I guess I started making Memento Mori when I finally hit my breaking point with High Fantasy. So many campaign settings are High Fantasy. Powerful wizards, noble knights, and marauding dragons. Nothing wrong with any of it, but let's face it, you can't eat the same meal every night.
I wanted something new. Something dark. Something different.
Memento Mori started as individual stories and snippets of Dungeons and Dragons games. Eventually I used many of the concepts in my own home games, and after a time realized just how starved some people were for what I presented. I took inspiration from dark fantasy, gothic fantasy, and sword and sorcery. It just worked so well.
For the last two years my home group and I have defined, built, and rebuilt the setting that would become Memento Mori. A dark gothic fantasy that takes place not in medieval times, but in the age of industry and exploration. Where firearms gave men courage, but the threat of monsters remains. Where lands long forsaken to old world horrors were finally being fought back against. A land where magic leads to damnation. A place where even fighting against this horror can lead one to their own destruction.
Memento Mori takes risks that most campaign settings won't. Steamships, zeppelins, and trains. Weird science, witchcraft, and seduction to the darkness. A unique mix of that I'm sure you will enjoy.
Magic is Evil: Throughout Vaetia, the world in which Memento Mori takes place, it is known that magic is a wicked force that drives mortals to damnation. All forms of magic in Memento Mori derive from terrible sources. Whether born or pacted as a Witch, or tempting damnation as a Magician, magic inevitably draws evil not just to the spellcaster, but infests them with it. In Memento Mori playing a spellcaster is a double edged sword. Your power comes with a terrible price.
Does that mean all spellcasters themselves are evil? No.
Does it mean that all spellcasters are at risk of corruption? Yes.
Technology is On the Rise: Scientific progress is in full swing. Firearms are replacing the bow and arrow. Science is constantly finding new compounds and ways to heal the mind and body. Train tracks have been laid between major cities allowing more to travel the dangerous wilderness in safety. Large sailing ships now take explorers to new exotic lands filled with their own horrors and treasures. In Memento Mori you will have the opportunity to use technology to battle the forces of darkness. Grenades, rifles, and all sorts of other unique weapons, armor, and equipment will be available to characters. Some marvels even so amazing they rival magical items. Bonus: Marvels do not corrupt like magical items do.
Classic Gothic Tones: Whether being hunted through the cold misty forests of Draskul, or coming across a crumbling estate filled with the ghosts of a dead and decadent family, A terrible romance between a young and kind nobleman and the spirit of a dead countess that visits him in his bedroom on every full moon. Memento Mori is ensconced with classic gothic tones. The world is under a great deal of change. Old monarchies are dying out as new ideas come into the world. These old nobles cling to their power through terrible secret acts with demonic beings, exacting the price from the common folk under them.
A Need for Heroes: The world at large is in need of heroes. Forging new paths, destroying hidden evils, and recovering ancient lore. These are just some of the things that the world needs heroes for. With corrupt governments, ineffectual superstitions, and fear gripping the lives of so many, who does the average person put their faith in? Sometimes it is the disgraced soldier who fights for them. Sometimes it is the surly witch hunter slaying the undead horde. Sometimes it is the witch seeking to destroy her enemies. Whatever the case may be there is a place for it somewhere in the setting.
New Races: Some unique races inhabit the world of Memento Mori. The eldritch Electus, humans who long ago ruled a vast empire and altered their biology. The Felisican, strange animal/human hybrids with a terrible history of enslavement and violence. The Kurz, a people grown from a nation overcome by Daemons who now live with a third eye and a terrible curse. Finally the Goblins, the only race not descended from humans on the continent.
New and Altered Classes: Play the Alchemist, a unique chemist that can specialize in healing, poison, or even mind altering drugs. Play the Witch Hunter, a specialist warrior who hunts down to destroy the occult. Play a Witch, a practitioner of daemonic magic. In addition each of the new classes have at least three specializations. Other classes have new options as well. Some classes have been altered to help fit the setting.
Rosenkratz is the second oldest nation in Devara. First broken off of Alleagne, the nation of Rosenkratz fought a civil war to gain their independence. Once, Rosenkratz encompassed the lands of Creaca and Duvio. Creaca fought Rosenkratz to gain its independence, a concept that Rosenkratz allowed because of the crazed church that rules there. Duvio, in a surprising move, actually purchased its independence from the ruling lords of Rosenkratz.
Rosenkratz is a wealthy plutocracy, with three major cities each ruled by one incredibly wealthy family. These three families, along with five others, make up the seven ruling families of Rosenkratz. The seven families are: Thobrand, Hollister, Glail, Ruxon, Mormont, Taycus, and Calmaker. These families have changed over the years. Only the Thobrand, the Mormont, and the Ruxon, are original families that have been around since the beginning of Rosenkratz. These three rule the major cities of the country, and the others are simply not to their wealth level. The Duvio's were once a family that was around since the beginning, but now control the kingdom that bears their name.
Each of these families elect a 'Merchant King' from among the families to head as the executor of the kingdom. Effectively both a king and a pawn, the Merchant King election is a dangerous one that is most often a result of bribes, barters, and intimidation amongst the families in order to secure one of their own to the position. It comes with great power, but also severe limitations. The Merchant King can veto any decision made by the merchant families, but must rely on their collective military might to protect himself. Favor currying, dirty politics, assassinations, these are all part of the normal daily life in the Rosenkratz nobility.
The current Merchant King is Darius Mormont, a middle aged man with a keen eye towards profit and power. Most think it was a mistake to elect Darius as he, unlike many others, is less of a pawn and more of a master. Darius has eyes towards Telmuria, and their decadent nobility. He has begun making arms deals with them, as well as mercenary purchases to help guard their borders. He has been making a hefty profit off of Telmuria, and has even been kind enough to extend a line of credit to them. The latter act has angered even his own family, but the keenest in the houses do not believe that Darius would be so foolish as to extend military credit without reason. They believe he may be helping them accrue a debt with him. A debt they will need to repay else face military action from Rosenkratz. Something they know the Telmurians will not want to do, as their eastern front is already in constant conflict with Draskul.
Fighter Archetype - Triggerman
You embrace the modern pistol as your go-to weapon. Unlike others you specialize in this weapon, and go so far as to learn new and impressive feats that few can match.
Quickdraw At 3rd level you can always draw and stow pistols as a free flourish. In addition if you draw a pistol in your first round of a combat you gain advantage on your very first shot in that combat.
Point Blank At 7th level whenever you target someone within ten feet you with a pistol you can choose to deal an additional 1d6 points of damage to your damage roll.
Quick Load At 10th level you can reload one pistol without any action once per round.
Powerful Critical At 15th level you deal an additional 1d10 points of damage whenever you strike a critical hit with a pistol.
Riddled with Ammo At 18th level you can deal a massive amount of damage to a single target whenever you strike an opponent with more than one pistol shot. If a target is hit with more than one shot in your turn they take an additional 1d6 points of damage for each successful shot at the end of your turn. For example if a single target was struck with four shots, three from your main hand and one from your off-hand, you deal an additional 3d6 points of damage.
Monster - The Gog
The terror of the Gog is known across Vaetia. The Gog are a pestilence that every country has seemingly had to deal with at least once. Once they find their way to civilized people the Gog spread like wildfire and can repopulate at an alarming rate. Entire towns have been shut off and burned to help stem the infection.
Gog Pup's, as they a re sometimes referred to, are born with an overwhelming hunger. They seek out living or dead things to feast on and rarely hesitate to kill and feast on the living. Once satiated, or at least not starved, the Gog reproduces over one hundred caterpillar like spawn that grow underground
Gog will find a dead host, and then sit upon their back, digging their head through the base of the dead hosts skull exchanging their mouth for the human mouth. They then wrap their legs around the spine where nerve endings attach to the dead hosts nervous system. In this way they gain complete control over the dead corpse. This new body allows the Gog to move faster, cling to various surfaces, and mutate the host to be far deadlier. This common Gog is known as a Gog Runner due to they high land speed.
Though it is even worse when a Gog manages to bond with a living host...
Today nearly all the writing is done for the campaign. I am looking to start a series of books detailing the world of Memento Mori. The Kickstarter will begin the series starting with these three:
- Memento Mori: Ars Technica - This book will detail the custom classes, archetypes, feats, backgrounds, equipment and other custom rules and features of Memento Mori.
- Memento Mori: Magic and Marvels - This book will detail the custom spells, magical items and marvels of the campaign.
- Memento Mori: Vaetia - This book will detail the various countries, cultures, wilderness, politics, and history of Vaetia. Vaetia is the continent where the campaign setting focuses upon.
I will work on and release one at a time. Smaller books have smaller printing costs, and this works to lower the costs further.
When the kickstarter finished I would start by getting everything ready to get one of the three books finished. Hire the artists and begin getting the layouts ready. This run through I've decided to cut some costs by shifting some of my expectations. The books will all be softcover, black and white interior with full color cover. Each book I expect to be approximately sixty pages.
We will be using DriveThruRPG to fulfill all the lower tier pledges. If you select a tier where you are asking for only digital rewards and PDF copies, or select just purchasing one copy of the book, you will be be given a code as each book is finished to download (in the case of PDF's) from DriveThruRPG.
For those purchasing special the books, or opting in for the physical rewards, such as the limited signed edition or initiative tracker, you will have to add a shipping cost to your pledge. You will get your books shipped in the mail from US.
We will be running two stretch goal systems during the pledging. The first will be for additional funding, while second will be for Facebook Shares and Likes.
Social Media Stretch Goals
We are looking to spread the word far and wide. As such we are asking for everyone to 'Like' the Luna publishing page. Shares matter. we will be creating a post for others to share. Depending on the number of shares that post has we will increase the benefits:
Facebook Page Link
- 50 Likes - We will include pre-made characters as a Digital Reward for those hoping to jump into the game.
- 100 Likes - We will include a short, one-page mini adventure for jumping into the game.
- 250 Likes - We will make all the art downloadable.
- 500 Likes -We will include character art and monster art in premade setups for printing and crafting pawns from.
Twitter Retweets/Likes @luna_publishing
- 250 - We will work on making as many of our art assets Roll20 / Fantasy Grounds Astral Tabletop compatible as possible.
- 500 - The Quartz Rose, a strange and famous author, has agreed to write articles about various events going on all over the world. Twice a month for a year, and available for free.
- 1000 - We will craft a 'Memento Mori' cheat book. A printable booklet that will be able to be given to new players to help them understand and creature characters for this setting!
Funding Stretch Goals
- $6,000 - Uncommon Races are now included. Say hello to the Dhampir, Promethean, and the Changeling. I will give some details of each continent into the books, instead of just Vaetia.
- $7,000 - We want more! Add at least 25 pages of more material to each of the three books.
- $8,000 - Books will be printed full color.
- $9,000 - Reference Deck - Cards that hold important information about various topics in Memento Mori. Great for quick GM reference, or for players to help remember. Print on Cardstock for best results as this is a digital reward.
- $10,000 - Books will be all Hard Cover.
- $12,000 - Double the art!
- $15,000 - Memento Mori - Horrors of Vaetia : This book will be a sort of Monster Manual for Vaetia. We have over a dozen monsters already made for Memento Mori, and several edited ones. We plan on building over sixty creatures to use in this book, and being that each creature will need at least one or two pictures made in color it will be the most expensive to make. Digital Reward backers will get the PDF as a bonus, and physical reward backers will receive the actual book. This book will be the last to be made, and will increase fulfillment time.
Customized Character Sheets
Though our Digital rewards are somewhat dependent on Facebook stretch goals reached, our Physical Rewards are already planned out.
Memento Mori T-Shirt
Player Character Journal
Dungeon Master Adventure Tome
Skull Inspiration Token
At the end of the Kickstarter I will be allowing all of you to increase your pledges and payments in order to purchase various addons. Anyone purchasing our Physical addons will not be charged shipping as these addons will be with your physical rewards. Everyone else may have to pay for shipping.
- $15 Extra Book - If you want an extra copy of one of the books just let us know. The price is per book, not per set. Digital pledges can also use this to get a physical book, but would require the pledger to pay an extra $5 for shipping.
- $40 Extra Book Set - An extra set of all three books.
- $50 Limited Edition Book - Seperate Limited Edition copy for those pledging at the Alienist, Witchcraft and Weird Science, or the Explorer level.
- $15 Memento Mori T-Shirt
- $15 Poster Map
- $20 Art Poster - Pick one of our artwork pieces to make a poster out of it. I will have examples set once more art for the books.
- $30 - Custom Dungeon Masters Screen
- $10 Dungeon Masters Journal
- $10 Player Character Journal
- $8 Set of 4 Inspiration Tokens
"With an emphasis on the natural world and its sometimes macabre nature, I explore the small details and large questions of life through my work. I dabble in character design, fantasy settings, and often times volatile and unpredictable medium. "
"I am an illustrator and designer, I work full time as a freelance artist on games, tabletop games, books and so on. I enjoy various types of projects rather than focusing on one specific thing and most of my work consist of creating the concepts and then illustrating environments, characters and items. All this started as hobby and I still work on personal projects all the time. "
Link to other projects Augustinas Raginskis has worked on.
Gregory Lucas - Main author, designer, and mental case that crafted Memento Mori. When not working as a teacher he designs, plays, and is generally immersed in RPG games as he has for the last twenty-five years.
G. Rae Lucas - Graphic designer, her husband's muse, and abnormally obsessed Scott Snyder fangirl. Works as a graphic designer, but prefers making many of the illustrative assets used in publication.
Risks and challenges
This is the first major project I've worked on of this size, and I fully expect to have a bit of a learning experience in all of this. Delays happen, but hopefully with the team I have backing me we should avoid anything major. I'm already in contact with many of the artists who will be working on the project and they are ready to start. Some of them have worked on kickstarter projects before as well as other published material. I don't foresee the art acquisition taking too long.
I have written most of this is my off time, clocking in at least over 500 hours of design, writing, testing, playtesting, and rewriting. Luckily I am a teacher full time and the summer will give me a great chance to finish. Normally I work another job, but this kickstarter will help keep me afloat and working full time on this. I'm very close to completing the full campaign setting text all by itself, and I highly doubt there is any danger in that not being completed. Stretch goals may increase the time it takes to complete based on what additional materials may need to be commissioned such as art, and more writing, but that would only add to the end result. I believe an 6-month period is a more than realistic goal, in fact I may be being generous in my estimation, but if I need to write more for the project for the stretch goals during the school year it may delay it further. Either way I plan to give at least weekly updates just to let everyone know how things are going and keep them apprised of any delays. I also have a good deal of colleagues who are experienced in book layouts and graphic design who are going to be part of putting this whole thing together. Many of them have years of experience doing so.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)