It’s commonplace within tabletop RPGs to assume settings and worlds are contained to books - bound pages full of descriptions and tables, maps and illustrations that a group uses to realize the world around their play. A new Kickstarter campaign from small press outfit Games Omnivorous breaks that mold by crowdfunding two detailed settings entirely composed of punch-out hexagonal pieces.
Undying Sands and Bottled Sea both use what Games Omnivorous calls its Hex-n-Screen format, distilling the two environments into easily stored components that emphasize evocative art and adventure hooks over depth of detail and granularity. The Portuguese publisher is bringing back the ENnie-nominated Undying Sands for a second print run alongside the brand-new Bottled Sea setting.
Instead of flipping through pages, groups draw one tile out of the bag at a time and place it on the table. If it's the first tile of the campaign, the adventure begins there. Otherwise, it expands the map and provides new areas to explore and investigate. The accompanying GM screen will have prompts and bits of information about each square, which the facilitator can use to guide roleplay.
The Bottled Sea takes inspiration from - most evidently - Waterworld and the classic science fiction novel A Canticle for Leibowitz for its alternate dimension of endless waves studded with the wreckage and flotsam of those unlucky enough to be pulled through via wormholes. A society has formed amidst the detritus and temporal refugees, settling into four factions competing for the Harborage’s limited resources.
Undying Sands portrays a different kind of wasteland, as the civilisation at the center of the desert has been rotting from the inside for centuries. Its social structure and architecture echoes Jodorowsky’s Dune and the Mad Max series, pitting the sandblasted survivors outside the Great City against the politically cannibalistic scions within the ancient walls.
Both settings will contain a number of cardboard hex tiles (40 in Bottled Sea, 30 in Undying Sands) and storage bag, a corresponding GM screen and a poster depicting a major dungeon structure groups can discover and plumb in the course of their journeys. The act of drawing a piece out and immediately contemplating the ramifications on the world and the characters a group has already met is exciting, and it's one less bit of fuss that game runner's can turn over to their players.
The team behind this concept consists of Adriana Oliveira & Andre Novoa - founders of Games Omnivorous - illustrator Kevin Cannon, graphic design pair lina&nando, editor Brian Yaksha and Mausritter’s Isaac Williams consulting. The project managed to hit its funding goal within the first hour and is currently pushing towards €15,000 ($17,000/£17,000).
The Kickstarter campaign for Undying Sands and Bottled Sea will run through February 9th, and backers can secure a physical copy of each setting for €35 ($40/£40), each. Fulfillment is expected to begin in June of this year.