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Beasts of the Beyond: The First Expedition

by Submerged Studio

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Where it began...

The report that landed on Nicholas Gressen's desk was only the first of many, but he was expecting that. You don't send a team into the unknown wilds without expecting trouble in various forms. Perhaps not trouble in the form of hallucinogenic rock frogs.

There was always risk in projects like this, and he did have to put some risks into the presentation to the board of directors. The question was... should this be included in his presentation? The potential for the medical sector to find something profitable in a hallucinogenic frog was high... perhaps he should.

Welcome to the first of our series of books following the Summer War, as the survivors would come to call it.  In the tiny town of Diablo, Washington, an amazing discovery was made. A small cave opened the way to a world of untold wonders and possibilities. It was a discovery that would lead to many incredible breakthroughs in the scientific community... and nearly destroyed our world.

But that is a tale for later. All stories have a beginning, and ours starts by following a small team of scientists who were chosen by the CEO of Axiom Biotech corporation to lead the first expedition through the veil and into this strange new place.  We will follow their journey as they catalogue their findings and send their field notes back to the Axiom headquarters. We'll share in their successes and their failures, and hopefully... we'll see them all back home safely. Regardless of the outcome of this mission, we will be assured of one thing. Nothing in Diablo will ever be the same again.
A little bit of fun, our story was originally introduced with found articles such as this magazine cover.

The Campaign

The Campaign will launch May 2nd, 2025 and run for 30 days. The fundraising goal is $10,000 (estimated at this time, we will adjust the final funding goal amount needed closer to the date of launch).

There will be a wide range of pledge levels, from digital only offerings for $10, up to a master portfolio offering in the $1500 range. The book itself will be between $40 and $50 depending on if you want paperback or hardback.
Example of a pledge level, book is a mock up of what the final book will look like.

Stretch goals will be announced at the launch of the campaign.

We will be having campaign exclusive events (such as toku creation, and so on) for the duration of the campaign.
What is a Toku? Why it's this little guy! This beasty was created with help from our backers over on Patreon!

What's in the book?

The book will be 100 pages, and filled with full color art. In the past we have done black and white books with the occasional color pages, we are going the opposite direction with this book.

It will be 8 x 10, and will be available in either hardcover or softcover.

The pages will be a collection of documents from the expedition through the rift. They will range from handwritten field notes to incident reports and official forms. As this is a bestiary, it will be filled with detailed illustrations of the creatures found in the adventure. 

An assortment of example pages for the book (subject to change closer to the launch)

Austin Barkdull is joining Jessica Douglas for our seventh book, and our most ambitious project to date! 

Jessica has been in the illustration and art industry for decades, literally! She's a little old lady who lives for painting odd things and convincing Austin to write about them. She runs Submerged Studio (, an art supply store as well as an art studio, and works freelance with a wide range of companies. She works in any traditional medium she can get her hands on, but finds watercolors come the easiest. 

Austin grew up living all across the US and overseas because of his Father’s career. His time in Europe as a boy helped foster a deep love of the ancient world and the fantastic stories that they told. He also enjoyed many different fantasy and science fiction novels, including books from the Redwall series, the Warhammer 40,000 universe and Star Wars. This love for fantastical settings and interesting stories inspired his love of writing.

We've been working together for many years, and it's exciting to get to take our worldbuilding and bring it to life in this bestiary.

We're only exploring Diablo for now.. but imagine what we'll find when we go further...

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