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)

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.

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.

Covers!

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

I’ve revamped the campaign by adding a few new stretch goals and adding some “all the things” pledge levels, which include the new reward items.

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 if we hit the $21,000 stretch goal.

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

  • PDF: $20
  • Physical Card Deck: $40

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. Each sheet contains 42 1″ square tokens depicting the creatures and characters from the adventure. There is a separate sheet for each adventure; if you want a physical sheet for each adventure, you’ll want to increase your pledge by $10 per sheet.

  • PDF: $5 each
  • Print: $10 each
Prototype Token Sheets (they'll be different for the final release)
Prototype Token Sheets (they’ll be different for the final release)

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 of the Perilous Journeys: Four at the moment, but if we cross $21,000, the fifth adventure – a 32-page solo by David Pulver – gets added as well.
  • Color PDFs of the token sheets that come with the adventure. This is to support those with print-it-yourself aspirations who have 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 of the Perilous Journeys: Four at the moment, but if we cross $21,000, the fifth adventure – a 32-page solo by David Pulver – gets added as well!
  • 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 . . . but see the stretch goals!
  • Color PDFs of the token sheets that come with the adventure. This is to support those with print-it-yourself aspirations who have quality color inkjet or laser printers and for folks who want more of a particular token.
  • UV-gloss laminated NPC and Monster cards. A minimum of 42 cards will be provided, but see the stretch goals: if we get enough orders, I’ll include more cards in the deck. Maybe a lot more.
  • 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)

If we pass $21,000 . . . the campaign turns into FIVE Perilous Journeys. After listening to feedback on what the backers want, I talked with David Pulver, and we came up with some thing for you. If we hit $21,000 the following 32-page solo adventure will be included in both the $20 PDF and $50 Print+PDF adventure groups. ANY pledge tier that includes the original four 16-page adventures will include this fifth perilous journey at no additional cost.

Vampire Hunter Belladonna

You are Belladonna, the young maid and cook at Castle Ironskull—moonlighting as a vampire slayer!

Years ago, the sinister Lord Adrik Blackbird turned your best friend into a vampire. For their own good, you had to stake them both! Somehow, you succeeded—but while those vampires perished, they had already infected others. The bloodsuckers will spread like a plague through the local countryside—unless you hunt them down!

Play as the lethal maid Belladonna (wielder of silver stakes and deadly poisons), or as your own vampire slaying hero or wizard. Travel through the villages and wilderness near Ironskull Castle, hunting vampires (and possibly other monsters). During your quest, you may uncover disturbing rumors of the rise of a new and terrifying master vampire, and the arcane relic they seek. Can you find it first?

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. You resolve combat or other encounters using the TFT rules.

In this double-sized 32-page adventure, you will find:

  • Over 200 paragraphs detailing wilderness and village encounters.
  • Multiple new monsters (not just vampires!) and magic items.
  • A “sandbox” wilderness setting that can reward multiple plays.
  • A choice of using the included pre-generated characters or your existing PC.

VAMPIRE HUNTER BELLADONNA is an independent adventure, but it has ties to IRONSKULL CASTLE, so you can use both together in a campaign if you wish. If you think of it as “Vampire Hunter B,” we won’t mind that either.

If this stretch goal is reached, a fifth token sheet will be made available and included in the “All the Things” level pledges for no additional cost.
Check out the full campaign page: Four Perilous Journeys. There are new stretch goals as well as more information on the rewards and pledge levels.

Things are starting to wind down on Citadel. Shipping costs are not yet quantified, but everything else has more or less settled. When I posted my Hall of Judgment analysis, I cautioned that that profitability (and it was profitable, if not hugely) was a result of the book being a revision and expansion, not a “from nothing” creation. I’d need a lot more money to be profitable on an equivalent book.

Well, I got my chance! Citadel wound up doing very well, and things are – at the moment – looking good.

Revenue

For a “just the books” Kickstarter, this one smashed all my previous records. 600 backers, and over $26,000 gross. So a really good showing.

  • Kickstarter Net Revenue: $23,790
  • Backerkit and Pre-Order: $6,250
  • No post-KS sales yet; it’s not for sale during fulfillment. That might change soon.

So total revenue has been just about exactly $30,000. This includes money reserved for shipping.

That’s a fantastic total. For a 128 page book, I’d expect it to run me $20K to get to PDF, so there’s still room for a print run and other stuff. But what were the actual, not theoretical costs?

Costs

So, this one was from scratch. 128 pages total, lots of art, etc.

  • The expenses for the project:
  • Writing and Editing: $4500
  • Production Fees: $3,700
  • New Art: $6565
  • Backerkit Fees: $780
  • Printing: $4,150 (Nordvorn only)
  • Other Printing: $5350
  • Shipping and Fulfillment: $TBD (estimated $5,000)
  • License Fees: Classified

So total cost to make the thing itself was just shy of $19,700. I had to print Fantastic Dungeon Grappling AND Hall of Judgment AND the bookmarks, which added another $5,350 to the tally, and then I’m guessing shipping and other fees will come in at a maximum of $8,000 more. That’s $33,050 total.

Note this looks like a “loss,” but it’s a book-keeping loss, not a cash loss. $6,000 of this total is my projected costs for writing and production, which I did myself. Another $5,300 is “I want to print more books than fulfillment requires, including a second edition of Hall of Judgment.” So out of pocket costs are looking more like $22,000, and I should have lots of inventory left over – fully paid up – for future sales.

Ultimately, I invested about $3,350 extra of my writing and production fees in extra inventory. Maybe 800 spare copies of FDG (nearly all that cost was setup cost; doubling the print run from 500 to 1000 was an esy call), and perhaps 300-400 each of Hall of Judgment and Nordvorn. Plenty of inventory to last a bit, and I expect that as my authors write Rosgarth and Forest’s End this year, some of that will get taken up by new customers wanting to catch up on the Nordlond books.

Of Lengi las Ekki

Too long, didn’t read? So, ultimately, the project was profitable, and would have been even more so had I not decided to invest in future inventory. That will wind up being something like $5-7K in print-and-ship costs, but hopefully represents $10-15K in future revenue. I actually expect FDG to do quite well: it does everything Technical Grappling does, but better.

Hall and Nordvorn will be solidly in hand, staged for several future Kickstarters worth of product. I made the best-looking book to date, and it’s utterly gameable. If you play it, you should have fun.

Big books are expensive and they’re hard to make money on at the price points folks expect. Even so, the GURPS crowd stepped up huge for me on this project and it made money (which I promptly spent).

Also: it was on time. I promised delivery of the PDF in May, and the print book in July. The final PDF was delivered in the second week in May (success), and fulfillment of international physical copies will begin mid-June. Some time taken to get the books to Studio 2 in Tennessee where they’ll go through Media Mail for US distribution should put them in folks’ hands by the end of July, as promised.

Successful project. Still not “quit the day job” success, but this is the RPG business, after all.

Citadel At Nordvorn: Final Tally

When all was said and done, when the campaign ended on March 24, we’d done very, very well. 200% funding, a new-record 600 backers, and also a new-record (for me) $26,000.

Officially my best campaign ever.
We hit the goals for 128 pages, and a high-quality offset print run with a sewn, lay-flat binding. So it’s going to be

Miss the Campaign?

Pre-orders are Open

If you missed the campaign, or chose to wait until it was certain to fund, it’s not too late to jump in.

After some mis-steps with shipping, we got it figured out. I’m doing a print run of CitadelHall of Judgment, and the new Fantastic Dungeon Grappling in Latvia.

That means for international backers, shipping will come out of the UK, at a greatly-reduced price relative to out-of-the-USA shipping. So if you held off physical product because of usually-egregious shipping fees, you might want to check things out.

The book is looking to be very pretty. The interior art is coming in, with five or six finished pieces and a whole lot more underway: 42 commissioned pieces of art for the book, plus some stock art from the always-amazing Dean Spencer where it made sense.

The text of the book – with one exception – has been written and edited and inserted into the layout. There is one page of text I need to finish up – that’s on tap for today, actually – then to build the relationship map of characters and motivations that will help GMs navigate likely responses to events. I’ll be testing that out at FNORDCon.

FNORDCon?

Yep! I’ll be headed down to Austin, TX this weekend to run Hall of Judgmentand Citadel one time each. My author Kyle Norton will be running the never-before-seen scenario The Dragons of Rosgarth as a playtest. That is the next adventure in the Nordlond series. If you’re there, try and check it out. He’s running it twice.

What’s next?

As Citadel finishes up, with hardly a breath Gaming Ballistic will turn from the Dungeon Fantasy RPG to The Fantasy Trip. The Kickstarter for the first four of a planned 10-or-more set of adventures for TFT will be launching in May.

In fact, pretty much the week after I send out the preliminary PDF to Backers, I’ll be generating the KS campaign sheet for TFT. The adventures themselves are already written! Four adventures, two each by David Pulver and the team of Christopher Rice and J. Edward Tremlett (both published TFT authors), which will release as four separately-packaged 16-page short scenarios.

Each will feature a color cover, black-and-white interior to better fit with the overall aesthetic of the TFT game line, and as much pretty art as I can cram in there. The TFT fans have let it be known that hex counters for all monsters had better appear either in the game or as an add-on, so I’ll make sure that happens.

That should Kickstart in late April or early May (in all honesty, probably early May), and run through May. Art an assembly should go quickly since the words are already done, so I’m hoping to have PDFs to backers by mid to late June. Printing will be rather later, depending on volume. I’ve got great ideas on how to bring this to fruition efficiently.

Is that All?

Actually, no. Following TFT, The Dragons of Rosgarth will get its day, another adventure for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. Then Forest’s End, the third planned Dungeon Fantasy RPG adventure for 2019.

And after that, four more TFT scenarios!

Surely that’s all?

Nope. There are a few other things in the works that I’m not ready to talk about yet, but one of them I am. I’ve partnered with James Spahn, author of White Star, for a short Swords & Wizardry scenario set in a fantasy-Viking culture. It will be 16-pages long, full color, and should convert nicely to Dragon Heresyand the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. Look for that at the end of the year!

It’s shaping up to be an amazing, exhausting, thrilling year for Gaming Ballistic. I hope you all join me for the ride.

The Citadel at Norðvorn completed a very successful Kickstarter campaign. It busted through several stretch goals including an increase to 128 pages and an offset, sewn-binding, lay-flat printing (that’s going to be so sweet, I’ll admit).

Now, it’s time for the final phase of the effort: pre-orders and shipping.

Now on Backerkit: The Citadel at Norðvorn

Check out the Kickstarter page for information on the book, previews of the art, progress updates, and the sweet add-ons and extra material available, including the 8-page Fantastic Dungeon Grappling.

Then follow the pre-order link and jump in!

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!

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