Animon Story TTRPG

Created by Zak Barouh

The Tabletop RPG about Kids and their Monster friends!

Latest Updates from Our Project:

New Adventure Reveal & Timeline Updates
8 days ago – Tue, Mar 14, 2023 at 06:47:54 AM

Hello again,

I hope everyone is doing well. During the last update I revealed the Animon Creator's League 3rd Party Agreement, which I'm delighted to see has been well received! It's a wonderful feeling to see others using Animon Story as the framework for brilliant new creations.

Today I'm able to share new details on the remainder of the production and fulfilment process for Animon Story. By now, it's clear that our original fulfilment estimate of December 2022 was unrealistic, most likely even if we had not encountered any production delays. For reasons I will go into later, it would have been far better to give an estimate of a full year from the end of the Kickstarter - meaning June 2023, for all backers to actually be getting physical rewards in their hands. In the interest of transparency, I'll be going into exactly how that original estimate was made, and the current situation.

This update also serves as an announcement for a new upcoming adventure, Shadow Under Bough, which will be the last of the stretch goal rewards, delivered as a digital reward to those who backed at BASIC Stage or higher. I'll also talk a bit about some extra rewards I'm planning.

Timeline Updates

For the last three months, we've been tied up in a series of 'pre-print' issues that have been the main source of delays. This, on top of the unrealistic December 2022 estimate, has been quite a source of stress and frustration for me personally, however I want to assure everyone that along with Andreas at Metal Weave Games, we have been navigating these issues with the quality of the final product as our primary concern. I'd like to break down here exactly the situation, but first I will give a very brief overview of the timeline as it stands for those who want it at a glance.

The New Timeline

In the last few days, I have received confirmation that the printers are finally going ahead. With this in mind, the actual production process and preparing the books to ship is estimated to take 4-5 weeks. From there, product will be shipped by freight to distribution hubs in the US, Australia, and the UK. Then, the rewards will be sent out to each individual backer. The time taken for this shipping can vary a lot, but we currently estimate between 2-3 months. This means rewards should start arriving with you in June, almost exactly a year after the end of the campaign.

Reviewing the Process

Our original estimate, December 2022, was based on the fact that most of the content for the books had already been completed. The plan was to quickly put together additional content funded by stretch goals, before going to print.

Even ignoring production delays, which are common in the industry, preparing all this additional content was a larger job than anticipated. With the extra funds, I was able to commission a considerable amount of new artwork, and on top of the two books, we funded the card deck, which had to be built from scratch. This was no small amount of work, and I did that step entirely myself.

When it comes to printing, leaving aside the more recent delays, preparing two books, a card deck, and a slipcase for print was a much bigger job than I predicted. To begin with, delivering digital rewards was my sole concern, so that backers would have the game in some form at least. This meant that when digital rewards were fulfilled, all the files had to be reworked for print. I've done plenty of layout, but things like a card deck and the slipcase were new elements that I had to learn how to do properly, with plenty of help and advise from Metal Weave Games. This process was completed in December 2022, when I sent what I thought were the final print files off to be produced. This still put us behind our estimate, but I was expecting things to proceed quickly from that point, which unfortunately did not happen.

Pre-print Delays

As mentioned earlier, the last three months have been entirely wrapped up in pre-print. This is the process during which the printers identify problems with the print files that need fixing. Several times throughout 2023 I have believed the problems resolved, and thought that the printing was underway, only to have further issues crop up. The largest of these has been related to many illustrations in the books being too low-resolution to properly print. A lot of this stems from the fact that much of the artwork was created before I even planned to print Animon Story at all. Andreas in particular has spent much of the last month converting images to a higher resolution format, going in by hand to make sure that none of the detail or style is lost. Below you can see an original low-res image, and an early stage high-res conversion. You may notice that colours/lines appear off in the conversion--fixing and adjusting these things has been a long manual process. In the end though, we have made sure that the print book will look amazing.

Neither image is final - this simply illustrated the process

As a result of this process, I have been very tentative about giving new delivery estimates, because repeatedly having to go back on something I've said is extremely frustrating for me, and for you as backers as well no doubt. I am so very grateful for the patience you have all had so far - now that this loop of pre-print delays is over, I am hopeful that the new estimates given above are accurate.

I hope you'll agree that a year turnaround for a project involving two books, a slipcase, and a card deck, is reasonable. That said, I take personal responsibility for making a mistake with the original estimate. I have been doing whatever possible to speed things along, but at this point most of the process it out of my hands, and relies on the printers and the state of freight shipping in the next couple of months.

New Adventure Reveal

As production continues, I've turned my attention to completing the last stretch goal reward - a digital adventure. I can now reveal the title, and a sneak preview. Shadow Under Bough will be an adventure set in the human world, with powerful SUPER and ULTRA Stage Animon threatening the peace of a small rural community.

The quiet village of Mistlewick is surrounded by idyllic countryside, from the rolling hills of grass to the nearby Wycott Wood. The folk of Mistlewick are busy preparing for the Branch Bower Festival, part of the local May Day tradition, but there are rumours spreading of a strange presence in Wycott Wood. Some believe it’s an ill omen, marking bad luck for the upcoming festival. What is really going on beneath those ancient boughs?

Coming soon!

Shadow Under Bough is currently in the writing stage. After that, I'll be laying it out and releasing it digitally for backers. I hope you look forward to facing off against the sinister animon Glarecrow! This fabulous illustration is by Addriano Divino, and is one of the new pieces funded by the Kickstarter.

There's a shadow falling over the Animon World…and their name is Glarecrow. A master of illusion, and bearing a paralysing glare, this cruel animon brings nightmares in their wake.

Additional Content, More Rewards

For some time now I have been planning to open Ko-fi Memberships as a way for people to directly support me, and gain access to exclusive animon content on a monthly basis, whether that's new adventures, NPCs, settings, optional rules, Kid Types, etc. This could be a vital way for me to support my work between larger releases, and also provide content for Animon Story to those who're seeking it. I haven't felt comfortable doing this at a time when backers are still waiting on rewards, though.

Currently, I am planning that all Kickstarter backers will receive extra rewards, perhaps the first couple of months of content from the Ko-fi Memberships, for free, to make up for the delays in the print production. One of the first content drops will be a new Kid Type, 'The Twins,' which not one but two players pick together.

Please let me know what other content you'd be interested in!

Thank you

As always, thank you for your support and understanding. This stage of the process, where I have much less direct ability to speed things up, is quite difficult for me as someone who prefers to be hands on. In the end though, it means Animon Story will be a fantastic product - range of products even - and I am living for the day when all of you get your rewards.

I hope this update has been helpful, and rest assured both me and Metal Weave Games will be working day and night (literally sometimes) to get these books finished to the highest possible quality. In the meantime, I'll be providing extra content to make up for the delays.

See you soon,

Zak B

Fulfilment Timeline & Animon Creator's League
about 2 months ago – Fri, Jan 27, 2023 at 05:21:38 AM

Hello everyone,

Hard to believe it's already near the end of January! I hope you are all having a pleasant start to the year. I have been very busy working on various Animon Story related projects. There are two main points I'd like to talk about in this update.

Fulfilment Timeline

In the last update, I said that we would be hoping to start fulfilment of the physical rewards in February 2023. I'd like to give a slight update on that front. At the beginning on January there were still a few layout/format issues with the print files that needed to be addressed, which have all been sorted. Unfortunately, we lost time due to some slow/mixed up communication between myself, the publisher, and the printers. While I was under the impression printing had started around 3 weeks ago, it had not.

This means the timeline has been shifted back a little more, and I now believe it is unrealistic to expect that fulfilment will begin in February. I expect to post updates more frequently as this process comes to an end, but as of right now I'm informed that we can expect books to start shipping out in March.

I am very eager to have the printing complete, and to be able to show you a preview of the finished product! As those who have backed Kickstarters before will know, shipping is perhaps the least predictable stage, but this is also where the expertise of Andreas from Metal Weave Games will be helping out massively. We are all working hard to get the books to you as swiftly as possible, and in the meantime, I am extremely grateful for your patience and understanding.

There is one further reward to be fulfilled, the additional adventure unlocked via stretch goals. This will be digital only, so no shipping required, but I have made the decision to heavily prioritise getting the physical books out before I turn my attention to this.

Animon Creator's League

Something different: the Animon Creator's League has been launched! This is something I have had in mind for a long while, and only recently I've mentioned it publicly due to the fallout relating to D&D's new OGL. 

The Animon Creator's League is an agreement set out by me, guidelines to help and encourage those looking to create their own 3rd party content related to Animon Story. To go along with this, I've created a new logo/badge which can be used by anyone.

You can read the agreement here. If you have any further questions, you can contact me via or comment here. I will try to make myself available to reply as often as possible.

The goal of the Creator's League is to increase visibility and provide a helpful source of information for anyone looking to create, publish, and/or sell Animon Story content. It does not claim any ownership over said content, nor does it request royalties, fees, or any other kind of legal binding based on my copyright of Animon Story.

I am very excited to see what comes from this. I hope you all have a wonderful time creating your own Animon Story works!

More places to follow

Due to the general instability of Twitter, which is where most of my audience was built, I have been trying to diversify the ways people can stay in touch, and see what I'm up to. I am still active on Twitter (@ZakBFree), however here is a list of other ways you can follow:

Sign up to my newsletter here.

Follow my Tumblr here (generally longer blog-style posts).

Follow my Instagram here (short updates/images).

Thank you for all your support. See you soon,

Zak B

Production Update, Card Deck, Charity Tournament!
4 months ago – Thu, Nov 17, 2022 at 03:50:41 AM

Hello all,

It's been a little while since the last update, so firstly I'd like to thank everyone for their patience. Since digital delivery was completed, both myself and Metal Weave Games have been hard at work preparing the physical rewards, which, as some of you may know, is where things can take more time due to back-and-forth with the printer etc.

We are now very close to finalizing the print which means all the files will be sent off and Animon Story will become a real book. Based on this, our estimated fulfillment date has been pushed back from December to February 2023. I sincerely apologize for this delay, and I'm doing everything possible to make sure we keep as tight a schedule on this as possible.

Print Proofs

One of the main reasons for the delay was seeking to improve the quality of the print. After getting an initial quote, I received a 'blank proof' of the books, slipcase, and card deck - nothing printing on them, but showing off the quality of the material etc.

Initial Print Proofs

The books look and feel great, and I'm so excited to see them in full print. The Ani-thology 'softcover' has been upgraded to a kind of halfway 'flexi' cover, to ensure it sits nicely in the case next to the hardcover rulebook. The slipcase is sturdy and will look fantastic on the shelf.

The card deck was, however, not of the quality we wanted. The tuck box was rather flimsy, and the cards themselves were too thin. Based on these proofs, we have spent more to increase the thickness of the cards, and present them in a proper base and lid box, which will be far stronger and keep for longer (as well as looking much nicer).

Animon Cards

Speaking of the card deck, the design and layout has all been completed, and I think they look fantastic! The deck is packed with 50 unique illustrated animon on large tarot-sized cards, fully equipped with in-game stats from the NPC statblocks, making it a very pretty and very useful addition. Every Element, Classification, and Evolutionary Stage is represented in the deck!

Charity Pokémon Tournament

I suspect that many of you will be starting your adventures in the new Pokémon games this weekend. While you play, why not check out a Pokémon Tournament being run for charity by Nameless Domain. I am very proud that Animon Story is an official sponsor for this event, which is going to be super fun and raise money for important causes.

See you soon

I hope everyone has been enjoying the digital versions of Animon Story and the Ani-thology since they were released. I am living every day in eager anticipation of the physical books reaching backers, and I'm working every day to make that happen as soon as possible. Once again, I apologise for the delays, but it is all in the pursuit of making the final product as amazing as possible.

I will be back with another update when printing is progressing.

Thank you!

Digital Delivery & Feature Illustration Reveal
7 months ago – Wed, Aug 17, 2022 at 04:50:47 AM

Hello everyone!

Your very own animon story is about to begin...

The time has finally come, and assuming Backerkit give approval, digital delivery of Animon Story and Ani-thology PDFs will start in the next 2-3 days! I am beyond excited for everyone to get their hands on the books.

To celebrate, take a look at the amazing final illustration from Aimee Cairns!

All backers should soon start receiving requests to fill out a Backerkit survey, after which the digital downloads will be available. It may take some time for every survey to go out, so don't panic if you don't see it right away. Currently, we expect most of them will go out on Monday 15th August.

Final Additions

I've been hard at work adding all the final touches to the core rulebook - the biggest job was the new and improved NPC section, with far more statblocks to give you ready-to-use animon, and of course as inspiration for creating your own.

Among the new NPCs are all the fantastically illustrated animon by Meliiow. I showed Orpix and Maloccimp in a previous update, but check out the others! These new NPCs will all be appearing in the fully illustrated Animon Card Deck as well.

From the left: Prismaxim, Lunagon, Phytocopter, and Beetledew! Who's your favourite?

Also added is the Optional Rules Suite. Many possible rules modules have been discussed in previous updates, so I hope everyone will be happy with the final result! Among various new Evolution rules, capture mechanics etc. is a collecting/battling minigame to represent an in-universe TCG. I hope you all have fun playing about with these options.

A CobbleCritters Crossover!

In very exciting, and previously unannounced news, Animon Story is crossing over with the upcoming monster-battling card game, CobbleCritters! The game looks like a lot of fun, and of course, the subject matter made it the perfect fit for Animon Story.

You can check out CobbleCritters here and follow their Kickstarter here! The game will include the animon Lancelotl in an awesome collaboration card, and on the Animon Story side, when you receive your downloads you'll see that the NPC section has a page of guest appearances from CobbleCritters, complete with their wonderful illustrations and Animon Story stats.

Work on Physical Rewards and a New Add-On

Now that the digital release of the two books is nearing completion, my attention will turn to prepping everything for printing. This includes the Animon Card Deck, and work on the deluxe Slipcase Collection that Animon Master backers will be receiving!

Of course, you'll be able to purchase add-ons via Backerkit if you feel you missed out on something during the campaign. Not only that, but Andreas and Metal Weave Games and I have been working on preparing a brand new add-on, an enamel pin set of adorable animon!

I can't wait to hear what everyone thinks of the books when they start to go out in the next few days. As always, Animon Story is a real passion project, and I'm so delighted to have folks who share in that passion for stories about Kids and their Monster friends!

One final reminder, if you want smaller day-to-day updates on what's going on, head over to my Twitter and follow me there: @ZakBFree.

Many thanks, and speak to you soon!

Digital Delivery Update & Big Art Teaser!
8 months ago – Thu, Jul 14, 2022 at 06:31:52 AM

Hello again,

This is a smaller update as we get closer to the completion of the initial digital rewards. As mentioned in the previous update, work is progressing well and everything is coming together. That said, I have decided to push back the expected digital delivery by 2 weeks from the end of July.

To be very clear, that means PDF copies of the Animon Story rulebook and the Ani-thology adventure collection should be ready and on the way to all of you at the latest by August 14th 2022.

As the final pieces are falling into place, it's clear to me that while it may still be physically possible to send out the digital files by the end of July, it would leave very little time between the final illustrations/content being ready, and making the final editing passes. An extra 2 weeks of buffer period will be plenty of time to take care of the final layout, editing, and proofing. As I hope many will understand, it's crucial not to rush this final step.

It is still very possible (even likely) that the files will be ready before August 14th, in which case the roll-out will start earlier as well. At this stage, I'd rather you all had the right ballpark expectation ahead of time than make an apologetic update on July 31st when things didn't quite line up.

I know delays are always disappointing, but I hope you can see why this very short delay on the initial estimated delivery is necessary and realistic. Thank you for your understanding!

Incoming Illustrations

On to the art, and as always it's massively exciting to receive updates from the illustrators! The final Kid Type illustrations have started coming in from Crowva - see the Delinquent and Gamer below (these two have a couple of very minor tweaks still being applied, but basically finished). These new illustrations are absolutely fantastic, I'm so delighted with the energy they bring to the Kid section of the book.

Very nearly finished versions of the Delinquent and Gamer Kid Types!

Meliiow, the artist currently working on animon, has sent over some sketches of the next friend to join the crew - Lunagon, the Dragon Classification Light Element animon!

WIP sketches of Lunagon

The Big Tease

The final illustration Aimee Cairns' feature work, is nearing completion. I'm so excited to reveal it in all its glory, but for now take a look at this blurred teaser. What do you think?

Can you spot any familiar faces in the blur? Final version coming soon!

Optional Rules & Final Steps

Since the last update, I have very nearly completed the Optional Rules Suite, including a mini-game to represent an In-universe TCG, Fusion Evolution, and much more. This is the last bit of design/writing work remaining ahead of the digital release (I still have a stretch goal adventure to write, but that will come after the main book is out in peoples' hands).

While the design is being finished up, I am submerging myself in editing and layout. More extensive proofreading edits, new illustrations, a re-worked NPC section - these are just some of the changes being made to make this the ultimate version of Animon Story. This is a big job, and not one that can be rushed, so along with needing a little buffer room for the final illustrations to come in, this is one of the major reasons why I've announced this extra 2 weeks of work time.

I'm sure the next update won't be far off, and I'm looking forward so much to being able to send out the PDFs to everyone. Backerkit will soon be up and running for our project, ready ahead of the first digital deliveries. Before long, the printing will also be underway of course, there's a lot to look forward to!

Thank you again for your understanding, and see you next time.

Zak B