“Hi. My name is John Snead. And this is Cythulu and my cat.”
“HP Lovecraft was more than a horror writer. He was a visionary.”
“This game has horror in it, but it also has wonder.”
My friend John Snead has been a professional role-playing game writer for fifteen years, but now he’s doing something new: He’s working on a project with an established rpg publisher, but funded by Kickstarter. My friend AJ Luxton, who has occasionally left comments here on “Alas,” will be contributing some short-short fiction to the game.
“Eldritch Skies” is a rather artsy game based on the writings of HP Lovecraft. It’s a game John has wanted to do for years. And frankly, if this were five years ago, I’m not sure that it would get made; it’s really sort of chancy, and rpg publishers have to have an eye on the bottom line just to keep existing. (Most really experimental role-playing games are self-published by the creators, often at a loss).
But with Kickstarter, the publisher can raise some funds (and, in effect, sell some copies) before the game is published. It’s a way for them to publish riskier games without so much, you know, risk. If this model becomes popular, we could see a much greater variety of RPGs coming from RPG publishers.
Happily, “Eldritch Skies” is now fully funded, with nine days still to go. But if you want to see more role-playing games that are labors of love for the creators, go check out the kickstarter page. Watch the video that John and AJ made, which is adorable.
You can pre-order a copy (either very cheaply in electronic form for $15, or a physical book for $40). This is an experiment for the publisher (and I’d guess that other publishers are watching as well); the better the kickstarter model does for them, the more likely they are to fund more oddball and heartfelt projects this way.
P.S. More links from John’s extremely pink blog: “Here’s the book’s Table of Contents, here is my essay on Lovecraftian SF. Also, amberite is writing the fiction here’s one piece of her fiction from the book – the story “Containment”. Also, if the kickstarter works, the cover will be done by the awesome mythos artist Paul Carrick.”