Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Butt Kicking For Goodness! Blood in the Water

There is some nastiness afoot and I'm not talking about that infamous Con Crud I keep hearing of. We'll  start with the nasty:

Magicians: A Language Learning RPG


Update #26 · Nov. 19, 2012 · 42 comments  

Hello everyone! First off, I want to apologize for another update again so close to the last but a big issue came up right after the Magicians kickstarter closed that lead to Ryan Macklin quitting Magicians and I've been asked for clarification by multiple backers.

As of last night, Ryan was late for the first development pass on Magicians, after this deadline passed Ryan became unreachable until last night, 10 days passed due, when I was finally able to reach him via other methods. When he finally did respond, he told me that he still did not have anything to turn in after having the draft for Magicians for 10 weeks. Now, I was warned about working with Ryan but, unfortunately, the warnings came after I'd already paid him so I resolved to work through any issues. When I brought up said warnings and told him I hoped they no longer held any weight, Ryan told me my tone was unacceptable and fired me, despite my apologizing for any passive aggression on my part.

This left me with very few options - I needed an editor for Magicians and I've already pushed Magicians 10 weeks specifically so Ryan could work on the project. Unfortunately, as you all know, I spent all the money I had getting Ryan on board so I was left in a bit of a pickle. Thankfully, I have a great family willing to support me so I'm pleased to announce that Magicians has a new editor.

John Adamus, whose worked on amazing projects like Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, the upcoming Project Ninja Panda Taco RPGand the Paranet Files for the Dresden Files RPG, has already begun editing and we're confidant that this set back will actually enable us to get Magicians to you sooner or, at the very least, cut down on that 10 week extension. I'm really happy to be working with John and we've already got a schedule lined up as I managed to catch him at a time where he'll be able to devote his full attention to Magicians.

Kickstarter has been a learning experience for me and there have been a few hiccups but I'm glad this happened in the beginning of the project and not further along down the road, I'm confidant that our new team will not only get a better game out to you but also get it to you sooner.

Thank you all,


Which was followed by a response here by the editor in question. Wow. I feel unclean just having posted this.

Artisan Dice

The Much Belated Update

Update #46 · Nov. 20, 2012 · 14 comments

First, I owe yall an apology. One of our Kickstarter backers we met at BBGCon last week pointed out that we had not made an update to our project page in entirely too long. I've been updating our facebook page several times a day since I can do that from my phone without ever leaving the shop and I kept forgetting about our project page. I won't let that happen again. From now on we'll be posting updates every Monday evening. Also as is apparent by the 349 unanswered emails in my inbox over the past 2 weeks, I have not been able to keep up with the influx of emails we are getting, while trying to stay on top of filling orders and shipping. I've taken steps to remedy that, and will fill you guys in on that a bit later. For now, the updated shipping list. (huge list of names)

Currently we have roughly 100 sets of dice to make. (Honestly, I thought it all had shipped) We still have a bunch to ship though. To that end we are cranking out boxes as fast as we can, since that's what most orders are waiting on. As soon as we get all the standard d6 orders shipped, we will start in on the collector's sets. We should be able to knock those out pretty quickly, since I've already laid out the box design, and it is laser cut. We're waiting to do them all at once since bog woods do NOT like to be left in dice blanks for very long as they will warp in a heart beat. So until we make the collector's set the bog woods are left in their raw form.

Now for the bad news. The petrified dice have officially kicked my ass. The last round came out of the vibratory polisher with chunks missing out of the dice edges, and whole flakes chipped off in places. So what I'm going to do is to send every one who backed for petrified dice a code to use on our website that is worth twice what they backed for petrified dice. You can apply this code to anything we make including polyhedral dice and collector's sets. This is not ideal but it's the best I can do for yall. I know everyone really wanted the petrified dice to work, myself included, but as of now yall have been waiting patiently for far to long, and I've invested to much time and money in this part of our project. The petrified dice are the only thing I did not have a proof of concept for before we created a backer level. That is not a mistake I will make again. I intend to revisit the petrified dice again in the future, but it will be on my own time and my own dime. You will all be receiving a code for 200% of your petrified dice value in your email over the next few days.

As you can see in the photo above, we are still having issues with the Kauri dice boxes. They are still orange pealing like a sob even with the sanding between coats, and I can't keep the dust out of the final coat of polyurethane. Well a giant hat tip to Brian Gilkison for point me in the right direction for a fix. He doesn't know it yet but he'll be getting a free set of dice for his help. Turns out all our problems with the Kauri boxes started when we changed over to the polyurethane from shellac. We had absolutely no issues with the first sets of Kauri since we were using shellac at the time. So I've just had a set of Beall Buffing Weels shipped in overnight, and will be French Polishing all of the remaining Kauri boxes on Wednesday and Thursday. French Polish is a labor intensive process that cures and hardens the shellac in to a protective coat. THESE DICE WILL BE SHIPPING FRIDAY IF IT KILLS ME!!!!!

I was just reminded on our facebook page that I have been neglecting the Old Growth Timber Backers. They are totally right. I made yalls dice ages ago back when we were having issues with the laser cutter. So I set them aside until we got the laser cutter fully operational, and I just completely forgot about them. I have placed them in the laser cutter's be so I will remember to engrave them in the morning. They will be shipping tomorrow afternoon as they already have boxes since we made these dice a bit over sized to go with the rustic theme and then need a deeper box.

I had to cut it off at some point ;)

Spears of the Dawn RPG


Spears of the Dawn progress update

Hello all. This is just a brief update on the project status and current state of art completion.

For Spears of the Dawn, out of 62 pieces of art, 18 slots are pending, 7 have sketches complete, and 37 are done. Once those last 25 pieces are complete, I drop them in, submit the book to OneBookshelf's POD process and if the proofs check out the book orders will start getting placed approximately two weeks later. I'll be sending out a backer survey to get mailing addresses once the print files are ready.

For The House of Bone and Amber, the rewrite is approximately half done, and I'd like to get the rest of it done and provisionally laid out by month's end, so I can start commissioning color art for the slots. I have gone ahead and commissioned at least one piece from the Cameroonian artist Pamela Ngouoghe, am attempting to contact two more, and will be looking for other African artists as opportunity allows.

I'll be sending along another update within the next two weeks with a status report on the state of completion. Things are going very smoothly thus far, which, in my experience, means that disaster will strike any time now. Fortunately, the March 2013 completion date was chosen with this inevitability in mind, so you should all be getting your pledge rewards as promised, regardless. (the man plans for problems - awesome!)

With regards,

             Kevin Crawford

Far West: Western/Wuxia Mashup adventure game

Plugging Away...
Hey folks--

An update, and a question for you.

Still plugging away -- things are going way slower than I'd like (and not just on FAR WEST -- other stuff as well), which, to be completely honest, has me wrestling with some fairly severe stress and resultant depression issues (which I'm unfortunately prone to).   I don't really like talking about that stuff -- but there you go.  You guys deserve candor.   Ironically, stress and depression make things go even more slowly, which of course, only makes it worse -- so it becomes a vicious circle.  I'm doing what I can to get help for that.

One of the things I've been working on is the remaining backer portraits that I'm doing (if you want to see an example of my art, now that I've taken over art duties, check out the two images below, which come from the most recent updates on the website) -- those of you whose portraits were not done by Rick will see yours within the next week or so.

It's pretty much a guarantee at this point that final PDF and delivery to the printer will occur in December -- but thankfully, we're no longer handling production ourselves, and will instead be partnering with our regular print partners at Cubicle 7 Entertainment for help with printing the books, which gives us access to their slate of printers, offering much more flexibility with printers and schedules than we were able to have on our own.

There has been a suggestion made on the FAR WEST forums that folks might like a bare-bones, text-only version of the game as soon as final edits are complete, while waiting for the final laid-out version.   We could deliver that as a PDF, EPUB or MOBI file.    If that's something of interest, let us know -- if enough people are interested, we'll certainly do it.

Thanks as always for your support, and your incredible patience with this process.   It really means a lot.

Gareth-Michael Skarka

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