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”

With the PDF now shipped to customers, I have opened up pre-orders on Backerkit for those interested in jumping in on Dungeon Grappling at lower-than-retail prices.

Critical Reception (will be updated)

Peter Dell’Orto, who helped with the original concept of the rules for Manor #8, reviews the PDF of DG here.

Eric Diaz says very nice things about the PDF product.

Cameron DuBeers of Beer, Pretzels, and 20-sided Dice offers the ultimate compliment: “I will be incorporating these rules into my S&W based campaign rules.

Dungeon Bundles

You can pre-order as follows:

  • PoD Only: $20 (including shipping*)
  • PDF Only $7.25 (available immediately)
  • eBook Only $5.00
  • PoD + PDF: $23.50 (including shipping*)
  • PoD + eBook: $22.50 (including shipping*)
  • PoD + PDF + eBook: $26 (including shipping*)

If you order any item that includes the PDF, you’ll get that immediately, as it’s available now. The eBook should be ready in 1-3 weeks, and the PoD will be ready to ship in the same time period (they’re generated from the same file). Then it’s just “how long does it take to get to you,” and that’s 3 business days to 8 weeks (!) depending on country.

Note that the PDF is both layered and hyperlinked. If you want to save toner, open up layers, turn off background and images, and you’ll get text-only.

*Brazil is really expensive. I plussed-up: it’s $18 just to get a single copy there. So if you’re in Brazil, print copy bundles cost $13 more.

You can see preview images of the cover and interior here.

Update: Proof and Print Timing

I just uploaded the POD cover and POD content file to DriveThruRPG, after consultations with the reps there. The total ink amount was still higher than 240%, despite us setting it to 235% in Photoshop. Weird. They corrected it in about five minutes, though, and the changes aren’t noticeable. At least to me.

So it’ll take “about a week” for Lightning Source to examine and approve the file, and then I’ll order a proof, which I’ll presume takes another week. If it looks good, I’ll gather up all of the submitted errata and change text where appropriate*, and make a new PDF content file. DriveThruRPG promised another lightning-fast turn-around on color correction, as well as providing a custom Profile for us to use to ensure proper total ink coverage in the future.

Sorry for the “inside baseball” here, but I wanted to keep y’all informed as to where we are.

Short version: Two weeks or less to get a proof assuming LS approves the POD file. The team makes any changes to text (a few hours) and spits out an appropriate file (maybe a business day, depending on availability and timing). DriveThruRPG corrects the color if required, and then I upload final corrected files to DTRPG, and re-distribute the corrected PDF to you folks.

Y’all will get your ePUB versions at the same time as the corrected PDF.

I’d hazard that if things go well, you should start seeing books in hand within the first two weeks in February, roughly 10 weeks ahead of the promised deadline.

I sincerely hope you guys are enjoying the product. If you do, please post reviews, tell all your friends, and otherwise direct them to the Backerkit Preorder Link.

I have uploaded the finished file to Backerkit, and am pushing the buttons to distribute it to all that ordered the product.

Thanks for your generous support. If  you missed the Kickstarter, you can still Pre-Order through Backerkit!

If you find any errata, please email me at gamingballisticllc@gmail.com

Also, you’re going to get two emails. The second is because I think those that didn’t complete their surveys were excluded from the first one. I still need three folks to update shipping address, but that’s not critical for another few weeks.

Errata include

  • Typos
  • Grammar errors
  • Things that can be reworded for clarity
  • Improper page references
  • Factual errors or stat-block inconsistencies
  • Hyperlinks that should be there but aren’t

Not errata (but I still want to hear it)

  • This rule doesn’t work
  • I would play it differently
  • Major layout or graphical changes

The first set of stuff I can correct, and re-distribute. I will do this before the print copy goes to press, so that the best book can be had.

I will also wait (under advisement from my collaborators) to create and distribute the eBook until the errata are in.

I’m going to say please get comments to me in the next 7-10 days if you can; the “real” deadline will be updated when I hear back from DTRPG about when a proof can be created and sent to me.

Thanks again for all your support!

Current Status

We are so very close.

My team and I just spent about three hours adjusting color saturation and “Total Ink Coverage” as the “really, this should be the last draft!” file just . . . didn’t look right. Sure, it was pretty, but frankly, given the raw art files, it should be gorgeous.

So we should have restored that, and I’ll see a v3 pre-Final draft either today or tomorrow.

I’ll do a detail read, but I’ve done a few of those already, so I think we’ll be ready to go for that part. We’ll still need to add the internal bookmarks and hyperlinks, and get the eBook output. I’d say 1-3 days and we’ll be ready to push the PDF pre-Final copy to everyone.

The Manor Collection and Guardians

I’ve pushed the buttons, I think, that should enable you guys to download your digital copies of The Manor Collection (a .zip file) and Guardians.

If you can or can’t – email me at gamingballisticllc@gmail.com and let me know.

Let me know “it worked” so I can relax about getting that part done. But if it did not work, or isn’t working for you, also let me know, and I’ll get in touch with the Backerkit folks, who are supposed to be handling digital distribution. There are 21 copies of Guardians and 27 of  The Manor Collection that need to go out, and I want to make sure that happens.

Print Proofs

I’ve emailed a copy of the PDF template containing the freaking spectacular cover (sorry, when it comes to art, I’m both a novice and a fan, and Michael did fantastic work) to DriveThruRPG, and hopefully Chris will get that into the hands of whomever needs to look at it.

As soon as we have an interior section we’re happy with, we will also send that over for a preview and order a proof. That will test if our interior ink limits actually did what they’re supposed to do (prevent the pages from sticking together), and if things look good, I’ll place the order for everyone for whom I have a shipping address.

That is, all but three folks for whom I either don’t have shipping addresses, or I do but he has to hit “CONFIRM” to make it stick.

Three. People.

Please? With a cherry on top? I want to make sure you get your print copy!

Final Thanks

I probably say this a lot, but then, I can’t really say it too much: Thank You.

Naturally I ran into a few extra expenses. I needed some art fixes. I wanted a vector-art logo for 5e compatibility (and wait until you see it). I asked Juan to change a few of his pieces to fit better (and they do). But when all is said and done, the Kickstarter will have done it’s job: fund the creation of the book.

I won’t make any money on the campaign. Every dollar went into it (plus a bit more). But I have faith that it’s a quality product, and that folks will love it when they play it.

And even if I did, those funds would get plowed into Dragon Heresy anyway. There’s always another project!

I’ll let you know when I am ready to upload, so you can know to look for it. Thanks for joining me on this adventure.

Just a very quick Dungeon Grappling update

  • Received and responded to another round of layout.
  • 80% of my artists have completed their obligations with complete contracts.
  • I have reached out to Juan for some alterations to two pieces of his, which were not his fault but he’s going to get me altered art within two days anyway. My fault, not his, so he gets paid extra.
  • The cover is done.

 Backerkit Surveys Close Friday

It’s four days until Backerkit Surveys close. There are fewer than 30 of you guys that need to fill them out. If you don’t, I’ll use the name I have from Kickstarter to give credit, and of course you’ll get your stuff as ordered through Kickstarter. But it would be super-great if I could have the confirmation that your name is as you’d like it to be.

So please fill out your surveys this week!

General Impressions

In doing the final edits for the book, I got to re-read it. Twice. I think you’ll like the final version, and it is, quite simply, a gorgeous book. There were some extra art holes that I filled with close-ups from the cover (hope you’ll forgive me for that), and a few bits of grammar and clarity. Plus some updates for feedback from playtesting and reading.

But by and large, there are only a few things left to do.

  • Some of the graphics and logos need reworking
  • The final changed must be made
  • Artists and sponsors inserted where appropriate
  • Final art insertion, a few changes to the art due to layout
  • Table of Contents will be generated
  • MOBI and ePub files will be generated
  • Bookmarks and links will be added to the PDF file
  • Validate CMYK color saturation levels for print versions
  • Validate cover and interior art with RPGNow

Once those things are done, it’s complete. Can’t wait.

Christmas to New Years, I wanted to provide an update on where we are, and some thought I’ve had on the process.

Art

We’re down to the last few pieces for art. Of the 22 commissioned pieces, plus the cover, I’ve received painted/colored final images for all but five. Of those five, one is the cover, which you’ve seen is about 2/3 done. Two are actually painted, but needed tweaks – one was a tiny detail (some magical light coming from where Black Tentacles were emerging from the ground and walls), and the other needed an adjustment to the background in order for the image to make sense as a whole – moving from “warrior” to “gladiator” was narratively more coherent. I expect to have those in hand any moment.

The final two images are also close – one required a lot of discussion between the artist and myself because the art direction and the shape of the art space didn’t mesh well. We resolved that last night, and she’ll be turning that into a sketch and painted final quickly. The final image has an approved sketch as of yesterday too, so I expect that I’ll have it in the next few days.

After I get the finals . . . and pay for them – Gaming Ballistic uses a milestone-based approach so that as each artist finishes a piece, they get paid, and then they upload the high-resolution file . . . I will digitally play with each one a bit, to produce a torn-edge effect as seen in the p.22 preview. Those finished files will go into a repository that Nathan can pull from to insert into the final document. I’ve assigned those at the sponsor level to artwork which matches their contribution; most sponsors have been given more than one piece, because a $100 pledge goes a long way towards sponsoring art. The sponsor levels paid for all but five images, and the cover, of course, was my treat to us all. For what it’s worth, there’s room for four more Art Patrons at the $100 level if a sudden urge to sponsor artwork hits you.

Layout and Editing

With some distance between the last submitted draft and today, I went back, printed out a hard copy, and read it word-for-word. There were mistakes. Not a ton of them, but enough that I was very glad I did it.

What changed in the edit? First, what didn’t change: the content of the document rules-wise. No reviews were endangered by the edits. What got tweaked?

  • The title/credits page got adjusted, and the “S&W Compatibility statement” was added. Some of the new artists got their rightful due.
  • Grammar and clarity were adjusted throughout the document
  • The not-so-good writing that was part of the Pathfinder SRD explanations of the Grappled and Pinned condition (discussed in terms of being Restrained in this document, for consistency) was turned into a bulleted list. It reads better that way.
  • Some examples were fixed. I see what I did, I think, but I like it better another way. Also fixed two internal consistency errors. One was just weird, and the other was an egregious tense mismatch.
  • Some style elements were altered
  • Explicitly mentioned Swords and Wizardy/OSR in the appropriate places.
  • The grappled condition in 5e was weak sauce; I added “can’t make opportunity attacks” to it, which is a step in the right direction.

Overall, I’m still very pleased with the document, and the suggestion of adding reference pages at the back has grown until they’re 2.5 full pages of useful, consolidated stuff. The combat examples that were added – one for each rule set – add materially to how the information is explained and shows how it works in play. The new layout of all the information is clear.

Overall, these changes are good and worthy, and after Nathan gets them into the document, we’ll insert the images and then tweak the hell out of everything to get the final layout.

This may mean going back and commissioning more artwork. Thanks to your generosity and acquisitiveness on the Backerkit surveys, this will probably not injure the project’s financials at all.

Project Financials

On my blog, in my 2016 Review, I tucked in a quick overview of the Dungeon Grappling project as well as Gaming Ballistic’s revenue (all from this project) and expenses (from setup, Dragon Heresy, and Dungeon Grappling) this year.

When Dungeon Grappling completes, I’ll post a financial summary. What I took in and from what sources, and where the money went. As an example:

  • Kickstarter prep: about $400
  • Art: about $2,400
  • Indexing, Layout, eBook prep: About $750
  • Printing and Shipping and Fulfillment Costs: $1,500
  • Kickstarter and Backerkit fees: $600

So the costs were about $5650, while the revenue was about $5,400 ($4,850 from Kickstarter itself, plus another $550 from Backerkit). There were other expenses, but those aren’t directly allocated to the project. Legal fees ($775) for contracting and standing up Gaming Ballistic, and another $50 per month to buy Adobe Creative Cloud, which has already paid dividends in my ability to make mockups of product as well as to start to learn to make edits directly in documents.

So, net/net, I think Dungeon Grappling managed to be turned into what it will become for a net of $150 expense on my part, at least on a project basis. If you detect a bit of satisfaction that I managed to budget reasonably well, you’re not wrong.

Next Steps

The immediate next steps are in your hands. If you haven’t filled out your surveys – and there are about 40 who have not – please do so. I will be locking down survey collection on Friday, January 6, which will charge any extras you’ve plussed-up or rewards to your preferred payment methods. You will all be able to download your extras immediately (they’ve already been uploaded) via Backerkit.

Then, roughly the same time, or perhaps a week after (Jan 6-13), Nathan and I will hopefully finalize the PDF layout of the document, including any extra art I need to buy (some of my artists are very, very fast).

At that point, I will do two things: make the PDF available to y’all for download, and order a print proof via DTRPG. Hopefully I can get that in a week or two.

During that time, I’ll need your help again. During the week I’m waiting for the proof, I’ll need you guys to read the hell out of the PDF file you download, and report to me anything you think is an error at gamingballisticllc@gmail.com, with a lead-in title of [DG ERRATA] in the subject line of your email.

What’s an error? What isn’t?

It’s not “I don’t like this rule.” That’s valid, but it’s not a mistake. As an example, I got a playtest report from someone and his comment from a Pathfinder test was that he was going to alter the thresholds for each condition, because he wanted the low-Strength guys to not be hit so hard.

That’s awesome – he’s altering the rules to fit the game, like GMs have done and will always do. But it’s not a mistake, because another GM will say “if you don’t want your STR 7 wizard to get grappled to death by a dire wolf, stay out of their reach, silly.”

What are a mistake?

Yeah, that was. Grammar foul. Things that I can, and will, change?

  • Grammar and spelling mistakes
  • Clarity issues that generate confusion
  • Consistency errors (you say [blah] on p. 13, but on p. 34 it’s [different blah].

If you see any of those, let me know, and I’ll fix ’em in the PDF. I’ll also fix ’em before I order 120 print copies of the game and mail them out. That way, the book is as good as it can be before it hits hardcopy.

Once that’s done (figure the third week in January, maybe the fourth), I’ll place the orders for all the print copies, and they’ll start their journey to you all. Anywhere from three days to ten weeks (!) later, depending on location, you’ll get your copies, and the Kickstarter will be complete. Worse case lagging shipments should arrive, then, in mid-April. Most orders will be in your hands in February. I’ve resisted the temptation to publish this estimate beforehand, but it seems real enough to make an educated estimate at this point.

Note that pre-orders and retail sales will not ship until a week or so after the Kickstarter backers’ copies go out. It’s only fair. At roughly same time as the pre-orders ship out, I’ll open up for retail on my website, DTRPG, Tabletop Library, and Amazon. Spreading the word at that point would be very much appreciated.

Final warning: I have no visibility or responsibility for any customs duties that are charged for delivery out of the USA. I noted that in the Kickstarter verbiage, but I’ll say it again. Your shipping covers shipping, as I could calculate that fairly precisely using the tools at DTRPG. Customs or other duties are not included.

So . . . that’s it. The end seems in sight, and things are still moving at a good rate to conclusion. Thanks for bearing with me as we conclude this campaign!

Funding and Surveys

I got confirmation that basically everyone’s pledges have cleared, and the funds that I’ll use to complete the project are on their way. Thanks for being a well-regulated bunch!

With the two week mandatory delay finished, the backer list has been imported into Backerkit, as well as being able to finalize the surveys. I’m mocking up a “this is a POD copy of the book” image for clarity, and after that happens (hopefully today), I can send my survey for review. There won’t be much to it, honestly – I’ll get y’alls shipping and email addresses so I can distribute rewards. My intent is to only have the surveys open for maybe 10-14 days or so, so please look for it and get it filled out quickly, so that I can get you the promised goods correctly the first time.

Art, Art, Baby

Finally, I’ve seen some spectacular art progress over the last week. The new custom cover is freakin’ awesome, and one of my other artists’ commented “Old School never looked so good.” I’m inclined to agree.

Of the 23 pieces of art including the cover, I have 12 color images in hand (some of which are being tweaked), and 10 concept or black and white “sketches,” some of which are basically publishable as-is, but hey, color! The final image was a challenge due to an odd art-space requirement, but Gennifer and I worked out some options last night, and that will be proceeding as well.

Fulfillment

Once all the art is in, Nathan and I will finalize the layout, tighten any text to fit, and create the pre-final document. Then my playtest platoon will give it a solid once-over to ensure that any obvious errors are fixed up, and then the electronic files will go out.

I believe electronic documents will be fulfilled by Backerkit. I’ll give them digital copies of Dungeon Grappling in PDF, eBook, and any Manor or Guardians add-ons you’ve purchased (and you’ll select those through the Backerkit survey). They will send those out and it’ll be fairly instant gratification.

As soon as I have the primary file and cover done, I’ll order a proof from DTRPG, inspect it to ensure it meets my standards, and then place the final orders for your books, which will arrive anywhere from 3 days to 10 weeks (!) from order placement, depending on shipping destination.

Thanks for your patience, and I’ll continue to whip the process into shape. I’ve got expert help.

(Yes, this is an art preview. The other images? Yeah, they’re similar quality.)

kt-funding-succecssful

Well, Gaming Ballistic has just concluded it’s first Kickstarter, and as you can see, the company had a great campaign. We very nearly hit our ultimate stretch goal of $5,000 . . . but the mix of pledges that came in at the end might have actually pushed the “internals” to the point where we actually achieved the stretch goal anyway. Hard to say, but I’ll know in a few hours.

Hearty thanks to not only my backers, but those that backed and those that didn’t, but who shared the project around. I know that made a big difference.

I’ll return with some lessons learned, and a breakdown, when all is said and done, of the true costs of the project, the “money that I can write checks with” vs. “costs I have to pay that I never see,” such as Kickstarter and Backerkit fees, printing, and shipping.

Now comes two new challenges: getting all of the components I need (art, logos, and final rewrites and editing) into place and finalizing the document itself, but also before that navigating the surveys, funds collection, and finishing details that make up the process of finalizing the campaign. So my work is not yet done, but boy it’s great to have come this far!