Right now there is a very sexy product sitting on Kickstarter, clearing its throat politely while holding out its hand for you to chip in. Yes, as you may have guessed by the title, its the Crypts of Indormancy project I am referring to! This project is a creation of the delightful +Ezra Claverie, of “The Shadow out of Providence: A Lovecraftical Metatex” fame, thats been lovingly nurtured into a publication by The Undercroft mastermind +Daniel Sell. For good measure they’ve got the ace +Sarah Richardson making sure its sitting pretty, and Andrew Walter adorning it with pretty art (like the image up top). The names alone are enough to sell it to me, but the KS page is a bit vague on the details of Crypts of Indormancy:
“Crypts of Indormancy” is an evocative location-based adventure compatible with Lamentations of the Flame Princess and most other Dungeons & Dragons clones. The final book will be a saddle stitched, 40-odd page A5 affair with a gloriously coloured cover and black and white internal illustrations.
The Features section mentions dungeon fundamentals being done right in a quasi-Polynesian island chain. I was curious, so I did the only human thing and chased the pair of literary wordsmiths for answers by emailing them a bunch of questions. Read on…
[OP] Can you give us a bit more of an overview on the story line of Crypts of Indormancy? “postcolonial elves digging through their imperial past” in a “quasi-Polynesian island chain” is quite the teaser!
[EC] Mercantilist Elves once tried to colonize the West Island but failed, withdrawing their forces some 1,400 years ago. Ageless as the dead but not as patient, the Elves remain divided about the imperial adventure they still call “the Recent War.”
A group of officers built a secret tomb for one of their generals in a mountain wilderness on the West Island, and for centuries, nobody has disturbed it. Now the player characters have learned the location of this tomb.
Do they see the dead general as a fallen hero, or a legendary villain out of history, or just an opportunity for profit? And do they suspect that someone might be using the tomb as a means toward other ends?
[OP] What inspired you to write Crypts of Indormancy?
[EC] Some of my favorite fiction deals with intercultural encounters. My favorite writers of that fiction–Herman Melville, Chinua Achebe, Ursula K. Le Guin–try to see the complexity of motives on both sides. So my homebrew setting took colonialism as its structuring theme.
Tombs remain a staple of sword-and-sorcery and fantasy RPGs. They let a designer combine adventure and horror tropes; greed drives players toward risk while fear drives them away. Consider this my cover of an old jazz standard.
[OP] Is CoI a single session adventure, or do you feel its going to take multiple sessions?
[EC] Multiple sessions, unless the players hit on solutions quickly or flee with the first loot they can grab. Then again, I tend to be a “slow” referee. Your mileage may vary.
[OP] What are the chances of a character death? Did you have many or any during playtesting?
[EC] Chances of death run high, especially with incautious players. About a third of the characters who entered did not exit.
[OP] What is your favourite part of CoI?
[EC] Andrew Walter‘s illustrations. I wish I owned a van, so I could airbrush them onto something.
[OP] Only a few days in and you’re over £5k already – surprised? If you pass £8k, will more stretch goals be added do you think?
[EC] Yes, surprised, delighted–and fearful. I’ve seen Carrie: I know that this might not end well. As of now, we don’t plan to add more stretch goals, since they would necessarily entail stretching ourselves thinner.
But who knows? If we rake in enough, my dream of a Crypts of Indormancy chain of themed resorts (“From Amusement… to Recapitation”) may come true.
[OP] Daniel, can you tell us more on the next project you have lined up?
[DS] Sticking to adventures, ‘cos that’s what keeps landing on my doorstep. I’ve got the next five projects all lined up, all at varying degrees of finished. The next one will be Fever Swamp by +Luke Gearing, another Undercroft regular. It’s a filthy swamp crawl like you’d imagine John Blanche making, being illustrated by +Jeremy Duncan (more regulars).
[OP] The Melsonian Arts Council has developed a good reputation for putting out high quality products, with each release improving in its production from the last. Where do you see the Council going from here?
[DS] I don’t plan ahead further than the projects I have in my hands. So by that logic, I plan to release at least 4 more adventures in the near future and a full blown RPG in the less-near future. I’m making 2 of those projects myself, the others are things people have brought to me. The RPG is why I haven’t submitted much to the Undercroft these past few issues.
As far as vague future intentions, the idea is to sell enough cool things so that we can make money to pay people properly, make more things and eventually even maybe pay me something. Every year is slightly better than the last, so it’s getting there.
[OP] Are you happy to take pitches for new products from the general product? If so, where should they email it to?
[DS] I’m always happy to take pitches, can’t promise I’ll take them though. If people want to send me stuff, push it over to firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to the guys for taking the time to respond to my queries! There is still time to back Crypts of Indormancy over on Kickstarter for a very respectable price – I’d advise you get in on this.