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Funded!

Well, we did it! Hit our funding target for Four Perilous Journeys and a bit more, and we’re sitting almost exactly at the halfway point of the campaign.

So that means the project will happen. Yay!

But even more is going on, and some of this information is hot off the press, so to speak.

Offset Printing

If you’re the type that reads the campaign story over and over, you’ll notice something.

The $32,000 stretch goal for offset printing has been removed from the “Stretch Goals” section.

That’s because I got a quote this morning from my Latvian printer, and simultaneously discovered an error in my comparison/budgeting spreadsheet. That error vastly under-costed the price of POD (you can look it up: $1.97 for an 18-page book, the minimum, on DriveThruRPG).

In any case, with the new quote in hand for an offset print run, it turns out the break-even point for number of backers to make offset the economical option is . . . 237.

As of the time of the Kickstarter crossing the $16,000 mark, we had orders of 257 physical copies, which means offset is the way to go. No longer a stretch goal, it’s “just the way it is.”

The book will be printed with a color cover (255gsm, or about 12-point stock), on 130gsm matte-coated interiors (about 85# paper, a bit heavier than what Lulu uses, and 14% heavier than DriveThru’s “Premium Color” paper).

The minimum order quantity is 500 copies of each one . . . so no matter what, I’ll have about 250 “spares” that will go into distribution – retail stores – after the campaign is complete and all physical copies have been sent to backers.

I consider this a major win for all of us. Offset printing is just better than print-on-demand when it’s affordable. Putting these adventures next to the Legacy Edition in stores will give ready-to-play  additional material to support that gorgeous box.

This is, frankly, how I wanted to do this thing from the get-go, and I’m thrilled that it’s going to happen. I’m a little irked at my mistake to begin with, but I blame never attempting to print four books at the same time before. It’s easy to either forget to count the x4, or double-count it. Anyway . . . yay, offset.

Tokens!

As you’ve seen, the add-on for token sheets has been announced. Each $10 you add to your pledge will be able to be spent on the four token sheets – one per adventure – that are being made to accompany the adventure.

Each sheet will be in full color; the exact same art will be used, but converted to greyscale, to make print-your-own tokens on the back of each adventure. Contrast and emphasis will be adjusted at the minimum to ensure what looks good in color still looks good in black and white.

I’ve contracted with Juan Ochoa, an artist that has worked with me on every Kickstarter I’ve run to date, to rapidly (like 36 hours) generate 42 sample tokens that I will use to prototype a sample sheet for Ironskull Castle.

These are not necessarily final! I wanted a good example of going through the entire process, AND converting these to B/W, to see how they’ll look.

But . . . here’s some of Juan’s initial output.

Skeleton Archer 1
Skeleton Archer 1
Skeleton Archer 2 - each figure is different
Skeleton Archer 2 – each figure is different
Skeleton Halberdier
Skeleton Halberdier
Silent Knight
Silent Knight

I’ve asked Juan to use a great deal of artistic license on these prototypes, and so some of the details in the final images will be different. For example: the Ironskull tabard (for the archers and the halberdiers) should be sable (a brown so dark it’s almost black), with the skull emblem in grey/silver. That’s how it’s described by David, so that’s what we want to see.

But . . . I really wanted to test the token manufacturer’s abilities to reproduce color and lines effectively, so this particular test isn’t about getting all the details right – it’s about doing it at all.

NPC and Monster Cards

There’s more on the way, too. Each token (and piece of art) will match up to an NPC or Monster card in the same format as those being made for Decks of Destiny.

Some of those cards – as per the stretch goal announcement – will be unique to Decks of Destiny. I’ll make the rest with a card deck per adventure, just as there will be a token sheet per adventure.

And when I say “the same format as those being made for Decks of Destiny,” I mean EXACTLY the same – at least on the card back, plus the form factor. Steve Jackson Games is very generous with their licensees, and I have precise specs (and even some raw files!) to ensure that if you shuffle the Four Perilous Journeys cards in with the Decks of Destiny . . . you will be surprised with every card flip.

The fronts may be more unique . . . but the backs and sizes will be entirely compatible.

No formal announcement on pricing and timing yet. Look for those as my plans mature. But . . . I’ve got my eye on it. The expensive bit – as is par for the course for printing – is setup. So a single deck of 130 cards would probably wind up being $30-35, but contain cards for just about every NPC and creature in the book, ready to kill and be killed by the GM and players.

Megahex Meanderings

The last thing I’m looking into is megahexes. These are tricky, as custom laser-cutting to make the hex shapes is something that is hard to come by.

Even So, two ideas, and I’d like your feedback on both.

A gripping concept

That being said . . . I have an idea. What would you all think of, instead of die-cut cardboard, I looked into die-cut stickers. I’ll need to chat with the vendor to see if these are going to work with dry-erase markers. But I can affordably print megahexes – with full-color art – on stickers, which will be die-cut “for no additional charge” to any shape, including custom multi-hex tiles. Backers would have to remove the backing (see what I did there?) and then mount them on your board-stock of choice.

If you ain’t got that cling

Another option, would be to produce static-cling stickers. The best thing here would be what they call face-adhesive stickers – they’re designed to stick to a surface and be viewed THROUGH the surface.

You’d mount them under a sheet of acrylic, lexan, or glass (the last two work GREAT with dry-erase) and then place the sheet on a table. You could assemble the stickers on a large sheet of glass, and then your labyrinth is fixed in place, cat-proof, and you can mark on the glass without marring or risking the underlying megahexes.

I spoke too soon about the expense. Turns out that at least at one source, they’re CHEAPER than stickers.

To Stretch Goals, and Beyond!

The big stretch goals on the table right now are the Decks of Destiny co-campaign goals published by Steve Jackson Games:

Three stretch goals that expand the Decks of Destiny project as the Four Perilous Journeys campaign attracts support.

  •  Four Perilous Journeys – $16,000 – Rumors & Treasures – Four rumor cards added to the Rumors & Treasures subassembly, each based on one of the Four Perilous Journeys adventures.
  •  Four Perilous Journeys – $20,000 – Adversaries – Four character cards added to the Adversaries subassembly, each based on one of the Four Perilous Journeys adventures.
  •  Four Perilous Journeys – $25,000 – Rumors & Treasures – Four more rumor cards added to the Rumors & Treasures subassembly, each based on one of the Four Perilous Journeys adventures.

These new cards, if unlocked, will provide you with hooks to the four adventures that may either be used to guide the player characters into one of the adventures or, if you wish, as the springboard to an adventure of your own design.

Now that we’re funded . . .

Stretch goals are cool, but not delivering the main product is the opposite of cool. It’s UN-cool. (If you heard that as the voice of Alan Tudyk’s Duke Weaselton from Zootopia, you heard it right.)

So, the biggest factor for me now that we’ve funded is to blitzkrieg the editing and layout so I can start engaging with the artists. Once that is in hand – and my goal is to have it in hand by the middle of next week – I will contract artists and cartographers and set that in motion.

Simultaneous with that I will work with SJG on first the “we funded!” goal of four Rumors and Treasures cards, to ensure no delays to DoD come from my end. I will also look into NPC and Monster full card decks as described above.

This is getting rather exciting.

Two weeks in: 93% funded

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So, we’re at Day 14 and 93% funded on Four Perilous Journeys: New Adventures for The Fantasy Trip. Nordvorn, my best-to-date Kickstarter took 20 days to get to this point. So while I’d dearly love to have that extra 7% right the heck now, I must force myself to realize that we’re on a fairly typical trajectory for a Kickstarter.

Editing Status

There was a round of playtesting and some further commentary on Ironskull Castle. Caught a few typos and inconsistencies, and two logical “WTF?” moments. They’ve been fixed. Through Memorial Day, I’ll be editing the manuscripts for content and flow; preliminary layouts of the edited manuscripts should be in place, therefore, by the end of Monday. That will allow me to get playtest copies out to the Master and Commander backers for the other three adventures.

Die-cut Tokens

I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at die-cut tokens and cards. I can report:

  • I’ve found a way to make them.
  • The art is still going to be the expensive part; this not a surprise.
  • The die-cut tokens will be in full color; black and white versions of the tokens will appear as “print them yourself” on the last page of each book.

I’ve contracted with one of my artists to make a trial sheet. He should be getting back to me with 42 sketches based on the characters in Ironskull Castle sometime today or tomorrow. At that point, I’ll place an order for a prototype and have it express-shipped to me.

Once I have the prototype in hand, I’ll put the add-on officially in the campaign. They’ll be $10 per sheet, and you’ll be able to choose which sheets you want ad-hoc in the Backerkit cart phase of the project.

If you are so confident that you’ll be getting tokens, you can certainly up your pledge now (if for some reason it all falls apart, you can reduce your pledge before the end of the campaign) which would help us fund. If 10% of current backers each go in for token sheets, we fund.

Oh, and for mini-stretch-goals: If I can 100 or more of any one sheet, I’ll upgrade the board from 1.6mm to 2.5mm at no extra cost for that sheet. Another very important note: This is a THING, not a BOOK, and will follow a different logistics train than the books. This means international shipping, customs, and taxes could be egregiously high, and I won’t know that until the end. Please plan accordingly.

Sample of what PROTOTYPE art will look like (though it'll be color).
Sample of what PROTOTYPE art will look like (though it’ll be color).

NPC and Monster Cards

I’m working on these as well. I have had excellent help from SJG on this, and they’ve really gone above and beyond to make this happen. I can’t report anything yet, but I can say anything produced will be identical in form factor to existing cards of similar function. No promises on making “a card for each token” decks yet, though I’d very much like to do that . . . so I’m working on it. If things go to plan and I’m ready with “all but the art” drafts of all four adventures by Monday (and doubly so if we’ve funded by then), this will get most of my attention.

Current and Latent Backers

We’re holding steady at 372 “latent” backers, who are following but not yet pledged. That’s a potential for as much as $30,000 or so: enough to get us through all of the announced Decks of Destiny stretch goals and within easy striking distance of an offset print run.

I’m getting the books re-quoted using the same printer in the EU I’m using for my Dungeon Fantasy RPG projects; maybe that offset print run can come down if it’s a good price.

The key for us now is two-fold:

  • Entice those following the project to jump in. We need only 27 new backers to fund, if they come in at the current average pledge
  • Get the word out to others. That’s Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, MeWe, gaming forums, and nice things and reminders on the existing TFT comment lists. A word from a backer is worth way, way more than what always feels like a continual barrage of spam from the creator.

The halfway point for Four Perilous Journeys is Thursday. Let’s see if we can fund by then!

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.

Thanks to their patience, persistence, and an amazingly successful Kickstarter, Steve Jackson Games re-acquired the rights to The Fantasy Trip . . . and produced The Fantasy Trip: Legacy Edition. It arrived with a resounding thunk in a Cidri-scale box. Then came the TFT Adventures. Ready-to-play support for The Fantasy Trip with maps, counters, and megahexes. Now, in partnership with Steve Jackson GamesGaming Ballistic launched on Kickstarter Four Perilous Journeys: New Adventures for The Fantasy Trip.

What’s Being Created

The campaign will fund publication of four new 16-page adventures, each of which is already written. The funds pay for editing, layout, art, maps, and a high-quality print run if that stretch goal is unlocked.

Each softcover adventure will sport a unique color cover, and contain black and white interiors on high-quality paper. Sixteen pages means the binding will be saddle-stitched (stapled).

The campaign is off to a fantastic start: nearly 50% funding on the first day. If you want to know more . . . read on. If you have heard enough and just want to get to the campaign page already:

Four Perilous Journeys: New Adventures for The Fantasy Trip

Continue reading “Four Perilous Journeys: New Adventures for The Fantasy Trip LIVE on Kickstarter”

PDF Distribution

Anyway . . . all PDFs that were part of this Kickstarter have been sent out. In four cases, these are the “final” files: Fantastic Dungeon Grappling, Dragon Heresy, Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition), and Dungeon Grappling.

In two cases, Hall of Judgment and of course The Citadel at Nordvorn, I’m taking errata and comments until Apr 29 or so, when I send the final files in to the printer.

The Backerkit and pre-order phase of the project will be open until I send the order to the printer next week. After that, the PDF sales (and print-book pre-orders) will migrate to my website. Once both print and PDF products have been sent out, a quantity of all the books will be sent to Warehouse 23 and listed there, plus PDF sales. Of course it’s best for me if you buy them directly from my website . . . but as Guy Fleegman once said, “I’m just jazzed to be on the show, man!”

Say Things Please?

I’ve gotten a few nice comments as part of proofreading, for which feedback I thank you. That being said . . . if you have a review, initial impressions, or comments about the book, telling me is great. Telling Facebook, SJG Forums, RPG.net, Reddit, Twitter, theRPGPub, etc what you think is even better. If you feel strongly, you can always include a link to the hosted pre-order page:

https://the-citadel-at-norvorn.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders

The author saying “buy my stuff, it’s fun!” is all well and good. If I didn’t think it, I shouldn’t write it. But the backers saying “was worth it,” or even better “I’m going to run this/I ran this and it was fun!” is even better.

No Rest for the Weary

If you’ve seen the Gaming Ballistic publishing schedule for 2019, you’ll know I’ve got a lot going on:

The next on the docket is “TFT Group 1.” That will be four adventures for SJGames’ The Fantasy Trip.

I’m pleased to say that I took a break from Nordvorn to do a draft layout of one of the four adventures – I’ve got them all in hand already – and I’m pleased with how it breaks down. The complete adventure text, with reflow, comes in at about 11 pages or so, with some room for art. The remaining five pages are going to be tokens and maps, more art, and of course a title page and table of contents.

I like doing a bit of layout first. It’s somewhat silly, but it’s far easier for me to see things, edit things, and get a good drink of a draft if it’s on paper. Also: I need to do it eventually, and being able to directly import a file into something that looks good makes for a better Kickstarter presentation.

And while “April 19” has but a week left in it, the first two weeks in May is very possible for a crowdfunding launch. In fact, May 8 through June 2 looks like good dates for the campaign.

I’ve played a bit of The Fantasy Trip at FNORDCon and GameHole Con, and it’s a great little tactical combat game, and in the “old-school” fashion, is easily expanded into a “roll and shout” RPG with In the Labyrinth. 

The adventures being funded are not (yet) Nordlond adventures. I don’t have an issue with doing some! And I may well throw down a few Viking-esque adventures later (I’ve got an idea there, in fact, that would be a great short scenario).

Realistically, that puts crowdfunding completion and backerkit surveys finished in the first week in July, with The Dragons of Rosgarth launching in July, and Forest’s End in September/October. So there should be  three completely new books for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, plus Fantastic Dungeon Grappling and Hall of Judgment (2nd Edition) in 2019 for the Powered by GURPS crowd.

We’ll finish up the year with yet another project for The Fantasy Trip, and the authors are hard at work there as well.

Final Touches

Even so . . . I’ve still got a week to go on Nordvorn, and I assure you I will not be idle. The proofing and commentary has already proven valuable and continues to be more so, and those edits will be reflected in the released draft. A reminder on what you can help me with:

  • Spelling, typos, and errors in layout/formatting. Y’all are rocking this already.
  • Mistakes in monster stats. Gotten a few of these, and they’re vital.
  • Glossary Entries. “How do you pronounce this?” and “Oh, more Nordlond phrases” are both good reasons to stick an entry in the glossary. I’ve gotten one or two of these, but suggestions are welcome.
  • Index and cross-reference suggestions. Some of these are obvious: “see [Section Topic here]” will always get a link. Some are NOT so obvious. With PDFs, you can always just do “Find X,” but you can’t do that in print, and that’s where a good index comes into play.

And that’s that!

The process to finish up Citadel at Nordvorn enters the fulfillment phase today! While the main document isn’t yet ready, PDFs of Fantastic Dungeon Grappling and Hall of Judgment will be finalized, updated, and distributed in PDF form over the weekend. Read on for details!

And if you missed the campaign, it’s definitely not too late! Pre-orders are being taken on Backerkit right now, and will continue to be taken there until the print order is submitted the first week in May!

Check out the update history on Kickstarter, or see any other Nordvorn info here on Gaming Ballistic!

Locking Orders

So, today is the day! I have locked everyone’s responses who have actually responded. That leaves 29 surveys incomplete, and (most importantly) 11 people who have physical product but have not completed the survey, and updated an address.

I can’t send you your physical goods without a shipping address!

Charging Cards

Most – in fact, all but 10 – of the successfully-locked orders have also had your cards charged. That’s 566 people . . . woot! If you’re one of the 10, you’ll get an email from Backerkit to look into it.

First Distribution: Fantastic Dungeon Grappling!

I’m still working on Norðvorn . . . but anyone who ordered Fantastic Dungeon Grappling will be seeing a note from me later today with the PDF in their email box.

I will then try and quickly clean up Hall of Judgment, and get that ready to print. Again, that’ll be in the next day or two.

So that begins the fulfillment phase. When all the initial PDFs are out, I’ll take corrections and errata for a week or so, get the finalization, and then print! I’ll also be getting the bookmarks ready. Those are a separate print job, but not to worry.

The good news is I got my UK VAT number, which means I can now import and distribute things for International folks per my original plan. That was a wrinkle, but one that’s been smoothed. It impacted my prior Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) final phase more than y’all. But those books ship – after many trials and tribulations – this coming Tuesday!

I will be moving to finalize an order with my printer ASAP, and get things moving. It takes two weeks to order the paper . . . and I’m using the same paper throughout. That means the paper should be in hand May 6, so if I can get final files to them May 3, that satisfies the “no hiccups, no delays” staging. I will be attempting to get finals to them a few days earlier, but that’s where we stand.

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!

OK. Slept a bit. Not a lot. Spent most of the night having vivid nightmares about shipping. What’s that about?

So, we’re done, we not just funded, but we busted a bunch of stretch goals! Including offset print!

What the @#!!#@ is Offset Print?

The short version is this:

Here’s a link to a chat about the differences between digital and offset printing.

The real kicker – up until I found a printer that would do it just recently, after the Kickstarter launched – is that the choices were “sewn binding, but offset print” or “digital press, but glued-only.”

The print quality for digital printing isn’t quite as good (mostly in color saturation and fidelity) to offset, which is why it’s better.

And digital printing is (roughly) 1/3 the setup cost of offset, but 4x (!!) the per-copy cost. So for very short runs, digital wins. For runs usually in 1,000 copies or more, offset wins on both cost and quality. For the quote I just received, if I need to order 386 copies or more, it’s best to go offset.

I need to order a minimum of 405 books . . . and Backerkit isn’t over . . . so that all works out nicely.

The Quest for Shipping

There’s no question: it’s a pain. It’ll take me a few days to lock down the answer, too, because of course the  books have to be printed first, then shipped from there to . . . somewhere. My strategy for trying to keep shipping costs down is evolving, but the offset print run promise means I must print one run, ideally overseas, so I can minimize international shipping. US-based offset, sewn printing just isn’t cost competitive (but it surely is time-competitive . . . there’s no better way to get 1,000 books from the US to the US in a 4-week deadline than some of the local printers here. These guys can be fast, and of course ground shipping inside the USA is a matter of days, not weeks or months like ocean freight).

What’s Next?

First thing: I need to finish the book. I made nice progress last night on finishing the Supporting Cast chapter, which is a list of NPC types that one will expect to encounter, plus a list of folks that were killed in the course of some of the background plot workings. Why focus so much time on a bunch of dead folks? Because they had friends and loved ones who are grieving, and need to blame somebody. That’s a powerful motivation, and animates a lot of activity.

This still needs a lot of editing, but you can see what you’re going to see.

After this, I’ve got a few pages of rules – mostly on social situations, which are deliberately given short shrift in the box set in favor of killing folks and taking their stuff – to write, and then whatever page count I have from where I am to 128 pages will be filled with critters. I’ve got placeholders so far, and I know I need to put in a bunch of dragonkin. Then we’ll see!

Editing is catching up with writing very quickly, and Emily will soon find herself waiting for my latest chapter. That’s not ideal, because I prefer to be ahead of that, but it’s not bad, either, because it means that once I do hand over Supporting Cast, the monster chapter, and the additional rules text that I can simply start inserting her edited text into the book. Thus far, her edits have not caused any major problems with reflow – that’s a hazard of layout before editing is complete, but I’d rather iterate.

Once all that is done, I go through and make the Table of Contents and the Index . . . and now that the KS is complete, I can compile the backer list for the “thanks!” page.

Art, Art, Baby

So that’s all words. What about the pictures?

I’m happy to report that the sketches continue to roll in. I’ve added new members to my art team, and I’ll be touting their qualities in future updates. What I can say is that the work I’ve seen so far validates my trust in these folks. Each artist brings their own talents, and what I’m finding is that all of them are able to take my art direction and approach it in ways that vastly improve the composition of each image. They’re really bringing Norðvorn and surrounds to life. What impresses me the most is how much they have done their homework. Getting “authentic Viking” right can be hard due to the amount of Hollywood-ized depictions out there, but one of my artists included a sword in her image that is a classic late-period Peterson Type X.

That’s pretty cool.

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!