Game stores, bookshops, and online marketplaces might be the natural and obvious places to go hunting for D&D-related products. Also, the products that one usually found were limited to official releases and – more rarely – the odd homemade adventure or supplement, which sometimes were stocked by localtyshops or sold at conventions. This situation was certainly the most common for many years after the hobby began to spread, especially before the advent of the internet.
However, these days regular stores are complemented by a very recent arrival on the scene: crowdfunding sites! In short, these sites are platforms that enable independent creators to ask for funding for large, content-packed and high-quality D&D modules and other things related to the hobby, such as dice, dice bags, dungeon master screens, custom notebooks – even entire tables with built-in holders for dice and drinks.
A new way of making D&D books happen
The creators present their projects and ask for funding, and in return the supporters (or backers, as they’re usually called) are offered the final product, often at a discounted price or before they reach the wider market. Typically, backers also get to follow the making of the product, and sometimes they’re even involved in the actual making of the product by contributing with ideas and voting in polls.
Midnight Tower has its origins in a crowdfunding platform called Kickstarter, which is perhaps the biggest such platform for Dungeons & Dragons products. There are several other platforms, such as Gamefound, Gofundme, BackerKit and more, but Kickstarter currently stands out as a giant among these and has been doing so for quite some time. Most of the time, there are multiple D&D-themed projects live on Kickstarter, and many creators have successfully created dozens of different books or other items.
One great family
Every time we’ve been running a campaign for a D&D adventure on Kickstarter, we’ve been joined by multiple other creators who have been running campaigns at the same time. And the general mindset among creators is quite fascinating! Rather than viewing each other as competitors, we’ve found that we and many others prefer to team up and promote each other’s work. So we’ve made an effort during every campaign to point our backers to other people’s projects, which makes for a brilliantly collaborative atmosphere that benefits everyone, including the backers as they’re being made aware of many different products in the making. We’ve lots of friends all over the world, and we’ve had countless meetings during which we’ve exchanged ideas, tips, advice, and skills.
Spreading the word
So we thought we’d continue this tradition by promoting other D&D Kickstarter campaigns here, be they for adventures, other modules, or items that go on your gaming table!
In each article we’ll sum up some of the projects and what they’re all about, and why they look especially cool to us. Some are available exclusively in electronic formats, while others might have a variety of options. A few might even be available as luxurious clothbound books designed to be the centrepieces of your bookshelf.
Are you ready? Let’s dive into the very first roundup!
If you’re into magic items that come with lore, options for customisation, and super nice light-hearted artwork, this book might be for you! The book will be narrated by a trio of dragons (!) who guide the reader through the plethora of imaginative items.
Here’s a project that is going to keep your group (and your paintbrushes) busy for a good while! Besides a sourcebook with three adventures and lots of more content, you’ll also be looking at a whopping 130 STL-files for miniatures that go with the stories! (An STL-file is a digital file that you can upload to an online 3D printer to order miniatures – it’s a great way to pick and choose exactly which miniatures you want to get your hands on.) And some of the miniatures look absolutely epic!
Kickstarter veterans Dice Dungeons is running a Kickstarter for a set of ridiculously pretty dice. Called “Frostbound Shattered Glass”, they’re crafted from a special kind of glass to reflect and shift light in curious and striking ways. They come in a range of different colour combinations, and – you have been warned! – they’re ludicrously nice-looking!
More tangentially related to Dungeons & Dragons than an actual module, we’re going to include this campaign for the Shadowdark RPG for two reasons. Firstly, the game is designed by Arcane Library, which has been making extremely popular adventures for D&D 5e for a long time. Secondly, the game looks phenomenally dark and broody, and its aesthetics are likely to appeal especially to fans of the first edition.
Made by the Kickstarter-debuting creator Spellscribe Games, this campaign is for a book with D&D 5e content themed around all things eldritch and creepy. As one might expect, there’ll be cults and aberrations, but it’ll include some more unusual content too, such as tables for mutating environments on the fly, corrupted magic weapons, and level 10 (yes, ten!) spells.
This absolutely colossal project by super-Kickstarter-veteran Scott Taylor (who has over sixty crowdfunding campaigns under their belt) is brimming with cool ideas and content. A campaign book that’s over 350 pages, more than 300 STL files for miniatures and terrain – and (coolest of all) three ways to play the adventures: traditional style, as evil characters, and a player versus player method.
The name Goodman Games is well known throughout the D&D community for producing brilliant products. They’re currently on Kickstarter with their latest offering: a gargantuan collection of monsters. And there are a lot of monsters in this book – some 500 of them, in all kinds of shapes and sizes! They come with full descriptions and tokens, too. This is a good example of a crowdfunding campaign that provides something extra to its supporters, as those who take part will receive a book that features a monster which won’t be in the retail version.
That’s the end of this first roundup of Dungeons & Dragons Kickstarter campaigns – hopefully one or more of the projects mentioned here have caught your attention. Stay tuned for more overviews on this website as we’ll be back with more!