Friday, February 5, 2021

The Abandoned Sweet Works and Pale Echoes

Check out this amazing new piece of art by Dharia Khlebnikova that just came in!

Well, the Kickstarter for Through Ultan's Door 3 is off to a strong start. While of course I owe the greatest debt of gratitude to people who purchased the early issues and expressed the enthusiasm in the past that's kept me going, one of the things that makes me the happiest is that about half of all pledges are from people who are picking up the back issues as well, i.e. people who have never experienced (at least the print versions of) Through Ultan's Door. We have blown through a huge number of stretch goals. I wanted to tell you a little bit about what's to come. So far we've unlocked three sets of stretch goals that I'm super-excited about. 

#1 Expanded Maladies and Afflictions

Through Ultan's Door 3 presents a rules-light system for maladies and afflictions that includes ways of tracking the progress of a malady and its mechanical and narratival effects. In the zine I present six exquisite maladies and afflictions of Zyan, from furniture pox to shadow blight. The first set of stretch goals will produce an illustrated, folded pamphlet (also PDF) with the full Through Ultan's Door house dressing and printed on French Paper Co. paper. It doubles the number of afflictions covered in the zine from 6 to 12. Although this is subject to change if more ideas occur to me, right now the additional afflictions include: onoma ague, penury blindness, spin worms, ruinous anomie, tempest catalepsy, and speculo obsession. The good news is that I already have this 2/3 written since some of these were cut from the original zine for reasons of space. 

#2 Increasing the Pay of Artists and Graphic Designers

For the second set of stretch, I am increasing the pay of all seven artists and the graphic designer for this project. 

#3 The Abandoned Sweet Works

I expect that this will be the stretch goal people backers are most excited about. Through Ultan's Door 3 presents a sewer crawl that connections the dungeons of issues 1 and 2 with 7 other locations. For the third set of stretch goals, which just funded, I am collaborating with Gus to create an 8th sewer location in the form of a one-page dungeon. He will do the cartography and layout, and collaborate on the keying of this location, which we dreamed up together. It will be printed on French Paper Co. paper and included in all print copy pledge levels (also as a PDF). I want to share the capsule write-up of the location, which I jsut finished:

In Zyan, confectionery jostles poetry and opera for the title of highest art. From the tumblers and molds, the sugar torches and glazing racks of the candy works, pour traditional favorites, from elegant drop candies in flavors of horeshound or lilac brandy, to candied orchis, or the jellied meats in Zyanese delights, and rosewindows of stained sugar glass. The Sweet Works was an underground workshop that once poured its sugared waste into the sewer river. Its sunken garden provided the narcotic white honey for their once famous cough drops. Long abandoned, the garden has grown wild among the ruined works, drawing to it honey ghuls from Zyan, where gangs deal white honey to addicts. Having lost the manners and customs of humanity, the honey ghuls are now jealous slaves to the hive. 

Possible #4 Elspeth's Letter and Pale Echoes

But the truth is that I'm just as excited about what comes next--if we manage to unlock the next set of stretch goals. The next set presents an alternate frame for a mini-series or campaign set in Wishery. Instead of traveling through Ultan's door, the party receives an inheritance from a former dreamer that includes the recipe for potions of penumbral transmigration. These potions allow them to use the memories of the dead dreamer to fashion priaducts that take them through the Oneiric Sea to different locations in Wishery. 

If this set of stretch goals are unlocked, this will be only the beginning. For the last stretch goal (at present, more may be added) involves a commitment to work on a new, episodically released, zine called Pale Echoes. It takes its name from the term that the Zyanese use for the drab waking world, which they call derisively "Pale Echo". 

Pale Echoes will be a zine taking you the other way through Ultan's door to explore different campaign frames and premises for the waking world of your game. In addition to numerous different "campaign starters" and house rules that will connect Pale Echo with Wishery, I hope in its pages to present the waking world from own home campaign, i.e. the city-state of Rastingdrung, where Ultan's door first appeared in my own campaign. 

To be clear, even if we hit this stretch goal, this zine will not be included in the Kickstarter. This is rather a long-term commitment I will make, on the basis of the interest expressed in the Kickstarter, to launch this zine in the future.

So if you're thinking about jumping on board the Kickstarter, now is a good time! You can find it here.  Feel free to share it with those you think might find it interesting. If we continue blowing through these stretch goals, who knows what else might lie beyond the veil of sleep!

1 comment:

  1. Oh yes! Please for the love of Dreams/god/whiskey or whatever, please do release material from your Rastingdrung waking world :) This blog post makes me want to up my pledge.