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Apotheosis Studios

Hello Everyone!

Our friends over at Apotheosis Studios have an exciting new kickstarter we think you need to know about.

The Red Opera, Last Days of the Warlock

This RPG campaign designed for 5e is a complete package: It features an official soundtrack, multiple endings, branching side quests and the ever important tragic story.

Did we mention the city ruled by Warlocks? We’re looking forward to immersing ourselves in the city of Yon’Cath with its Accursed King. (and checking out the new Warlock classes!)

Some additional highlights:

  • Full 90,000+ word campaign for all tiers of play. Can be run either as a Tier 4, level 20 adventure or be scaled to a level 1 beginner campaign. 
  • Designed for Storytellers; with new Warlock classes, setting updates, side quests, story branches and three-beat story structure for each act.
  • Multiple endings based on player choice where the party can dictate the future of the Shadelands and shape the destiny of things to come.

A fun twist I will enjoy is that any PC can make a pact with a Patron while reaping the benefits or paying the price. The Red Opera is a truly unique experience that will allow you to run the game several times, each time offering a different adventure. All while listening to a tailored, metal-inspired opera soundtrack. What more do we need to say??

To get you even more hyped for the release, you can preview the soundtrack by DiAmorte and The Budapest Scoring Symphonic Orchestra along with a 33-page sample of the core book on their Kickstarter page.

We are thrilled to be able to support such an immersive campaign that brings Warlocks into the spotlight. Be sure to back their Kickstarter ending October 1st!

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Dear NeverEnding, Kerrigan’s Conundrum

Dear NeverEnding, 

I’m so frustrated!  As a DM, I put a lot of time into preparing for game day.  I read my “Remarkable Inns” book back to back and then prepare detailed notes.  I even do vocal exercises before my guests arrive to make sure that I’m in top shape to do the different voices for my characters! Oftentimes, preparing for a game will take up to a week.  All of this just for my friends to show up with their greasy bags of potato chips to crunch their way through yet another game!  I dearly love them but what can I do to steer them towards a better game experience? I am at my absolute wits end!

Sincerely, 

Kerrigan the Red Bearded Destructress/part time DM 

Multi-Tasking is key.

It’s Sunday and the Mother of Dragons is gonna weigh in on the whole “is it okay for players to eat during a game” debate.  She says an emphatic yes–keep thy strength up during those hours-long campaigns!  Even after a day of tending to her Dothraki villagers, she still has time to prep for Game Day.  Firstly, put on a soothing green tea face mask (self care is key for lady rulers) and then prepare your quiche which can be served at room temp. A game morning brunch is easy to host if each player, er wizard or orc, observes basic manners and brings along another breakfast item such as the avocados or breakfast potatoes as pictured below.  (See how the food adds to the realism of the tavern scene from “Remarkable Inns”?) The meal should fit neatly behind the DM’s screen alongside his or her dice and notes. Helpful hint, use appetizer sized place settings so that everything fits on the table and plastic champagne flutes to pour the magic potion for guests.  Huzzah!

Do you have burning questions for NeverEnding? Ask us in the comments or on Social Media using the hashtag #DearNeverEnding!

An update (and sneak peek) for our Backers!

Pledge Manager Closing SOON! (plus a sneak peek)

There are several of you who haven’t logged into the Pledge Manager yet and selected your rewards. 

Please check your spam for your invite, sent in JULY.

You can also go directly to the project page on GameFound – https://gamefound.com/projects/neverending/neverending-bring-your-stories-to-life#/

We’ve started sending out character commission forms. If we sent you one, please complete it so we can get you on the schedule. If you’re owed one and you haven’t gotten it yet, you should get it today. (but also check your spam box)

In other news, if you haven’t joined our email list yet, I invite you to do that now. Just go to our https://beneverending.com/ You can enter your name and email at the Bottom of the page, to join the list! We’ll be sending out polls regarding features for the character builder. We’d love to get your feedback, and you joining our email list is the best way. We send out messages maybe once per month, so we’re not spammy. 🙂

We’re redoing the battle crouch pose and have another pose for spellcasters (works for other classes too) that will be released in the Beta. 

Thought you might like a sneak peek!

Ready for Battle!

We’re also expanding the eye, mouth, and eyebrow options to allows for a wide range of emotional expressions, as you can see here:

Jeepers, Creepers – Where’d you get those peepers?

We’ve had some team members struggle with some personal issues and family illness (thanks, 2020), BUT we’re still on track for an October Beta Release of the Character Builder, barring anyone else getting sick!

Since we can’t really close the pledge manager just yet, please share it around on your social media accounts. I’m 90% sure we unlocked another stretch goal – but until everyone gets their pledge in for sure, we won’t know. AND it sure would be cool to unlock another! SPREAD THE WORD!

Thanks,

Jamie

Monster of the Week: Goblin

Ahhh, the raccoon of the TTRPG universe. These short pointy-eared mischief makers are one of the most iconic monsters in fantasy settings.

NeverEnding’s Goblins

A Raccoon??

If you haven’t noticed from the title of this post, this week’s featured Monster of the Week is none other than our beloved Goblin (coming most often in green, yellow, and fleshy flavors). You might think comparing them to raccoons is a bit of a stretch, but hear me out… The Goblin is a small, pointy eared creature with fangs and an adorable face (depending on the artist that depicts them – don’t judge me!). They’re extremely nimble creatures and are quite capable of looting whatever they come across. They also breed in small warrens at an extremely quick rate. While they tend to be selfish and highly competitive, you rarely encounter goblins in groups less than two. Keep that in mind if you only SEE one. They also tend to scavenge at the fringes of human society. See… Like Raccoooooons!

The Life of A Goblin


Young goblins are taught to fend for themselves in preparation for emergency situations (Accch! Adventurers! Every Goblin For Themself!). And in prep for turning the ripe old age of 8, when they’re officially adults (oof. And I thought I felt bad BEFORE about moving back in with the parents at age 24).

While little, Goblins (or gobbos, or gobbs, or gerblins, or SQUUUUEEEEs (if you’re me)) aren’t helpless. They can plan elaborate strategies to trap and pillage their opponents like a giant horde of tiny pirates. Ambushing via the power of family and friendship (take that Little Ponies!) is the goblin way of life after all. Despite this talk of togetherness, it’s temporary and for the expediency of the moment. Traditionally, Goblins fall under the Neutral Evil alignment. You’d probably be kinda selfish and looking out for numero uno too, if you had to compete for scraps and always had big bad Hooo-Mans trying to slaughter you – just because you stole a few chickens, a cow, and that crying baby (seriously, that last one was like… a Favor. Those things scream too much and they poop EVERYWHERE). 

Goblins are a bit ill-tempered, and if they think they’re in a position of strength they can be extremely aggressive – despite their average size being below 3’5”. The height of the Goblin species is a perceived weakness preyed upon by other monstrous denizens. They’re extremely prone to bullying and become prey or servants (or both) to many larger humanoids or intelligent creatures.

Like some of the previously discussed Monsters of the Week, Goblins are not the most social creatures when it comes to outsiders. Outsiders are most likely prey, because they’re weaker, or a threat, because they’re stronger. They seem to be in a grey area when it comes to other goblin-kind as well as their relationships with orcs. It probably depends on the benefits they receive (food, treasure, time to sleep), how they can take advantage of said benefits (nap time on a full-belly, yo), and their likelihood of becoming food themselves (Eat Stan! I’m stringy and that farm baby just puked on me!).

In short (*snort*), Goblins live not much differently than any large extended family. They scream when they have to share their space or belongings with all their siblings. Nobody showers because all the hot water got used up or their parents are just too tired to care. They do the least amount of chores in the least amount of time, and never without complaint. Their room is a mess because it was always someone else who left the dirty underwear on the floor (or dining room table, or couch, or TV. Who leaves dirty underwear on the TV?!?!?) And no – I don’t know this just because it was my life for 15 years. Anyway….

Not all Goblins are created equal…


We talked a lot about goblins in general. But not all are equal, unfortunately. Goblin leaders have a lot of privilege in goblin society. Unlike the common goblin, they get to have their own space, food, and the best treasure. They’re also more likely to survive by “attacking” from the most rear position. Which is unfortunate for all the meat-shiel.. Erm… beloved goblin brothers and sisters fighting on the front lines. It might seem odd, because the leaders are considered to be the strongest and most capable. But keep in mind – for Goblins power is about survival. You don’t survive long if you’re heading the charge.

Goblins are super common and a staple of many adventures. Should we tackle something more rare? Which strange creature should we deep dive into in an upcoming Monster of The Week?  Let us know in the comments below!

Check out the previous Monster of the Week, The Spectator!

Monster of the Week: Spectator

Spectator

OMG! Look out! It’s a Behol… nope. Just your average floating cyclops orb with four eyestalks and a penchant for philosophical conversation.

Some Backstory…

We’re back and kicking off this week’s Monster of The Week with the classic TTRPG monster; The Spector.

Despite their gruesome appearance, the Spectator isn’t evil (don’t judge a book… or an eyeball, yo). It’s actually lawful neutral alignment. That’s just one of the things that makes them so attractive as a guardian. Who else could be better trusted with your prized treasures – definitely not your first college roommate (I’m still waiting to get those Simpsons DVDs back Dave).

The Spectator is a quirky monster with great philosophical knowledge (not just Nietzsche, Kopf too). They quite enjoy conversation and may hold extended conversions with those who dare approach them. Unlike the viciously paranoid and solitary Beholder, Spectators are also capable of forming deep friendships with others. Who knows if they’re capable of committing to romantic relationships – but it’s possible. Just imagine the Spectator-ship possibilities; Spectator x Beholder perhaps? I mean they both have a superiority complex and are both round orbs from questionable backgrounds. Well, that’s another question for another day. This is Monster of The Week and NOT Monster Match Maker. (Seriously though, if you all would read Monster Match Maker we’d consider making it. Haha)

As Far As The Monster Itself…

As far as magical abilities go, the Spectator is capable of paralyzing its enemies, wounding them, and causing psychological trauma (confusion and/or fear). Since they’re lawful neutral, they’re not as likely to attack unless provoked. Since they’re sometimes summoned as guardians, provoking may be as simple as coming within eye range (eye-ray-range?). Think you can simply avoid those rays by flinging some spells from afar? Nope! Where the Beholder has a nasty anti-magic cone, our Spectator buddy is able to reflect spells back at the caster OR at someone else in range! Looks like you’ll have to move in close after all.

As big ‘ole orbs without any non-eye-stalky appendages, they primarily use their eye rays in combat. They CAN bite, but… like… why would they when an eye stalk does more damage. Maybe if you took out those eyes stalks? (Finally a real world use for that Three Stooges Eye Poke!) If all eyes of the Spectator are poked/damaged, it will teleport itself to a different plane to escape the battle (unless it’s been summoned as a guardian, in which case it’s likely to fight to the death). This may sound dramatic, but keep in mind the Spectator is literally just one giant eyeball with four other eyes tacked on. Once those eyes are out of commission or proving less than useful, there’s few other options other than flight.

Can you think of any other monsters with inconvenient weaknesses? Let us know so we can consider them as a candidate for a future Monster of the Week!

Read our previous Monster of the Week if you dare!

#BlackLivesMatter

We’ve made many, many statements and posts on Twitter speaking out against police violence and in support of Black Lives Matter. But we dropped the ball on Facebook, LinkedIn and our blog. It’s important for us (all of us) to use our voice wherever we are and make clear our stance against racism, institutionalized injustice, and police brutality. You have our apologies for not making our support plain and upfront on these other platforms sooner.

NeverEnding-BLM-Statement

NeverEnding: Making Your Stories About YOU!

NeverEnding is a small startup. We don’t have a lot of money (understatement). We don’t have a lot of followers (yet). What we have is a big dream to change the face of tabletop roleplaying games by creating the tools that allow players and dungeon masters to see themselves in their games and better share their stories.

Allowing players to see themselves in their games has been one of our goals since the beginning. We’re working hard to make it a reality with our character builder, scene builder and video animator.

We realized early on, that if we want people to be able to create characters that looked like them, the character builder would be a critical first step. Being able to have a character with naturally curly hair and choosing from a variety of skin tones needs to be a given – but there are other aspects that get missed beyond hair and skin tone. Little things like glasses or freckles can make a difference. Having different body types that are maybe more average or curvier than the typical superhero can make the game better for many. Having a variety of ways someone can feel represented helps them enjoy the game more.

So, we’re doing all of that and more. It’s important you feel like you’re reflected in your game – if that’s what you want. But it isn’t just so you can feel represented. A diverse character builder might be a virtual way of exposing more people to others who look different from them. For example, one of the reasons we included prosthetics in our builder as a base feature is to dispel the idea of disabled people as inherently weak or helpless or broken.

We’re also creating hairstyles and clothing options that reflect non-European cultures as well. There’s nothing wrong with the traditional knight in platemail that we’ve come to expect in the typical medieval tropes of many TTRPGs. But those tropes don’t have to preclude us including options based off of the beautiful beaded coats worn by the Baggara warriors from northern Africa in the late 18th century or the spiked armor of an Indian executioner from the same period. There are many, many rich and gorgeous cultures around the globe. We want to explore them with you. One of the places we’re consciously pulling inspiration from right now is the variety of cultures and peoples of Africa. For too long there’s been this idea of Africa and her people being “less than” or a monoculture. Nothing could be further from the truth. We want to work with artists and experts to reveal and display the myriad gems of splendor available from those storied lands.

This is a huge undertaking. Exhausting and sometimes scary. There is a LOT of art to be created in our platform and a lot of programming work still to be done. We have high hopes. We have plans. We won’t get there all at once – and we hope people have patience with us along the journey.


I recognize now that, even though we’re small, we also have opportunities to lift people up as we try to do something amazing. We have a Kickstarter June 12. We’re planning stretch goals. Initially, I was hoping to connect with some bigger name established artists. I realized today that all those artists started off small and became big, because more people saw their art. With that in mind, I am putting out the call for artists of color who’d like to help us develop and fulfill stretch goals for the character builder and the scene builder (both critical components for our animator).  We only have 9 days to plan things out, but we can work together on figuring some specifics as the days go on.

A shortlist of what we’re thinking includes backgrounds and props reflective of different areas and environments around the world, hairstyles and facial hair as well as clothing and armor inspired by West Africa, Thailand, and other places, monsters from other mythologies. The list could go on.

We do have a certain art style. We have always planned on expanding it, and that can be part of the discussion as well. We will put some priority on artists who think they can fit within our style and help us expand our options – but we want to hear from anyone with ideas for how we can make this bigger and better.

Send portfolio links to jvandoren@beneverending.com

Let’s change the face of TTRPGs together.

Sincerely,

Jamie Van Doren
Founder/CEO
NeverEnding, Inc.


PS: No, this will not be the only opportunity for black creatives and others to work with us. The road ahead is long. There’s plenty of room for us to walk together later.

Monster of the Week: Young Kraken

young kraken
The fearsome young kraken

Raw tentacled fury of the sea, the young kraken lives in the nightmares of those who dare to travel through the ocean…

The Mighty Kraken…. Baby?

This Monster of The Week even has Brittany Spears singing (“Oh, baby, baby“). That’s right -we’re going to discuss the Kraken’s adorable equivalent: the Young Kraken. For me, the first mental images that it conjures up are of squishy, slimy little Nemos, unable to defend themselves from a harsh world. If you’re in the same boat (boat, ha), you might’ve forgotten that this segment is titled Monster of The Week.

So why are we focusing on a weaker version of it’s elder counterpart?

If you don’t want to wipe out your lower level (even mid-level) adventuring party, this little guy is more than a cute marketable version of the terrifying ruler of the deep, they’re a potential long-term BBEG who grows in power with them. Where the fully grown Kraken is an extremely intelligent and ancient eldritch nightmare, their young are powerful foes that are not nigh impossible to defeat (and slightly less tremble-worthy) – as well as prone to plotting vengeance.

Is This Where “Whipper Snapper” Comes From?

Even in infancy, it is capable of comprehending information at the average intelligence level of, say, those who enjoy edgy adult cartoons (adult swim, anyone?). While not as large as their mature counterparts, they’re still much larger than the largest Owlbear. Krakens are also known for being extremely evil. The Young Kraken is no different. One might hope that being an independent and highly intelligent creature, it might rebel against its elder brethren and start a movement pushing against the traditionalist evils of Kraken-kind; maybe be intelligent enough to see the importance of a better society with equality for minorities and higher minimum wage?

Unfortunately, the Young Kraken isn’t capable of actual revolutionary alignment change – nor speech (makes holiday meals with old Uncle Kraken, much easier). They are, however, capable of telepathy within a 120ft radius. They even have the ability to breathe in and outside of water (so there’s still the option of opening yet another a big corporate chain store on the corner).

Kraken as deadly adults or inexperienced youth can execute their schemes on both land and water. The adults are more likely to attack directly when their schemes are uncovered, while young Krakens will retreat and nurse their wounds until an opportunity for revenge appears. Remember, they’re long-lived. They may wait years or decades after they’ve been thwarted to come after your adventuring party.  

Who would you like to see on a future Monster of The Week post? Comment below, and if you haven’t done so already check out our other tweets for more information on NeverEnding’s upcoming animation platform!

Check out our last Monster of the Week post here

Monster of the Week: Nightwalker

Don’t let its beautiful baby smooth skin fool you, the Nightwalker takes no prisoners. 

Nightwalker
NeverEnding’s Nightwalker

What is a nightwalker?

This week we’re kicking off Monster Of The Week with a more well-known creature of the night – and the living embodiment of death itself. Nightwalkers appear to be comprised of shadow, but these colossal humanoid-shaped terrors are actually undead. And they’ll stop at nothing to eliminate your players.

Where do nightwalkers come from?

There’s much more to their origin than there is for the typical shambling undead. Nightwalkers are born from a failed ritual created by those who try to inhabit powers of the Negative Energy plane. You can think of the Negative Energy plane as a sort of alternate dimension where almost no living creature can safely travel. Why? Because it contains such high amounts of (living? dead? hungry? all of the above?) darkness. Think of Stephen Hawking’s description of Black Holes, but instead of going through the fun that is spaghettification you’ll just slowly shrivel into cold dusty shadow, as all hope, light, and laughter drains away. The plane of existence where Nightwalkers originate is a sinister plane indeed. Nightwalkers fall under the evil alignment. Allegedly, Nightwalkers consist of the same shadowy darkness as the negative energy plane. Being undead, they have no problem surviving this dread domain.

Did we mention, they’re really, really big? Despite their 20 ft stature, Nightwalkers are capable of hiding from the players’ sight by camouflaging into darker environments such as fallow farm fields, dark forests, and the abandoned backlot of Disney’s Hollywood Studios… *gulp*.

anyway…

Ok, so just like the nightmares I still have about that backlot tour, the Nightwalker is capable of stunning its prey within a 30 ft radius by using their evil gaze. They become literally paralyzed with fear. Fear isn’t their only weapon. Like many evil beings in real life, Nightwalkers are extremely charismatic. Because they have such high charisma, they’re extremely capable of intimidating players without having to flex a muscle. Although a large part of that has to do with the Nightwalker’s physical stature, it’s fear of the unknown that you want to emphasize to keep your players sweating. Or you can just focus on the fear of a gigantic malevolent creature that harnesses the powers of the Negative Energy plane. That works too.

So who’s your candidate for a Monster of The Week?

check out last week’s monster of the week

Monster of the Week: The Singing Tree

The Singing Tree
NeverEnding’s version of The Singing Tree

Is it a monster? Is it a plant? No, The Singing Tree is both!

We’re kicking off our first-ever Monster of The Week post with a fairly unusual choice: The Singing Tree. If you’re thinking “what a silly choice to start with,” then golly, we’ve lulled you into a sense of false expectation – much like this week’s botanical abomination. 

Reminiscent of Randy Newman’s character the Singing Bush seen in the 80s classic The Three Amigos, they call it the singing tree because each one of its leaves emits a high pitched sound. If all leaves play together, they sound like a calming harmonic choir that’ll put even the most frenzied woodland critter to slumber. That is the point after all. But this sleep isn’t restful or kind. The Singing Tree relies on the blood of its victims to replenish itself. Similar to how the roots of a normal tree pull in nutrients and support microbes for decomposition, the Singing Tree just wants to include you in the circle of life by draining you of all your blood and nutrients. It plays calming lullaby to soothe its prey into napping beside it. If, for example, Mr. Squirrel (my OC for this post) were to take a nap by the singing tree, he’d become a raisin in no time as the tree drinks up all his juicy goodness and covers him in leaves. Despite its lack of sentience and inability to feel paranoia, the tree will still slowly coat a body in leaves to hide it from sight. This way future prey are not alerted by the sight of Mr. Squirrel’s untimely demise, preserving this beautiful tree’s friendly facade. Death is natural (even your character’s death), so the Singing Tree is not considered an inherently evil creature; it’s alignment falls under the neutral category. 

The Singing Tree can be domesticated, but because it’s bloodthirsty (literally) the odds of it going feral run high. They tend to live in areas distant from civilization, and primarily thrive off of those hapless enough to stumble close. If kept hungry for extended periods of time, the Tree will stop at nothing to consume the nearest creature. Unfortunately, the Tree doesn’t have much in the way of defending itself if attacked. It dies like any normal tree if treated roughly. 

One more fun anecdote worth mentioning is that Singing Trees cannot live in a pack, since they rely on chance encounters as their primary food source.

I can only imagine how different the film Three Amigos would’ve been if Randy Newman had been a Singing Tree. Perhaps a 2020s gritty reboot could be centered on this new concept!

Is there a monster that you’d like to see discussed in the next Monster Of The Week? Feel free to write us in the comments below!