I am planning on launching the Kickstarter for the Fantasy Renaissance Adventure Modules very soon. Like, super soon. OK, I’ll put a date to it – Monday, August 17th! But it’s probably a good idea to look at why I’m doing a Kickstarter and what I’m hoping to do with it.
I don’t think I could be a smaller operation. Cut to the Chase Games is pretty much just me and my super supportive fiance trying to bring awesome adventures to the gaming scene. And I want them in print as well, so that’s added a challenge that’s been interesting to figure out (and frankly I’m still figuring out some distribution parts, but that’s for down the road a bit). I’ve been writing adventure modules for nearly as long as I’ve been playing roleplaying games – my home games I wrote out, poorly to be honest, but I wrote in the style of a Dungeon Magazine scenario so that I didn’t have to remember them when I was playing and I didn’t have to read my poor scribbled handwriting.
So I’ve built up quite a catalog of awesome adventure ideas and possibilities, but what to do with them? I read the adventures in Dungeon Magazine, and finally in 2005 I submitted a handful of proposals to them (Paizo was handling both Dragon and Dungeon at the time). They liked one of them, “Heart of Hellfire Mountain”, and asked that I send it in. I did, eagerly, and then waited quite awhile for anything to come of it. I submitted more proposals in the meantime, and got a few rejections back with critical feedback, but quickly I stopped getting responses at all. So did everyone else it seemed.
I got word sometime in late Q2 2006 that my adventure was slated for Dungeon Magazine #140, and around that same time came the announcement of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. Wizards was ending the contract with Paizo and bringing Dragon and Dungeon magazines in house, and Dungeon #150 was going to be the last. Well, that explained the lack of responses! Dungeon #140 came out, and the cover featured the archdevil Mephistopheles from my adventure (“Heart of Hellfire Mountain” for 20th-level characters!). I was super excited and hungry for more, but with the flux of the game it seemed as though things were moving inward rather than outward. I feel like if I had jumped at submitting proposals earlier I might have been able to establish myself in Dungeon Magazine better, but ah well. No complaints, no regrets, keep moving forward!
I kept my eye on sources, and my love of the pulp 1930’s gaming genre brought the Ravaged Earth setting and Savage Worlds system to my attention. I think it was GenCon 2007 (maybe?) that Reality Blurs released the print version of Ravaged Earth, and I left Minnesota on Friday after work to drive through the night to Indianapolis just so I could get a copy. (That’s a story for another time – a harrowing journey to be sure!) I got it, read it, and then reached out to Reality Blurs with a handful of One Sheets (short Savage Worlds scenarios meant to be played in just an hour or two) I wrote. Sean Preston got back to me and I hit the ground running with some projects for them. I had a lot of fun writing for Reality Blurs, and massaged some of my backlog of fantasy adventures into the Old School Fantasy series (Hunger of the Iron Mage, Call of the Crow, and Slave Pens of Moss Stone were my favorites).
Eventually I parted ways, amicably, with Reality Blurs and focused on personal things. I always had the idea in the back of my head of trying to release trilogies of adventures, each that could be run individually but together would form a mini-arc. Dungeon Magazine explored the idea a handful of times, and I always found it more digestible than the sprawling adventure paths they focused on instead.
Fast forward a bit to 2014, and the company I worked for announced they were moving to Colorado. For various reasons I decided to stay in Minnesota and was kept on until the end of Q1 2015 to help with the transition. I don’t know if I could get a stronger sign, so I decided to take the leap into game design company ownership and started up Cut to the Chase Games in January 2015. I’ve learned a lot since then, registering things and purchasing things and learning new technologies, but it’s all led to the launch of the Fantasy Renaissance Adventure Module Kickstarter campaign.
Where does it go from there? I hope it keeps going, and I hope I get to fully realize the backlog of adventure titles I’ve got (there are more than 30 of them with titles, outlines, and ideas, and more than twice that with just one of those three things!). But only time will tell.