With the Kickstarter coming to a grinding halt, it looks as though I won't be able to do the chapter illustrations or the comic supplement; However, because the editing and formatting has gone so well, I've published the book sans bonuses. You can pick up your digital copy at the link below. Print copies will be available after the proof has been approved.
One of the favorite scenes from the alpha readers follows. Phil and his sister Maven have just arrived at Ye Olde Game Shop to pick up the next campaign for the game.
Inside the store, there were shelves lined with board games and books for various role playing games. There were tables where people sat playing a card game that appeared to involve taking over territories with armies of undead monsters. A muted television sat in one corner near the tables showing commercials for newly released science fiction and fantasy books.
Behind the long counter that ran the width of the shop, a sickly looking man with long, black hair stood thumbing through a catalog. His narrow, dark eyes seemed motionless. His cheeks looked as though the skin was on the verge of being torn by his sharp, protruding cheekbones. His boney fingers moved through the pages as though his joints were rusted and it required twice the effort just to use them.
Maven walked up to the counter and inspected the wide variety of dice held in one of the display cases. Phil joined her but addressed the skeletal clerk.
“Hi, I’ve never seen you here before, where’s Karl?”
The man slowly straightened his neck, and after doing so turned his head at much the same speed, met Phil’s eyes. He spoke slowly in a seething, scratchy voice.
“Karl is out sick; he should be back in tomorrow. Is there something I can help you with?”
Phil began feeling inexplicably uneasy. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other and wiped the back of his neck with his left hand.
“Umm, well, we just finished the Lore of the Dark Council campaign for Caves and Lands, and I was looking for the next one.”
The man grinned, “Ah, a good story, that one. Everyone’s talking about the end.”
Phil nodded, “Yeah, took us by surprise, we figure we’ll be up against Dark Council itself in the next campaign.”
The man looked as though he were thinking for about a minute.
“Well, the next campaign skips a few years ahead--passed the Dark Council’s attack on Baslyn, but they did release a collector’s edition supplementary campaign that lets you be a part of it.”
“Do you have it?!” Phil asked.
The man grinned his unsettling grin again and nodded slowly. Suddenly he was moving much faster; he almost seemed to slip into the back room with the fluid motion of a serpent. On returning, he carried a mahogany box with what appeared to be real brass coping, hinges, and a turn-hook latch. There were no pictures on the box, but burned into the wood on the lid in ominous lettering was The Fall of Fel’Duhr.
Phil’s eyes widened with wonder. This was, without question, the coolest collector’s edition campaign packaging Phil had ever seen. “How much is it?” he blurted, ready to give the man all of his money without even opening the box.
“Two hundred and fifty dollars, but it comes with a special die set that was hand made to match Trog’s Challenge Dice from…” Phil cut him off, “From the Tailor’s Secret campaign! That is awesome! I’ll take it.” The man smiled again, this time showing crooked teeth that grew from his gums at random angles and in seemingly random shapes.
Opening the box, Phil glanced over the three campaign books and over a dozen maps that were included. He gazed at the silvery blue dice nestled in a small felt lined cubby inside the game box. Their smooth texture and marble-like coloring gave the illusion that there was a faint glow. Phil could hardly wait to use the dice.