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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Zak S has a New Book - Maze of the Blue Medusa - $50+ HC Preorder - $5+ "Simple PDF"


Yep, Zak S has a new RPG product out called Maze of the Blue Medusa, created with Patrick Stuart.

Now, what's with the pricing indicated in the title of this post?

It's not yet available in Hard Cover. Heck, it's not yet available in "Deluxe PDF" (hyperlinks and such)

The pricing is PWYW with minimal buy ins, so basically anything above the prices listed is a donation.

I purchased the "Simple PDF" earlier today ("Deluxe PDF" will be $10 or a $5 upgrade from "Simple") I have yet to read it BUT I will say it has two annoying features:

- it's a two page spread in layout, so you will not be reading this on your phone or tablet without lots of zooming and moving. Hell, let's be honest, you won't be reading this on anything but a large, wide screen monitor. I'm not sure what the font size used is, but my old eyes are straining at points.

sample 2 page spread for review purposes

- it has these dead RED hyperlinks throughout: more ▶ 

sample for review purposes
Room entries start with a spread offering an overview of each area—room descriptions too long to fit on that spread are marked “more ▶” and have longer descriptions on the following pages.
Annoying and distracting. I guess when the "Deluxe PDF" is released, I will upgrade - assuming it is released as a standard 1-page spread. I really feel like I purchased some form of RPG "Crippleware." $5 for a PDF is pretty much an impulse buy for me but I would have been much happier with a $10 purchase that was easier to use and reference.

Onward to the pricing (review will be down the line, as this is about 250 pages of content.)

There is a whole breakdown of the costs involved in printing this book, which is why (I assume) it is going the preorder route:
For Maze of the Blue Medusa, Zak was paid an advance of $2000. Once the costs of the print run (around $28,600), designer payments ($3000), and Zak's advance are recouped, Zak and Patrick will receive 23% royalties on print and digital copies sold, and its designer (Anton Khodakovsky) will receive a 4% royalty on print and digital copies sold. 
The publisher is a not for profit. I'm assuming (dangerous word here) that the $28,600 for the print run must be raised by print preorders and PDF sales. You'll need about 600 pre-orders to go to print. Or 6,000 sales of the "Simple PDF". Or 3,000 sales of the "Deluxe PDF". Or a combination of the three. I expect it will be a while before it goes to print.

In many ways, this is a crowdfunded project without a funding end date or an estimate on delivery.

I can't recommend the "Simple PDF" unless you have a widescreen monitor to read it on. Thankfully, I do and will try and do a proper review of the contents of the Maze of the Blue Medusa in the near future.



25 comments:

  1. Ken said the book will ship in May. I pre ordered the hardcover and it says I'll be charged on May 19th and shipping will take place shortly thereafter.

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    1. I can't find that info anywhere on the website

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    2. It's definitely displayed after you place your order. That it's not shown before hand is less than optimal, but it's there eventually.

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  2. I don't really care for his products, but my opinion isn't important. Obviously enough people do like things like this or there wouldn't be an advance, much less a product.

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  3. This is not a crowdfunded project at all.

    It is sent to the printers and a book is coming out as soon as the printers print it.

    We started pre-orders today because today was the day that the text was completely corrected and given to the printers, so that meant we had a thing to give to people.

    For 5$ you can upgrade to the fancy pdf when it comes out from the simple pdf if you can't use it.

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    Replies
    1. That's why i "assumed" the cost to print had to be raised before going to print. Thank you for filling in details that were missing.

      Am I right in assuming the fancy PDF will be a standard 1 page spread and usable on tablets and iPads?

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    2. Don't assume. Journalism requires you check sources then--after you check sources--publish things. Not the other way around.

      If you do journalism wrong (even free volunteer journalism on a blog) you accidentally start dumb rumors which achieves the exact opposite of the thing you presumably started your blog to do: tell people true shit.

      The fancy pdf will, yeah, be that.

      Next time you have a question, email me or the publisher.

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    3. Don't assume. Journalism requires you check sources then--after you check sources--publish things. Not the other way around.

      If you do journalism wrong (even free volunteer journalism on a blog) you accidentally start dumb rumors which achieves the exact opposite of the thing you presumably started your blog to do: tell people true shit.

      The fancy pdf will, yeah, be that.

      Next time you have a question, email me or the publisher.

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    4. Zak, you still have me blocked on social media, so the quick and easy G+ message is out of the question and your email address is not associated with the sales page.

      The financial disclosure for the cost of going to print was unique and led me (and others) to the possible conclusion this could be crowdfunded.

      I'll quote myself, as I did not state that was a fact: "I'm assuming (dangerous word here) that the $28,600 for the print run must be raised by print preorders and PDF sales."

      And there wasn't a release date for the printed book on the sales page.

      I wish you and Sator Press luck with this endeavor. It's one hell of an investment.

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    5. While we are on the subject, you never designated what is Open Game Content nor what is Product Identity in your OGL on page 256. I think that makes your OGL invalid. You might want to check on that.

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  4. This is not a crowdfunded project at all.

    It is sent to the printers and a book is coming out as soon as the printers print it.

    We started pre-orders today because today was the day that the text was completely corrected and given to the printers, so that meant we had a thing to give to people.

    For 5$ you can upgrade to the fancy pdf when it comes out from the simple pdf if you can't use it.

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  5. ugh.. I never understand the covers used on some products.

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    1. The picture/painting I can tell by looking at is very well done but it just isn't something that I like. I guess I like less abstract artwork for covers and things.

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    2. This one looks kind of like an homage to 90's white wolf stuff to me, but i'm not really an expert. I was wondering if it was Smith's work but the product website attributes it to Anton Khodakovsky.

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    3. Khodakovsky is the layout artist, I believe.

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    4. Ah, yes - it's there in the text above, he's the layout.

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    5. Got me. When you click through to the product page it credits Khodakovsky with cover art. Could be a typo or maybe i'm misinterpreting since it credits him with "book covers" plural.

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  6. For good or bad, the cover is consistent with Zac's style. I could have told you it was his book without his name on the cover. The 2-page spread (beyond that it is an actually forced 2-page spread instead of allowing the reader to pick 2-page spread on the pdf reader) is well laid out. I like the use of bullets, and bold, the additions of the motivations, and the non-intrusive red link in the second sample all add to the usability and should have been standard in Game Design decades ago.

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    1. Sadly, the forced 2 page spread makes the "Simple PDF" essentially crippleware. The red ink links are not active in the simple PDF either.

      The fact that you have to pay an extra 5 bucks to get the Deluxe PDF with your print copy instead of the crippleware version is sad.

      I'd be happy if the Simple PDF were gone, the Deluxe became standard / only version at 10 bucks and included in the $50 price tag of the print version.

      The 2 page forced spread really is annoying in the day of tablets as a default PDF reader for many in gaming, especially at the gaming table.

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    2. Howdy, Erik!

      I'm glad that Zak clarified that Sator Press, the nonprofit parent company, has spent its money on this book and that it's not reliant on preorders to become a product in the world.

      I'm sorry you don't find the spread-as-page PDF useful; a page-as-page version is in the works now. Importantly, a page-as-page version of the simple PDF will be offered to its buyers for free (and the deluxe PDF will include both versions).

      And after spending this much money and time on the book, giving people a copy of the interior—in any form—for $5 seems beyond fair. If you haven't already, I invite you to compare the book and its contents to many of the $5 PDFs available on RPGNow.

      Also, the OGL is currently valid in the most recent updated of the simple PDF.

      If you have any other questions about the Maze, please send me a message on G+ or email me at satyrpress at gmail. And I also maintain a FAQ about the Maze on my G+ profile.

      Yours,
      & I'm looking forward to your full review!,
      Ken

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  7. Also, Erik: I've used what you call the "crippleware" version in plenty of Hangouts games, and in person, and found it plenty usable; other folks have, as well. Have you tried using the simple PDF in games?

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    1. Hi Ken, for what it's worth, I paid $5 for the simple PDF on the strength of Bryce Lynch's review and remain excited about the material. However, I read RPG supplements thoroughly on my iPad long before it ever gets to the table, and while I would stop short of labeling this "crippleware", the two-page spread is extremely annoying.

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    2. Hey Matthew!

      The singe-page version of the PDF (also including updates throughout) just went out via Gumroad. Check your inbox.

      Thanks!

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  8. Is there a club for people Zak S. doesn't like? Then I just added myself to them over on dndwithpornstars. He doesn't like it when he thinks people are off topic or something. DOesn't believe in tangents I guess.

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