Redsky Is a Universe For Doing Good In the World
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Check out what's included in the Redsky 5e Conversion Book here.
I’d like to shout out the bright minds reading these words. Yes, that means you. If only a few of you read till the end, that’s fine. This is worth saying for the record.
I want to potentially boost all 1100+ of our community up right now, the way you have done for me and the team.
And some of you might need to hear it to get through today! We’re in a world that seems sorely lacking in good news at the moment.
Considering current events, it’s time to talk real.
This is Redsky. See, 1100+ people around Earth’s internet took a leap of faith last summer. You all thought this universe that came out of nowhere had potential.
1100+ people don’t do anything together lightly. It’s only because of each of you working together that the team is sure there’s something special afoot at Solar Studios.
I’m obviously biased, but I think it’s because you all have good taste in pop-culture.
The work we're quietly polishing only exists because you empowered it. It’s an absolute gift to bring Redsky and Dema into creation. I wish I could personally tell each of you how grateful I am as you join us here at the ground floor of something we all think could be special, all while enduring an incredibly stressful point in history.
What follows will have to do for now. See, the success of the Kickstarter has helped some very good things take place -- some things you've been waiting for, and other things that you probably weren’t aware of until reading through to the end of this post.
The State of the Work
The blog entries on this page went silent for 2 months because the team had to finish writing over 130,000 words (and counting!) for the core book instead. And what a relief they’re good. We're now firmly in editing mode.
We raised tens of thousands of dollars, and have not taken a dollar of that for ourselves as direct profit. The overwhelming majority was rolled right back into wrangling business and legal expenses.
But, a small portion of the fundraiser's money was given back to members of the team who put up personal savings to make the Kickstarter launch possible. (That’s an important detail, and you’ll see why at the end.)
We are doing this for all the future potential our games might have. So here, with this one wild and wonderful shot 1100+ very special people have given us, the guys and I want to build a universe for Redsky that turns heads.
With your help, we're creating an unignorable place. A place with hundreds of exciting yet thoroughly grounded proper nouns, and epic history that flows together so well you might want to make more yourself. My goal has always been to democratize creativity. Now we finally have a place to do it.
A place that only exists because of you.
Diverse Backgrounds United in Vision
So here’s to you. Friends of all colors, orientations, and national flags, I want you to open your copy of the Redsky Core Book this summer and use the faces you see to tell your story.
No matter your identity or cultural heritage, this world is your sandbox. For example, across all six of Redsky 's species and all 20 cultures, there's enough unique cultural and biological variety for players to tell their unique stories, whatever they want their heroes' gender identities to be.
Building a better genre is why we gain inspiration from projects like Into the Motherlands. Why we connect with friendly gaming meetup and news communities like MildraTheMonk, the Tabletop Alliance, and GeekNative.
Good people making good experiences do not have to be in bitter competition for every last dollar in a race to the bottom.
“Nonzero-Sum Gaming” is a term I came up with off-hand at the end of this interview with Nerdarchy. I think that matches the vibe Solar Studios is going for. All ships can rise together with the tide. Games can even support charitable causes so that we are expressing our passions with intention. And you can help by using your creative superpower.
Seriously, there are brilliant creators reading this now. People who’ve come from places like r/Worldbuilding, r/FantasyWorldbuilding, Crit or Quit, Tableside Gaming, Random Worlds, and the Lonely Tavern. Hey everybody from those communities! Look closer at the playing cards these Jade Feather characters are holding. Do the symbols look familiar? 😊
We know there are hundreds of worldbuilders and commenters profoundly as good, if not better, at dragons and spaceships as me and Ken. Creators with their own worldbuilding plans. Plans I’m so excited to know can stand beside Redsky one day and let us leave a mark out there together. Nonzero-Sum Gaming.
People always rally around the possibility of a fun time with friends. It's something to look forward to. To prove that we haven't lost the possibility of living life better together.
It goes without saying, but democratizing creativity like this is a massive ambition. How could we possibly get there together? I often joke to the team that we only need to become 1/1000 as large as a Disney franchise before we die. That would still give us an unfathomable amount of resources to grow the community.
It all starts by appealing to the inner daydreaming fourteen-year-old in each of us.
Y’know, the one who marathoned Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age multiple times.
Or, for the high-level members of our community, the one who remembers what it felt like for your ship to first dock in Morrowind.
Or to be eaten by a Grue.
Or to see Luke turn off his X-Wing’s targeting computer in the trench of the Death Star in 1977.
Or to read the moment Eowyn pronounced to the Witch King that she was no man.
Believe us, we’ve heard from everyone across the recent space-time continuum.
A Team Effort, Always
So who are we five, to think we could walk in these footsteps?
I’m so self-conscious about that sounding tone-deaf. At the risk of sounding too sentimental, hear me out.
Building this from the ground up has been a monumental amount of work for just 5 people.
But we proudly count ourselves among the millions of absolutely normal people internationally who find strength and meaning in sci-fi and fantasy art and stories.
We are all Samwise Gamgees, despairing in the shadow of 2022’s News Cycle of Mount Doom. Yet we are still filled with hope for the future, looking to a little light shining from a far-off star. Looking to find a moment where the strain of wars, climate change, refugee crises, and crushing global inequality lets off for just long enough to catch your breath and Keep Going.
Now admittedly, your only mortal superpower on Earth in 2022 is your imagination. But that imagination is currently seeing you through one of the spiciest decades in human history.
So What's The Good News?
Well, the Kiva just crossed $3,300! And we're just getting started.
Kiva facilitates microloans to under-served communities around the planet. Individual lenders put up the capital for small, interest-free loans that are eventually repaid. The original lender's dollars can then be recirculated to help more people.
This unlocks opportunity to undeserved communities as far apart as Uganda, Moldova, or the Philippines. After the 2021 Kickstarter, and with the blessing of the team, I diverted a significant portion of my reimbursements towards funding the Solar Studios Kiva page.
Check out any part of our page to see the good your backing of Redsky has helped do around the world already. There are incredibly inspiring builders, organizers, and leaders out there. The devs and I just want to help them get where they want to go.
To name just a few causes, the success of the Kickstarter has helped crowdfund programs for survivors of human trafficking and domestic abuse. By backing, you've helped support literacy programs for hundreds of foster children. Helped open neurodivergent-run gaming stores. Increased resources for special needs learners. Started all kinds of merchant stalls and small businesses in the developing world. Expanded climate resilience and environmental justice. Helped pay for school fees and tuition from Palestine to the Democratic Republic of Congo to Indonesia.
And, near and dear to my heart, we were all even a teeny tiny part in opening multiple bookstores.
Of course, so far these dollars are an incredibly modest drop in the bucket, crowdsourced alongside dozens of other Kiva teams.
But they are our drop. And it will keep growing, and recycling back into the world to do more good by gaming and creating.
Solar Studios has also been a humble but regular contributor to the Nerdfighters support of PiH Sierra Leone's Maternal Center of Excellence.
In light of the developing situation in Ukraine, I was able to make a $500 donation to Sirius. They are the largest operating animal shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine. This will help feed hundreds of fostered strays or recently orphaned cats and dogs whose owners were killed in the fighting, if only for a few days longer. While much of it was raised with help from friends and family, my own contribution came in part from my work on Redsky.
At the end of the day, Solar Studios is a business. My dear friends and I want to make an independent living creating games. But that doesn't mean I can't dedicate a large portion of my own earnings from every Solar Studios launch to our community's Kiva. Nonzero-Sum Gaming.
Which means, the longer a life Solar Studios has, the more our lives can go towards making the world suck just a little bit less.
That’s my promise to you. Our stories will count. Wherever we’re going, we’ll go together. Our drop is going to make a ripple here on Earth. Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot.
Our one and only world ship.
Let's recap. The coming days, yours and mine, have value. The road ahead is an opportunity for everyone. Your love of all things fantasy and sci-fi has been helping people around the world this whole time.
And we're just getting started.
So whatever your financial, social, or mental-health conditions may be right now, come whatever tragedy, or how dire one day might feel from the next, Keep Going.
In return, Alex, Brandon, Ken, Matt, and I have something small but mighty we’re proud and excited to deliver to you this year, come Dark Tempest or Deep One.
All we ask is you Keep Going.
In the coming days, there's going to be a lot of exciting stuff going on
(including an active playtest!) over on the Official Redsky Discord!
The community is rapidly growing, and we'd be lucky to have you!
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