We're back from our hiatus! And by now you might have seen what it is that was being worked on while we were away. If not though, here we go:
On the 21st of March, we launched our very first Kickstarter for an adventure called Tomb of the Undying Empress — for both 5th Edition and Pathfinder 2. For us it is a bit of a gamble in many ways:
1. - It's our first large adventure. Not in terms of the word count (though combined, the adventure and the PDF do reach 50 pages), but it is larger in scope in that it takes the players from level 3 to level 4. Before this, we mostly focused on smaller adventures that could be inserted into a greater narrative.
2. - It's our very first Kickstarter. This is partially why the funding goal is so low ($100 isn't particularly ambitious), but the other reason is that we genuinely want as many people to join us for the journey as possible. We're not actually that interested in the overall amount of cash it raises (though that DOES help us build future products) as we are in getting as many eyes on it (and us here at Beyond the Horizon) as possible. We're a small publisher — not quite a one-man show, but close, and we need all the people to notice us that we can get.
3. - It's also the start (together with the free adventures that we've been publishing) of our extended universe and campaign setting. Our plan is for all of our "story books" (that being things like adventures, setting books, etc) to all be included in a single campaign setting. That means that the locations you've seen in Trials of the Esoteric Order, Of Reefs & Ruin, and Goblins of Rough Top Mountain (as well as the one now appearing in Tomb of the Undying Empress) will exist within that campaign setting. In effect, we're introducing people to our world before it releases. (Most of it remains unwritten at this point, but with enough funding from Tomb of the Undying Empress, and perhaps some of our other projects, we'll be able to accelerate the timeline for that).
And now for an excerpt from the Kickstarter, regarding Tomb of the Undying Empress, as well as some of our design philosophy for adventures:
All of our adventures in two (or three parts): A pdf with the adventure, a pdf with the bestiary, and a hand-drawn map if the story requires it.
One of the most annoying factors of being a GM is having to reference several different books during a game. It slows things down, and it gets in the way of having fun. I've tried adventures where there were references to more than 10 different books within, and while I had all of them, it wasn't possible for me to lug all of that around.
This brings us to our philosophy: As much as possible, all information should be contained within just the one adventure - with some caveats: All monsters must be included, both new and old. So must all new material, whether that is magic items, spells, classes, or something else. But, existing spells and materials must instead be hyperlinked within the pdf, so that they can be easily referenced. - This obviously isn't possible for a physical book, but it should reduce the amount of page-turning during the "active parts" of a gaming session, where combat and the like are going on. During downtime, both in and out of the game, the players and GMs can then look up things like the magic items for future use.
At the same time, putting all of that into just one pdf gets confusing, so we split it out. One for the adventure, and one for the bestiary/new magic items. (These are put into one file for the physical book, as it is much cheaper than having it in two).
And then there is the map. While we like the pretty battle maps and such that everyone uses on Foundry, they have one hefty limitation. Most GMs cannot recreate them, especially in the physical world. So, we use hand-drawn maps - they should still be reproducible by the GM at their skill level, both at the dinner table and at the virtual table.
It also "feels" old-school and more part of the game for us, to do it this way. It may be old-fashioned, we can't deny that, but it's about having fun. And part of the fun, both now and WAAAY back when we started gaming (In case you're wondering, I've been gaming since 1993) was the mapping of dungeons, both as a GM and as a player.
And with that, we'll end today's blog. We hope you'll join us on Kickstarter. :)