The Lost Hall post-campaign goings-on still go on, and they are going strong.

Backerkit, Huzzah!

This one’s all on y’all. So far, in one day, about 60% of backers have filled out the surveys. This is good. I’d like everyone to do it, of course, but if you are one of the 115 backers that expects to receive Lost Hall of Tyr or Dungeon Grappling as a physical product, I must have your shipping address, and I’d very much like it through Backerkit.

I’m also quite gratified at the number of you guys that are electing to procure some of the cool Add-Ons that are available. I’ll note that the Manor Collection is a great deal, and if you’re an OSR fan, you’ll dig it completely. Dan’s map collection is very cool, and if you play via VTTs you’ll appreciate being able to drop in a new encounter at short notice.

Stythja Still Available

Just a shout-out for this one. The top-tier pledge was the styðja, or patron level. It features the following three things:

  • The opportunity to generate a character that will effectively be a “pre-gen” for Lost Hall
  • The character will be visualized as an epic figure by one of the artists who worked on the project.
  • Finally, part of this process is a preview of the Character Generation, Races, and Classes chapters of Dragon Heresy, my forthcoming SRD5.1 full RPG.

Here’s a peek inside:

I can tell you I had a lot of fun with these, and there’s a lot more in there than just what appears in the SRD. History, different takes on the races and classes, entirely new clerical domains based on Norse mythology, new abilities and fighting styles, and more. I can tell you this: shields are going to get way cooler.

It’s still a work in progress . . . but there’s been a lot of progress and playtesting, so while it’s not perfect, it will give a feel that captures the kinds of characters that will fit easily into the world of Etera, and provide what I hope is an exciting glimpse of what’s to come.

I will be contacting those that have elected the Styðja character levels shortly after the Backerkit phase ends and distributing the required digital files at that time. The PDF collection of characters thus created will be available prior to April 2018, as promised in the Kickstarter rewards section.

Production Progress

Todd emailed me what looks to be the final file (maybe one change pending), and I’ve approved it. This means that he can start building the Table of Contents as well as hyperlinking the document.

The result of his hard work, and the excellent responsiveness of the editing and art teams, is that unless something drastically horrendous happens, the penultimate version of the digital product will be in your hands within the week after the Backerkit phase closes.

As noted in the prior update, two things happen during this phase. Firstly, I send the files to my two print vendors for proofs (actually, this is likely to start happening this week or next). Just as importantly, you guys review the heck out of your document and find what we missed. There’s always something. Check spelling, clarity, and layout issues. Test all the hyperlinks. Head to the blog post on Gaming Ballistic’s website and leave a comment in the thread that will be started for the purpose and I’ll update the “Errata” list with notes on whether we can accommodate the request. Feel free to suggest other hyperlinks that you feel will be useful.

Map Pack

The maps for the adventure are provided as 8.5×11 full pages in the back of the adventure. They are also provided at a lower (more screen compatible) resolution of about 200dpi, and are 32″ x 40″ in size at that scale. They will come as a compressed file of JPEGs so they can be pulled into your Virtual Table Top program of choice, or you can have them printed as posters or anything else.

They are full color, and have no grids or scales on them, so that for those that do use the VTT’s native grid functions, you don’t get the case where either you can’t quite match up the map grid with the program grid, or for folks like me that like hexes, have to deal with a hex overlay on a square grid.

I am working with Bogie maps on a few fun extras to make choosing between grid options easy, but no word on those yet.

Endgame and Next Projects

So that’s where we are. Thanks for coming with me so far, and please do take advantage of the “share” functions of the various forums. Give the project a re-share from Kickstarter or Backerkit. Even better, throw down a nice comment or two on the usual places: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Reddit, or the various DnD-flavored groups or RPG forums.

This won’t be my last product. I expect that within the month I’ll take delivery of a 115,000-word manuscript for a completely original Sci-Fi game that I cannot wait to get started on, which includes core rules and three short scenarios. If that goes well, the author has 27 more adventures ready to go.

And of course there’s Dragon Heresy, and I hope that I’ve convinced you that I have the project management chops to deliver even a very large project on time. The only reason that one isn’t out already is that I want to do the same quality job with it that I have done (says me) on Dungeon Grappling and Lost Hall of Tyr. That means art . . . and lots of it. The Dragon Heresy draft that went to Ken Hite (yes, that Ken Hite) for editing was roughly 400,000 words, or approximately 800 pages in 3 volumes. I’ll need anywhere from 200 to 400 pieces of art to do it how I want . . . and that requires a very successful campaign.

When it comes time, I hope you’ll help me with that.

Until then, back to the wilds of production for me!

Roland just shared a sample of the art he’s providing for the Dungeon Grappling quick-start chapter for Lost Hall of Tyr.

If the hobgoblin looks familiar to you, there’s a reason. The final version has more details of what “grappling with weapons” can mean – she’s stepping on the hob’s spear to pin it in place, as well as using her own shield to trap his left arm.

Because it’s Roland, all of the equipment and stances are historical and accurate, modeled off of real pieces. The detail is phenomenal.

I simply cannot wait to see the entire full-page piece.

If we hit the bit stretch goals at the top end, there will be more of this type of illustration in the book!

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t extra-point you to Roland’s Patreon, plus his awesome collection of informative YouTube videos on historical fighting and weapons.

Greetings from Thailand!

The big news is that, of course, Lost Hall of Tyr passed the  basic funding goal! Now it’s all about stretch goals.

Had a great night’s sleep last night, which if you’re familiar with the vagaries of international air travel, is from from a guarantee.

In addition to passing the basic funding goal (woo hoo!), I’ve got some updates on art progress

John B has reported he’s on schedule for delivery before the end of the Kickstarter for his piece, as has Roland W. That’s all of the pre-commissioned art thus far, but since the campaign has met it funding goal, I can look into starting up the remaining pieces. As things proceed, I will see how we are doing and look carefully at how much additional art the campaign can afford.

I also got to sit down over email with Todd, and I asked him to mock up the real cover, rather than what I did in five minutes with Photoshop’s Magic Wand tool. I suggested we incorporate “the sword” I use for the banners (I really like it) into the cover design, and he overachieved. I wasn’t sure how I’d have done it, but what he actually did really made me happy.

What? Stop talking and show? OK!

Front Cover
Front Cover

 

Back Cover and Teaser Text
Back Cover and Teaser Text

Feedback Wanted

One thing that backers of my prior Kickstarter – Dungeon Grappling – will tell you is that I’m pretty good about taking and acting on feedback from my contributors. You guys are sponsoring the work, after all, so it makes good sense to listen where possible.

So . . . if you think that the wording of the cover, or something about placement could be improved . . . make the suggestion! Worst case is a polite no, and best case for all is “that’s a fantastic idea!”

As always, please spread the word about the project where you can. I’m going on several podcasts – Geek Gab and the Delve Podcast – to talk about the project, and would love to do more.

Congratulations and Thanks!

We made funding at the basic level last night, sneaking over the wire while I was travelling between Minnesota and Thailand on business. I’m currently a bit bleary-eyed, but the trip was as smooth and fast as one could ask for. Four hours to Seattle, 12 hours to Korea, and five hours to Thailand. Then an overnight stay at the hotel at the airport, then three hours drive to Korat (Nakhon Rhatchasima) where our plant is located.

But a big thank you to the backers who have taken us this far.

Miles to go before I sleep

The next goal is important – enough backers and money to guarantee that we can get the thing done and printed not through the usual suspects. Right now, though, we’re really only talking about 50 copies of the print version, which might be a low enough number that I procure it through a third party anyway. We shall see!

The big stuff happens between $5000 to $8000, with more art and the Swords and Wizardry full conversion next on deck. Following that, we get into icing on the cake: inside cover art and other gritty/realistic illustrations by Roland Warzecha

The Days Ahead

I’m looking to go on a few podcasts in the near future to pitch the adventure and talk grappling monsters. I will also be doing a bit of a featurette on each of the artists that are working the project, highlighting their styles and showing the kind of thing that can happen for the custom commission tiers.

Once Again: Thanks!

But that’s all in the future. I’ll work on delivering you the best book I can. The more you guys talk it up, the better. Again: the invite for “if you will run or review it, I’ll get you a prelim copy” so long as you write up up before the campaign ends!

Progress Update

We’re doing reasonably well . . . about 75% of the way there in the first 2 1/2 days of the campaign, and before a weekend. Hopefully that bodes well. We’re at $1900 of $2500 to fund, so that’s promising.  Lost Hall of Tyr is close to making the first hurdle!

Maps!

I thought I’d throw down a few glimpses of the work Day Roy (Bogie Maps) is doing to bring the encounter areas to life.

This area might be all bark and no bite . . . but I seriously doubt it.

And here’s an internal preview of the Lost Hall itself:

That room has seen better days. I mean, it’s still neater than my house if I take my eyes off my kids for an hour . . . actually, I think that door looks familiar.

And here’s a nice little place for a picnic. Or ambush.

 Six Maps. All this good.

The maps are wonderful, and portable. Most of them will make great encounter maps for any game.

The nice thing about them is them make me want to do even more with them. I’m strongly considering beefing up the Lower Hall especially. I have such tantalizing and seductive possibilities in my mind.

Things are progressing on the art front as well. While two of the images are just done, three more – the cover, and images by John and Roland, are in progress, and I expect them in a week or so. I’ll cover the artists in more detail in a bit.

Until then, thanks for the support thus far!

I’ve got what I need, I think.

The video is complete. The pitch looks OK to me and some of my eyes-on folks.

But don’t take my word for it. Check it out in preview mode.

Lost Hall of Tyr: Dómstóllinn by Gaming Ballistic, LLC

(The title link is to the preview; the image is just the video)

A 52 to 64 page adventure for 5e (and S&W at least, if it does well) with support for Dungeon Grappling.

Look for it Real Soon Now on Kickstarter.

A mailing list is a key part of any company’s outreach strategy. In short, it’s the first line of defense against stagnation and starvation. It’s the folks that have come to you, and either expressed interest in, or outright purchased your stuff.

It’s probably criminal that I haven’t set one up by now . . . a crime against good business.

But I’m rectifying that.

  • There’s now a sign-up bar at the top of the page. If you’re interested in getting emails on current and future products, progress on projects, or generally wanting to be informed as to (say) when a Kickstarter of mine will launch, please sign up.
  • If you’ve purchased something from me before, I’m going to proactively add you to the list . . . and then immediately remove you upon request, of course.

You can probably look for an email from me maybe every two to four weeks, and no more. I don’t want to spam you, and it’ll be a bit before enough happens in every given week to merit such a thing.

But please: if you’re interested in Gaming Ballistic as a company that sells products, rather than just a nifty blog, sign up!

The blog has been very quiet recently. But in the background . . .

I have a 19,000-word manuscript for my GenCon scenario. Renamed Domstollinn: Lost Hall of Tyr, it’s ready to go to layout.

I’ve got a layout person, who will likely sign our contract tomorrow, and then get to work. We’ve got some discussion of graphical elements and color palette to handle first, I think, but his projects are so very pretty I hate to interfere too much.

I have a line on at least one cover artist. For Dungeon Grappling, the cover came last. This time, it comes first, because I like having nice covers.

I reached out to a few dozen more artists I got cards from at GenCon. They’re slowly responding to my pings, but they’re expensive, by and large. If you do well enough to go to GenCon, buy a booth, work it, sell stuff, and make money – and most of these guys assuredly do that well – you’re going to be on the high end of the price curve.

I’m going to try and get a few more bids for the cover from some folks I’ve not contacted yet. I’m trying to reach out to folks I’ve not worked with before, so when The Big Project comes around, folks know what they’re getting into with me, for better or (hopefully not) for worse.

I condensed Dungeon Grappling into a one-page cheat sheet for inclusion into the back of the adventure. It’s not the full book; not all options are on, and some subtleties are deliberately not included. But you can run the system with the one-pager, which is no mean feat.

This has kept me very, very busy. But things are moving, and I hope to start assembling for a Kickstarter in early October. I’m strongly considering a Ransom Model, where if I hit a certain funding target, I will release the document as Pay What You Want, with the hopes that folks will contribute significantly to simply making the book pretty as hell. I’ve got other stretch goals in mind. Fantasy Grounds and/or Roll20 support (though I would need a lot of help with either; that’s not my forte) for one.

I think that the bare minimum, a laid-out file with no art to speak of other than some necessary encounter maps, will run about $3,000. To push the art content up but not hit the magic 32- or 48-page “offset efficiency” numbers I’d need about $6,000. For $8500 I double the art content in the book. At $12,000 I do all that and get paid for my efforts.

We’ll see. Some of the lower aspirations are definitely reachable. The higher ones will require something to hit.

Well, well. That GenCon 2-hour demo has turned into a 16,500 word first draft. I got some good feedback during the sessions, and still more afterwards. I think the flow is better, and it’s got a lot more meat to it.

What’s left to do?

  • I need to de-Dragon Heresy the SRD monster writeups. That’s pretty easy.
  • I need to write some random encounter tables. ACKS shows me the way there, as well as numerous OGL and online resources for what’s good. Really, I just need a few tables. Encounter type, and then some sub-tables for specifics. Animal, fae, weather/hazard, etc. It’s all hills/mountain terrain.
  • I need basic sketches for encounter areas and key art pieces. Not exactly art direction, but close.
  • I will try pouring the file into one of the two already-done layout templates I have in InDesign to see how it looks. Since the scenario is made to go with Dungeon Grappling (but can certainly be run without it!) I might default to that template.

One of the Kickstarter goals (and there will be a Kickstarter, oh yes) will be a fresh, purpose-built layout.

And I’ve got a great editor lined up, with preliminary agreement to start work tomorrow if The Legal Guys come through and get the contract into the signing program. So more tomorrow on that, I hope.