OK. Slept a bit. Not a lot. Spent most of the night having vivid nightmares about shipping. What’s that about?

So, we’re done, we not just funded, but we busted a bunch of stretch goals! Including offset print!

What the @#!!#@ is Offset Print?

The short version is this:

Here’s a link to a chat about the differences between digital and offset printing.

The real kicker – up until I found a printer that would do it just recently, after the Kickstarter launched – is that the choices were “sewn binding, but offset print” or “digital press, but glued-only.”

The print quality for digital printing isn’t quite as good (mostly in color saturation and fidelity) to offset, which is why it’s better.

And digital printing is (roughly) 1/3 the setup cost of offset, but 4x (!!) the per-copy cost. So for very short runs, digital wins. For runs usually in 1,000 copies or more, offset wins on both cost and quality. For the quote I just received, if I need to order 386 copies or more, it’s best to go offset.

I need to order a minimum of 405 books . . . and Backerkit isn’t over . . . so that all works out nicely.

The Quest for Shipping

There’s no question: it’s a pain. It’ll take me a few days to lock down the answer, too, because of course the  books have to be printed first, then shipped from there to . . . somewhere. My strategy for trying to keep shipping costs down is evolving, but the offset print run promise means I must print one run, ideally overseas, so I can minimize international shipping. US-based offset, sewn printing just isn’t cost competitive (but it surely is time-competitive . . . there’s no better way to get 1,000 books from the US to the US in a 4-week deadline than some of the local printers here. These guys can be fast, and of course ground shipping inside the USA is a matter of days, not weeks or months like ocean freight).

What’s Next?

First thing: I need to finish the book. I made nice progress last night on finishing the Supporting Cast chapter, which is a list of NPC types that one will expect to encounter, plus a list of folks that were killed in the course of some of the background plot workings. Why focus so much time on a bunch of dead folks? Because they had friends and loved ones who are grieving, and need to blame somebody. That’s a powerful motivation, and animates a lot of activity.

This still needs a lot of editing, but you can see what you’re going to see.

After this, I’ve got a few pages of rules – mostly on social situations, which are deliberately given short shrift in the box set in favor of killing folks and taking their stuff – to write, and then whatever page count I have from where I am to 128 pages will be filled with critters. I’ve got placeholders so far, and I know I need to put in a bunch of dragonkin. Then we’ll see!

Editing is catching up with writing very quickly, and Emily will soon find herself waiting for my latest chapter. That’s not ideal, because I prefer to be ahead of that, but it’s not bad, either, because it means that once I do hand over Supporting Cast, the monster chapter, and the additional rules text that I can simply start inserting her edited text into the book. Thus far, her edits have not caused any major problems with reflow – that’s a hazard of layout before editing is complete, but I’d rather iterate.

Once all that is done, I go through and make the Table of Contents and the Index . . . and now that the KS is complete, I can compile the backer list for the “thanks!” page.

Art, Art, Baby

So that’s all words. What about the pictures?

I’m happy to report that the sketches continue to roll in. I’ve added new members to my art team, and I’ll be touting their qualities in future updates. What I can say is that the work I’ve seen so far validates my trust in these folks. Each artist brings their own talents, and what I’m finding is that all of them are able to take my art direction and approach it in ways that vastly improve the composition of each image. They’re really bringing Norðvorn and surrounds to life. What impresses me the most is how much they have done their homework. Getting “authentic Viking” right can be hard due to the amount of Hollywood-ized depictions out there, but one of my artists included a sword in her image that is a classic late-period Peterson Type X.

That’s pretty cool.

Son of a gun. We did it! So offset print it is. And with all of the Viking Raider pledges, I think I might need another batch of Hall of Judgment as well!

I’m going to publish the update below to a bunch of RPG sites. If folks want to come by (or post on your own!) and do a bit of a victory dance, I would not object a tiny bit.

Thanks for everyone who’s jumped in so vigorously. Even beyond that, this is nearly 50% more funding than Hall of Judgment, and that only had 525 backers. Let’s go rile up some folk!

The Kickstarter for the Powered-by-GURPS licensed adventure, The Citadel at Norðvorn, is in its final three hours. We just passed the stretch goal that includes an offset print run, which will see the book with a sewn, lay-flat binding and printed on 100-105# matte paper.

In the icy north of the realm, the dwarf-hewn fortress of Norðvörn anchors the defenses that ward against the predation of dragonkin and faerie alike. Three generations of relative quiet in the region have lulled the northerners and their defenders into a sense of stable peace.

That is about to change. Norðvorn needs your help.

The Citadel at Norðvorn is a licensed setting for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. It consists of three major settlements, many small villages, at least one ruin, and two primary sources of conflict: The Hunted Lands to the northwest of The Palisade, and the Endalaus Forest, to the north and east of Audreyn’s Wall. Plus the lure of the endless wealth and magical treasure still lost in the Dragongrounds.

Within the book, find:

  • Detailed descriptions of Norðvorn and two important towns. Important locations and personalities. Culture and festivals. Places to live and shop.
  • Motivations and goals for key factions: the Wardens of Norðvorn, Faerie, Dragonkin, and foul fiends from Muspelheim and their human servitors.
  • The ruins of Elskadr, whose destruction woke threats from the dragonkin, and mystical forces long dormant.
  • Key NPCs and supporting cast, a bestiary, and an “instant village generator” for travel between towns.

This setting is easily portable to any game world needing a “wild Northmen” feel.

So go visit Norðvorn: Chaos is waiting for you.

The Citadel at Nordvorn funded over a week ago, and just passed it’s major stretch goal to deliver the offset print run! Back it now and push it farther! If you missed the prior work, Hall of Judgment, there’s a “Viking Raider” level starting at $65 that also includes that book. There’s also “Fantastic Dungeon Grappling” and other goodness on there.

Check it out!

Last 14 hours! Offset print run only $1,412 away

The Citadel at Nordvorn campaign has exceeded my expectations, and is encroaching on exceeding my hopes. I never really thought we’d be this close! But Hall of Judgment brought in over $2,000 in the final day . . . so who knows!

How can we get there?

There’s enough latent demand out there, still – over $13,000 – to take us past the “no, really, that’s the last goal” level for reprinting Hall of Judgment as well.

So jump on board! Share this campaign with your friends, drop by your Favorite Local Game Store with this handy Nordvorn Sell Sheet and see if they’ll back the campaign. It won’t take many!

As we enter the final two days of The Citadel at Nordvorn campaign, it has become clear that the “best we can do” figure is significantly in excess of the prior goal for the campaign at $30,000.

After thinking about it for a bit, I know what to do. At 35,000, I will get a reprint of Hall of Judgment done in the same style and quality as the offset run for Citadel at Norðvorn. Sewn and lay-flat binding. Heavy paper (100-105#, or 150-157gsm).

The new printing will include all of the new battle-maps done by Glynn Seal for the 2nd Edition of Lost Hall of Tyr, so the basic file is already done. If we hit this goal, everyone that already has a PDF of Hall of Judgment will get it upgraded to the new edition at no cost.

New maps?


Old Map - Rival Claim (Ridge Path)
Old Map – Rival Claim (Ridge Path)

The new images show a lot more custom detail, all done by award-winning cartographer Glynn Seal (who has a Kickstarter of his own going on right now). He did the maps of Logiheimli in Hall of Judgment, and he’s doing the maps in Citadel.

Full-page map of the new Rival Claim image.
Full-page map of the new Rival Claim image.

If we hit the new goal, Hall of Judgment will have the maps inserted into the art spaces where the old maps were; I’ll look into what it would take to get full-page maps in the back of the book as well, but no promises on that . . . it’s already a full book and I’d need to add 16 pages to make it work.

But I’m not saying no either.

Regardless, a digital map pack will be available as well (HoJ PDF purchasers in the past may already have it; I uploaded it to Backerkit a while ago and sent it out).

“And That’s All I Have to Say About That” (-F. Gump)

Wow. What a campaign. A potential offset print. Maybe a 144-page version of Citadel. Fantastic Dungeon Grappling in the boxed set itself (pinch me!), and contemplating awesome reprints of my old books.

No question: you guys are awesome.

However . . . to get the Big Goals, we need Big Conversion.

That means popping into Forum threads like these and commenting. A word from a backer goes so much further than a word from the creator. One is an endorsement; the other is spam. You know it, I know it, so I need your help:

There’s also Social Media – tweet, facebook, etc. I’ll be repeating this announcement in a blog post over at Gaming Ballistic, and that will show up at @GMingBallistic on Twitter, the Gaming Ballistic page on Facebook, and on my page and account on MeWe (and if you’re looking for ALL the places to find me on the net, go here and you can see them all).

We have 36 hours.

We just pillaged the $20,000 stretch goal for 128 pages. This makes me happy. Not the least reason for which is the unfinished draft lays out at 115 pages on a 112-page budget. So . . . I don’t  have to cut anything. Thank you all for making this my strongest Kickstarter ever.

As both Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 and The Citadel at Nordvorn enter their final hours (fewer than 12 for DFM2, about 60 as I type this for Nordvorn), it’s time to check and see if what you’ve got listed is really what you want, and (if it’s not) push the proejct to the offset print run by adding what you want NOW rather than in Backerkit.

Add-Ons vs Pledge Levels

Make sure you’re at the most efficient levels. If you’re interested in both print and PDF of both Citadel and Hall of Judgment, the Viking Raider and Retail Viking levels make more sense. If you’re interested in being a sponsor and want both books, you’ll pick one of the sponsor levels, and then plus-up with add-ons.

This is especially important for Fantastic Dungeon Grappling. At least one person has said they want that booklet and nothing else. The best way to make that happen is to pledge at the No Reward level, and make your pledge $4 for PDF, $7 for Print, and $9 for both.

The process for purchasing add-ons is one of adding sufficient “credit” to your pledge to cover your purchases once the Backerkit pledge manager phase goes online – shortly after the KS closes and cards are charged.

Once there, you’ll find your reward level already in your cart, and an option to buy add-ons. Add what you want just like you would on any on-line shopping experience. Shipping (if any) will be applied, and then your credit subtracted and then any balance can be paid with your credit card or other payment scheme accepted by Backerkit.

Let’s Get Physical

Plenty of folks want PDF for games because they’re searchable and don’t take up shelf space. Those are great reasons.

But for those who would love to have a physical book, but are nervous about international shipping, I’ll remind you that I do two print runs for non-offset books. One here in the USA, and another in the UK or EU. In fact, even if we DO an offset run, one of the printing locations for quality offset print is in the EU. So we’ll see!

So if shipping makes you nervous about physical goods . . . Hall of Judgment was $6 to the UK, $9 to the EU, and $12 to everywhere else. These costs are unpredictable, but avoiding the “ship it out of the USA” step helps a ton.

So consider print!


If you missed the Hall of Judgment Kickstarter, and want all the Dungeon Fantasy RPG that Gaming Ballistic has to offer, you’re looking at getting:

  • Print and PDF of Citadel at Nordvorn ($35)
  • Print and PDF of Hall of Judgment ($30)
  • Print and PDF of Fantastic Dungeon Grappling ($9)
  • At least one FDG Bookmark. ($3 to $35, depending on quantity)

So if you want everything, select Viking Raider, and then pledge $77 (one bookmark) to $109 (25 bookmarks)

Not too late for Retail Viking

Four copies each of Hall of Judgment and Citadel at Nordvorn. Combined with a Retail pledge over on Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2, and you’ve got months of entertainment in a box, with more on the way later this year from Gaming Ballistic!

Bring that to the attention of your Favorite Local Game Store (but do it fast! DFM2 ends at just after 5pm Central Time!)

Add-on Options

You can always buy stuff without adding money here in Backerkit. But if you add now, you help achieve stretch goals.

You will have the options to add the following cool stuff in Backerkit:

  • Extra copies of Citadel ($14 PDF; $28 print; $35 bundle)
  • Fantastic Dungeon Grappling laminated bookmarks ($3 for 1, $10 for 5, $15 for 10, and $35 for 25; bookmarks in quantities of 5+ will be shipped in pages with five different pieces of art on them!)
  • Hall of Judgment ($12.50 PDF; $25 print; $30 bundle). There was an error on the original add-on listing; I’ve reduced the price.
  • Dungeon Grappling ($7.50 PDF; $20 Bundle). Finally, grappling rules that don’t suck for players of That Other Game (5e, OSR, or PFRPG).
  • Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) ($13 PDF; $26 Print; $33 Print+PDF bundle). This is Hall of Judgment pre-converted for you to the Dragon Heresy RPG.
  • Dragon Heresy Introductory Set ($20 PDF; $50 Hardcover Print; $60 Print+PDF bundle). The original system book for the setting being explored in Citadel at Nordvorn and Hall of Judgment. Gorgeous sewn-binding, 3mm cover . . . this is one of the best-printed books you’ll handle. If your friends play 5e but you want more tactical flexibility a la Powered by GURPS . . . this is your jumping off point. May be expensive to ship out of the USA, as all my inventory is in the States.
  • The Battle Shield of Torengar ($500). A hand-made shield made as close to the specs of actual finds as I can make it. Can be up to 35.5″ diameter, will be hide faced-and-backed, and likely 5.5 to 6.5 lbs total. This costs over $1,000 to ship outside the USA (yes, really), so it’s only available in the USA.

Offset Print Run Goal

The last goal that’s within reach (unless we add $10,000 in the next three days!) is the offset print run. Based on past Kickstarter performance . . . it’s not crazy. However, it’s a LOT of books, so the best way to get this done is to ensure lots of physical copies of Citadel are on the list. At some point, stretch goal or no, it’s just cheaper to go for the nicer printing . . . but I need to be ordering well over 600 books to make that work.

But it’s not crazy. 150 folks are PDF only. Nearly 380 people are following the campaign but have not yet backed. That’s an “actual plus latent” amount of nearly $35,000. So even that last stretch goal of 144 pages is not out of reach.

Wouldn’t that be something?

This week brings to a close the week of blatantly shilling for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG Kickstarters. Both Citadel at Nordvorn and the Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 and Boxed Set Reprint campaigns end this weekend, with  DFM2 closing tomorrow (Friday), and Citadel coming to an end on Sunday. Both funded and passed at least one stretch goal, and Citadel – which had fewer to begin with – is on the cusp of passing another.

Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2/Boxed Set Reprint

The DFM2 campaign is currently past $50,000, and since one can see an additional 20-25% funding in the last two days of a campaign, it’s not over yet to get the $60,000 stretch goal. If you’re a backer, you can also answer Phil Reed’s question “What next?” by commenting on Update 14.

The Citadel at Norðvorn

The Citadel at Nordvorn turned from “gee, that’s worrisome” at the beginning to “Gaming Ballistic’s Best Kickstarter Ever.” It is already the best funded by several thousand dollars, and has 515 backers, which is 10 fewer than Hall of Judgment ended with, and 100 more than Hall of Judgment was three days before it ended. It’s already at 112 pages, Fantastic Dungeon Grappling will be inside the boxed set, and we’re $500 from making it 128 pages. From this point in HoJ to close, it picked up 26% additional funding. If we do that from here, the campaign will hit $24,570 . . . just $430 short of the offset print run. Of course, to do that, we’ll need 144 more backers at the current average pledge level. That last goal is going to be close!

Please jump on!

Back to GURPSDay

We have a new blog this week! Three Hundred and Thirty Three, by Michael Keenan, who has started off strong with ten posts this week!

GURPSDay is starting its sixth – GURPSDay started in February 2013,  a year after I started Gaming Ballistic. Things have slowed down a bit, and I’ll be considering how to revitalize this weekly activity. I’d like to see an average of 100 posts here per week – one per blog, ish – so we’ll see what we can do to get creative juiced flowing.

If you just started a GURPS blog – and I know that some of you have – email me and get on the list! With the advent of the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, Powered by GURPS, there’s even more reason to write.

How? Two action items: post more, recruit more. It’s really that simple. More posters is more posts, and more interest in GURPS.

Below you can find the blog activity for the last week. There’s a whole lotta awesome GURPS going on. Read all the posts.

Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you’re interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line. Take special note of the RSS Settings Fix if you’re on WordPress.
Continue reading “Thursday is GURPSDay! March 15 to March 21, 2019”

I was a guest this evening with Matt Finch, talking about my Top 5 DM Tips.

I had a rough week, so I had little time to prepare. That made it pretty easy, in a way: the only thing I could think of was the most important stuff. I took a few notes, and I think we had a great conversation!

You tell me. It’s about an hour.

Status and Trajectory

There’s no better way to say it than to show it:

Double Your Dungeon Fantasy Fun

There are TWO Dungeon Fantasy RPG products on Kickstarter right now, and they’re being mutually supported by Gaming Ballistic and Steve Jackson Games.

The Citadel at Norðvorn funded several days ago and is now in the process of crushing stretch goals. We surpassed the first yesterday, and we’re on course to hit another one today or tomorrow! More on that later.

Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 and Boxed Set Reprint also funded a few days ago, and is in the process of knocking down stretch goals.

The SJG and Gaming Ballistic projects are separate, but have mutually-supporting stretch goals!

  • When Citadel hit $16,000 not only did Nordvorn boost to 112 pages, DFM2 upgraded the dice inside the box.
  • If Citadel hits $18,000 (possibly today!) DFM2 puts a game notebook in each box.
  • If DFM2 hits $45,000 (less than $800 to go as I type this) then SJG will include an entirely new RPG supplement by Gaming Ballistic, Fantastic Dungeon Grapplingin each copy of the reprint of the Box Set.

That’s not even talking about the DFM2 stretch goal at $48K and $60K for more pages in the Monsters book itself, and the offset print run for Nordvorn at $25,000, which would see the game on store shelves as well as available through Warehouse 23 and Gaming Ballistic’s website.

The level of cooperation here might be unprecedented (might not; it’s certainly unusual). My data – which I’ve shared over on theRPGsite after it came up – shows at at least on MY end, the mutual support has been effective and shows the strength of the line.

And I’ve got at least two more adventures – true adventures, not settings – being written right now.

It’s a great time to be involved in the Dungeon Fantasy RPG.

Please consider backing both projects today!

The Citadel at Norðvörn


Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 and Boxed Set Reprint

This has come up a few times. Cross-Kickstarter promotions – where two publishers are actively promoting and incentivizing  each other’s products at the same time – are somewhere between “rare” and “unheard of” from what I’ve seen (love to see other examples, though!).

So when Steve Jackson Games and Gaming Ballistic each hosted a stretch goal for the other company’s campaign, some confusion was naturally generated.

Here’s the deal.

What’s Different about FDG vs HoJ’s Version

Fantastic Dungeon Grappling is now 8 pages instead of four. It incorporates learning from over a year of play in terms of penalties and how folks actually grapple in the game. Experience showed that while the control points given and received were fair, they were not always fun, and I don’t care how  detailed or realistic a system is, if it’s not fun you won’t use it, and it’s missed its mark.

We also looked at things that monsters need to do (swallow PCs whole), flying creatures need to do (pick you up and fly away with you so they can eat you later or feed you to their hungry offspring), and some dedicated “abracadabra you’re grappled” spells. I think we amplified on a few other options as well.

How Do I Get the Book?

There are two ways to get it.

The first – and best – is to contribute to the Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 Kickstarter at the boxed set level, AND see to it that the $45,000 stretch goal is reached for that product. If that happens, SJG will be including a copy of Fantastic Dungeon Grappling in each box printed, if I understand it correctly.

The other way is to add $4 for the PDF, $7 for print, or $9 for Print + PDF to the Citadel at Nordvorn pledge, and when you get to backerkit, you’ll be able to place that in your cart with the credit you’ll receive from your pledge.

That’s it, really. I do need to add the Fantastic Dungeon Grappling banner and text (probably the text above, actually) to my Citadel campaign. Yesterday and today have been fantastic and nutso and exciting on both a personal and professional level, so I’m a step behind on that front.