tunsealLansing-based Obatron Productions has been gearing up to launch its first product at the end of this month.  The company focuses  on the fantasy role playing game market.  Currently it is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to pay for a sample product they hope to give away to 600 retailers, in the hope of enticing them to sell Obatron products.

'Tunse'al' is a game setting, the brainchild of Vickey and Robert Beaver.  The product takes the form of a PDF file anticipated to retail at about $20 or as a soft-covered book for about $25.  Vickey Beaver estimates it will be about 100 pages, including text and art from five different artists.  It is being edited now.

"A setting is an environment that people play these games in," she says.  "When someone is writing a book they create an atmosphere that the characters are in.  In a game the setting is that same kind of environment."

Settings are used within existing games, the best known of which is 'Dungeons and Dragons'.  The game rules are defined within the game itself, and settings act as a kind of 'plug-in' to create the world the game will take place in and its inhabitants the players will encounter.  The Tunse'al setting has been initially designed in two versions:   The first is an overlay for the 'Savage Worlds' game, and the second is in stand-alone format that won't require an established game.

Beaver says Tunse'al is a tribal, fantasy setting in a world very different from our own. There are five dominant races, four of which are playable. The Gelid are blue-skinned diplomats and scholars who find paths across the rugged Baarek Mountains; the Kresh are the amphibious conservationists of the swamps who, from their homes in The Wetlands, have vowed to protect Tunse'al; the Korrin are the large, red-skinned, two-horned people of great passion who dwell in the jungles of The Footlands; and the Gales are the desert folk sporting weathered skin, nictitating membranes, and an uncanny knack for navigating the sands as they roam The Drylands.  And the the Skin Eaters are a twisted version of the Kresh, created by the same goddess who created the Kreshafter she had gone insane.

They are also producing a supplement to the larger TunSe'al product.  That's where Kickstarter comes in.  Kickstarter is a Web site on which entrepreneurs post their product ideas in the hope of getting investors.  A funding goal is set and potential investors can see how much has been raised in real time.  This 'crowd funding' promises investors various benefits such as a discounted product once it is manufactured.

The money will make it possible for Obatron Productions to participate in Free RPG Day on June 15, 2013.  By giving the 16 to 35 page supplement to as many as 600 retailers they will jump-start name recognition for their product and company.  The goal for the Kickstarter campaign is $1,250.  As of this writing yesterday mid-afternoon $814 had been pledged by 20 backers, with 10 days to go before the campaign closes.  Beaver says that the level of design and graphics in the supplement will depend on the amount of money they can raise.

The Beavers offer an escalating list of benefits starting at a $2 level (you get thanked on the Obatron Productions Web site and facebook Page through $650 or more (which includes a meal with the Beavers and a private four-hour game for up to five guests at Gen Con, signed books, and more).  Backers will be able to get the product November 25th, and the product will be widely available by November 30.

The Beavers started their company at the beginning of this year, and are on the threshold of releasing their first product.  Tunse'al role playing game products are the first of three pieces of the company they plan to roll out over time.  Beginning in six to eight months 'Express Line' will offer writing and editing services to others who are developing role playing game products.  Three to six months after that the couple plans to launch 'Obatron Fiction', which will publish science fiction, fantasy, and horror books.

"We wanted to work for ourselves," Beaver says.  "I had worked as a freelancer for a company for about three years and it didn't really go where I wanted it to go.  So we decided we would do our own thing."