About the campaign:
Independent RPG publisher Absolute Tabletop enters the final week of funding for its most recent Kickstarter, A Dead Man's Guide to Dragongrin – a campaign setting guide and worldbuilding toolkit. Fully 5E compatible, the book rides the line between modular prep tool and rich setting guide. A Dead Man's Guide to Dragongrin funded on day 1, and is now unlocking stretch goals.
Founded in September 2015, Absolute Tabletop is known for their self-published roleplaying game material, including Adventure Kit: Oath of the Frozen King, a fully customizable adventure module and session prep toolkit, which funded on Kickstarter in May 2017 with the help of more than 1,200 backers.
Dragongrin is a dark fantasy world in which evil has already won the eternal war between light and darkness, and the few remaining heroes are hunted down and put to death. An all-powerful ruler, the Dismembered Lord, extends his life and increases his power by stealing “days” from other worlds. Foolhardy adventurers who venture out into Dragongrin face danger at every turn from the Dismembered Lord’s numerous followers.
“Dragongrin is a setting near and dear to our hearts,” said co-founder Tim Kearney, who initially created the world with his brother for their home games. “We’ve played in this setting together for years. We know it so well, and now we get to share it with everyone else – and let them make their own version of it. It’s an amazing feeling.”
With A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin, the publisher hopes to reinvent the concept of a campaign setting guide, including concrete lore and history, but bolstering it with specially designed roll tables and tools for customization that encourage Game Masters and worldbuilders to create their own version of the dark fantasy world of Dragongrin.
“The cool thing about Dragongrin is that it’s customizable by design,” said co-founder James Kearney. “The Dismembered Lord reaches into other, alternate worlds and steals their days as a way to achieve a kind of immortality. So your Dragongrin might not be my Dragongrin, but both can exist. My Dismembered Lord might be a female assassin-type character, while yours might be a hulking, armored warlord – both existing in parallel timelines. We can’t wait to see the variations.”
The publisher is adamant that, though the world will be customizable, the book does not require Game Masters to build their own setting before diving in and exploring with their players.
“It’s modular, it’s adaptable, but it’s also chock-full of amazing lore and history,” said co-founder Matt Click. “So yeah, you can totally customize this world and make it your own. But the world is there – it’s laid out and it’s detailed. If you want to immediately drop into a concrete, canonical Dragongrin, the way we envision it, you absolutely can with this book.”
Absolute Tabletop saw major success in May of last year, when their first Kickstarter, Adventure Kit: Oath of the Frozen King, shattered its funding goal and ended its campaign with $34,000. The publisher intends to put what they learned from that first project to good use, streamlining production, printing, and shipping.
“Oath was a crucible for us,” said co-founder Michael Barker. “We’ve published nearly 20 books together, but we’d never crowdfunded one. All of the sudden we had 1,200 people waiting for their books, and we were fully committed to delivering. We updated our backers every two weeks, without fail, on the status of the project, and delivered digital rewards ahead of schedule. People appreciated our transparency and communication, and we’re going to manage this Kickstarter with the same level of quality – but hope to go beyond that using the experience we gained from Oath.”
“It means a lot to have people support us like this,” said Matt Click. “If you back us, we owe you a killer book you’ll want to use at your game table.”
Absolute Tabletop also hopes to avoid the “dead zone” that often occurs with Kickstarter projects after they fund, with the creators going dark for weeks or months at a time with no word on the project or its progress.
“We’re going to be looping people in and involving them directly in the process,” said James Kearney. “Backers will have access to an online production diary, which we’ll update regularly with new pieces from the book as we’re working on it. They’ll see art, page layouts – they’ll even be able to playtest this stuff at their table as soon as it’s ready. Backers won’t have to wait a year to explore Dragongrin.”
Among the pledge options on the Kickstarter are PDFs, hardcover books, and a bundle containing every digital supplement Absolute Tabletop has ever released. At the highest tier, backers will even receive a full-color, foldout map of the world of Dragongrin.
“This book is a milestone for us,” said Tim Kearney. “It’s our biggest book to date, it’s our first full campaign setting guide, and it’s our second Kickstarter on the heels of a very successful first campaign. We’re all so excited to be here, working on this project. We’ve got some amazing artists on deck to create the visual look and feel of Dragongrin, and we’re all chomping at the bit to finish this thing. We’ve been writing and editing this book for almost a year at this point, and now it’s time to go into full production mode and just crush it – with your help.”
Already fully funded and unlocking stretch goals, A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin is accepting pledges on Kickstarter through April 22.
The campaign's closing in on 5x funded, but there's only 5 days left to get in on it.