I love it when something unexpected happens and it inspires me to make a blog post. Delivered today was some of the Kickstarter rewards for Let’s Make More MST3K & Build The Gizmoplex! that I had backed in 2021.
When the box arrived, there was nothing on the outside that indicated what it was. I was pleasantly surprised when the Gizmoplex popcorn bucket was the first thing I saw. My wife, also a MST3K fan, reminded me that Kickstarter rewards are gift that past you sends to current you. Both the popcorn bucket and the drink holder will get used for future viewing.
The red t-shirt is in 3D (you can’t really see it in the photo) and I can’t wait for a proper event to wear it at. As for the stickers. Well the bumper sticker will have to wait until I get a better car. But the other Gizmoplex Founding Member sticker is now sitting on the back of my laptop.
I hope that we will get an announcement about another season of MST3K soon. I really enjoyed season 13. I think my favorite episodes are H.G. Wells’ The Shape of Things to Come and Doctor Mordrid. I also enjoyed watching the specials and behind the scenes videos that were available for backers.
So I’ve posted about some of the Kickstarter rewards that I’ve received in the past. These have included the 2nd Edition X-Treme Dungeon Mastery and the BX Advanced Bestiary Vol. 1. I’ve also got several rewards coming to me later this year that I’m looking forward to seeing. However another Kickstarter campaign just came across my desk that really caught my attention.
For those of you scratching your heads, let me explain. David Flor wrote this adventure back in 1983 when he was twelve years old. He had it printed out and then lost it as he moved through life. Well, as he explains on his Kickstarter Page, it was recently found and reunited with him. David had returned to gaming life a few years ago and even had some adventures published. So when this example of 1980’s creativity was returned to him, he knew that he had to share it with others. Thus a Kickstarter was launched to scan the original (which is part of the rewards), update it with new artwork (also part of the rewards) and (if certain goals are met) update the adventure for such systems as Dungeons and Dragons 5E and Dungeon Crawl Classics.
So why did this catch my attention? This is the stuff that I would do back in the 80’s and 90s. I was lucky enough to find my homebrewed starships for the FASA Star Trek RPG and my Book of RPG character sheets. I’ve been sharing them here as a way to give my creativity to others. This type of creativity is what inspires me to post on my blog. So I wanted to share it with others. If you can back the Kickstarter, please do so. I’d love to see what is generated from this with all of the stretch goals accomplished.
And yes, I will make a blog post with my first look when the rewards have been released.
So another item that came up in January, but the review had to be pushed back to this month because of the Character Creation Challenge, was the arrival of a KickStarter reward. I’ve backed KickStarters before for RPG material (and I have a few that are scheduled to be delivered in 2023). In 2022 I backed an independent publisher who wanted to put out a series of bestiaries for OSR games. Specifically in the B/X flavor (which is a given since it’s in the title of the book). This was The BX Advanced Bestiary Vol. 1 by Third Kingdom Games.
From my KickStarter submission I received the hardbound book which is 133 pages long. The ISBN number is 2370011833927. The cover states that the contents are designed for use with the Old-School Essentials RPG but could be used with any OSR style system. The cover art and interior art are all black and white. The author, Todd Leback, was able to obtain artwork from eight different artists for all of the entries. There are also several house-rules that are made available for GMs to consider and an appendix with several items, optional player races (which are classes in this OSR).
This tome covers monsters from A-D (Ape, White to Dryad). The interesting thing is that each entry also contains variants of the different monsters. So the GM can keep the players on their toes. “What do you mean this boar has an iron hide?” The entry for the dragon is 18 pages long which covers information on ages, lairs, allies and types of attacks.
There are about 100 monsters contained within the pages of the BX Advanced Bestiary Vol. 1. I’ve been in contact with the author and he responded very quickly to any issues (one of the images was accidentally submitted as blurry due to low resolution, which he offered a replacement book with the imaged replaced). I am impressed with both the organization and the book itself. I’ve been told that there will be KickStarters for future volumes. I plan to back them as they are released since the support levels were very reasonable. This is the type of effort we should be supporting. Fans of the game producing materials for other fans to use.
The first X-treme Dungeon Mastery book was published in 2009 and became an instant hit. Not only did it give advice about running games and handling the various types of players, but it also talked about the Killer Breakfast. This last item is something you should really look up if it happens at a convention near you. If you look on Amazon the physical copy of the first edition book runs between $150-200. I was lucky to find a copy at a Westercon in 2019.
The shipping box was very well secured. The book was in a padded section with paper taking up any excess space to keep things from moving around. I knew instantly what it was when I picked it up off my porch.
Under the paper I discovered the signed bookplate that was included with my level of contribution. While I had Howard’s autograph on several art books, this was the first time I was able to get an autograph from Tracy and Curtis Hickman. Oh, if those names don’t sound familiar, turn in your geek card. Tracy Hickman is one of the co-authors of the Dragonlance books and games, the Ravenloft game books and a ton of various fantasy novels. Curtis Hickman is the son of Tracy and is also a magician an co-founder of The Void, a virtual reality experience.
Tracy & Curtis Hickman’s X-treme Dungeon Mastery 2nd edition. Illustrated by Howard Tayler, edited by Sandra Tayler with an introduction by Jim Zub. ISBN 978-1-945120-11-4. Like the first edition, this version is hardbound. There are 190 pages (compared to 158 in the first edition) with illustrations on almost every page (check out the lower right corner on each page).
After I had opened up the box and took the photos I did a quick glance at the contents of the book. While I did have access to a PDF version of the book for several weeks (another benefit from participating in the Kickstarter) I wanted to wait until I had the dead tree version in my hands. I enjoy reading a new book this way with the electronic copy being used for quick reference searches. I noticed that there were some items that had been carried over from the first edition, but there was also a lot that was added to the second edition. A lot more. I’m planning to do a deep dive later, but I wanted to drop a blog post since I was excited to get the book in my hands. There were several chapters where I had to stop and read immediately. And there are some other chapters that I’m going to have to go over later. I can see where some of the value for Dungeon Masters can be found in this tome.
I’m also interested in taking a deeper dive in the second edition of the XD20 roleplaying system. Don’t be surprised if I use this as one of my entries for the 2023 Character Creation Challenge. I also have another set of blog posts that is currently boiling in a pot that I can use this system for as well. More on that later.
I did notice that the method of printing on the cover held my fingerprint smudges more than the first edition book. However this doesn’t bother me that much since I purchased this book to use, not to keep as a collector’s item.
Other Kickstarter bonuses that I received included two adventure modules (PDF) and several color illustrations in JPG format. One of these illustrations was also sent to me in a postcard.
Overall I am very pleased with the material I received for my Kickstarter backing. This book will look very nice next to my first edition copy in my gaming library. I can’t wait to delve into the wit and wisdom of the book’s contents. If you didn’t get a chance to participate in the Kickstarter, you can still pick up the book in various formats from Howard Tayler’s online store. I would recommend picking up this guide to being an X-treme Dungeon Master.