I’ve said this many times before, but for the benefit of our new readers, I don’t do 5E. I have no specific grudge against the system, there are just other systems I am more inclined to play. I say this mostly as a way to emphasize that if I’m writing about a 5E product, there is probably something about it that REALLY excites me.
This follow-up to the parody campaign setting Monsters of Murka is one of those things that I just can’t justify not writing about. The original release was brilliant; I don’t think I’ve ever been so tempted to pick up a 5E product as I was during that campaign. So here I am salivating over Restaurants and Retail like you wouldn’t believe, wishing it was a different system, and rewatching one of the most entertainingly narrated campaign videos I’ve watched in a very long time.
The opening of the campaign goes like this:
Murka is about to get a whole lot tastier…
Restaurants and Retail is the first full-scale expansion for the United States pop-culture parody campaign setting: Monsters Of Murka (a gold best-seller on DriveThruRPG).
Designed for 5e DnD, Restaurants and Retail includes new subclasses for every class, over 20 horrifying monsters, over a hundred weapons, spells, and magic items, and a host of tools to enhance play.
If that blurb isn’t enough to convince you on its own, the thumbnail image for the video (above) is a freaking Guy Fieri styled dragon. I’m sorry, what now? Yes, please!
Full of humour and subtle-not-so-subtle shots at the mythical Murkan Dream, Restaurants and Retail doesn’t even seem to throw a veil of parody over “Murka’s oldest and most powerful foe: Late-stage Capitalism.” There are locations like Flavor City (horribly spelled without a U in it, because Murka) and Walmoria that magically appears overnight in otherwise prosperous communities. There is also a bevy of brilliant subclasses such as the Saucerer subclass for Sorcerers and the Punk Barbarian.
Another thing I rarely include in my CrowdFUNding Spotlight articles is the clever names for the pledge levels, but as a big Gordon Ramsey fan I can’t pass up the opportunity to say that the opening $20 (USD) pledge level, “IT’S F*!&KING RAW,” includes immediate access to the digital playtest materials and the final PDF product. (Both of which are included in the higher tiers as well.)
$35 includes the softcover print edition, and $50 either includes a copy of the core Monsters of Murka book OR five metal coins from Campaign Coins which is a legitimately good price for their coins. There was a $150 tier establishing your visage as a character somewhere in the final artwork of the book, but it sold out quickly
The amazing work done on this game is only part of what brought this campaign to my attention as quickly as it did. TheRatHole.ca believes strongly in equality and accessibility for all gamers. Action Fiction has not only brought together a diverse group of creators for the game, but have gone above and beyond in making both the book and entire campaign as accessible as possible. Everything from the fonts being used in the book, to image captions optimized for screen readers, and excellent closed captioning in their video. These are things that are small elements that most people may never notice, but that opens up the game to a much broader audience. For example, I have never noticed how few campaign videos don’t actually include closed captioning because I am not Deaf or significantly hard of hearing. For the record, these are elements I acknowledge need to be addressed as the content on TheRatHole.ca evolves. I also want to commend Action Fiction for including a regular advisor for accessibility issues in their company. There is more to being a good game company than just putting out a good game.