A Pause to Breathe: OK, that’s done

What Now?

Breathing is good and important. It’s been a real sprint here at Gaming Ballistic since April 1. That day, SJG and Gaming Ballistic announced the conversion of Lost Hall of Tyr to the Dungeon Fantasy RPGand the Dragon Heresy Introductory Set went live on Kickstarter.

Dragon Heresy and Hall of Judgment

A month later, I’d met the goal for an offset print run, and got busy – very busy – finishing up the PDF for Dragon Heresy. The PDF went out to backers on June 17; the printable PDF (higher resolution but flat file with no hyperlinks) went to AsiaPacific Offset on June 18. The Hall of Judgment Kickstarter launched June 19.

That one was my best Kickstarter yet. More backers than any of my prior projects by a long way, and frankly, a better “mix ratio” of print to PDF than other projects as well. Nearly 2/3 of backers wanted a physical copy of the book. My best estimates put that mix at 50%. Also: there were 1,587 backers of the box set RPG: 1/3 of that number is 529, which is coincidentally exactly the same number of backers that Hall of Judgment got. Since the typical group seems to be about 5 people including the GM, really anything more than a 20% hit rate is amazing, and Hall of Judgment did quite a bit better than that!

Fulfillment

The Dragon Heresy books are “on the water,” and should arrive at Studio 2 on October 8. I’ll get a sub-shipment of 320 books a few days later, so by the end of that week, I hope to have all domestic books in the mail, which means that with little room to spare, the “October” promised delivery date for all rewards will be met.

The first two cartons of Hall of Judgment (about 120 books) arrived at my house yesterday, and all of them but a few have been boxed up and mailed off already. The remaining five cartons should arrive at my house by noon today, and I will begin the process of finishing up shipment there. Folks will start receiving their books next week, then, and might extend into the 3rd week of September. The promised delivery date for rewards was August; some of our not-the-USA friends did actually get their physical copies in the trailing days of August, and I apologize to the US crowd for the month of delay. I do think, however, having finally held the book in my hands, that you will be pleased.

That does mean, though, that I’ve been hard at it for six months straight. It’s been a wee bit of a sprint, especially with a day job. But now my kids are back in school again and my schedule should be normalizing. I hope. That means my breather, such as it is, is over.

What’s Next?

The first thing I want to do is rapidly convert Hall of Judgment to Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition). As with Hall of Judgment, I’ll be changing the look of the book’s interior a bit to ensure no confusion with prior editions. I’ve got a look now that’s thematically similar to the first edition of Lost Hall: mountains on the bottom, fading rock background. The shields and markers are still in evidence, and the look is back to the blue/ice theme from the first edition. Todd did a fine job with the first edition, and the themes he established were solid, so I’ll use them again. The new version does let me organize things a bit more “Doug style” for the way I think, and I’m trying a new workflow as well . . . that’s all “below the waterline” stuff, though.

One important point: If you’ve already got the PDF of Lost Hall of Tyr (First Edition), you will receive a free PDF upgrade for Lost Hall (Second Edition). I would certainly hope you’ll want the 8.5×11″ new 2nd edition softcover…but I can’t give those away. The PDF, though . . . yeah.

Layout look for LHoT2e; still has GURPSy stats

The key bit is that, frankly, Hall of Judgment is simply better than Lost Hall of Tyr. So upgrading Lost Hall to the new standard of writing and rules and more sandboxy style, not to mention doubling page count, is the goal.

Oh, it will also be re-framed to directly support the Dragon Heresy Introductory Set. Level 1-5 instead of 4-7 for 5e. So look for a new cover as well, with a Dragon Heresy logo. Wounds and vigor and Threat/Hit DC as well. I’ll be crackin’ on that right away.

Future Work in Torengar

In other Nordlond/Torengar news (Nordlond being the de-Norse’d version of Torengar used for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG version, Hall of Judgment; Torengar is the explicitly-Norse version used in Dragon Heresy), I’ve got at least three adventures in the works there. Most of my authors are my friends from various GURPS games, but we’ll be co-developing the works for both the Dungeon Fantasy RPG as well as Dragon Heresy. Which is released first, or both at once, or not at all, will depend on many things.

One of those things is the sales velocity of Hall of Judgment on Warehouse 23. Make no mistake: post-Kickstarter sales matter for both Steve Jackson Games as well as of course for Gaming Ballistic. If we want to see more Dungeon Fantasy RPG titles from Gaming Ballistic or others, we will need to promote the game. Get your copy, once you have it, out to your Favorite Local Gaming Store. Run it at a convention. Talk it up to your friends. Review it on line, on YouTube, talk about it on Facebook and Twitter. All the usual stuff. It’s important. I’ve got more ideas for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, as do some very fine folks who count me as a friend and Gaming Ballistic as an excellent vector for publication . . . but nothing succeeds like success, and in this case, margin of success matters.

Note that Dragon Heresy is still my own, my precious: regardless of the Dungeon Fantasy RPG direction, these adventures will be created and made available for Dragon Heresy.

GameHole Con!

The last thing is GameHole Con. I’ll be there, hopefully with both spare copies of Hall of Judgment and Dragon Heresy, all four days. Running games on two of them. I don’t have a booth this year, but I’ll be wandering around Dorkstock for much of the time. If Studio 2 is there, they’ll likely have a stash of Dragon Heresy stuff too!

More for Dungeon Grappling?

I also need to think hard about Dungeon Grappling. It’s a perennial favorite add-on for my Kickstarters, but the POD cost model is just unsustainable for it to achieve a broader marketing status. It’s a great little supplement, and the Dungeon Grappling rules are still the best grappling rules on the market for D&D style games. They make grappling not suck, and that’s a significant accomplishment. So I’m contemplating an offset run for this book as well, which will bring the cost of the book down to the level that makes putting these into game stores possible (it really needs to be cheap: something like $1.90-$3.80 per copy to make them if distribution is going to be viable). It very well might be worth it, though. It’s a small book – only 48 pages – but there’s a lot of value there. Relatively speaking, printing up 2,000 of them and getting them into the wild might be a good idea.

Beyond that, I hope to finish the year with at least one more product underway beyond LHoT2e. There are four months in the year, yet, so that’s not crazy talk. Time to muscle up, as The Rock would say.

 

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