It’s time, friends. It’s time to devote an entire blog post to something happening right this very moment that you can get in on. After this blog post I’m going to get a suit, rent a conference room at a hotel near the airport, and try to convince people to buy timeshares. But this is much more important right now.
I’m a Kickstarter stretch goal.
I’m a Kickstarter stretch goal?!
Oh shit. Oh God, oh no. Oh shit.
How did this happen?!
Beneath the spires and stones, the canals and isles, the Catacombs breathe, inhaling life and exhaling danger… and the smell of treasure.
When the brave, greedy, desperate, or foolish venture beneath the stones and soft waves of Pentola they find themselves in a world made by Those Who Came Before, though shattered and marred by some ancient catastrophe which buckled the earth and loosed a seemingly endless flood of magical creatures and monsters into those halls of the dead.
So, what is this?
This single-sheet mini zine (zini, if you will) is an experiment in pushing the envelope for information density, layout, and gameable lore. It is written to be system agnostic, allowing you to take adventurers from any world and game into the catacombs described inside.
The inside spread describes how to procedurally generate dungeons on the fly or in advance complete with dozens of possible encounters and a back cover which is a quick reference for all the mechanics contained within.
What’s the status?
The content and tables for the zine are already written and laid out, the only piece that remains is the art for the front cover and the spread.
Why a Kickstarter?
To make it possible to do a small, high quality print run of this zini and prove out the format more broadly for other projects. If Beneath the Canals does well, it means we can make more content of this density and format and get it into people’s hands sooner and more often.
Beneath the Canals is system agnostic and includes 4 tables with over 250 possible rooms, over a thousand possible demons you might encounter, and over 200 encounters, all in two A5 pages of content. The content and mechanics are designed to be hackable and malleable, leaning into making life as an OSR referee easier, not harder. The physical zine is a single folded piece of A4, giving you an A5 cover, two A5 pages inside for the content spread, and an A5 backcover which includes the quick reference tables. The zine will be printed at Mixam.
- $250: Stat Blocks – I’ll write up and format stat blocks compatible with B/X, Pathfinder, and 5e for the weird Pentolan creatures you might find in the Catacombs.
- $300: Digital Dungeons – Digital Tables and Randomizers for Beneath the Canals and all stretch goals by Saker Tarsos.
- $500: Zinicrawl I – Additional zini with catacomb map and artwork by Abigail LaLonde utilizing Beneath the Canals for its initial layout and then expanded upon.
- $750: Cadavers in the Catacombs – Additional zini detailing corpses and encounters you might discover while exploring the catacombs with art and content by Dungeons & Possums.
- $1000: Zinicrawl II – Additional zini with catacomb map by Foot of the Mountain Adventures and art by Michelle Smallwood utilizing Beneath the Canals for its initial layout and then expanded upon.
- $1250: Breathing Stone – Additional zini written by Zedeck Siew featuring a living one-page dungeon set in the Pentolan Catacombs.
- $1500: Zinicrawl III – Additional zini with written by Jose Kercado and art by Jay Labelle utilizing Beneath the Canals for its initial layout and then expanded upon.
- $1750: Zinicrawl IV – Additional zini with catacomb map and artwork by Spaghetti Quester utilizing Beneath the Canals for its initial layout and then expanded upon.
- $2000: ??? – Not sure exactly what yet, but we’re in talks for yet another zini written and illustrated for you by super secret awesome humans!
Let’s talk, and I’ll bullet point key items since you probably have a lot of other stuff to do today:
- Michael Lombardi is @barbariankb on Twitter and I guarantee if you follow him for a day and watch his tweets you will be in awe of his boundless well of kindness, encouragement, and support for creators in our community and his dayjob (tech). You will see a good dude who defers to others for their unique and diverse experiences, who does not engage in petty cruelty, and who lifts everyone around him up. I routinely call him the nicest dude on Twitter. This is his project, and he went and found independent content creators like artist Abigail LaLonde, blogger Saker Tarsos, and published superstar author Zedeck Siew with cash in hand to make sure people are paid and promoted.
- I am involved. You’re welcome.
- No, I’m just kidding about that attitude. I am a stretch goal, though, and despite Michael’s LOUD PROTESTATIONS that I not do a damn thing until the Kickstarter funds and he can pay me first, I have already completed the draft copy of my mini-zine because I was so extremely hype about this project. You may have noticed I haven’t published anything or gone and done anything to make money in this space (besides affiliate links paying for zines on DriveThruRPG). That’s because I am very hesitant to try to monetize myself or make any sort of presumption that my dumb scribbles have value, but Michael would not accept me undervaluing myself. He straight up refused free help. So here I am.
- My project is Cadavers in the Catacombs. Like I said, the draft is already done, art is in progress, and if this isn’t funded Michael and I will probably find a way to bring it to the public anyway. But we don’t want to not see this funded, so back the Kickstarter knowing that yet another element of risk has been eliminated – my part will be delivered to Michael super early.
- Cadavers in the Catacombs is an information-dense (that’s the whole point) series of tables and toys and gimmicks to determine at the table, on the fly, what gross corpse your players just stepped over, its circumstances, its possessions, and so forth. Moreover, it will also provide your players with a host of questions and story hooks built right in. This will take you just two rolls – or one more, if your players are unlucky enough to meet something that goes bump in the night, too.
- You want Cadavers in the Catacombs.
- You want to back Beneath the Canals and unlock the stretch goals so I can give you Cadavers in the Catacombs.
- You want to share this Kickstarter far and wide so that I become impossibly wealthy and can blog full-time from a hovering trash can way up high in a tower in Fort Possum, which I will build for real.
- I don’t think this hypnotism plan is working.
You can go to the below link to support this ZineQuest Kickstarter campaign:
Thank you for reading all this, and for being cool people. Hopefully I’ll see you sometime in April with my name on the cover of a neat little thing! If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or you just want to talk about a body you found in a sewer beneath Paris one time, hit me up in the comments below or over on Twitter @dungeonspossums and we’ll shout at each other a few characters at a time.