What Do I Know About Crowdfunding? The Book of Fiends 5e (5e OGL)

I’m pretty excited to see this. I loved the 3rd edition Green Ronin Book of Fiends, and the Fiendish Codex series (Hordes of the Abyss, Tyrants of the Nine Hells) were some of my favorite official 3.5 D&D books to see publication.

When it comes to 5e material from Green Ronin, I enjoyed how the Tal’Dorei book turned out, and while I think the lore could have used some updates for modern sensibilities, the mechanics and the appearance of The Book of the Righteous were really impressive.

But part of what really excites me about this is that Robert Schwalb is leading the design on this book. Not only was he involved with those Fiendish Codex books, but he’s also been the creative force behind one of the most prolific and consistent dark fantasy games you are ever going to find, Shadow of the Demon Lord.

What will be very interesting for me will be to see how this project does on Game On Tabletop. I’m not an expert on the platform, and I know there has been RPG material funded through the platform, but Kickstarter is definitely the preferred home for most RPG crowdfunding.

One thing that makes Game On Tabletop interesting is that they charge up front. There is no pledge, and then wait to see if and when you get charged. You get charged as soon as you make the pledge, and that might be an issue to backers.

Unlike Kickstarter, you actually have to get a refund from the company if the game doesn’t fund. I can understand that it might make people a little more cautious. Honestly, I can’t help but wonder where this project would be at for its funding goal if it had gone through Kickstarter.

As a comparison, the Book of the Righteous had 788 backers and funded at 160%, and it took about 25 days to fund. By comparison, The Lost Citadel campaign had 674 backers, but funded at 360%, however that also involved funding a campaign setting and additional fiction.

Compared to a very specific apocalyptic undead fantasy setting, and a book that features a very specific pantheon of gods, which also happens to have some player-facing content that can be used for broader games, I have to think a book full of fiends is going to have much broader appeal.

I backed this, and I’ll be keeping an eye on this. I really hope it funds, because I am very interested in comparing the story elements and how they may have changed over the years, as well as the mechanical elements of the stat blocks.

I’m very conscious of RPG content, and content that can do harm, and I’m somehow fascinated with Robert Schwalb’s ability to wallow in horrible content without weaponizing it. Because of the way it’s infused into the content, it feels less like “surprise, look how edgy this is!” and more like “I’m inviting you to go swimming in a swimming pool that is filled with electric eels, but I’m also showing you that I’m enjoying swimming in here–you may not want to, but I’m showing you the eels and the smile on my face, decide accordingly.”


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