Over the years, LoreSmyth has built a reputation as a Kickstarter overperformer.
How do I know? The Eindhoven based company today launched a system-neutral sourcebook about Forests for tabletop RPGs on Kickstarter with a €15,000 goal, and within the first few hours, they’re more than halfway there. Thousands of Euros pledged by gamers who trust LoreSmyth into making forests more interesting.
Wilderness travel is a new direction for LoreSmyth, and I took the chance to talk to boss Chris van der Linden about that. First, though, let’s look at the Kickstarter.
A pledge of €15 (about £14 currently) is enough for the Wonderous Expeditions – Forests PDF. However, €20 plus shipping is enough for the softcover and €25 for both.
The hardback costs €30, but some tiers go much higher, including a limited retailer tier.
The Pocket Companion Guide is a stretch goal, and it takes a condensed version of the man book and puts it into a hardback and ring-bound pocketbook. That feels to me exactly like the sort of thing a travelling GM might carry.
LoreSmyth Interview: Forests
Forests feels like a new direction for LoreSmyth. Is that right? And, if so, why take the step back/up to macro world-building elements rather than the more close-up micro world-building you’ve done before?
It is a new direction for sure, and very much intended. With the success of Remarkable Inns and Remarkable Shops (which sprouted many clones from other indie publishers), it is easy to fall into the trap and just do “more of those”. But I like to do myself and my customers justice, and keep pushing myself creatively. So, Wondrous Expeditions is aimed to be a new series of books that explores wilderness travel. It will still have many of the characteristics that made the “Remarkable” books so successful, but it will very much be its own thing.
Can you give us some examples of how you see roleplayers making use of Forests?
In a big customer survey we did, over 70% of game masters said their players enjoy wilderness travel, but that they (the GM) find it hard to make it interesting. So what happens a lot is that they just “skip to the action”, summarizing the travel in a few sentences, or rolling a few random encounters.
Some are stuck with the idea that the “adventure” is inside the dungeon, and travel is just to get to the dungeon. What the Wondrous Expeditions books will do is provide a myriad of content to show how to make the journey into the adventure itself, not something to be glossed over.
The book’s contents will help a GM to describe the environment in great detail, but also how to make the environment challenge the players in fun ways, instead of resorting to yet another bandit attack.
The book will also be crammed with random tables and world-building concepts across chapters such as flora, fauna, landmarks, weather, survival, navigation, story hooks, new monsters and more. In short, it will make it much easier for the game master to make wilderness travel fun and thrilling.
Another big aspect is that journeys need to have a “reason” and something to be at “stake”. If it’s just to get from point A to B, it is boring. But if the group is transporting a dead noble that needs to be returned to his homeland fast in order for a proper burial, suddenly there’s a time limit and something at stake. Those kind of complications and story elements make the journey mean something, and therefore much more fun.
Forests is the first in the Wondrous Expeditions series. Can you tell us what might be coming next?
The first book in the new series is Forests, as it is one of the most archetypal environments in fantasy games. If this Kickstarter is successful, we’d love to do more books such as Mountains, Deserts, and Islands. We’re still figuring out the exact scope of each book, as development has only just started in earnest. I’m really excited about this new product line, so my hopes are high!
2020’s been a hugely disruptive year. Is there anything a publisher like LoreSmyth can do to try and ensure Kickstarter projects go smoothly?
For sure, yes. COVID has caused a massive upheaval for us. Initially, for the first months we took a big hit in terms of sales, but things then stabilized and now we are actually seeing very strong sales numbers, partially because of the release of our new Remarkable Shops & Their Wares book. I would like to thank all Loresmyth customers, because they have been absolute champions in pre-ordering products during the time we needed it most. They’ve really pulled us through the first terrible months.
The most challenging thing about COVID remains disrupted postal services, which make it hard to keep products in stock and get customers their packages in a timely manner. There’s a lot of issues involving packages getting lost, damaged etc. which eats up a lot of time. I think we’ll feel the effects of this for a long time—it’s not over yet. That said, I believe in sticking to your plan as an entrepreneur, so I’m actually reaching back to the two-year plan I had carved out earlier, and with a few adjustments, that’s pretty much what I am rolling with. I’ve got new products and Kickstarters planned all the way up to 2022, so there’s no looking back really!
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