So what's with all the duck business? After the success of Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom III, I began a new Kickstarter collaborating with legendary game designer and artist, Jennell Jaquays. Imagine a campaign setting, for any role playing game, that features ducks? Well, we did. And more. The result was Quack Keep. A full colour GM screen with maps plus 48 pages of endless adventure, set in Reedy Bend, an area of marshlands teaming with fowl folk and other weirdness.
The basic idea came from developing a relationship with Jennell at the tail end of Dungeons of Doom III. Her artwork had inspired me to sculpt my first duck. Four more quickly followed, including Jenn JaQuack, a tribute to her. As the original duck artist for Chaosium's Rune Quest and the genius behind the “Legendary Duck Tower” (1980), it seemed a fitting tribute.
|Quack Keep at the printers.|
Back to Quack Keep. The plan was, a collaboration where I would sculpt miniatures and Jennell would write a module. The name came from “Quag Keep” (1978), the first novel based on the world of Dungeons & Dragons by the legendary grand mistress of SF/Fantasy, Andre Norton. Apart from that, there is no similarity between the two, except they both feature a keep and a dragon. Quack Keep was duckier though.
We both got to work: Jennell would write the module and I would make the miniatures. The anthropomorphic duck characters were to be based on the miniatures I sculpted. That was the plan. As goeth the old Yiddish adage“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” (“Man Plans, and God Laughs”). Quack Keep ended up being a much more, well, more.
|Low-res Screenshot from interior of Quack Keep.|
The Kickstarter funded in just over an hour. What followed was a mad rush to create more stretch goals, usually including new duck characters that I was sculpting between updates. Before long, there was talk of sculpting a giant duck-dragon. Quack Keep was no longer an old school dungeon adventure module with some metal figurines. It was a crusade that ended with 34 metal miniatures plus a massive resin Duck-Dragon with a couple of fantastic gaming modules (Dragon's Secret PDF, Quack Keep PDF + Print) thrown in with a full colour GM screen by Jennell Jaquays!
All of these are available now at Star Hat Miniatures. Each part of the Kickstarter campaign deserves it's own post. Suffice to say, Jennell and I truly collaborated on Quack Keep. Instead of an old school dungeon adventure, it was a whole campaign setting with characters and adventure hooks we created together. As Jennell says in the introduction:
Instead of a using just one set of old school rules, we made Quack Keep work with all games. Instead of a classic dungeon, with encounter set pieces using duck characters, it became a campaign setting totally defined by those characters and their interactions. Instead of one adventure, we created 75 different story hooks featuring those characters, and then packed in 100 more possibilities in the form of random encounters and Curios (unexplained or out of place objects and artifacts). Instead of it just being me creating this, the process involved Darcy and I throwing ideas at each other across the Pacific; he in New Zealand and me on America’s west coast.
I ended up writing and drawing for Quack Keep, as well as producing the best miniatures I have ever sculpted. What an adventure!