There was an error in the Dec 7 update for the PDF of Lost Hall of Tyr. The final map was exported BELOW a background layer, making the climax map for the entire adventure . . . a black void.

Oops.

Problem fixed with u12152017, which has been blasted out to all backers. Sorry about that!

The PRINT version is fine; all three proofs I have contain the proper maps.

Having received both proof copies of Lost Hall – one from PubGraphics and one from DriveThruRPG – and found them both worthy, I went ahead and placed the orders.

The International Orders were fulfilled through DriveThruRPG, and will likely arrive in two weeks (if you’re in the UK) to somewhere between then and about nine or ten weeks (if you’re lucky enough to live in New Zealand). Let me know.

Note that I have no way to sign these – they don’t come to me – so if you asked for a signed copy but don’t live in the USA, I have to apologize. That would have cost us both over $30 extra, and no softcover 62-page book is worth that.

I expect to receive a box of 125 copies of Lost Hall from PubGraphics in maybe two or three weeks. I will immediately get those packed up (with copies of Dungeon Grappling if you ordered them), toss in some promo material, and get those into the USPS via media mail. From there, it’ll be 2 to 9 days, usually about a week. That means you should be getting your physical rewards between the first and third week of January.

We’re really in the home stretch now! If we get into late January and you’ve not heard from me or received your package, email me at gamingballisticllc@gmail.com and I’ll get busy looking for where it went.

This year, my Dungeon Grappling and Lost Hall of Tyr products are participating in Erik Tenkar’s 12 Days of OSR Christmas.

And today’s day 1.

Each day I’ll be giving away a PDF of one of these products, and every third day (16th, 19th, 22nd, 25th) I’ll give away a physical copy of one of the two.

Leave a comment to be considered for the drawing each day!

I am not surprised by this, but the PubGraphics proof arrived today (a day before the DriveThru one) and they look great. I have to ask them if there’s any way I could order 125 of these things and get them by Dec 19, though – otherwise they’ll likely arrive after I’m away for a Christmas excursion.

Still: looking good. Some pictures below the break.

Continue reading “Lost Hall of Tyr: PubGraphics Proofs Look Great!”

If you’ve followed these pages, you’ve seen me working up to this.

I’m now taking commissions for these shields. Eventually, I’ll have these available for orders on the web store. For now, contact me directly and we’ll work out specs and final pricing.

Each shield is hand crafted, and “historical-ish.” Each shield is based on information gained from some folks I know at Asfolk, Hurstwic, and Dimicator doing extensive research into the subject. Any errors in historicity are mine, of course!

Each shield will feature:

  • Aspen planks butted together with hide glue
  • Hand-carved oak handles
  • Rose-head iron and/or copper fixation for the handle; copper nails and rivets for the boss
  • Diameter to user’s specification (pricing range is “up to 24 inches,” “24-36 inches,” and “36-48 inches”)
  • Optional distal taper on the outer edge; historical shields could be as little as 2.5mm of wood on the edge; I tend to make them to 4-6.5mm depending)

Optional Features include

  • Stitching with 12/3 linen thread around the circumference of the shield
  • Rawhide edging
  • Very basic painting (I’m a craftsman, not an artist)
  • Boss upgrades

Each Shield is Custom-Made

These are basically bespoke items, each one made to order. The user will specify the diameter (half your height tends to work out well), and we’ll talk about the shield profile. I can easily support “root” thicknesses (the thickness at the boss) of up to 7/16″ or so (11mm) and have created shields down to about 1/4″ (6.3mm) at the root. Because each is hand-made, these thickness guidelines are exactly that – guidelines.

We’ll work out what you want, and then I’ll get busy on it.

Pricing

The basic pricing structure is as follows:

Shield Blank

  • Child’s Shield (up to 24″ diameter, 1/4″ thick): $100
  • Standard Shield (24-36″ diameter, 1/4-7/16″ thick): $250
  • Giant Shield (36-48″ diameter, 3/8″ to 7/16″ thick): $275

There are up-charges for stitching ($50), rawhide edging ($100), or different shield bosses. If you have an existing boss, I can probably work with it as well.

Shipping

There’s no way around it: this is a big product and it will cost a lot to ship. The 36x36x4″ mailer that will likely be the shipping container will likely cost $80-100 to ship. I’m working on this.

If you order a bunch of shields – 10 to 12 – the FedEx flat rate shipping container becomes a very good option, bringing shipping down to a net of about $10-20 per shield.

Sample Images

These represent some of my earlier efforts. The unpainted shields on the left are blanks with full taper, ready for the boss. The rawhide-edged one is tapered with hide and stitching, 34″ in diameter, with a 22-gauge boss. A shield like that would be $450.

 

So . . . close

I’ve spent a good few days working on the proof copy as well as the digital files. I posted an errata list on my blog, and have managed to adjust all of those. I also went through and tweaked some things – such as ensuring spell names were in italics, re-inserting some em-dashes where space-endash-space was used, and unifying the look of hyperlinks with the print and PDF files. I’m happy with the print file at this point, and have re-uploaded it to DriveThruRPG. If that’s accepted (sometime next week) I will lock down the physical copy and get things moving for international deliveries.

For US-deliveries for print, the internal file is the same as DriveThruRPG, which is easy. The cover file is not, because the templates for the printers are different. I’ll finish that up tonight, and order a proof copy from PubGraphics. Because the files aren’t exactly the same, it’ll make me feel better to have a physical one before I mass-order.

Also this weekend, I’ll go through and add/validate bookmarks for the PDF.

Speaking of PDF, I want to draw attention to something wonderful Todd did at my request, but he pulled it off wonderfully.
Continue reading “Lost Hall of Tyr: Inching Towards Final Release”

I hope y’all have been waiting for this day as I have. But I have locked down those who responded to the survey (all but 17 of y’all) and distributed files to those folks. I will next examine those that have not filled out their survey . . . and if it looks like things are in order for the transfer from Kickstarter and that each of these folks will get what they asked for during the campaign proper, I will release those as well.

As such, 225 people should have received their digital files, or at least an email saying that they’re ready for download. Some of the files are very large, as one would expect from such graphically intensive work.

So, the countdown begins. Please read, inspect, and ask questions, and post your comments in this blog post.

Yes, this one, please!

In any case, read it, play it, let me know what you find. If there are errata (and there always are), please post them to the blog thread, and Todd and I will see what we can do.

Note that an erratum is something like a typo or grammar error. Things that are preferences or suggestions can only be entertained if they don’t break layout, and will be given a somewhat gimlet eye even then: the purpose is to finish the work, after all!

Thank you so much for coming along with me on this journey. I appreciate your faith, trust, and pixie dust.

Douglas Cole

Gaming Ballistic, LLC

The Lost Hall post-campaign goings-on still go on, and they are going strong.

Backerkit, Huzzah!

This one’s all on y’all. So far, in one day, about 60% of backers have filled out the surveys. This is good. I’d like everyone to do it, of course, but if you are one of the 115 backers that expects to receive Lost Hall of Tyr or Dungeon Grappling as a physical product, I must have your shipping address, and I’d very much like it through Backerkit.

I’m also quite gratified at the number of you guys that are electing to procure some of the cool Add-Ons that are available. I’ll note that the Manor Collection is a great deal, and if you’re an OSR fan, you’ll dig it completely. Dan’s map collection is very cool, and if you play via VTTs you’ll appreciate being able to drop in a new encounter at short notice.

Stythja Still Available

Just a shout-out for this one. The top-tier pledge was the styðja, or patron level. It features the following three things:

  • The opportunity to generate a character that will effectively be a “pre-gen” for Lost Hall
  • The character will be visualized as an epic figure by one of the artists who worked on the project.
  • Finally, part of this process is a preview of the Character Generation, Races, and Classes chapters of Dragon Heresy, my forthcoming SRD5.1 full RPG.

Here’s a peek inside:

I can tell you I had a lot of fun with these, and there’s a lot more in there than just what appears in the SRD. History, different takes on the races and classes, entirely new clerical domains based on Norse mythology, new abilities and fighting styles, and more. I can tell you this: shields are going to get way cooler.

It’s still a work in progress . . . but there’s been a lot of progress and playtesting, so while it’s not perfect, it will give a feel that captures the kinds of characters that will fit easily into the world of Etera, and provide what I hope is an exciting glimpse of what’s to come.

I will be contacting those that have elected the Styðja character levels shortly after the Backerkit phase ends and distributing the required digital files at that time. The PDF collection of characters thus created will be available prior to April 2018, as promised in the Kickstarter rewards section.

Production Progress

Todd emailed me what looks to be the final file (maybe one change pending), and I’ve approved it. This means that he can start building the Table of Contents as well as hyperlinking the document.

The result of his hard work, and the excellent responsiveness of the editing and art teams, is that unless something drastically horrendous happens, the penultimate version of the digital product will be in your hands within the week after the Backerkit phase closes.

As noted in the prior update, two things happen during this phase. Firstly, I send the files to my two print vendors for proofs (actually, this is likely to start happening this week or next). Just as importantly, you guys review the heck out of your document and find what we missed. There’s always something. Check spelling, clarity, and layout issues. Test all the hyperlinks. Head to the blog post on Gaming Ballistic’s website and leave a comment in the thread that will be started for the purpose and I’ll update the “Errata” list with notes on whether we can accommodate the request. Feel free to suggest other hyperlinks that you feel will be useful.

Map Pack

The maps for the adventure are provided as 8.5×11 full pages in the back of the adventure. They are also provided at a lower (more screen compatible) resolution of about 200dpi, and are 32″ x 40″ in size at that scale. They will come as a compressed file of JPEGs so they can be pulled into your Virtual Table Top program of choice, or you can have them printed as posters or anything else.

They are full color, and have no grids or scales on them, so that for those that do use the VTT’s native grid functions, you don’t get the case where either you can’t quite match up the map grid with the program grid, or for folks like me that like hexes, have to deal with a hex overlay on a square grid.

I am working with Bogie maps on a few fun extras to make choosing between grid options easy, but no word on those yet.

Endgame and Next Projects

So that’s where we are. Thanks for coming with me so far, and please do take advantage of the “share” functions of the various forums. Give the project a re-share from Kickstarter or Backerkit. Even better, throw down a nice comment or two on the usual places: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Reddit, or the various DnD-flavored groups or RPG forums.

This won’t be my last product. I expect that within the month I’ll take delivery of a 115,000-word manuscript for a completely original Sci-Fi game that I cannot wait to get started on, which includes core rules and three short scenarios. If that goes well, the author has 27 more adventures ready to go.

And of course there’s Dragon Heresy, and I hope that I’ve convinced you that I have the project management chops to deliver even a very large project on time. The only reason that one isn’t out already is that I want to do the same quality job with it that I have done (says me) on Dungeon Grappling and Lost Hall of Tyr. That means art . . . and lots of it. The Dragon Heresy draft that went to Ken Hite (yes, that Ken Hite) for editing was roughly 400,000 words, or approximately 800 pages in 3 volumes. I’ll need anywhere from 200 to 400 pieces of art to do it how I want . . . and that requires a very successful campaign.

When it comes time, I hope you’ll help me with that.

Until then, back to the wilds of production for me!

Last night Kickstarter processed the funds for the campaign – everyone’s payments cleared but one, which is a darn good percentage.

This morning, I sent out the Backerkit surveys. Each of you should have received an email as follows:

“Thank you for supporting the Lost Hall of Tyr Kickstarter!

The primary goal of the survey is to collect shipping and email information so that we can get you your physical and digital rewards. There are also a few “marketing and interest” related questions that I would love to get feedback on so that I can better tailor products to suit, and improve Gaming Ballistic’s customer experience as the company grows.

Thanks for your pledge, and for your time!”

I actually wound up dispensing with the marketing survey part, because you were forced to answer the questions, and I wanted minimum fuss.

In any case, you’ll be asked if you want your physical copies, if any, signed. You’ll go to a page that has pre-added your rewards, and you’ll either show a shipping fee, or possibly a credit if you pledged more than your reward.

You can add stuff if you like, and allocate your money or even buy more if you decide (for example) that you want several physical copies or that you want one or more of the custom characters. In that case you’ll be asked to pay the balance.

The Backerkit phase will run until November 24th. Then it’ll close down and that’s it.

Pre-orders are also open! This means that folks can order Lost Hall, and just for simplicity, they can do so at the Kickstarter discount. Retail price of the PDF will be $10; Print will be $20, and the bundle of both will be $25 . . . so if you have friends that want in, send them to the Pre-Orders Page!

Progress Update

So . . . I don’t want to jinx things. But Todd and I expect to finish the final PDF within a couple of days. That means in all probability, the PDF will be ready to distribute the day the Backerkit phase closes.

So digital distribution of Dungeon Grappling (if you ordered it) and Lost Hall (why you’re here) will occur on Nov 25 or so.

However! That won’t be the final file. I’ll be ordering proofs for print copies, and you guys will have a week or two to read the digital file, ask questions, and point out errors. If you find any, we’ll note them in a spreadsheet that I’ll maintain on my blog, Gaming Ballistic.

Once that’s done and I like the print file look, I will incorporate any clarifications or fixes that don’t break the layout that the backers notice, submit and order final files, and order print copies. Then I’ll order International copies from DriveThru, and take delivery at my home of the US orders, pack ’em up, and ship ’em out.

So . . . things are looking good in terms of schedule.

It’s my practice to be pretty transparent about the cost to make my games. So, with no further ado, here’s the end-of-project view on “where will the money go?” for Lost Hall of Tyr which funded at about 200% on Kickstarter.

Writing and Editing

The basic cost to write the book and make it readable. These are almost always “per word” charges, and will typically range from 0.03 to 0.10 per word depending on the writer and editor’s rates. John is very public about his rates – they’re published on his website at 0.03 to 0.05 per word; my own assumed writing fees are 0.05 per word.

As such, writing and editing show a total cost of $1,540.

Layout and Art

Layout and Art are the bulk of any project’s cost in my experience. Of course, one of my goals is to make a book that’s awesome to look at as well as great fun to play. The components of “art” in this book include the Cover, Interior Art, Layout, and Maps.

Layout was done by Todd, and in this case, we worked out a fixed rate in advance. Which honestly wasn’t enough and he’ll be getting more money than we initially agreed due to scope creep and iteration.

Maps and Interior art pay by the piece, with the artist setting their own rate and I either say “yes, I accept” or “no, thanks.” I never dicker with the artist over what they want to charge (well, that’s not true; I’ve several times paid more than what the artist quotes).

Total art, layout, and art direction for Lost Hall: $3,500

Printing and Shipping

These will float a bit until I actually know the real numbers, but approximately 114 physical copies were procured by the Kickstarter. I’ll probably order another 25 to act as physical inventory for myself to fulfill future orders through my website.

Shipping costs are variable, but mostly will be about five to eight dollars each. Call it about six.

So printing and shipping the books should run about $1,550 in round numbers.

Management (and Marketing!)

There are many bits of project management that come up in running a Kickstarter or publishing project of any size. Done well, they blend into the background and seem effortless and worthless. Done poorly, they result in crap projects, ill will with the creative team, and late or unfulfilled Kickstarters.

The two areas that really hit here are overall project management (including contracting) and Art Direction.

Marketing is something that really should be a line item as well, but right now, it’s just “post a lot on social media” and I handle that myself as well, so I haven’t figured out what to charge for it: I lump it in with Project management.

Art Direction involves hiring the artists, contracting, deciding the base composition for each piece, and nudging the process along. Because that’s subsumed into “project management,” and it’s all me, it’s also (like writing and project management and marketing) something I budget for but don’t include in my Kickstarter basic goals.

The two together are estimated at about $1,100.

Total Costs for Lost Hall of Tyr

So there you have it:

  • Text Content: $1,540
  • Graphic Content: $3,500
  • Print and Ship: $1,550
  • Management/Admin: $1,100

Total Cost: $7,690

If we subtract the fees I might charge for my own work (writing, management) and shipping (because it’s a pass-through done in Backerkit), we’re left with about $5,000 in out-of-pocket expenses to make the book.

It was another good experience, though, and the final product is going to be fun to play and very attractive. As always, your feedback on what you liked about both the product and the Kickstarter (planning, execution, and eventual delivery) are appreciated!