A closer look at the The Isles of the Sun - Indie d20 campaign guide

Posted by Thomas Anderson

One of the best things about Kickstarter is how it helps indie artists get their work out to a potential audience.

We see lots of video games pass through the service, and some great things are in the works that otherwise would never be made. It's not just video games that come through looking for pledges, though. One distinctive project is looking for backers to help publish an original d20 campaign setting.

It's not just an adventure or a map pack, The Isles of the Sun is a full d20 Setting in which a DM can establish his or her own campaign. It's not just a typical fantasy setting, however. The Isles is a setting that combines Colonial Era sensibilities with magical realism. The world has an intricate history and politics to go with the new races, classes, and magical items and abilities.

The setting is adaptable though, as all of the individual elements can be used separate of the setting, it could be used as a primary sourcebook for a campaign, or simply as a secondary reference to add a whole bunch of races and gear types to another d20 campaign. Thanks to the OGL, it's all friendly with D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder, the two most frequently used d20 systems.

The nautical elements of the setting mean that there are some new boats, nautically focused magical items, and even some character options that apply specifically to sailing and water bound adventuring. The base 3.5 and Pathfinder systems are severely lacking in anything nautical, so it could be a good addition to your table-top reference shelf just for that.

The most interesting feature of the guide is the Player's Edition. Looking at other guides, like the trendy Ebberron  setting, players and DMs use the same guide, meaning that nothing about the world and the way it works is really kept a surprise for the players. With The Isles of the Sun, two versions of the guide will be published, a standard guide and a Player's Edition which will only contain the information that the players need to know to make and maintain characters in the setting.

The video from the Kickstarter page gives us a depiction of the project in the creator's own words.

Here's that list of features:

  • 6 playable races
  • 4 NPC races
  • 18 feats, mostly reflecting the nautical nature of the campaign, along with changes to the way some existing feats and skills function.
  • 7 prestige classes
  • 50+ monsters and other enemies 
  • 30+ weapon types
  • 1 special weapon/armor material (Epon timber)
  • 17 Sail Charms (a new category of magical item)
  • 40+ unique magic items and artifacts tied into the lore of the setting
  • 4 maps of the world
  • 6 detailed kingdom maps
  • 100+ dungeon, town and misc. maps and battle grids
  • Dozens of NPCs with personalities and descriptions; many with stat blocks
  • Detailed descriptions of pertinent aspects of The Isles, including religions, governments, commerce, a calendar, and hundreds of years of history and politics
  • Setting appropriate 'house rules' and other DMing advice
  • Lots of illustrations to accompany everything

Ending on November 28th, the pledge request time is almost half over for this kickstarter, and it's still short of its goal. You can get in on it from the project's kickstarter page.

Full disclosure: The author of The Isles of the Sun is a journalist under contract with TGDaily.