Dungeon Grappling winds down; Dragon Heresy spins up

Dungeon Grappling Winds Down

I’ve received enough feedback from folks that I know that at least EU and USA hardcopies should have been more than trickling in. If you don’t have yours by the end of this week, please contact me at gamingballistic@gmail.com, and I’ll pester DriveThruRPG on your behalf.

Feedback for those that read, review, and use the book continues to be sparse but positive. I’m hoping as folks get their book, use it in games, and write about it online that word of mouth (word of electrons?) will spread and sales will pick up beyond the Kickstarter.

Speaking of sales: two dozen. That’s about how many non-Kickstarter books and PDFs have moved. It went on sale about two weeks ago, so the run rate is on the order of one per day.

Dragon Heresy Ramps Up

As one project ends, another . . . continues. I’d set down my Big Project in order to get Kickstarter experience with Dungeon Grappling. But that’s done now, and I’m digging in hard on Dragon Heresy.

  • I’ve got the manuscript done (425,000 words! Likely 750-800 pages)
  • I’ve send the manuscript to Ken Hite for editing
  • I’ve mostly decided to release it in three books (mostly characters, mostly action/setting, monsters)
  • I’m finishing up some preparatory art commissions to help sell the game. You’ll recognize the names (Juan, Gennifer).
  • I also have maps, procured a while ago.
  • I’ve brought on Michael Clarke for layout, cover design, and cover paintings, after he did a great job with that on Dungeon Grappling. It was a difficult decision, as I attracted some very talented folks for that job.
  • I am currently gathering artists . . . and since I’m anticipating 375-425 pieces of color art for the book, I need 20-30 of them if the time from “Kickstarter ends” to “PDF ships” is to be kept reasonable, and by “reasonable” I mean about 18-20 weeks to final delivery.

This book is, as they say, “a big lift.” Maybe $45,000 just to get the game done, and nearly all of that is art. Offset printing will probably run another $30,000 for 1000 copies of each of three books.

More on that later . . . but when I go live with it in probably 6-8 weeks, I’m going to be attempting to recreate the Dungeon Grappling experience: heavy on communication, writing, editing, and layout already done as a pre-investment on my part, and the KS will be to fund the art. Full color from the get-go, this time.

So I’ll be asking for your help again.

Preliminary Dragon Heresy Artwork

As a preview.

Here’s a likely party of adventurers eyeing a longship purchased by our barbarian. (Juan)

Ooo. Failed a saving throw. (Gennifer)

In the halls of the dwarves, a young fighter faces one of his final tests of adulthood. (Juan)

The prayer to the Thunder God, Donnar, is found worthy. (Gennifer)

More to come, in the Dragon Heresy Kickstarter.

2 thoughts on “Dungeon Grappling winds down; Dragon Heresy spins up

    1. The books are looking like 3 full-color, fully-illustrated hardcovers, and something like 265 pages each. If I hit the basics, I’ll have to offer them as POD through DTRPG, standard color hardcover. If I hit a stretch goal that is probably on the order of $75,000 (!!), I can offer an offset printing with upgraded . . . well, everything. Better paper, smyth-sewn binding, and other goodness. The customer would get a much better book, and at that level, my ability to pay for the book goes up as well. My life would get a bit more complex with shipping, but it’s a burden I’m willing to take. There are some good fulfillment houses out there.

      Alex Macris’ Adventurer Conqueror King, which is a kindred spirit to my own game, is $40 for the hardcover at 274 pages, and Alex’s interiors are black and white, though his overall production values are very good. So my books should probably fall in the $40-50 each range, which would put the PDFs in the $20-25 range for each.

      So 3x PDFs would be $60-75 retail, probably $50-60 for all three in a KS campaign. If someone only wanted one book, I will weep a bit, but that would probably thus run around $20 for a single PDF.

      For Print+PDF, then as a set, something like $125-150 for three print books plus three PDFs as well.

      I’d love to pull a Steve Jackson Games and not discount them for the campaign. This is, in the words of another industry pro – “a big lift” and I’ll need all the money I can get just to get the thing out the door, much less print them the way I want. But I’m not SJG, so I feel that discounting them is the right thing to do since that will let me get them done at all, and get them into more folks’ hands.

      There will be some “elite” tiers, where you can get yourself written up as a character in the game, with custom commissioned drawing and a character sheet. Really high end tiers (like $1000 or $1500) will get a full-page drawing, a bonded-leather deluxe edition. IF the offset print run is enabled. Because once it is, putting in pages like that is pretty easy, as are custom covers and slip-cases.

      Anyway, basic buy-in for a single volume (which means you’re on your own for a lot of the stuff) would probably be The Book of Deeds, which is likely to have all the altered rules that take it a nifty step away from the bog-standard SRD5.1, and would be $20 for a PDF. A full PDF SET is probably $50 or so. Three print volumes plus PDFs likely $125 to $150. I’ll be honest: pledges of the full PDF set and the full print+PDF set are the fastest way to help me get the book(s) made, and that tip-over to offset printing will be a big deal for the project and could carry with it upgrades in interior art and other goodies, because of the internals. The basic funding level for the campaign ($45-50K) will get folks PDFs and POD books, because it’s easy to turn the PDF into a POD file, and there’s no minimum order quantity.

      With the offset threshold broken, much more interesting things can happen. I might also experiment with offering two tiers: a standard heaviweight POD tier, and a premium POD tier. If we then hit the threshold for an offset print run, ALL print orders will be converted to the better quality book at no extra cost.

      I like that a lot, actually.

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