The world of D&D is busier than a swarm of bees targeted by the spell haste. Wizards of the Coast is on a roll like never before, teasing us with numerous game-related products and shows on the horizon. There’s also a wealth of peripheral entertainment in the works, including costly TV series and documentaries featuring well-known stars such as Joe Mangianello. But the adventures and other modules don’t end there.
A veritable horde of third-party producers, ranging from small projects by single creators to massive products by large but independent teams, is offering a phenomenal range of material for DMs out there. One can already find a tonne of books, software, dice, and other products – and more are on their way. As most of these products need to be budgeted for in advance of their creation, many creators (such as ourselves) turn to crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter.
Crowdfunding is brilliant for this purpose as it allows people to check out the idea for their products before they’re released (or, most of the time, even made), and backers often have an opportunity to get their hands on said products before it reaches the wider market. Meanwhile, creators can estimate how many that are interested in their project and talk to them to get feedback on the idea – a possibility that’s incredibly helpful and makes for great content.
As there are lots of crowdfunding campaigns for D&D-related projects underway at any given time, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to sum up the ones that we think look particularly interesting, are designed for D&D fifth edition, and are running on Kickstarter. This list is by no means exhaustive – there are many more campaigns underway – so consider it a taster of what some indie creators are up to right now.
Is your helmet secured? Have you got a firm hold of your shield? Let’s dive into this month’s list!
Why Slay Dragons When You Could Be FISHING
Let’s kick off with what might be our unlikely favourite among the campaigns on this list! The idea of this rather hilarious but also very useful-looking module is fully explained in its title. Yes, it really encourages the adventurers to take a break from their dragon-hunting, manticore-bashing and troll-smashing to go fishing. The book will feature over a hundred catchable fishes, and it will be fully compatible with all types of 5e-based systems. But wait – there’s much more! It’s packed with (excellently funny) art, and the writers have really gone running (or perhaps swimming) with the concept: there are also magic fishing items (!), different methods of fishing, detailed equipment, crafting suggestions, and much more. Also, did we mention the art?
L’Arsene’s Ledger of Treasures and Trinkets
This campaign is for a veritable tome – over 400 pages! – filled with magic items for D&D 5e that can increase in power as their users gain experience and grow in power. With this book on your shelf, you’re unlikely to ever run short on good and inventive loot for successful adventurers. The Kickstarter campaign is extremely popular, which is understandable: the book is created by Loot Tavern, a team that’s known for its quality products, great imagination, and good humour. We’ve talked to them on occasion while we’ve been running campaigns simultaneously, and we can confirm that they’re excellently nice people as well. Aside from magic items, there’ll also be a full-on sourcebook that comes with rules for how to balance arcane items sensibly, as well as a collection of supplementary features such as subclasses, recipes, familiars, and lots more.
The Vineyard RPG
The title alone of this project got our attention! If you wonder what a vineyard has to do with Dungeons & Dragons, that’s a good question – but any player whose character has trekked across a certain shadowy realm under the ever-present and watchful eye of a certain vampire might see why: deep in this shadowy realm is a vineyard that has problems and could use the help of heroes – but of course, a visit will be filled with sticky complications. Now, this Kickstarter campaign also concerns a vineyard, and the adventure is set to be rather deliciously gothic, too. Despite the “RPG” in the name, it’s a full campaign setting and guidebook for D&D 5e. The focus is on the importance of good villains to make adventures exciting. This module will arrive with nine such crooks, all featuring bios and stat blocks, their own personal lairs, suggested dialogue and various plot hooks, some really snazzy art, and more.
Created by Enworld, the company headed by D&D veteran and super-prolific content creator Morrus, this is a supplement that’ll work with the general D&D 5E rules as well as Level Up: A5E, the hefty, crunchy, and widely liked stand-alone expansion of the core fifth edition ruleset. Expected to encompass around 400 pages, the book will offer three adventures that’ll take the players’ characters on properly epic quests. The heroes will find themselves facing a lethal fiend, a cunning vampire, and a powerful dragon – but there’ll also be over seventy additional new monsters that can make life difficult (and short) for the adventuring party. In addition to all this, there’ll be a range of new unique gear and magic items, some of which sound very intriguing – for example, a shadow compass!
This Kickstarter campaign is for a set of small polyhedral objects that can help establish a forecast for an imaginary fantasy domain. In other words, dice that suggest weather in D&D and other tabletop roleplaying games! The set encompasses five dice, each of which describes an aspect of the current weather, such as how windy it is, how clear the skies are, and so on. It is a simple and very good idea, primarily because it’s simple, quick, and turns a repetitive and boring task into a single roll of dice. Also, one can’t have enough dice! The campaign has become a Project we Love on Kickstarter and has surpassed its goal by a good margin.
Offering exactly what it says on the tin, this book comes brimming with monstrosities of all kinds. They’re designed by the minds at Cawood Publishing, a group that’s behind several colourful and popular 5e supplements that were successfully funded through Kickstarter campaigns. This means that you can expect lots of quirky and humorously illustrated creatures that will do their best to ruin the dungeon-delving heroes’ day. If you feel that you’ve exhausted the creatures in the Monster Manual, check out the full range of environment-specific monster books available in the campaign!
If you’re interested in running a campaign in a setting based on Asian mythology, this might be of great interest to you. There’ll be a host of options for D&D on this specific theme, including: creatures, items, subclasses, geography, lore, and more goodies such as GM screens, maps, and card decks. The creators are promising plenty of art to accompany the content, and judging by the Kickstarter campaign page, the artwork will have a fitting flair.
The project is already way past its funding goal and has been selected as a Project we Love on Kickstarter.
We love all things ghostly, and if they’re to do with roleplaying games, we love them even more. After all, we’re called Midnight Tower for a reason! As one can tell by browsing our adventures, we’re also quite fond of eeriness, phantoms, hauntings, and generally gothic themes. Take one look at our one-shot mystery Before the Stroke of Midnight and you’ll see what we mean. So, unsurprisingly, we think that this book looks absolutely tantalizing. The adventures will concern the hunting of ghosts – not a dangerous business at all! – and the starting point of the quests is a strange shop that hides an assortment of spooky items, so it sounds like it’ll be easy to drop the adventures into any setting that features a town.
This is a straightforward module that offers five villains for your D&D campaign. Each of the villains is quite distinct in terms of abilities as well as appearance, and they come with their own types of dangerous minions that aid them against the heroes. In addition, they also have their custom lairs in which they are confronted.
Let’s round off this list with a theme that’s very close to the hearts of us at Midnight Tower: cats! In this adventure, the heroes are asked to put an end to the recurring vandalism of trolls and their loyal goblins. So far, so traditional D&D. However, the questgivers are kids – and as such, they don’t have much to offer by way of reward for ending the town’s troubles. But they work with what they have, and so they present the adventurers with a prize that’s probably unlike any that they have been offered before – a kitten. We know that we’d leap to the task! But this module is not necessarily only a quick side trek! The adventure offers enough material to last groups 2 to 3 sessions, featuring combat, general light-heartedness, tricky puzzles, and other mysteries.
That concludes April’s list! Check back soon for another rundown of exciting D&D Kickstarter campaigns. Until then, happy gaming!