THE STORY ENGINE deck of endless storytelling prompts + book

Created by Peter Chiykowski

Deck of story prompts for writers, teachers, GMs, DMs & tabletop RPGs + a new book of piercing postcard stories from The Shortest Story

Latest Updates from Our Project:

$160,000 + booster pack sneak peek + BackerKit details
about 1 month ago – Wed, Oct 09, 2019 at 11:59:34 PM

Hi backers!

I don't know what kind of coal we've been hucking in the furnace of this unstoppable train, but we have been chugging along at an incredible pace! Thank you for the incredible support!

We've just passed $160,000, secured 25 decks or books for schools, libraries and community programs, and unlocked 3 of the 6 booster packs I announced last night! Based on feedback and design revisions, I've made some adjustments to the titles and the order of the boosters, moving the more popular mythology booster up and swapping it into the stretch goal spot the dystopian booster had been in.

The Cog Hearts & Steam Soulsand Mythwalkers & Eternals boosters will both feature illustrations from the EMBERWIND RPG art team.

Rendered image. Design not final.
Rendered image. Design not final.

The 18-card boosters can be added on for $7 CAD (~$5 USD) each, or $17 CAD (~$13 USD) to mix-and-match any 3 boosters.

I also wanted to make sure everyone understands their options in BackerKit after the campaign.

For 4 weeks after the campaign ends, I will be counting all money raised in BackerKit  toward stretch goals to allow people who are uncomfortable pledging extra on the Kickstarter platform with the recent actions taken regarding union organization.

You will have 3 options for how to use the BackerKit pledge manager after the campaign ends:

1) Claim your add-ons using the extra funds you added to your pledge in Kickstarter and/or purchase new add-ons through BackerKit

2) Change your reward pledge in BackerKit to a different reward tier (some restrictions may apply)

3) Place your pledge entirely through BackerKit (some prices may be increasing slightly and you may not get automatic access to all of the Kickstarter extras)

I'm excited to see how much we can get done in the last 48 hours! Thanks for all your pledges, and for sharing the link so enthusiastically!

All expansions unlocked + new stretch goals + decks for schools/libraries + sci-fi/horror sneak peek
about 1 month ago – Wed, Oct 09, 2019 at 12:49:38 AM

Hi backers!

This project has grown in ways that I never could have expected! I'm absolutely floored by the incredible response and support you've shown the project!

We've now unlocked all 3 expansions: Written in Dragonfire (fantasy), Written in the Light of Strange Worlds (science fiction) and Written in Ash and Bone (horror)!

You can add-on all 3 in a bundle for $55 (that price covers additional shipping to all regions as well), or I have added 3 new reward tiers offering expansion bundles!

I do have another set of stretch goals set up, which you can read about below!

 The new 18-card booster packs will be for specialized genres like Lovecraftian horror, steampunk, cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and mythological storytelling. The digital files for any unlocked boosters will be made available to all deck backers for free, and physical boosters can be added on for $7 CAD / ~$5 USD. If multiple boosters are unlocked, bundles will also be made available.

Also, in thanks for the incredible support and enthusiasm people have shown this project, I will be using a small portion of excess post-campaign funds raised in BackerKit to set aside 15-75 decks and books to donate to public schools, libraries, and non-profit arts/literacy/gaming programs

Eligible groups and organizations will be able to register for a free deck or book, with free shipping, on a first-come/first-serve basis. 

These decks and books will be funded with proceeds from BackerKit funds and post-campaign pre-orders, and not with Kickstarter funds. You do not need to have backed the project to be eligible.  If you run a community-focused group that doesn't fit those specific criteria, you will still be able to register and explain how a book or deck would benefit the public good.

I think storytelling is a gift that should be shared with the world. You've all done so much to help me share my vision; I'd love the chance to pay that back.

Finally, I am thrilled to unveil some sample cards from the recently unlocked expansions.

 Written in the Light of Strange Worlds science fiction expansion

 Written in Ash and Bone horror expansion

Thanks! I can't wait to see where we take this in the closing days of the campaign!

If there was ever a time to share the project link, now is it!

French translation, sci-fi deck unlocked, EU/UK-friendly shipping!
about 1 month ago – Sun, Oct 06, 2019 at 09:26:02 PM

Hi backers!

Wow, it's been an exhilarating rush over the past few days! We have a few big updates to share that I'll break down in greater detail below:

  • The digital French translation of the main deck has been unlocked
  • The science fiction expansion has been unlocked
  • The majority of rewards are now guaranteed with EU/UK-friendly shipping
  • Neil Gaiman retweeted one of my stories!

The French translation of the main deck has been unlocked

Science fiction writer Benoit Chartier will be leading a translation of the main Story Engine deck and guidebook, which will be made available to any backer of the main Story Engine deck on request!

Science fiction expansion unlocked

We made the jump from $60,000 to $85,000 in no time at all, unlocking WRITTEN IN THE LIGHT OF STRANGE WORLDS, the 60-card science fiction expansion, as a stretch goal.

Note: Rendered image. Designs are not final.

The deck features 60 science-fiction-themed cards for both writers and RPG players, covering ground from dystopian futurism, to space travel, to alien contact, to artificial intelligence and beyond.

I'll export some of the card designs for you in the next update so you can get a glimpse at what's to come.

You can now select it as an add-on for $20, or as your expansion of choice for the $50 and $70 tiers.

Remember that physical add-ons (like the expansions) do not incur any additional shipping fees, but they can only added to physical rewards (i.e., reward tiers on which some shipping has already been paid).

For the time being, I do not intend to create reward tiers for Deck + 2 Expansions / Deck + Book + 2 Expansions since these can be handled through add-ons, but if there is a lot of demand, I will definitely consider it.

In the event we unlock the horror expansion at $120,000, I will create reward tiers with Deck + All 3 Expansions / Deck + Book + All 3 Expansions with a bundle deal.

The majority of rewards are now guaranteed with EU/UK-friendly shipping

I am very pleased to announce that I will be offering UK/EU-friendly shipping on most of the reward tiers and add-ons in the campaign. I have also gone through the add-ons and reward tiers and come up with a list of which reward tiers are guaranteed to be customs-friendly to all regions of the world.

All of these items will either be fulfilled from within the economic region to avoid backers having to pay any customs fees, or will not incur customs upon entry.

This does not mean that the other tiers will incur duty, just that I can't specifically guarantee how the incoming shipments will be assessed within your region.

Scroll down the rewards section of the campaign mainpage or see the project FAQ for the full lists.

Neil Gaiman retweeted one of my stories

This isn't especially relevant for the campaign, I'm just extraordinarily proud to have received a small nod from one of my biggest heroes.

I've been reposting one of my 30 favourite Shortest Stories to Twitter and Facebook every day, explaining a bit of my creative process and what I like about the story. 

I tagged Neil Gaiman in my multi-tweet about "The Library of Unwritten Books" and experienced the head rush of a lifetime when he retweeted it.

Okay, pressing onward toward the next set of goals, like more cards, more stories, a Spanish translation, and the horror expansion!

How to add-on an expansion deck!
about 2 months ago – Thu, Oct 03, 2019 at 01:59:11 AM

Hi again backers!

I'm so happy you're so excited about the new fantasy expansion deck, and the teaser for the sci-fi and horror decks! I'm absolutely thrilled about them myself!

Note: This image is a rendering and not the final design.

If you'd like to help us push on toward the big stretch goals to unlock the rest, please consider sharing the link to the campaign page! I also find that sending a link directly to one or two people who you think would enjoy this project is a great way to help the right people find it.

A number of you asked for help adding-on the new expansion to your pledge, so I've included instructions for add-ons below, as well as in the FAQs section.

NOTE: All add-on prices include free shipping to all regions for the additional items, but physical items can only be added on to physical reward tiers.

1) Add up the value of the items you would like to add-on:

  • Digital deck or book: $14 CAD (~$11 USD)
  • Physical deck: $32 CAD (~$24 USD)
  • Expansion deck: $20 CAD (~$15 USD)
  • Physical book: $25 CAD (~$19 USD)
  • T-shirt: $30 CAD (~$23 USD)
  • Postcards From the Future subscription: $50 CAD (~$37 USD)
  • Signed and matted custom print: $35 CAD (~$26 USD)
  • Digital story wallpaper pack: $7 CAD (~$5 USD)
  • Complete ChiZine library: $130 CAD (~$99 USD)

2) Click "Manage My Pledge" near the top on the right of the main campaign screen.

3) Manually increase your pledge total by the total value for your add-ons.

For example, if your old pledge was for $70 CAD including shipping and you want to add 1 expansion ($20 CAD) and 1 T-shirt ($30 CAD), you would adjust it to $120 CAD.

4) Click "Continue," then "Confirm."

Then you're done!

After the campaign. you'll be sent a reward survey in BackerKit to specify which add-ons you are using your credit for.

Again, thanks so much for all the enthusiasm and support!

WRITTEN IN DRAGONFIRE unveiled + teasers for 2 more expansions + revised stretch goals
about 2 months ago – Wed, Oct 02, 2019 at 02:50:12 AM

Hello backers!

I am so unbelievably thrilled to unveil Written in Dragonfire, the fantasy expansion for The Story Engine, which can be added-on to all physical reward tiers for $20 CAD / $15 USD (add-on price covers shipping to all regions)!

Note: Cover art may not be final.

I've teamed up with EMBERWIND, a groundbreaking tabletop RPG with stunning visuals and a world-class art team, to bring you some truly eye-watering visuals for the fantasy deck.

The 60-card deck will feature a mixture of art from existing EMBERWIND lore and illustration library, as well as several new pieces special to this project. As a writer on the EMBERWIND team, I can tell you that the artists have been a major inspiration for pushing my storytelling and worldbuilding to new heights.

Note: Card designs not final.

The cards feature artists from the EMBERWIND roster past and present, including CRUSH Visual, Toma Feizo Gas, William Liu, Frank Yang, Jonny Hall, baimon, and more. These artists have worked on art for blockbuster movies, AAA video game titles, and tabletop classics like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, and Magic: The Gathering.

You can see more of their work in the EMBERWIND lore archive, which includes short stories, free EMBERWIND DLC, and lots of pretty art. You can also download and play a free demo the first act of The Songweave Tapestry, the forthcoming campaign I've been writing with the team for the past year. 

Note: Card designs not final.

Also, after receiving more feedback and interest in the deck and its expansions and translations, I've rearranged the stretch goals to reflect what backers have been most passionate about.

I've brought the science fiction and horror expansions in as earlier goalposts and made both the French and Spanish translations of the core deck more accessible. I've also changed the name of the sci-fi deck (previously Distant Worlds and Near Futures) to create a matching set of three 60-card expansions:

  •  Written in Dragonfire (fantasy)
  •  Written in the Light of Strange Worlds (sci-fi)
  •  Written in Ash and Bone (horror)
Note: This is a rendered image and designs are not final.

Thanks so much for your ongoing support! With a week and a half left to share this campaign, I know we can cover some incredible ground!