Tabletop gaming was almost always a part of Jamie Van Doren’s life. As a young child in Southern California, he first experienced the Dungeons & Dragons red box when his uncle brought it home. In high school, gaming became his first opportunity to develop a friend group, as his previous living situations had kept him fairly isolated.
“I had just come out of a situation where I had been homeless as a teen for almost a year and gaming provided me this amazing opportunity to express myself and connect with people without my ethnicity mattering without, my socioeconomic status mattering,” Van Doren told Gayming. “And it was phenomenal, because I just got to connect with people.”
That feeling of connection that transcends your day-to-day marginalizations is what built the foundation of NeverEnding and the Anansi’s Tapestry of Lives game master resource book. The main point of NeverEnding has been to create a content generation and sharing platform where TTRPG players can take the characters and stories from their tabletop games and turn them into web comics or animated videos, even without drawing or animation skills.
During the development of this platform, the team at NeverEnding started creating art and writing characters within the app as non-player characters. As the team began sharing them for feedback, they started getting interest in writing more characters for the app. Because of this, Van Doren realized that his team had an opportunity to raise up marginalized voices in the TTRPG space while also providing players with a variety of NPCs for systems like Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder.
“And for me, that representation and inclusivity has been really important, it’s kind of core to our company,” Van Doren said. “I’m mixed race Latino, I’m gay, the majority of our team are BIPOC. I think we have one cis, white, heterosexual dude on our whole [NeverEnding] team.”
And thus, NeverEnding’s Anansi’s Tapestry of Lives game master resource book was born. The project is now live on Kickstarter, and features over 100 illustrated characters, nearly 30 magic items, almost 20 side quests, role tables, and 40+ stat blocks by acclaimed writers from across the TTRPG industry, including Jasmine Bhullar, Tanya DePass, Ed Greenwood, Jim Zub, and Keith Baker. But the book isn’t just written by industry heavy-hitters. Creators who have worked on smaller projects via platforms like Itch.io and Drive Thru RPG were also included in this project. Best of all, each writer was paid for their work in advance.
Anansi's Tapestry of Lives is LIVE on #Kickstarter!— NeverEnding, Inc. (@BeNeverEnding) September 27, 2022
This amazing project is over 320 pages of content by some of your favorite #TTRPG creators. There's over 100 unique and useful NPCs, plus stat block, magic items, adventures, and more. Get it today! https://t.co/F8FBb0f1j3 pic.twitter.com/cJS881tjxy
“There are so many high quality writers and game designers that people just don’t know about,” Van Doren said. “And I’m excited that we’re getting to work with the ones that they do know about and the ones that they are about to learn about.”
Those who back the project within its first 24 hours of going live on Kickstarter will receive a special D20 dice. Pledging at higher levels will also get you Anansi’s Journal of Common Places, a GM resource book focused on different locations.