Well, another month has come and gone, and what’s happened? More and less than one would think. I’ve been so head-down in doing the projects that my blogging and general evangelism has fallen off a bit.

Dungeon Grappling

Well, the book came out, well ahead of schedule, and in addition to those sales I made during the Kickstarter campaign (about 300), I moved about 24 more. Mostly PDF through DTRPG (15 sales there), and nine more – a healthy mix of print and PDF – personally and through my web store. I sold two copies of The Art of Dungeon Grappling, which is disappointing but perhaps unsurprising, despite the benefit to both charity and the artists.

The reviews have been very positive to date, so I can’t complain about that. Word will hopefully get out, especially as I broaden the applicability of the system and offer more products. Most folks probably just have been so burned with bad grappling in the past that they might not be interested. That was to be expected, I think – it’s a niche product. It’s a good product, but niche.

I will be running a few Dungeon Grappling Smackdown events at GenCon via the Independent Game Designer’s Network. More on that in coming months.

I also released Dungeon Grappling through CreateSpace. That was a bit of a chore, as I actually had to lay out the book again to meet Amazon’s margin requirements. But it’s available as both a softcover and a Kindle book (I’ve sold one Kindle version, and no CreateSpace print copies).

Dragon Heresy

Looking over my blog, I see I’ve not said much about Dragon Heresy. Well, things are moving. Continue reading “Gaming Ballistic, LLC – February Update”

Hernan Ruiz Carnauer is someone I’ve known for a bit. I’ve seen and envied his Battlegrounds program, and backed his last few Kickstarters, some of which funded, others which did not.

This one, though: MapForge, falls into the category of “Shut up and take my money!”

Look at those textures. And those are programmable tiles – watch the video, and you’ll see the stuff you can do.

Hernan has the moxie to pull this off, as any player of his Battlegrounds VTT can attest. It’s already funded, but awesome deserves to be rewarded. He’s very customer-oriented, and I know he’ll deliver.

I’m in for $30. You should be too. These are fantastic looking maps that you’ll be able to whip up, and if things get really good, perhaps modern maps, sci-fi maps, and other expansions are not far behind? That’s the kind of thing that happens if a project overfunds – you start looking for ways to deliver even more awesome to your backers and customers.

I thought I’d try and sweep up the reviews that have come in for Dungeon Grappling into one place. I may have missed a few, and if that’s the case, please ping me and I’ll add it!

Dungeon Grappling Review (Shane Plays)

I’m not one for suspense in reviews, so I’ll say right off the bat that I feel this is a good product and especially so given this is the author’s first RPG effort that I am aware of outside of articles and supplements for other games.

It offers a rich, alternative and, for the most part, non-lethal combat system that runs in parallel with the existing combat systems in D&D, Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry.

Norbert G. Matausch (Combatives Instructor)

I like it. As a combatives instructor, I like it even more because it does well what all the other grappling rules I know have done poorly or not at all: it really makes grappling interesting. Very cool. Let’s not forget that grappling is as old as mankind, and that it was an important part of every complete weapon fighting system, e.g., medieval sword-fighting schools.

Recommended.

Dust Pan Games (Mark Van Vlack)

“My quick impression after reading through the rules quickly is this. Dungeon Grappling is very well thought out and very well produced supplement for fantasy games. As a supplement “Dungeon Grappling” will be best used by players and game masters who believe grappling is under-served by the rules normally provided in traditional fantasy games. While there is a bit of extra set up and book keeping involved, the result is more detailed and eloquent grappling for your game.

Conclusion: It’s legit. If you think your game will have or should have more grappling, it’s easily worth the purchase.”

ENWorld (Random Bystander)

These grappling rules are unlike any other grappling rules I have ever tried or read. They are fun and easy to use. They flow naturally, and make sense. At no point was I left wondering “How did this happen?” or “Why did this happen?”

Read more: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?500121-Dungeon-Grappling-Kickstarter-is-now-live!#ixzz4YFpCS1bV

Games and Geekdom. (What do I know about Reviews?).

“it’s a solid, interesting product for multiple game systems, and it has value beyond literally using it at the table, just to see a well thought out breakdown of the game mechanics used in multiple similar, but different games. In other words, it’s well written, well thought out, and it will be useful and interesting for a wide range of gamers from a variety of systems.

Much like the Book of the Tarrasque, this book showcases what small press publishers can do with a topic that it just doesn’t make sense for major publishers to address.

**** (out of five)”

Misdirected Mark #246.

They took a look at the preview, and in summary:

  • They said it treats grappling the same way that they treat the Tarrasque in their own book, and said that in a positive way
  • Mentioned all the things you can do with it
  • Specifically called out that the book was “gorgeous”
  • Made postive mention of The Art of Dungeon Grappling, with 50% going to St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and 35% going as a bonus to the artists.

Castalia House (Jeffro Johnson, In the Mail).

“as much as I love the old games, I have to say… the grappling rules in basically everything in the bad old days were just plain garbage. Just like with old school mega-dungeons and the AD&D domain game, it’s taken a surprisingly long time to sort this out. You’ll probably want two copies, though: one to use with your big pile of ACKS books… and one to loan out to your new school acquaintances! (And I have to say… this book really does set off the ACKS line rather nicely…!)

Check it out!”

Quick Review: Dungeon Grappling – YouTube

Dungeon Grappling – eBook Review | Follow Me And Die!

I have already done a review of an advanced copyPDF, and book for Dungeon Grappling. Doug did above I beyond and along with the PDF released two eBook formats ePub & mobi.

I fired up my Kindle and loaded it up. It is Black & white with no graphics for speed at the table. All the content is otherwise the same. It has the linked table of contents and index like the PDF.

It has a clean and crisp layout. I’ve not tried using my Kindle at the table, but I may have to give it a go.”

Quasar Knight’s Fantasy Blog: KickTracking: Dungeon Grappling.

The book itself is 53 pages, full-color. The artwork is very good, and the meat of the mechanics can be summed up in the use of Control Points, a kind of pseudo-hit point system reflecting how “beaten into submission” a target is in regards to grappling. I can’t help but feel that won’t really cut down on “book-keeping clutter,” for as it is another value to keep track of in regards to hit points, spell slots, etc. Even more so if multiple creatures are grappled or grappling in the same fight.

The book seems rules-heavier than I like, but in regards to individual systems it does seem to make fighters, monks, and martial types quite competent in grappling in Swords & Wizardry. However, in Pathfinder  the problem of huge monsters having extremely high CMD (Combat Maneuver Defense) values is still a problem as the CMD is substituted for a target’s Grapple DC (or the overall defense value when people try to grapple you). As for 5th Edition, the Athletics skill is still important for various grappling moves and defenses, meaning that Bards and Rogues with Expertise and raging Barbarians are still the best class choices for this.

Although I was expecting a more quick and dirty rules-lite option in lieu of a gradient scale, the professionalism and early delivery of the KickStarter  helped earn trust from Gaming Ballistic and any future projects they might have in store.”

Castalia House Blog (Brian Renninger).

“I have greeted with enthusiasm Douglas Coles supplement Dungeon Grappling which introduces an excellent approach to adding wrestling and other unarmed combat to role playing games by adapting systems most players are familiar with. Dungeon Grappling has already been reviewed (see below) in several places so I won’t repeat what has already been said elsewhere other than to give a hearty recommendation for its use. Rather than a review, I thought I’d give a couple examples of how it might work in play.”

Follow Me and Die! (Final PDF Review)

“The PDF comes in at 53 pages, it has awesome art, and the table of contents is hyperlinked. The index also contains hyperlinks to the page numbers. Color coding of the section headers is continued in the table of contents and the index. There is a background image, but unlike most of them I have seen, here it is faded out so I can actually read the text. Attention to the details of both usability and legibility in the text is awesome!

One can take all of this system, or just the parts they need. I play AD&D, and its grappling system is so cumbersome that few dare try it. I plan to implement this in the games I run and an upcoming special project game on Roll20.”

 

Methods and Madness.

Overall, I am impressed with the work. Most problems I’ve noticed were fixed by turning the page – literally. “Wouldn’t it be better if…?”, “Oh, okay”; “But what about …?”, “I see, he thought of that too”. The author has provided multiple options for most mechanics – for example, when I wrote about Fifth Edition stunts, I mentioned some ups and down of using  using damage as a gauge of effectiveness instead of skill contests, and Douglas provides both options.

The book includes grappling for characters, monsters, spells, etc. It considers monks, thieves and other classes; it mentions using weapons when grappling and taking from your enemy. In short, Dungeon Grappling has all I could expect from a book like this. I would recommend it for anyone wanting to add more grappling to a 5e or S&W / OSR game.

RPGGeek.

“This supplement actually has me excited about grappling in my games again. I think it will make the fights easier and more exciting with better defined and more predictable outcomes. Basically, these are the grappling rules I’ve always wanted.”

The OmnusCritic. (preview review)

The OmnusCritic provides a 21-minute video review of the book, evaluating it and giving a passing grade on four criteria: aesthetics, writing, mechanics, and value.”

The Round Table with James Introcaso. (during the KS)

Less a review than a 75-minute discussion of the project, game rules for grappling, and other motivations and aesthetics animating the design. Still, if you really want to hear a passionate discussion of why grappling should be more important in fantasy RPGs . . . look no further than this conversation.

Tenkar’s Tavern. (preview review)

what I have looked at looks good. He even addresses rulesets with descending AC. I’ll give this a closer look over the coming week. Did I mention the buy in is just 5 bucks? Seriously. Currently PDF only, 5 bucks to solve my RPG grappling issues that have dogged me for the last 33 years or so? Priceless…”

Ravens’N’Pennies. (preview review)

“Dungeon Grappling is a cohesive set of rules that works across multiple iterations of Dungeons and Dragons. For those familiar with his work on GURPS Technical Grappling Doug approaches the problem in the same way, but tweaked for a different game engine – and it works surprisingly well. To tell you how easy it is I’ve not looked at the new Dungeons and Dragons, glanced at Swords and Wizardry, and gave up on Pathfinder a while back. The system he presents was intuitive, easy to understand, and provides a lot of flavor. In short, it’s a module you can just bolt on and go.”

Dungeon Fantastic.  (preview review)

“I’d urge you to check out this Kickstarter. Doug’s got a solid product here – I’ve seen it (I mean, its origin was a co-authored article and I’m the co-author) and it is good. It’s really superior to most of the clunky, ineffective, or downright risky grappling rules that come with so many games. Take a look and give it a chance.”

Follow Me, and Die! (preview review)

“This is something that has been needed in RPG’s for a long time. The Grappling Rules in AD&D are notoriously challenging to implement in play. The short and simple system introduced in Manor #8 is expanded in these pages. It gives a bare bones system and adds options and touches on how it can be used in specific systems. The basic rules will work for variations of the original game and clones, as well as later editions and variants of the original game.

The system is built on a basis of normal combat resolution. I like this approach. Use what is there instead of building a new system that doesn’t feel right. Another good example of this is what James Spahn did in White Star with vehicle combat using the same format as individual combat. I can’t think of a situation not explicitly covered in these rules.”

Original Edition Rules. (preview review)

“Dungeon Grappling is a supplement for your old-school RPG that gives a fast, simple, and robust system for moderating unarmed combat. We loved this system so much that we used it as inspiration for unarmed combat in the Guardians super hero role playing game, and has become the de facto system for all our Original Edition rules. ” The author of this review is Thomas Denmark, who wrote the Guardians superhero RPG with David Pulver.

Bat in the Attic. (preview review)

The basic idea is that there a better way of dealing with grappling. Doug developed a set of mechanics that takes the same basic mechanics of rolling to hit and inflicting damage and turns the result into something meaningful when it comes to grappling. He did this for GURPS and now he doing this for classic DnD, Pathfinder, and DnD 5e with the kickstarter.”

Shane Plays Radio. (during the Kickstarter)

This 30-minute live radio show got into a lot of things, but was a bit light on the details of the Dungeon Grappling Kickstarter itself. That was my fault.

Gothridge Manor. (preview review)

“When I run a game I like to have options available for my characters…good options. The way grappling stands in most games it isn’t a good option and the players don’t consider it when in combat. With Doug’s system, combat doesn’t need to be all or nothing. Kill or be killed. In this way it allows for more roleplaying. I’ve never liked the subdual rules of most fantasy RPGs. Basically it’s a crappy way of patching a hole over something the developers couldn’t figure out. Doug has figured it out. And it’s good. And it’s useful. And it doesn’t slow down play.”

Dungeon Grappling Winds Down

I’ve received enough feedback from folks that I know that at least EU and USA hardcopies should have been more than trickling in. If you don’t have yours by the end of this week, please contact me at gamingballistic@gmail.com, and I’ll pester DriveThruRPG on your behalf.

Feedback for those that read, review, and use the book continues to be sparse but positive. I’m hoping as folks get their book, use it in games, and write about it online that word of mouth (word of electrons?) will spread and sales will pick up beyond the Kickstarter.

Speaking of sales: two dozen. That’s about how many non-Kickstarter books and PDFs have moved. It went on sale about two weeks ago, so the run rate is on the order of one per day.

Dragon Heresy Ramps Up

As one project ends, another . . . continues. I’d set down my Big Project in order to get Kickstarter experience with Dungeon Grappling. But that’s done now, and I’m digging in hard on Dragon Heresy.

  • I’ve got the manuscript done (425,000 words! Likely 750-800 pages)
  • I’ve send the manuscript to Ken Hite for editing
  • I’ve mostly decided to release it in three books (mostly characters, mostly action/setting, monsters)
  • I’m finishing up some preparatory art commissions to help sell the game. You’ll recognize the names (Juan, Gennifer).
  • I also have maps, procured a while ago.
  • I’ve brought on Michael Clarke for layout, cover design, and cover paintings, after he did a great job with that on Dungeon Grappling. It was a difficult decision, as I attracted some very talented folks for that job.
  • I am currently gathering artists . . . and since I’m anticipating 375-425 pieces of color art for the book, I need 20-30 of them if the time from “Kickstarter ends” to “PDF ships” is to be kept reasonable, and by “reasonable” I mean about 18-20 weeks to final delivery.

Continue reading “Dungeon Grappling winds down; Dragon Heresy spins up”

Gaming Ballistic, LLC is thrilled to announce that our very first product, Dungeon Grappling, is now available through DriveThruRPG.

Available in PDF and premium-Print-on-Demand, Dungeon Grappling allows you to bring grappling to editions of the most popular fantasy RPG including the OSR (with Swords and Wizardry as an explicit example), the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and Fifth Edition.

Featuring gorgeous art by Gennifer Bone, Michael Clarke, Juan Ochoa, Rick Troula, and Christian Villacis, laid out by World Wide Wrestling RPG designer and publisher Nathan D. Paoletta, Dungeon Grappling is ready to make your players fear tentacles, pincers, and giant apes as they never have before.

 

I did not expect to be sending this note today.

I received word from DriveThruRPG that my POD file had been approved this morning. That meant I could process all of the print orders, which I think I have done.

If you did NOT receive an email from me today, and you expect to receive a print copy, contact me immediately, because somehow you got missed.

If you DID get an email, then please allow 1-3 weeks for delivery for the US and most of Europe. All orders should be in your hands within 7 weeks, no matter where you are.

And just in case you missed the last roughly fifty updates (wow, that’s quite a few), here’s what you should be seeing. Also, we fixed up the index a bit, and now it’s actually useful (I had a bad experience trying to find something in my own flippin’ book, so I knew it had to change).

In any case, the Kickstarter isn’t over until all of you have your stuff in good shape . . . but other than dealing with missed line items and destroyed packages, this is pretty much the end.

Thanks so much for supporting my project. The NEXT one will be even cooler. Stay tuned!

Oh . . . and if y’all wouldn’t mind going online and saying nice things about Dungeon Grappling, that would be spectacular. Or suggest that your Favorite Local Game Store contact GBLLC and order some? Bonus points for being awesome.

No matter what, I’m always available at gamingballisticllc@gmail.com

Thanks again!

 

I’ve got the final PDF file, with errata, spell-check, and some reformatting of the Table of Contents and (more importantly) the Index. I was showing off my proof today at work, and went to look something up . . . and it was not as intuitive as it should be.

So I fixed it. I think it’s better now. The major headings are still called out by color, and the sub-topics are ordered strictly by alphabet, which gives a better chance to find something if you don’t already know where it is.

I also had to curb-stomp a few incidental finds of “attack of opportunity” instead of “opportunity attack.”

But all of my backers received a note and a new download, with a new file name.

What? You’re not a backer? That’s OK.

Pre-Order Dungeon Grappling Here!

Tomorrow, I hope to receive the total-ink-corrected POD version of that same file. I’ll upload it and if it sticks and is approved by DTRPG/Lightning Source, I’ll begin print distributions.

I was hoping to distribute ePUB files today, but I’m not happy with it yet. The text came through OK, but the table coherency was completely lost. Not good enough, so that will go out when it’s ready, and not before.

Here’s the new index, for fun:

Well, that was fast!

Today I received in the mail, by 2nd Day Air, the proof hardcopy of Dungeon Grappling. This means that we are solidly on schedule, since the things that must be corrected are fairly easy to do. That means that we’re one step closer from going from pre-orders to full retail sales.

The Ugly

There’s no ugly. If there were, there’d be delays. There won’t be.

The Bad

There are a few places that the title text encroaches on the border. Such as the following two pages:

 

This is trivially easy to fix – we’ll just nudge the title up into the middle of the border a bit. This will look better even for the short titles.

There are a few textual elements I want to change. I want to sub in the mathematical multiplication symbol × instead of the letter x when I have a multiplier. I think it looks better.

There might be a tweak I make to the index.

And then there are the errata that y’all identified. Those need to be validated as fixed.

The Good

This is a great-looking book on a few levels.

I selected matte paper and cover, and I think it makes the book easier to read under any sort of light. No glare.

I’m still in love both the cover and my 5e compatibility logo.

 

The colors look very good, and the color palette that Nathan and I iterated to works quite well.

No bleed issues, and the book is put together well.

 

The Next Steps

This is the home stretch. Nathan and I will work over the next day or three to finish this.

I made all of the errata corrections on the blog post last night . . . all but two. Changing “PFRPG” to “The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game” was never going to work layout-wise, and I tried it, and confirmed that it breaks the layout. One of the rules of the compatibility licence is that you either use the entire name, or you can use the non-trademarked/non-product-identify PFRPG, but you can’t just say “Pathfinder,” nor can you say “The Pathfinder RPG,” both of which might have fit. So we won’t be doing that one.

There was another conditional/weasel-word phrasing that I wanted to replace, and expected to be able to do so, but again . . . broke layout. So it stays.

Everything else on the list got changed.

Left to do

  • Change multiplication symbols from xN to ×N
  • Do a full spell-check just to see if I made any errors in anywhere
  • Nudge the running titles up so they don’t encroach on the border; might nudge the page numbers down a tetch as well
  • There are some “what level of the hierarchy is this?” errors (or maybe it’s only one) in the Table of Contents, and that needs to be fixed
  • There are some missing hyperlinks in the ToC, and we’ll check both the ToC and Index. Those are the only places you’ll find hyperlinks, though. We’re trying to not bloat the file size. Bookmarks are present and correct.
  • We’ll then re-export the PDF, re-create a new Print-on-Demand file to the same specs as the last one, and export an ePUB document.

The ePub and PDF will be distributed as soon as I have them. The new PODX file will be sent to DriveThruRPG, where they’ll do the same color correction they did last time (since it worked), and then I’ll re-upload that file (the cover is perfect).

Once it’s accepted for print, I’ll start fulfilling orders. If things go well, I will do that this weekend. It will probably take about a week to spit out the copies, and another 1-3 weeks to send by media mail, especially to the USA.

So at this time, I can, with reasonable confidence, estimate that the process of closing out the Kickstarter and delivering all promised rewards will be well underway by the end of February, which is pleasingly ahead of the “end of April” date I had originally communicated.

The Art of Dungeon Grappling

One of the comments that was made in Eric Diaz’s review of Dungeon Grappling was that the art was so good (in his opinion, he wished it were bigger).

Yeah, me too. So I laid out just the art in landscape format, using a lot of the same background and detail techniques we used to make the main book.

The product will be offered on my website to start, and the trick here is that nearly all the money – probably 85% of it – will go either to the artists themselves or as a donation to St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. I will need to take a slice to pay transaction fees and as a bit of a boost to overhead for my company, but I’m thinking I’ll be taking 35% and dividing it up to give bonuses to the production team (who did such a fantastic job), and 50% to charity. There will be several price points for the same product to allow more and more to go to St Jude’s.

 

 Thank You!

So here we are, at the end of all things . . . well, the end of this thing, anyway. I’m looking forward to getting the books you all funded into your hands, and I want to thank you again for trusting me with your money, and having faith that I will deliver something useful.

I still would like to ask for your help:

  • When you get your rewards, please review the product somewhere, anywhere. Link it back to me so I can advertise a bit. Grappling is disused in games because it’s always been so cumbersome and annoying. I think these rules go a long way to fixing that, and I’d like folks to understand that.
  • Please consider following me at Gaming Ballistic, and spreading word of what I hope will continue to be an exciting and expanding product line.
  • Support the Dragon Heresy Kickstarter when it comes around . . . and convince your friends to do so as well. I strongly suspect I’ll need on the order of 1,000 to 2,000 backers to make it happen. But if I do make it happen, it will be gorgeous, it will be hardcover, Smyth-sewn, and full color. And a few other surprises.

The next update will be when I can announce that shipping has commenced.

Pre-Order Dungeon Grappling on Backerkit!

Proof Ordered

This morning I got the note that the initial PODX file from DriveThruRPG had been approved by Lightning Source. I’ve ordered my proof copy and asked it to be sent 2nd Day Air. So it takes 2-5 working days to print it, and another 2 working days to ship it. So 4-7 business days means that sometime between next Tuesday and next Friday, I should be able to receive and inspect the printed book.

At that point, if it passes muster, Nathan and I will make the errata changes listed on this blog post – assuming the layout will accommodate these changes. Make no mistake, though, if the choice is “fixing something that was basically clear but could be tweaked, but the layout changes” and “do nothing,” leaving it as-is will win every time.

That being said, most of the stuff simply won’t change layout. Correcting “bttack” to “attack” isn’t going to alter anything. And many of the paragraphs that are slated for change have either room to move because of line justification or room to move because the paragraph has room to expand on the next line.

Schedule Update

Continue reading “Print Files Approved: Proofs on the way!”

There’s always something that gets away, and this release is no different. I learned from Steve Jackson Games, though, that there’s real benefit to waiting for a few weeks until the PDF gets a chance to be worked over by the meticulous, the curious, and the interested.

So here’s the current list of proposed errata that I am considering making before the PDF goes to print, gets turned into an ePUB, and then is re-uploaded and distributed to backers and pre-order customers.

If you sent me something and I missed it, respond here, and I’ll either say “no,” as with some of the suggestions where “this could be done differently” is operative instead of “this is a mistake in grammar, formatting, usual style for this game, or something that is badly wrong.”

I’m doing this here because the Kickstarter comment forums is simply terrible for this sort of thing.

But as they say at the airport, “If you see something, say something!”

The actual table is below the break… Continue reading “Current (Proposed) Errata for PDF of Dungeon Grappling”