As someone who enjoys Roleplaying games, and as someone who acts as a Dungeon Master (DM) who knows what they are doing, I watch a bit of YouTube for DM tips and inspiration.
A while ago I came across Absolute Tabletop, and their YouTube channel Tabletop Terrors.
So when I saw that they were launching a Kickstarter for a new Product called an ‘Adventure Kit’, My interest was piqued.
Absolute Tabletop is a tabletop roleplaying game publisher with a focus on community and a belief that anyone can be creative.
Founded in September 2015, Absolute Tabletop has self-published roleplaying game material, including a worldbuilding sourcebook ‘Be A Better Campaign Master’, and supplemental rulesets for their adventure setting ‘DragonGrin’, called The Convocation and The Copper Jackals. In 2016, Absolute Tabletop drew attention for giving away hundreds of free digital supplements to people who participated in their Absolute Creativity writing event.
Absolute Tabletop comprises of Michael Barker, Matt Click, Tim Kearney, and James Kearne.
So what are Adventure kits?
Adventure Kits from Absolute Tabletop are a series of versatile, flexible frameworks for roleplaying game adventures.
If you are a Prep-light GM/ DM or an improv-heavy GM/ DM? Then you will enjoy the versatility and flexibility that Adventure Kits provide, while DMs who prefer going into games with a lot of prepared material will appreciate utilizing the ‘Toolkit’ to create a fully fleshed out adventure quickly and easily.
Tim from Absolute Tabletop already did a video, to show off how someone could use the Toolkit.
So what’s inside Oath of the Frozen King?
Inside the pages you’ll find inspiration, mechanics, and ready-made, modular add-ons for each adventure. Absolute Tabletop have left their Adventure as open as possible so you can use as little or as much as you need to create your unique adventure. Inside the pages of Oath of the Frozen King there are sections for:
The Adventure Setting: A brief description of the world, realm, and region that the adventure is set in, including a quick note on how to run it in your own campaign world.
A World Primer: The most important tenets of the world that the adventure is set in. These are the details that give the world its tone and feel.
An Adventure Overview: This top-down view includes high concept details of the lore, tone, and possible conflicts.
Map: Each Adventure Kit includes a modular map of the adventuring location for easy reference. You can find full-size maps for use with miniatures available for purchase at http://www.HeroicMaps.com.
The Locations: Each area of the adventure includes a flavorful description and applicable mechanics, as well as sights, sounds, and sensations.
The Encounters: This list of encounters includes at least one of each of the following: a roleplay encounter, a combat, a skill challenge, a puzzle or trap, and a climactic encounter.
NPCs: Each Adventure Kit comes packed with a handful of unique and thematic non-player characters, complete with basic stats, personality traits, and even secrets for use in roleplay encounters.
The Resolution and Rewards: This section offers some suggested adventure resolutions and ideas for rewards and loot for the adventurers.
The Toolbox: Modular add-ons and adventure enhancements like mechanics, thematic phrases, set dressing, trinkets and loot, and simple generators for monsters, skill challenges, and traps.
I recently had a chance of asking Barker at Absolute Tabletop a few questions and here’s what we talked about…
Q) Although the adventure doesn’t have to be entirely centred on your world of Dragon Grin, how much fluff/ settings will the Adventure Kit give us.
A) The book will contain enough Dragongrin lore to inspire the game master to run a fun and immersive game inside the world, yet the information will be loose enough to be discarded without hurting the content itself. Also, the book will now contain a short story set in the world of Dragongrin, about the rise of the Frozen King himself! So there will be plenty there for those interested in Dragongrin to get their hands dirty in wondrous lore.
Q) given that Oath of the Frozen King has certain elemental themes (such as Ice and Undeath), will future Adventure Kits have other elemental themes (such as Fire and rebirth, as an example).
A) We’ve only briefly considered the content of future Adventure Kits, but in that time, we’ve discovered that we do like the idea of changing up the elements a bit (a hellish environment, or a swampy one, as a couple examples). That said, I don’t think we’ll be solely designing future Adventure Kits around the elements.
Q) As a DM that struggles at times with describing settings, scenes and appearances, your Adventure Kit, really helps (from what I’ve seen of it on Tabletop Terrors) to bridge the gap for myself between the stat profile of a monster/ NPC to what I imagine it to be. Do you think this is something that was missing from Not just 5E but other RPG games.
A) We see the Adventure Kit as striking a balance that has been missing from all sorts of RPGs, including 5e and other systems/settings. But as the world begins moving towards a more theater-of-the-mind style, we feel this focus on description and setting (opposed to hard mechanics) will be widely accepted by those – much like yourself – who feel the balance has been tilted too far towards the “crunch” in the past. I hope that answers your question!
Q) One of Absolute Tabletops continuous mantras has always been that anybody can be creative, how much of a headache has it been between giving people the tools to be creative with the Adventure Kit, as opposed to just rail roading them.
A) You know what? It’s been strangely the opposite, actually! As a bunch of ADHD creatives like ourselves, we find it quite a bit easier to offer up some broad-stroked options for the DM in question than to strictly force them onto a predetermined path. Because we all know that halfway through an adventure module, the players usually do something completely different anyway!
Q) Once the books start coming in from the printers, which of you gets the pleasure of storing them.
A) We actually utilize an extremely reliable, print-on-demand company called IngramSpark (Lightning Source on DriveThruRPG) who print and ship all our ordered products. So no filled garages or unhappy families on our end!
Q) Absolute Tabletop has been publishing a number of adventures now for nearly 2 years, you’ve published a number of softcover books (my personal favourite is your Thunder Dwarf book), you’ve established your backend channels so to speak with publishing, the absolute tabletop website, and community. How much trepidation did you guys experience in regards to going to Kickstarter with your Adventure Kit.
A) A metric ton.
Q) With your Kickstarter being so successful, and with time still to go, have you guys been shocked at the level of support you’ve received so far.
A) We are utterly shocked. I don’t think that will ever go away, to be honest. We were shocked when we first launched our website to see that over 200 people wanted to give us their support. We were shocked when we first started the AbTab community to find a wonderful influx of new and creative minds (like your own!) who wanted to meet like-minded people and game with them. And yes, we are shocked now, given the success of the Kickstarter.
Ultimately, we love our community, and they continue to surprise us. Not only in tremendous support, but in courtesy, skill, and creativity. You are all amazing.
Absolute Tabletop originally launched their Kickstarter with a funding goal of only €500. At the time of my writing this, The Oath of the Frozen King, has raised over €25,000 and still has a number of days left.
So if you like what you’ve seen, there’s still time to make a Pledge.
Until next time, I’ll see you at the table.
– from The Man Cave