So, my first ever convention as a dealer has come and gone: CONVergence 2019. I’m going to rapid-fire my impressions. I’ll upload pictures later.

Logistics, Set-up, Take-Down

So, I’m local, which is one of the reasons I picked this one. But even with that, I have to say: for a new venue, these guys had stuff down cold. It helps that my setup needs were light.

Even so, I showed up with my inventory and booth gear, with hand-truck in the car. Didn’t need it. Pull up to the garage, a staff of folks with pallet jacks show up and whisk your stuff to your booth, you depart and park.

I was the first in line to take-down, too. And when I walked up at exactly 4:01pm and said “I’m ready,” so were they. I was in my car on my way home by 4:15pm. So while more elaborate booths (like the poor folks who brought in a virtual mountain of etched-glass mugs) I’m sure took longer, folks with a limited presence like myself was nearly frictionless. 10/10, can recommend, etc.

Setup for me was, as noted, easy. I was fairly well prepared given I had only six products for sale.

Sales and Performance

Booth fees were $265, and of course I spent some money getting durable set-up stuff, like inventory stands and a banner.

I was, I believe, one of the only, if not the only, vendors of pure RPG material there. If you wanted gaming stuff, you pretty much chatted with me.

Mostly, folks walked on by. It’s a Sci-Fi convention, not a RPG one. Total sales were $380 . . . so I probably broke even.

I did, however, give out a LOT of business cards, and made a very important contact at The Source. After the Con, I drove there and I do expect that we’ll start having them stock my stuff. The numbers I was told in terms of “sure, we’ll take X of each” would more than double my sales even at the retail discount. Others might buy shields, though I doubt it – they’re expensive – and still more will browse my store and maybe pick up a PDF or two.

So: financially, break-even to win. Not “wow, I need to do this every month” win. But “did not lose money” win.

Note: this would not be true with an out-of-town convention. Had the same volume been had at GameHole Con or some other place, it would have been a loss. That being said, a dedicated RPG con would have had fewer people just walk by.

Biggest seller, in terms of quantity and funds, for the con? Much to my surprised pleasure, Dragon Heresy hardbacks. I also moved one copy of Lost Hall of Tyr 2nd edition, and a pair of Dungeon Grappling.

Product Mix

As noted, Dragon Heresy is a pretty book with a compelling pitch to those that are open to it. More old-school deadliness, less-silly reliance on hit point ablation, and chock full of viking goodness. I don’t need a high penetration of folks that want just a bit of a different 5e experience to do very well with that product.

I also had the Dungeon Fantasy RPG on display, but not for sale. Mostly so I could point to Nordvorn and Hall of Judgment and Fantastic Dungeon Grappling and say “THESE go with THIS.”

Had I had boxes to sell, though, or TFT to sell . . . I’m betting I could have sold a few. “I don’t have anything to play it with” turns in to “Play it with this!”

Hits and Misses

I could probably have sold a lot of memberships to Asfolk while I was there, had I had cards. I did break even, or make money, so that’s a win. Getting there, setting up, running the booth, and teardown were easy and were not an obstacle to fun.

I spent a lot of time on Saturday painting my most-authentic viking shield with milk-based white paint. This drew much interest and good conversation was had. Doing it dressed in authentic mail lent a degree of cosplay and “I’m one of you” authenticity to the thing that was well received, and a few folks even took pictures. Were I to go whole-hog and up my Viking game, it would be well received.

What could be improved for next time?

  • This is a heavy sci-fi and pop culture show. Had I had physical product to move – even not my own – I’d have done much better.
  • Next year, I know exactly what do to with some physical product, and I think I can make it happen fairly easily. Not tellin’, though.
  • I brought way too much inventory. Next time, I’ll limit my supply to make it even easier to come and go. If it looks like I’m going to run out of something, I’ll bring more from home. Or even the car. But Even ten of each of six products, which would likely fit in just a few boxes, would work
  • More stuff. Next year I’ll have at least the five new TFT products, and maybe two more DFRPG ones. More Dragon Heresy support would be good, and I had a request for what will make a nice short supplement that can probably be cross-ported into other games as well.
  • Staff. There was me and my kids, who were mostly bored, but well-behaved. With at least one more adult, I could have walked the floor and seen a few panels or other participatory things. As it was, my feet were nailed to the floor in the booth for four days straight.
  • Demos and games. This ties in with “staff,” but there IS an RPG conclave of games at CONVergence, and having folks running my stuff for me while I work the booth would be a huge improvement. I’m sure if SJG showed up with MiBs, and I had TFT and Dungeon Fantasy RPG boxed sets to sell, plus my own material, there would be a wonderful synergy there.

Overall, the convention was fun. They usually are. I talked games with a lot of folks, painted my shield, sold some stuff, and handed out a lot of cards. I might try Con of the North or another dedicated RPG convention instead of, or in addition to, CONVergence to see if my theories are correct.

Cosplay and Visual Appeal

Lots of good costume play here, though I didn’t see many full-dress folks from the Manticorian (Manticoran?) Navy – from the Honor Harrington series – there this year like I did last year. Still, some great costumes on display.


It’s been a bit since I provided an update, so here we go.

At the high level, the Four (Five!) Perilous Journeys Kickstarter is chugging along, on budget, on schedule, and making progress. Backerkit is moving along, pre-orders are a bit light, and the art that’s coming in is really blowing my socks off.


International shipping still scares the pants off me. That being said, I have made a few adjustments I wanted to cover (again, really: I mentioned it in a prior update).

If you’re shipping game accessories to Canada, instead of having the orders ship from the UK, they’ll ship from the US. This avoids weird questions with taxes and VAT from the UK side and saves Canucks a few bucks.

If you’re shipping books only, which are not taxed, they’ll still come from the UK.

Otherwise, I sent the list of international shipments to my fulfillment partner and he pre-calculated what I was going to likely owe given where we were on things, and basically I’ve gotten the shipping essentially correct. I’m not hundreds or thousands of dollars over or under for the international shipping, which is what I was afraid of. Under because that would turn a successful project into a very painful one, and I don’t want to do that. Over because shipping is not supposed to be a profit center. If one includes the money it will take to get the accessories over to the UK in the first place . . . I may be within a few tens of dollars of “exactly right.” So booyah. That’s good and right.

Backerkit Progress, Funding, and Spending

We’re really doing very well. We’re well over 90% and have been for a bit, and have brought in as I type this about $8,600 in extra revenue, with 93% of backers having responded to the survey. In truth, about half of the 37 folks who haven’t yet responded aren’t receiving any products that are set to ship, so unless they wish to engage in a pledge adjustment or throw down some add-ons, they’ll get what they paid for.

It looks like we’re linearizing to about $9,000 to $9,100 in total extra funds, which means overall, the Kickstarter probably brought in close to $50K at the top line. That’s rather nice.

I’ve done a preliminary tally, and total revenue (less Kickstarter fees) will be around $45,000 – $9K from Backerkit and $36K from Kickstarter. I’ve paid a bunch of bills so far and I project having anywhere from $25-29K left to spend. That will leave me with actual profit for the campaign, plus the distribution sales that hopefully will come once the print versions go into retail stores.

So the trajectory is good, though of course in business there’s always room to screw things up.

Pre-Orders thus far are pretty light. Hopefully folks will see this update who missed the Kickstarter and jump in.


Mostly you’ve seen these, I think. But three of the five covers are basically finished.

I’m working with my artists on the last two covers; I will likely tweak each one out a bit more to ensure maximum readability and uniformity of presentation: logo sizes and position, etc.


I’m starting to see interior art come in, but that’s a bit of the long pole in the tent. One of the long poles.

The art here is by Ben Jan, who also did the covers of Crown (this book) and Curse. I’ve engaged Sandrine Malus to balance out a few more pieces in Crown, which will effectively finish the book save for title page credits, playtester credits, ISBN, and some map tweaks.

Citadel of Ice will have the interior art done last…but see below for progress on the counters.

Pirate King has been commissioned and is being worked; I need to get in touch with the artist for Ironskull, which though the first finished is the last to be worked from an art perspective.

Vampire Hunter Belladonna transitioned to the writing rather than outlining stage in the last week or so.

Counter Art

I got some updates from Rick (Citadel of Ice) on the die-cut color counter art. Holy wow.

I’ll just leave a few examples here, and then sign off. If you are inspired to jump in now, having missed the campaign . . . it’s not to late to pre-order.

The crowdfunding campaign for “Four Perilous Journeys: New Adventures for The Fantasy Trip” closed on June 8. It hit 250% funding and smashed my previous records for both backers and funds raised.

If you missed the campaign, or wanted to join in but could not . . .it’s not too late.

The Pre-Order Store for Four Perilous Journeys is open

Everything that was available during the campaign can be had in the pre-order store, plus a lot more besides.


The first 3rd-party licensed product for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG is on sale until I run out (there are only 50 or so copies left) for the same price as the PDF: $12.50.

This doesn’t have some errata fixes, and the maps are the older style instead of the upgraded Glynn Seal maps.

Hall of Judgment (Softcover Print for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG)

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As a Strange Dr once said: “We’re in the Endgame now.”

Oh: that may have been a spoiler.

In any case, I got the advance copies of Citadel and HoJ (2nd Edition) yesterday.

These are freakin’ gorgeous books. I’m super-proud of Citadel, and I hope you guys enjoy the heck out of it.

Enough back-patting: here are a few pictures.

All three books, in advance-copy form
All three books, in advance-copy form
Fantastic Dungeon Grappling, Citadel at Nordvorn,  Hall of Judgment (1e), and Hall of Judgment (2nd Edition) spine view
Fantastic Dungeon Grappling, Citadel at Nordvorn, Hall of Judgment (1e), and Hall of Judgment (2nd Edition) spine view
Map and Artist's Take on Longbru; Sewn binding visible.
Map and Artist’s Take on Longbru; Sewn binding visible.
Interior shot of Hall of Judgment 2e
Interior shot of Hall of Judgment 2e
Lay-flat binding!
Lay-flat binding!
Close-up of stitching. Should be robust.
Close-up of stitching. Should be robust.

And lastly, a parting shot of the two 128-page Norðlond books.

They should arrive in the UK maybe by the end of the week. I expect few shennanigans with getting them into the UK from Latvia, since books are 0% VAT and Latvia and the UK are easy relatively speaking. I’ve shipped bookmarks to Kixto from the US – I could not guarantee that the printer I had in the UK would produce product that would work with a dry-erase marker – and they should arrive June 18.

Shipping to international customers will be done within a few days after that; 1-8 weeks for delivery depending on the fortunes of shipping and travel.

Then the remainder of the books will be transported to Studio 2 in TN for fulfillment. Two weeks or less from arrival to books-in-hand.


I sent out a LOT of updates over the last few days. But this one is the best.

Thank you. We broke all my records that really matter this campaign: most backers (608 vs 600), most funding ($40,108!).

The trajectory of the campaign is something I’ll mull over and study a lot once I get my ducks in a row on producing five books, five token sheets, and a card deck all at once.

The relatively boring pledge curve, up to the campaign re-orientation, was a forceful lesson in what the TFT fans want in their product mix, at least (a) for Kickstarters, and (b) for Kickstarters being run simultaneously with a hugely successful OTHER Kickstarter from SJG!

In any case: Here’s the key bits of the schedule I’ll be trying to hit for you guys:

  • Kickstarter Ends June 8
  • Backerkit Opens June 25
  • Backerkit Ends July 8
  • Distribute PDFs End July
  • Files to Printer mid-August
  • Ship International end of September
  • Final Arrival end of October

The addition of the card decks and fifth adventure really pushed my schedule to the far side of “October,” and I’ll see where, if anywhere, I can accelerate to have more slack. But I need to give the artists time to do their thing properly, and David needs time to write Vampire Hunter Belladonna. Life may happen…but I’ll try and keep it tight, and you know you’ll be kept well informed.

This is it. The last day. The sprint and dash. The Final Countdown.

But the Kickstarter campaign for Four Perilous Journeys is not over yet, and the last day is often one of the best days.

Go. Go Tell Your Friends.

At this point, the very best thing that you, as backers, can do for the campaign that you already haven’t done by pledging is to post about the campaign, and share the link.

The 48-hour announcement is a good one to share. So is the Daily Illuminator, though that requires two clicks.

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We’re funded. We’ve hit stretch goals. And, as I realized yesterday, there’s a very significant discount on the ALL THE DIGITAL THINGS and BRING ME THE THINGS. ALL OF THEM levels.The ‘sold separately’ price of the digital “sweeper” pledge is over $65. The same calculation for the all the things physical pledge is about $200.

Can’t Wait for Physical

Just a bit of a side note, but related.

I received my advance copy/test proof for my 8-page booklet “Fantastic Dungeon Grappling” for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, Powered by GURPS. It’s my first chance to handle my own works printed by Livonia in Latvia.

It’s gorgeous. The color is super-vivid, the paper luxurious. These are the same printers who will print the five adventures being produced here, so I can tell you you’re going to be very happy with them. In particular, I can’t wait to see how the Vampire Hunter Belladonna cover turns out. It is going to POP.

With that . . . I’ve got a 5-year-old girl whose birthday party is today, so I’ll catch you guys after she’s proerly sugar-soaked and satiated. We’ve got a unicorn pinata to destroy, and she needs to choose her weapons.

I’m voting longsword.

I got my single advance copy of Fantastic Dungeon Grappling from Latvia today via DHL.

It looks, in a word, FANTASTIC.

The color on the cover is exceptionally vivid. The paper weight is just right for the booklet, and very stout. I think folks will be pleased. Each copy is just shy of 62g.

For those looking forward to Citadel at Norðvörn, Hall of Judgment (Second Edition), or the print copies of the Four (now Five!) Perilous Journeys for TFT . . . this bodes very well for print quality on those volumes.

FIVE Perilous Journeys

We’re now within the 48-hour window until the Four Perilous Journeys Kickstarter comes to an end. Thanks to the generosity of over 500 backers, we’re approaching 200% funding. The campaign got a complete makeover on May 30! If you’ve not checked out what’s on offer since then . . . now would be a good time!

If you’re new to the campaign . . .

Welcome! Since the campaign started, the four GM’d 16-page adventures . . . the original “Four Perilous Journeys” have grown to five, now including a 32-page solitaire adventure called Vampire Hunter Belladonna. Here’s a preview of the cover:
Vampire Hunter Belladonna Cover Template; Art to be added later!

Additionally, check out the die-cut counters!Prototype 1

Also, the NPC/Creature Cards follow the pattern of the Creature and Wizard cards from Decks of Destiny. Shuffle them in and poof! Instant challenge. The placeholder art shows color (it’s what I have). The actual decks may be turned to greyscale to harmonize with the Decks of Destiny.Gargoyle, with placeholder artWizard, with placeholder art

The card backs will match exactly those of the Decks of Destiny.

If you’ve already pledged . . .

If you’ve already pledged at the basic Digital Voyager ($20) or Print Quartermaster ($50) level, you get all five adventures, which include on their last page the greyscale counters to print yourself. If you want the physical die-cut counters or the NPC/Monster cards, or the PDFs of that content, the “ALL THE DIGITAL THINGS” ($50) and “BRING ME THE THINGS. ALL OF THEM.” ($110) levels both include substantial discounts in overall pricing of the combined totals. Consider upgrading if you’re interested in more than one or two of the component pieces.

FIVE Perilous Journeys

Ironskull Castle (Pulver). Visit Ironskull Castle, the headquarters of Lady Raelle Ironskull, mercenary warlord turned magical arms dealer, mistress of Eldritch Arms. An entire castle filled with nasty surprises, strange magic items, and detailed NPCs. 16 pages.

Crown of Eternity (Rice/Tremlett). The party is tasked with finding a lost researcher for an exclusive league of magical explorers. The lost eldritch archaeologist was in search of the fabled Crown of Eternity. 16 pages.

Citadel of Ice (Pulver). The dungeon is a frozen labyrinth inside an iceberg drifting in the ocean. The team of adventurers must journey to the floating tomb before it melts, taking the treasure with it. 16 pages.

Curse of the Pirate King (Rice/Tremlett). Travel to the former capitol of a vast pirate nation, and find the fabled Blade of Dawn. Go to the lifeless rock, and loot the treasure of a thousand dead buccaneers. What could go wrong? 16 pages.

Vampire Hunter Belladonna is a programmed adventure for The Fantasy Trip. You won’t need a Game Master—instead a system of branching paragraphs directs you from encounter to encounter as you make your own choice. This independent adventure has ties to Ironskull Castle, so you can use both together in a campaign if you wish. 32 pages.

Check out the prototype cover art templates. The megahexes leave no doubt that you’re playing The Fantasy Trip, and while the art is a placeholder, I’m drawing from a highly successful pool of artists who have all worked with Gaming Ballistic before.
New Add-ons and RewardsNew Add-ons and RewardsNew Add-ons and Rewards

New Add-ons and Rewards

NPC/Creature Deck

For quick reference and easy play at the table, nothing beats the utility of a printed NPC or monster card.

The basic add-on will be 42 cards in the “Creature and Wizard” size: 3.5 x 5″. These will be printed on quality UV-gloss coated stock for maximum compatibility with dry-erase markers.

There is not a unique card deck per adventure: there’s a single deck that draws from the selection of creatures that come with the adventures, including the solo adventure we added when we passed the $21,000 stretch goal.

The “deck” will also be available in PDF format.

Token Sheets

Each adventure has creatures and NPCs to fight, negotiate with, or charm. While print-your-own tokens are on the last page in each adventure, this add-on gets you a COLOR version of that page, either in PDF or die-cut 1.6mm glossy cardboard.

Each sheet contains 42 1″ square tokens depicting the creatures and characters from the adventure. There is a separate sheet for each adventure.

New Reward Levels

All the Digital Things! ($50)

This pledge level includes a PDF of all the rewards offered in the campaign in digital format.

  • PDFs of all five Perilous Journeys: Four 16-page GM’d adventures, and a 32-page solitaire from a successful stretch goal.
  • Color PDFs of the token sheets that come with the adventure, supporting those with print-it-yourself aspirations with quality color inkjet or laser printers
  • Color PDFs of all the NPC/Monster cards, with a hyperlinked table of contents for quick reference

These are discounted as a bundle from their price as individual add-ons (see below for item pricing).

Bring Me The Things. All of Them. ($110)

This is the place for those that must loot and pillage. This pledge level includes a PDF of all the rewards offered in the campaign in physical AND digital format.

  • Print and PDF copies of all PDFs of all five Perilous Journeys: Four 16-page GM’d adventures, and a 32-page solitaire from a successful stretch goal.
  • Printed die-cut token sheets, in color, of all the tokens that come with each adventure. These are printed on 1.6mm gloss-laminated stock
  • Color PDFs of the token sheets that come with the adventure, supporting those with print-it-yourself aspirations with quality color inkjet or laser printers.
  • UV-gloss laminated NPC and Monster cards. A minimum of 42 cards will be provided.
  • Color PDFs of the NPC/Monster cards, with a hyperlinked table of contents for quick reference

These are discounted as a bundle from their price as individual add-ons (see below for item pricing). There are, of course, other reward levels for those who just want the adventures in PDF or Print format without the (super-cool, really) extras. There is also a retailer level for those wanting multiple copies to sell in your store!

The campaign for Four Perilous Journeys ends in less than two days! Jump on board, and set your course for adventure!

Funding Status

The Four Perilous Journeys Kickstarter campaign is about to enter its home stretch. The campaign ends this Saturday at 10pm Central time.

We’ve done quite well: we’re sitting at just shy (like a single All the Things pledge) of $30,000 with over 350 folks following but not pledged. We’re also nearly averaging $60 per pledge, so as we hopefully draw in the folks who are currently watching, we will push through. The question in my mind is if we pick up another 100 or so backers, so as to surpass The Citadel at Nordvorn as my most-backed Kickstarter ever; it’s already my most funded.

If you’re following but not yet pledged . . . jump on! It’s never too early.


I sent out a bunch of updates because I was having a lot of fun putting the covers together. I got several done, some with placeholder images to capture the spirit of the adventure, and one without, because all of the placeholder images I wanted to use were, well, filled with Buffy or Anna Valerious.

But I knew that I wanted to feature megahexes – the signature TFT element, really – in the design. Early feedback suggests it went well enough. Here’s what I have so far:

I don’t quite have one for Crown of Eternity yet, but the primary terrain element is a giant desert, so desert terrain seems likely. Curse of the Pirate King may get a revamp too, either to make it jungle, or perhaps the decking boards of ships. Even if I do say so myself: the red silk and black megahexes from Vampire Hunter Belladonna turned out really well.

What’s Next

Well, we finish! The next 3.5 days from when I write this should hopefully see an acceleration of interest and funding, with an increase in backer count to help the authors get paid more! Right now, they’re being paid double the original base pay rate thanks to your backer count. I’d love to see them get paid triple (at 750 backers).

Today in between and around Day Job activities, and before the KS ends, I’ll be

  • Digging in hard on the editing of Crown of Eternity.
  • Getting the cartography commissions completed.
  • Doing a few mock-up cards to show what the NPC/Monster card will look like; the art will change because I’ll use some temp art . . . but you’ll see what you’ll get.
  • Continuing to shop around art direction. The 42 tokens per adventure – even if some are duplicates (five yetis, twelve salt wraiths, whatever) are a lot of work
  • I will make some edits based on playtest feedback and get the three finished adventures back out into the playtest group’s hands.

From here on out, it’s all about finalization. I may need to push some deadlines around in order to give the artists time to do their thing. I’d rather get the (now five) books done right than insist on shipping a less-good product on a particular day, but I haven’t been late yet, and I don’t wish to start now!

So . . . back to the salt mines. Which are, naturally, filled with wraiths. Onward!

Check out Four Five! Perilous Journeys on Kickstarter