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Building a community in Our Fantasy Town genuinely takes a village… of crowdfunding backers

Grassroots grass lawns.

Map from Our Fantasy Towns Kickstarter campaign
Image credit: Anne Gregerson/Gnome Made Games

One of my favourite aspects of flipping through D&D 3.5 books as a young person were the gridded maps of towns and their composite buildings. Top-down views inside taverns, homes, castle keeps and sprawling caves scratched a creative itch that would later be electrified by Minecraft and untold reams of graphing paper.

Our Fantasy Town wants to turn that boyhood fascination into a collective project between creator Gnome Made Games and anyone who backs the studio’s latest Kickstarter project. Depending on how much you give, backers can create their own establishment in a fictional village, a la D&D’s flavour of high fantasy pastiche. Two bucks (in US currency) creates an inhabitant, while the full price tiers create an entire 1-story building - or more - of your own design.

Backers choose the function, style and layout of their building, along with any fun(ky) elements to surprise wandering adventures and unsuspecting villagers. Want a granary full of cranium rats learning how to bake their own bread? Heck yeah. Apothecary staffed by the fantasy equivalent of Gwyneth Paltrow selling diluted potions and jade, er… magical trinkets? Sure thing.

How to build an RPG Dungeon for D&D and beyondWatch on YouTube

Those with grander design dreams can pay a little extra to add additional floors to their building and commission their own map copies or character art of the townsfolk who reside within. Once the campaign wraps up, Gnome Made Games will combine everyone’s creations into a single volume, apply a little editing and layout and ship copies to those who helped make it a reality.

Creator Adam Hancock will also pay out portions of DriveThruRPG royalties to backers who chose to submit writing with their building plan, roughly 250 words per the Kickstarter description. Anyone can apparently sign a 3-page contract with Hancock’s studio and receive a little monetary kickback from all digital sales of the final product. Neat!

“Imagination isn't really rare. It's a human quality, one that develops as it's used. And we can find it in abundance in those who choose to use it often, like people who enjoy roleplaying games,” Hancock wrote on the campaign page. “Together, we can create a whole community of fantasy characters. It's something I can't do alone. And I love being surprised by others' ideas and creativity anyway. It's why I'm a game master. And it's why I'm leading this project.”

Map from Our Fantasy Towns Kickstarter campaign
Image credit: Anne Gregerson/Gnome Made Games

Other fun bits include a poll to vote on the mayor's name, other elected official and the official name of the settlement, which will grace the cover of the resulting book. Cartographer and artist Anne Gregersen created the Kickstarter images and will be one of a small team of illustrators bringing backer submissions to life via square grids, doorways and copious amounts of barrels.

Our Fantasy Village’s Kickstarter campaign runs through December 21st and is funding both a physical and digital copy of the map book, which might expand into two volumes based on success. Physical books are expected to begin shipping to backers in June 2024.

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