BURGERPunk is two weeks in, and we’ve got a bunch of new stuff to share – new stretch goals, new author announcements, and the first piece of BURGERPunk prose fiction! Do you want to understand what adventures lie within New McDonaldland!
And introducing the writer of our first piece of bite-sized fiction…
Patrick A. O’Driscoll is a triple-decker freak-burger with extra sauce now available in participating locations in Missouri, USA. When not writing about meaty horrors or clown funerals, Patrick is an SFF writer and freelance game journalist with dreams of writing for video games. His work has been featured in Den of Geek. His latest story, A Mother’s Love is a horror fairy-tale about alienation and insect biology will be featured in an upcoming issue of Elritch Tales Magazine. He has also written quests for the indie MMORPG Genfanad and comic books for Necronauts Toys.
We had asked Patrick to come up with a quick bite of flash fiction to give you all a taste of what’s to come, and we were really happy with how it turned out!
He stumbled into town one day, smeared with blood and greasepaint. Mothers clutched their children and made the sign of The King as he passed, but I’d never been one for superstition. I welcomed him, as I do all my patrons, with a soft bench, a drink, and a burger.
“Honkabout,” he called it. A tradition among the Children of Ronald. A punishment. A pilgrimage.
“Your journey can wait.” I told him. “Winter nears its end, and with spring comes The Thawing. Every Living Meat from here to the Burger Kingdom will be about. One step beyond the shockwall, and you’ll be ‘twixt two buns and praying ‘no pickles.’”
The clown looked to me from beneath his rainbow wig with eyes I saw each day, staring back in the mirror. The eyes of a man who had laid out the table for his own last meal.
He spoke, at last. “I took joy from the world. Never shall I see the bigtop, nor smell the popcorn of my home-tent until I bring mirth to a thousand souls or die in the attempt.”
In the dark future/past of 1997 America has been destroyed, a victim of its own hubris, unchecked consumerism and the Living Meat™. Amid the ashes of the Cola Wars, shell-shocked survivors struggle to piece society back together while fighting for survival against burger-clown cultists, meaty monstrosities, mutated maize and cola-addicted blood thieves. It’s not the apocalypse anyone was expecting, but it’s the one that happened — welcome to the world of BURGERPunk: The RPG
FINALLY after months of preparation, the BURGERPunkTTRPG campaign is live on Kickstarter. I’m sure my regular readers have seen me mention it already, but for anyone new (or who just reads the comics and ignores these posts), BURGERPunk is a 2D6-based tabletop role-playing game and setting written/created by my partner, Cait, and illustrated/designed by yours truly (with rad cover art by Łukasz Kowalczuk). Inspired by dystopian sci-fi, 80s action films and vaguely-remembered fast-food advertising from our childhoods, BURGERPunk is set in an alternate timeline where the Cola Wars were a very literal conflict that have brought about the end of the American Way of Life™ as we know it.
Yes, you read that right, my glorious but doomed return to Rent-A-Thug is now being published on Patreon after ignominious and wholly predictable defeat in the Webtoon Call to Action contest. The platform that prioritizes manga art styles, shonen action, and romances isn’t going to get my weird, ultraviolent, Eastern Bloc crime comedy with characters who look like angry potatoes? Weird. Who would have thought.
In my endless quest to make Hell, Inc. inescapable and replace Dilbert as the ubiquitous office comic, I go to where the eyeballs are. Then I try to get those eyeballs to come here, because I’m in charge here.
That said, if you prefer to read your comics on GlobalComix, you can now do that with Hell, Inc.! The first two books are currently available (strips 1-84), with the rest being added a book at a time until caught up. PDF copies of the books will also be available there in the near future.
That’s right, this campaign is almost over! This isn’t an update so much as a last call-to-action for folks following the project who haven’t gotten around to pledging, as well as for everyone to continue sharing the campaign link on social media and with friends you think would be interested. The last stretch goal is very close, and more backers = more stuff for everyone, so it’s a real win/win/win situation to help boost the campaign.
But you know what? Let’s make this an ACTUAL update, and reveal one of the finished pages from the rules section!
The initial design process for the book leaned toward corporate sterility, but that started to feel bland instead of thematic. During discussions about the graphic design, the idea came up of treating the book like an actual employee handbook that someone had been drawing in instead of paying attention at orientation. That IMMEDIATELY grabbed my interest, and I started making notes about where I could fit doodles, and what those should be. They’re all red, because that is the only colour of pen available in Hell.
With Kickstarter now counting us down in hours instead of days, we’re close to the end of our ZineQuest! Considering that when we launched the campaign we thought that we’d maybe top out at $1000-$1500, I can say without a bit of exaggeration that the positive response to this campaign so far has blown us away. We are extremely grateful to everyone who has already pledged their support, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still need your help!
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.
If you’re following the project but haven’t gotten around to backing it yet? Uh, do that, please. We really want to unlock all of the stretch goals and clear 200 backers. The former is because we’d love to be able to set everyone up with the resources to set up very flavourful online play experiences. The latter is kind of arbitrary, but how cool would it be for our game that we didn’t think would reach nearly this level of support to be the first thing we’ve ever done to cross not only 100 backers, but 200? I think that would rule.
As Hell, Inc. The RPG will be our first official, full RPG product, we figured that our publishing “company” should probably get a logo. Behold, Guinea Pig Press!
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!