Shotguns & Sorcery is a book series from Matt Forbeck in which a fantasy noir campaign city is surrounded by legions of zombies. Outland Entertainment is running a Kickstarter to use the series as the basis for an RPG. Right now there’s already $30,000+ in the campaign fund, nearly 550 backers and still 30 days to go. You can find out more over on Kickstarter.
Geek Native was able to talk to Matt about the game. Why use Monte Cook’s Cypher system for it, what’s next for the series and do you have to be a famous name like Matt Forbeck to succeed on Kickstarter these days? Read on to discover what Matt had to say.
If you’ve not read any of the Shotgun & Sorcery series can you dive into the RPG? Or is this a game that lets fans of the series roleplay in the world they’ve come to love?
The game stands on its own. If you like the game, you’ll love the books, and vice versa. Both are easy to get into and enjoy, but we don’t rely on you having knowledge of either one to enjoy the other.
If someone’s read the description of Dragon City, the Great Circle and the zombies from the Kickstarter page and the setting doesn’t quite click, perhaps they were too tired when they read it, and you had a second chance to bring the world to life for them now; how would you describe the setting?
I’d probably talk a bit about the backstory. Ages ago, the Ruler of Dead unleashed a zombie horde upon the world, and the people of this fantastic realm of magic banded together to fight against them—but it was a losing battle. They turned to the Great Dragon for help, and he promised to protect them from the zombies until they could built a massive wall around his mountain lair. In exchange for his services, they would submit to his rule and make him the Dragon Emperor. The free peoples of the world agreed to these terms because they had no better choice.
That was forever ago. Under the pressure of such a tight civilization and the still-hungry zombies that scratch at the walls, the people of Dragon City have developed new weapons, like shotguns. They lace everything in their land with magic, dovetailing sorcery and mechanical technology into a whole greater than their parts.
As a player, your character’s race defines much of who you are and what you can do. The social layers are literally stratified in Dragon City, but people like you—adventurers with little to lose and fortunes to gain—cross such lines at will. Explore the ruins beyond the city and loot them if you can, but always remember that the greatest dangers lay inside the city’s walls.
Why pay for Cypher?
It’s a great system from a fantastic team. Also, they have a huge following of wonderful and dedicated fans.
When I was bandying about what sort of system we should use for the game, Monte Cook nudged me to talk with the team at Monte Cook Games. When we found out that they were about to announce a generic system book for the Cypher System and were willing to license it out to people they trusted, it seemed like perfect timing.
There’s great names attached to Shotguns & Sorcery; writers, artists and designers of note. Is that a key element to a successful Kickstarter? Can less well known creators hope to complete for Kickstarter cash these days.
I often tell people that Kickstarter is a trust-based economy. No one’s going to give you money if they don’t think they’re going to get anything for it.
You have two main ways to build trust. You either have to have a stellar reputation, or you have to have a presentation so lush and polished that people can’t help but believe in it. If you can manage both (which is what Outland’s been trying to do), all the better.
So, sure, a new creator can succeed with Kickstarter, but you have to give people a reason to trust you first.
What tips would you give GMs hoping to stay true to the setting and yet offer their players a new twist on Shotguns & Sorcery?
Go for it! It’s your game. Have a ball with it. Twist it around any way you like.
Savvy GMs might realize that Dragon City’s set on an abandoned continent and is surrounded by zombies. That means you can take Dragon City whole and drop it right into just about any open space on the map of your regular campaign. Don’t be afraid to mash it up with what you’ve already got going on. I hope you do!
At the time of writing at least 1 gamer has paid $300 to pick up all the perks from the “Imperial Dragon’s Guard Captain” pledge level and to enjoy a Google+ gaming session run by you. How do you think Google Hangout gaming compares the traditional tabletop experience? Is this a way to recruit new players into the hobby?
I think it’s a wonderful way to play with people you can’t otherwise see in person. Sitting around a table is still the best if you can manage it, but syncing schedules and locations isn’t always easy or even possible. That’s when solutions like Google Hangout shine.
What’s next for the series?
The Kickstarter will lead us in that direction. I’ll be developing some fiction to go with the background material in the core book, and that will likely point me in all sorts of other directions.
I also have notions about prequels and sequels for the original trilogy of novels. I’d love to explore how Max and his pals worked as adventurers before it all went bad for them. There’s an amazing story waiting to be told there.
If money was no object what would you like to do with Shotguns & Sorcery next?
I’d hire Peter Jackson to tackle the books right after he finishes up The Hobbit movies. I’d love to see them on the big screen. Alternatively, I’d love to see a Telltale-style adventure game set in Dragon City. It would make for a delicious match-up.
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