The Hell Blog
If you supported the campaign and you think that this is a project that deserves to be seen by more people, we ask that you share the link to the campaign on your social media platform of choice (or even just text or email someone you think might particularly appreciate it). We don’t have an ad budget for this project, but I’m a big believer in the power of good old-fashioned word of mouth. I can tell people to support this project and how great it is until the cows come home (we don’t have cows, so that is an infinite amount of time), but a recommendation from almost everyone who isn’t me holds a bit more water when it comes to my own work.
There’s one week left in the Kickstarter for Hell, Inc. The RPG! It’s very exciting, as there are already 2 stretch goals unlocked, with a third very close.
If you like Hell, Inc. but would prefer there to be more of it, and maybe a schedule that doesn’t require you to wait for me to draw stuff, Hell, Inc. The RPG is for you! Create your own demons and go on business casual adventures with your friends (or the co-workers you can stand!). Avoid your boss’ ire, explore the server rooms where I.T. keeps all of the internet ghosts, take Cerberus for walkies, and maybe even leave work early enough to stop in at O’Hellihan’s!
At this point in the campaign, every pledge tier is coming with: Hell, Inc. The RPG Employee Handbook (all of the rules, plenty of GM advice and tools, NPC generators, a pre-written adventure, and loads of art) either as a PDF or in print, blank character sheets in PDF (and pretty close to the stretch goal that will make them digitally fillable!), a pre-written adventure PDF about paperwork errors warping reality, 6 pre-made fully illustrated character sheets to use in said adventure, and The Soup Drawer PDF (a Hell, Inc. themed cooking ‘zine with recipe adjustments for mortal consumption).
So check it out by clicking on the images below to start your tabletop trip to Hell… Inc.
It’s hard to describe the first week of this campaign, because it still seems surreal. I’ve run a handful of crowdfunding campaigns now, and they’re usually pretty stressful. Lots of planning, press outreach, and what seems like infinite time spent battling social media algorithms in hopes of informing your followers that you’re doing a thing. This campaign didn’t have a very high goal, so we weren’t concerned about funding, and weren’t even all that surprised when it funded in the first day. But now we’re a week in and the campaign has gotten more backers than any of my previous ones have gotten in their full month.
This might be why?
We’re absolutely delighted with the response, including being featured on the Kickstarter front page (which we weren’t aware of until we started investigating why a random Sunday nearly doubled our backer count). We’re also a bit stunned by it, if we’re being honest – we made this game in our living room because our last game project, the work-in-progress sci-fi RPG FAIL MARINES, got a good response and we got it in our heads to do something for ZineQuest. At no point did we expect that nearly a hundred people would be on board, let alone in the first week. Thank you all very much!
If you haven’t gotten on board yet, you should! With the first stretch goal unlocked, for as little as $5 CAD you can get PDFs of the Employee Handbook (32+ pages with the full rules, weird Hell lore, and a pre-written adventure), the character sheet, and a second pre-written adventure about reality being rewritten by paperwork errors. That’s a lot of stuff! Further stretch goals include The Soup Drawer (a really weird cooking ‘zine that Caitlin has come up with), a fillable form version of the character sheet PDF that you can type directly into, and a graphics package for online virtual tabletops (like Roll20 or Foundry). If you like Hell, Inc. enough to be reading this, you’ll be getting way more than your money’s worth on this RPG.
And finally, we’re running the first ever public play session of Hell, Inc. on Sunday, September 4th, so next update we’ll be including some photos and exploits from that.
After years of working on-and-off on concepts and ideas for turning Hell, Inc. into a game, the big day is finally here! The Employee Handbook is now available to pre-order on Kickstarter as part of my newest crowdfunding project.
Based on the webcomic hosted on this very site, in Hell, Inc. players assume the role of demons working in the labyrinthine bureaucracy that runs Hell. Your job is mostly to work together (or not!) with your new coworkers to fix your boss’ problems for them.
Using a custom rules-lite system evolved from a Powered by the Apocalypse hack originally written for our previous RPG mini-zine (Fail Marines), Hell, Inc. is a 2d6-based role-playing game with a twist— players must aim for mediocrity as both high and low rolls have the potential to create problems! Roll too low, and your incompetence will draw the ire of the boss. Roll too high, and you unfortunately just singled yourself out for coworkers’ jealousy and the boss dumping more work on you. If your favourite tabletop gaming moments have been the times when failed rolls with hilarious consequences turn into role-playing gold, then this is the game for you!
The Employee Handbook is a 32 page, full colour, saddle-stitched book with the complete Hell, Inc. game system, advice for running the game, random NPC generators, and a pre-written adventure (along with some other stuff)! We also have stretch goals for a second adventure module to be sent to all backers as well as the Soup Drawer digital zine. What is a Soup Drawer Zine? guess you’ll have to click the image below to head over to the campaign page to learn more!
That’s right, you (probably) heard it here first!
Following the success of the first Fail Marines gameplay event, me and my Fail Marines co-creator/wife, Caitlin, are teaming up to turn this very webcomic, Hell, Inc., into a tabletop role-playing game! Normally, I wouldn’t consider doing two crowdfunded books back-to-back, but when I recently learned about Kickstarter’s ZineQuest RPG event it was just too good an opportunity to pass up. The campaign will launch on August 23rd.
This is actually something I’ve had in my back pocket for a while, but with the positive feedback we got on the Fail Marines system I decided to revise the Hell, Inc. RPG draft to use the same 2D6 mechanics. To put it simply, Hell, Inc. is a game where rolling too low means failure and rolling too high means you just caused yourself new and exciting problems—finally, an RPG about embracing mediocrity!
There’ll be more details available when it’s closer to launch, but in the meantime I am already hard at work on final revisions to the text and page layouts. We’re both really happy with what we’ve got so far, and I think you’ll all be pretty stoked to see it too! Here’s a sneak preview of a brand new piece of art for the book’s interior.
In the time paradox that is running a crowdfunding campaign, they simultaneously feel endless and like everything needs to happen NOW. Near the end, time becomes more straightforward, because the end is in sight and it very much needs to happen now. The good news, then, is that Slashers exceeded the funding goal over the weekend, so now we’re in “can it beat the last one?” territory.
What that means for you, dear reader, is that you’re straight-up preordering the new book, signed, and with access to a bunch of cool extra stuff. The Kickstarter campaign for Cult of Hockey ended up with 56 backers, which I was pretty concerned would not be matched for most of the last month. As of the writing of this post, it seems pretty reachable, and I’d very much like to see it exceeded. I think Slashers is the best book I’ve ever produced, and it would feel very appropriate for it to outdo my previous best book.
The campaign ends on Thursday, July 21st at midnight PT/11 PM MT, so there’s not much time left to get a first printing copy of Hockeypocalypse: Slashers… click on any of the images below to go to the Zoop campaign and place your preorder!
Hockeypocalypse: Slashers continues to batter its way through the playoff series that is crowdfunding, and like an NHL playoff series, this one has been a grind.
For a series that I’ve been able to sell over a thousand copies of at conventions and book fairs, trying to crowdfund Hockeypocalypse is, for whatever reason, far more difficult than seems reasonable. I’ve thought a lot about why that is, and I have yet to reach any reasoning other than for some reason the audience of people who want these books and the audience of people willing to follow my work online overlap very little. Regardless of the reasoning, the result is discouraging! So if you’ve been thinking about it but haven’t gotten around to it yet, click the image below and get that preorder in.
The Beat included Hockeypocalypse: Slashers as the leadoff in their Crowdfunding Projects We Love roundup, with someone other than me confirming that you do not, in fact, have to like hockey to enjoy this book.
Support the book’s existence by preordering it on Zoop. I’m aware that for some, using something that isn’t Kickstarter might seem iffy, but let me assure you that Zoop is, in fact, a real, reputable service, exclusively for comics that are cool as hell.
Hockeypocalypse: Slashers has hit the halfway point of the campaign, time-wise, so it’s time for another update!
Hockeypocalypse is a series that is near and dear to me, and has been a passion project for over a decade now. It began humbly, with a desire to engage with hockey, a sport I love, without being driven to a blind fury by the worst stretch of hockey ever played by the Edmonton Oilers. Drawings of hockey mutants in my sketchbook started turning into a story, and what would become The Battle of Alberta graphic novel was the ultimate result of that. Along the way were many rejections, and more uses of the phrase “it’s great but I don’t know how to sell that” than I’ve ever heard. It’s still the thing I hear most commonly when pitching Hockeypocalypse, and as a result, every book in the series has been a DIY endeavour.
Hockeypocalypse has probably done more to improve my writing than any other series, because sports stories are reliant on finding an emotional core beyond “I hope they win.” In Slashers, that core is a reflection of experiences making comics – what happens when you get what you want, but it stops feeling like enough? What happens when you get to play hockey full time, your dream for your whole life, but now it’s normal? The excitement isn’t there anymore, it’s like a job, it’s a thing you do. That’s where Stretch is at when we begin our story, and he needs to find a way to get things figured out, because if he can’t then all of the people in Edmonton are going to be victims of the maniacal Cold Lake Slashers.
This is the best book I’ve ever drawn, but this crowdfunding process has been quite a grind. Check the book out, and support it. Maybe get one to donate to your local library!