Monday Pointer, March 25, 2013

D4: From Africa to the Stars
Sine Nomine has just put out (to the supporters) The House of Bone and Amber. It was originally going to be Kevin’s entry to Raggi’s big adventure run. It instead became a stretch goal on the Spears of the Dawn Kickstarter. With its release that Kickstarter is done, on time (with the item for the Kickstarter itself having been two months early). Now we are awaiting the merchants book for Stars without Number.

Monday Pointers, March 18, 2013 Edition

Wow did a lot of people post interesting stuff while I was on vacation:

D4: Vampires of Mexico
While the Rifts:2112 is a very different direction from my RDR ideas they’ve been worth reading. His ideas on using local vampires to replace both the pseudo-European vampires of the Vampire Kingdoms (and the lame alien intelligences) is worth outright stealing. Matriarchal vampire kingdoms in old Mexico whose cast of male ghouls are what most gringos think vampires are is inspired. Read it as a case study in using local color/inspiration instead of bog standard D&D monsters for a better game if nothing else.

D6: Fancy Pants PCs
I especially like his rules for privileged backgrounds at level 1. Requiring a justification, no matter how lame, and the pseudo-patron gifts are exactly the kind of touches that make old school play different from more modern games. Sure, you can point buy the same thing in Hero/GURPS/EABA/Storytellering and so on (and I’ve had fun with 3 of those 4…haven’t had a chance to play EABA yet) but that’s a surface similarity. Underneath is a world of difference in attitude and outcomes in play.

D8: Glorantha 4th Edition
I had thought a little on these lines (although I’m much more in the “Exalted is Glorantha” school) but never this thoroughly. This might go in my “someday/maybe” pile. Oh, and the Shadow power source could map well to Trolls.

D10: But officer I was just eating porridge when the blonde broke in…
Beedo wonders what the wandering monsters are doing and creates some tables for more interesting encounters.

D12: Read all those Marvel comics you can’t afford
Hat tip to Aos at The Metal Earth for pointing me to a $60/year digital archive at Marvel. The only downside is its Marvel. If only DC would get this smart and let me read their back catalog online.

How to do a Kickstarter…

The Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls Kickstarter funded, at just shy of 5x the target, on February 5th.

This weekend’s update:

We promised everyone (except the underappreciated $1 backers!) a postcard. Then we promised to send a bookmark, 4 tattoos, (and in some cases, an early bird magnet). I am in the process of printing out labels for these. I have printed out labels for everyone who pledged at a level higher than $60 (I’m working my way down the list) and these will go out tomorrow or tuesday. I’m afraid the rest of you will have to wait until I get home from the GAMA Trade Show. I leave in two or three hours, and will be gone for a week.

I would have gotten more labels done, but I spent most of the day yesterday at a photo shoot! 😉 We had a lot of fun, and I think we will have a cool looking poster of the five of us. We’ll let you all see it soon.

Now, is this the big stuff? No, this is tiny premiums that needed to be designed and manufactured because, except for the postcard, none was planned beforehand.

Yet, here we are under six weeks later and they’re on their way to a good number of people and the others are delayed due to GAMA is this week. They’ll get mailed after. The reason is understandable, measurable (we know when GAMA ends), and actually given.

Plus, another big premium, the post of the team, is actually being done.

Now, if the main item, the book, slips they’ve already started to build goodwill by getting at least little things into our hands now. Given mockup pages of deluxe were in the video I suspect it’s more done than we thought and the money is mostly for art and, *gasp*, editing. We know that’s the stated purpose (and Liz produced what remains one of the best edited RPG books of all time with fifth edition 30 years ago) but now we have some evidence.

While there is plenty of time for me to look too optimistic I suspect this may be a Kickstarter, along with Spears of the Dawn and Adventures Dark and Deep Player’s Handbook (both of which came in early and the later enough underbudget the the DMG for the game won’t need a Kickstarter), which is a good example for future RPG people.


Tim Shorts did a review of his Kickstarter experience. I figured why not join the band wagon:

Eldritch Skies did deliver although looking back I think it was somewhat late. I had honestly forgotten about it when I got it. I think it was one that had shipping cost issues after the fact but in general I’m satisfied with it.

Came in on time (or close enough that I didn’t notice) and had an extra bonus book. I’m very satisfied.

Earlier this week Jack at Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeoness released Devilmount. My comment on it was “This, more than any rant about how he’s ripped people off, shows how much Dwimmermount has trashed its author’s credability. Sad, but true.” I stand by that statement. I am of the opinion that the preview documents are all I’ll ever get. I’m just happy I didn’t go crazy and only went for the PDFs. I’m extremely unsatisfied.

I will give Tavis credit for all he’s done since James went AWOL. I won’t hold this one against Autarch, just James.

Late but we got it. Along the way we got regular updates and had much of the material for use in our games along the way. I’m satisfied.

I don’t remember if we had a timeline and there isn’t one mentioned but I’m happy with the progress (it went into layout in late January). I do wish we got more updates. I’m pretty impatient with this one because I really want it. Still, I’d say I’m satisfied.

Completed early. Kevin had it written (the day the Kickstarter closed we had the alpha draft already laid out). The campaign was to buy art. Easily the best Kickstarter I’ve joined or heard about. If Kevin does it again I’ll be in and probably in deeper in terms of upgrades. I only went for the PDF as it hit about the time ACK Player’s Companion was very late and Dwimmermount was going off the rails.

I am extremely satisfied.

I think this one is technically early and even if it isn’t it feels that way. We have the PDFs and those who got books are waiting for checking of the proofs. This is another case where I didn’t upgrade but will if Joseph does one in the future. He isn’t, however, doing one for the next book as he says he has been able to recover the seed money so he doesn’t need to do one. This is another extremely satisfied.

I am in for over $100 for the first time in a Kickstarter. I am taking the risk because I have loved Glorantha since RQ2 when I was in 8th grade. I also trust Rick as he has a track record in the industry. The fact that the core book of the set was already written and the Kickstarter was for art, editing, and production costs played a roll.

The deepest I’ve gone into a Kickstarter, just short of $300, is Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls. I’ve been playing it longer than any games save D&D and Gamma World (which I bought the same day to get the dice in the Gamma World box). Rick has been very on top of things already. I was willing to go all in on this one because: Rick has been in the game business longer than I’ve been playing, Liz and Mike have freelance careers with proven track records, Liz edited the best edition to date, and I just love the game.

So, of nine campaigns I’m satisfied with four, extremely satisfied with two, have given up completely on one, and waiting (but so far satisfied) on two recently ended one. Why have I done better than a lot of people seem to have done? I think I have two advantages:

1. Until recently I didn’t invest a lot. The two I have are people with long (10 year plus and 40 year plus) track records. It’s easy to forget you lost $10 in a bad Kickstarter than it is $100.

2. I have always figured that you’re waiting at least a year or six months past their planned release date, whichever comes second. That means only two have been “late” in my mind.

What advice would I give to keep people satisfied on RPG Kickstarters?

1. Have a rough draft at a minimum before asking for money. Although not listed because Kickstarter (they may not have been done on Kickstarter, actually) no longer shows them I did contribute to two or three (I honestly don’t remember) Reign supplements. Those were done entirely on spec and only released if the campaigns raised money. Spears of the Dawn and Guide to Glorantha had stuff I could see the day they funded. Knowing the product is ready creates confidence. You are asking people to buy on spec so do some written on spec first as an act of good faith.

2. Take your estimated date and add six months. If you are delayed you still look okay to us and if you’re early you move to the extremely satisfied column. Mr. Scott knew what he was doing.

3. Communicate regularly. You’ll notice two were very delayed (ACK’s Player’s Guide and Dwimmermount). One I’m satisfied with and the other even if I get it will have left a bad taste in my mouth. What’s the difference? Tavis had stuff in my email every week and more often than not a new bit of usable stuff was part of it. I know these are hobby businesses more often than not, and I’m willing to cut some slack if you give me something. Just having my money and promising the world is a short trip to “fuck off”. James has not only killed my interest in Dwimmermount. I’ve also lost interest in his new Thousand Suns products. It’s similar to my probably response if we finally get A Matter for Men. The time has passed, and I’ve moved on. At least David Gerrold doesn’t have my money.