Monday, September 3, 2012

How Not to Do a Kickstarter Project - Craft of Corpse Born (DCC 3rd Party Adventure)

Craft of Corpse Born - A Zombiefied DCC RPG Adventure Module is a DCC RPG 3rd Party Adventure that hopes to fund using Kickstarter. It might be the best DCC Adventure since Sailors on the Starless Sea, but it's hard to tell because the Kicstarter site for it is really lacking in info.

Lets see what it's currently doing wrong, and what could be done to correct it.

1 - Fails to give a descriptive, engaging description. 
The dead roam the town of Westport. Find the cause, fight your way through quests & conquer evil in this DCC RPG compatible module.
That's the bolded description. It doesn't excite me. It doesn't say much. Heck, it's barely 2 sentences. You don't need a video to give your Kickstarter a kick (Appendix N did fine without one) but you need to sell what you are offering. You need to have confidence in your product. You need more than 2 bland sentences to capture your customers.

2 - Which of the following do you really care about as a prospective customer?

In the spirit and rules of DCC RPG (Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game) this module will guide you through an adventure including over 50 separate areas within the town buildings, ships and the final battle area.  Inside are clues to what is causing the disease on this town and how to end the curse.  Fighting animated dead and corrupted living force you down the path to glory. You must save the town from the demonic and magical evil that imparts its will on the people.
This Kickstarter project starts with the module already being about 75% written.  The full color art for the back and front covers of the module have already been created by professional artist Jordan Galaviz.  Black and white art for the inside has been created also.  The maps are complete and an initial editing has been finished (of the 75% written so far).  The content is close to complete and about ready to go to Alpha Play Testing.  An experienced gaming group in St. Louis, Missouri has agreed to Alpha Play Test this module and Beta test it if needed.  The module will then go to final modification and editing. Then to layout composition preparing it for final online publishing and then for its initial printed run.
The funding deadline is for the module to be (initially) complete and submitted to Joseph Goodman of Goodman Games, Inc. (makers of DCC RPG) for licensing approval by Sunday, 21 October, 2012 at 11:59pm (CST).  Licensing approval is mandatory to be able to include the "Compatible with DCC RPG" logo on the cover and back of the module and for linked marketing of the module with Goodman Games.  
Funding is required to pay for the required software to create this module and compensation for art and efforts for those involved in pushing this through the production process.  The completed and licensed module (Using the OGL from Wizards of the Coast and DCC RPG licensing from Goodman Games) will initially be published online through RPGNOW.  Once this goal has been met, the printed production run will start (approximately January, 2013).  This is where your rewards come in.  As a contributor you will receive your rewards long before anyone else has access to the printed module at their local gaming store.
Maybe the above is of interest to a distributer, but it's just useless noise on a Kickstarter support page when you are looking for funding.

Tell us what makes your product special. Why should I be looking to fund this, sight unseen? It's Zombies and the DCC RPG. Two hot properties. What makes this special?

If the creator can't be excited about his/her project, how can prospective customers?

3 - $8 bucks for the PDF seems steep. Even Goodman sells their DCC RPG PDFs for $6.99 on RPGNow, and Goodman seems to set the high water mark.

4 - Don't offer a free PDF to go along with the print copy. The print copies ship after it releases in PDF, so anyone looking to buy a print copy will get their's after it releases on RPGNow. Adding a PDF copy to the print pledge level costs nothing, but adds a huge benefit, both perceived and real, to the potential customer.

5 - Don't bother with stretch goals. Yeah, I know some folks don't like the endless "carrot on a stick" trick that is so popular at crowd sourcing sites, but you know what? The shit works. Use it. Promise extra pages. Maybe a short PDF booklet to support it. Doesn't have to be fancy, but offer something.

Kickstarter is not an automatic home run for funding. Slapping "DCC" and "Zombies" on a product isn't enough.

If you want my money, I need to desire to give it to you for your wants to be filled. At this stage of the game, I'm not even sure what's actually being offered here, which is a damn shame.

I THINK Craft of Corpse Born is offering more encounter locations / areas than any other DCC RPG currently on the market. It's town based, so it should be more free form and less linear than most. But I don't know that, I can only guess.

There might be a diamond in the rough here, but I'm not going to pay to find out without more info.


  1. From his clarifications in the comments section it seems like this will be a learning project for him.

  2. Also in the comments by the author is: "Unfortunately, the DCC compatibility log is NOT a guarantee. The entire project would have to be complete to have the DCC compatibility logo guaranteed. If the entire project was complete then there would be no purpose of a Kickstarter. "

    Which reads to me that the creator isn't actually quite sure of how Kickstarter can work for projects.

  3. To be honest, I never saw his comments.

    I was searching kickstarter for new DCC projects and this popped up.

    Interesting concept that is poorly presented thus far.

  4. Tenkar, have you contacted Keith the author with your comments? I'm sure he'll find them helpful and with 48 days still to run he should be able to amend his entry to make it more appealing.

  5. @Tim - the game plan (so to speak) is to get a few more ideas from the readers here, and then reach out this evening.

    I am far from an authority on kickstarters, and getting additional opinions on such would be beneficial for all.

  6. Although I've already backed this project (as it was a low-cost buy-in and we negotiated a sensible international postal rate) I have to agree with much of what you said here.

    I was sold simply on the fact that it was DCC and zombies, but I doubt everyone is going to be convinced that easily.

    I look forward to hearing how things go.

  7. The author currently has a thread for the project at the Acaeum, so you may be able to contact him there.

  8. Another problem is that they don't seem to have any examples of their work - at least nothing linked from the project and I've never heard of them (not that that means anything). As a hard rule I won't invest in a kickstarter if I am not already familiar (and satisfied) with the quality of the creator's work (not to mention the likelihood that they will actually be able to produce the project). It almost doesn't matter that they aren't doing a good job selling, it could sound amazing and I wouldn't invest if I don't know who they are and if they can actually write or not. A pitch is not a product.

  9. i offered some small advice, but i feel like I'm piling on the rabbit.

    i think the autor needs to take a step back, line up his ducks and then seek funding.

    it seems really premature at this point

  10. For an unpublished author it might be a good idea to post excerpts of his work to backers or even make some content freely available on RPG Now.
    Potential backers will be able to see if the authors style agrees with them and backers see the progress.


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