Red Markets

Created by Caleb Stokes

Red Markets
2f2650ea14d672ece42cd4b5643aa271 original
1,448 backers pledged $72,248.00 on Kickstarter

Red Markets is a game of economic horror, where the world has ended and the rent is still due.

Raised in Kickstarter
$72,248.00 / 1,448 backers
Raised in BackerKit
$20,608.00 / 1,561 backers

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Get Your QuickStart Guide!
10 days ago – Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 07:55:57 PM

Hi all,

I didn't want to clog up your inbox with more updates until I had something concrete to show you, but there's a lot of casualties heading down the chute with Spring finally here. Time for the first of many exciting announcements. 

Red Markets Quickstart Guide

Pictured: characters in a slightly less daunting scenario than reading 500 pages of Stoksian prose
Pictured: characters in a slightly less daunting scenario than reading 500 pages of Stoksian prose

Red Markets has a Quickstart Guide!

When this campaign got rolling, our fantastic editor and her partner (Laura and Adam, respectively) asked me when I would have a quickstart guide ready to go. When I replied "probably never," they kind-heartedly assumed I must not have heard them correctly. I knew the book was nearly 500 pages, right? I realized most people had to be convinced to read that much, surely? 

I did. But I was also in the midst of having my life threatened by random Europeans, staring down the barrel of too many outstanding rewards, and preparing for the start of another school year. I couldn't fathom possibly getting the time to wrangle a condensation of the text together, not to mention writing and playtesting an initial contract for it. 

They looked at me like I was insane...because I was. Then they went ahead and did it for me.

I...hadn't quite expected that. I should have though. They're great people!

Laura, Adam and Tom have done an absolutely fantastic job making a version of the game that is ready to play ASAP, and they've designed a great intro adventure for a fledgling crew of Takers. The least I could do is throw my hat into the ring late in the game. I contracted some new art for the packet and helped with editing. Kyle and Kat did some layout magic. And here we are, looking at a great product that will greatly enhance the playability and longevity of this game. We all owe Laura, Adam, and Tom a great debt for what they've done to support the Red Markets community. I am especially grateful, and I'm so proud to show off their hard work.

The quickstart guide features all the basic rules of the game, six pregenerated characters, tips for new Markets, a condensed gear sheet, a sample enclave, and an initial contract. Put together with the myriad of other player aides available on the Resources page, you can assemble a crew and get playing in a matter of hours. 
If you backed the Kickstarter or preordered on BackerKit, you should be getting an electronic copy in your inbox in a matter of moments. Consider it part of the stretch goal rewards.

However, I'd still urge you to go on over to the DTRPG page for the Quickstart Packet. We're charging Pay What You Want for the digital file, but considering how much Laura, Adam, and Tom do for the Red Markets community, you should all want to pay a lot. The proceeds, incidentally, go to our three intrepid authors. 

I'd suggest doing the same in a week or so once we get the POD version proofed and ready to go. It's a pretty little 45 pages, and I know I'll be buying quite a few to pass around the tables of new players I'll be serving this con season. Again, all proceeds from the POD go to our intrepid Takers, rather than curmudgeonly old Stokes with his 200K word counts. 

Performance: A Red Markets Novel

The novel is done and edited. It's about 48K words. I'm currently working on getting it laid out in e-book and POD file formats. We'll start recording the audiobook after that, but you can expect the digital file in the next few weeks. Physical copies will be for sale on DTRPG, CreateSpace, and the IGDN booth at whatever conventions tolerate my presence.

Once we get the e-book out, we'll just have the audiobook left as far as core rewards go. From there on out, it's just digital stretch goals...which I can finally dedicate my creative time towards writing and editing now that I'm done agonizing over this tiny book. 

Other Stuff

I'm going to be at Origins, Gencon, and maybe a few more conventions in the coming months. We're running tons of events for Red Markets, and I hope to have some more things to offer (posters, t-shirts, other swag, etc) before I announce my full schedule. 

Some card art from Party Fowl by the legendary KC Green.
Some card art from Party Fowl by the legendary KC Green.

Seeing as we're almost done here except for those digital stretch goals, I'll be launching a new Kickstarter in late May for my first boardgame. Expect me to nag you more about Party Fowl: The Game of Drunk Ducks in the future. It's tone little less dark than Red Markets, to put it mildly. At least I finally have an answer for all those people accusing me of being unoriginal for writing a zombie game, and that answer is drunk ducks, apparently. I hope to see all of you fine Hebanon Games supporters there for some decidedly more light-hearted fare. 

Personally, considering how wonderful this Kickstarter community has been and the superb support you've shown Red Markets, I think it's only fitting that the next game is going to be about a party...even if it does involve water fowl.

As always, thank you. Let me know if you have any questions or need anything. 

February Update
3 months ago – Thu, Feb 08, 2018 at 09:14:36 PM

Hello Takers!

I love reading about all the games going on out there! Scrolling through Facebook, Reddit, and the LifeLines forums and hearing about all the awesome campaigns is one of my most reliable weekly joys. But I suppose I'm overdue for an update. We haven't been resting on our laurels over here.

Writing and Development

What have we been up to? Well, we're writing. I'm working on the novella. I've learned that I take fiction far too seriously. I probably won't be doing it again in the future for that exact reason; I wrote 200K in game text faster than this 45K of novella. It's slow but there is still progress. I'm also working on the first of our enclave/job supplements. When that's done, it'll serve as a template for our other stretch goal supplements. Finally, I'm editing Best Practices and getting it ready for layout. Laura is working on the Carrion Economy as we speak. 

Tom Abella, Adam Briskin-Limehouse, and Laura Briskin-Limehouse have done a great job assembling a quickstart version of the rules and playtesting an intro scenario. The text is in layout now. We're just waiting for a few more pieces of art. This packet will be available for free online, so every backer should expect one in their backerkit account eventually. The hope is to have it available as a POD pamphlet through DTRPG as well. Expect this in a few weeks. Hopefully, the quickstart packet will solve the problem some of us have been having with players daunted by the sheer size of the book. 


The QuickStart packet is just one aspect of the full-court press to get ready for GenCon, which is...still like 200 days away. This convention gets more ridiculous every year, and the job of getting a game ready to premiere there is no small task. I've been shuffling inventory, scheduling panels, learning to run a booth, securing housing, and completing the dozen other little administrative tasks required just to get to Indy. I'd be lost without Adam and Laura's help, but it's still an enormously time-consuming task. 

Thankfully, things are going well. We'll be running at least 13 games of RM through the IGDN showcase room, and plenty more are being scheduled through general event submission. There will be dozens of RM games going on throughout the convention, and those are just the ones I know about.

If you plan to run with a crew at GenCon, I'd suggest holding off reading the Quickstart packet until after the convention. We're going to be running through the quickstart en masse at the convention in order to get as many new people exposed to the game as possible, and I wouldn't want to spoil the job for you. But don't worry if you feel like you're a little too much of an original Moth to mess with an entry-level job. I'll be assembling a packet of GenCon-exclusive jobs in the Bust-mode for experienced groups that want more of a challenge, and it will be available to any Market that wants a copy. If everyone at the table decides they are hardcore enough to chase after the big bounty, just be sure to guide any "newly hired" Takers through the system as best you can. Letting the new guy go Vector in the first leg really hurts the bottom line. 

I'll also be at Origins in June, but events, seminars, and games get pulled together for that convention only after GenCon is squared away, despite it occurring sooner. I'll post another update about where you can find me in Columbus when we get closer to the date, but as of now I only know I'll be there. 

Uh...this isn't from Red Markets. Or is it?! No. It's not. Still a game you should check out though.
Uh...this isn't from Red Markets. Or is it?! No. It's not. Still a game you should check out though.

Other Hebanon Games Stuff

Other than that? I only work well when I'm working on two things at once. I'm still plugging away at my palette-cleanser card game called Party Fowl. We hope to Kickstart this summer. For being such an admittedly silly idea, I'm really proud of how it looks (KC Green art!) and plays. You can hear more about the game and its development on my podcast: The Mixed Six. So far, I've only used my share of the Patreon money to buy more Red Markets art (that's how business works, right?), so giving us a listen is a good way to support the game's continued development. 

Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for supporting Red Markets!

Finish Line?
5 months ago – Mon, Dec 04, 2017 at 10:11:49 PM

It's not a finish line, of course. There are still a number of stretch goals to go and a novel I've yet to finish. We're working on them: I just sent out a few more freelance contracts today to get things rolling again on the stretch goal front, for instance.

However, I'm finally confident enough to say that most of the Red Markets books and dice have arrived. 

If you haven't received your copy yet and filled out the BackerKit surveys before the deadline, don't freak out. We're well within the busiest shipping period of the year. If nothing arrives by January 15th, 2018 (or if it arrives damaged), contact me and I'll make things right. Sending replacements now might see an extra copy arrive after your previously shipped one or, worse, the replacement lost in the same holiday postal mess as the first. 

If you didn't fill out the BackerKit survey before October 3rd, it's on you to contact me. I was very clear (across multiple platforms) about the survey due date and the requirement for paying shipping. If you didn't utilize that opportunity at the time, the tough news is that I no longer have an international shipping service under contract, and I will not be paying money out of my pocket to ship a book back overseas, then again to ship the book to another country. International shipping costs for latecomers just jumped up A LOT because we're back to the 'shipping out of the US' prices.

If you're late to the game filling out BackerKit surveys and live in the US, you still need to contact me. I'm not going to check that platform every day like I have for the last six months. It's on you to let me know you finally got around to filling in an address and credit card. I'll get it the mail when the check clears and I have spare time. 

Speaking of shipping, now that the endless fiasco is mostly over, I've recorded a Game Designer's Workshop episode on the subject. It's a more detailed breakdown of the whole process, beginning-to-end, than any of us have time to cover in text. Suffice it to say that the recording is NSFW. Your podcast wouldn't be clean either if you'd been through what I've been through...seen what I've seen.

(long pause)

(thousand-yard stare)

But I got through it. Thanks to supportive backers. Thanks to the intelligence, patience, and kindness of the Red Markets community. Thanks to the hard-work of the diligent contributors to this great game. Thanks to our fantastic, conscientious vendors and distributors. Thanks to selfless reviewers, raters, and purchasers at IPR and DTRPG. Thanks to all those people, the book is out there in the world now. People can buy it, read it, and play it. It can stand on its own, finally. 

That's an enormous achievement that I'm very proud of, and frankly, if you had any part in it, you should be to. It's a game some people love, and I think it says an important thing at a time when we all need to be saying something. I wouldn't have invested so much of myself into it if I didn't believe that were true, and I'm forever grateful and in the debt of all who helped me bring that vision into the world. Thank you.

Hit me up if you have questions, or DM me if you need help with something specific.

Anyway, back to work.


P.S. Again, the more detailed explanation of the whole shipping timeline can be found at RPPR Game Designer's Workshop Ep. 16.

Red Markets Arrives and Dice News
6 months ago – Thu, Nov 09, 2017 at 08:32:53 PM

Hello all,

I'm endlessly gratified to see Red Markets books arriving around the world. Seriously, those unboxing photos give me life right now. Thank you.

If you haven't received your books yet, they are on the way. We'll make it right if something goes wrong, but it's a couple of weeks before we need to start getting worried about that eventuality. The workings of international post are mysterious. Have faith, and I'll let everyone know when it's time to worry if books haven't arrived.

Regarding dice, there have been some...issues. Needless to say, I've had to put off the RPPR Game Designer's Workshop episode detailing the shipping ordeal yet again. It's still a topic lengthy enough I would rather just talk it out than type everything here; god knows I've composed enough words in email resolving the issue. The damn novel would be done know were it not for the reams of text I throw into cyberspace every day. Ugh.

For the time being, suffice it to say that not every dice pack got shipped out with US books, and no international dice have been shipped yet. They will be shipped very soon. We haven't forgotten about dice level backers, but I'm having to arrange some workarounds. Those take time.

Everyone will get their dice, and if they don't, I'll make things right with a refund or a reship. I'm just going to need some patience from everyone until then. Remember: we're still a month early on the main reward. It'll be okay. Promise.

In the meantime, I would very much appreciate it if everyone who has read the book could throw up a review (preferably positive) on any and every web platform available to them. The Kickstarter got around by word-of-mouth, and that will be how the game survives and thrives as well. If you like the game, let everyone know so you have more Takers to play it with. 

Thanks again for your support. If you have questions not covered by the above, y'all know how to get in contact with me.

Enjoy the book!

Books Are Shipping
6 months ago – Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 01:16:54 AM

Hello all,

I'll be honest: the last month has been harrowing, to say the least. But, thankfully, the short version of that story ends with "...and everything worked out alright." I'll probably record an RPPR GDW about the shipping struggles soon, but let's keep it to essentials in this update.

Due to delays, books arrived both in the US and UK late last week. I've paid the shipping, labor, and packaging costs in full. Packaging of the individual shipments has begun. 

Hardcover packing
Hardcover packing


Softcover packing
Softcover packing

Books and dice should starting hitting the post sometime late this week. So when does that mean you'll be getting the book?

I have no idea. Any guess I could make would be so uninformed as to be a lie. There are over 50 different national postal services involved in international shipping alone, and the US postal service isn't exactly smelling like roses. There are just too many variables.

I can say with some degree of confidence that (excluding stretch goals) the Kickstarter is delivering on time, and books should arrive early for the majority of backers (excluding the inevitable damages and postal screw ups some of you are bound to experience; if that happens, message me and we'll work it out). I recognize that's a lot of caveats for what is very positive announcement indeed, but since this project entered the shipping stages, it has done nothing if not reinforce the value of caution and skepticism.

So hold yer casualties, folks. The books are literally on the way.

Regarding Sales

Pre-order customers and Kickstarter backers might get rightfully irked if some rando got a copy before them. However, the reality is that, if I opened the book up for sale on IPR today, quirks in the postal system would make it possible for some Johnny-Come-Lately to beat loyal KS backers to the punch. I don't want that to happen.

I value the contributions of those that have supported me early in this project more than words can express. I won't be opening the book up for general sales until it seems to me as if the overwhelming majority of current customers have their books and can start playing. If all goes well with shipping, the core book should be up on IPR in the next few weeks.

Other Progress

School definitely slowed things down, but the shipping struggles stopped us dead in our tracks. Over the last couple of months, I went from thinking I'd have slightly less money than anticipated to fund stretch goals, to thinking I'd have no money for stretch goals, to thinking I'd be deep in debt, to thinking I'd be full-blown bankrupt, before going back to having more than enough money for stretch goals. It's been a roller-coaster and, as you may be aware, it's really hard to type anything on one of those.

As I mentioned, the full story is far too long for a Kickstarter update: I'll cover everything in a podcast soon. For now, suffice to say that my newfound financial peace of mind has been an enormous relief for me, and I'm hoping it will get us back on track fulfilling additional rewards.

In Conclusion

Expect a book on your doorstep...soonish? That's the best I can say. As always, thanks for all your support. Hit me up in the comments or shoot me a DM if you have a question.

Have a great Halloween,