Dragon Heresy: Introductory Set coming to Kickstarter in April

Gaming Ballistic is pleased to announce that the Dragon Heresy Introductory Set will be coming to Kickstarter in April 2018.

Dragon Heresy is a Norse-inspired setting and supporting roleplaying game. It is built around a fantasy representation of the Nine Realms, where the Aesir, fae, dragons, and fiends all vie for control of Etera in the mortal realm of Midgard. The PCs are looking to become mighty heroes, and venture north into the ancient lands of the former demense of the Elder Dragons to find fame, fortune, glory, and magic.

It builds off of the excellent SRD5.1 game engine, but with adjustments and additions made to match the feel of the setting and provide more nuance to combat and struggle

  • Division of HP into wounds and vigor for a more coherent treatment of rest and injury
  • Shields are way, way cooler
  • Enhanced use of existing mechanics to add nuance and risk to combat
  • Grappling rules that don’t suck

The Dragon Heresy Introductory Set is a fully playable game, covering character creation, adventuring from Level 1-5, combat, gear, and challenges. In the book you will find:

  • Choose from Fighter, Berserker, Cleric, and Wizard classes
  • Humans, Dwarves, Half-elf, and Dragonborn available as races
  • Norse-inspired culture, cosmology, and mythology
  • Deadly and tactically interesting combat Rules refined from the 5th edition of the world’s most popular fantasty RPG

The book will be approximately 256 pages, with major sections for

  • Character creation – including races, classes, backgrounds, equipment, and spells from Level 1-5
  • Core Mechanics – what’s the same, and what’s different, from SRD5.1
  • Running the Game – example rules for survival and overland travel in a hostile wilderness, risks and rewards, a random treasure generation table suitable for the levels in the book
  • Combat – all you need to live and die by violence, including melee weapons, new rules for shield use, grappling rules that don’t suck, and more. Fights are not driven by attrition, integrating morale and the potential for sudden incapacitation
  • Injury, Rest, and Healing – Dragon Heresy differentiates strongly between wounds, vigor, and exhaustion to make resting vs. healing a meaningful distinction.
  • Spellcasting and Spell Lists from spell level 1-3
  • A brief introduction to the Norse-inspired world of Etera
  • Over 100 monsters custom-modified and rewritten to suit the mythology and cosmology of the Nine Realms

Read on for more details!

The writing is finished, as is a preliminary edit by the group of playtesters and collaborators that have been crafting the game for the better part of two years. The majority of the work on the game has been finished, including writing, playtesting, graphic design, and layout. Art assets have been procured during the game’s development: 20 piece, three full-spread covers, plus extensive appropriate art from the Dungeon Grappling and Lost Hall of Tyr products by Gaming Ballistic.

Dungeon Grappling came out of the original Dragon Heresy full manuscript, while Lost Hall of Tyr takes place in the land of Etera. Over 24 additional pieces of original artwork were crafted for those two books.

This allowed me to lay out and populate the Introductory Set to a near-final state.

Cover Art

Examples of Interior Layout

Preliminary Character Sheet Design (5e Basis; Dragon Heresy modifications pending)

The Dragon Heresy project has been underway for the better part of two years, and substantial pre-investment has been made to bring the book to its current state. So what’s left?

  • Final Editing – getting an SRD5.1-aware editor on board for a final check of wording, grammar, and rules consistency
  • Indexing – A great book deserves a great index.
  • Remaining Art Spaces – there are a few art holes that need to be filled
  • Printing (covered by your pledge) and Shipping (which will be done in Backerkit)

That’s really it. Backers at the Berserker and higher levels ($5 and more) will receive preliminary, playable copies of their electronic files the day the Kickstarter funds settle.

  • The Kickstarter preliminary goal will be about $3,400, and pledge levels as follows
  • $5 Tier will get you a stripped-down, no layout/no editing play of the combat rules only
  • $20 gets you the full-color PDF
  • $50 gets you hardcover B/W plus PDF (Print-on-Demand)(edited)
  • $75 gets you hardcover color plus PDF (Print-on-Demand)
  • There is also a $100 and likely $200 sponsorship tier for folks that have money they want to throw at me

I will have a stretch goal at $16,000 or 400 physical copies ordered where ALL US hardcopies are full-color, offset, with sewn binding. I’m always looking for opportunities to deliver a higher quality book than the usual POD offering.

There will also be a special consideration: I have a full three-volume deluxe set planned and written as well. The Deluxe Set has all playable classes and races, covers Level 1-20, with more backgrounds, more clerical domains, all the spells, more monsters, and a deeper exploration of Etera and the threats facing Torengar.

That set of books requires more like $75,000, which is a big lift no matter who you are (with limited exceptions). If you support at the $20 and higher level, the cost of your product ($20 for PDF, $50 or $75 for Print+PDF) will be credited towards a future Dragon Heresy Deluxe Set Kickstarter if (a) it happens, and (b) you back that as well. So there’s no risk of your content becoming obsolete or being required to buy it twice! That offer will be limited to Kickstarter backers only.

The project may be well along, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need help.

First and foremost, I need folks to spread the word. Share the blog post on social media, and point your friends at the Kickstarter page upon launch. Ask questions, joint the Gaming Ballistic Discord Channel, or sign up for my mailing list on the Gaming Ballistic blog so I can keep you informed of updates and product announcements.

Finally, if you host a podcast or do interviews about upcoming games . . . I’d love to be your guest!

I can’t wait to get this into gamers’ hands . . . and I hope you join me.

3 thoughts on “Dragon Heresy: Introductory Set coming to Kickstarter in April

    1. “I don’t want to buy the same content twice” is a valid objection. I thought about it, and while I would LOVE to go right for the jugular on this one, and go for the Deluxe version right now, fact is that I can’t afford it.

      You’ve seen my posts on what it costs to produce an RPG with the production values of Dragon Heresy: About $150 per page if I give everything (including my writing, art direction, and project management) its market value. That’s about $100,000 for the three-book set. Some of that is sunk cost or sweat equity (about 20-30% of the art, my writing, project management and art direction fees, layout template, and my new InDesign skills), but a lot of it, maybe $50,000, isn’t.

      Since a Intro Set PDF will be $20, and a hardback in Black/White interior $50 (including PDF), and the likely price of the three-book Color PDF/B/W Print+ Color PDF in the $60/$125 range, giving folks who helped me get the Intro Set started credit for their prior faith seemed legit.

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