A message from our friends…

We’re happy to share this message from our friends at Apotheosis Studios and support their most recent Kickstarter campaign.

Apotheosis Studios is an indie studio of geeks and gamers out of Boulder, CO. Check out our post about their newest kickstarter, a Warlock-focused RPG ‘The Red Opera’ here!

Allow me to introduce myself. Just now at this moment, I’m one of the voices in your head, dear reader. Or should I call you a purveyor of fine fantasy projects? You are, after all, visiting a mighty fine Kickstarter page for a mighty fine Kickstarter project. I should know, I helped write some of it!

I’m Joseph Asphahani, Associate Writer for The Red Opera Dnd 5e campaign, and let me tell you something, true off my chest: I love Dark Fantasy. As a sub-genre of that section, you might see cornered off in your local bookstore. I’m not one for whimsical fancy. Not to say I haven’t fallen down a rabbit hole or chased the moon in my day. I’m just saying, as emphatically as possible, that I love Dark Fantasy. I’m saying that bloody battles and evil rituals and road dust and impossible odds and vulgar revenge are the kinds of things I want the characters I read about to encounter on their journeys. And it’s exactly this kind of Dark Fantasy experience that drew me to The Red Opera in the first place. 

DiAmorte’s album The Red Opera provides the perfect thematic portal into this world, full of thrashing riffs and throat-searing vocals, as unforgiving as the Shadelands at times. (If you think at first the Shadelands seem peaceful and serene, I say wait for the later acts!) Their heavy metal music also has a softer side, if you’ve an ear for it. And so Rick Heinz, Patrick Edwards, and I took all of this into account as we designed the encounters and fleshed out the story of the campaign. There’s plenty of violence and death and dealings with unnamed creatures lurking in the dark, absolutely, but there’s also tenderness and passion and chances for redemption. Fayte, LaCroix, Dorian, and all the other NPCs will guide you along with one Hell of a central path (a phrase I may or may not be using here as foreshadowing), but it is by no means the only path. 

One of Rick’s defining storytelling philosophies is and has always been ‘player-first,’ and in The Red Opera it will be the players who ultimately decide how the story unfolds. We’ve left several ideas for the inventive Dungeon Master to expand upon at his or her choosing, little scenarios and sidequests that could be left entirely unexplored or just as easily spun off into massive separate campaigns. You can bring in your existing characters as they chase down a lead about a rising threat in a new realm, or roll up new characters who already live there, faced with the hard fact that fate has more in store for them than a quiet life of servitude to an uncanny, omnipotent patron. Everything here is completely open-ended and driven by actions the players want to take and how they want to take them.

I’ve played in several of Rick’s DnD games over the last two decades, and pretty much all my characters have earned the title “The Bold.” I just can’t help it, it’s how I play. I don’t want to just sit around and plan. I’m a man of action! Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives! (So says Macbeth.) As we were writing parts of The Red Opera, I couldn’t help but think what my character would do in these situations, what choices I’d make. Maybe I’d get myself (or all of us) killed! But just as possible, maybe I’d learn my lesson and listen to the meticulous plan of the rest of the party. We’ve very carefully crafted every act and chapter in The Red Opera to suit all styles of player, even the bold ones like me. There is simply no way that you will not have fun playing it. 

And at the end, whether you seek a light, happy ending or a dark one (like me), the thing I love most about The Red Opera is that you, the player, gets to decide.

Check out the Kickstarter for The Red Opera, Last Days of the Warlock here!

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