Daily Illuminator

December 2, 2023: The New Kickstarter: Best Thing Since ANY Bread

Our current big Kickstarter is a special one to me personally -- not just the Foes 2 STLs but the Bestiary itself.

The Bestiary has been a project longer than I've been an SJ Games employee. It took a long time to get it exactly right. In addition to the people credited on the cover, a lot of people have contributed in some way to the project, myself included. Even more people edited and reviewed it for accuracy, both game and real-world. I personally can hardly wait to hold it in my hands after all the years it's been a PDF draft.

The Bestiary is a big book. It's bigger than In The Labyrinth, and exactly three times the size of Old School Monsters. There are several hundred creatures and variants listed. Each creature's listing, aside from TFT stats, describes the habitat where they are found, their behavior and tactics, and many other useful things such as how much meat is on a crabman (like our free sample STL) and how much you can sell it for. 

That makes it very useful for people who use rule systems other than TFT. I've known at least one GURPS player who used old TFT adventures by converting stats. But for whatever game you play, you can just slap a suitable set of stats on, say, a giant Pac-Man frog and have all the benefit of the description, such as the way they lurk in marshy areas and ambush passers-by. After all, the stat block is basically one line (TFT stats are simple) -- the whole rest of the page tells you all about the creature and how to use it in a game. Whatever game you play, you can find a lot of useful content in the Bestiary.

In my opinion, this is the best supplement Steve Jackson Games has ever produced for TFT, and a seriously good supplement for other game systems as well. You will like it.

The other half of this Kickstarter is the Foes 2 STL miniatures. I'm the STL Project Coordinator, so of course this is a project I've coordinated. It's been a part of my life since it was a rough list of ideas for what should go into the next Foes.

These are some truly excellent figures. We went through so many revisions of those ghouls to make them properly awful (my favorite one is the second from the left, bottom row). I was blown away when the sculptor sent me the first of the giant rats – he got it exactly! They are just so mangy and infected looking, like they came out of a sewer, not a pet shop. Even the insides of the mouths of the snakes are anatomically accurate. And the dragon in particular has an interesting story to it.

We needed a 4-hex dragon for Foes 2. Liz Danforth drew our original dragons for the game, and I really wanted an original of her work. So I personally commissioned Liz to draw me a dragon, which came out absolutely gorgeous, and then I sent scans of that art to the sculptor making the Foes 2 dragon. The result, painted by Ben Williams, is what you see in the Kickstarter. The original 2D art hangs on my wall.

These miniatures are the best that some very talented sculptors could make them. They work wonderfully with some of the creatures in the Bestiary, of course, and other TFT resources. But every game needs ghouls and slimes, gargoyles and wolves, and those scrofulous giant rats. Especially, they need that dragon! If you backed The Tremendous Tome of Epic Dungeons you saw the dragon in our section.

These are two really, really good projects, and I wholeheartedly recommend both of them, whether or not you play TFT.

– Jean McGuire, STL Project Coordinator

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