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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Spears of the Dawn Kickstarter Releases PDF 2 1/2 Months Ahead A Schedule - Temperatures Dip Below Freezing in Hell

We all have learned that the estimated ship date of a Kickstarter project, especially an RPG project, is about as likely to hit as a balanced budget by the government of your choice. Sure, the intention (might) be there, but the reality is usually greatly different than the stated intent.

Which brings us to Kevin Crawford's Spears of the Dawn Kickstarter, in which Kevin decided to do things a bit differently. A playable "Alpha" version was released to backers "while the Kickstarter was still going on", virtually unheard of at the time. Alpha in this case meant "without art", as the game was pretty much already written. Kevin even stated from the start that he hoped to beat his estimated ship date of March 2013.

He's well on the way to doing that. Final PDFs were released last night to backers. Printer's Proofs should be confirmed the first week of February with fulfillment in February - a month or more early.

And thus Hell begines the process of freezing over ;)


  1. I want to add that Mr. Crawford was very interested in hearing feedback on the Alpha and Beta layouts, and took those comments into account in the final layout.

  2. Wow, that's amazing and commendable. Meanwhile, I feel like I'm hounding the creator of one of my KS projects, practically begging for updates and status reports.

    1. tim, the 2000 coppers blog had success in getting some movement from the folks behind the Myth & Magic Player's Handbook

      if you want, send me a short post and i'll put it out there for you on the 2k coppers side ;)

  3. Man, am I going to have to try to break this record now?

  4. I am a big damn fan of Kevin Crawford. This only cements it further.

  5. While the timing is certainly commendable, the content is simply superb. Ten minutes spent perusing the .pdf shows that Kevin has once again provided a ton of GM resources that can be used to great effect with any game.

    I'll probably wait until my hard cover arrives to really dig into the setting specific material, but I can easily see running this for my players.

  6. It's nice to hear a positive story about a publisher doing it "right" with Kickstarter.

  7. While I think this is certainly the way Kickstarters work, as a KS supporter, on the flip side I've seen some KS project creators say that writing is work, and thus they shouldn't be expected to do it first without actually getting paid for it.

    1. I've heard the same.

      Here's my view of it:

      My sister is a writer. She's been writing for a damn long time. She writes her story and then tries to sell it. It's a hard market to crack and until recently, she couldn't crack it.

      End of last year she finally got her break. $35k advance for her first novel. She wrote it AND THEN got paid for it when she sold it.

      Freelance writers get paid for their project upon acceptance, not upon conception.

      Kickstarter producers are basically freelancing.

    2. Jeremy: Tell me, do office workers get paid before doing work, or do they get paid at the end of the month? Me, I've never had a job that paid up front (though I've never done contract work, so I can see that it might happen). Most people do the job, then they get paid, in that order. Publishing (or, for that matter, manufacturing anything) is no different: you make the product, then you sell it.

  8. Good for Kevin Crawford. I've been thinking about going KS for my next project, but I'm taking Mr. Crawford's lead, and I'm not asking for a penny until the material is written and a playtest version is ready immediately.

    1. I can't imagine the strain of going to KS without a layout-complete, fully-playable product in hand, frankly. This has been a very stressful project because so much of it hinged on someone else's delivery. I was fortunate in that all my artists were excellent and none of them flaked, but I was essentially putting the product in their hands and hoping they delivered on schedule. I had the resources and the art bench to pull any flakes and throw fresh art at the gap, but that would've come at a corresponding price- and Spears of the Dawn is currently a break-even proposition as it is. If I'd had to add the strain of actually writing the material at the same time as I was directing art for it I would've have asked for a year, not four months, and been haggard for most of it.

      Now there's just the proofs to confirm and The House of Bone and Amber to put into PDF. I've got some new talent on that one, but if they prove problematic- which I don't expect at all- I've got the cash to throw emergency artists at it. I expect I'll be doing a Kickstarter again for a future product, but honestly, if anything it will be even more complete at submission than SotD was. This publishing model has potential, but it is absolutely brutal on the publisher.



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