For Kickstarter’s Make/100 month I’m making one hundred wooden boxes with laser engraved tops. Each box will be signed and numbered by me, Taylor Smith, the creator of Spell: The RPG. Included in each box is a perfect bound copy of the 48pg Spell: The RPG rulebook, 88pg perfect bound Spellbook Vol. 1, a set of 108 wooden letter tiles for playing the game, 12 wooden six-sided dice, and a cloth drawstring bag. This unique collector’s set is only available through this Kickstarter campaign!
While the Collector's Chest collection is limited, the books and letter tiles are available without limit. The books are in their own reward tiers and printed letter tiles can be added onto to any tier (see FAQ).
All of existence and nonexistence, reality and surreality, is spoken in a Universal Language. It describes all the laws of the universe: what is and is not, everything that ever happened and ever will, won’t, or can’t. This language is beyond the full comprehension of any mortal, though a rare few have an ear for it. These individuals can translate the Universal Language into familiar glyphs and, from there, spell out new descriptions, new laws, new realities. This is the world of Spell: The RPG – What you spell is what you cast.
Spell: The RPG is a complete, original tabletop roleplaying game. Characters have twelve stats called Impulses that describe their motivations and problem solving methods, which they can use to accomplish any basic task. Impulses are also used to cast Spells: While characters observe the Universal Language and translate it into new pieces of reality, the player uses letter tiles to spell out the magic the character is going to cast.
Endless possibility is balanced with a dynamic six-sided dice system, keeping gameplay accessible and imaginative while still being rooted in fair math. Spell: The RPG is setting-neutral, which means it can be played with any story, in any time period, wherever you’d like!
See the game played here:
Spellbook Vol. 1 is a collection of five campaign stories. Each chapter presents a unique plot and setting that can be played as an ongoing campaign or a single session with the option of continuing. Through stretch goals (below), we've also unlocked four mini-chapters of the digital-only Spellbook Vol. 1.5 and the first chapter of Spellbook Vol. 2.
The chapters represent a variety of settings and stories, but also moods and play styles to match your particular gaming group. Each chapter is fully illustrated with black and white art throughout and is designed with convenient in-line sections on how to alter or expand given stages of the story. Below are the five chapters:
The Moon Goddess has gone missing and now the monsters from the dark side of the moon are invading! As her parting gift, the Moon Goddess sent to earth fragments of crystal with the transformative power of the moon. Become a Magical Girl (or Boy or Enby) to fight the monsters of shadow and solve the mystery of the missing Moon Goddess!
Illustrations by Christina Gardner!
The realm of Gultera is kept safe under the protection of the Sky: A magical ceiling that holds back the chaotic power of the gods who live in the stars. The Sky is cracking and it’s up to a party of Starborn, the heretical inheritors of Gods’ whispered magic, to travel to the sacred mountain Skymouth to restore the Sky—and discover the ancient secrets the Skymouth holds.
Discover more details and art from this chapter in Update #3!
Illustrations by Jok!
High school is hard enough when you don’t have to also learn how to use this weird, reality-altering magic you never asked for. Now you have to plan a school dance so the other kids don’t think you’re so weird? The only thing worse’d be if a sinister-looking administrator starting snooping around or if a monster showed up! So, of course, both those things happen.
Discover more details and art from this chapter in Update #7!
Illustrations by Kuropin!
The Godqueen is the one who brought order to chaos and structure to civilization. Her rule was benevolent and her word was Law. Over time, the rulership was too much for one individual, so she dissipated her essence into a pantheon of children. Through generations, they must manage the largest catastrophes down to the most minute of heartbreaks. In them is the gift of the Godqueen: Their word is Law.
Discover more details and art from this chapter in Update #6!
Illustrations by Leland Goodman!
The city has an underbelly and so too does the waking world. Lucid dreamers practice skillful conjurations in Reverie, the dimensions of dreams. It’s all fun and games—and the occasional mercenary mission—until an inhabitant of Reverie begins to exert control over the waking world. Act fast! The lines between waking reality and dreams is beginning to blur.
Discover more details and art from this chapter in Update #3!
Illustrations by Fusspot!
I’ve come to Kickstarter once more to bring this project to life. About two and a half years ago, a much less experienced me ran a Kickstarter campaign for this game. It was an unknown property by a no-name designer and it was budgeted and marketed pretty poorly. Since then, I’ve gained unfathomably important skills and knowledge by connecting with industry professionals, various vendors, and as lead designer on Evil Dead 2: The Official Board Game and The Terminator: The Official Board Game. I’m breathing new life into this project with the expertise to match my ambition.
Once the original Spell Kickstarter ended without reaching its goal (though it still made more than this campaign’s goal), I published Spell: The RPG digitally via Whimsy Machine Games. Since then, it’s sold hundreds of copies and has been played in livestreams, actual play casts (language warning), at conventions, in youth organizations, and has had school clubs founded around it. It’s been refined, edited, and expanded. I’ve always been proud of this game, but with this campaign I can finally get rid of that “beta” subtitle and have a full official release.
It’s with great pleasure that I can offer such a boutique version of Spell: The RPG. I’m blown away by the quality Blue Panther, LLC, is providing with the laser engraving and all the wood components. This box set is designed to be a treasure for your gaming shelf. If you’re just interested in the game, that’s okay too! There’s no limit on the digital- or book-only tiers, which have everything you need to play the game except letter tiles and dice. The letter tile sets are also available as optional accessories, an online letter generator (whimsymachine.media/letter-generator), or use the tiles from one of those crossword games you still have sitting around.
There are several great reward tiers you can back at depending on the gaming experience you're looking for. Below are the options for just digital rewards, books, the full set, and even artist commissions. In the Extras section are optional goodies, like tote bags and a set of letter tiles you can get no matter what level you pledge at.
Thank you for contributing to the campaign! I'll write your name or username (nothing explicit!), take a picture of it, post it on my Twitter, my Instagram, and on a special page on WhimsyMachineGames.com. I'll tag you too, if you'd like!
At this tier, you'll receive the PDF versions of Spell: The RPG, the core book of rules, and Spellbook Vol. 1, the collection of complete campaign modules. In order to play, you'll need character sheets, six-sided dice, and letter tiles or the letter generator. If you play on Roll20, the beta version character sheets are already available as a template for use. This tier also includes the previous tier.
We've unlocked many social stretch goals that will be included in this tier and up! On Twitter, we've unlocked eleven mini-campaign supplements in Spellbook Vol. 1.5 and it's still going! Every ten retweets unlocks a new playable mini-chapter. On Facebook, we've unlocked Monstrum Opus, a creature collection with over 300 entries and nine illustrations. Every like adds a new entry and every ten shares adds a new illustration. These will both be open until the end of the campaign, so share to unlock even more!
Are you looking for a book to hold? It's a good feeling! Get the perfect bound, 6" x 9" Spell: The RPG book. It has 48 pages of words that tell you all about how to play the game, including optional rules for a full and customizable experience. This tier also includes all previous tiers.
These two books were meant to be together! Spellbook Vol. 1 is an 88 page, perfect bound, 6" x 9" collection of five chapters, described above. Each chapter is absolutely full of beautiful art and totally playable as presented with options for personalization. This tier also includes all previous tiers.
Here it is: The Make/100 special! The Collector's Chest is assembled from birch wood and designed to be durable. The illustrated Spell logo is laser engraved into the lid for that sweet, classic look. This box includes a set of 108 wooden tiles (3/4" x 1" x 1/8") with laser engraved letters in a distribution designed specifically for play with Spell, twelve wooden 16mm six-sided dice (one player typically only rolls up to six dice at a time) with laser engraved numbers to match the letters on the tiles, a cloth drawstring bag big enough to fit all the tiles, and the two books. These chests are individually signed and numbered by me, Taylor Smith. This tier also includes all previous tiers.
Christina Gardner is the wonderfully talented artist of Magical Moon Warriors, as well as the logo design on the Collector's Chest. In addition to the Collector's Chest, Christina will draw a portrait of your RPG character (or your OC, yourself, loved one, whatever!), based on reference, using pens and marker on art paper. Christina will also sign and ship to you the original piece of art for you to keep. This tier also includes all previous tiers.
Jok is the maestro behind the illustrations in The Crystal At Skymouth and has been petitioning for a comic adaptation since! In addition to the Collector's Chest, Jok will draw an ink wash portrait of your choice, based on reference, in a "sword and sorcery" style on watercolor paper. Jok will also sign and ship the original art for you to keep. This tier also includes all previous (non-commission) tiers.
Kuropin, AKA Puré, blessed the pages of Hijinks at Huntsville High with her fabulous illustrations! In addition to the Collector's Chest, Kuropin will paint a portrait of your choice, based on reference, in watercolors on watercolor paper. Kuropin will also sign and ship the original art for you to keep. This tier also includes all previous (non-commission) tiers.
How did I get so lucky to have Leland Goodman illustrate Godqueen? I don't know, but she did and it's amazing! In addition to the Collector's Chest, Leland will draw a full color digital portrait of your choice, based on reference. Leland will also print and sign a copy of your portrait for you to keep. This tier also includes all previous (non-commission) tiers.
Fusspot, AKA Amy Phillips, brought Wakeful in Reverie to life with her excellent illustrations! In addition to the Collector's Chest, Fusspot will draw a full color digital portrait of your choice, based on reference. Fusspot will also print and sign a copy of your portrait for you to keep. This tier also includes all previous (non-commission) tiers.
Lenka Šimečková will be bringing her hauntingly beautiful illustrations to Witch Hunt, but you can get a commission from her now! In addition to the Collector's Chest, Lenka will draw a cropped, color digital/mixed media portrait of your choice, based on reference. Due to international shipping costs, there is no signed version available (contact for details if you're interested). This tier also includes all previous (non-commission) tiers.
In addition to the rewards featured in the pledge tiers, you can also get some fancy, fun extras! Simply increase the amount of your pledge by the value of the extras you'd like. During the survey phase of Kickstarter (the "pledge manager"), you'll be able to pick and choose which extras you'll receive.
Just getting the PDF or books, but still want to play with real tiles? Grab this full set of 108 wood letter tiles with Spell: The RPG specific letter distribution. These letters are high quality printing that won't smudge or fade and come in a cloth drawstring bag.
Players and gamemasters alike need to keep thorough notes on their adventures, spells, the wacky NPCs they meet—whatever needs recording! These spiral bound notebooks fit nicely in the wooden Collector's Chest box and are filled with 80 blank lined pages.
Okay, so you go everything. How're you going to carry it all to game night? How about this super awesome cotton canvas tote bag, measuring at 15" square. It'll easily fit everything available through this campaign and whatever extra goodies you're bringing to the table.
If you're a retailer and you're interested in stocking Spell: The RPG and/or Spellbook Vol. 1 (or any extras) in your shop, contact me via Kickstarter messages or email@example.com for a 50% discount! You must have a verifiable resale license. Minimum order quantity is two copies; pledge for either one or both books (sorry, limited tiers are excluded from the discount, but you're still welcome to pick one up for your store) and you'll receive double for the same price. If you'd like additional copies, you can increase your pledge amount accordingly during the campaign or during the pledge manager.
While Spell: The RPG and Spellbook Vol. 1 are already written and have been regularly played for over two years, this Kickstarter campaign helps me bring them to the next level. The most obvious cost is for the wood components and laser engraving. These really aren't cheap, but 100 is about the sweet spot of reasonable per unit cost, but not too big of a run to exhaust Blue Panther. The $2,000 goal will cover the minimum costs for each component, which is less than 100.
Another significant chunk of the goal is to pay for printing of the two books. They've only existed as PDFs until now, so they'll also go through an actual graphic designer (I do my best, but I'm no pro) before going to print. That designer is Miss Mandible, a wonderful person I had the pleasure of working with on The Terminator: The Official Board Game. To make these books official, I'll also be purchasing ISBNs and barcodes from Bowker directly, instead of through a middleman service.
Lastly, Kickstarter takes 5% of the total cut and payment processing fees take up about another 5% of the goal. After that, there's always a percent of additional fees from credit cards either not charging, having international fees, or any of those weird logistical things, as well as pledges that fail to process or other unforeseeable charges and pings—that's what the "Credit Card & Other Fees" section refers to.
Shipping is not charged during the campaign, but shipping is not free. Shipping will be charged during the pledge manager phase of the campaign, also known as the survey. This allows me to be absolutely sure I account for all shipping costs. Inaccurate shipping estimation is one of the biggest campaign killer, so this is the safe route. Below are my current estimates for all tiers, excluding shipping art.
United States: $12
Everywhere Else: $24
Shipping prices recently increased across the board, so I'm looking closely into fulfillment options that can help mitigate those new costs. At a quantity of 100, options are very limited since there's no bulk to discount. That said, my goal is to minimize shipping as much as possible.
Spell: The RPG represents endless possibilities and imagination. I'm dedicated to the production of this game and will continue developing new Spellbook volumes with new writers and artists for a long time to come—a few exciting ones I hope to announce during the campaign! But first: What about the immediate future?
You can look forward to regular, totally transparent updates as we go through the process, including gameplay videos, Kickstarter Live videos, Q&A with Blue Panther, and more, based on your feedback! Just like in Spell, let me know what you're looking for and I'll do my best to make it a reality. I'll be making an announcement at the end of the campaign as to the future growth and structure of Whimsy Machine.
And, hey: Thank you. Honestly and truly, thank you. Even if all you've done is read down to the bottom of this page, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude just to share this labor of love with the world.
Risks and challenges
This project has many components, some of which are sourced from different companies. By launching as a Make/100 project, there’s no risk of the Collector's Chests being ordered beyond capacity or significantly delayed—beyond unforeseeable acts of misfortune or goblin attacks. Blue Panther is experienced at making wood board game sets with more components than Spell: The RPG has and a count of one hundred is comfortably within their reasonable production capacity.
I've decided to charge shipping in the pledge manager, so I can be absolutely sure everything is covered, especially since USPS raised shipping costs earlier this year. Based on experience, sample tests, professional advice, and a dozen blogs I've read, the quoted shipping costs should be very accurate, but that's not a risk I want you to have to take on me.
If the goal is reached, all minimum components will have been accounted for, which is less than 100. If we far exceed goal (by about 1,000%), delivery will likely be delayed by up to one month to account for printing and shipping all the extra books. There’ll be enough per unit margin at that point to make it up in other ways and any delays will be abundantly discussed and explained.
As an individual, I am fully able to offer absolute transparency. I am answerable only to you, the backers, for providing a good quality product, so you get to know what’s going on the whole time. I’ll explain all decisions made and take responsibility for any mistakes made. I’m practicing only my own ethics in this campaign, so there's no behind-the-scenes shadiness or third party approval mishaps to be had.
I'm deeply passionate about Spell: The RPG. It's a game I believe in wholeheartedly and will pursue and expand and grow and continue to love. It brings me so much joy to be able to take you on this journey with me.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (38 days)