Bellmawr, NJ: Speculative fiction and roleplaying game publisher Bards and Sages Publishing announced that the company plans to release the upcoming Neiyar: The Demon Plague campaign setting with a fee-free, royalty-free open license as part of a fundraiser for the non-profit Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF).
Established in 1969 as a First Amendment legal defense organization by the American Library Association, the FTRF works to raise awareness regarding First Amendment issues and help libraries fight back against censorship attacks. At a time where public libraries struggle with both ruinous budget cutbacks and increased pressure by both special interest groups and government agencies to restrict or remove controversial or offensive material, the purpose of the FTRF has never been more salient.
First developed in 2004 for the 3.5/OGL game system, the original Neiyar campaign setting presented players with a unique jungle island that combined both complex political machinations with exotic adventure. Neiyar: The Demon Plague, scheduled for an early 2013 release, will be a system-neutral setting sourcebook with a license that allows independent game creators and other publishers to publish their own system-specific game material. Over 20,000 copies of the original setting have been distributed through PDF and print format.
According to the publisher, the decision to leverage the setting for charity was the result of feedback from fans. â€œWe spent a lot of time soliciting feedback from players and interested content creators,â€ explains Julie Ann Dawson, founder of Bards and Sages. â€œUltimately, we decided the setting belongs to the fans almost as much as it does to us. We wouldnâ€™t have a reason to even work on a revised sourcebook without the fans. This fundraiser gives us the opportunity to do something positive with the setting as a way of saying â€˜thank youâ€™ to those who have supported us over the years.â€
Last year, the company raised over $1,600 for Volunteers of America with a fiction fundraiser. Dawson hopes to raise over $2,500 for the Freedom to Read Foundation this year. Donations for the fundraiser are being processed through the independent charity portal Firstgiving.com.