Over The Top – The Future of Horrors of War: A Covenant of Death Kickstarter

In light of a newly published update, posted just recently from Adam Scott Glancy, president of Pagan Publishing, on the Horrors of War: A Covenant of Death Kickstarter. I’ve decided to refocus this article and not highlight the problems, but rather the successes of the project. In Scott’s latest update, which I encourage everyone to read, he presents a very real and very personal explanation of the troubles he and the project have faced. There is still more work ahead for Scott and the project, but with his backer’s support I’m sure it will see the light of day and he can become whole again.

On August 1st, 2014 Adam Scott Glancy, President of Pagan Publishing, launched the Kickstarter Horrors of War: A Covenant With Death; a supplement for the Call of Cthulhu 6th edition Role-playing game. When published, “A Covenant With Death” would be the first volume in a series of Horrors of War supplements set during the Great War, 1914-1918. Each new volume thereafter would contain additional scenarios, rules, and other source material set in that period of history. The funding goal was set at $16,000 with a pledge period of 60 days. It finished on September 30, 2014, with 525 backers pledging $26,823.

Between then and now a lot of missed deadline passed but there was also been a lot of successes too. The project’s first success came before funding had even finished. Initially, the project was to be a just a printed softcover book, but backer’s insisted on having a PDF option. Scott’s co-author John Crowe wasn’t onboard with the idea. Scott encouraged his backers to comment or email their desire for the option so he could then show his co-author that the demand was warranted. Thanks to Scott’s and the backer’s encouragement, and possibly a voodoo doll with pins throughout in Mr. Crowe’s likeness, a PDF option was made available.

The project’s next success was meeting its funding goal and then pass it by 167%. It may not seem like a lot but one must keep in mind, it isn’t always a given that a project will be funded. With the extra money raised two additional stretch goal were met, increasing the value of the Kickstarter.

In March of 2015, very serious and possible setback arose with Scott’s license agreement with Chaosium for Call of Cthulhu Role-playing game. All new licensed material going forward at this time was mandated by Chaosium to be written using the 7th edition rules. When Scott penned his manuscript, 7th edition rules had not been released and were, in theory, still subject to change, hence why this manuscript used the 6th edition rules. These issues put Scott’s ability to release the book under the current license agreement with Chaosium in jeopardy. Though progress of the project slowed until an agreement with Chaosium to release the book under the 6th edition rules was granted, Scott openly took full blame for the slowdown and never tried to shift the blame to Chaosium. Once the issue was resolved the work continued.

Some time passes and some more hiccups arise with the project which Scott addressed quite frankly in his updates. Then in September 2015 backers are shown physical progress in the form of a Horrors of War specific character sheet. At first, it’s one page but in later updates, it expands to multi-pages and then finally a fillable PDF which was distributed to the backers.

In between that and afterward, backers are visually entertained with concept sketches and later final artwork for some of the scenarios in the project. There is some turmoil that arises with the artists. One artist is unavailable to complete the project assigned in the set deadline and Scott must quickly find a replacement. Not such as easy a task as one would think. The replacement artist would need to be comfortable with Lovecraftian monstrosities and antique technology. As difficult of a task that is, Scott pulls through and is able to find a replacement artist without having the project get thrown off track too far.

Unfortunately around GenCon time in 2016 Scott’s guilt about the progress of the project weighs very heavy on him. Backer comments are not so pleasant on the Kickstarter and Scott knows they are unhappy. So much so that he reveals a peace offering to all the waiting backers. He gives away for free a Call of Cthulhu scenario by Pagan Publishing which was re-released through DrivethruRPG. It’s not the product backers were hoping to get from Scott but it’s an acknowledgment that he understood people were unhappy with the current situation. In the update, where it was announced, it’s made very clear that accepting the free scenario was not an attempt to replace what was promised to backers. As Scott puts it, “Consider this Pagan Publishing paying you interest on the money you pledged.”1 But this small gesture of appeasement is nothing compared what he does next.

With more ongoing issues with his personal and professional life, Scott goes over the top by giving away more reissued published material in PDF, a lot more. Every backer of Horrors of War: A Covenant With Death will receive any new or old Pagan Publishing products that are made available via PDF on DriveThruRPG. Backers will continue to receive PDFs of Pagan Products until the print version of Horrors of War is finished and shipped, or until the value of the PDFs generously exceeds the value of the individual backer’s pledge. That’s is an impressive gesture on Scott’s part. More than any other creator of a Kickstarter, that I’ve seen, has done to appease their backers in the face of excessive delays. But sadly this is also the last update for Horrors of War: A Covenant With Death until the most recent one that was just posted. A seven-month span between this last update and this new one, but if you read the most recent update, on August 15, 2017, you’ll understand why the silence.

Moving forward Scott’s last and most recent update really hits home to a lot of his backers that shared their views in the update’s comments and in the regular comment section. Overwhelming the backers that posted were 100% in support of continuing with the project, even when faced with the option of a full refund. They still choose to believe in Scott and his project. Scott has a lot to still work through personally and with the project. He would like to see if finished by GenCon of next year. I really hope that goal can be accomplished for the project and for Scott. It might be just the win he needs to help him through the tough times he has been through. Like the fighting men in the trenches on the western front, when it comes time to go over the top, backers of Scott’s Kickstarter are with him ‘til the bitter end or glorious victory.

~ Stephen Pennisi
a.k.a. DadsAngry

Follow Stephen on Twitter at @DadsAngry
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The previous article in this series can be found here: Home Before the Leaves Fall – A Look at Horrors of War

1 Quote from Horrors of War: Update Number 20- Just Short of my Objective

Horrors of War: A Covenant With Death” Kickstarter

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