Crowdfunding Carnival: June, 2022

Welcome to the Crowdfunding Carnival for the month of June in this two thousand and twenty secondth year! Not to worry, Aaron is fine – just lost on a bike somewhere in the continental US, definitely not my fault. While he’s away I’ve snuck in and nicked his top hat and baton and gone looking for some tabletop roleplaying game crowdfunding attractions that are worth your time and possibly your money. There are chaotic cafes, regency scandals, vibrant seas, divine tales, monster-collecting kids, meta games, and exigent exalts along with a few observations from my unusual perspective up on this stage. So, without further ado, on with the show!

Coffee & Chaos

It’s not exactly Coffee Shop AU: The RPG… but it could be! Coffee & Chaos is a “comedy tabletop roleplaying game about running a cafe, bar, restaurant or other establishment as everything goes very, very wrong around you.” Card draws will tell you what kind of situations have come up, and characters will try to deal with them and interact with one another. The game takes a Fate Accelerated-like approach to character actions by caring more about how they, well, approach the problem in front of them, using appropriately named Knives, Forks, and Spoons (direct, creative, and considered approaches, respectively). Where the cafe or other establishment falls on the fresh-cozy, small-big, and slick-scrappy spectrums will determine what kind of bonus cutlery the party has at hand.

The game could be completely standalone by the looks of it, but it can also accommodate pretty much any character and world you can put such an establishment into, as whatever powers or abilities a character has can simply be funneled into one of the approaches. By sheer chance I recently finished reading a novel that can be summed up as ‘adventurer retires to start a gnomish coffee shop’, so the timing on this one seems quite auspicious on a personal level. Yeah, I think I’ll be giving this one a try – and I don’t even like coffee!

£12.00 gets you a digital pull, and £15.00 adds the printed ‘menu’ to your order.

Regency

A new entry in the small but apparently thriving subset of regency-era roleplaying games, Regency pulls it inspiration from classics of the genre like Pride and Prejudice all the way up to more modern takes like Bridgerton, starring characters as they “navigate a world of gossip, beauty, affairs of the heart, and duties of their social station.”

Now, I’m going to give Regency one campaign-based strike: what the actual mechanics will be and how they’ll function isn’t really touched upon. I know dice will be rolled in the hope to gain successes, and because they’re seen in the video I can assume they’ll be d6s, and that’s about it when it comes to concrete knowledge. However, what the campaign does have to say is very interesting. That there’ll be Success and Complication instead of Success v. Failure means you could either face a series of unfortunate events or be encouraged to back off and try a different approach. A primer on Regency Era tropes will be useful at getting neophytes to the genre acclimated. Character creation will involve mini-games, which is almost always fun, and I like that characters will share a Family with all its resources and reputations. The person running the game being explicitly framed as an Author telling a story whose Characters may well confound them at every turn is a unique take on table dynamic, where the idea of writing a novel is usually staunchly frowned upon. 

Also, bonus points for pulling a Cyberpunk and naming the game for the genre.

$25 will get you the PDF and $60 the print version of the core rules, but there is also a $10 hardship tier for the PDF for those who want to back but find themselves strapped for cash.

Tales from the Gods

Based on the system for Thousand Year Old Vampire, Tales from the Gods is a solo game that is more or less exactly what it says on the tin: it follows the story of a god down through the ages from their first moment of being worshiped to their utter oblivion as you chronicle the civilizations they hold sway over, the powers they wield, and the decisions they make. You’ll need the book and some way to randomly get a number between -5 and 9 (a d6 and a d10 are the obvious choice).

There are 120+ prompts in the game to help guide the story as your god amasses and loses sagas and myths, codifies some of them, and gathers relics, characters, and symbols to their divine personage. You can check out a free preview of the game here – if you like the look of it, don’t wait, by the time this article goes live there’ll be less than a day left to back it.

It’ll cost MX$350 (~$20 USD) to acquire the PDF and MX$850 (~$40 USD) to include a hardcover book. Note that the PDF comes in both English and Spanish – so does the hardcover, although they’re separate pledge tiers. Also note that there are many MX$200 (~$10 USD) community copies of the PDF available, generated by the highest tier purchases.

Secrets of the Vibrant Sea

NerdBurger Games completes a hat trick of appearances at CHG with Capers, Good Strong Hands, and now Secrets of the Vibrant Sea, “a solo tabletop roleplaying game where you portray a character exploring a fantastical ocean. As you play the game, you’ll improve your boat, improve yourself, and explore many dozens of the sea’s beautiful wonders and murky caves.”

What can I say, I really liked Wind Waker. The game uses four Traits, ranked 1-4: Discover, Interact, Learn, and Survive. Tasks will be completed by rolling 1d10 and adding the relevant Trait, in addition to whatever bonuses you can get from equipment, help, and magic. However, characters also track Worry, Wonder, and Willpower. Each is spent for a different effect – to skew explorations towards the darker corners of the sea and embrace your fears, to skew your explorations towards more joyful parts of the ocean and embrace the wonder, and roll 2d10 and keep the highest, respectively. What you find out there will be at the behest of the venerable 1d100.

The game is basically done minus some final layout and proofing, so it’s a no-frills campaign where the only stretch goals are about paying the team more. It is, however, the second in a series after Secrets of the Vibrant Isle. You could escape the Isle to explore the Sea or wind up shipwrecked on the Isle after exploring the Sea if you want, and there are tiers for acquiring both.

$15 gets you the Vibrant Sea PDF, and $20 will get you the PDF and a physical copy.

Animon Story

Take your favorite ‘kids and monsters’ story like Digimon or Pokémon, put a grinder to the serial numbers, and you get the basic idea of Animon Story. Exactly what kind of setting your story takes place in is up to you, but every Animon Story is going to focus on the Bond of Friendship between kids and their monsters. As that bond grows between a player’s two characters, their kid and the kid’s animon, the animon will evolve and change to gain new abilities. There are elemental matchups, critical hits, signature moves, combos, the whole lot, just like you’d want from any ‘mon show-to-game conversion, without any of the baggage of someone else’s lore.

Animon Story was originally released digital-only on itch a little over a year ago to quite a bit of acclaim, and in addition to funding a physical version this project is upgrading the original game. Previous PDF buyers will get the upgrades for free. While you can’t go and get the full PDF right now as it’s being worked on, there is a free Intro Playkit for you to check out if you need more help deciding if this journey of kids and their monsters is for you. 

Backing Animon Story now for $20 will get you that final PDF, and $40 the physical version as well.

DIE

Brought to us by Rowan, Rook, & Decard (Unbound, Spire, Honey Heist, etc.), DIE: The Roleplaying Game is based on DIE the comic created by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans. The characters gather together to play a roleplaying game, but are quickly sucked into the fantasy world of their own making. You’ll try to find your way home as your shames and frustrations are turned back on you (a dragon that speaks with the angry voice of your dead father, orcs using the same taunts as your schoolyard bullies even though you’ve got a greatsword now, the ex-partner you never got over returning as an emotion-draining vampire), but as tough as it is in the end will you really want to leave the fantasy behind?

Now, I haven’t read the comic myself yet, although Aaron started recently and has had good things to say; maybe when he escapes from where I put him gets back from his trip he’ll chime in. The concept is so compelling and delightfully meta re: putting ourselves into other worlds and characters as roleplayers that I don’t feel like I need to have read it, though, which is a good thing for a licensed game of any stripe to invoke.

I do get a Final Fantasy Tactics Advance vibe, however, which is also a good thing. Dang, there are a lot of touchstones to other media I’ve liked in this Carnival, aren’t there? Nice coincidence.

£20 for the digital version, and £40 for the hardcover!

EXIGENTS: Out of the Ashes

It may fall outside of the usual CC bounds of highlighting new games, but EXIGENTS: Out of the Ashes for Exalted 3rd Edition needs to be  mentioned here. Exalted may no longer be my cup of tea (two expeditions to Creation during 2nd Edition burned that particular playgroup out on the mechanics), but I’ll admit the idea of unique Exalted created by small gods in desperation seemed like a really neat concept back when I was looking at Ex3’s core rules, and it still does. 

It’s notable for the Carnival both because it’s another big earner on IndieGoGo, the biggest RPG project there since Yazeba’s Bed & Breakfast as far as I’m aware, but also as a departure from previous projects. While Onyx Path has been on IndieGoGo before with a sourcebook for Mage: The Ascension the three previous Exalted 3rd Edition projects have all been Kickstarted. Those Kickstarters have made less money each iteration, sure, but had no problem reaching six figures, and EXIGENTS has already reached that milestone with weeks to go. 

Kickstarter wasn’t Kickstarter when it started. Seeing that much cashflow show up on other sites gives some hope that alternatives will continue to grow and improve, even if newcomers to the field can’t expect to have that kind of success with them yet.


I’m not usually in charge of this circus, obviously, so I’ve got some errant thoughts about different crowdfunding platforms.

  • Gamefound is the only one with an explicit RPG category. Even Kickstarter merely has Tabletop Games, and let me tell you the number of board games you have to scroll past is painful if you’re not trying to find board games. Why don’t any of the other sites, Kickstarter especially, have a separate category for roleplaying games? Surely by now the medium has made enough money in crowdfunding to justify standing apart?
  • Once you’re in that category Gamefound does an okay job at splitting projects out into active and upcoming projects, but the problem is that projects that are in ‘pledge manager’ mode continue to list as active. They seem to show lower in the search results than truly active projects, but still – I even came across one that seems to be a failed effort. Not what you want clogging your results.
  • IndieGoGo is an odd duck. First, it takes a backer’s money up front. Granted if a project fails you then get a refund, but that stands out from everyone else in the crowdfunding market aside from itchfunding, and we’ve already talked about how that method differs in more profound ways. One thing I noticed while looking for projects that I don’t believe we mentioned here before is their InDemand program, which lets a project that’s reached its goal continue to raise funds far past its original completion date. As far as I can tell, a campaign could be on InDemand in perpetuity, as you need to expressly opt out once you’re in. Yazeba’s is currently funding through IndDemand, and if I’m reading things right has raised another ~$14k since the campaign officially ended in April. Post-campaign funding isn’t new, there’s been BackerKit for a while, but it’s intriguing.

Alright, that’s it, show’s over! If you think there’s a project that really deserved to be here but got missed, let us know about it in the comments! Now, I’ve got to put all this stuff back before July rolls around, but when it does come on back to the Crowdfunding Carnival for more tabletop RPG attractions!

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