The Black Ballad

The Black Ballad

8 Days Left! Free Character Sheets and Desktop Downloads! Plus the next challenge!
about 2 hours ago
by Storytellers Forge Studios
Let's dispense with the loot!

Free Black Ballad Character Sheets & Desktop Black Ballad #1!

All of these will also be bundled and emailed into the digital rewards when we deliver them, but if you want to grab some downloads now, have at it!

Now, let's get into Community Challenge #8 - Magic Item In The Black Ballad.

Here are the details. For the next 24 hours on our Discord, our community manager John Maxwell and the rest of us will take submissions for magical items that would be fitting for the Black Ballad! After 24 hours, we will pick what we think is the coolest item and work it up with the contest winner who will get credit! Somewhere along the journey within the events of the campaign, a player will encounter this precious loot... and do... something? with it?

Join our discord, think of ideas, furiously tag Jeff, The Patron of Biscuits, and drive him even more insane!

Let's talk Eldritch Gods.

Jaron R.M. Johnson is one of our favorite writers and people working on the Black Ballad with us at Storytellers Forge. If any of you have The Red Opera: Last Days of the Warlock, Jaron is the mastermind behind the Soul Thief Warlock class!

But today marks a special day for his team and his major project: Cthulu Dreamnt. A heart-wrenching musical tragedy written by Reed Reimer, Action Fiction has been hard at work to build a TTRPG element to the sequel he was always planning for this story. This campaign expands on the mythos of Cthulhu while bringing it into an unsettling sci-fi future complete with ARG components and unsettling puzzles...

Like this...! Do you know what this is? THERE IS A THING WITH THIS PUZZLE AND I DON'T KNOW IT!

You can explore all about Cthulu Dreamnt and tumble down into the abyss by heading over to their Kickstarter which just launched TODAY!

Read the full update
Final 9 Days! Community Contest for Free Rewards!
1 day ago
by Storytellers Forge Studios
We are officially entering the final 9 days! Each day, we have some fun community engagement contests that will unlock additional rewards exclusive during the campaign mode only.

Speaking of Exclusive: The Loot Box. The Adventure Journal and Duskwalker Novel will indeed be available as add-ons after the campaign window closes, HOWEVER, all the other items in the loot box (Dice, GM Screen, USB Stick, etc., etc.) are ONLY available during the campaign. We will be entering manufacturing of those items and getting our limited edition runs to fill those orders, and these items will not be in our preorder store.

Day Nine Contest! Black Ballad Desk Top Background #1!

The Challenge is thus: If we get up to 1,215 total backers during this 24-hour period, we will take our cover piece by Graey Erb, format it, get it all ready, and release it as a free digital download to everyone. It doesn't matter what tier or what pledge level, just strictly the number of backers we have on the campaign.

So help everyone out by jumping in!

I also want to give a special shout-out to Landon Jamieson. Landon has a history of superbacking Kickstarters and Crowdfunding campaigns and then providing awesome stat-update metrics! He's been doing it for The Black Ballad, and you can find his Stats! thread right here in our Community section. Go leave a comment on his thread or give this guy a shout-out. Math wizards should be met with all the love.

After all... they calculate the Fireball damage for us!

Projects We Worked On!

The writers and artists of Storytellers Forge don't just work exclusively on our projects... (we like writing other things as well!)

Today here's one project that I worked on!

Anansi's Tapestry of Lives! Over 900% Funded on Kickstarter. Anansi's Tapestry of Lives is by the creator-focused studio Neverending. Their project is a massive volume of NPCs that inhabit the world of fantasy. Not... crazy NPCs that are enemy combatants, but shopkeepers, farmers, etc etc. NPCs that breath life into your world. It's a book that is functional for every game world out there.

My contribution is Vivi, a Bee Keeper!

She may have this appearance and look all friendly--but she's Chaotic Evil. You'll have to read the book to find out what happened to her that set her down a path of chaos, evil, and bees... but I wanted to spice up Anansi's book by adding some daily NPCs that aren't always friendly. 

Click the photo or the link on the name to go preorder a copy! They are already done with crowdfunding and getting their print run ready for distribution!

That's all I got for everyone today. Let's see if we can get 20 backers! Share this project around, or personally message a friend to grab theirs!

-Thank you everyone

Rick Heinz.
Read the full update
New Stretch Goal Unlocked! Here's the world of printing... *que maniacal laugh*
2 days ago
by Storytellers Forge Studios
Thank you everyone thus far! We've hit the majority of our stretch goals and unlocked a very metal one with Contributor Raises. I think once the Black Ballad is fully done and out the door, I might write a long blog post about the back-end business and metrics. That's a ways off, so instead, let's talk about metal and the next stretch goal!

Print Upgrades To The Special Edition!

Okay, let's talk OnSpec Printing vs Print on Demand and distribution models. We are using both. This crowdfunding will allow us to order a round of special edition books. Print runs are entirely based on volume and size, but it gets interesting fast! For example, our print house (officially known as the Print Lady with epic book samples) can do some of the following:

  • Special binding for large game books so the pages don't go anywhere and the book lays flat. 
  • Foil, spodix (like on the White Edition of Tasha's Cauldron set from WotC), and UV options are available.
  • Gilded pages that are clean and don't stick. 
  • More language on paper weight and font-weight than I personally know was possible in this universe. 
  • They are a United States-based printer. So we won't have to worry about our books getting lost in customs. 

They have access to a bunch of options like Metallic Ink printing and options that Valarie Willis (the COO at 4 Horsemen Publications) is a master of typography and printing options, and she's been navigating checklists and exploring options.

Now after the Black Ballad is delivered to everyone, we will enter a Print on Demand model for wider distribution. They will still be hardcover full-color books and look gorgeous, but if you were to stack them up next to each other, one is clearly a superior product - but it's more eco-friendly to use POD rather than have 10,000 books just sitting in a warehouse until they get sold. 

That's what makes this crowdfunding so special for our first project - you can only get the special edition during this initial run. 

We have 10 days left, $7k to go for print upgrades, and then we've achieved all main book stretch goals! (Compatibility packs come later.)

Come listen to some music with us today and have a great Sunday everyone!


Read the full update
Tell Us How You Died! Poll Incoming!
3 days ago
by Storytellers Forge Studios

It's the Weekend! The Coffee is ready. The Metal is playing. The Rick is writing.

On my dev docket for today is finishing off the Pledge Manager and creating a playlist for our takeover of tomorrow! We are also close to contributor raises! So... just putting that out there.

So how have I lost characters in roleplaying? Well... you see... I've played a LOT of Vampire The Masquerade. I was one of those kids in trench coats slinging Rock Paper Scissors in Live Action games for a solid decade. So most of my deaths fall under the PVP banner. However, in D&D, my iconic character death is that of Alios - Cleric of Mask. A divine assassin I had back in 3.5 who mixed in rogue and shadowwalker levels.

My brilliant idea was to invade an army of demons in this level 18 campaign with shadows as part of a celestial holy war raging. The storyteller, when he realized the 300HP+ demon generals still only had a strength of 24, quickly realized why I was going solo. A chain reaction of undead assassination was about to unfold across their entire war camp.

His wicked grin grew across the table as the plan unfolded, drawing Alios deeper and deeper into the island. I think everyone reading can see where this is going: a player who feels unstoppable, everyone at the table rooting for this surprise hit that would end the campaign, and a storyteller letting me cut loose with a character shackled in actual society.

Alios learned two things that day. The first was that his shadows were very, very effective at killing and growing... and the second: When the general at the far end isn't a demon like you thought, but rather a fallen angel with a god of death at his side--having a few hundred undead shadows that you think are fully under your control is not a bet you should ever make.

Alios had a strength of 8.

That's my death.

In Other News! Hit Point Press has launched Big Bads!

I'll say one thing about the OGL debacle, it's certainly brought a lot of us content creators MUCH closer together, and I promised in the last update I'd start showcasing our studio friends' projects. We write storylines and campaigns primarily, so we naturally fit in with other books and games out there. This Bossitary is filled with the perfect mix of lore and story around each creature, and the Big Bad Bureau needs you to show these monsters who is really the boss (them, not you... maybe you. They do offer health insurance).

Filled with magic items for 5E and some fantastic creature art by an amazing studio, you can't go wrong adding this one to your collection. I mean, look at Runcible Scowler above! That's BOSS friggin' art.

I'm sure Ollie, our Social Media Maven, would have a comment or two about this suit-wearin' Dragonborn.

So CHECK THEM OUT! And after their bosses have put your characters in the grave. We've got you covered with The Black Ballad!

Remember to join our discord! Have a great weekend, everyone!
Read the full update
ST Forge is taking over That Metal Station... PLUS a new preview!
6 days ago
by Storytellers Forge Studios
First... the entire crew of ST Forge is taking over on March 26th! We get two hours of playing our favorite metal/geek music and a handful of interviews from DiAmorte and ST Forge about the Black Ballad!

Join us to hear our writing inspiration and just a few hours of music while we go about our days!

Next up, we have new content for everyone!

Remember how we unlocked that stretch goal for additional voice acting? Well... Theo and Grady from The Gallant Goblin penned a wonderful IC letter we call Valen's Lament. We had James Dorton from DiAmorte do the narration (James also did the narration in the trailer everyone is watching on the Backerkit page).

Drake Mefestta spent the weekend working up a custom piano score and soundtrack to add further ambiance, and without further ado:

Here is a full 5-minute voice cast of Valen's Lament.

Sit back, enjoy the story, and know that more are coming. All of our voice-casted narrated letters will be embedded inside the digital / hardcover books as a QR code and also included as a separate mp3 file in the USB stick that is inside the loot crate.

As always, you can join our discord to geek out with us! We currently just dropped a playtest packet on all the new Domains and Spells being featured in The Black Ballad.

Please help us tackle people to hit the rest of our stretch goals!

That's it for today! We'll have a slew of new announcements coming very shortly... including highlighting some of our author's projects they are working on. Hopefully, everyone likes the dreams of Eldritch Gods, ferrying souls along the river Styx, or even RPGs centered around The Crow, Universal Soldier, and Pacific Rim.

The shout-outs will be coming. 


Read the full update
Another Stretch Goal Unlocked!
8 days ago
by Storytellers Forge Studios
Hello, you beautiful wonderful humans!

No Rick today... today, you get Pat Edwards! That's right, I finally wrested away control of the email reins! Let the chaos and mayhem commence! Muahahahahaha

But in all seriousness, I am super excited to announce that, as of writing this, we have just cracked $114,000, unlocking the next stretch goal: The Compatibility Pack. After the book is completed, we'll send out a survey to our backers and the most requested game system will get a Black Ballad conversion edition. Neat, huh?

No rest for the weary, though, as we already have our sights set on the next goal: MORE Contributor Raises. That's right. Once we hit $120,000 we can add another 10% raise to our exceptional freelance contributors. We want to pay our collaborators as much as we possibly can. They fu- er, I mean- flipping deserve it. (Rick told me I couldn't do a cuss on these emails, that big ol' snuggle lump)

I'm so excited to see what comes next!

And speaking of things to come...

Feature Highlight: Atonement Grove

We have run Chapter 1 of The Black Ballad behind the scenes and live on streams a handful of times now. We knew when crafting it that the Atonement Grove encounter would provide ample opportunity for some meaningful roleplay... but wow, we've been overwhelmed with the beautiful moments our players have delivered. In case you missed any of the playtest streams, Atonement Grove offers the players a chance to interact with a mirror image of themselves... though it's a bit more than that. The reflection they encounter, their Unsullied Visage as it's called, is not an exact copy. It is a version of the player's character with all their memories and life experiences, except all personal bias has been stripped away, allowing them to receive a raw, unfiltered perspective on their now-finished mortal life. This can be a humorous, joyful experience... or a deep, emotional reckoning. We have witnessed both play out in real-time, and honestly, we weren't ready for the feels. We are extremely excited for you all to experience Atonement Grove for yourself. As an unnamed Unsullied Visage once said, "The hardest part of death is accepting that we were never quite who we thought we were in life... that the version of us inside our heads was just a dream all along..."

Oof, who else needs a drink? I know I do. But before I go, one last thing: Thank you so flipping much for your support 

Read the full update
Only $2k away from next Stretch Goal! Black Ballad Update!
10 days ago
by Storytellers Forge Studios
Let's see if we can hit our next stretch goal before the weekend is out! If you've backed this campaign, would you help us with a solid and share it around? Or if you haven't, here is some extra content to perhaps convince you...

News: Our good friends over at Amatur(ish) Productions debuted the first full Chapter 1 of The Black Ballad. The cast absolutely crushed it, and their encounter around the reflection pool slams right into your feels. You can rewatch the stream by clicking on that link! We'll be doing more in the future with a full Black Ballad campaign on their channel, and I'm personally excited to see what Ben MartinMooney does when he's in the storyteller hot seat. This play session, was run by Pat Edwards, one of our co-founders and authors in the Black Ballad. So this session very much had some insider knowledge...

That insider knowledge is why I'm excited for our second debut: CastersnCastles. Tonight, this sarcastically charismatic group of people will also be running the Black Ballad - but with fresh eyes. Without the ancient wisdom or knowledge of a writer so tied into the project. As if all of you would be storytelling. They are armed with nothing more than the storyteller demo packet we provided them.

It's time to put our writing to the test and hand this project off into the hands of other storytellers and players.

It seems to be working as well: This is Darwin, created by Legday.

First off, I had no idea that Legday was even playing much less a talented artist. For the campaign tonight, all WE know at Storytellers Forge is this bio on Leg's twitter:

"Meet Darwin. He carries the very chains that bound the doors of his church, and the lanterns that lit the blaze of their judgement. A man of god risen as the devil they condemned him to be... and in death no flame can touch him. For the vengeance in his soul burns more terribly than any hellfire."

When you are a writer and storyteller, it's amazing to see what other people come up with in your setting, and I think anyone who wants to see what this campaign is all about will enjoy tonight! You can follow CastersAndCastles RIGHT HERE on Twitch so you can tune in later tonight.

And for those who want to read what demo packet this crew was provided... I'm giving everyone on this project a very NON pretty draft document. It's not laid out, it's not finalized, this content is purely a draft for the Black Ballad, but it's our Storyteller Demo Packet. You can download the demo packet and our playtest content as it's updated weekly by joining our discord!

Most importantly, can you help us get past our next stretch goals? Share this around or jump in if you haven't!
Read the full update
Festivals of the Dead: A sneak peek.
12 days ago
by Storytellers Forge Studios
“Beware the lavish feasts and indulgent carnivals in the Sunless Crossing. For pleasures of the spirit are twice as delicious as those of the flesh... and a hundred times more treacherous.” -Simon the Righteous

Nox Valar, the City of Souls.

Festivals of the Dead is a chapter we are putting into the setting portion of The Black Ballad to help bring the world to further life. With their connection to the living world severed, all that is left is a reflection of life. A memory. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that reflecting on notable events, individuals, and traditions is a sacred practice in the land of the dead. Celebrations are not merely an excuse for merriment, but a cornerstone of reality, for if memory should ever fade--they would cease to exist.

While the Sunless Crossing is certainly epic, metal, and filled with plenty of arcane and divine dangers during the campaign: we wanted to present the setting itself as a vibrant place also filled with life, culture, and joy.

There aren't any game mechanics or special features tied to Festivals of the Dead... just a sliver of life within Nox Valar and world immersion for storytellers and players to get lost within. Our writing style is to bake bits of world flavor and slivers all throughout the book (like we will be doing with the Obituaries that we write up for those who backed "Honor Thy Fallen").

One thing that was born while writing the festivals such as The Sovereign's Departure, or The Shepherd's Feast, was the sudden inclusion of ballads or poems. Crystal Wood (who is hard at work writing the Black Ballad: Duskwalker novel) slipped these into her contribution of the Festivals... and we decided to keep them! 

The Sovereign’s Departure:

T’was but a moment that I knew you

A whisper of blessed healing light

I gave my soul to something true

Now I sail into the night

I ask you not to mourn my passing

Do not shed a tear for me

My brightest joy, my greatest love

My Sunless Brethren, blessed be

We hope you enjoy them as much as we did when you read them tucked into the festivals section. I've already incorporated a few quotes from them into a villain taunt during a duel in the City of Souls.

Officially, we are entering the long haul of crowdfunding. Our sincere hope is to hit all the stretch goals we have planned and keeping up momentum is important! Share away!

If anyone here wants to get a demo packet of Chapter 1 for Storytelling purposes, join our Discord and get yourself a playtester role! We have a bunch of content in the hopper and are working up more (like the Godless and new Domains) right now before those pdfs drop. 

Thank you so much everyone!

Read the full update
This Update Requires Your Vote! Compatibility Pack!
13 days ago
by Storytellers Forge Studios
The voice actors for the last stretch goal have all been contacted! Carlos Ferro and James Dorton have their documents, and we are taking reads on the other letters!

Now we are onto Compatibility Packs. This update requires your feedback. We have a setting and mega-campaign over 10 chapters. The nice thing about storylines and worlds that are designed to plug into your homebrew worlds with only a few stitch threads and minor works (we may approach gods differently than yours for example): is that the system used can also be swapped out.

All of our monster stats are baked into the end of the Black Ballad in alphabetical order. The biggest hurdle for a storyteller in running a campaign for another game system is having to jury-rig those monsters to fit their rules set. There are a LOT of game systems out there. Pathfinder 2nd Edition and Project Black Flag have our current eyes, but what do you think?

Vote on the Poll and Pick Your Favorite.

Once the core product delivery of the Black Ballad is finished, polished, and finalized... we will convert all the monster stat blocks over to the chosen system. Rework the unlocked class features if they are compatible (some game systems might not have a cleric or faith-based class that uses domains), and then update our challenge charts for that game system's skill rolls.

Every backer on the project will get a free PDF version of the compatibility pack.

We have two stretch goals for this type of feature, and so we will hit the top two votes on the poll after the campaign has fully ended (and will probably add to it in a discord poll as well to make sure we get as many votes as we can).


Ollie, one of our Social Media peoples... has kinda been rocking it over on TikTok.

Ollie has also been trying to tackle me to make more videos myself and chat about game industry insider stuff... and I'll get back to doing that as soon! I promise. (There Ollie. I said it).

Read the full update
Black Ballad Art Showcase! Next Stretch Goal - Additional Narration
15 days ago
by Storytellers Forge Studios
Hey everyone! We are six days in... just six... and half of our stretch goals have been achieved! Thank you so much! This weekend, we went back into creation mode. Work has officially begun on the Wish and Envy domains along with the new class Godless. I hope that before this crowdfunding ends, we will be able to put them into playtest because they are already metal AF.

Additional Voice Acting: Next stretch goal!

You've all listened to Carlos Ferro doing Majin's introduction letter to the Black Ballad... right?

(If you haven't! Click Here!)

Or you can hear it in our alternative trailer to The Black Ballad:

Watch that here!

This stretch goal will have all of our "transition letters" between each major section of the book fully narrated and scored. They tell a story throughout the events of the Black Ballad and tied with the campaign - everyone is going to get hit with the feels. SERIOUS Feels. Theo and Grady from the Gallant Goblin went above and beyond with their impact. Soooo... yeah... we want to bring them to life fully in a variety of ways. The audio tracks will not only be included in the book via QR code, but we'll also have them with the digital bundle.

Art Showcase:

Let me introduce our cover artist for the Black Ballad! Graey Erb. Graey slayed it with the cover and generates some insane artwork. I personally can't wait to see what other work Graey does for the Black Ballad.

You can discover Graey's portfolio here: Artstation.

But... for the rest of this update let's showcase the evolution of the cover!

Read the full update
Daily Update: We spam the F5 Key and Adventure Journal Showcase!
17 days ago
by Storytellers Forge Studios
We are SO close to the next threshold. Maybe this Saturday we can cross over and celebrate! (Hint: tackle a friend to help).

And here is why! Today I'm going to talk about the Adventure Journal we are releasing in the Loot Crate tier.

Illustrated by Ash Blankenfeld and Written by Courteney Penney, the Ashlynns Adventure Journal is an extra item with a small prologue around the current Sovereign of Nox Valar, followed by an entire hand-drawn player journal for maps, notes, items, and a custom character sheet inside.

Our design for the journal is to be intentionally 'sketchy,' as if Ashlynn herself drew the images along her travels and dropped the journal - where anyone could have picked it up.

We... couldn't exactly fit 4-5 journals inside the loot box for the entire party, but this is one item in the loot box that will absolutely be available afterward in case every player on the table wants their own journal (complete with different color covers). 

Here are some initial sketch layouts and artwork styles we are taking with the in character journal! Hot off Ash's tablet! I personally love the way little animal skulls are tucked around something so adorable.

Next update, I'll feature some other in-progress work behind the scenes! Meanwhile... help us unlock the Godless! We are SO Close!

*Jitters with caffeinated excitement.*


Adventure Journal Samples!

Read the full update
Daily Update! Let's showcase more things!
18 days ago
by Storytellers Forge Studios

The Unlockening Is Happening! (It's a word in my head! I swear!)

So... another day, more stretch goals unlocked! Contributor Raises and an increase in our Art Budget are underway... next up will be the Godless core class.

What is the Godless Core Class?

Originally, we were going to release a player's guide to the Black Ballad in the future, focused more on rules for the divine, extra classes, feats, and a ton of additional setting information outside of the main campaign. (We still will be, but after this).

In the setting of the Sunless Crossing, the Godless Monarchs reign over the realm. Guarding souls on their transition from Purgatory to their final resting place (or back to the lands of the living). Yet the House of the Sovereign has its own secrets...

The Godless is a new core class (not subclass) of Divine casters who do not pray to a singular deity--or even ones that are still living. Within the Storm of Broken Worlds, the Monarchy tends to the tombs of dead and forgotten deities. Harvesting their remnant energies to fuel their magic for different purposes: Either they are shepherds who study these forgotten gods to spread their words back into the world in hopes of reigniting a divine spark. Or they siphon the god's power until they are drained and obliviated... ensuring that the entity is finally removed from existence.

As a class, the primary abilities will focus on granting your allies secrets of lost entities so they can channel divine magic temporarily. Of course, there will be a host of abilities, but our primary focus for this book will be presenting two different paths for the Godless: Positive and Negative.

Entry into the Godless Class will have a variety of hooks. Some unique to the setting of the Black Ballad, and others for homebrew campaigns. One example will be "You were a cleric, and your god was slain in a holy war... you are one of the few faithful left who carries on your gods dying spark."

This weekend, I'll be drafting up the initial content and we will enter design promptly. This new class might not have the same spell-casting power as a proper cleric, but will instead have unique abilities centered around discovering lost lore and True Names for them to carry out their duties (or siphon forbidden power). Unlike Warlocks, their power is never tied to a pact, and the Godless will need to travel into treacherous lands to acquire their secrets in the graves of fallen deities.

Playtest will happen immediately upon the first batch of design and will continue during the cycle while the rest of the book is finished. We encourage you to come join our playtest by popping into our Discord and signing up for the TBB-Playtester role!

Debut of Chapter 1!

Our good friends over at Amateurish Productions debuted an actual play of Chapter 1! Featuring Pat Edwards, one of the co-founders of Storytellers Forge running the group of Jesse "Brickers Rockchewer", Ben "Adelard", Katie "Elira Pond", Glaiza "Sluen Haradraith", and Jenn "Sera Tone" as they discover the truths behind their death and kick off the events of the entire campaign storyline.

This stream will hit you in the feels when they get to the Reflecting Pool. Click Here to watch!

Let's hope this weekend we can unlock the Godless Class, as I'll be writing the first draft this weekend!

Thank you so much everyone!

-Rick and Storytellers Forge!
Read the full update
48 Hours In! It's stretch goal season!
19 days ago
by Storytellers Forge Studios
Within two days, all of you have helped us launch! Now we are onto stretch goals.


DiAmorte Music: Unlocked!

You'll notice several musical themes surrounding the Black Ballad. DiAmorte and Storytellers Forge have been working side-by-side to ensure the full metal album releases at the same time in late 2023 when we hope to be delivering physical books. The orchestral soundtrack is already written and composed. It's now in the hands of Michael Romero from Symphony X for mastering (or performing music wizardry). What unlocking this stretch goal did for us, is allow Storytellers Forge to help support the musicians for their talent and gain the ability to distribute the soundtrack in ways that are friendly for us tabletop gamers.

Dark Star Records has been a huge supporter of this endeavor, and they will now be equipping themselves to engage with Sony Entertainment to lift the fingerprinting software that (as far as I'm aware) - is functionally Skynet in music form. BUT! Here is an amazing sample of the music mixed with our story narration.


Find a spot to sit for 8 minutes and put on some headphones. Enjoy the tale!

New Domains! Wish and Envy!

These domains will bring the total domains for The Black Ballad up to 4. We dive heavily into the lore around deities and domains, providing theory crafting on how gods gain their energies and the consequences (good or bad) of that interplay. It was honestly one of my favorite chapters to write so far.

The domains of Wish and Envy stand in opposition to each other. Gods who seek to grant their followers their desires for advancement, such as Prometheus... or even divine entities who simply wish to see mortals self-actualize might be drawn to the Wish domain. Allowing their Clerics to tap into the strings of fate itself to manifest and alter reality. Envy, however, is poison. Not all domains are positive, and some gods have been scorned by their brethren and their followers take up a scorched earth crusade to deny others what they themselves were denied. The Envy domain will grant clerics offensive and destructive powers that often spread beyond their own control. For if they can't have something... nobody will. These domains are being written to inspire dynamic and tragic characters for play and inspire storytellers to create entire factions with these motivations.

What's Next?

The next stretch goal is contributor raises. Everyone working on this project needs a little boost at times, and we couldn't make this book without them. There is a lot of art left to be done and several chapters to finish, and with this raise, we can get even better art... and make sure that they earn more to get ahead in life. Which is important.

We can't create when stressed to the nines over life itself. 

Honestly, this next stretch goal at $88,000 is super important to Storytellers Forge, and we feel it's a worthy cause. 

So help us get to that next stage. 

Thank you so much!


Read the full update
Thank you everyone for your support! Hell of a day one!
20 days ago
by Storytellers Forge Studios
Rick here!

I certainly had my bones rattled by all the support on day one! When I'm posting this, we are SO close to fully hitting our goal within the first 48 hours. Perhaps by the time I'm done drafting this, we will actually hit it!

From all of us on this team: THANK YOU!

No... seriously. Thank you. It was a leap of faith to move forward with a higher base funding amount because we wanted to ensure that we could deliver on every single thing we promised. Now we get to make the cool thing we set out to make.

Stretch goals, music, new domains, compatibility packs, and more are next!

Before I get into answering some questions: Here's an epic music video by DiAmorte if you haven't had a chance to listen to this yet:

I write to music, and celebrate with music... so by all means: share your favorite metal/folk metal music with me at any times! I'm always down to listen to new soundtracks.


I've seen some questions on Compatibility packs. Here's our goal: When we hit those stretch goals, at the end of the campaign (when everyone has had a chance to back), we will launch surveys on discord and here. For the top two systems, we will work to convert all of the NPCs and Monster stats over into that system's format as a PDF that will follow after the main book is released. It could be pathfinder, cypher, black flag, or other closely compatible systems. We might even look at some of the newer indie RPGs that are coming out if everyone wants those, but it will be a community vote! For each one unlocked, I'll go tackle experts in that system and have them help with the conversion.

The second question I've seen a lot is the items in the loot box being sold seperately: after this campaign is shipped and finalized then yes. That will be a bit according to our timeline. We are putting a lot in the loot box, and by having just a single loot box it allows us to better manage who gets what! Plus...the shipping gods are cruel sometimes and it's much easier to track orders to make sure everything arrives.

In the future: The Duskwalker Novel, Ashlynn's Adventure Journal, and the Purgatory Poker deck will be fully available separately and fully published! The Adventure Journals in particular will actually have some fun alternative options at that point and people can get a 5-pack for their entire party to scribble notes in. (We will have a whole backer update featuring each of these elements over the duration of the campaign).

Just to share something with you! Here's our mock-up for the printer on what the loot crate itself looks like!
Loot Box Image for the Black Ballad. It's epic.

But here is the call to action! We still have a long way to go for an entire campaign! We killed it out of the gate! Art orders are being placed! Share this around and help us cross a few more of our goals!

Thank you so much for everything so far!

Now let's place the moral quandary of resurrection magic in your party's hands... 

-Storytellers Forge
Read the full update
Back It