Old Gods of Appalachia, a horror anthology podcast, launched in 2019 as a passion project for two Wise, Virginia natives. Cam Collins and Steve Shell wanted to pay homage to their ancestral home while adding a cosmic horror twist. Less than three years later and the show has exploded in popularity, garnering multiple awards. It’s currently ranked number two in Apple podcast’s fiction and in the top five of the science fiction section. Now, they want to bring the horror from the holler straight to the tabletop.
Collins and Shell launched a Kickstarter for the Old Gods of Appalachia Roleplaying Game on April 12, then promptly obliterated their funding goal in less than a day. The game promises to take you on an adventure that’ll stretch the limits of your imagination and sanity, all while giving fans an opportunity to dive deeper into the weird, evocative world of the show.
“Our fans have been asking for a TTRPG based in our world for the past two years — essentially since the end of season one,” Cam Collins, co-founder and producer for Old Gods, told Polygon in an email. “It was a frequent enough request that we thought, ‘Why not?’” She added that players can expect a gaming experience that “will draw them into the creepy and beautiful world we strive to create in Old Gods of Appalachia.”
“The place we grew up in is complicated. It’s a strange amalgamation of cultures that over centuries of land theft, settlement, and appropriation has become seen as this monolith of poor, white, uneducated America,” Steve Shell, co-founder and host of the podcast, told Polygon. “We know it’s a lot more than that. It can be that in places and at times, but we also know that it’s a really rich world of folklore and that our version of it in the podcast was ripe for something like an immersive game.”
While the team initially set a fundraising goal of $50,000, it cleared that goal within an hour of launching. At press time, the campaign has earned more than $1.1 million. It’s something that Shell said “he never expected” to happen.
“Seeing that number being attached to something that we made for our home is kind of mindblowing,” he added.
The Cypher System-fueled RPG is being developed by Monte Cook Games — the same developers behind break-out hit Numenera — and will transport players to an alternate Appalachia set in the 1920s and 1930s. It’s a land of ancient mountains, dark woods, and quiet hollers containing “immeasurable malice and incomprehensible madness,” according to a press release from Monte Cook. Collins said that the team was really impressed with the “simplicity and flexibility of the system, how quick we could create characters and start playing, and its focus on storytelling and roleplaying.”
The core rulebook will contain all you need to play including the game’s rules and mechanics, character creation instructions, a deep dive into the lore of the Old Gods world. The book also includes a monster bestiary, magic, equipment, and starter adventures to get your table started exploring the dark and ancient mountains of Appalachia.
Pledge levels start at $25, which includes PDF of the core rulebook and stretches all the way to the premium $265 “Delver in the Dark” level, which includes a limited-edition physical rulebook autographed by the podcast’s producers, early playtest access, a GM campaign journal, GM screen, a dice set, a rolling tray, and more.
You can learn more by visiting the Old Gods of Appalachia Roleplaying Game page on Kickstarter.