Gaming Ballistic started as a blog in late 2012, and then became a company in its own right in October 2016, as the company formally launched its first product, Dungeon Grappling.

This year, 2017, marks the first full year of the company’s operation. It still has but one person doing all of the administrative work: me. And thus far, Gaming Ballistic exists as a vehicle to deliver Douglas’ game ideas, but with luck and planning, that will change.

Gaming Ballistic is a producer of games and entertainment.

2017: Executive Summary

The year started off with a frenzy of activity completing promised deliveries for Dungeon Grappling, the first product Kickstarted and delivered by Gaming Ballistic. All rewards were delivered ahead of schedule – physical product was 3 months early, PDFs were delivered a month early. Not bad for the first Kickstarter for GB.

The Gaming Ballistic website and blog site were completely revamped, and look and work very well. A lot of below-the-waterline work on several projects consumed most of the company’s time and money in 2017 to no real outcome in terms of “product that GB can sell.”

GB did hit GenCon as part of the Independent Game Designer’s Network booth, and I was also there as part of a reward package for backing the Dungeon Fantasy RPG by Steve Jackson Games. That was inspiring but expensive, with relatively little to show for it in terms of market presence or sales. I did, however, write and run a scenario whose purpose was to demonstrate Dungeon Grappling. Fifteen people from ages 10-50 played through that scenario to good success.

The combination of leveraging some of the Dragon Heresy background material and the existing write-ups allowed GB to write and launch its second Kickstarter, for a linear demonstration adventure eventually called “Lost Hall of Tyr.” That Kickstarter also successfully funded, and primary rewards were again delivered three months ahead of schedule.

Expanding into physical stuff a bit, GB also researched and constructed mostly-authentic Viking-style shields to match the Dragon Heresy theme. A single shield was sold at the end of the year, which capped off a lot of building and trial-and-error to get the process down. Larger plans for such crafting have been scoped out.

The year ended with the return of certain parts of the Dragon Heresy manuscript to my primary control, and new plans being laid for that product that will hopefully bear fruit in 2018.

Continue reading “Ballistic’s Report for 2017”

DM Guild Logo links to DM Guild on OBS/DriveThru

Rob Conley over at Bat in the Attic just put up an important post for those considering using the DM’s Guild as a vector for publishing.

Here it is, complete with provocative title!

OBS Content Program is terrible and it is now not just an opinion

Basically, the net/net of it is that if you publish in the DM’s Guild, you’re basically doing a bit of retroactive Work for Hire. You can reuse your own stuff, but only on the DM’s Guild. Others can re-use your stuff, but only on the DM’s Guild. If you want to incorporate pre-written or pre-published content into your DM’s Guild work . . . don’t, because the content on DM’s Guild is exclusive to the DM’s Guild.

I had considered using DM’s Guild as a vector for my Dragon Heresy work, but even without Rob’s recent clarifications, the “no Kickstarters” rule scared me away, as I wanted to develop my own look and feel and layout and fill my stuff with cool art. Can’t do that on DM’s Guild.

Not saying DM’s Guild is all bad all the time. If you want to create content and have it released once and for all into the WotC ecosystem and only in that ecosystem, it might still be a great thing for you. But do so with your eyes open: content created in this program is theirs, not yours, after you put it on that platform.

One might say, and be correct, that this is the price one pays for having all of the Product Identity, from Beholders to Tiamat to the Forgotten Realms and others, at your disposal. And that’s true. If that’s your thing (and fine works spring from it), than that’s great. It’s a reasonable vector for things as long as you realize that once on DM’s Guild, your stuff is not yours anymore. It’s part of a shared IP gestalt that’s available in and through the DM’s Guild infrastructure and that’s all.

For me, it was never an option, because Kickstarter. But if you ever think “Hey, my setting would do well in [Some Other System],” then the  DM’s Guild is not for you. If you want your own brand to be important, then DM’s Guild utility is much lower (you can’t put your logo or brand identity on the outside of the work, only on the inside).

It’s a good set of Q&A, and Rob’s right: his musings aren’t opinions anymore. They’re policy. Read it, ask your own questions, and if you want to go into the DM’s Guild (and there are many fine products available through it), do so with your eyes fully open.


I’m thrilled to be able to report that Lost Hall of Tyr physical copies have been mailed to the backers that ordered them, and I now have stock of the softcover on sale through my web store.

Lost Hall was a grand and fun experiment. It was a GenCon scenario designed to show off both Dungeon Grappling and peek into the Etera setting that will be more sharply featured in the upcoming Dragon Heresy RPG.

In both respects, the peek was successful. Reviewers commented that the inclusion of Norse and pseudo-Norse elements were well done, while both convention games went quite well, and of the fifteen people that played it, even the one I thought based on body language was going to have harsh negative feedback had nice things to say. Those that walked away with a comment all noted that the system made grappling fun, for the first time in many cases.

I still have a few things to do before I can post my final “tale of the tape” for financials. As noted, my splurging on a piece of art by a top-shelf artist was a risk I took gladly, and it’s a gorgeous image. Net/net on release, though, it probably cost me about $500-1000 more than I brought in from the Kickstarter to make the book. All things considered, that’s not bad, and once again I delivered PDF and physical rewards months ahead of time. PDFs were delivered two months early, and updated with tweaks and fixes since then, including a full bookmarking pass. The Physical copies were not promised until April, and so were a minimum of three months early.

So: Lost Hall of Tyr. Go get it. It’s available for 5e and Swords & Wizardry, and includes a Dungeon Grappling quick-start for those curious.

Final Print Schedule

I’ve held off sending this out so that I don’t spam your email boxes, but I finally can confidently report on the print copy final schedule.

The print copies should ship to me by Thursday, which means that sometime between Saturday and Monday, I should receive 125 copies of Lost Hall of Tyr, of which roughly 96 are destined for US backers.

The packaging is all ready to go, mailing labels attached. The shipping content printouts are going to be done today. We’ve got plenty of packing tape. So is all we have to do is get stuff in boxes and tape ’em up. Then the “you have got to be kidding me” moment when I bring in 96 of them to the USPS.

But that means that the promised schedule of all print copies distributed by the end of January (ahead of an April delivery statement from the Kickstarter) can be confirmed unless horrible things happen. This is Minnesota, and snowpocalypse requires the plural form here, but things look good.

The only deliverables left are the two high level tier’s art-and-character promises. I have a character sheet from Michael that’s very pretty, and solid input from both folks. As soon as this weekend I’ll contact the artists and get them some direction, and we’ll get this wrapped up. Those are an April delivery promise as well, and that should be well in hand.

What’s Next

That will wrap it up for Lost Hall of Tyr, and thanks to all for sticking with me.

If you like the world of Lost Hall, I have some good news for you. I’m working through edits for a full game based in that world. It is fully playable with the 5e rules, but is really built around an OGL modification of the system called Dragon Heresy. I also plan a full adventure mini-setting for the world of Etera, tentatively titled The Hunted Lands (Veiddurlond, much like Lost Hall of Tyr was Domstollinn).

This one won’t be a linear convention scenario, but a living chunk of the world, centered on a very hazardous region of Torengar that is slightly North and East of the starting point for Lost Hall. I estimate it will have six to eight “plot chunks,” which will relate to each other. Four to six characters that start at level 1 will be able to reach level 5 without completing every last jot and tiddle of every encounter.

I’m working through that development process now.

You can find more on my plans for 2018 at Gaming Ballistic.

You have seen a slowdown in the blog recently. This has been related to game production activity for Gaming Ballistic, LLC as a company, rather than as a blog.

Dragon Heresy

I’ve been furiously editing Dragon Heresy. I am determined to get this into shape this year, and by “in shape” I mean “into gamer’s hands.”

This will take two forms. The first is a product that will cover level 1-5, with limited selection of race (humans, dwarves, dragonborn, half-elves), and class (the classic four, limited clerical domains). Basic monster selection, plus humanoid foes of various persuasions. No new art to speak of, though I do have two or three dozen images from Dungeon Grappling, Lost Hall of Tyr, and some pre-purchased art for Dragon Heresy itself. The editing will be done by me. The rules will be stripped to the minimum needed to play the game.

This “ashcan” or “Basic” project will use the layout that Michael Clarke has developed, which is freakin’ gorgeous. It will likely use one of the covers for the book – probably the Book of Heroes – though I might take a GURPSy approach to it and make a cover with excerpts from the covers I’ve already got.

This will get things in front of people, and finally put Dragon Heresy in the public square for consumption. I think it’s a great SRD5.1 modification and playtesting went very well. The “ashcan” will not be a small book, but I’ll be shooting for maybe 128-160 pages. I’ll hopefully use the funds from that product to offset and accelerate the Big Set, mostly things I like to have done in advance, like professional editing, layout, and indexing.

From there, I will look to Kickstart the full three-volume set for art, and stuff as much as possible into the book.

I have big plans for Dragon Heresy and the core engine for the game, but none of that can start until it’s out there.

The Hunted Lands

The hunted lands will be a starter adventure that will support the Dragon Heresy game, and especially the Basic rules. I’ve got some great ideas in mind here, and the adventure will be geared towards starting adventurers.

I’ve got something like six to eight major concept axes that I’m working with, involving challenges from various factions within the game. Some involve internal politics in Torengar, most are external threats. The adventure is more a mini-setting or setting slice than anything else. Adventure seeds in a mapped-out locale, in the manner of the Midderlands or other books like it. Based on what I have in mind, this volume could easily be as large as the Basic rules themselves.

Lost Hall of Tyr

As of this writing, the last I heard from Publisher’s Graphics, the remaining physical books were at the bindery. This means both the covers and the interior have been successfully printed, and so “any day now” I expect to get notice that the books are shipping to me. I have already prepped the mailing boxes, and will print out the shipping content pages. I expect to have a fairly short “packing party” and then get the books to the backers. The European backers’ copies are already starting to arrive. The book is on sale on DriveThruRPG and has even made a few sales (I’ve not promoted it heavily yet; I want my print inventory in hand before I do that).

The only unfulfilled promises in the Kickstarter have to do with my two high-level backers that are getting character portraits done. Those are “due” by April, so there’s still plenty of time, and I’ll be getting that started quickly as we run into January.

Other Games, Other Authors, Other Products

I’ve mentioned David Pulver’s Venture Beyond before in these updates, and that is still being worked. I’ve also been in contact with two other game designers who have shown an interest in publishing through me, though it’s at the “hey, that’s interesting!” rather than “here’s a contract stage.”

I’m also going to be selling shields – hand-crafted by me – through my website to domestic customers. I’ve been pretty happy with the ones I’ve made recently, and they’re better than most of the others out there. Not all of them, but most of them.

Finally, you might start seeing some non-game reference works on the site, though I’m not sure if that’ll happen this year or not.


There are only so many hours in the day, and editing a 400,000 word manuscript takes up most of them. I do have a few things in my noggin on GURPS that I want to write down, and it’s always fun to do reviews and whatnot. But right now, the push to get my own work out there really eats up “let’s write for fun” time.

Even so, GURPSDay needs a shot in the arm. We’ve got nearly 100 bloggers, but most of them don’t write each week, or even at all. I’m hoping to work with Christopher Rice to throw down some challenges and topics to encourage the group to get more out there. Some of that will be regular GURPS, some will be the various sub-lines of GURPS, and some will support the Dungeon Fantasy RPG.

Some of the more-regular features I used to do, though, will probably return. Monster Monday and GunDay are both things I can spend focused time on, and were quite popular.

Playing Games

I want to try and get into a GURPS Dungeon Fantasy game – and right now there’s one brewing under Christopher’s helm. I’m slated to play in it, and we’ll see how that goes. With my schedule, I need something with a low out-of-game burden, and the last two games were not that.

I also would really like to get into a DnD5e or Swords and Wizardry game that plays regularly.

Ahead to 2018

My year-in-review for 2017 showed me that I did more last year than, by the end of the year, it felt like. My goals for this year are to increase the number of products I put out under my publishing imprint. In 2016 and 2017, I put out one each. This year, I wish to do at least two, and “one per quarter” would be a good goal. Eventually, I really need some sort of new release each month, but I don’t think that’s a 2018 goal. One thing that I have in mind is a gear catalog with an Etera flavor to it. Loadouts and equipment that make sense for the game, with the right theme and inspiration.

The blog needs a shot in the arm, and a regular “every other day or so” schedule is the best way to do that. So I’ll work there.

The “alternate projects” like creating shields will be interesting, and if I can move some of those, will be a huge boost to my ability to create games due to the revenue influx, which for hand-crafted physical items like this can be non-trivial. I also love making them, so that’s good stuff for me.

I really need to consider a Patreon or other method to let folks help me move projects forward other than Kickstarter, and if the Big Dragon Heresy Book is to be as successful as I’d like, I need to grow my mailing list by roughly 10x. That is quite a bit. That’s a bit of Catch-22, also. I have a few ideas on how that might work, and one or two low-probability irons in the fire that would help.

Time to get to it.

December 26th marked the fifth year of Gaming Ballistic as a blog, and (roughly) the first complete year as Gaming Ballistic, LLC, the company. As I look at my year in review, I know in advance what it’s going to say: I ran out of time to do a lot of things I liked doing with the blog, and things didn’t quite go as planned with Gaming Ballistic, LLC either.

So, let’s take a look


I had 24 posts in December, which isn’t bad at all, though only 8 of them were about GURPS. And a lot happened. My webstore went live, and Dungeon Grappling, completed in December, began final distributions ahead of schedule.

Dragon Heresy was in editing, so nothing was written about that, and I see that at the time I was posting monthly Gaming Ballistic LLC updates.


Only 16 posts this month, 7 of them about GURPS. No reloading press nor GunDay this month either. This means that I’d already fallen off my daily posting schedule. Unsurprisingly, I made a lot of posts about Dungeon Grappling – it went up on Amazon, which has garnered me something like a single sale, despite a lot of headaches in the preparation and submission of the file. That was a lesson learned: for that book, at least, Amazon simply isn’t worth it.

February also marks the time where I started at Asfolk taking Viking Martial Arts, as experiential research for shield use in Dragon Heresy. While it doesn’t show up on the blog for a while, it makes a big impact in my thinking about fantasy gaming and combat in both GURPS and D&D-based games.


Back to 22 posts, which is better. Not daily, but at least hitting about two days in three. 14 of them were about GURPS, which was nice to see. I did a few reviews and commentary (ACKS, Dungeon Fantasy issue of Pyramid), and continued playing and reporting the very high point superhero campaign in GURPS, Christopher Rice’s Aeon. I made the first post on Venture Beyond with David Pulver, which was supposed to be a quick-turn project but turned into a much longer, drawn-out thing: it was supposed to be ready to playtest by the end of March. That got extended because the game scope expanded quite a bit, and making a complete game from whole cloth, which is what he’s doing, is hard. We thought we had a complete core that could quickly be polished, and we were wrong. As of Dec 2017, the manuscript is almost finished but he’s still tweaking.

From a business perspective, that was a big miss for my plans. I was hoping to go from $5,000 from Dungeon Grappling, to $25,000 or so for Venture Beyond, to $125,000 for Dragon Heresy. Wildly ambitious, I know, but startups like mine frequently are wildly ambitious, and I never wanted Gaming Ballistic to just sputter along. I wanted it to change my life. Continue reading “Gaming Ballistic 2017 Year in Review”

Was distracted by the need to travel for the holidays, so this post is a bit late.

I think I forgot to also give a PDF out on Day 6 (Dec 19), so Paul wins that one.

The Day 7 (Dec 20) prize goes to Jeff Scifert.

The Day 8 (Dec 21) prize goes to Ngo Vinh-Hoi.

That should bring us current!

Merry Christmas!


The Day 2 Winner was Michael Bauer! He chose Lost Hall of Tyr, and his link was mailed out this morning.

Tonight’s drawing will be for a physical copy of Dungeon Grappling . . .


For what it’s worth: a US postal address doesn’t matter. DriveThruRPG lets me ship from the UK to just about anywhere for $5-8, and of course US Media Mail is about $3. So unless you’re from Brazil, where the only shipping option costs $30, don’t self-select out.

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


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

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