Box RPG. That crowdfunding project was for PDFs and print-at-cost booklets only, but not boxes or traditional book print runs.
We successfully raised money for that first phase of the product, but customers have been asking for two things: a physical box set, and a White Box digest version of the same content. This new Kickstarter raises money to develop the box set versions with a new White Box format.
A development budget and a manufacturing budget are two different things. Box sets are not cheap to make! We appreciate our backers of the Dungeonesque Red Box RPG IndieGoGo, and to show our gratitude we’ve contacted those backers and are giving them a monetary credit in the case they want to upgrade and get products from this new Kickstarter.
(By the way, Fred Hicks from Evil Hat (the folks who created the Fate RPG), wrote a great article about the need for follow-up crowdfunding for physical products).
Question: I've got a $5 (or $10) credit from a prior crowdfund -- how do I get a $50 set for $40?
Back at the $1 level and then up your pledge to $50. Kickstarter lets you increase a pledge but not decrease it.
Question: What is the advantage of using the Dungeonesque booklets vs. the current hardback books from WOTC?
Answer: There are a few things we're striving for:
- Usability: In my prior career I was a human-centered-design expert for many years. Table-top ergonomics are a big focus for me. I want the content to be easy to scan, easy to understand, and easy to thumb through to find the content you want. To that end, we'll experiment with tricks like putting key tables and an index on the back cover.
- Hackability: These books have black-and-white interiors. And they're inexpensive. Write in the margins. Print a custom version of the PDF that has some additional charts and tables you've made for your campaign and add them to the back. Get a copy spiral-bound at your local printer. Hack these booklets, and use them like you want!
- Providing an inexpensive, high-production-value tool for new players: One of the things I've loved about Savage Worlds is their inexpensive $10 rulebook. We want to allow that same, low-cost freedom. Have a new player to the game? You can have a stack of low-cost Dungeonesque Player's Guides you can hand out like candy. You can print them at home. We'll have special low-ink covers that will look great even if you're printing at home and getting Kinko's to spiral bind the books.
- Mixing booklets and traditional hardback handbooks at the same table: One of our top goals is to make the Dungeonesque Player's Guide and Gamemaster's Guide interoperable with the other 5e core books already published. For my part, I'll use Wizard's DMG for certain activities when I prepare for a game, but the Dungeonesque Gamemaster's Guide will be my go-to tool for use during the game. My players will use a mix of traditional hardback PHBs with one or two having a Dungeonesque Player's Guide. It all works together.
Question: Why not just print out the WOTC 5e Basic Rules?
Answer: The 5e Basic Rules published by WOTC are great and certainly are useful for printing. They clock in at 115 pages, have no cover, and no interior art. Dungeonesque will provide a streamlined alternative set of rules that run around 48 pages, have interior art, and a beautiful cover. Both products cover the same set of rules.
Question: What is the difference between the Dungeonesque rules and the full set of rules in the SRD at http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/systems-reference-document-srd?
Answer: Rules-wise, you won’t notice a difference. Aside from adding a few optional house-rules, we're not changing any rules or in any way making this incompatible with the standard 5e rules. This product is simple a very concise, old-school expression of those rules which also adds some really cool tools and gaming aids.
Question: Can you really produce two types of box sets for $4,000?
Answer: Honestly, we’ll be losing money at $4,000. It’s only at higher levels of funding that we’ll break even. However, we’re anxious to get this product into market! We hope to get additional revenue through continued sales after the Kickstarter ends. Additionally, we have multiple investors who have pledged to assist with funding if we should need it. So have no fear, we’ll deliver this product, even if we don’t make a mint :-)
Question: Will it really take that long to deliver the box set?
Answer: It all depends on our funding level. If our funding level is modest, we will have the boxes manufactured domestically, assemble the box contents ourselves, and do our own distribution. If this is the case we may be shipping the boxes within 4 months. However, if we are wildly successful we may need to print off-shore and have a distributor assist with packaging and mailing the merchandise. Offshore printing takes many months, so we’ve padded our schedule accordingly.
Risks and challenges
The vast majority of the text is complete. All that remains is some small edits to the GM's Guide, the layout of the choose-your-own-adventure text, and layout. We think we can deliver this project without problems.
However, as with any manufacturing process, things can go wrong. We have identified that delays in layout and delays in printer setup could happen. So we have allowed additional time in our schedule as a buffer to enable us to avoid such delay issues. If all goes as planned we may even be able to deliver the project a little sooner.
We understand the printing process as our founder has published several fiction, nonfiction, and RPG books before and has worked with multiple printers. With projects like this there is nearly always something that costs more, so it makes business sense to have contingencies for this. We have built this into our costs.
No matter what problems occur we will always keep our backers and supporters informed of any issues that arise so you will be aware of the situation and how we will be handling it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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