Saturday, December 1, 2012

Updated 12/1 - Here's The "Where The F' Are They?" List of (Mostly) Overdue RPG Kickstarters I've Supported

The below list is of RPG Related Kickstarters that were estimated to ship (I am using the ship date for the physical item, not the PDF if there is one) December 2012 or earlier.  I was going to add Indiegogo projects to the list, but they are so few (and this list got so long) I'll summarize as follows: LotFP stuff that I supported over the summer has not shipped, but Indiegogo doesn't force an estimated shipping date . Barrowmaze II shipped on time!

Colors for Actual Ship Date are as follows:

Red: Hasn't shipped and is (or will be based on new estimates) significantly overdue. This includes projects that have been shipping in dribs and drabs for months. If all backers dont have what they pledged for, it's in red.

Orange: Late but shipped, or recently missed a shipping date and hasn't shipped

Green: Shipped on time. Holy Shit!

DungeonMorph Dice
Goal: $5,000     Total: $20,620     Funded: May 22, 2011
Estimated Ship Date: July, 2011     Actual Ship Date: December, 2011

Adventurer Conqueror King System
Goal: $4,000     Total: $11,648     Funded: August 6, 2011
Estimated Ship Date: November, 2011     Actual Ship Date: April, 2012

Far West
Goal: $5,000     Total: $49,324     Funded: August 25, 2011
Estimated Ship Date: December, 2011     Actual Ship Date: Not Shipped (and has missed interim ship dates)

Far West - last update 11/19 (over 2 weeks ago)- updates approximately monthly -  First the main / lead artist flaked out in the middle of the job (and claimed to have finished work he hadn't completed), then Gareth got sick, "Far West" as a title will now be cropping up in unrelated media, making marketing a pain I suspect - If this hits ONLY the one year late mark, I'll be impressed. Backer portraits were due about a week after the update - haven't seen it yet. Cubiclde 7 has gotten involved in the process, so the new guarantee of Dec 2012 for the PDF is hopeful, but I'm not sold on it. Note - this project will be AT LEAST one year late.

C&C Classic Monsters
Goal: $4,000     Total: $9,108     Funded: December 2, 2011
Estimated Ship Date: January, 2012     Actual Ship Date: May, 2012

Quantum Roleplaying Game
Goal: $13,000     Total: $47,747     Funded: December 30, 2011
Estimated Ship Date: April, 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Yet Shipped

Quantum RPG - last update 11/30 - recent updates have been for the new setting book for the as yet unreleased RPG - I don't care how you spin it, but kicking off a new Kickstarter without releasing the final product of the first annoys me. Invest more into something I don't yet have? Boggles the mind. Even better, the second Kickstarter failed ($7,751 out of $30,000 raised - it failed on 10/18). Gee, think it failed because no one has the first Kickstarter in hand yet? beta is now over - time to actully set the rules in stone - To be honest, I'm no longer excited about this project. I suspect when it ships it's going straight to the bookshelf. Still no new estimated completion date

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
Goal: $6,000     Total: $13,216     Funded: January 15, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: April, 2012     Actual Ship date: July, 2012 and still ongoing completed I believe

Adventurer Conqueror King System Player's Companion
Goal:: $4,000     Total: $20,622     Funded: March 16, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: July, 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Yet Shipped  

ACKS Player's Companion - last Update 11/25 - Updates approximately monthly. Updated ship date 1/13 -feedback from early release PDF has been applied and the contents revised - Updates average one per month at this stage. 

Story Forge
Goal: $12,000    Total: $21,736     Funded: March 20, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: July, 2012     Actual Ship Date: July, 2012

Goal: $10,000     Total: $48,756     Funded: April 14, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: August 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Yet Shipped (New Estimate 4/26/13 2013)

Dwimmermount - Last Update 11/30 - Updates Weekly. Absolutely the best thing Travis (and James) have done is give weekly updates. In the Way Way Back, where updates were few and rumors were many, folks were getting might uppity, and with good reason. There was certainly a loss of some goodwill during the Way Way Back Times, and Travis is putting the effort in now, but things would have been so much simpler if updates had been weekly from the start, especially with the wide margin the ship date is being missed by.  BTW, the Progress Graph is annoying and tells me little except to remind me of how late this project already is. Strangely enough, this seems more late that Far West even though it isnt - I suspect that is due to all of the initial hype

King For a Day
Goal: $800     Total: $4,844     Funded: May 1, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: September 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Yet Shipped (new estimate - December 2012) 

King For a Day - Last update 11/25 - Updates Approximately twice a month. I'm still somewhat doubtful of the December 12 ship date, but I'm willing to be surprised 

Artisan Dice
Goal: $300     Total: $91,542     Funded: April 7, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: April, 2012     Actual Ship date: May, 2012 and still ongoing completed now I do believe - this suffered from overwhelming response. If you are going to be late, let it be because you have too many customers ;)

Adventures Dark & Deep
Goal: $2,500     Total: $7,459     Funded: April 15, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: July, 2012     Actual Ship Date: Shipped September, 2012 - I was only in at the PDF level, but congrats for hitting the ship date ;)

Myth & Magic Player's Guide
Goal: $5,000     Total: $24,076     Funded: May 7, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: August 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Yet Shipped

Myth & Magic Player's Guide - Last update on 9/29 was in relation to it's sister project. PDF released to the wild, no hard copies yet. Last update related to this project was 9/21, about 6 weeks ago. Not the way to remain in contact with your customers. TWO MONTHS NO UPDATES!

Appendix N
Goal: $1,000     Total: $18,893     Funded: July2, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: July, 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Yet Shipped (New Estimate Late September  November December ? 2012)

Appendix N - Last Update 11/29 - Updates about once a week - Brave Halfling is like your cousin who is always late to appointments - whether it's a Kickstarter or a pre-order, the quality has so far been excellent, the timeliness has been poor. PDF versions of the releases look to be on time or close to it going forward - physical products is going to be a wait n see in my opinion.

Nystul's Infinite Dungeon
Goal: $2,000     Total: $16,017     Funded: June 3, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: September 2012 (New Estimate October November  2012? for PDF)
Nystul's Infinite Dungeon - no longer updates - Last update 11/6 - Estimate for physical delivery is November 2012. greatly expanded offering from initial description.

Dwarven Adventurers Boxed Set
Goal: $1,250     Total: $136,487     Funded: July 25, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: September 2012 (New Estimate November 2012)

Dwarven Adventurers - last update 11/28 - updates weekly - blew away it's goal and added so many miniatures to the set that missing the estimated ship goal was a given before the funding even completed. If you are going to ship late, this is the reason. Currently in process of shipping 1,400 orders. I'll post mine when it arrives.

CHAMPIONS OF ZED: Zero Edition Dungeoneering

Goal: $4,600     Total: $8,077     Funded: June 16, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: August, 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Shipped

Champions of Zed - last update 11/5 - once this project started running late, the updates stopped. Maybe there is info at the forums, but is it too much to ask for an update via Kickstarter every two weeks?  2 months between updates, but project is now in layout. No new estimates completion date. Someone remind me why I backed this project...

Tabletop Forge
Goal: $5,000     Total: $44,413     Funded: July 9, 2012
Estimated Release Date: August, 2012      Actual Release Date: Not Yet Released

Tabletop Forge - Updates approximately every 2 weeks - last update 10/29. Its software. Software doesn't play nice. Updated software looks to be a huge improvement. Still, no update for over a month. I like the guys involved in the project, but are regular updates too much to ask?

Race To Adventure
Goal: $40,000     Total: $52,117     Funded: July 24, 2012
Estimated Release Date: Dec, 2012     Actual Release Date: Early 2013 (New Estimate)

Race To Adventure - Last update 11/14 -Updates about once a month - Board Game - Blame the delays on European vacations. No, really -"wouldn't you know it, August turns out to be a time when a lot of folks in our field are off on a vacation. But we're not talking about GenCon here -- we're talking about Europe, where we're going to be having the game manufactured. This sort of nations-wide month long vacation is super, uh, foreign to USA-based folks like us, so we simply had no idea it was coming." BTW, why bother linking digital expansions for us to download when we don't even have the core product yet? It's almost like pouring salt in the wounds

Goal: $10,000     Total: $23,580     Funded: August 9, 2012
Estimated Release Date: Oct, 2012      Actual Ship Date: November 2012

I need to find time to play this with my family. Box weighs a ton and a half ;)

Axes & Anvils
Goal: $1,000     Total: $35,000     Funded: August 11, 2012
Estimated Release Date: November, 2012     Actual Release Date: ?

Axes & Anvils - Last update November 16, 2012. It just went past due date. My guess? Jan / Feb  2013

Swords & Wizardry
Goal: $10,000     Total: $78,000     Funded: September 4, 2012
Estimated Release Date: November, 2012     Actual Release Date: ?

Swords & Wizardry - Last update November 21, 2012. Updates 3 times a months or so. It just went past due date. My guess? Dec 12 / Jan 13

If I missed any I'll post them, then add here for the next update.

Swords & Wizardry: The Actual 1st Edition Roleplaying Rules (Due this month)

Friday, November 30, 2012

My Countertop of Games - Pictured and Then Disbursed ;)

Remember how this month started? Hurricane Sandy and mandatory overtime for your humble barkeep? Well, I spent a small fraction of that overtime on gaming material - some to collect, some to read, some to use. Oh, and 25 issues of KotDT at a buck a pop. really, I couldnt go wrong :)

I had this spaced out and scattered, but decided to pile it up and see what it amounted to.

After the pic I just as quickly dispersed the pile into many smaller ones, less the wife catch on ;)

Lets see: Dungeon Dwellers was a set with the T&T Black box. The price was a steal. It's my second T&T Black Box. I love the cover. I'll display one in the end. Dungeon Dwellers itself? Eh

Albedo I grabbed in a thrift shop last weekend.

Power & Perils I snagged on Amazon as well as the Lejendary Adventure stuff.

Next is a bunch of Dungeoneers. Sone nice Old School bathroom reading material.

The OSRIC Players Guide, the small sized OSRIC and ASE2-3 were grabbed at 30% off on Lulu

Lords of Creation stuff was Ebay as was the T&T Orange Box. Same art as the Black Box. Great condition. A missing piece to my collection.

High Fantasy will go on a shelf, although the adventures may be converted for standard use.

Barrowmaze 1 was a splurge - but well worth it.

Up near the top are those KotDT issues. I stopped reading over two years ago, but at this price I'll catch up ;)

DCC RPG Holiday Contest - Santa Claws as a DCC Patron!

Life is slowly turning back to normal in my neck of the woods. Work is mostly sane. That means it's time for the next DCC RPG Contest:

Santa Claws designed by all of you to be a DCC Patron!

I've actually had this idea kicking around inside my head for a few weeks, but after exchanging some emails with Sean Conners today (and getting a sneak peak of the Angles, Daemons, & Beings Between patron book earlier today) it helped cement what I want to do.

I don't think I need to describe Santa Claws to you in great detail, as it's best to let your imagination fill in the gaps. Santa Claws is Naughty AND Nice. He knows if you've been Naughty or Nice. He brings gifts to those he deems worthy and inflicts punishment on those he feels deserves it. He's also insane, or at least, that's how the rest of the world sees him.

I'll be asking for entries that are:

(Examples are yoked from AD&BB, King Halgaz Bekur)

Invoke Patron Checks - (rolled randomly)

-The insight of the King reaches through the veil of unlife to touch his servant. The touch of the King increases the caster’s Intelligence by 1d6 points for 1d4 hours; however, the caster loses one point of Sta permanently. (good and bad)

-The King sends an emissary to treat with his servant’s enemies. A wraith knight appears and attacks the caster’s enemies. The wraith knight remains for 1d3 turns; afterwards, it is free to act on its own. (probably good)

Patron Taint - Those entering into the Service of Santa Claws are entrusting themselves to a most judgmental being whose decisions can seem almost random and capricious. One rarely gets what one asks for. (rolled randomly)

- The caster’s despairing visage frightens all that cross its sight. The first time this result is rolled, the caster’s face changes to that of a fearful wraith – skin blackens and becomes translucent and eyes burn with a blue-white fire. This occurs for 1d3 turns after casting any spell and all those that view the caster’s face must make a Will save DC 8 or flee for 1d3 rounds. The second time this result is rolled, the caster suffers the condition 1d3 random times per day, in addition to each time a spell is cast. The third time this result is rolled the condition is permanent

- The caster avenges even the most innocent slight. The first time this result is rolled, each time the caster casts a spell, he or she is consumed with feelings of raging vengeance. One randomly determined creature is the subject of the caster’s ire and the caster will do anything to exact his revenge on an imagined slight. The condition lasts for 1d3 turns. The second time this result is rolled, the caster suffers from the condition as described above, however, the state of vengeance lasts for 1d3 hours. At the end of this time, the caster receives a Will save DC 10. On a failure, the condition lasts for another 1d3 hours. The third time this result is rolled, the caster suffers from the condition each time he or she casts a spell, and the condition lasts until the caster has sufficiently exacted his or her revenge on the subject (i.e. the duration is indefinite).

You can enter one or the other, one of each, multiple times, whatever - it's up to you. No more than one gift per person no matter how awesome your entries. A panel will be chosen to decide whose entries are so awesome they should be gifted. Be advised, entries may be reproduced elsewhere (like an issue of Crawl! or a freely released PDF). 

My goal would be to get this put together, fully written with spells and such and distributed freely to the DCC Community in PDF. With luck, it would be ready for Christmas in July of 2013 ;)

Ah, yes, what are the gifts?

A current issue of Crawl!, donated by Rev Dak

DCC #69: The Emerald Enchanter, generously donated by a reader of this blog (Print Copy)

AL 3: Through the Cotillion of Hours, donated by Purple Duck Games (Print Copy)

Attack of the Frawgs, donated by Thick Skull Adventures (Print Copy)

A Tenkar's Tavern Beer Stein, donated by me (Drinking Copy)


A copy of The Dungeoneer Compendium of Issues 1-6 from Judges Guild donated by me (Print Copy)

Knowledge Illuminates donated by Tim Shorts of the Gothridge Manor Blog

Possibly a shirt or two bearing the Tavern's Banner art and the caption "My Party Got Wasted at Tenkar's Tavern!" if I get that hooked up before the contest is over.

Notice that all of the above is stuff that will need to be mailed (mostly by me)? Good, because the contest will run until December 20th  25th, 2012. Get your entries in by midnight that night, NYC time. I'll look to announce winners on the 23rd or the 24th 27th or so and mail the goodies out in the week after Christmas.

Enter and enter often ;)

So, have you been naughty or nice?

What the Hell is "Con Crud"?

"Con Crud" seems to be the most used (abused) excuse when someone's Kickstarter Projects is running late:

"Just got back from the con circuit and con crud has left me useless"

"Here's my list of five excuses... oh, and Con Crud."

Is "Con Crud the "mono" of the RPG Con circuit?

Or is it simply "I'm tired from a weekend of gaming, my voice is hoarse and I have jet lag".

Would it keep you from doing a real job if your weren't going to get paid for the days of work you miss due to "Con Crud"?

Would you have your doc put "Con Crud" on your sick note?

Is there an accepted definition of "Con Crud", or is it another bullshit term thrown around instead of saying "I feel run down from partying"?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kickstarters That Make You Ask - "Are They Smoking Crack!?!" - 1879 RPG, Miniatures and App

Remember that Reaper Miniatures Kickstarter? That shit was like the Elvis of Kickstarters. (Goal of $30k, hit over 3.4 million)

The Dwarven Adventurers did mighty well too, but it stayed in the stratosphere. (Goal of just over $1.2k, hit over $136k)

So, a goal of a mere $325k for 1879 RPG, Miniatures and App by FASA is right in the ballpark, right?

What the fuck were they smoking? It wasn't reefer, as they would have sobered up and realized they were fucking high. Crack, crank - maybe their doing speedballs like their going out of style. Their on something.

I'm serious, someone over at FASA (is this old FASA, a reborn FASA, is RedBrick now FASA - edit: Old FASA trying to publish for the first time in a decade) must have been stoned when they thought up this Kickstarter.


Let me count the ways:

1 - The Reaper goal was 30k - this one is nearly 11x that amount. Enjoy the high, because you're going to come down shortly and it's going to hurt

2 - It's Steampunk / Stargate - that's cool, but not $325,000 cool

3 - It's an RPG we're developing, oh, and miniatures, and apps, a computer game, and a miniature wargame. Pick ONE.

4 - Someone thinks Kickstarter is a ATM that kicks out free money - again, someone is high

5 - Simply put, it aint going to happen. Lower you goal by about, say 90%, work on the RPG and work the rest of the stuff in later.

6 - Who uses 15mm miniatures in RPGs these days? 25-28mm is norm

7 - $325,000 goal.  $2,191 raised over 3 days - 27 days to go - You guys are sober now (I hope). Do the math. Shut down and reboot with a reasonable goal. Your market is speaking to you. Or maybe it's the voices in your head. Listen to them, because all you're going to do at this point is waste the next 27 days on a project that won't fund.

But hey, lets get some of their selling points:

“Spare us a shilling, Guv?” Our funding goal is $325,000. That sounds like a lot (it is) (no, it sounds fucking insane), but this isn’t your normal project. It encompasses miniatures, roleplaying, and a computer game. That amount feeds our artists, writers, editors, coders, and designers while they labor on this unique take on expansionism in the British Empire (it's not my job to feed these people - work on ONE part at a time - wait, you can't, because the new FASA is part of the old FASA and now has computer programers at a traditional RPG company). New products include core rule books, force books, campaigns, and adventures. A full range of 15mm miniatures and our electronic gaming app round out the product range. For an up-to-date list and descriptions, follow our web site at 1879.fasagames.com. (How about just writing the CORE RPG book for now, and a much lower goal?)

First Stretch Goal  $400,000:  all backers at $10 or more will also receive a 22" x 33" folded color game line poster. (do any of us really need a folded poster at our age?)

I'm declaring this dead before it's truly started. Interesting concept, horrible execution. Excellent example of not understanding the Kickstarter market.

Tunnels & Trolls - Rumors, Updates and a Hopeless Redemption Attempt

It's a new edition, and it's in French!
It's been a while since I've posted anything substantial about Tunnels & Trolls. It's not that I'm not still collecting the pieces I still need for my collection, but I haven't been playing the solos and I haven't been playing in or running any T&T stuff online. I really should at some point, but I need to work in some LL and Blood & Treasure before we even get to that (let alone my regular AD&D campaign that is starting up soon).

Now there is word of a future edition of T&T - T&T Deluxe which may go the Kickstarter route. As Rick Loomis actually posted this back in July and we are almost in December, I'm going to assume he wants everything nearly done before kicking off the kickstarter:

Hi, folks. I try to avoid forums, as I find if I get involved in them I spend way too much time on them, and time is my most limited resource. Ken, Liz, Steve, Bear, and I are going to use kickstarter to create the newest edition of T&T. If you have strong opinions about the direction of the game, join the kickstarter and your opinion will definitely be heard. (You will be able to join for as little as one dollar, and you can cancel your participation the day before it ends!) We haven't started the kickstarter yet because we are still working on the presentation and the video. Nothing is "written in stone" yet - as the kickstarter proceeds we will determine what goes into the Deluxe Edition. Note that I am a firm believer in staying as close to 5.0 as possible. Ken likes to tinker. We'll work out a compromise. For those who want "more support for 5.0" please keep in mind that everything we produce is supposed to be usable with all editions. That's my insistence. If you want to stick with 5.0 -- I want you to be able to use all the new stuff. (And if there is demand, I may very well make a print on demand version of 5.0 or 5.5) 
Now as to the French edition. Patrice wanted to do a version in French, (with our permission) just for his own personal satisfaction. He got Ken to write some new stuff, and Steve Crompton to lay it out, and Liz to put up some new art. It came out so beautiful that now that I have run out of 5.5, I am not satisfied to just reprint 5.5. I wanted to have a deluxe edition even better than the French one. (Competition is what drives us to be better!) But keep in mind Flying Buffalo is a very (very very) small company. I don't even have enough $$ to just tell the printer "Print me up another 2000 copies of 5.5". Happy Day -- I have discovered Kickstarter. We'll use that to finance the new edition of T&T.
As for support for older editions: one of the things we definitely hope to do is create great new maps of Trollworld. Those will obviously be usable with any edition.  
Also - Patrice put out a French version of my solo adventure, Buffalo Castle. He got me to rewrite some of the paragraphs and make it better, so now I plan to print a new and better English version of Buffalo Castle!
This is part of Ken St. Andre's post from July:
I thought I would take a moment to tell you that serious work has begun on the next edition of Tunnels and Trolls. There is a 5 person nuclear team at work on the project right now consisting of Rick Loomis, Liz Danforth, Steve Crompton, Bear Peters, and Ken St. Andre. We’re doing this for several reasons which I will be sharing with you all later, but a big one is that we have run out of copies of T & T 5.5 and 7.5. Since a reprint is needed, why not make it bigger and better than ever before. Also, I have some new ideas I want to share with you all. Also, I believe a game needs to keep evolving in order to stay alive.
Yeah, I totally missed this. My personal preference would be something closer to 5.5 than 7.5 as far as rules, but closer to 7.5 as far as presentation.

There is a current attempt to by some members over at Trollhalla to facilitate a... it's not a healing, it's certainly not a mending, maybe a forgiving of James Shipman and all the ill will he has generated with some mighty underhanded stuff.

There is a reason that T&T went from 5.5e to 7e, as James had published the unofficial 6e that had been floating around. Judging from the current peek at James' site, they will need to skip 8e, as he's already published one that he's already gotten copyrighted: "Since it contains many rule changes, our Library of Congress Registered Copyright has been approved!" Strangely enough, James has 5.5 and 7.5 in stock. In the case of 7.5, its the rule book alone (it was always sold as a boxed set) and in the case of 5.5 it's spiral bound (FBI did not publish it recently in a spiral binding as far as I know). Personally, I don't seem James taking any steps to mend fences, right any wrongs or play by the rules. He's aslo reprinting the Corgi 5e version of the rules, 4e, 1e - the list goes on. The shame is that James has lots of cool stuff at his site, and no rights to publish any of them. How he could be forgiven and trusted after all this time, I don't know. I do know his site is like the Devil's treasure chest for T&T gamers, and the idea of removing the taint of evil from it is mighty tempting, I just don't think it can be done.

It does make one wonder how Shippy can make a profit of of old rulesets and Flying Buffalo can't figure out how to do the same. It's only recently that FBI put T&T 4e up on RPGNow in PDF. If FBI just spent the time to get their stuff in PDF and print on demand, you would lessen by far the business that goes to Outlaw Press.

Ah well. I really like T&T. I hope they stick to a 5e base with lots of options with the new edition. I also hope they have Ken's manuscript in hand before the Kickstarter starts. I'd hate to have to put them on my "Overdue Kickstarter List" ;)

Lejendary Adventure: Essentials - Just Got a Copy - Thoughts?

Somewhere in storage I have the Lejendary Adventure trilogy of rulebooks, signed by EGG himself. Never read them, as I ordered them when I wasn't gaming, but collecting. Now I game AND collect ;)

In any case, I grabbed a copy of Lejendary Adventure: Essentials boxed set on Amazon fairly cheap (certainly cheaper than the original $29.99 the Trolls were asking back in 2004).

So, my questions are as follows:

- Is it worth reading during the week I have off during Christmas (as I have a shitload of RPG related reading / writing to do from now to then).

- Is it worth running? Some games read well and play like crap. Some read like crap and play well.

- If it is worth running, anything else I should look to pick up?

Communication is Key - How to Critically Fail With Your Crowdfunded Project

I never expected to find myself in the position of a "Virtual Kickstarter Investigative Reporter". It just kind of landed in my lap as I looked at the projects I had supported, their track record for delivering in a timely fashion and a general failure for timely communication by those seeking funding, especially after the funds had been raised.

Something that stands out to me, especially after the number of late projects that I have had recently brought to my attention, is that frequent communication with backers is the key to keeping most folks happy.

I don't care if your project has a blog, a website, a forum - sending an update weekly via Kickstarter or Indiegogo goes a long way. Why force those that supported your project to seek you out? Message them direct.

I bitch and complain about late projects because as a community we are too quick to accept the idea that these (want to be) professionals can't produce in a timely fashion. That it's okay to be a year late or more in your estimated release date. Because, lets face it - creators are optimists and supporters are pessimists when it comes to timelines.

The truth is, those projects that have frequent updates are usually less obvious with their lateness. Or maybe I'm more forgiving with those that care enough to keep their supporters in the information loop (although I do find I am like the proverbial elephant, and extended silence followed by frequent updates will still have me focused on the extended silence).

The worst thing you can do as a creator / writer / publisher / whatever of a Kickstarter is fail to communicate with your supporters. That is your community. They are the ones you will be looking at to support your future projects. If you fail to engage them, if you fail to keep them informed, you will lose them. You will be remembered for your late project and not for a successful project.

Communication does not stop when funding ends. Some folks run their Kickstarters like a fucking pep rally, sending out daily updates, and then once they take your money you dont here a peep for a month.

Don't pile up the excuses either. After the first one, all we want to hear is "I fucked up and promise to do better." Really, we don't care why you are late. Broken toe, leaky roof, cat took a shit on your notes,   "Con Crud" (i fucking hate this lame ass fucking excuse with a passion!) we really don't give a shit. You fucked up, own up to it and move on. Generally speaking, we've run out of sympathy after the first excuse so don't waste our time.

Running a Kickstarter project is a lesson in community building, or at least, it should be. Treat your community fairly and with respect and you'll keep them. No one running a Kickstarter should think of this as "one and done", because almost all will want to put some other project out there at some point. This is your name, your reputation, why fuck it up because you fail to communicate?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kickstarter Request Inquiry - Game Design: "e20: System Evolved" Roleplaying Game

When a game's main writer / lead developer is the only one that can bring a project to a successful completion, there is an inherit risk. When the only investor is the writer of the game, that risk falls upon his shoulders alone. When it is a Kickstarter funded project, everyone that has pledged shares in that risk.

This project was created by Gary M. Sarli, no small name in our hobby. Gary apparently has significant health issues.

The Game Design: "e20: System Evolved" Roleplaying Game, seem to have fallen prey to that risk.

Here's the latest Kickstarter Update:

e20 System: Good News and Bad News

Update #38 · Dec. 27, 2011 · 5 comments (yes, that is 11 months ago, almost to the day)
Here’s a quick update on where we stand with the e20 System, since we obviously did not get it finished in time for Christmas.

Bad News: Just as I was finally able to work near full capacity again and I was plowing through material at a really high pace, the developer — senior patron Jack Hale — had an epic collapse almost as bad as mine after Gen Con. Like me, he has some significant mental health issues that can seriously impact his work, and he has even more serious physical problems on top of that.

I didn’t even realize how much trouble he was having until a couple of weeks ago (when more and more of my work was having to be put off because I needed the sections he was working on to do them), and it quickly became apparent that we couldn’t hit our current deadline. I put off announcing a new deadline, though, because for a while I thought we might be able to at least finish the PDF by Christmas; even that turned out to be wishful thinking.

Jack has actually been doing better for the past few days, but we agreed that it’s probably best to work from the assumption that any such productive periods will be the exception, not the rule. Jack is still going to help where he can, but I’m shifting his assignment to things that won’t slow down other pieces of the book if he falls behind again.

So, I’ve now taken stock of the work that needs to be done and figured out how long it will take me to do them completely on my own. Unfortunately, it looks like I can’t possibly finish the whole book myself before the end of February 2012. Patrons and pre-orders would receive their PDFs at this time, and the printed books wouldn’t be delivered until somewhere around mid-March 2012.

I hate seeing the deadline pushed out that far, but at this point I don’t see anything else as realistic. Since I have medication for the time being, I think my work output can be fairly reliable at least through the end of February, and recent history tells me that I have to assume that Jack won’t be able to contribute much. (As I said, he’s been better for the past few days and he might pleasantly surprise us, but it’s better to be happy to get something early than to be disappointed to get it late.)

Good News: Since things are taking so long, I’m trying to think of ways to make it up to everyone who graciously provided so much support so early on. One of the first things I thought of was re-integrating the last two chapters of the book, which detail the settings of Fallen Gods (dark fantasy) and The Hollow Sky (space opera with a horror twist). Given that I won’t be doing the final editing pass until the start of February or so, there’s now time for me to get in touch with those chapters’ authors and see if they’d be willing to do some revisions & expansions to flesh out the chapters a bit. With any luck, we’ll be able to have two working campaign settings in the Universal Rulebook, and these settings can be more fully fleshed out in a future e20 System product.

I have some other ideas to hook up my patrons with a little extra — some bonus PDFs, most likely — and I’m hoping to make an announcement about that in the next several days. At the very least, patrons will get an early look at some of the laid-out chapters of the Universal Rulebook before the final PDF is assembled.

Thanks again to everyone for being so understanding about this and for your kind words about my last post on the subject. Any game publisher would be blessed to have such a devoted and supportive fan base, and it means even more for a small indie publisher like GMSarli Games.

Enjoy the rest of the holidays!

Not much to fill in the gaps, just more questions in the comments about the project status.

However, if you go to the forums for the game, you get the following info:

Re: e20 System Progress?
by joela » Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:57 am

Is there ANY news when patrons are suppose to receive their HCs!?! There's a lot of "buzzing activity" but where's the promised product? That rough draft pdf is just carp. 

Re: e20 System Progress?
by Darthmoe » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:05 am

Due to unavoidable emergency circumstances e20 was delayed for a second time. Work has resumed but Gary was and still is unavailable to work on the project so now the weight of fiinishing the entire thing has fallen in Gary's editor. At this time there are no projected projected release dates and no deadlines will be set. However work is underway it's happening slowly but surely. 

The only thing I can tell you is Gary was become unavailable due to emergency circumstances we don't even know what the circumstances and speculation will not help, but at senior patron level we seem to be in agreement that our first concern is Gary's well being. That being said there are people more qualified than I to give you updates.

Re: e20 System Progress?
by Darthmoe » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:17 am

I also forgot to stress the work being done is strictly on a volunteer basis. Jatku took for Gary as a favor to him and the patrons.

Re: e20 System Progress?
by ronin » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:39 pm

Anything new to report?

Re: e20 System Progress?
by jazzencat » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:16 pm

I think the technical term for the state of this project is "dead in the water", or perhaps "vaporware."

Re: e20 System Progress?
by Nikosandros » Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:12 pm

More like "money down the toilet".

I suspect that the odds are not in favor of this seeing the light of day

I'm going to have to pray daily for Monte's health it seems...

(yes, it's a joke. kinda. I've got money invested in Numenra or however you spell it ;)

Kickstarter Requested Inquiry - Quicksilver Worldbook for Pathfinder

Another request, and this one is a doozy.

I bitch and complain when a project takes longer than two weeks to give a current update. Five or Six weeks is pretty much the extreme. Four fucking months?!?

Are the guys behind the Quicksilver Worldbook fucking insane? Not being in contact with your supporters for four months does not instill confidence in the progress of the project. It instills the "they're spending our money on Ho's and cocaine" type of thoughts.

I'd love to give you some of the updates, but the last few are backers only. Still, I can grace the kind readers of this blog with the update titles:

Update #14 - For backers only · Jul. 27, 2012 · 1 comment 

July Already-- We are LATE-- and-- and--
Update #13 - For backers only · Jul. 09, 2012 · 1 comment

I like the July 9th update. So, how far did the $3,555 go spending on Ho's and coke?

Or was it HoHo's and Coke, as $3,555 probably wouldn't have lasted from the summer ;)

Kickstarter Requested Inquiry - Looking at the Metamorphosis Alpha Roleplaying Game

Yep, we've got a new feature when it comes to the RPG Kickstarters, the Kickstarter Requested Inquiry. Basically, what this is is my taking a peek at an overdue Kickstarter that I didn't support for one reason or another, but one (or more) of this blog's readers did. It's overdue, and it needs some light put on it.

In this case, we are talking about the Metamorphosis Alpha Roleplaying Game Kickstarter. Damn, Metamorphosis Alpha is an RPG classic. WTF didn't I support this one?

The reasons are simple:

1 - It's James Ward. I'm not going to take anything away from what the man did in the past, but once he started working for Trolls he seemed to have set his target at 12 year olds (I seem to recall he actually said something to that effect, but damned if I can find the quote). He single handedly killed the Crusader Magazine. His Towers of Adventure for C&C pissed me off to no end - an expensive piece of shitty filler.

2 - It's NOT James Ward. Best I can tell from reading the public updates and comments, it James' IP, but it's Jamie Chambers' project. I'm not even sure if James is involved beyond licensing the IP. (edit - apparently his is writing something for ut)

3 - It's an entirely new system using d6s (System 26), which is about as far as you can get from any of the previous incarnations of MA. Not my bag, man.

So, what are the issues?

Launched: Apr 6, 2012
Funding ended: Apr 29, 2012
Estimated delivery: Sep 2012
Todays Date: Nov 28, 2012

It's only two months late, no biggie, right? Wrong! Two month's late with no new estimate in sight. Depending on where the book is being printed, lead time from finished product in electronic format to print is one to three months. I'll assume they are going print on demand, so closer to a month with proofs and corrections. The thing is, the rules dont seem to be nearly done yet.

Here's the latest public update:

Exploration, Action, Adventure!

Update #20 · Oct. 31, 2012 · 7 comments   

G'morning folks! Having been both shot with X-Rays and surrounded by powerful electromagnets in the last few days, I'm waiting to find out if I get a mutation of my very own. (After injuring my back earlier this year I've been dealing with recurring problems and pain. Hopefully I'll know exactly what's going on soon.) I just returned from the Geek Media Expo in Nashville, where among other things I ran "The Petting Zoo of Death" adventure for a group of five vic—er, lucky players. I confess I was actually a bit disappointed that the group wholly survived the adventure, through a combination of successfully negotiating out of what would have been a tough fight, smart tactics when they could have been swarmed, and us running out of time before the nasty final encounter. It was a good time, though, and the players enjoyed both the setting and the game system!

One player remarked how he enjoyed the multi-genre elements of Metamorphosis Alpha, which is my favorite thing too. The adventure was like a short dungeon crawl, yet clearly in a sci-fi setting, but the characters had weird powers. In a nutshell, she summed up my favorite elements of MA as well.

Just as I feel like a good RPG adventure combines combat, problem-solving, and roleplaying, a good Metamorphosis Alpha adventure combines the exploration of the unknown, the trappings of the future, and the craziness of strange mutant powers. I think it's one of the things that makes MA unique and special in the world of RPGs, separating it from post-apocalyptic settings.

Progress Report

Convention season is officially over, and I'm going to be taking a last look at where we at and what we need to do to get this book done and out the door to our (very patient!) (not all are so patient, as it wouldn't have been pointed out to me if they were) backers. I met with Lizard (contributing writer) in Ohio two weeks ago. You can see another piece of chapter art above from the amazing Lindsay Archer! I'll try to give you guys some more concrete scheduling information next week. (Note - this update was 4 weeks ago - I'm guessing none of it has gotten any closer to being "concrete")

And there is one more potential piece of news ...


I can't say too much about this yet, as this would be an independent licensing deal with James M. Ward for the MA property but I can report the following: I've had an informal conversation with someone who may be bringing out a line of miniatures for Metamorphosis Alpha! This is exciting news for everyone involved, and though it would be a separate deal we've already established that if it goes through we will share resources and information to make sure we bring the fans material that will work well together! I'll repeat that this is NOT OFFICIAL at this time, but I'm excited about the possibilities. When there is something to announce, I'll let everyone know immediately! (nice, but where the game?)

Comments, anyone?

As a followup to Mike, is there any projected date on the release? Maybe even a PDF beta copy? I want to consider running MA at GenCon next year (at least for the KFG Wed Gaming), but need to start working on it now since I'm not an overly experienced GM and have critically limited (and erratic) time to work on scenarios. With luck, I can get a playtest of it in at WYC in March. Are these time frames expected to be doable? (this guy is hoping it will only be 6 months late)

Any word on a concrete release date?

Anything yet in the way of an update? Is there a website yet?
Asking courteously, of course -- just like the delegate from New York. (from the October update)

Not comfortable even answering that with a non-answer it seems...

Apparently, since the summer, public updates have been coming along at one every 5 to 6 weeks. I am a HUGE proponent of frequent updates on funded but not completed Kickstarter projects. The creator might think that the 30 minutes he spends typing a weekly update might be spent in more productive ways, but without updates, your supporters are going to assume you are NOT being productive.

Unhappy supporters means less repeat customers. The concept is simple. Keep folks happy (even if it means you are stringing them along) and you'll do better business in the long run.

Have a project you want me to take a peek at that is dragging it's feet? You can send me a message via G+ or my Google Profile.

Judges Guild Dungeoneer - When the Old is New

I snagged The Dungeoneer Value Pack on Ebay and it arrived today. Inside are 12 early issues of the Dungeoneer and the Dungeoneer Journal as well as a Compendium that covers issues 1-6.

Yep, I've got a lot of old school reading in front of me.

Of course, the first thing I noticed was the cover art. Kevin Siembieda's art is serviceable, but Paul Jaquays' art was pretty tight. Yep, here I am judging fanzines by their covers.

Paul on the left, Kevin on the Right

I'm hoping to find a few articles that I can borrow from for my soon to start AD&E 1e campaign, but if nothing else there is a ton of inspiration in front of me at the moment.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thoughts - Dungeon World or What Apocalypse World Could Have Been

Most of you that have read my blog before already know of my opinion of Apocalypse World. One of the best rule sets of the modern era hidden behind purposefully obnoxiously confusing "Look at me! I'm Fucking Hip!" bullshit writing. AW is a gem of a ruleset hidden within a steaming pile of poo. I love the rules, I detest the rulebook. How much do I detest it? I literally threw it across the room in frustration and was extremely pissed off that I had wasted money on the shit. It's redeeming quality is that it plays so much better then it is written.

So, when I saw the Dungeon World Kickstarter over the summer, I was loath to spend money on it. My experience reading AW had soured me to any other variants. Shortly before it wrapped up, I put my 5 bucks down it full expectation of getting a similar pile of steaming shit. I figured I wouldn't regret 5 bucks, but I do. I wish I had put down 25 bucks so I could have gotten the soft cover. Yes, it is that good.

I had put off downloading the Kickstarter file (we're still waiting on the Kickstarter extras) as, truth be told, I was apprehensive of finding out what was on the other side. I had expectations and they weren't good, despite all the good ward I'd heard about Dungeon World. Remember, I'd heard the same about AW and how "beautifully it was written". Well, having finally downloaded the monster file (it's over 120 mb) I can finally say it kicked my expectations to the curb, and that is a good thing.

I'm actually groking the rules behind the system. Sure, they don't fully fit my OSR mindset, but for a good system, I can temporarily change my mindset ;)

I was reading it during lunch at work and I was actually drawn into the rules, which rarely happens to me. I'm enjoying the read through, although I have sidetracked slightly by reading A Beginner's Guide to Dungeon World (it's a free DL)

This isn't a review. The book is over 400 pages and I've barely scratched the surface. I'm drawn back to the rule book the moment I put it down, and I can't think of a more positive endorsement than that. Is it possible my opinion can change before the end? Sure, if Vince steps in and starts writing the same shit as he did in AW - thankfully it's only the AW rules they are building off of and not the writing style with Dungeon World ;)

Oh, did I mention the awesome cover?

Butt Kicking For Goodness! Cool Art and "REDACTED"

It's been a week or so. Time to catch up ;)

Swords & Wizardry: The Actual 1st Edition Roleplaying Rules

SW Cover is here!

Cover art is in! We will get this off to the printer and keep everyone appraised of the estimate delivery date once we have it from the printers. We appreciate the understanding and support that you have shown. Happy Thanksgiving!

Player's Companion for the Adventurer Conqueror King RPG

Expanded Player's Companion Templates: Assassin to Explorer

For backers only (Thanks to Tavis for permission to share)

Frequently Asked Questions

In case you're just now checking in on the Player's Companion Kickstarter, or if you could just use a refresher on its status, here's the most important things to know:

Print rewards are are on track to reach backers in the second week of January. The book is at the printer now and we’re expecting to get the print proof for review shortly.
For the PDF rewards, a download code from DriveThruRPG will be emailed to you. We’re still finishing the internal hyperlinks for the final PDF, but you can download a nearly-final version that’s complete in every other way using the directions at the bottom of this update.
As a thank-you for your patience with the delay in fulfilling these rewards, we’re creating an expansion of the templates in the Player’s Companion, about which more below.
Weekly Update Schedule

Two weeks ago we promised to keep you informed about the Player’s Companion every week. We’re still committed to doing that, just on a different day. The last two updates went out on Fridays, which are also the day that those of you who are Dwimmermount backers get the weekly update on that project. To limit the number of updates crowding your inbox on the same day - and to give us a little more breathing room to prepare each one - future Player's Companion updates will be sent on Sundays. Apologies to anyone who has been waiting anxiously for this one since Friday!

Expanded Template List and Spreadsheet (This will be a cool resource for use in just about ANY OSR game)

Of all the opponents that ACKS players might encounter, a rival NPC party is one of the most interesting for players - and also the most time-consuming for Judges to prepare for. The templates in the Player's Companion do a great job of reducing the load of making a new character at first level, another potentially time-consuming aspect of play. We've been working to expand the template approach to make it easier to make characters at higher level, either for Judges to use as members of NPC parties or for players to enter a campaign beyond level 1.

So far, we're a third of the way through this project, with proficiencies chosen from level 1 to 14 for all of the classes in the core ACKS books organized alphabetically from Assassin to Explorer. Among the downloads for the Player's Companion, you'll find a Zip file in which these are presented two ways. The Word file Expanded Templates lists the proficiencies each template would gain at the level shown in parentheses, following the Player's Companion template. The Excel spreadsheet Expanded Template Characters 11-25 is potentially the more useful of the two. In addition to outputting the list found in the Word file, you can also use it to generate ACKS stats for each of these templates at any level you choose.

The spreadsheet is still a work in progress - it doesn't currently expand the spellbooks for higher-level arcane casters, or account for the effects of some proficiencies on the character's stats, and the statblock output is rough. However, it does calculate hit points, attack bonuses, and other key variables for the template characters. In weeks to come we'll continue adding to the classes covered and refining the way they're presented for use as NPCs.

Deadlands Noir

Strangely enough, it doesnt say backers only, but as it consists of a link to backers material, I suspect "Backers Only" was the intention. If you are a backer, read the update and grab some of your loot ;)

Backers Only - Project and Identifiers Redacted

The Doc says I can work again. There are many monsters, but these ones are mine. Factions. Conversions. Busy times. Things might start making sense.

Magicians: A Language Learning RPG

Magicians Beta!

Hi everyone, I hope our American backers had a great Thanksgiving and all is well. Last week I promised to get you all a playtest as soon as I could and, originally, John and I were thinking that we'd put together a teaser document that was limited to just the basic system of magic, core rules, some examples and maybe some monsters and cool stuff to put on threat cards. When we actually when in to do some cutting we found that pretty much everything I've got in the draft is fairly essential to running the game so here's what I'd like to do:

Anyone who would like to get a game of Magicians going can message me (via the contact me button) and ask for the playtest. I'll link you to the beta draft of Magicians I sent John last week along with a couple videos and documents for those wanting to learn some Korean pronunciation. Keep in mind that this draft still needs a lot of stuff - more examples (I'm planning on using some characters and spells you guys came up with here) and just stuff like clarity, grammar won't be quite up to snuff, especially because I won't be able to get Daniel started on character sheets and the like until kickstarter funds are released, but I don't think there will be any problems reading it and understanding how to play, so if you want to start playing or are just curious shoot me an email!

I've created a forum, where you can discuss anything you want about learning a language, Korean, future hacks, feedback on the playtest or whatever else! If you'd like to contact me, there's the button through kickstarter but I can also be reached on twitter at @kylejsimons if you'd like instant clarification on the game, have a question about something, or just want to get to know me - I'm thinking of doing a Korean word a day on twitter for fun. If I don't reply right away I might be asleep since I'm on Seoul time but I promise I'll get back to you ASAP!

There is still a few days left for people to get pledges cleared if they were issues and, after that, I'll be messaging people and asking people for pictures so we can start sketching, letting our creators know how to come up with card packs, getting spells from anyone who pledged extra (or have it included in their pledge level) and all that fun stuff. I seriously can't wait, from the spells I've  seen so far there should be some pretty awesome stuff coming in from the rest of you!

Dungeon World: A Game with Modern Rules & Old-School Style

Backers Only - (my summary) Proofs are in and they are good (with minor changes). Books should just before or shortly after the Christmas Holidays. Huzzah!

The Slow Return to Normality - Upcoming Events at The Tavern

It looks like work is slowly returning to normal. This is bad for the RPG Collector in me, as overtime is going the way of the Dodo, but good for the actual gamer in me, as I can now start to think about planning things out in advance and have a fair idea I can keep to the schedule.

I was hoping to get a session of Labyrinth Lord in for next week for those that have been waiting, but the family dog had an emergency vet visit over the weekend. Her breathing had become deep and rapid  especially when excited. It appears her heart murmur had become an enlarged heart and some fluid in the lungs. The new meds started working their miracles almost immediately  but I need to bring her back in a week and a half. To the Poconos. So I need to take a day or two off from work next week to get this accomplished. So, pushing off LL for the moment.

It looks like we're putting together an on air viewing of the Wizards & Warriors TV Series in the spirit of MST3k. Should be a blast. We're still working out the logistics. More info when we start locking it down.

I think I have the idea finalized for the next DCC RPG Contest. It will have a holiday theme of sorts. It should be fun and have real, physical prizes thanks to some 3rd party publishers and some awesome blog readers. I need to order a set of Tenkar's Tavern Tankards so I can add one to the prize pool. I plan  on leaving this contest open longer than the usual one week. I suspect prizes won't ship until after Christmas, just so I can avoid the annual post office insanity.

Still working on getting the steins and t-shirts up and ready for sale for any interested. Give it some time tho', as it's not at the front of my list of things to do.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wizards & Warriors TV Series Circa 1983 - With Video Link!

Somehow I missed the Wizards & Warriors TV series when it first came out in 1983. That's very surprising, as I was just getting to my full steam of AD&D 1e gaming.

Jeff Conaway seems to have kept some of his Taxi era hairstyle.

My God, but this is painful shit to watch so far (halfway into the first episode).

I think we should watch episodes on a weekly basis and discuss them as if it were high literature ;)

Anyone willing to go along with this horrible idea?

What Can You Tell Me About "High Fantasy" RPG by Jeffery Dillow

I grabbed High Fantasy and Adventures in High Fantasy on Ebay based solely on the fact that I had never come across it before and I had had a little extra money in my virtual wallet.

So, aside from the really scary combat chart, is there a reason for me to do any more than skim the rules and steal ideas from the adventure book?

Bueller? Bueller?...

Skellies and Ranger Battle Before the Amethyst

Without Flash
Way back in the day I used to paint miniatures. I guess with the Reaper Kickstarter I'll have to get back to doing so.

With Flash

In any case, one of these two pics will be at the center of an adventure I'll be writing. Not sure what yet, but it screams to be written ;)

Snagged on Ebay - Very Stuffed Tunnels & Trolls "Golden Box" (T&T 5e)

There are very few holes in my Tunnels & Trolls Collection. I'm missing 1e but I have Ken's very own copy of 2e. The pics I've seen of 3e look the same as 2e. I have 4e, 5e, 5.5e, 7e, 7.5 e, 1st or 2nd printings of most of the solos (some signed by Ken).

I have all of the Corgi editions (generally speaking, my favorite, mostly due to convenient  size and the stripped down but wholly playable 5e rules included with the double solos.

I have a copy of the British "Golden" cover 5e rules that I tracked down earlier, but this is a complete box AND other T&T goodies. At least, I believe the the smaller sized "Golden" cover is a British edition of the rules.

It uses the same cover art as the early 5e black cover with gold ink. I have the orange box sitting on the top of the black box for size comparison.

Heck, it even came with a smaller sized version of Grimtooth's Traps. Still enough that I'm not even sure it's been cracked open previously.

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