Very early in my D&D playing career, I ran a heavily sea-focused campaign in Eberron. Among my players was a man by the name of Eddie, one of my all time favourite players and dungeon masters. I cannot remember the name of the first ship they sailed in, I remember that it was a rundown junker, splintered and warped wood, ragged sails and frayed rope, but the figurehead was pristine, and clearly made of different material, a pale narwhal complete with ivory horn. Might have been the Icebreaker? Can’t recall. The first thing Eddie’s character – a druid called Wren – did was straddle the narwhal.
This became something of a rallying cry, “I straddle the narwhal!” A declaration of ridiculous intent in the hope of maximum results, an announcement of pure Dungeonsing and Dragonsing! It’s one I didn’t understand until months later, maybe even a year or more, when Eddie finally introduced me to something he thought I’d know about for ages, Tales of Alethrion: The Reward.
Follow that link, seriously, ten minutes of your life you’ll never regret. Here it is again just in case.
The original film from 2013 has a prequel series of far longer videos, The First Hero, Travelling Deity, and Wilhelm’s Curse that tell the tales of side-characters and delves into details of the grand fantasy world in which it is set, Altherion. They’re emotionally rich, visually beautiful, and completely without dialogue which makes them astonishingly accessible, hell you could watch them muted, but you do lose the music… the music is good.
Season 2 is being kickstarted as we speak, and by the time you’re reading this – or rather by the time it publishes – there’ll be eight days left on the campaign to reach £58,957, which is a far more reasonable number in Danish Krone, hell it even makes sense in U.S dollars. In either case, that will make a single episode, it will take eight times as much to make the whole thing.
If successful, you’ll be able to see the content produced whether you contribute or not, but there are a few nice rewards for those who do back. Digital downloads, art prints, music, comics, art books, a board game and a role-playing system. Think about this for a second, board games and role-playing games as secondary benefits. Towards the higher end of the spectrum there’s some classic animation rewards like getting your own character in the series and meet ups with the crew, if you can make it to Copenhagen.
The series is a passion project, the brainchild of Mikkel Mainz, who created the original animation as part of Sun Creature Studios, which he initially helped start, but since the studio have moved on to bigger and better things, he has left to keep his world alive under a new company. This guy is passionate about Alethrion, a talented animator and story teller, and he builds some deep emotional content for a series completely devoid of spoken dialogue. So when I say this is a Kickstarter I truly believe is worth giving to, something that has been one hell of an influence on my D&D life, I really want to see this continue.