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Off Topic > Tabletop RPGJul 9, 2024 4:00 pm CT

Quirky upcoming TTRPG releases that crowdfunded their way to becoming reality

One of the ways in which modern Tabletop RPGs are distinguished from their ancestors is in how they end up getting made and reaching an audience. A lot of older RPGs began life as zines, or as rough small print releases. But with modern technology, the rise of crowdfunding websites has made it possible for games to be produced by smaller, more independent studios with the level of polish we’re used to seeing from the larger lights in the industry.

This is awesome and delightful. So what I’m going to do here is mention a few of these games and game products that are currently or recently going through their crowdfunding phases. If you like tabletop roleplaying, some of these might be up your alley.

Smork Borg

The lovely and terrifying Joe Perez has described Mork Borg as “fantasy roleplaying meets old Heavy Metal comics” and that’s not a bad take. So to encapsulate Smork Borg for you, I would simply say it’s a game where you play as a very thinly veiled parody of a Smurf (one legally distinct, of course) if the whole thing was being created by Karl Edward Wagner on peyote.

I don’t know what else I could say that would possibly be more compelling than to simply say you can play a murderous Smurf in a twisted, grimdark fantasy gorefest of a setting. Either that’s your thing, or you should probably stay away. It’s very much my thing, which may reveal more about me than I would otherwise like.

Dr Dhrolin’s Dictionary of Dinosaurs

It’s a book full of dinosaurs for Pathfinder 2e.

I’m kind of shaking just typing that sentence. The only way I could be more excited for this book would be if it had Inostrancevia in it.

Planet of the Apes

Honestly, I’m only a middling fan of the Planet of the Apes franchise — although the original novel does have a place in my heart — but the Official Planet of the Apes RPG has my attention for a variety of reasons.

  • It’s built on the old D6 system originally designed for West End Games’ Star Wars The Roleplaying GameThis means I could theoretically have Jedi show up and chop up talking Apes with their Lightsabers. I am down for this.
  • They specifically promise that this game was made by humans, not AI or Apes. I appreciate this. AI has become a blight on creative pursuits and I don’t want any damn dirty Apes making my RPGs.
  • It’s a planet where Apes evolved from Men. And you can download QuickStart rules if you’re curious to see what that means.

Tomb of the Dead God

I like Tomb of the Dead God for a variety of reasons. It’s primarily the work of a single creator, Natasja van Gestel. She seems very cool and I can’t ever feel bad promoting an individual creator’s work in a time like the times we have.

And also, Tomb of the Dead God feels like a module I’d have picked up and run way back in the day, with touches of The Lost City, stories like The Heritage of Hastur or the old King in Yellow tales of Robert W. Chambers. I simply find it to be a delightful concept and I’m very curious where Natasja is going to take it. The art is gorgeous, by the way, a very unique and lovely style that makes the preview images stand out.

While I regretfully bring my nerding out to a close, I have to note that the TTRPG hobby is getting more diverse, and more and more the creators are capable of using crowdfunding to get their vision out without corporations stepping on what they can make. I’m totally here for all of it.

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