1. Games on the borderlands: Episode 3.

    In our Adventurer, Conqueror, King game this week, my warrior reached level 2 as we went to war with a tribe of kobolds and their spider god. The spider god killed our dog, Sturm, but then she paid the ultimate price when she fell to the Elf’s sword. It may not have been the apocalypse for us today, but it was the end times for those kobolds.

    Some roleplaying game projects through which you can create and escape infinite apocalypses:

    Insouciant Rogues

    The Insanity RPG. 2nd edition! That illustration alone should be enough to sell you on this! 

    Jim Pinto’s A Gallery of Rogues.

    Exemplar: Tales of the New Roman EmpireA Savage Worlds setting.

    Kingdom: A Space Exploration RPG.

    Shroud of the Ancients. The Adventurer’s Guide to Terrath.

    Josh Roby’s A Vicious Crucible.

    Trains of Thought.

    Sector from HellWerewolves and vampires in the Traveller universe!

    Stomping Along

    Ehdrigohr RPG A new world, a novel RPG steeped in mysticism and darkness.

    Creature & Encounter Cards.

    Cold Steel Wardens Superhero roleplaying in the vein of Watchmen.

    World of Synnibar cannot be defeated, not even with a sunstone cannon.

    Earning Much XP

    A new edition of White Wolf’s The Mummy!

    Evil Hat’s FATE Core.

    The DM’s FamiliarA cloud-based database for OGL info.

    The fourth edition of The Morrow Project! Old-school post-apocalyptic sci-fi goodness.

    ICONS: Great Power.

    Rise of the Cult of Nagfa. A pathfinder adventure.

    The Legend of Sinbad.

  2. scottrogers:

I’d never seen this before on Kickstarter, but here’s a handy way of looking at how the projects you back break across categories. I’ve backed 16 projects in two years.

Yes! But might we suggest Passage New Orleans for Art? Or perhaps the very cool After the Ice? And there’s still a few hours left to back rad Comics project The Beast of Wolfe’s Bay! (We could go on…)


    I’d never seen this before on Kickstarter, but here’s a handy way of looking at how the projects you back break across categories. I’ve backed 16 projects in two years.

    Yes! But might we suggest Passage New Orleans for Art? Or perhaps the very cool After the Ice? And there’s still a few hours left to back rad Comics project The Beast of Wolfe’s Bay! (We could go on…)
    View on Kickstarter
  3. The Power of Quests
    If you want to go on a meaningful quest, you must be lacking in something. [T]he protagonist cannot focus on everything and thus must choose and discard priorities to define a preferred quest. Tyler Cowen, Create Your Own Economy

    Last week we used Cowen’s quote about quests in relation to Geoff Edgers’ Kinks documentary project. This was no accident. In the film, Geoff repeatedly declares himself to be “on a quest” (he also uses the word “mission”) to reunite the Kinks, a phrasing that has a visible effect on people like Sting and Zooey Deschanel, who give his film and goal their endorsement.

    “Quest” is a powerful word. Quests are Wall-E rescuing Eve, Frodo climbing Mordor, the Losties getting off the island. Quests are legends, bold steps into folklore, celluloid, and pulp. As even Don Quixote — and the mere existence of the word “quixotic” — illustrates so vividly, quests are burdens. Quests demand sacrifice and determination, a myopic focus on, well, something.

    A handful of new Kickstarter projects are themselves quests. They are the works of individuals who felt a spark one day — we don’t choose our quests; they choose us — and abruptly realigned their lives in pursuit. They sail seas and climb mountains. They seek meaning in faded black-and-white. They awoke one day to find they were giants.

    We’ll look at three projects today that embody this, and three more tomorrow.

    The American Who Went Up a Mountain and Came Down a Hero: Chris Waddell Climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro

    One man. One mountain. Chris Waddell attempts to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro without the use of his legs.

    That quote from Chris Waddell’s project really says it all, doesn’t it? A five-time gold medal paralympian skier, Chris is the picture of determination and focus. Chris is raising $50,000 to fund his climb of Africa’s tallest peak using a wheeled rig that he hand-cranks up the mountain, each revolution of its gears moving him only three inches. It’s a chariot of his own design, and the brute force required to even operate it is Herculean — to make the five-day climb, he will have to turn that crank a staggering 528,000 times while traversing terrain straight out of Middle-earth. Chris describes the trek by day in his project description; here’s a sample quote:

    2nd Day. Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut—Approximately 3,300 feet of elevation change and about 9.3 miles of distance. Leaving the forest and entering the heather, we will travel through the mists and the fog. Then the vegetation thins in the moorland. The trail stays rough and rocky with some big steps. The second day will be technical and difficult the whole time. It could rival the summit day for the most challenging. Horombo Hut Elevation: 12,205 feet.

    Chris asks prospective copilots to consider backing his journey for a simple $1/revolution of his wheels. The ride downhill, he states, is on him.

    Lascaux Meets LaPorte: Joe Beshenkovsky and Jason Bitner Decipher the Faces of LaPorte, Indiana

    One afternoon not long ago, after lunch at a small Midwestern diner, I stumbled onto a forgotten archive…

    That evocative sentence opens the description of LaPorte, Indiana, the documentary film created by This American Life producer Joe Beshenkovsky and FOUND magazine co-creator Jason Bitner. That archive contains more than 18,000 photographs of the citizens of LaPorte, Indiana taken from the 1950s-70s. Jason turned the photographs into a photo book released a couple of years ago, and in the time since the allure of the pictures has grown.

    Using a copy of the book left in the diner, LaPorte’s citizens began identifying themselves and their peers. And it was then that Joe and Jason began interviewing these people some forty to fifty years after those initial images: the young couple in the wedding photo, the cowlicked boy with his fist raised like Huey Long, the woman who swore she would one day leave and never come back.

    The interviews uncover this small town’s living histories, the happy days and tragic ends that are LaPorte’s folklore.

    Around the World in Seven Hundred and Thirty Days: Emily Richmond Sets Sail

    so in my head i know sailing really means storms, cold water, scary squalls, and the great unknown but today, in my heart, it feels like this:

    — Emily Richmond posting on her blog, Bobbie Rounds the World

    Emily Richmond is a 24-year-old woman from Los Angeles who has decided to sail around the world. Her two-year journey will swing her across the Southern Hemisphere. Here’s her planned route:

    With stops in Cyprus, the Galapagos Islands, Trinidad, Morocco, and Bali (among others), Emily’s circumnavigation is straight out of a fairy tale. And the rewards she is offering accentuate the romatic appeal.

    For $15, she will mail you a Polaroid picture taken over the course of the trip. In our minds, this instantly sparked images of a worn, mysteriously stamped envelope arriving one day, a strong scent of seawater accompanying its opening, the enclosed Polaroid capturing beauty as far as the lens can see.

    Our other favorite is perfectly self-explanatory:

    Whereas Magellan needed King Manuel to fund his journey and outfit his ship, Emily will share her bounty with us. A mere $8,000 and she’s on her way.

    Coming tomorrow… Part Two.

  4. kind of bloop

    A very good project went up today called Kind of Bloop: An 8-Bit Tribute to Miles Davis to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kind of Blue. The creator is Andy Baio, he of Waxy and general internet fame. Andy is raising $2,000 so he can properly license (good for him!) and pay for the Davis covers; he’s hiring five 8-bit artists to make the songs using their instruments, in this case original Nintendos and other gaming systems.

    Incredibly, Andy raised his $2,000 in a matter of hours. There’s still more money to be made, as this album will only be distributed through Kickstarter, and it’s great that the project’s future is already secured. Well done.

  5. How It’s Done

    Yesterday, the project Unbunny’s “Black Strawberries” Limited-Edition LP was posted on Kickstarter. It’s by a blogger named Ryan Catbird, and its goal is to do a vinyl reissue of a record by his favorite artist, a virtual unknown. And yet right now, just one day later, Unbunny’s “Black Strawberries” has raised $1,111. Let’s figure out why.

    The first thing that jumps out about this project is the rewards breakdown. As you can see below, each reward has a parenthetical number next to it. That tells you how many people have picked that option.

    The $40 “Deluxe Edition” gets you the vinyl, which is hand-numbered and signed by the artist, and it’s currently the most popular pick by an almost two to one margin (earlier today it was even larger; a rush of twenty-buckers since). This is an example of someone pricing their reward and knowing their audience well. Really good job. (I picked the $20 option.)

    Ryan’s explanation of why he wants to reissue this record is well put. He makes a case for the music, and he makes a case by talking about what it means to him. He makes you care.

    The final part of Unbunny’s early success is that Ryan Catbird is a well-known blogger, and he has promoted his project well. Here’s a screenshot:

    Very prominent callout. Ryan is doing it right. One of our model projects thus far.