Kickstart my Heart!

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen. As you may have guessed from the title of this blog entry, I am a bit of a fan of Mötley Crüe, particularly their album Dr Feelgood, which was released the year I was born. I’m also quite a fan of Nikki Sixx in particular, and really enjoy the work he’s been doing with his current side project, Sixx: A.M. Seriously, if you’re a fan of him at all check out their two albums, The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack and This Is Gonna Hurt.

Anyway, my love of Mötley Crüe aside, the name was actually chosen because it ties in nicely with my topic for today. I’m sure some of you have guessed it already, but for those who haven’t, it’s time for a Kickstarter round-up. I’m going to be having a quick look at what I think are the most promising gaming related projects on Kickstarter at the moment, and providing links to the project pages so you can check them out for yourself. This time around we’ve got three projects that are directly RPG related, a board game, and a project that’s a little different.  So, let’s get started.

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Realm Works: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/610004753/realm-works-streamlined-rpg-campaign-tools

Realm Works is the new campaign management tool created by Lone Wolf Labs. For anyone unfamiliar with Lone Wolf Labs, they’re the geniuses behind the Hero Lab software, a character creation and management tool. I’m planning on doing a full review on Hero Lab at some point, but for now I’ll just say that it makes my game prep much easier, for which I am eternally thankful. This particular project only has four days remaining, so if you want to support them and get in at the ground floor, act now.

So, Realm Works is a software interface that let’s you manage all aspects of your current RPG campaigns in one central location. Sure, you can keep everything in word documents and so on, like I currently do for my homebrew worlds, but this is looking like it’s going to make things much simpler. Pretty much everything you need, from maps and character descriptions to high level plot overviews can be entered into the program. Once it’s in there, you can organise it all using links to make navigation simpler. So, for example, you could have a map of your world, which major locations tagged. If you were to click on the tag for a city, it would then take you to the information page you’ve created for that city. From there, you have links to more detailed information of characters and features of the city. There are plenty more features they’re packing in, but for me that’s one of the coolest, since I’m currently building a large-scale political based fantasy setting. One of the other features I really like is that it actually allows you to keep track of what information has been discovered by the party by use of simple toggles and, in the case of maps, a “fog of war” style system.

One of the other awesome features they’ve come up with is the Cloud Server. The most basic aspect of this is exactly what it sounds like, a cloud storage system for your Realm Works database. Its packed with plenty of other uses as well though. If you have a subscription to the cloud, you can sync your database between multiple computers, allowing access from multiple locations without having to manually move the database over. It also allows you to access your campaign data from any internet browser, and allows your players to access whatever you’ve authorised them to access online as well. The other major component of the cloud server is the Community repository, where GMs can share their content and ideas with each other, allowing quick and easy access to resources limited only by what the community will put in (and knowing the Hero Lab community, that’s going to be damn well near limitless).

A couple of final notes. The software is game system neutral, so you can use it with any system you want. There is some integration planned with Hero Lab, though it hasn’t yet been announced exactly what this will entail. Lone Wolf Labs have always provided quick and effective support for Hero Lab whenever bugs are found, and are likely to provide the same level of support for this new endeavour. I really can’t recommend supporting them enough, they’re known for providing a top-notch product. For more info on Realm Works, check out the Kickstarter link above, which contains some videos on the software and its features.

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Wicked Fantasy: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2006204732/wicked-fantasy?ref=category

Wicked Fantasy is the brainchild of John Wick, an award-winning RPG designer who has worked on games like 7th Sea and Legend of the 5 Rings. It focuses on 10 core races, and tries to give them a twist. Each one has been updated and really given a unique feel, moving them away from their fantasy stereotypes. From what I can see it’s a fully fleshed out campaign setting, and the writing is incredibly solid (for an example, check out the link to the Reign of Men PDF they’ve provided on the project page).

I will admit that I do have a few concerns regarding the setting, but that’s more to do with the fact that it is restricting some options. In the Reign of Men PDF it labels quite a few classes as not being suitable at all, including all none Core Rulebook base classes except for the Cavalier, and the monk. Two of the classes it does allow, the Paladin and the Cleric, are supposed to be played with archetypes designed specially for this world. So while making the races less cliché themselves, classes do seem a little more restricted. I can see why they’re suggesting some classes be removed though, the most obvious reason being that their updates to the human racial traits actually ends up replicating one of the core abilities of the inquisitor class, so it would make playing one of them a little redundant. I should note at this stage that I am basing this on only having read the one sample chapter provided, and even with these concerns I’m interested enough to support the project, even if it is only to get the PDF version.

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Busty Barbarian Bimbos: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/burrowowl/busty-barbarian-bimbos?ref=category

Used with permission from Burrowowl, the creator of Busty Barbarian Bimbos.

Truth in advertising at work…

When I first saw the name of this particular project, I almost just moved straight past it, as I do with so many projects. I have to admit I’m glad I stopped and actually had a look. While I don’t think I can see myself running a game using this system, it just looks like silly fun, and I really like seeing someone design a system that is designed for a purpose as simple as that.

The basic concept is that each character is a fantasy pin-up. You all know the type, the ones you see sitting on the covers of source books and adventures, dressed completely inappropriately for the purposes of fighting monsters and looting ancient ruins. The prettier your character is, the easier a time they’re going to have of it as people fall over themselves to help you out.

Mechanics wise it appears to be a very basic 3d6 based system, where you’re rolling against your four stats – “Slap” for aggressive action; “Legs” for athletic action; “Umm” for wits based checks; and “Tits” for… well, I’m assuming trying to “charm” people into helping you.

Overall, I like the concept enough that I’m going to throw them $5 to get the PDF and see what they can do with it. I’m hoping that the game really is as simple and focused on humour and silliness as it sounds to be. I love my epic fantasy RPGs as much as the next gamer, but sometimes it’s nice to just find a game that can be picked up and played with a minimum of effort, and a maximum of laughter. Who knows, one day I may need to throw a game together for an evening and this could be turn out to be the perfect game to fill that role. Even if it doesn’t get any use, $5 is a small price to pay to support an independant creator who actually has some good ideas.

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EVIL INTENT: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1205300753/evil-intent-the-board-game?ref=category

Used with Permission from Christian Strain, creator of EVIL INTENT

The Rogues Gallery of EVIL INTENT

EVIL INTENT is tonight’s board game project. It appears to essentially be the board game equivalent of the old computer game Evil Genius, and to be honest that’s enough to get me excited about it. This is their second run at getting production up and running, the previous Kickstarter was just a hair short of getting funded. Rather than give up and go home though, they’ve used the time since then to make improvements to the game and production, so that they can set a more realistic goal and provide it at a more reasonable cost. They’ve also brought down the international shipping fees significantly, which is a big thing for me.

There’s a video explanation of the game on the project page, and a play test video of 4 random strangers being given the game, but I’ll do a quick rundown of the game anyway. The game is for 4 – 6 players, each of whom has a villain and an evil scheme. The objective is to get enough resources (Politicians, Scientists and so on) and control enough territory to set your scheme in motion and take over the world, while avoiding secret agents and thwarting the plans of your fellow villains.

Used with permission from Christian Strain, the creator of EVIL INTENT

Open the Hellgate! One of the schemes your villains can enact in the game.

There’s a very definite comedic bent to this game, the villains are all quite cartoonish (though still sinister in their own ways), and there look to be quite a few jokes in the design. For example, the robot villain is called E1337, a reference to “Leet”-speak. I supported these guys on their first attempt to publish the game, and now that they’re back, I’m going straight back to help them try again.

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Blasphemous Cocktails: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1452186107/blasphemous-cocktails?ref=category

Used with permission from Stephen Wollett, the author of Blasphemous Cocktails

The horror! The delicious, alcoholic horror!

Now this is one that’s close to my heart. Those who have known me for a while will know that I’m a huge fan of cocktails and spirits in general. I learnt to mix quite a few while I was working at a restaurant before I finished school because my boss decided he needed to help me impress women, and thought cocktails were the best way to go. Funnily enough it actually did end up coming in handy, a couple of years after I finished school I started running cocktail parties for myself and my friends and did actually meet my (now) ex-girlfriend at one of them. So, you know, thanks Scotty, it paid off eventually. These days however, I tend to take it a bit slower with the drinking, and stick to a nice red wine or a scotch.  Nevertheless, my love of cocktails is still strong, and I still have quite a collection of books

Blasphemous Cocktails has managed to mix (see what I did there?) this love of fancy cocktails with my love of H.P. Lovecraft and all pulp horror stories.  It’s a book full of horror and gaming related drinks, and rules for RPG drinking games. Some of the drinks included are the Innsmouth Ice Tea, the Miskatonic Lemonade and the Yugothian Brain Drain.  Anyone who’s a fan of Lovecraft will immediately get the references, and the drinks actually sound quite palatable. From what they’re saying on the project page, there’s a mix of new cocktails and classic ones with a twist, and all of them have been tested by bartenders to make sure they’re actually worth making. Stephen Wollett, the author of this book has kindly provided a couple of extra sample cocktails for your perusal. So, without further delay, let’s take some of the delicious refreshments we can expect from this book…

DELTA GREEN

“A Mill for grinding out Words takes years to build. Every brick and board and stone was an hour spent in the library as a child, or a night under a blanket with a flashlight reading when you were supposed to be asleep. Your Mill is built out of stolen moments with a paperback novel in the park on your lunch break from work. Quiet evenings that you spent with a man who died decades or centuries ago rather than the one you married. Tears that you shed for people who never existed. Rage that sparked from the seething coals of an injustice committed before you were born. Ghosts that you inherit from pages written before the printing press, and printed before the digital age. Demons freshly minted last summer by a person whose flesh and blood hands you can shake at your next convention.” ~Arinn Dembo

  • Captain Morgan® Original spiced rum 2 oz (60 ml)
  • Mike’s® hard lemonade 1 bottle
  • Blue Curacao liqueur Splash (3 ml)

Pour rum and splash of Blue Caracao over ice. Top off glass with Hard Lemonade.

THE KING IN YELLOW

“Alone. Yes, that’s the key word, the most awful word in the English tongue. Murder doesn’t hold a candle to it and hell is only a poor synonym.” ~Stephen King

  • lemon juice 4 oz (120 ml)
  • 100 proof vodka 2 oz (60 ml)
  • Sugar 1 tsp (4 ml)
  • Slice of lemon

Coat rim of martini glass with sugar. Put 1 teaspoon of sugar into bottom of glass. Pour vodka and lemon juice (fresh squeezed preferred) over the sugar. Add a slice of lemon as a garnish and serve.

This one will get my support even though I may not get that much use out of the book. It’s one of those things I just feel I need to own, since it manages to hit three of my favourite things (cocktails, gaming and classic horror). For anyone who’s a fan of these things, I really urge you to check it out. For those of you who are still hesitant, Stephen has provided me with an image from the book to try and convince you once and for all. May I present the lovely, and just a little bit frightening, Stephanie Pearle…

Used with permission from Stephen Wollett, author of Blasphemous Cocktails.

Don’t be afraid. We always hurt the ones we love. Why won’t you let Stephanie love you?

It might just be me, but I can’t help but feel there might be an implied threat from the photo… I guess what I’m saying is, for the sake of your own life, go and at least consider supporting the project.

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Anyway, that’s it from me for today. Hopefully this will help get a little more attention for some of these projects, so that they can get the funding they need to start production. I’ll be following up on where these projects are at in a week or so, and taking a look at any new gaming Kickstarter projects I think are promising.

I’d like to thank the creators of EVIL INTENT (Christian Strain), Busty Barbarian Bimbos (Burrowowl) and Blasphemous Cocktails (Stephen Wollett) for providing me with permission to use the images in this update.

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Unsurprisingly written while listening to Mötley Crüe’s album Dr Feelgood.

For anyone interested in having a listen to Sixx: A.M., the following link is for my favourite song of theirs, This is Gonna Hurt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5G1D9XO_C4

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