Survey Status

The Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) Kickstarter campaign is in the Backerkit phase. You guys have done great for the surveys . . . and have been generous with the add-ons, which I appreciate. We’re over 4/5 – 82% to be precise – complete. There are 24 people who have not filled out their surveys, but of those, 17 have hard-copy material for which I need an address, so if you have already ordered, or would like to order, physical goods . . . I need a shipping address. We are also only 20 new orders from achieving the offset print run stretch goal . . . so we’re very, very close.

Funding Status

Those of you that have backed my projects before know I’m transparent in terms of where the money’s going. You backed me, you get the straight dope on funding flow. In this case, after Kickstarter fees, we brought in $3,675 from that part of the campaign. Backerkit has brought in about $940 in not-shipping fees, for a total of $4615 to date that can be applied towards the dual goals of the project: the maps, and the print run.

The offset print run and maps together require $5,275, so we’re about $660 shy of the goal.

Even as-is, the digital short-run printing with CPI in the UK will produce up to 400 books if I choose. In distribution, these won’t be self-sustaining at the cost-to-produce as they would with the offset run: That’s OK (It’s not ideal, but it’s OK). No matter what, there’s Dragon Heresy support out there, and more on the way.

The key to victory here is simple: 20 pre-orders of PDF and Print.

Schedule

Glynn has already finished five of seven maps. I gave a preview of what they’ll look like a few days ago, but I like seeing it so here it is again:

He’s done something fun with the entrance to the Hall itself, which is to draw the outside and inside lower hall as a single map, split into two halves. This will allow a notional battle to rage between the two seamlessly, which was in the original adventure but not really reflected on the maps.

That means barring Real Life, the maps should be done and ready by week’s end. That will let me start finalizing the PDF. I’ve got a few conversion notes to put in, some stats and conversion notes for Swords & Wizardry to add, and an error check to do. Hopefully that will all be complete within the month of January; then we’ll get a preliminary PDF out so folks can look for errors and typos that always slip in.

Basically, I’m on schedule. The same schedule I posted originally in the Kickstarter campaign. This isn’t an accident: it’ll be the fifth Kickstarter that I’ve run that will be on time or ahead of schedule (that is, all of them). If we hit the offset run, expect your print copies in June (or before). If we don’t, you should get them 4-6 weeks earlier.

Don’t forget those surveys if you’re doing physical product! And as always, a little word of mouth (of Facebook? Of Twitter?) goes a long way. We’re about two dozen print pre-orders, or 10 “Starter Kit” with a copy of Dragon Heresy included, from the stretch goal that will both improve the book (thicker, heavier paper, lay-flat sewn binding) and get it out there in retail stores next to the core book.

If you have questions, you know Where to find Gaming Ballistic on the Internet!

Survey Status

As of this morning, about 2/3 of folks have filled out their surveys for the Backerkit phase of Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition). Nice work, y’all.

I did a bit of checking, and there are plenty of folks with physical product who haven’t completed their surveys – not surprising given the relatively low fraction of folks that went digital-rewards-only. If you can work that in today that will help.

On the flip side, we’re about $1,100 away from the offset print run stretch goal, though about 50% of that is related to a single backer who is interested in one of my viking-style shields. That’s really not that many folks.

(Which everyone should be. They’re awesome. Ahem. Sorry.)

How can we get the rest of the way?

  • We have no pre-order backers yet. Share the Backerkit preorder link and get the word out.
  • While the adventure is Dragon Heresy . . . 5e is really just “turn Threat DC/Hit DC/DR into armor class” and this adventure can be played nearly as-is. A bit of cross-promotion will go a long way.
  • There’s a great opportunity for game stores to pick up Dragon Heresy and Lost Hall at a discount. Mentioning this to your Favorite Local Game Store would be helpful. And it only would take eight such orders to push us over the edge to the print run.

I should note that the prices in the pre-order store and add-ons reflect the sale that was going on when I launched the Kickstarter, effectively extending until Jan 25 the time that my stuff is 23% off.

New Maps

Glynn is making great progress on the new maps, which are a heck of a lot more on-point than the more generic maps that used to be there. I’ll start inserting the images into the layout that I’ve got going starting today.

He’s got at least two maps completely finished, with more on the way. He’s knocking them down very quickly.

This shows a sample spread with “maps as art.” The maps are actually full-size for a page: 8.5×11, and will appear with scale bars and references for what a 5′ or 10′ square would be. These full-page maps will be available in the back of the print copy, as well as a separate file for drag-and-drop into your favorite Virtual Table Top.

I think the new style of maps integrates much better than the old one, especially when compared to the map styles Glynn did for the new Logiheimli section, as well as the broad area maps locating the Hall more precisely – something missing from the old edition of the book.

You can see that I still have a bit of conversion work left – eliminating references to Hall of Judgment for the Powered by GURPS Dungeon Fantasy RPG. In nearly every case, this sort of conversion is very easy: I can either look at my old 5e notes from Lost Hall (1st Edition), or convert on the fly. Lots of room in the book to accommodate layout reflow as well.

So things are going well and quickly, and I don’t see a reason to shift schedule at this time!

In the meantime: Surveys, surveys, surveys!

Glynn is hard at work on new maps for Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition), and below you can find a bit of history on the old maps, how he and I got to collaborate, and some WIP he’s willing to show.

Maps and Expenses

When Lost Hall of Tyr (1st Edition) was being made, I budgeted for a Kickstarter that equaled my first: about 300 folks. I also spent a bunch of money on a really prime piece of artwork that was (and still is) the most expensive single image I’ve yet procured.

(It is really awesome though.)

Even so, I couldn’t afford bespoke maps. Bogie Maps – and Dan was a pleasure to work with – had stock maps in hand, and was able to mildly customize a few for me using assets he already had.

As an example, he created a generic location for “Rival Claim” using a stock map. The advantage was obviously cost. The disadvantage was that it had no real tie to the adventure description: it was just a big map.

That has its charm, as it’s portable. And the full-scale combat maps are still part of the book package. But when I got the opportunity to upgrade content of the book for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG as Hall of Judgment, the project required more maps. Specific maps, that would let the linear convention-style demonstration adventure – Lost Hall’s purpose was to demonstrate the concepts in Dungeon Grappling – turn into something much more non-linear and sandboxy. Not a true sand-box; it is a quest adventure, after all. But something with more geography, and a lot more detail and options on the approach.

Glynn Seal’s The Midderlands

I got to know Glynn through his Midderlands kickstarter(s). I was impressed by his high production values on the book, and also with the quality of his cartography and artwork. Very evocative, and really brought the feeling he was going for to the work.

 

When I decided to produce new maps, and new locations, from the Village at Logiheimli to the Goblin Warrens (two of them!) to make mincemeat out of adventurers . . . um, provide a suitable challenge for adventurers . . . I reached out to see if he was available for commission.

Well, he was.

Logiheimli; an Easy Choice

He was (and remains) extremely easy to work with. I sent really, really coarse sketches of what I was looking for – I’m a stick-figure kind of guy when it comes to de novo art creation, though I’m a fair hand at digital compositing of existing work.

He turned it into something glorious, which is of course included in Lost Hall 2nd Edition.

So when it came time to upgrade the maps such as Rival Claim to something better as part of the Lost Hall 2nd Edition conversion . . . Glynn was the obvious choice.

I sent him some art notes, and of course he has a copy of Hall of Judgment since he worked on it (and super-easy to get it to him, since the books were printed in the UK).

Now that the New Year is here, he’s already hard at work, and has documented his creation of the new Rival Claim map on his blog.

I can’t recommend Glynn enough as a creator and a collaborator.  You can see the first of seven new maps below . . . stay tuned for more, and of course please help steer your friends and Favorite Game Store folks to the Pre-Order page!

Thanks for staying with me!

Update on Surveys

The “Smoke Test,” which vets the survey for effectiveness and function, is nearly complete. I will likely send it out to all backers shortly.

It will run for three full weeks, during which time I hope you’ll help me get the word out, as the Pre-Order Store is open, and if we can hit extra stretch goals during that time, I’m all for it.

I should be seeing the initial Kickstarter campaign funds settle sometime between today and Sunday. That will allow me to, in earnest, get cracking on the finalization of text, maps, and printing.

That’s it! Hope you guys had Holiday breaks that were eventful in only good ways.

Also, if you’re curious to how 2018 treated Gaming Ballistic, read about it below and see what’s coming next.

Gaming Ballistic 2018 Year in Review

If you missed the campaign, or if you have more freedom now that the holiday season has come and gone: you can now Pre-Order Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) on Backerkit!

Visit the Pre-Order Store

All the same products are available as during the campaign – the books, the bundles, even the Viking-style Battle Shields of Torengar.

The campaign was short and raised about $4,100, which was enough to secure a quality print run on 85# silk-coated paper. But it won’t take many more backers doing pre-orders to push the campaign past the $6,000 stretch goal at which point we go for an offset print run.

What’s that got to do with anything? It’s a higher-quality book. Still softcover, but heavier paper (105# stock), and with a smyth-sewn (so it won’t fall apart) lay-flat binding. That way it’ll sit on your table for easy reference during games, and the pages are physically sewn into the book, so they won’t fall out with repeated use.

If we actually reach $7500 . . . the book becomes a hardcover.

I’ll admit it: I drool a bit about that one. Having a quality hardcover book sitting next to the Dragon Heresy Introductory Set on store shelves? It’s doable. The softcover is even more doable, as it would only take another 60 or so folks to jump on board at the Print+PDF level, or only 30 picking up both the core book and the adventure.

Help spread the word and make it happen!

The campaign to bring a high-quality print run to Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) – the first (but not the last) direct support for the Dragon Heresy RPG – is coming to an end in 45 minutes, at 9:30pm Central time.

The campaign met its funding goal of $1,300 and went on to hit 300% funding. The books that will be printed will be nice, too: 93# silk-coated matte paper, with a glossy cover.

But it still could be better.

Next Goal: $6,000 for Offset Print

It’s true, it’s a reach. We need $2000 more . . . and yet that is only 66 more people. It’s a challenge, but it’s not crazy. Sure, there’s a bit of irrational exuberance in my projections, but we still have 134 following the campaign who haven’t jumped in. Plus there are 200 folks from this very campaign that have Dragon Heresy but nothing to play it with.

So the potential is there.

That version will be amazing. 105# paper will bulk up the spine a bit. Heavy softcover with a lay-flat binding.

And the book will be able to go into distribution and sit on retail shelves next to the core book.

That last one is probably more important for me than for you. But there it is: it’s the sort of thing that makes the game more accessible, more popular, and allows me to keep developing content in advance of any crowdfunding.

So: please share our victory with your social network, and invite them on board. It really does help! And if you can make it, please pledge!

But is this really the end?

Not quite. After a few weeks to let the Kickstarter funds settle, we’ll enter the Backerkit phase, which will allow pre-orders and Add-Ons to still be obtained. Including even better versions of the viking shields a few of y’all bought the first time!

The Kickstarter portion should finish Jan 4, and Backerkit will probably run through the 20th of January. After that, we’ll look for some preliminary PDF distribution for error checking, and then we’ll hit the printer sometime in February.

The Backerkit Revenue absolutely counts for how good the final print run will be. If we hit the stretch goal of $6,000 or more during the Backerkit phase, I write the check for the offset print run. So if we pass over the line after tonight . . . we still all win and get an even better book.

Please support the Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) campaign in its final hour

If you can support it later, that’ll be fine too! Just throw in a dollar so you’re on the list for the Backerkit phase and you’ll get carried with me through the rest of the ride!

Last night was brilliant! The Lost Hall 2e First Print Stretch Goal was achieved last night!

Digital Print Run: $3,500

The printing will shift from POD to a digital print run. This will still be a softcover, perfect-bound book, but the paper and print quality is upgraded to the same 140gsm/93# Arrow Silk paper used in Hall of Judgment.

The bottom is maybe 1mm thicker than the LHoT2e will be unless the book grows a bit, which I don’t think it will.

Next Goal: $6,000 for Offset Print

It’s true, it’s a reach. We need $2400 more . . . and yet that is only 78 more people. It’s a challenge, but it’s not crazy. Sure, there’s a bit of irrational exuberance in my projections, but we still have 138 following the campaign who haven’t jumped in.

So the potential is there.

That version will be amazing. 105# paper will bulk up the spine a bit. Heavy softcover with a lay-flat binding.

And the book will be able to go into distribution and sit on retail shelves next to the core book. 

That last one is probably more important for me than for you. But there it is: it’s the sort of thing that makes the game more accessible, more popular, and allows me to keep developing content in advance of any crowdfunding.

So: please share our victory with your social network, and invite them on board. It really does help!

Add-Ons

As a further enticement, a reminder of the add-ons available. I’m linking to my website for more information . . . but if you like what you see, please go to the Kickstarter to order them!

Dragon Heresy Introductory Set

($38 Print; $15 PDF; $46 HC+PDF)

The core rules supporting Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition), the Dragon Heresy Introductory Set is a substantially modified variant on the Fifth Edition ruleset (SRD5.1 under the OGL). It includes more details on Torengar and Etera, the background world for Lost Hall, as well as a complete, self-contained game for Level 1-5 play. The game introduces rules for wounds vs vigor to distinguish between blood and grit, great mechanics for shields and grappling, rules for flyting, social standing, and more. If you don’t have it, this is a great time to pick it up.

Note: this is a 3.1-lb book and they’re all in the USA; international shipping of a hardcover is likely to be expensive. You can see the print quality I’m shooting for below: my 288-page Dragon Heresy book is rather thicker and better put together than the 320-page comparison volume.

Dungeon Grappling

($12 Print; $6 PDF; $15 Print+PDF)

Gaming Ballistic’s very first product, and still the best grappling rules on the market (in fairness, it’s a low bar). Finally bring grappling rules that don’t suck to the table for Fifth Edition, the Pathfinder RPG, and Swords & Wizardry.

Dungeon Grappling makes grappling fun again, especially for the GM and their monsters, by introducing the “control” damage type and working throw how to apply it for both armed and unarmed grapples. And tentacles. And nets.

Seamlessly move between armed combat and grappling . . . just like they did in the old days of Fiori, Talhoffer, and other historical fighting manuals.

The Battle Shield of Torengar ($650)

Just for fun, I will hand-build for you a mostly-authentic viking-style center-gripped shield. Made of quarter-sawn poplar wood, with a hand-carved oak handle, mild steel boss, and faced, backed, and edged with goat rawhide, it’s put together with hide glue, and tapered at the edges. Who doesn’t want their own Viking-style shield, made to historical dimensions? Make an impression at your next staff meeting.

You’ll also receive print and PDF copies of all four of my printed books.

If you pledge at this level (or buy one as an add-on), I’ll contact you and we can work out the details of size and how you want it painted. The shield will likely weigh about 4.5-7 lbs, depending on our mutually-agreed-upon specs.

This is only available in the USA, because even inside the USA, this is horrifically expensive to ship!  

A few prior samples below. They are (and the plain black one, which is the hide-covered shield painted with authentic milk-based paint with charcoal pigment) my Asfolk training shields. Each weighs 6 lbs. 

Last Words

I’m so excited to see the first important stretch goal fall. The print run is huge for Gaming Ballistic, and I hope that some of the few hundred folks either following or who’ve bought my products in the past will come on board in this last half-day of the campaign.

Until then: you’ve made me happy and proud. You guys are going to get a great book.

We enter the final 23 hours of the Lost Hall 2nd Edition Kickstarter with:

  • $219 to go until the first “high quality print” goal
  • $400 per day for the last two days as a trend
  • 136 people following this Kickstarter who have not yet pledged
  • 200 backers of Dragon Heresy with no support in their hands who also don’t have Lost Hall 1e or Hall of Judgment

So much potential . . . please come on board!

While counting your chickens is famously unwise, we just passed $3,000, having picked up roughly $500 in the last day. We’ve also got something like 140 folks who are following the Lost Hall of Tyr 2e campaign but haven’t yet pledged. It’s been a great 24 hours or so for the Kickstarter. Where does that leave us?

We’ll hit the digital print run goal at $3500, which requires about 40 PDF pledges or only 16 people to come in at the print plus PDF level.

The $3500 level will turn it into a very nice book – same quality as Hall of Judgment.

The Big Offset Print Run isn’t out of reach, though a lot would have to happen in the next 24-36 hours. But if ALL 140 folks came in and went for a print and PDF book, well, that actually gets us the hardcover.

The number of backers required for “victory” here is quite small. 250 at the current average pledge of $30 gets us the hardcover. Can’t do it without you. Spread the word, and let’s make it happen.

I got back into D&D after a long, long time with GURPS (though I did not, and will not, stop creating for that system) by joining Erik Tenkar, Peter Dell’Orto, Tim Shorts, Joe the Lawyer (I never actually got his whole name), and several others in Erik’s “B-Team.”

We played once a month, and compressed a whole lot of gaming into 2-3 hours. We used the Swords & Wizardry system, a retro-clone that showed me how much fun rules-light gaming can be, and helped me appreciate Fifth Edition a bit more when it came out.

S&W taught me to think simple, think fast, and think light. It helped me shape my grappling rules into something anyone would want to pick up, and could either “play easy” or add as much modular awesome as they could.

I got to know Matt Finch through Erik, and I believe other than the Wednesday night Tavern Chats, we started to get to know each other when he started “ambush interviewing” me for his D&D Neighborhood YouTube shows. While the first interview was me chatting with him about Dragon Heresy and related stuff, he tapped me for a few other shows like “How to write a player’s guide.” He’s a good guy, drives a good interview (maybe the legal training), and runs a good game, which I got to experience at GameHole Con in November of 2018 (this past year).

When it came time to introduce this second edition of Lost Hall, I asked him if he would be willing to contribute a Foreword, and he agreed.

Here’s the laid-out Foreword for your image perusal, followed by the text and a link to a PDF as well.

Foreword to Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition)

by Matt Finch

Some longish time ago, I was talking with Doug Cole via Google Hangout. As the conversation went on, it started to dawn on me that he was sitting in the middle of what looked like a small armory of blades, axes, and shields—all of them made of wood. So after a while, of course, I had to ask about this clutter of weaponry piled up all around him. Now, anyone who knows Doug already knows that “enthusiastic” only vaguely succeeds in capturing the essence of Doug. Seconds later, I was looking through my computer screen at a sword-wielding, shieldbearing warrior in fighting stance, delivering an energetic lecture on the proper way to use a Viking-type shield. As the lecture evolved into methods of using the sword in concert with the shield, I started to realize why there’s no furniture anywhere near his computer. Or, at least, what happened to it if there once was. As I’ve said, “enthusiastic” doesn’t quite capture it.

Doug manages to infuse his writing with the same effervescent energy, making for a wild ride through his game world and the adventures to be found in it. Since I’m no expert on Vikings or Norse mythology I can’t speak to how much of Doug’s exploration into the wyrd, wild world of Viking adventure is based on history and how much of it is just a sheer, fantastic Norseplosion of adventure. It doesn’t really matter, of course —this book is a mix of pure mystery and adrenaline for RPG gaming, and that’s what counts in the long run.

One is always tempted to write a long foreword to a good book, sprinkling spoilers here and there in an effort to tell the reader how to enjoy what they’re about to encounter in it. But I don’t think that’s the purpose of a foreword. A foreword is for setting the mood: giving the reader that last deep breath before the plunge into strange worlds and vivid imagery. I can assure you, even though the world of Norse adventuring might seem familiar on the surface, what lies beneath that surface is strange and mythic indeed. And so, consider that last, deep breath to have now been drawn—it’s time to turn the page and let yourself go a-Viking in the rich sea of ideas you’ll find beyond!

 LINK TO PDF FILE

The Lost Hall of Tyr Kickstarter has funded and is striving to achieve its “high quality printing” stretch goals. It won’t take much, but I need your help.

Funded. Closing in on Stretch Goals

This is where it happens – the last two days of the Kickstarter are where it takes off and assumes its final form.

We’ve got the new maps. We’ve got a new cover (and I hope to be able to show you an improved version before the campaign ends!) and a lot more gameable material than the first edition. Now it’s time to make the physical product awesome.

If you’re a Dragon Heresy fan: This is your chance to support a fantastic adventure in Dragon Heresy’s native setting. The $3500 stretch goal is still a fine book: heavy paper (about 85# paper, a tetch heavier than what Lulu prints on) and quality printing, but I know we can do more. If we hit the $6,000 stretch goal, that will allow me to get adventure support alongside the hardback book into stores, so you can see them, point to them, and pick them up and play. It will also print on 105# paper and have a lay-flat binding, even in softcover.

This is the time: For everyone on this list, who has been interested in Gaming Ballistic material, I’d ask that you share out the Kickstarter link and make folks aware of it. This will be my fifth (of five) funded projects. Each was on time or early, and a high-quality affair. Help me do more by spreading the word if you can’t pledge, and pledging if you can.

Lost Hall 2e: The Final Hours

Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) is a mini-setting and adventure for the Dragon Heresy Roleplaying game. Dragon Heresy is a self-contained complete game in one volume, and the Introductory Set covers Level 1-5.

Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) contains

  • A non-linear adventure for 4-7 characters of Level 1-5
  • A detailed workup of the Viking-inspired town of Isfjall, suitable as either a home port for an extended campaign or a jumping off point for the adventure
  • Rules for overland journeys in the wild north, several adventuring locations, and of course the quest to rediscover the Lost Hall itself
  • A bestiary containing all the key creatures from the adventure, including the Dragon Heresy unique stats pre-calculated (Threat DC, Hit DC, wound and control thresholds, wounds, and vigor)

Lost Hall of Tyr is 112 pages long, in full color. The Kickstarter is to enhance the quality of the original combat/location maps, and fund a high-quality print run. 

Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) on Kickstarter