Bruce Heard is author of several products for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy RPG. Once upon a time he wrote the popular Princess Ark stories, published in Dragon Magazine. Heard has had it on his mind to return to this mystical world and write a new adventure for quite a while. But the original publisher just wouldn’t budge. Until Heard just did it, on his own terms.

Did he feel robbed? On his blog he writes ‘I offered cash, free ads, efforts to coordinate and support the release of D&D Next (etc.), to no avail. There was no interest in anything involving a transfer of rights, a sale, a license agreement, a permission to publish, or any other option – as a matter of policy.’ But from what he had heard of Wizards of the Coast (WotC), he knew this going in.

In fact, Bruce Heard defines the situation as ‘Good riddance’.

Even if Heard had signed a licence agreement, it would have meant he’d have been tied to creative approval from WotC. Of course Heard went indie. It meant that he had to start all over. With a story stripped of design, ‘a new world, a new ship, and new heroes’. But there is a silver lining. Heard found a creative solution: a system-less design.

He now has a fully backed Kickstarter, currently running. Offered as RPG accessories the World of Calidar consist of a skyship (Star Phoenix) and it’s first adventure ‘In Stranger Skies’, all packaged as a fantasy campaign setting for use in role-playing games.

That’s what makes Calidar an unusual concept, according to Bruce Heard, ‘a project offering fantasy fiction written to appeal to RPG gamers as well.’ The system-less design helps generate interest to fiction readers, while allowing Calidar to be easily adapted to mainstream roleplaying games.

After having written and developing scores of products during nearly fifteen years at TSR in Lake Geneva, the classic fantasy writer Bruce Heard has decided to come back with a whole new fantasy world – and a first episode – ready to be picked up for a game, compiled in 100 page colour book. Together with an impressive team to build its artwork.

Thorfinn Tait, from Akita, Japan, stepped forward to handle the world’s cartography. Known for his work on Mystara maps over the past twenty years. Now a stalwart supporter of Calidar and investing much of his free time working on the maps and on providing design feedback.

Ben Wootten is a well known concept artist who will be painting Calidar’s cover art. Drawing fantasy genre characters for RPG companies from all over the world, including involvement with “The Lord of the Rings’” WETA workshops in New Zealand.

John Dollar will be handling internal illustrations. His background goes back to TSR’s golden age and product lines like Dark Sun, Birthright, and Ravenloft. He also illustrated Earthdawn, Star Wars, and recently “Tales of the Emerald Serpent.”

Ed Greenwood, creator of the Forgotten Realms and author of many related novels as well as a Mystara Gazetteer, will be designing the City of Glorathon, the royal capital of the Kingdom of Meryath.

At the time of writing the Calidar Kickstarter Campaign is 145% funded. With 177 backers pledging $9,000 and an initial $6,200 goal. Deadline January 10, 2014. This means some of the artwork will be printed in colour as the $8,100 stretch-goal has been reached.