Yesterday was an interesting day for tabletop roleplaying games and crowdfunding (or at least interesting for me). I managed to publish my Age of Patronage article just as the Gamerati published an edited video of Lisa Stevens, CEO of Paizo Publishing, answering a question I submitted for a Google Hangout that Peter Adkison read to her.
I had asked for her thoughts on patronage and its impact on the tabletop gaming industry. I also asked if Paizo might ever utilize crowdfunding and she alluded to something to come in the near future. Then late last night Gamerati dropped a link to the Kickstarter below in the comments of the video. [UPDATE: Sometime in the night, the preview for the Kickstarter was taken down, but I did manage to grab the video and the important bits of the proposal and they are contained below. I’ll leave the hyperlink in for posterity’s sake.]:
Our First Step
This Kickstarter will fund the Technology Demo of the Pathfinder Online Massively Multiplayer Online RPG. The Technology Demo will be fully playable, integrating account management, character creation, a virtual world server, multiple simultaneously connected clients, middleware used for rendering landscapes and characters, basic game mechanics, and player communications. The demo will only support a few simultaneous users exploring a couple of small locations, so the general public won’t be able to play it, but we will produce a short video of the demo that everyone will be able to experience, and a special longer video exclusively for backers of this Kickstarter.
Your support of the Technology Demo will help us raise awareness of Pathfinder Online and will show potential investors what the game is really about. Funding this demo will also signal to potential partners that Pathfinder Online has an audience that’s large enough and dedicated enough to allow the long-term success of the MMO. Nothing speaks louder than a ton of people putting up money to show their support of a new concept—that’s the genius element of Kickstarter!
What Do I Get?
Since this Kickstarter isn’t meant to fund the final video game, we had to think outside the box a little bit. Pathfinder Online is based on the world created by Paizo Publishing for their tabletop Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, so we thought it would be pretty cool to work with Paizo to create an RPG book that details one of the locations that Pathfinder Online characters will start in. We settled on the town of Thornkeep—that’s the very same “hive of scum and villainy” that the Pathfinder Online community named in our first online poll back in January! To make Thornkeep come alive, we’ve enlisted the talents of veteran game designer Rich Baker. Rich is going to give you everything you need to run a Pathfinder RPG game in Thornkeep, including the surrounding woods and a detailed dungeon below the ruins upon which Thornkeep was built. This very same dungeon will also be built as part of our technology demo, providing a great window into how tabletop design will make the transition to the digital medium.
And that’s just the first half of a 64-page book! The remaining sections will be written by our Pathfinder Online design team, letting you into Goblinworks’ design philosophy and giving you inside information gleaned from the development of our technology preview. The Thornkeep book will be produced to Paizo’s usual quality standards—perfectbound, printed in full color, with lots of all-new original artwork, including a brand new beautiful cover painting by fan-favorite Pathfinder artist Wayne Reynolds (the cover you see here is a mock-up).
We didn’t stop there either! We’ve built up a wide range of Goblinworks-themed merchandise, from posters and T-shirts to an entire day spent playing Pathfinder and dining out with the Goblinworks staff at one of the world’s finest restaurants! We have a reward level for every pocketbook, so give them a look and tell us what you think!