Saturday, December 15, 2012

Updated 12/15 - Here's The "Where The F' Are They?" List of (Nearly All) 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!

Updated 12/15/12

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 (almost a month 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 last update - haven't seen it yet nearly a month later.  Cubiclde 7 has gotten involved in the process, so the new guarantee of Dec 2012 for the PDF is hopeful, I've lost fucking hope - but I'm not sold on it. Note - this project will be AT LEAST one year late.

One year+ late and still updates once a month and can't even fulfill it's later promises (such as seeing the new backer portraits - sure, maybe they are on the forums, maybe not, but update via the damn system you used to take our cash)
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 12/13 -  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 12/6 - Updates approximately twice a month. Updated ship date 1/13 -feedback from early release PDF has been applied and the contents revised - PDF released into the wilds ;)

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 12/14 - 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. Oh, and the "draft" is complete.

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)  No F'n idea.

King For a Day - Last update 12/15- Updates Approximately twice a month. Jim has learned that being joking about your project's lateness while announcing your new Kickstarter isn't the way to keep your supporters happy. Late is late. Notice this post and the amount of red? 

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! Maybe it shipped - I have no clue

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  Pick a card, any card...)

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? No estimate)

Nystul's Infinite Dungeon - infrequent updates - Last update 12 / 13- Estimate for physical delivery is November 2012. greatly expanded offering from initial description. pre-layout version in PDF for backers - no idea when it will release

Dwarven Adventurers Boxed Set
Goal: $1,250     Total: $136,487     Funded: July 25, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: September 2012 Arrived 12/3

Dwarven Adventurers - Shipped

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... I seem to recall someone is working on getting this out the door, but I can't find the link.

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 12/11. Its software. Software doesn't play nice. Updated software looks to be a huge improvement. Process is slow with some members of the original team flaking out. I may need to actually spend an hour toying with Roll20 at some point, as it seems to be much further along.

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 December7, 2012. It just went past due date. Playtest document available to backers. My guess? Jan / Feb  2013 for release.

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

Swords & Wizardry - Last update December 12, 2012. Updates 3 times a months or so. It just went past due date. My guess? Dec 12 / Jan 13 (there were some missing pages in the PDF, so fixing the PDF means delaying the ship - January at earliest)

There's a crapload of RED now.

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

Just as a quick note, Spears of the Dawn is on track to possibly ship MONTHS early.
If this happens, Kevin should get a special award ;)

Not due yet, but funding is complete:

Horror on the Orient Express: Call of Cthulhu by Chaosium



Maelorum, an epic Gamebook

Magicians: A Language Learning RPG

Boss Monster: the Dungeon-Building Card Game

Dungeon Heroes - Your Lunch Break Dungeon Crawl

Agents of Change: The Time Travel RPG

Spears of the Dawn

Is FATE a Game You Need to Play / Observe to Grok It?

I am beginning to think that FATE is a bit like Apocalypse World. No, the writing isn't so obscure and irritating that I want to throw the book across the floor (which is good, as I'm reading it on a tablet). What I mean is that FATE introduces some concepts that those familiar with more traditional RPGs (such as D&D and it's various offspring and clones) won't be comfortable with. Maybe comfort is too strong a concept here. Still, there's a disconnect for me when it comes to FATE, and that irritates me and I want to overcome it.

In this case, I'm talking Aspects and the like. I strongly suspect I need to see this in action before fully appreciating how this stuff plays out in game, not just in my head. Besides, my head can be a bit muddled at times.

Is there a podcast / youtube video that covers an actual play session of FATE?

I want to to grok it. Really I do...

An RPG Kickstarter With a Very Small Niche - A Gallery of Rogues

For a moment, let me step away from the fact that A Gallery of Rogues is being Kickstarted while the previous Kickstarter from the same writer is still overdue without a firm release date. Hmm, maybe I can't FULLY step away from that small fact, but I'll try to keep it from influencing overly much in this post. Wish me luck ;)


How often do you need a fully fleshed out Thieves Guild?


From my experience, not bloody often. Most of my parties' adventures happen in the wilderness and dungeons - cities are just ways to measure distance between point A and point B. Oh, and maybe sell some loot to convert to coin and gems. Sure, some folks run city-centric campaigns, but I never have and I personally don't know any that do. So this becomes a real "niche within a niche" project.

At $20 for a PDF that covers a 20 member thieves guild that I may use once or twice (stretch goals may increase the guild numbers) is damn steep in my opinion ($35 for print / PDF).

If your campaign will be knee deep in the workings of a Thieves Guild, this might be good for you. Otherwise, I can't recommend it as it's focus is way too narrow for my needs.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tenkar's Minor Magical Tidbits - Alahann's Miniature Cabin

Alahann's Miniature Cabin - This is a children's set of miniature logs and green colored wooden planks.  When assembled and the command word is spoken (it is usually written on one of the green colored planks), it expands to the size of a 10’x15’ log cabin with a 6' high roof.  There is a place for a simple fire place and a door that can be barred from the inside.  A simple table and a pair of chairs will be found inside.

It is drafty and the roof leaks, but it is better protection from the elements than standing or sleeping outside. It will remain in place for up to 12 hours or until the command word is spoken again, at which point it returns to it's original miniaturized state.  It can be activated once per day.

Butt Kicking For Goodness! - Trying to Peek Behind the Curtain of the Gygax Memorial Fund - Part the Second

Much thanks to all of the investigative reporters out there ;)

Here's some screen shots from the Gygax Memorial Page on Facebook (not a place I would generally look for info - you would think that the actual memorial website would at least update once a week - it's worse than the average Kickstarter - but that's ok, because it's gonna start "Kicking" soon apparently!)

Why does this not surprise me? Why does this upset me? Why not tell us what you have already raised perhaps?

Interesting progress. Again, why is none of this on the official memorial website?

Butt Kicking For Goodness - Trying to Peek Behind the Curtain of the Gygax Memorial Fund

An email I received earlier reminds me that I need to bring 2000Coppers.com live as a blog people can use pseudonyms to post on, because asking questions and holding the feet of those that need to be held to the fire isn't just my responsibility - it belongs to all of us that have an interest in the RPG hobby.

In any case, I've been asked to step away from Kickstarters with this post. Kickstarters are a fundraiser for projects in which we can actually see how much money is raised, the number of backers and the like. It isn't so with all fundraisers.

Probably the most well known fundraiser in our hobby is the Gygax Memorial Fund. The fund has some viable and noteworthy goals which are as follows:

The specific objectives and tax exempt purpose of this 501(C)(3) organization shall be:

-To commission and place a memorial in a public park of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, to honor Gary Gygax by commemoration of literary achievement in the creation of Dungeons & Dragons and other published works 
-To maintain this memorial in perpetuity 
-To sponsor informational events open to the public which focus on his work 
-To engage in other activities related to educating the public about his achievement 
-And to establish a scholarship program in his name for students with a demonstrated need for assistance to study at an accredited college or university 
This organization has received approval from the municipality to place the memorial in a public park and is receiving contributions from the public for the creation and placement of the memorial, which is expected to be completed within a three (3) year period.
But my anonymous source has the following observations and questions:

I'd bet that the Gygax Memorial Fund has taken more money than any other project in OSR land, to no visible result (that's probably a sure bet) . If you wanted to go outside your usual beat a little (and appreciate how much transparency is already built into Kickstarter as opposed to other ways to raise funds), here are some of the questions you might ask:

1) When will Cheers, Gary be reissued?
This I had to research. It was a book composed of some of EGG's best posts from ENWorld. Reissuing would be awesome, and I'd grab this in a heartbeat. Wouldn't have to be signed either.

2) How much money has been raised (from donations from fans, from the sales of Cheers Gary, from the AD&D reprints, from other companies)? I'd be interested in not just the sum total, but a breakdown by source. Did we ever find out from WotC what percentage of the price of the AD&D 1e reprints was going to the fund?

3) What is the funding goal? From what I can see, it is open ended. There should be a specific goal for the amount needed for the memorial, but I couldn't find that info on the Memorial site.

4) What is the budget for the statue; how will the money be spent? Damn good question. No info on the  Memorial site

5) What is the expected date of completion for the statue? Well, it says within a 3 year period, but a 3 year period from when? Actually, when is the actual founding date of the Gygax Memorial Fund? First reference on the site seems to indicate around summer 2011 / GenCon. The Lake Geneva Town Council minutes referenced below are from March 28, 2011. 

6) Has a design for the statue been chosen? If it was, I suspect it would be shown on the Memorial website. It isn't. 

7) The minutes from the Lake Geneva Town Council make it clear that the location granted to the GMF for the statue is on a wetland. Building there would require approval from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Has it been obtained? No indication on the Memorial website. Actually, the Memorial website is pretty light on any true information regarding progress on the goals stated above.

Tough questions. I wish they were mine.

Few if any answers, which sucks.

How much has been raised by the Gygax Memorial Fund is a pretty interesting question.

How about these:

What are the expenses of the fund?

Are the board members drawing a salary?

What size award and how many are the planned scholarships?

Are there examples of the types of informational events planned?

This post probably isn't going to win me many friends as I suspect it is kicking up some dirt where many would rather it not get kicked.

I respected Gary, and interacted with him on ENWorld on more than one occasion. He was a gentleman. He is the father of this hobby. Our patron Saint, our St. Cuthbert if you will.

I'd like to honor the man, but I'd like some actual details from the memorial fund that bears his name before I give any more money than I already have (I bought the AD&D 1e reprints. What can I say? I still don't know how much went to the memorial fund).

Butt Kicking For Goodness! - Two Vastly Different Views on The Importance of Kickstarter Timeliness

First, the wrong way to appease your supporters:

King For a Day

while we wait....
Update #31 · Dec. 13, 2012 ·

Of course I'm a greasy oil horrible human for not finishing k4ad yet and starting a new project. But as a consolation, everyone on k4ad will also get a thank you in my new project, whether you backed it or not. It's my way of offering thanks without actually doing any extra work.

I mean.

Damn. Backspace?


(I've only heard good things about Jim Pinto in the past, but the current Kickstarter was due in September, it isn't finished, no new date is announced and he's running another Kickstarter for a new project. I mean, shouldn't you finish off the already late one before seeking funds for the next one? Why the fuck would I want thanks for a project I didn't support - this is the "bribe" being offered to soften the offense of the second project being run concurrently. 

You know what I want?  What I paid for. Snarky attitude, even if done in jest, does nothing but annoy me in this case.)

Now, the right way to deal with your supporters:

Spears of the Dawn

Spears of the Dawn Nearing Completion
Update #8 · Dec. 13, 2012 ·

Hello, patient backers.

Spears of the Dawn is nearing print-readiness, with only 10 illos left to finish before it hits DTRPG/RPGNow. The artists have been hitting their marks in admirable fashion, with a particular hat-tip to Luigi Castellani for being an art-producing machine during this project. Time's running out for the inevitable disastrous personal catastrophe I budgeted for in the schedule. If it doesn't happen soon, this game might be out months in advance of its March 2013 deadline. Personally, I'm staying indoors, wearing a hospital mask, and refusing to answer any ominous phone calls from my family.

The House of Bone and Amber is proving a tougher nut to crack than I had anticipated, however, restoring my faith in the fundamental perversity of the world. Still, it's simply a matter of polish and packing in more good stuff rather than writer's block, so it shouldn't be an issue in hitting the deadline. I've managed to enlist the talented Ejiwa Ebenebe (gallery here) to do the cover for the module, and am nearly ready to start enlisting other artists. I plan to farm the work out to a half-dozen people, both to provide different styles for those who want variety in their future stock art and to ensure that the art gets done on time.

You'll be hearing more from me once The House of Bone and Amber is in a more settled state, and I'll likely be passing it out to interested parties for outside playtesting and problem-finding before it hits the final. All backers will get it in PDF, of course, but I've not yet decided how to deal with the print angle of things. A discount on the saddle-stitched color print version could well be possible, but I'll have to run the numbers on the final to see if it makes sense.

With regards,

          Kevin Crawford

(See the part I bolded above? Holy shit! 'Nuff said...)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

ENWorld is Back - Mostly Sorta (and Fast - Which Won't Last)

Remember a few years back, when ENWorld was going to go Web 2.0, and it wound up looking like "Web -Oh no!"?

It looks a crap-ton cleaner and more usable now. I'm damn sure that won't last. Ah well.

Apparently they were able to save their old posts - that in and of itself is a minor miracle and excellent news. Even if the vast majority of the newer posts hold little to no interest for me, there is a virtual museum of gaming goodness with the older posts.

They are looking for subscribers to help foot the bill for thousands of British Pounds of lost code. Fuck that! The forums work and that is all that we need. Whatever coding was lost can stay lost. The site loads quickly now, which is a first.

So, how long before Morrus fucks up the clean interface in hopes of monetizing the site like it was of old?

Does This Unicorn Have a Broken Leg? (Iron Age - A Soon to Fail Indiegogo Project)

That middle leg looks like it's growing out of the unicorn's stomach!

Did I mention the folks behind this project spammed my blog an others?

I'm almost tempted to support this project so they can fix the poor unicorn, but then I remembered the "give us your CC info scam" they got going...

$192 raised out of a $5,500 goal - down in flames ;)

D&D Next Has Left Me Vexed - It Feels So "Vanilla"

Remember when The Grumpy Dwarf was a fairly frequent poster at The Tavern? A new D&D Next article would get posted and Grumpy was all over it like white on rice.

It hasn't been like that in a while.

Not because what I've been reading about D&D Next recently is exciting me, but it's not working me up either. It's bland.

It's like taking D&D and making it into a dry, wheat toast without butter, jam, jelly, peanut butter, dog poop, pickles, whatever - it just is.

I see very little talk about D&D Next on G+ or the gaming blogs I frequent, and although there is some self selection in what I read, those that were posting about it seem to do so much less.

It may be that the open development time has stretch too long and lost it's excitement. It may be that WotC needs some big 5e announcement to stir the waters and regain some visibility.

It may also be that many of us are getting to the point where D&D Next is old before it's even new. Which is a shame. Because as much as Grumpy picked nits and critiqued, he did it because he wanted it to be a success.

Now? The Grumpy Dwarf is mostly silent. He no longer cares.

Damn shame if you ask me.

Maybe Monte can come back for a second time and add some excitement to the process ;)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dyson Logos Releases "Dyson's Delves" (Dungeons Galore)

If you follow OSR gaming at all, you've come across Dyson Logos' maps. To say that they are amazing is an understatement.

Dyson has released his work in print - $20 for softcover, $40 for hardcover.

"Dyson’s Delves is a 6″ x 9″ 149 page book of adventures and maps for your old school game. Five full adventures from the site begin the book, followed by 44 dungeon maps each with a lined page opposite it for the owner to stock and key the maps or just to write notes about the dungeon for his or her own game.

Both editions contain reformatted versions of the classic mini-mega dungeon “Dyson’s Delve”, “The Charmed Grotto”, “Ruins of the Gorgon”, “The Worm’s Gullet” and “Erdea Manor”, followed by 44 unkeyed maps. The Limited hardcover edition contains an additional adventure at the back of the book, “The Twisted Halls of Mornard’s Revenge” which is designed for near name-level adventurers".

That's a crapload of Dyson's maps for a damn good price.

I opted for the softcover, as I think I'd cry if I found myself keying a dungeon in the hardcover ;)

The stuff is at Lulu, so use DECBOOKS12 to get 20% off.

Thanks to James Aulds for the heads up and the $20 hole in my paypal account ;)

Thoughts on Using Fate Core For One on One Play With a Novice Gamer

My wife has shown some interest in my RPG hobby, but I'm damn well sure she's not interested in dungeon raiding and the like that the OSR entails (I know there is much, much more to the OSR, but I'm using my wife's perspective, so bare with me)

She's enjoyed watching both The Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, so I have at least two genres I could use.

Here's the question - I have little experience with Fate other than reading Spirit of the Century and my current perusal of Fate Core. Does the system hold up for one on one play? Are there any house rules / tweaks you would suggest for one on one play? I think Fate is light enough for my wife to enjoy while not being so light that it will frustrate me ;)

I figure the setting itself can be painted with broad strokes and detailed as needed. I'm hoping to kick this off sometime after the New Year. We'll see how well I hit that target ;)

The Flaming Sword of Za-Mahn (OSR / DCC)

The Flaming Sword of Za-Mahn is a magical two-handed sword. It appears to be a plain sword until it is wielded with two hands, at which point yellow and orange flames lick up and down it's blade. The sword sheds light as a torch while aflame and can be used to light things on fire in much the same way. The flames from the sword do not smoke nor foul the air.

In game terms, it is +1 to hit, +1d4 damage. The extra damage is related to it's flaming ability, so resist fire reduces the extra damage by half and creatures vulnerable to fire take 2d4 extra damage instead of the standard 1d4.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

That's How We Roll Podcast - Some Extremely Informative Kickstarter Info From Fred Hicks

On the drive home from work this afternoon I finished the first part of the two part Kickstarter seminar at Metatopia over at the That's How We Roll podcast.

It was fucking amazing.

After I listen to part 2 I'm going to go back and listen to part 1 again. It was that good.

If you plan on even possibly thinking you could conceivably run a Kickstarter at some point, this is required listening.

If you want to understand how much of the money raised actually goes to the core product, you have to listen to this.

Some highlights:

Kickstarter takes 5%, Amazon 3-5% of funds raised. If the project fails to fund, no money is taken and the cost to everyone, even the project creator, is nothing.

Stretch goals that include extra physical product can kill a project's ability to be profitable if you're not careful - which is obviously why the Fate Core Kickstarter has PDFs as stretch goals (with the option to pay for a print version of the stretch goals - apparently close to cost)

T-shirts are a killer when it comes to cost (as I've learned researching them for The Tavern - they will be forthcoming, I just need to clear my plate)

In general, only a small percentage (1% - 2% ?) of pledges fail to complete and be charged (from the comments I've seen on some "backers only" uddates, I would have assumed a much high percentage - something I need to keep in mind in the future)

Lots of other goodies, like timing the kick off and ending of a Kickstarter (there is a science to it), the proper length of a Kickstarter - fuck it, what I really need is a transcript. Fucking awesome shit!

Free RPG Product of the Week - Decahedron Magazine #1

Yeah, I know I don't always update this weekly - sometimes it lasts over 2 weeks. What can i say? I'm not a very good calendar watcher ;)

Today we swap in a new freebie into the Free RPG Product of the Week slot - Decahedron Magazine #1 for BareBones Fantasy RPG.

Bill Logan and Larry Moore put together an excellent RPG and now they've put together an excellent magazine to support it.

From the blurb:

Decahedron is a magazine designed to support the BareBones Fantasy RPG.  It contains articles written by gamers like you. Originally, this was intended to be a paid-for publication containing material DwD Studios produced, along with some fan-generated content in a profit-sharing model. However, due to the popularity of the game and the ever-growing community, we wanted to continue our roots of community development like we have done with our other fan-based products and sites.

This magazine is something we can all develop together and be proud of. Designed to be small, lite, but full of fun content, we hope you enjoy this issue, as we plan on many more to come. As long as gamers are contributing content they’ll have a place within the pages of Decahedron.

Within issue you'll find:

    a great cover by Joe Calkins.

    A spotlight on Jim Alcala Sales, an active member of the forums at dwdstudios.com.

    The Gaming Table: we all love d100 tables, and this issue gives you 100 imaginative descriptors for when you're stumped during character creation.  Assembled by various authors in the forums at dwdstudios.com.

    Grimoire: a regular article series containing more magical goodness for your game.  In this issue you'll read about the Commune spell, by Bill Logan.

    Game Options: N. Harrison Ripps walks us step-by-step through the process he took to come up with a balanced approach at two-weapon fighting.  It's a great article to give YOU the tools to create more balanced game options.

    Cavern of Kul'Thoru: Matt Jackson takes us on a tour of the lair of a hydra and his lizardman minions.  Complete with three different story hooks in case you're stumped how to drop it into your campaign.

    Creature Corner: our own Larry Moore gives us the Drop Horror, a low-rank creature ready for you to... ahem... drop on your unsuspecting players.

    Character Races: not all campaigns are based on Tolkein's works.  Mike Wikan gives us the Hriffani Nomads, a cat-like constructed race unloved by the gods but surviving despite all odds.

    The Undertemple of Eleroth: one of our goals is to give you a new map on the back cover of every issue of the webzine, a ready tool for able GMs to stock and build a story around.  This issue's map by Bill Logan.

Hidden Rolls and the Temptation of the Fudge

(this was originally - in part - responses of mine to a thread on G+)

I run my games via G+ Hangouts / TableTop Forge - my rolls are in the open, except for secret door checks / wandering monsters and the like.

The world is not always a fair place, and without risk the game (it is primarily a game, not a storytelling experience, although the story should evolve naturally through play) is bland.

How can there be excitement for overcoming great odds when fate and chance has no place in the equation?

I'm willing to improvise and let my players think up solutions / actions / flaming mine carts into orcs and the like that are not strictly covered by the rules - heck, I encourage it. That's the extent of my DM Fiat - letting the players find methods to increase their chances of success.

If the game uses dice, the dice are there for a reason. Denying them the ability to impact the course of the game removes much of "the game" from the experience.

I trust my players to play through the dice rolls, good or bad.

I am expected to do the same.

My players don't want fudged dice rolls, in their favor or against them. Sometimes they fail when the odds are heavily in their favor. Sometimes they unexpectedly succeed. Same with their adversaries.

For my group, that is part of the fun. Well, that and beer and derailing the game with outside the game talk. But that's how we roll - with honest rolls.

By fudging the rolls, you are moving from RPG to Storytelling. There is a huge gray area where they overlap, and fudging of dice is a part of that IMO.

That to me is the issue - are you playing a game or a looking for a storytelling experience?

My fear is that fudging dice rolls for "the story" takes importance away from "the characters". My feeling has always been that "the characters" should always come before whatever story I may have in mind, and that won't be the case if I fudge dice rolls.

Besides, I expect my players to be honest with their rolls. The least I can do is the same ;)

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Kickstarter That's Better Than a Box of Rocks - Hand-Picked Skipping Stones

Admit it. You're a lazy fuck. You want to skip stones down by the pond but don't actually want to bend down and pick any up. God forbid you actually have to spend a minute sorting out the flat ones.

Hand-Picked Skipping Stones is the Kickstarter for you!

Imagine the joy of getting your very own box of rocks in the mail!

Picture the excitement as the postman lofts it at your doorstep and it sails through your glass window!

Sheer minutes of pulse pounding spine tingling "something" as you chuck rocks at the nearest watering hole!

All this for a mere $25 per box of 20 singing  skipping stones! (please add $75 for rope and bamboo handled carrying system)

Order now! Supplies are limited! Shipping is FREE (where permitted by law)

Fine Print - Suckers are born every minute. Except where prohibited by law, suckers are STRONGLY encouraged to opt for the optional rope and bamboo carry set. After delivery, rocks may be placed in head to replace missing brain matter where applicable. ROCKnskippers.com is not responsible for broken windows or cranial injuries that might result from improper use of Skipping Stones. Use only as directed. Possession of Skipping Stones may be restricted by law in certain jurisdictions. Please check with your local Law Enforcement before throwing stones, especially in the vicinity of glass houses. Do NOT use with sticks. Use with sticks may result in broken bones (but names will never hurt me).

My DM Merit Badges (ala Stuart's Excellent Post)

Those badges pretty much define my DM'ing style (as detailed at Stuart's Strange Magic blog)

In order:

- The GM is In Charge in my games and "rule-zero" is in effect

- I roll Dice in the open and don't fudge the results in my games

- Players in my game should be prepared to Run when the odds are against them

- I frequently Tinker with the rules of the game

- My games are more of the Social, Fun and "Beer & Pretzels" style

Gee, I'm only over a year late in getting those up. In all fairness to me, I wasn't actively DM'ing back in 2011 ;)

Group Dynamics - or - Finding a Gaming Group That You Are Right For

Notice I didn't say "finding the gaming group that is right for you".

Back in the way back time on G+, when I had folks in my circles that thought everything was an issue in gaming, and gaming without issues was impossible, there was a thread about finding the right group (thank God for last week's Circle Purge and the lessening of the noise).

Strangely enough, the thread didn't stress "finding a gaming group you are compatible with" but skewed more in the direction of "the group should make accommodations for you". Oh, it went much deeper than this, and I was called out on apparently not understanding the issues and being sexist. I know it was sexist, as I'm 45 and out of shape, so no one was calling me sexy.

Anyhow, here's how the real world works, at least for those of us that like to live there.

Groups have their own dynamics. In a way, they become their own organism, as they can generally be defined by certain attributes, especially when they are gaming groups. My group could be broadly defined as OSR, opinionated, impossible to focus and a roaring good time. Other groups may be 4e oriented, rules heavy, quest driven and serious gamers or they may be laid back, Indie style gamers, story oriented, roleplay heavy.

If you want to play 4e or Savage Worlds, my weekly group probably isnt for you unless you are interested in trying OSR type games. If you expect your RPG sessions to be serious and no bullshitting around, we are definitely not the group you want to join. If you want to spend five minutes describing your character's interaction with the innkeeper, you are more then welcome to try, but I suspect my players will try to kill him if you dawdle for too long.

Adding players to an established group is a bit of an art form. Random pick ups for an on going campaign have the potential of derailing things if if new player expectations don't match well with the group's traits. I've added folks to our established group without a hitch, because I was fairly sure the personalities would mesh.

Think about it. Gaming is a form of socializing. Generally speaking, we want to socialize with people we share interests with and share similar experiences and expectations. Do you really want to spend time with folks that you are not going to mesh with?

With G+ Hangouts, there really is no excuse to try to fit into a group whose style doesn't match yours, or even worse, try to make that established group accomodate yours. Find a group you fit with. Put out some feelers with like minded friends and form your own group. Participate in the G+ gaming community at large, play in some pick up groups and then form your own group. It really can be that simple. Not necessarily easy, but the method is simple.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Guide to Glorantha - A Kickstarter That Comes With It's Own Spreadsheet (to figure out supporter rewards)

It's not often that I look at a Kickstarter that is AMAZINGLY successful and still find myself scratching my head. The Guide to Glorantha is one of those rare projects. It's goal was an impressive one for an RPG project - $36,500. It currently sits at $155,943 with just under 800 backers, which means it averages nearly $200 per supporter. 8 days left in the Kickstarter too.

Can we all say a collective "Holy Shit!"

Now I know why Design Mechanism didn't get the rights to Glorantha when they got the rights to RuneQuest. It appears that the setting is where the money is.

I have Pavis and Big Rubble from Choasium during the RQ2 days and they were simply amazing. Better then what others were putting out back then and it was far from the standard fantasy world.

So, from a personal standpoint, I find this Kickstarter fascinating and I am sorely tempted to participate in it, but apparently you need to refer to a spreadsheet to figure out what the different levels of supoort give. No. Really, you need a spreadsheet! Look:

I think I'd need to support at $125 to get what I want in print and PDF. I put down at least that much for Dwimmermount, but I expected to get use out of that (not the vinyl play matts - WTF I wanted those when I game on G+ Hangouts I'll never understand). These I'll read and put on a shelf.

I guess I have 8 days left to decide if I want in on this.

I think if I had stuck with Glorantha over the years, I'd probably be in at $500. Thank God I didn't stick with it ;)

I Have Three Non-OSR Games Dueling For My Attention - There Can Be Only One!

I am solidly an OSR sort of guy. It's in my blood. It's what I caught my teeth on. Learning new game systems is sort of like learning a new language - I've found over the years I have my limits.

Savage Worlds is NOT one of the three games I'm currently looking at. It's a fine system and the Soloman Kane book could possibly tempt me at some point, but not now.

No, the three games in no particular order are Dungeon World, The World Between for Fictive Hack and the new/old Fate Core.

Dungeon World appelas to me because I know how well AW plays despite the poor presentation of the rules. Dungeon World overcomes that particular handicap. I do have an issue with the whole "training wheels, flag football, no one really gets hurt" aspect of the AW system. I need to look closer to see how DW adresses that aspect of the engine. (or just wait for a reader to point me in the right direction)

The World Between for Fictive Hack is just a fucking cool setting. Death and even crippling effects are in game system. I need to stop bouncing back and forth through the document so I can perhaps grasp the rules fully.

Then there is the granddaddy / baby of the group - Fate Core. I'm slowly making my way through the current iteration of the rules available via the Kickstarter and I like what I see. I "think" I'll be able to grasp the rules now. The Dresden Files were a beautiful yet painful read, and I feel the actual rules got lost in the presentation.

So yes, I'm looking for a system to run "in addition to" by usual OSR style of game.

I'm open to your thoughts / ideas / favs / hates / etc ;)

Butt Kicking For Goodness! Counting Coppers and "Cool Stuff"

I don't normally post directly from the Dwimmermount updates as they are "backers only", but I will quote a small snippet this time because Tavis deserves the props. Come what may, the man is a professional with one hell of a sense of humor:

Dwimmermount: An Old School Fantasy RPG Megadungeon - 

"I started entering data into the the spreadsheet before James' faction section was complete, so my coding is inexact. If you struck a deal with the Rat Boss to have his minions bring you every copper piece in Dwimmermount, how many would that be? Clearly, the spreadsheet should account for individual coin types as well as total treasure value." (Tavis - I bow before you ;)

Axes and Anvils

Playtest rules have been released to the backers.

Artisan Dice - 

The Dicemen are still making dice.

Fate Core - 

Backers got access to a prerelease version of Wild Blue (51 days left in the Kickstarter)

----- and -----

Hail, Fate Faithful! (note - project has raised over $115k right now)

We've just launched a few more stretch goals for folks to aim at now that we're headed into the $80,000 and beyond territory. Make sure to drop by the front page of the project to read about all the goals, as well as check out the steadily appearing [More Info] links.

Today we're all about the Fate Extras toolbox! Or, will be, soon enough, with that $81,000 goal close at hand (or perhaps already cleared by the time we post this). Let's get into the details.

Facts about the Fate Extras Toolbox

It starts with the Magic System Toolkit as its base (~10k words, ~30-40 pages laid out in our Fate Core 6x9 format).

From there, we will be adding between 10k and 20k words covering other topics, resulting in a book that's likely between 80 and 120 pages. This may increase by 30-40 pages or more depending on how things go -- see our updated stretch goals.

As a printed book (unlocking at $81k), it'll be softcover, black and white interior, priced at $20 (which will hold steady even if the page count goes up).

We don't expect it to ship for up to several months after Fate Core ships; we need to write it, vet it, edit it, and all the other production stuff.

You will over the course of this campaign help us figure out what topics the Toolbox will address. At the least, we expect to cover things like: magic, vehicles, gear-in-general, superpowers, rules-as-tone, alternatives for swapping out chunks of the default system with variant implementations, and more.
Adding a Physical Toolbox Book to Your Pledge
(Unlocks at $81,000)

Add $20 to your pledge for each copy you want (limit 6).

If you're in the USA, add $5 to have your copies of the Fate Toolbox shipped separately.

If you're outside the USA, add $15 to have your copies of the Fate Toolbox shipped separately.

If you're willing to have your shipment of the Fate Core rulebook delayed by at least several months, you can skip the additional shipping charge.
Looking ahead: the Expansion Compilation Book
(Unlocks at $101,000)

Fred's been resisting this one, but you can make him promise anyway! If we hit this stretch goal at $101,000, all of the stretch goal expansions up to Camelot Trigger that aren't going in the Toolbox will go into a "Fate Worlds" compilation book. The facts:

It will have a cover price of $30. Otherwise, adding it to your pledge once unlocked will function essentially identically to the Toolbox, with the extra shipping charges for shipping it separately.

Format: Black and white interior, softcover, 6x9.

Given the likely word count on each of them, this is going to be a monster -- easily 300-400 pages in our Fate Core format, and bigger than Fate Core itself.

This is the book where we'll list the names of every backer on this project (even the $1 guys), since it's really the thing that the Kickstarter most made possible. Folks who went for higher reward tiers will get divided out into various strata of the "Fate Faithful". Given that we're talking about thousands of names, it will be small print! But you will see your name in ink...
That's it for now, folks. Let's make this stuff happen! You're the ones in the drivers' seat -- how much can you step on the gas?


A late and anticipated project is going to be a bit later due to late artwork. No, it's not the usual redacted project.

Player's Companion for the Adventurer Conqueror King RPG

I'm pleased to send this week's update early to let you know as soon as possible: the PDF of the Player's Companion is finished, and ready for you to download!

We had planned to use the DriveThruRPG discount code system to email you a link to download through their system, but it turns out that this is only available until the product is on sale to the general public - which it won't be until we've done our utmost to ensure that every backer has their copy of the PDF.

-----redacted and deleted info on how to download your copy-----

We've very excited to get the finished Player's Companion to you, and appreciate your vital role in making this possible.

Numenera: A new roleplaying game from Monte Cook

Cool Stuff!
Hey Backers!

Numenera design is going really well. The world is taking shape, and the mechanics of the game are getting honed, thanks to the huge playtest we have going on with hundreds of groups putting it through its paces.

We're also putting together the first round of art pieces from some of the artists we're working with. These include not only Kieran Yanner and cartographer Christopher West, but also Jason Engle, Eric Lofgren, Jeremy McHugh, Patrick McEvoy, Matthew Stawicki, Scott Purdy, Guido Kuip, Keith Thompson, and Lee Smith. And there will be more artists joining us as the project goes on. The preliminary sketches and art that I've seen has blown me away. I can't wait to show you it all, but for now I've attached a cool piece by Kieran to this update.

I recently wrote about Numenera here: http://www.montecookgames.com/distinguishing-it-from-magic/

And here: http://www.montecookgames.com/four-types-of-numenera/

I also wrote about a series of podcast interviews that I did, most specifically about Numenera and its Kickstarter here: http://www.montecookgames.com/the-sound-of-my-voice/

I'm also working closely with the guys at AEG, who are making the Numenera Thunderstone game. That also is going very well. And of course, I'm talking to the guys at Q-workshop about the dice, and putting all the wheels in motion to get the screens, the shirts, and so on. There's lots to do, but it's all coming together nicely.


For those of you involved in the playtest, keep in mind that the dropbox folder that the material is in (you got a link to it to get the material originally) is often updated with new material, and new instructions, including links to feedback forms. So check back there once a week or so. Once you fill out the first feedback form, you'll be invited to a Google group devoted to the playtest.


The first set of online game design seminars occurred in November, and they went really well. A small handful of people reported that they did not get the link, but I confirmed and all of them were indeed sent, so make sure you check your Spam folder to ensure that the link doesn't get lost. The link will be coming from drivethrustuff.com, the people who are graciously hosting the seminars, so be on the lookout for it.

Character Contributors

If you chose a level that gets you the ability to contribute a character to the corebook (not the bestiary, or an adventure, those come later), editor Shanna Germain or I will be contacting you later this month to ask you about your contribution.

Thanks again for your patronage and support!


1e Session Recap (Part 1) - Whereupon the Party Finds Many Rats, But No Coppers

So, last night I kicked off my 1e / OSRIC campaign. It's the same players from my old ACKS campaign and Ambition & Avarice play test sessions for the most part. To make up for the reboot, I awarded them half the expo earned (approximately) during the ACKS Campaign, which gave everyone  8k in expo. I'm using a heavily modified DCC #27 to get the ball rolling.

The party includes:

Glabe, an Elven MU2/T3 - CN

Janos, an Elven Cleric4 - CN (I opened the classes up as per 2e)

Byrne, a Human Thief4 -NG (second highest HP total in the party)

Rastan, a Human Fighter3 - NG (the HP tank with exceptional Strength - name may ave changed - it was in flux ;)

Mark, a Dwarven F2/C3 - LN (also exceptional Strength)

So, the party wakes up chained to a cell wall via next collars. They have some vague memories of being in Tenkar's Tavern, in the Town of Tenkar (BareBones RPG Keranak Kingdoms Fantasy Setting). It was "Adventurers' Night" at the Tavern, when adventurers eat and drink for half off as paying patrons attempt to ply deals. A young fop named Lawrence was striking a deal with them when another adventuring party demanded the contract. Within minutes, the Tavern was laid to waste (not for the first time). Glabe remembers seeing the pointy end of a spear protruding from his chest, and suspects he died when it all faded to black. The others remember being on the losing end of the fight and falling unconscious, or worse.

Thus ends the set up ;)

Upon awaking, Rastan tested his chains and was able to pull them loose from the wall. The resulting hole revealed the sound of rushing water behind the wall. With some work, the rest of the part was freed, and it was decided to cast a silence spell so they could complete opening the wall up enough to escape through if necessary. They knew there were was someone on the other side of their cell door, and they wanted to be as quietly as possible. Besides, they were clothed only in prisonwear, without armor, weapons or other quiptment.

With the wall opened enough to view the unground river below, the party awaited their jail keeper, on the assumption someone needed to provide them with food and water. They were correct, and after waiting an undermined amount their jailor, a well times sleep spell took the wererat out after he opened their cell door.

The attempt to charm him failed, and what little info he was able to provide the party failed to make much sense. In the short of it, they disposed of him so he wouldn't be a possible issue later.

The elvin MU/T was the first to lower himself into the river. I wasn't sure if he had a death wish or now, but he saw the hints of a shore and a dry cave and decided to swim for it. The rest of the party decided to us the chains from the jail keeper's / torturer's room to tie themselves off and avoid being washed down river. It's nice to know the whole party isn't suicidal.

The party made their way the cave tunnel to a small lake with a whirlpool at the center - this was obviously fed by the river they had successfully traversed. The dwarf stopped to inspect the racks and stones at the shore before pressing on - he wanted something he could throw. Instead, he found a waterproof scroll case washed up among the rocks. The were some spell scrolls for the magic-user and a coded treasure map (and future adventure seed).

Proceeding to the far side of the sure the party came to a winding tunnel system, roughly 4' high and 4'.  It smelled of death, decay and poop. Rat poop!

(to be continued)

Quick Thoughts From Behind the Screen - My First 1e Session in 25 Years

It's been a long, long while since I've run AD&D 1e even though it is the RPG that to this day defines my RPG Genes. Since I've returned to active gaming, I've played C&C, D&D Next, Blood & Treasure and Apocalypse World. I've run sessions of ACKS, DCC RPG and Ambition & Avarice.

Last night was my first return to AD&D 1e (with OSRIC coming along for the ride).

My observations?

I really miss my Combat Wheel ;)  I forget which issue of The Dragon had it, but I had cut it out, reinforced it with cardboard and even gave it a protective spray. I really wish I had that now.

The small, almost pocket sized edition of OSRIC is great to read, but hard to reference during game - it's the damn size of the print and my 45 year old eyes.

I think my solution will be to print out the combat charts and saving throw charts for ease of DM reference during the next session.

Other than that, we didn't have any real hiccups rule-wise during the session. Interface issues with Google Hangouts / Tabletop Forge? Yep, but we managed to work around it.

Play report to follow
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lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

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