Beyond Dread Portals Ending Soon

Beyond Dread Portals is an exciting roleplaying game of world-hopping fantasy by Paul Mitchener (author of Liminal). The easy-to-learn rules are built from a core loosely based on the world’s first fantasy roleplaying game, tailored to fit the setting.

It’s in its final five days of funding.

Backers have already funded extra content. Adventures, NPCs, and background information. Here are the highlights of what the campaign has achieved.

  • All backers will receive an extra introductory adventure, Fort on the Edgelands. A mini sandbox that takes a classic adventure from the 1980s and reimagines it through Beyond Dread Portals baroque fantasy take on D20. In the final five days, more stretch goals are up for grabs!
  • Also, during the campaign, the Signed and sent version of the book has been upgraded from a POD copy to a properly printed version with sewn pages, better-quality paper and a ribbon.
  • We have achieved several community goals through backer numbers, such as the Traveller’s Guide to Polydrones, a mini-supplement combining new monsters, game lore, and adventure ideas.
  • VTT support has been added via Role VTT (

But quick, it’s coming to the end of Kickstarter in five days.

Fort on the Edgelands at Grogmeet 2023

Over the weekend, I took this introductory adventure out for a spin at Manchester’s premier Old School convention run by the Grognard Files Podcast.

Grogmeet 2023 in full flow

I had a full table of four players, one of whom Chris (hello 🙂 ) was a backer.

After going through the pre-generated characters, which are included in the main rulebook, and using them to explain the setting and the system, we grabbed coffee and got stuck into it.  The game unfolded in three acts.

Act 1 was a gentle stroll around the City of Ys. From the grand Guildhall of the League of Explorers, where there characters, who the players already knew each other, found out that a special treasure hunting license was being issued to go to Erebus, which is normally closed. All they had to do was navigate the ever-shifting streets of Ys and make their way to the Ruby Court.  The crimson-clad Judge Vinter gave them the license, which gave them superior treasure rights. 5% taxation upon return to Ys rather than the usual 20%. The players then choose which of the two available Patrons they wanted to back their expedition. This gave them the promise of more rewards, plus a mission to pressure. The liberation of the Fort’s Garrison, who were trapped on Erebus.

Act 2, stepping through the Dread Portal, the characters emerge into the courtyard of Lion Fort. They spent most of this act getting a sense of where they were and what factions were present in the fort. The most important one was the Agent of the Autrach, a skeleton in a gibbet who sinisterly waved hello when the characters arrived. This strange creature is also the gatekeeper of the portal, which is now shut until the characters fulfil their mission and can kill with its mind!  After finding out who was who in the fort. they quickly made friends with the Garrison commander, and a plan was forged to kill the Agent, open the Portal and return to Ys with the Garrison.

em>Act 3 was a quick raid into the nearby Mushroom Caves and executing the plan to free the Garrison and get home. While the other acts had leaned heavily into roleplaying with all the fantastical NPCs they met, with the occasional skill test, this act was all about action. Sneaking past the ruined colony and its undead farmers, ambushing the goblins in the entrance cave – which escalated into a quick combat. Then, seizing the magic Spear of Dawn from the Goblin’s leader and using it to set the fungus-based creature on fire. Rushing back to the fort, sneaking up on the Agent, thrusting the burning Spear of Dawn, a potent anti-undead weapon, into its bones killing it. Finally, the group’s wizard opened the portal, and back to Ys, where they squared it all with Judge Vinder.

Phew. And this is only one way through the adventure, which is a mini-sandbox.  I’m highly happy with its initial outing and overjoyed to find when I got home that it has been funded and will be available to backers as a stretch goal.

Beyond Dread Portals is in its final week over at Kickstarter and is available to back until Sunday 19th November.

Onwards to the Fort on the Edgelands!

Beyond Dread Portals is ticking along constantly through the mid-campaign doldrums.

If you were holding off backing because the Signed and Sent version was POD, we’ve now enough backers so that the book will be a properly printed book with sewn pages, higher quality paper and a ribbon.

Since we are bearing in on the 2nd Stretch goal, the adventure The Fort on the Edgelands, and it is Sunday, my traditional time to write DnD adventures going back to the 80s, I’ve posted a big update about that adventure, which I’m running next Saturday at Grogmeet (places still available).

Back Beyond Dread Portals, WIN PRIZES!

The Beyond Dread Portals Kickstarter opens tomorrow. If you back in the first two days, not only do you get an Early Bird Backer gift of the League of Explorers Character Roster, but you also get entered into a Prize Draw.

Go to the Kickstarter page, which is in prelaunch mode now, and sign up to be notified when we launch.

The Early Bird Gift is a pdf of the League of Explorers Character Roster. This supplement will have 20 characters at least that you can use as premade characters and non-player characters for your games.

Art by Dan Barker

Introducing Portal D20

I’ve named the system that powers Beyond Dread Portals, Portal D20. This is a graceful, striped-down D20 system that brings fast-flowing yet descriptive action to the gaming table.

The following two page pdf, gives the nuts and bolts of the system, and an example player character.

Sign up for notification when the Kickstarter opens next week. Back within the first two days and you’ll receive an early Backer’s Gift (The League of Explorers Character Roster, 20+ premade characters for your games) and be entered into a prize draw.

Behold the Empire of Ys

The Empire of Ys is a baroque Renaissance setting that is at the heart of Beyond Dread Portals, which is coming to Kickstarter next week. This page-long summary briefly explains the worlds and guilds that make up the Empire.

Sign up for notification when the Kickstarter opens next week. Back within the first two days and you’ll receive and early Backer’s Gift (The League of Explorers Character Roster, 20+ premade characters for your games) and be entered into a prize draw.

Fun Facts about Beyond Dread Portals

Beyond Dread Portals is coming to Kickstarter next week.

If someone puts you on the spot and asks about the game, Roll D20 and consult this table!

Roll 1D20 Fun Fact!
1 Fun Fact about Dandies in Beyond Dread Portals. Not only do they fight threats to civilisation from beyond the magic portals, but they look wonderfully stylish and flashing while they do it.
2 Did you know the ancient decedent and ever-shifting architectural wonder that is the infinite ring-city of Ys is now ruled by an undead Autarch?
3 Ys has many Guilds which regulate and coordinate the professional people of the Empire. They struggle to expand their influence across the Five Worlds. Sometimes, that influence is used for nefarious reasons.
4 They say the League of Explorers cannot call itself a guild because of its sloppy attitude and wanton behaviour. Serious academics say that pedants shouldn’t be allowed to smear an organisation essential to the safe exploration and defence of the realm.
5 Wizards in Beyond Dread Portals can be many things. House Wizards of the Five Families, Academic researchers who provide extra magical support for expeditions, glowing Priests of Dawn, not to mention cheeky fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants chancers from the League of Adventurers. They may share a class, but each character is an individual.
6 Beyond Dread Portals uses a rule system that should be familiar if you’ve played the World’s Favourite Fantasy system at any point. It just doesn’t require much pulling out of hair and focuses on having a good time.
7 The setting is a weird fantasy Renaissance City, with all the intrigue that entails, which has a tenuous grip in the worlds beyond the magical portals that it’s magicians’ control. Is this the basis of a viable Empire?
8 Goblins, in Beyond Dread Portals, are a fungal species from the world of Samara. They were added to the League of Explorer’s Bestiary after award-winning work by Associate Sage Sugunus de Arcani, which unfortunately spread them to the rest of the Empire. Classification Vermin.
9 Despite having an inbuilt setting, you can easily use the system for other worlds. For example, I’ve used it effortlessly for adventures set in King James I’s early years with Tudor adventurers working for Dr John Dee, dealing with supernatural threats from beyond.
10 Warriors trade in force of arms. They may have many class specialisms, such as Berserkers, Champion of Dawn, Heavy Infantry, Heavy Weapons Fighters, Sharpshooters, Swashbucklers and Swordmasters. Despite sharing a class, all Warriors are different.
11 There is an illegal trade in souls between the Hag Queens of Erebus and members of one of the Five Noble Houses of Ys. They regularly frame the Guard Dogs who guard the sealed Dread Portal to Erebus to cover up their crimes.
12 I’ve decided to reimagine an adventure, gamers of a certain age would have all played in the 80s, through the lens of Beyond Dread Portals and make it 100% more fun.  See this post for more info.

13 Beyond Dread Portals is nicely contained in a single 6 x 9 book, about 280 pages. The book includes enough character options, spells, setting details and creatures for years of play without overloading the GM or players. Why take three books into the gaming session when you can take one?
14 Erebus is an endless living cave system. The Empire of Ys attempted to set up a colony there, but its environment proved so alien that they barely got a foothold. Due to certain hostile native species, the colony failed and was abandoned. While officially still part of the Empire, apart from the Keep on the Edgelands, the Imperial presence on Erebus retreated behind a closed portal.
15 Nespo is often confused with Erebus because both worlds are officially off-limits. The League of Explorers had high hopes when they discovered the vast ruined civilisation that the harsh desert had eaten up. They, and their powerful patrons, thought it would be never never-ending treasure trove of wonderous magic items and easy gold and jewels. They were wrong. Erebus is where the Autarch originates.
16 Of the Five Worlds in Beyond Dread Portals, Tethys is a water world of many islands. But beware, its seas are infested with pirates, and creatures that love not the land dwellers live under the waves. Here, the adventurous spirit of the League of Explorers finds one of its purest expressions yet one of its highest rates of loss.
17 The Guild of the Black Rose is a rather sinister Merchant’s Guild since it has the firm backing of the Autarch and its Agents. Since the takeover, it has swallowed up all competitors and now spreads its influence through establishing new trade routes throughout the Five Worlds.
18 Gods? Yes, there are Gods in Beyond Dread Portals, including the nameless Dead God who gave up his name to become lord of Everything. With the Empire of Ys under the Autarch’s control, he and his worshipers might achieve that goal.
19 So, do you want to crawl on your knees through the Dungeon or run free exploring the infinite number of worlds Beyond Dread Portals?
20 In the original draft, Dr. Mitch left out the stats for dragons and had to be politely reminded to include them. Don’t be as forgetful as the good Dr. Sign up to be notified when his Beyond Dread Portals launches on Kickstarter next week.

Sign up to the pre-launch page to be notified when the campaign launches and be eligible for an Early Backer gift and entry into a prize draw.