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STRATA – Kickstarting in early October – will be the first hard-copy sourcebook for Spire, our game of fantasy-punk insurrection, and we’re really excited to tell you about what’s inside. Namely, a bunch of brilliant scenarios from nine different writers, and two new classes!


For the first time, we’ve brought in new writers – some seasoned RPG creators and some completely new voices – to play in the Spire universe..

We have five adventures, or campaign frames, included in the book at funding:

  • Christine Beard (Beast: the Primordial, Seventh Sea, Changeling the Dreaming 20th anniversary) writes Eye of the Beholder, where the cell attempt to rescue drow used as canvases for a cruel aelfir’s surgical arts.
  • Pauline Chan writes Lines in the Dirt, which sees a downtrodden and under-funded cell in Derelictus get evicted from their tenement apartment block, and fight to keep it.
  • Chris Farnell (Dirty Work, Mark II, Legacy: Life Amongst the Ruins) writes Dark Harvest, where the player cell are bundled off into a suspiciously idyllic community deep in the Garden district after a mission goes disastrously wrong.
  • Laurence Phillips (Primal Pathways) writes The Forgotten, where disabled and marginalised drow are caught between the machinations of the ministry and the brutality of the aelfir after the untimely death of their protector.
  • Chris and Grant, who you know, are writing Better the Devil which deals with the arrival of the powerful and damned drow lineage of Starys to Spire, and their attempts to take over the city.

We also have five scenarios lined up as stretch goals:

  • Helen Gould (Cthulhu Dark, Fear’s Sharp Little Needles) writes Home is Where the Hatred Is, which is essentially Downton Abbey except all the staff are revolutionary drow and all the posh people are undead high elves.
  • Ben Brock writes Ironshrike, in which the cell are tasked with killing a marketplace and also working out just what that entails.
  • Coman Fullard writes The Sulphurous Press, in which the cell are given control of a news-sheet and use it to spread revolution through the city.
  • Kira Magrann (A Cozy Den, Resistor, The Veil, The Sprawl, Dialect) writes Glasshelm, in which a cadre of rebels attempts to destabilise Spire’s banking system.
  • Xalavier Nelson (PC Gamer, “Screw You Bear Dad!” and MCV rising star) writes Bisquiet, which focuses on the unique art of overthrowing the government via precise application of gourmet baked goods.

All of our unlocked stretch goals will be included in every copy of the book – there’s no additional tier required to get them, and they won’t be released as PDFs only.


As well as plenty of extra advances – additional ability sets that any character can use – we’ve produced something special: two brand new classes to flesh out your Spire games and give you new ways to affect the city.

The first is the Inksmith:

“Ever since humans brought the printing press to Spire, the ability to control and channel the zeitgeist has never been easier; you know the occult power of pulp fiction, channel the magic of sensationalist journalism, and wear narratives like a cloak. You ride the razor’s edge between truth and fiction. As a writer, you’re not bad; as a magician, you’re top-notch.”

They’re pulp fiction con artists running a scam against reality, and they’re always in search of a good story. They have spells such as: A MAN WITH A GUN, that summons someone holding a gun into the room they’re currently standing in; STAR-CROSSED LOVERS, that makes two NPCs fall in love; and COMMON FEARS, which lets them access what a community’s scared of and use it against them in their writing – or otherwise.

The second is the Shadow Agent; they’ve devoted their lives utterly to Our Hidden Mistress, drow goddess of grace and revenge. As they grow in power, in addition to canticles and prayers to their patron, they gain the ability to own and maintain more and more covers – false identities that they can slip into and out of as they please.

At first, they’ll have a couple of tricks and a fake ID; at higher levels, they can animate their covers to act independently, summon choking shadows over the mouths of their enemies, or sacrifice their precious other selves on an altar to their goddess to gain her favour.


So far, we’ve written about 40,000 words of setting information, supplemental rules, weapons, abilities, bonds and weirdnesses that you can find in the richest and poorest parts of Spire; as ever, we don’t want to talk about what happened in the past, but instead about what might happen tomorrow. Spire is a changing, dangerous, exciting place, and we want to give you what you need to put your players right in the centre of it and let them try to take control.

That’s it for now. If you’d like to stay up-to-date with the campaign, you can follow Grant on Kickstarter herefollow our Twitter account here, and sign up to our mailing list here.

– Chris, Grant and Mary

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Free RPG day giveaways

It’s free RPG day! Which means – well, it means free RPGs. RPGs that we’re going to give to you absolutely gratis. Zero money exchanged. Of course, we have a load of one-page RPGs and adventures for Spire that are free (or pay-what-you-want) all of the time, and you can download those here.

HOWEVER, in addition to that, for this weekend only, the following games are one hundred percent free:

  • WARRIOR-POET, a haiku-based game in which you play a beautiful sorcerer-artist and fall in and out of love and die within a year, but you do your best to burn bright and leave a beautiful corpse.
  • ONE LAST JOB, a flashback-heavy game where you come out of retirement to carry out a heist. Unlike basically every other RPG ever you don’t have a character when you start the game, and everyone else defines one for you in play.
  • HAVOC BRIGADE. a madcap rambunctious farce where you play a bunch of tremendously loud orcs on an “infiltration mission” into a human city; comes with a nice map and illustrated pre-gen characters. One of the characters is just six goblins in a coat trying to fit in.
  • ROYAL BLOOD, a beautifully-laid-out book which pitches you and your friends into the role of half-blood junk magicians trying to con the Arcane, living embodiments of the major arcana from a Tarot deck, out of their power over the course of a single night. All you need to play is a deck of tarot cards and some tokens.

Each of these games normally costs nine full English pounds – so that’s THIRTY-SIX POUNDS all together, and we’re giving them away for NOTHING. Just think of the things you could do with the money you’ve saved:

  • For the next two weeks, you can buy two Tesco meal deals every weekday lunchtime instead of one, and give the spare one to a dog
  • You’re over halfway towards affording those nice £70 shoes you’ve been eyeing up – so go in the store and buy the left shoe right away and tell them WE sent you
  • Next time you’re out at the pub with five friends, you can buy them two rounds of drinks! Unless you live in London, in which case you can buy them a half each and the buggers should be grateful for it
  • You can buy seven ASDA rotisserie chickens  and try to eat them all before they go off; there’s even a quid left over that you can use to pay a boy to watch you do it
  • Walk up to a corner shop where they’re selling bowls of fruit and veg for a pound a bowl and wordlessly buy out the entire stall
  • You could even buy some of our other titles, such as Spire – a grim fantasy-punk game set in a city poised on the brink of rebellion, where the players form a cell of sacred freedom fighters and attempt to dethrone the corrupt government. In fact, you could get a hard copy for the money you’re saving, imagine that

Anyway. Don’t let us pressure you into anything. Enjoy the free games. Happy Free RPG day.

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New Extra Advance – Corpsefruit Dealer

There was a cryptic crossword attached to the newspaper clippings that backers could purchase during the Kickstarter – we offered a prize for completing it, but never reckoned that anyone would. We were wrong.

Congratulations to Wil and Clare on the Spire Discord for solving the crossword in what seems like a tremendously quick time; in exchange for doing so, we have written an extra advance of their choosing. They opted for Corpsefruit Smuggler.

Corpsefruit is a drow delicacy, imported by brave (and some might say stupid) dark elves through secret underground routes that run between Spire and the Home Nations. It only grows in graveyards; the scarlet-skinned, sweet-fleshed fruit draws its flavour and powerful narcotic properties from the dreams of the dead that slumber eternally beneath the soil.

It is illegal in Spire, and those who choose to import it and move it through the city can make a tidy sum of money – if the guard, or rival dealers, don’t take them out before they finish the deal.

You can download the Corpsefruit Dealer extra advance here.

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Hearty Dice Friends Episode 41 – Dice Shanties

On this week’s show:

– A surprisingly long chat about old crisps, right off the bat
– Dwarfsongs
– Dice training, and why it shouldn’t
– Chromatic goblins
– Teeth?
– Fun but problematic content in games vs People actually buying it
– And many more, including a special surprise guest!

Much love, as ever.

G & C

If you like this, then you can subscribe to us wherever you get podcasts from or support Hearty Dice Friends through our Patreon.