Thursday, 12 April 2018

5e: Six Fire-Themed Spells

Today I present 6 new spells themed around the fire type!

The spells described below belong on the following class spell lists:

Class Spell Lists

Bard Cleric Druid Paladin Ranger Sorcerer Warlock Wizard


Combustible Cones
Combustible Cones
Combustible Cones


Comforting Ember
Comforting Ember
Comforting Ember
Comforting Ember
Comforting Ember
Fire Flower
Fire Flower
Comforting Ember, Fire Flower


Leaping Flame
Leaping Flame, Scorching Corona
Leaping Flame, Scorching Corona



Stock Art © Brian Brinlee.

Combustible Cones

Transmutation cantrip | Classes: Druid, Ranger, Wizard

Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S
Duration: 1 minute

You touch one to three cones from a conifer tree, imbuing them with explosive heat. You or someone else can make a ranged spell attack with one of the combustible cones by throwing it or hurling it with a sling. If thrown, it has a range of 60 feet. If someone else attacks with the cone, that attacker adds your spellcasting ability modifier, not the attacker’s, to the attack roll.

On a hit, the target takes fire damage equal to 1d4 + your spellcasting ability modifier as the cone explodes on impact. If the target is not resistant or immune to fire, they are also set alight. While aflame, a creature takes 1 fire damage at the beginning of each of its turns until the fire goes out. The creature may make a Dexterity saving throw at the end of each of its turns to put out the fire. Alternatively, the fire can be put out automatically at the cost of the target's action or the action of another creature.

Whether the cone hits or misses, the spell then ends on the cone.

If you cast this spell again, the spell ends early on any cones still affected by it.

Comforting Ember

3rd-level evocation | Classes: Bard, Cleric, Druid, Paladin, Ranger, Wizard

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (sunstone dust worth 100 gp which the spell consumes)
Duration: Until dispelled

You cause a coal, rock, or gemstone you touch to turn into a glowing ember. The ember gives off dim light out to 20 feet. It is warm to the touch and all creatures within the ember's light feel a cozy warmth whenever the ambient temperature is not already warmer.

For every twenty minutes of an hour that a creature spends in the warmth of the comforting flame while in an environment of extreme cold, the DC of that hour's Constitution saving throw against exhaustion is reduced by 3. If they spend the whole hour within the radius of the flame's warmth, the creature automatically succeeds.

When a creature completes a long rest while within 20 feet of the ember, for the next 8 hours it treats any Hit Die result of 1 or 2 as though it had rolled a 3.

If the magic of the comforting ember is dispelled, such as when it enters an area of antimagic, the ember crumbles into dust.

Fire Flower

3rd-level evocation | Classes: Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self (30 feet)
Components: V, S, M (a piece of charcoal, the pressed petals of a fraxinella flower)
Duration: 1 minute (concentration)

Lines of crisscrossing flame draw a flat geometric flower design in the air around you. It rapidly spins outward, growing until it fills a 5-foot-tall, 30-foot radius cylinder centered on you. The geometric pattern is denser closer to you, and harder to avoid.

The flower is divided into three concentric rings:
  • 0-5 feet from you is the inner ring, the part of the pattern where a real flower's carpels would be.
  • 6-15 feet is the middle ring, the part of the pattern where a real flower's stamens would be.
  • 16-30 feet is the outer ring, the part of the pattern where a real flower's petals would be.

A creature that enters or starts its turn in one of the rings must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking fire damage dependent on the ring on a failed save, or half that on a success.

Fire Flower Rings and Damage

Ring Fire
0-5 feet (Inner)
6-15 feet (Middle)
16-30 feet (Outer)

A creature only makes a saving throw against this spell once on each of its turns. If before its next turn begins the creature subsequently moves to a more central ring of the fire flower than the one it was in at the time it made the save, it takes an additional 1d8 fire damage but halves that damage if its most recent saving throw was a success. In other words, a creature takes appropriate damage for the ring its movement ends in before the beginning of its next turn, even when it was in a less central ring when it made its save.

A creature does not take additional damage if moving outward through the rings, as it has already taken appropriate damage for the worst ring it occupied during this round.

For instance, if a creature enters the outer ring of your fire flower and fails its saving throw it immediately take 1d8 fire damage. If the creature continues moving towards you it takes an additional 1d8 fire damage as soon as it crossed into the middle ring, and a third 1d8 fire damage if its movement ends adjacent to you, as that brings it into the inner ring.

Stock Art © Brett Neufeld.


5th-level evocation | Classes: Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (ashes of a dozen different burned plants mixed with the dust of a fire opal)
Duration: Instantaneous

A wall of flame appears on the ground within range, then roars across the earth consuming everything in its path in seconds. The initial size of the wall of 10-foot tall, 15-foot wide, and 5 foot deep, and it must completely manifest within the spell's range. The wall then moves rapidly forward 40 feet, treating either of its wide faces as its "front", before disappearing.

Any creature touched by the flashfire before it disappears must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 8d6 fire damage on a failed saving throw, or half that much on a success.

Leaping Flame

4th-level evocation | Classes: Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S, M (a scorched wooden charm in the shape of a leaping hart, a strip of bark from a pyrophyte)
Duration: Instantaneous

You create a handful of flame that you hurl toward a target that you can see within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 7d6 fire damage. The flame can then leap to as many as three additional targets one after another, each of which must be no more than 30 feet from the previous target. Compare your initial ranged spell attack roll against the AC of each target. If the leaping flame misses one of its targets, the spell ends immediately.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, the damage increases by 1d6 for each slot level above 4th.

Scorching Corona

4th-level evocation | Classes: Warlock, Wizard

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S, M (a piece of cinnabar, a small burnt stick)
Duration: 1 minute (concentration)

You summon an aura of flame that encompasses the body of a target you can see within range. The target must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 4d8 fire damage on a failed save or half that on a success. On a failed save, the target is also surrounded by the scorching corona. Until the spell ends, you can use a bonus action on each of your subsequent turns to cause the target to take 2d8 fire damage.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, the initial and bonus action damage both increase by 1d8 for each slot level above 4th.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Fifth Edition Fallout News: King's Ransom announced!

A few weeks back when I announced my own stream, The Hunt For Spring-Heeled Jack, I teased another upcoming game. I didn't want to say much more at the time. After all, the group in question had made no announcement of their own. Just a couple of hours ago at the time of writing, they've officially pulled back the curtain!

I can now confirm that the marvellous folks at DumpStatCharisma will start streaming their own Fifth Edition Fallout show! The first episode Of Fallout: King's Ransom airs on their twitch channel, May 1st at 5:30pm PST!

As a point of clarification, other than creating the Fifth Edition Fallout rules they'll be using and answering their questions about said rules, I'm not personally connected to the show. But I'm extremely proud that Fifth Edition Fallout resonated enough with the DumpStatCharisma crew that they've added it to their lineup. I'm very excited, and I can't wait to see what stories these guys tell with the aid of the rules I've written!

Make sure to follow/subscribe on twitch! You can also follow @dumpstatcha on twitter.

Can't wait to get a Fallout fix? Why not watch episode 1 of The Hunt For Spring-Heeled Jack?

Friday, 30 March 2018

5e Fallout: Sinister Shellfish and Lethal Lizards

After the successful first episode of my Fallout stream earlier this month, it seemed high time to get around to another update to the Fifth Edition Fallout rules. With this update, the PDF Sourcebook has reached 200 pages worth of content and is once again up to date with the wiki content (briefly more up to date in fact, until I add a few of the new beasts to the wiki).

New Monstrous Additions to Fifth Edition Fallout

This update completes the "Beasts" category of the bestiary and includes the following new creature statblocks:

Aquatic Beasts

  • Anglers
    • Angler (CR 3)
    • Glowing Angler (CR 6)
    • Venomous Angler (CR 8)
  • Fog Crawler
    • Fog Crawler (CR 5)
    • Glowing Fog Crawler (CR 7)
    • Skuling Fog Crawler (CR 8)
    • Pale Fog Crawler (10)
    • Enraged Fog Crawler (CR 11)
  • Ghoul Whales
    • Grey Ghoul Whale (CR 18)
    • Blue Ghoul Whale (CR 23)
  • Giant Catfish
    • Giant Catfish (CR 9)
  • Gulpers
    • Gulper Newt (CR 1/4)
    • Young Gulper (CR 1)
    • Gulper (CR 3)
    • Glowing Gulper (CR 7)
    • Gulper Devourer (CR 9)
  • Hermit Crab
    • Hermit Crab (CR 15)


  • Bighorners
    • Bighorner Calf (CR 1/4)
    • Young Bighorner (CR 1)
    • Bighorner (CR 4)
    • Bighorner Bull (CR 5)
  • Brahmiluffs
    • Brahmiluff (CR 3)
  • Brahmin
    • Brahmin (CR 2)
    • Brahmin (CR 4)
  • Geckos
    • Young Gecko (CR 1/2)
    • Young Gecko Hunter (CR 1/2)
    • Gecko (CR 1)
    • Gecko Hunter (CR 2)
    • Young Golden Gecko (CR 2)
    • Golden Gecko (CR 4)
    • Young Gecko (CR 4)
    • Young Fire Gecko (CR 3)
    • Fire Gecko (CR 6)
    • Young Green Gecko (CR 5)
    • Green Gecko (CR 8)
    • Giant Green Gecko (CR 12)
  • Ghoulrillas
    • Ghoulrilla (CR 3)
    • Ghoulrilla King (CR 7)
  • Kangaroos
    • Horned Kangaroo (CR 2)
  • Pit Vipers
    • Pit Viper (CR 3)
  • Rad-Rats
    • Rad-Rat Pup (CR 0)
    • Mangy Rad-Rat Pup (CR 0)
    • Infected Rad-Rat Pup (CR 1/2)
    • Rad-Rat (CR 1/2)
    • Mangy Rad-Rat (CR 1)
    • Infected Rad-Rat (CR 3)
    • Plagued Rad-Rat (CR 5)

Night Stalkers

  • Young Night Stalker (CR 1/2)
  • Night Stalker (CR 3)
  • Night Stalker Den Mother (CR 6)

Other Updates

This update isn't just about monsters! In fact, quite a lot of new content has been added and a few corrections have been made. Changes are noted below:


  • Caravanner background now grants Intimidation and Persuasion (changed from Perception and Survival).
  • Addition of Courier background.

Classes and Archetypes

  • Updated the "Hunter's Skills" variant for the Fighter's Monster Hunter archetype.


  • Pip-Boy added to the tools list.


  • Clarified that helmets are not required to wear a complete "armour set" (a set includes a chest piece and four limbs).
  • Since I recently added the Brotherhood and soon plan to add the Enclave, who have a few unique new power armour variants, I decided to take a close look at the power armour rules. The following additions and changes have been added to the text:
    • Two new power armours added: Advanced Power Armour Mk I and Advanced Power Armour Mk II.
    • Enclave Tesla and Hellfire Power Armour variants have been handled as Material Modifications that can be applied to each power armour piece—look for Hellfire Shielding and Tesla Redistribution System.
    • Rules for Power Armour have received a substantial overhaul, and now include:
      • An attacker may now choose which body slot to target with a critical hit, bypassing power armour if the slot is empty/has zero hit points.
      • Radiation damage bypasses power armour (making it more attractive in spite of its limitations to human foes), though sealed power armour can improve Rad Resist and Lead Plating can offer radiation resistance to the wearer.
      • A variant system for fully randomising damage to power armour
      • Two new conditions for substandard power armour: defective and busted.
      • Detailed rules for what happens when a piece of power armour runs out of hit points, with the possibility of being permanently destroyed or become defective/busteds.
    • Corrections to the Lead Plating, Titanium Plating, and Winterized Coating power armour modifications.
      • Titanium Plating and Winterized Coating now grant damage resistance to the specific piece of power armour that has the modification.
      • Lead Plating now grants radiation resistance against any attack that bypasses the specific piece of power armour that has the modification.
  • Corrected references to "lightning damage" within the equipment section to "electrical damage".
  • Added addiction DCs to chems.
  • Clarified number of modifications that can normally be applied to a melee weapon (one).


  • Added two diseases: Vault 81 Mole Rat Disease and Waste Plague.

GM Advice

  • Added section on NPCs, and Ammunition and Ammunition as Loot.

Additional Updates

  • The usual round of typographical and formatting fixes.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

5e: An interview with Lluis Abadias, co-creator and artist of the Retroverse setting.

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview Chris Lock (@snickelsox) and Lluis Abadias (@LluisAbadias), the two mad creatives who concocted the wild, 80s aesthetic Retroverse.

You can find my interview with Chris and catch up on what the Retroverse is and why you should be stoked for it here! Remember, the kickstarter will be going live on April 10th.

Player's Mix Cover © Lluis Abadias.

Here's what Lluis had to say about his involvement and his favourite parts of the Retroverse!

Chris mentioned that the Retroverse happened almost by accident?

I started on twitter a month before that, and I’d joined the D&D community on twitter. I was sharing my fantasy art and Chris started making up this flavour text and I really liked it. Then I reinstalled Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and thought it was a really cool aesthetic. I created some art inspired by that. My idea was to make posters based on this 80s aesthetic with lasers, neon, and such. I posted one on twitter and he really liked it and wrote some of his flavour text.

There were comments on the twitter saying “Hey, are you doing this?” I remember going to the Direct Messages part of twitter, opening a message, and thinking “should I tell him we should do it?” Then he messaged me to say “we should do this”! “Oh Okay. Perfect.”

It’s a great story. The D&D twitter community is awesome, and this is exactly the sort of thing that proves how awesome it is, with you guys meeting this way and something so cool coming out of it.

Chris mentioned when we talked that you are a big part of the ideas that go into the setting, and that you have a crazy ideas folder that he dips into for inspiration.

Sometimes, like when I’m drawing, I think about subraces, monsters, spells, places. I write it down and put it in a file in the shared folder we have for the Retroverse. Chris is actually very nice and tries to use everything even if it would be hard balancing it. I have no moderation - For example I might be suggesting a giant robot that shoots nuclear missiles, then think it’s hard to balance and we shouldn’t do it, but he’ll reply “maybe we can…”

Your art style for this is really cool. I feel like your kickstarter will do really well just because it’s so eye-catching because of your art!

Thank you. I really hope that it’s appealing!

What are your favourite ideas in the Retroverse?

The ones I’m most proud of are some of the subraces. For instance one of the races we have finished are the Ceran, a triceratops-people which are awesome. We also have styracosaurus and pachyrhinosaurus as subraces.

Ceran Glitch Hunter © Lluis Abadias.

Chris talked about these guys, and that they can summon power from their ancestors which seems really cool.

They’re also not what they seem, because they look like gigantic barbarians but they’re actually pretty calm, slow, and thoughtful. Though because they are big, they can charge and headbutt you, and totally destroy you.

Are they your favourite because of the mechanics, because of the story, or because of the art you made?

They’re my favourite because I hadn’t drawn a triceratops since I was eleven years old when I was totally into dinosaurs. I liked to see how much better I’d gotten at it, and enjoyed the nostalgia.

That’s kind of a perfect story. Chris was saying that he wanted to appeal to people’s nostalgia for things like playing with toys and children’s cartoons. The fact that the Ceran are your favourite thing precisely because of that kind of nostalgia is really fitting.

If you’re allowed to tell me, what are you working on now for the Retroverse?

I’ve been doing maps for the first wave of the playtest adventure. I’ve never done a map before, but I’m really proud of how they’re looking. You’ll see soon! And right now I’m doing magic items.

What kind of items?

There are quite a lot of cloaks. I think Chris has a soft spot for capes and cloaks. But there are a lot of other cool and imaginative items like magic sunglasses. My favourite is the hairspray.

Neon Dragon © Lluis Abadias.

Can you share what that does for the interview or is that protected information?

I’ll keep that quiet for now because I’m not sure it’ll be the final version. But it involves bonuses, as you might imagine.

You guys have been working very hard on this. You’ve come so far in six months.

Actually, looking at it in perspective it’s amazing. On the first picture I drew for the Retroverse - it was actually called Dungeons & Dragons: Legends from the Retroverse - one of the comments was “when you are putting this together?” And we were like “we’re working on it, just give us, like, six months.” And it’s almost six months and we’re actually almost finished.

It’s a pretty impressive timeline for a team of two. Your output doing all of the artwork for it is also very impressive. Most products of this nature would have a lot of artists involved.

Yeah, I don’t know how we’re managing to make it with just two people really.

Obviously you’re swamped right now, but if people would like to commission you as an artist, how can they reach you?

They can reach out to me on twitter, email me, or I have a patreon.

Player's Mix (Print Edition Mock-Up) © Lluis Abadias.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

5e: Product Announcements - Heroes of Song and Monstrous Monograph

Spilled Ale Studios has two new products for sale:

Heroes of Song

Dance to your own tune with this collection of six music-themed archetypes!

In the many worlds of D&D, words and music contain actual, exploitable power. Those in the know can harness these mysterious, ancient forces, drawing forth the magic of music to bring tangible change into the world around them.

Bards are the archetypal hero of song, but they aren’t the only heroes to tap into the raw power music. Heroes of Song introduces six new archetypes, two for the Bard class, and four which introduce the power of music to other classes!

Heroes of Songincludes the following archetypes:
  • The Battle Skald, a Barbarian Primal Path. Warrior-poets, battle skalds keep the verbal and musical histories of their people, and sing songs of victory in battle to ignite a fire in the hearts of their war band.
  • The College of Choristers, a Bard College. Giving themselves and their musical talent over to the service of the divine, choristers lead their congregation in worshipful song, and channel the power of their faith through their voice.
  • The College of Creation, a Bard College. Bards of this college comprehend the musical underpinnings of reality, and can use their music to channel and shape elemental forces.
  • The Clarion, a Warlock Patron. An insubstantial being of pure music that hops from creative to creative as their muse, inspiring frenzies of creation uncaring for its current host's physical needs nor health. A Clarion-pact warlock can summon a pact instrument whenever they wish, and can use their music to inspire changes in the mindsets of their audience.
  • The Warsinger, a Fighter Archetype. Warsingers learn bardic secrets, channeling music and magic as tools of war. In battle a warsinger is able to perform battle anthems to inspire their unit.
  • The Way of Splendid Song, a Monk Monastic Tradition. Sometimes known as Chanters, monks of this tradition learn mantras, activated by spending ki. While continuing to focus on reciting a mantra, the Chanter gains special strengths associated with the mantra being performed.

Monstrous Monograph: Monstrosities Vol. I

Monstrous Monograph is a growing collection of monsters with which Fifth Edition game masters can challenge their players.

Each volume of the Monstrous Monograph presents a handful of creatures of a given monster type. Grow your collection a few monsters at a time for far less than the price of your morning coffee!

Monstrous Monograph: Monstrosities Vol. I contains two monsters:

  • Ever wondered why the game has a hybrid part-owl part-bear, yet so few other animal mashups? The CR 2 Abominable Beast is the answer you never knew you needed! Really dozens of monsters in one, the Abominable Beast represents all manner of magical hybrid creatures created through magical experimentation or mishap. In addition to the features of its base statblock, you select two or more animal templates from which your unique Abominable Beast derives a number of other traits. Included beast templates are: Badger, Bear, Eagle, Horse, Octopus, Rhino, Scorpion, Shark, Spider, Tiger, Toad, and Wolf.
  • The CR 5 Amphisbaena is a venomous snake with a second head where its tail should be. Typically dwelling in deserts, amphisbaena have the unique hunting strategy of interlocking their fangs and curling into hoops that can roll rapidly down the dunes at their prey. After knocking a victim prone and coiling around their body to restrain them, both of the amphisbaena's heads proceed to inject powerful venom with their bites.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Fifth Edition Fallout News: Twitch Streams

Fifth Edition Fallout fans rejoice! In 8 days time I will be streaming a game.

I'm thinking about running a full campaign in the future, but it's a question of free time. I have to wrap up my current tabletop campaign first. For now, this is a one-off adventure featuring some of Fifth Edition Fallout's biggest fans! Although, while I say it's a one-off, I'm not expecting it to be concluded in a single session. There will likely be a second, possibly even a third.

I'm a bit nervous as this is my first time running an online game, let alone streaming. There's been a lot to learn, and there's a lot that could go wrong. But I think I'm ready to rise to the challenge and my players are investing a lot of energy into their characters (some of them are even talking about cosplaying!).

The Hunt for Spring-Heeled Jack

Five years ago a string of grisly killings rocked the settlements of The Smoke before the serial killer disappeared from the public eye. Some people thought—hoped, really—that Spring-heeled Jack was dead. But it seems he just left town for a while. When he returns and hurts someone they care for, six wastelanders take it upon themselves to track down Jack and finally end his murderous spree.

The Hunt For Spring-Heeled Jack

The adventure is set in my homebrewed vision of the Fallout universe's United Kingdom (you can learn a little about this setting, "Fall Britannia", on the Fifth Edition Fallout wiki).

The characters are 5th level and have been made using a combination of the Fifth Edition Fallout rules and the classes and archetypes in my product Wasteland Wanderers. The first episode airs on Friday 23rd March, at 8.30pm (GMT+0). You can watch it live at:

I hope you can join us live, but if not the game should be available as Video on Demand for 14 days. I'll also be recording a copy to upload to youtube after the event.

Another Fifth Edition Fallout stream?

In related news I've been approached by a group of streamers who are interested in starting a Fifth Edition Fallout campaign within the next few months. It's very cool news but I have no details to give at this time, particularly since that interest may not turn into reality. Here's hoping it does! Cross your fingers!

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

5e: An interview with Mike Myler, creator of Mists of Akuma: Imperial Matchmaker

In less than a week, the Imperial Matchmaker adventure path for D&D 5e will be kickstarting. I caught up with author Mike Myler to find out more about this intriguing adventure.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m the resident RPG industry maverick, wheeling around as a full-time freelancer for the past half decade getting to work on core system books (N.O.W. releasing this summer for W.O.I.N. from EN World), a couple Pathfinder softcover credits for Paizo, and on Black Crusade’s Tome of Decay for Fantasy Flight Games. There are a litany of smaller publishers I work with as well but my primary focus is on my campaign settings (Mists of Akuma is my third and the one I have the easiest time writing). Most recently I was hired on as the editor for EN5ider which I think is the biggest D&D 5E content Patreon (or one of them, anyway).

I live in Pittsburgh with my wife and cats, and the vast majority of my time is spent working. If I could illustrate I would be a one-man book making machine, and I don’t charge people for anything that isn’t at least 30 or more pages—I believe in big books that drag us inside of them with so much awesome that we can’t get back out. has information on all my settings, free PDFs for each, and then stuff I couldn’t sell if I wanted to but is good fun so I made it anyway like Hyper Score Marvel, the Unofficial Street Fighter D&D 5E PDF and Warhammer 40k D&D 5E Hack.

We're talking today about your upcoming Kickstarter for Imperial Matchmaker, which will create new content compatible with your unique setting Mists of Akuma. Can you briefly describe the setting and what makes it special?

Imperial Matchmaker


FAST VERSION: An eastern fantasy noir steampunk campaign setting for D&D 5E funded on Kickstarter in 2016. Think Edo-era Japan + Ravenloft + Warhammer 40,000 or Afro Samurai + Onimusha + Sin City.

LESS BRIEF: After a century and a half of occupation Emperor Masuto Hitoshi leads a successful rebellion against the technologically advanced foreign invaders, restoring his family’s rule over the continent. Their aggressors across the Great Divide at the Edge of the World have gone silent and disappeared allowing for a decade of peace to usher in this new reign—but then the Mists of Akuma reappear. The supernatural haze chokes Soburin, corrupting those within its embrace until they are transformed into nearly-mindless adeddo-oni driven only by a ravenous hunger for flesh. To restore order he has made special government officers called bengoshi, able to deputize citizens as they see fit to undertake missions of import to protect the two dozen prefectures. Perhaps worst of all the technology that might yet save Soburin is as feared as the mystical haze for it sometimes rapidly ages objects turning them into tsukumogami, monsters with a disposition that matches their treatment while inanimate—which for war machines is rarely a good thing.

There’s also a ton of content in the campaign setting. 14 new races (and if you count subraces that goes up by 20 or so because of all the hengeyokai), archetypes for all classes (and we smart-designed around WotC’s obvious choices ahead of time so there’s a paladin samurai and wu-jen warlock you can check out in the free PDFs from the first Kickstarter, allowing for things like an Afro Samurai build), martial arts feats, two attributes that really solidify the world (Dignity and Haitoku or “fall from virtue”), a treasure trove of oni. The list goes on and there’s a video walkthrough of the (now unavailable) black and white print on YouTube (the core is available only in color now).

Ed the Bard has a summary I rather like: “The best way I can describe the feel of this game is as if Akira Kurosawa and Quentin Tarantino had a dark, edgy little baby that loaded itself up with steam-powered augmentations, vowed to become a mystical ninja, and assassinated people while shrouded by an evil fog. “

What are the inspirations of the Mists of Akuma setting?

Obviously the games and such listed above were part of it, but they’re an extension of my longtime fascination with eastern culture. I studied some japanese history in college (Musui’s Story is a must-read if you want to know what samurai were really like), I’ve spent more than 10% of my years alive working in chinese restaurants (I am allergic to milk which isn’t a problem at most spots, and they never cared if my hair was blue or complained about my lip ring), and I became a strong adherent of eastern philosophy in my teens when I stumbled onto the Tao te Ching.

That’s the backdrop. One night after finishing some cyberpunk work I was thinking “what would have happened if Commodore Perry sailed into Edo Harbor and was repelled by badass magic?” and then it went from there. Around this time I was figuring things out with world building in a larger design sense, and for Veranthea Codex the key word (the design team’s North Star as it were) was “radical”, then Hypercorps 2099 had the (incredibly creative) “hyper”, so for Mists of Akuma I decided on “cool”. If you take it out of the book and just look at it entirely by itself, anything from the book should make you say “cool” or some derivative thereof. It felt really really good when I got the first proper print proof and I couldn’t stop looking around in it because I knew we’d hit the mark—and after all the work crowdfunding and art orders and editing and layout, you really don’t know for sure if it’s all going to come together just right until you’ve got it in your hands.

What products are you funding with the Kickstarter, and does a potential backer need the Mists of Akuma campaign setting to make use of those products? If not, do the products contain advice for tying their content into other fantasy worlds?

We are collecting funds to put together three books, none of which require the Mists of Akuma campaign setting (it’s encouraged and available in pledge levels but not at all required).

  • Imperial Matchmaker, a sandbox mega adventure set in the imperial capital of Sanbaoshi, taking characters from 4th to 10th level in a glorious hardcover book about intrigue, action, and all manner of duplicity.
  • Trade War, another hardcover but this time an adventure path for characters 3rd-10th level, collecting the existing 6 adventures in the setting (which you can get right now) but supplemented with extra material that ties all of the stories together into one grand plot.
  • Imperial Matchmaker: Guests, a softcover book collecting the 8 Mists of Akuma Iconics with builds from 4th up through 10th level. Each of these characters has something extra and are intended to be used as pregenerated PCs (with subplots woven into Imperial Matchmaker) but for groups that want their own characters there’s guidelines for how to include something unique and extra to stand out amongst the mercenaries crowding Sanbaoshi (or elsewhere if used for Trade War), in which case the GM can use the iconics as rivals for the party!

As for tying this content into other fantasy worlds Trade War is in a great spot, but that might be a touch difficult for Imperial Matchmaker. One continuous adventure centralized around the biggest remaining city in the world (as opposed to six smaller adventures each with their own locales) demands a great deal of dedication to setting details throughout. I can point you to the 1/6th of the Mists of Akuma campaign setting to ignore/remove to take the steampunk out of it (the prefectures that accept technology are on the corners of the world map for a reason!), but I’m not sure that’ll be possible with Imperial Matchmaker or (most of) the iconics.

Imperial Matchmaker is the main product in the Kickstarter - what can we expect from it in terms of themes and content? It sounds like it might be heavy on the intrigue?

So much drama and intrigue and action and blood! I concocted and have been running it for the biggest contributor to the first Mists of Akuma Kickstarter—he asked for intrigue and when I found out he’s a theater professional I broke out the silver. There are 20 brides and grooms from the four clans still spiteful over the Battle of Broken Spears ages ago and the Emperor has decreed they be wed to bring an end to the feud. Opportunities fly at the party as bengoshi from all over Soburin seek to gain by protecting or sabotaging the events (or even worse), not to mention how the actual betrothed couples feel about their arranged marriages. It’s not all just the ceremonies though, and there are sidequests on top of the subplots for the iconics. To set the tone the prologue involves a public beheading during a tea ceremony and things go from there; I’m not sure what better thing I could possibly tell you. :)

An Imperial Decree.

Is there anything you can safely reveal about the plot?


The first marriage ceremony is interrupted by kamikazes dropping out of the sky (from the hovercraft of Rogue Kengen General Freneza Genuilo) and blowing things up (the artwork for that scene is in the color stages as of this writing.)

Can you talk a bit about the Kickstarter's funding levels, and are you planning any stretch goals?

We are shooting for $8,130! More than half of that money is for cartography and illustrations, and then the rest goes to the design team and layout. There are plans for stretch goals but I’m not at liberty to reveal them just yet. They are juicy though, I’ll say that!

You had a number of successful past Kickstarters, so people should be able to back without worries. What has made those Kickstarters successful, and what have you learned from them?

I like to think so—I can’t stand the thought of not fulfilling the rewards of someone who gave me money to create one of my books. It would keep me up at night and drive me bonkers 24-7. Kickstarter is a constantly changing monster and what worked 4 years ago may not work tomorrow, so part of it is staying on top of the trends for crowdfunding. Part of it is budgeting things right and learning how to make an intriguing pitch that gets people interested. Follow through is obviously important (not just to me but to the folks that know I always make good on my promises, usually way over page count). Speaking of page count, I’ve learned to be very wary of accepting print orders during a Kickstarter because sometimes the ink and paper costs can change on you, costing a lot of money you did not anticipate needing—there are pledge levels for Imperial Matchmaker that include prints instead of at-cost print vouchers, but they are only at $250 and above.

I’ve learned to be thorough, stick with it, listen to your backers, and not to launch in December.

When will potential backers be able to find your project on kickstarter?

Monday March 19th!

In the meantime, where can they go to find out more?

The latest project update on the original Mists of Akuma Kickstarter page has a basic rundown of some of the iconics and a few more details. The best thing to do is follow me on Kickstarter or go to the Mists of Akuma Facebook page and make sure to sign up for the event so you get a notification exactly when it launches (I'm on twitter as well @mikemyler2).

Take a look at Kanden, one of the iconic characters provided with Imperial Matchmaker! You can also check out a video walkthrough of the Mists of Akuma core book.