As always, I try and post an update summarizing current progress on the Hall of Judgment Kickstarter and what’s to come each Monday.

Campaign Progress

I can’t put it any other way but to say that the Hall of Judgment campaign has exceeded my expectations and is rapidly closing in on my hopes as well. My “don’t be irrationally exuberant” math was “the usual number of folks for a Gaming Ballistic KS pledge 50-50 for print/pdf,” which would have been 250 backers and $5,000.

Well. Well, well, well.

You guys are speaking very loudly. This is one of the kinds of support you want for the product. The louder y’all speak on this and other places, the better the odds of doing more.

And I’d love to do more.

As of this update, we’re nearly at 300 backers (THIS! IS! DUNGEONfantasyrpg!) and have passed $8700. This is behaving very much like my other three KS, and frankly, is looking a LOT like the DFRPG KS in terms of rates. That carries with it implications for total number of backers and total funding rate that are . . . impressive.

Writing and Progress

Over the weekend I did a lot of work on the town of Isfjall. It’s currently sitting at about 6,400 words and will get a bit longer as I flesh out a few more sections, and I’ll be looking to do that tonight. I suspect that the section on Isfjall will wind up being in the neighborhood of 16 pages on a town that you can transplant to anywhere in any campaign that supports a vaguely viking-esque culture.

Why this much? Town is important in the DFRPG, and can serve as an important part of a campaign in more expansive Dungeon Fantasy or just GURPS Fantasy campaigns. While “Town” is geared to the needs of the DFRPG, the outline and model I’m using is the most excellent Dungeon Fantasy Setting: Caverntown.

Rest assured, though: once this is done (again: hopefully tonight) the next section is the wilderness journey. I’ve got a map for that already, so writing this section is really a matter of random encounter tables.

Finally, I’ve started to provide more art direction to Glynn, and that’s the other thing that needs to happen in the next 2-3 days. I’ve sent him notes on the “zoom-in” map of the area around the Hall itself, and now I need to give some direction on the three new encounter maps – basically small dungeons. I know what these have to be, and that will let him do maps and me write the encounters and challenges that will be faced within them. Two are easy; the third will take more thought but things are gelling well.

We also had two full-on blindtests of the Fantastic (Dungeon) Grappling rules. One by a group that didn’t typically use the GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling rules in any form, and another long-standing, long-running DF campaign that has been using a stripped down, suitable-for-DF version of TG for years to good success. I learned great things from both groups.

Then there are two more tasks: get the existing adventure edited and tweaked to fit the new map and layout, and then do the hardcore numerical conversion work for the adventure proper. This is both harder and easier than it sounds.

Form Factor

I ran a quick Google Forms poll on form factor and geography. The results thus far with 126 backers (roughly 42% in that survey alone) are running about 60-40 in favor of “make it fit in my DFRPG box!”

I have received POD and now digital larger-volume printing quotes for both 8.5×11 and 8×10 form factors, and prices per book for the quotes thus received are so close to each other in some cases that it’s literally pennies per book. So there’s no pricing justification either way. I don’t need to make the “real” decision until the manuscript is done and ready for layout, but unless things change radically I will look strongly at an 8×10 format.

Also: a full 30% of those answering the survey are from “not the US,” which influences my “where do I wish to print?” decision a lot; international shipping is so horrible that if I can use Royal Mail or Korean Post to fulfill those orders I want to do so, and the quantities involved are significant enough that I can explore a dedicated “not the US” run from out of the UK and still beat the DriveThruRPG prices, all while delivering 140gsm silk/matte paper instead of the more typical 105gsm from DriveThru.

No promises, but shipping is a painful part of these Kickstarters, and I try and be as open as possible about what options I’m considering. The higher the backer count for physical books, the better those options get for all of us.

GameHole Con

In a few of the comments, I mentioned that I was working to secure a table at GameHole con to try and host a game or two. Thanks to the SJG MiBs currently working that convention’s setup, I will be able to do so.

At 10am CST tomorrow (Tuesday June 26) I will open up 6 spots at a table. The game will be held on Friday November 9 from 4pm to 8pm. The $250 reward level will contain:

  • Space at the table for the game
  • A copy of every printed book Gaming Ballistic sells, including Hall of Judgment (it should be available by then no matter what the shipping route), plus PDFs on a USB stick
  • Credit in the book at the GameHole Con level (or some other appropriately-named tier)
  • You may also submit a pre-gen character as per the “A Thegn of Your Own” level

There will also be two spots at the table left open on a “first come, first served” basis. The level does NOT contain badges, transport, hotel, food (though I’ll share anything I have), t-shirts, pets, hats, or badge pins.

The Coming Week

I’ll be on Nerdarchy with Dave Friant this coming Friday at 11am Central. The chat window is lively and you can pass on questions.

I’m not flooding the zone with podcasts like I did with Dragon Heresy; I think folks (including me) got a bit burned out. But if there are any podcasts that cater to Not That Other Game (5e and the OSR) that would like to have me, I’ll gladly be on them.

If you want to ask me more immediate questions, you can always hit me up on the Gaming Ballistic Discord channel.

For the rest, it’s write-write-write plus more art notes to Glynn.

That’s enough! Thanks for all the support thus far, and please take the time this week to drop a few notes in your social media channels plugging the Kickstarter. Every time I think I’ve surely saturated the airwaves, I find someone I know plays the DFRPG or GURPS who reacts “Kickstarter? What Kickstarter?” and I have to be sad.

But then I go write a really lethal encounter that will make my fellow GMs smile, and that makes me feel better.

Good gaming!

Well, as I’ve said before, and I’ll say again before the end: Thank You! The support you’ve shown so far has allowed me to proceed with great confidence. It’s nice to be able to err on the side of “more!” whenever there’s a choice.

Funding Progress

I’m a bit of an analytical guy in my personal and professional life. So here’s what I can say.

From an absolute perspective, we’re four days into the campaign and have raised just over $7,800, an amazing 260% funding level.

Looking at my three prior Kickstarters and that of the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, one can see some pretty clear trends.

  • There are three funding zones. Day 1-2, Day Last and Next to last, and The Giant Ocean of Pain in between
  • The Day 1-2 pace tends to set trends. If one sets the average funding rate per day at 100% for Day 1-2, the last two days tends to be about 60-70% of that level (per day), and the entire middle runs at 13-16%
  • The Hall of Judgement campaign is 25 days long, with four fridays in it

Our funding rate for Day 1-2 was just over $3,000 per day. This suggests a finishing rate of $1,500-2000 per day, and a daily rate of roughly 1/8 to 1/6 of the initial total, or $375-500. That suggests an amazing $16-20,000 for the entire campaign.

That’s awesome, but it’s not the most important number.

Four Hundred Seventy Five

This is. What is this? It’s roughly the point in terms of total number of backers where it would be foolish of me to not do a full-on offset print run of at least 1,000 copies. That’s the minimum order with the company I’m working with on Dragon Heresy, and given the price and quality difference for a sewn offset softcover (both cheaper and nicer), is the tipping point where there’s really no decision to make.

Sewn offset softcover?

Yes. Get your copy of Adventurers or Exploits. Hold it up sideways. You’ll see this:

Each group of pages is a “signature,” made by printing a bunch of sheets and then folding them up, and binding them in the black glue near the spine.

Now open Adventurers to pp. 54-55. I’ll wait. Got it? If you look inside where the pages meet, say, roughly to the left of “Choose 15 for a tendency,” on p. 55 on the bottom left, you’ll see an obvious hole or puncture, maybe even thread.

The signatures are sewn together to keep pages from falling out.

This is a very high quality softcover book. I’d like to make Hall of Judgment the same way, but it’s going to take more help to do it.

Nose, Meet Grindstone

A amazing as this last week has been for me to watch, it’s time to get busy. What have I done?

I’ve taken the entire final version of Lost Hall of Tyr and re-exported it as a text file. I’ve cut that up into the new outline (which hews to what I promised in the main campaign itself). I’m spending the majority of the weekend writing, revising, and expanding the text. I have no real upper limit on what I intend here: the book will be as long as it needs to be.

Fantastic (Dungeon) Grappling

I’ve completed a really good revision of the grappling subchapter, and this one took and incorporated the entire grappling section from Exploits to eliminate questions on “which rules apply?” It runs four pages, including art.

Here are two pages from the middle of the layout. This is the third and fourth page of the section.

This will continue to be tested in actual play in blindtests (that means that I’m not around to correct or nudge folks; it gives a clearer view of what’s left uncertain or unclear). I’ve got some great folks on it, and you’ll see playtest reports in the coming weeks.

Maps and More Maps

Glynn Seal, author of The Midderlands and The Midderlands Expanded, did my main map for Nordlond and the adventure material (previewed in the main campaign page). The KS smashed the goals so quickly that I was able to, with full confidence, order four more.

You’ll get a zoom-in of the area around the Hall, a complete micro-location with map and potentially life-threatening things to do, plus two more dungeons to explore.

As I said: this is going to be bigger and better than Lost Hall.

Isfjall

Sean did such a good job making Caverntown a living, breathing place to visit that I felt I owed it to DFRPG fans to do the same thing. And with the release of Pyramid #3/116: Locations, there’s yet another template/method for presenting interesting places to go and get killed.

Sorry: go and kill things and take their stuff. Ignore the glint in the GM’s eye and just keep telling yourself that’s the plan, Mr. Jenkins.

Pre-Gens and GameHole Con

What templates will be in the book as pregenerated characters?

  • Barbarian (but how can you tell ’em from the Nordlonders?)
  • Bard (Skald)
  • Cleric
  • Holy Warrior
  • Knight
  • Scout
  • Wizard
  • Wrestler

All will be 250 points, hew to the DFRPG core rules or Pyramid articles, and be inherently approachable to beginners and fun for experienced hands. I’m working on layouts for characters and monsters now, and will post pictures as I make progress. And we’ve already got two takers for the fan-contributed Pre-Gens, and I hear a spear-wielding swashbuckler is in the works.

GameHole Con

I will be at GameHole Con from Nov 8-11th, and have booked a room. The most excellent Men in Black are working with me to secure at least one 4-hour game session, probably in the Dorkstock area.

One session is confirmed, and I’ll post that reward level this coming TUESDAY at 10am. You will need to secure your own badges, transportation, hotels, etc. I will provide the game, and a hardcopy of every book I’ve made from Gaming Ballistic including Hall of Judgment. Even if we go full offset, with 14 weeks lead time, I should have hardcopies by then to hand out.

No matter what, I hope to see you there!

Go Tell The Spartans, Passerby

That’s it for the update today! That being said, a brief story: late the other day, with us hanging out comfortably north of $7000 funds raised, a fairly frequent poster and contributor to some of the forums I frequent was surprised to learn that there was a Kickstarter running.

So: please share the link and spread the word! The usual and unusual RPG forums. Reddit. Facebook. G+. Twitter. Other places I don’t know about. We’ve got the SJG Forums pretty well covered, both in the DFRPG subforum and the GURPS subforum.

But a small a community as we think we are . . . we’re not so well tied together that we can assume everyone that would like to hear about this has already! Want to help? Share!

So here we are. The last week before the interior files get submitted.

What did we do, and what does that mean?

Production Process

We’re really down to two basic tasks at this point: art insertion and proofing.

Proofing continues. It’s a big document and we keep finding things. Most are small. Some are annoying. Much like Pokemon, I’d like to catch ’em all.

I need to regenerate the spells index and the monsters index, which requires saving a new file and doing a “local” index, then copy/pasting that into the document. It’s no big deal, and right before the files get exported at full resolution for printing, I’ll regenerate both the Table of Contents and the Index one last time.

The art is the last thing. I’m down to the last few pieces and these are easily accomplished by a responsive team (see prior gushing update).

The COVER is the farthest along. I decided that dangit, I want round-back rather than square back (think ACKS or Symbaroum rather than Shadows of Esteren, GURPS books, or the DnD hardcovers), and I had to regenerate the cover to fit the new template. Then the spot-finish files. That didn’t take long, and the printing company is looking at them today and should tell me “yeah, these are good” tomorrow.

The hyperlinking is done. The active ToC is done.

I made a few usability changes to the style, so conditions are now bolded as terms of art. So (as an example), two creatures might have each other grappled, but one is restrained, while the other is only grabbed. Bold for game-mechanics, plain-text for plan-language use.

PDF Rewards Distribution

Net/Net: I plan on spooling out the PDF for final reward distribution this coming weekend. That means next week (June 18-22) your PDFs will be sent out, which if I can get that done on Monday, will mean PDF is 6 weeks ahead of schedule.

This also means I’ll do a brief clean-up on Lost Hall of Tyr and Dungeon Grappling PDFs for those that ordered them, and get all of the PDF rewards out next week. I might distribute these through DriveThruRPG – at-cost downloads for PDFs are really easy, and the updating and archiving of DriveThruRPG products is just easier and better than backerkit.

Printing Timeline

As noted before, it’s a 12-week process by design, plus another 2 weeks for in-the-USA shipping. So if the official “go time” for the printer is Monday June 18, we’re on track for all backers to have their book the last week in September (by Sept 24). We’ll see if we can hold to that schedule or beat it; there are 2-3 weeks of potential pull-in, and of course infinite possibilities for delays.

Still: I think you’ll get the books in September rather than October, so that meets my goals of “on or before the promised date.”

Hall of Judgment for Dungeon Fantasy RPG

If you like Lost Hall of Tyr and are also a fan of Steve Jackson Games’ Dungeon Fantasy RPG (Powered by GURPS), then you might also like to know that some time ago, I was granted a license to convert Lost Hall to the DFRPG system.

This is the first license of its kind for the DFRPG. I am pleased and humbled.

That being said, Lost Hall could use some improvement. It is a fairly linear convention scenario designed to show off the Dungeon Grappling system for 5e and OSR games. When played as a one-shot or at a convention, it works beautifully for that purpose.

However, putting it into a living campaign it suffers a bit. Too many constraints.

Well, Hall of Judgment will fix that.

First, I’m updating the interior look a bit to clearly differentiate it from Lost Hall.

Second, there will be a lot more “agency” in the game, with Isfjall (in DFRPG parlance, “Town”) getting a more detailed treatment modeled after the information presented in Sean Punch’s wonderful “Caverntown” mini-setting.

There will be a new map, courtesy of The Midderlands’ Glynn Seal, that will feature both GM and Player-centric views.

There will be no fewer than three new “mini-dungeons” to explore, to allow some things hinted at in the Lost Hall of Tyr version to bear full fruit in Hall of Judgment.

Monsters will be updated to DFRPG standard, with intent to not duplicate existing creatures. Pre-gen characters will also be provided, likely 6-8 choices.

The Kickstarter for this version of the product is set to launch June 19 (next week!), and once the upgrades are done, I will back-convert the new edition of the scenario to Dragon Heresy. If you got Lost Hall of Tyr as an add-on to the Dragon Heresy KS, you’ll get a free copy of the new updated Dragon Heresy PDF if you back the new Kickstarter, and and discounted copy of the Dragon Heresy PDF even if you don’t back it.

I’d appreciate it if you backed it, though.

Future Dragon Heresy Plans

I’m not even remotely done with Dragon Heresy.

I have no fewer than four concepts on the drawing board.

The mini-setting tentatively called The Citadel at Northwatch was given some visibility on the Roles to Astonish Twitch stream. It’s a solid adventure with several connecting parts, playable as a sandbox, that is designed for beginning adventurers. It will likely fall between 16-48 pages, ideally 24-32.

A much larger setting project called The Hunted Lands will cover many interacting things going on in this very dangerous area.

A To-Be-Named third-party scenario, again as a mini-setting, will look at an area closer to the coast.

Finally, a player character expansion with more backgrounds, classes, and races is on the docket to fill out level 1-5 of all thing things I wanted to put in the book but couldn’t fit.

That’s just what I’m working on right now. There’s lots more in me noodle.

Thanks for coming with me this far, and I look forward to giving you your PDF rewards next week!

This page is a placeholder for reported errata and requests for clarification or wording changes for the Dragon Heresy Introductory Set. The PDF files were pushed out May 14!

The Ground Rules

First off, the basic book from the first page to p. 173 is basically edited, laid out, and ready for art insertion. So any “please change X to Y” requests cannot break the layout. So if you’re asking for a rephrase, if it doesn’t fit, I either will change it to make it fit or I can’t do it at all.

For Foes, p. 174 through p. 292, we are in dire need of a 4-page haircut. I expect I know from where this will come; 2-3 pages likely from the editing process, and then we’ll tighten up Beasts a bit.

Yeah. About those Beasts. Luke Campbell is extremely passionate about animals and their capabilities. He wrote the section, and tried to include every bit of game-relevant detail, some of it much more so than a 5e-based game would usually provide. If you cast speak with animals and want to read the bad guys’ secret plans, you need to pick the right creature. This section goes perhaps overboard on that, but overboard is easy to cut. Suggestions welcome.

The character sheet at the end of the book is not form-fillable. It’s on my list.

But basically, if requesting/identifying an opportunity for change, I need the following in your comment:

  1. The page number and location of the issue
  2. The entire original text you want changed, with From: “blah, blah, bitty bitty blah, I’m stuffy give me a scone.”
  3. The substitute text you want to be in its place, as follows: To: “blah blah bitty blah, I’m so stuffy give me a scone.”
  4. A quick note why you want the change. “The information you have is a quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and was misquoted.

For some things, it might be as simple as:

p. 1234; Section on “impaling and dismemberment”

From: dismbemerment

To: dismemberment

Why: typo

Reported Issues List

p. 8; Section on Wound Maximum, third and fourth paragraphs.

The first sentence of each paragraph (“Strength Modifier.” and “Size Multiplier.” respectively) should be bolded.

p. 17; paragraph on “Aldurverk”, second and third sentences.

From: To become an adult, a dwarf must kvoldomurstrate
a skill through an aldurverk, or “age project.” Adurverks may
be crafting of weapons or armor, creating works of literature
or magic, or kvoldomurstration of martial prowess.

To: To become an adult, a dwarf must demonstrate
a skill through an aldurverk, or “age project.” Adurverks may
be crafting of weapons or armor, creating works of literature
or magic, or demonstration of martial prowess.

Why: Likely a find-and-replace error (“demon” -> “kvoldormur”).

p. 22; Under “Matriarchal Structure”, third paragraph, second sentence..

From: The mother dragonborn views her leaving home as a matter of pride, a kvoldomurstration of strength of will and maturity.

To: The mother dragonborn views her leaving home as a matter of pride, a demonstration of strength of will and maturity.

Why: Likely a find-and-replace error (“demon” -> “kvoldormur”).

p. 26; Section on “Tiefling”, first sentence

From: A tiefling he progeny of a union between a human and a fiend.

To: A tiefling is the progeny of a union between a human and a fiend.

Why: typo

p. 46 – Song of Steel

From: can bestow a d6 inspiration die per short rest

To: Can bestow half proficency (round down) to weapons or tools, bestowing skald must be present to activate

Why: right now, the wording theoretically allows every single tool and weapon and piece of ammo to be tuned in town, perhaps even by a friendly skald or skald troupe, every time. That wasn’t the point. The mechanics of this are too close to what the basic skaldic inspiration die IS, and so it needs tuning and limits. So: half proficiency as the bonus, maximum tuning that can ever be active is CHA bonus, skald must be present and spend their reaction to activate the ability. This will require a rewrite.

p. 112 – Art Page/Flyting Rules

From: Art page

To: Flyting

Why: forgot to include the flyting rules, which should fit on one page. Can move the art elsewhere!

p. 166 – Entire Map

From: white pixels included in bottom image of map

To: remove pixels

Why: image placement error

P279 under “shield proficiency”
From: “Each size of shield is a separate proficiency. Each class that is proficient with shields may choose to be proficient with up to two shield size types that are of equal or smaller size than”
To: the heaviest armor with which they are proficient.
Why: typo end of last sentence missing/incomplete.

 

TBD

A week makes a big difference, and a lot happened in the past 7 days. So here’s the progress report for the week ending May 7!

The biggest stuff that was on my formal to-do list:

  • Look at the skald spells and ensure they’re in the spells list.
  • Check the new spells from the added Clerical Domains and make sure they’re in there somewhere.
  • Rewrite and examine the equipment list to add a bit of Norse flavor, as well as some issues I’ve had with the armor list
  • Re-analyze the fighting styles for fighter to make sure all is consistent and no style is more or less powerful than others out of the box
  • Cut down the combat rules for the Berserker level’s reward
  • Write rules for flyting, a ritual exchange of poetic insults
  • Trim and edit the “AppendX” (misspelled purposefully, pronounced Append-X) for the new rules inclusions

The short version: all of it got done this past week. Continue reading “Dragon Heresy: Progress Report To-dos and To-done’s”

The Final Countdown

Well, we’re down to the countdown. 10 hours to go.

We’ll have to see a remarkable acceleration in pledges (or about five shield pledges) to hit the offset print run. It’s not impossible. We’re talking 6 shields, 25-30 Styðja sponsor pledges, or 50-60 Jarl pledges.

Not impossible. I will need your help, of course: share it out, pump it up, talk about it, tell folks what you like, and why you pledged. Point it out to retailers, especially.

What’s Next

The short version is that once the campaign closes, it takes Kickstarter about two weeks to charge all the cards and finalize the transactions.

As soon as that’s done, several things will happen.

Initial PDF Distribution. There is already a playable, laid-out version of the game kicking around. Likewise, I will cut down the rules to what was promised for the Berserker levels. That distribution of the initial PDF

In the meantime, Vincent and I are editing the heck out of the manuscript. Of the nine chapters (recognizing that Ch.9, Foes, is 1/3 of the book and the magic/spells section is very long as well), I’m finalizing Chapter 4.

I’ve added Skald, Social Standing, Runic Berserker, and the rest of the Clerical Domains to the characters chapter. I will be editing and adding the optional rules, including new rules for Flyting (ritual exchange of insults), as well as the optional rules for shields.

The rest, from backgrounds to Feats, will probably need to be set aside until the near-final layout is done, complete with maps, front matter, index, ToC, backer thanks page, etc. Then we’ll see where we are for page count, and hopefully we’ll be able to fit some of it. Because we both know one of those extra pages is a glossary and pronunciation guide, right?

Rest easy, though: for backgrounds especially, I’ve got an idea there.

When the funds settle, everyone at the $5 and up level will get something electronically. It may still be in need of some editing, layout shifts, or a bit more artwork, but you’ll be able to play the game. This should happen on or about May 11, depending when Kickstarter finished their thing. Might be a bit earlier, might be a bit later.

At that point, I’ll ask everyone to read and play it! And get back to me on typos, errors, layout issues, rules questions/clarifications . . . anything that doesn’t look right, bring it to my attention. There will be a dedicated blog post where I’ll collect your comments. I did this for Dungeon Grappling and it worked great.

Backerkit Phase Begins. Sometime in mid- to late-May, the Backerkit phase will begin. You’ll be able to order/select add-ons, see what shipping will look like, etc. By that time I hope to have my internal printing plans locked down, and will be able to confirm shipping, especially to my international backers. I’m aware of how painful it can be, and trying to take steps to avoid it.

PDF Finalization, Print, and Ship. Some time in June or July, I’ll close the responses, finalize the PDF, and send that out. At the same time, I’ll upload the B/W and Color 300dpi print files to DriveThruRPG as well as sending the two styles of book (assuming we don’t spike and hit $16,000) to my selected printer(s). The typical print cycle is 12 weeks, then a month for shipping. So that puts us on or a month ahead of schedule if that all works out.

Color and Black and White

Actual pages from the UK printer that will likely be doing the color print books, unless we hit the big goal at $16KThe lead candidate for a color printing is not POD from my usual suspect. It’s a company in the UK that offered a fantastic price on a 200-book print run. Right now, I’ve only got about 50 takers for color, so I’ll have extras in case you want to add them in the Backerkit phase. The B/W books will be fulfilled by POD, since the price differential between POD, digital offset, and true offset in the quantities we’re talking about for this campaign aren’t enough to matter.

Are we done with Dragon Heresy?

No.

Just no.

Northern Torengar is the site for both Citadel of Northwatch and The Hunted LandsI have at least two adventures planned. One short one that I will do my darnedest to get out Right Away that will be designed as an intro micro-setting. Several intertwined plot threads that invite sandbox play rather than a linear-style adventure thread. That one is tentatively called The Citadel of Northwatch.

The other is a much more ambitious setting called The Hunted Lands. There’s a cool nordic name for it too: Veiddarlond. That one contains eight different micro-settings within the broader location, and should be a great way to get from level 1 through level 5 . . . or even higher.

And I do have ideas for what “higher levels” would look like, but of course that depends on how this campaign finishes, and if Dragon Heresy looks like it has legs.

After that, I’ve got a few other projects in the works, including Hall of Judgment (a Powered-by-GURPS Dungeon Fantasy RPG conversion of Lost Hall of Tyr), and hopefully the sci-fi game Venture Beyond, by David Pulver.

But for now: share! Tell folks why you backed the project and why they should to. Make me a liar by forcing me to rework my plans and go offset.

I double-dog dare you.

Thanks for the ride so far, but it’s not over yet.

Douglas Cole
Chief Everything Officer
Gaming Ballistic, LLC

As of this morning, 60 of 196 eligible voters have filled out the additional content voting form. Thank you!

Currently, here’s the tally:

  • Several Alternate Combat Rules (2000 words) in the lead with 184 points
  • Skald Class (2000 words) with 140 points
  • All Cleric Domains (3,000 words) with 109 points
  • Berserker Path of Primal Runes (650 words) with 107 points
  • Feats (3700 words) with 99 points
  • Four Additional Backgrounds (2,700 words) with 96 points
  • Shield Size and Type (1,100 words) with 94 points

The next point totals below that are 73 points and it drops rapidly from there.

The above list has more than the 10,000 allotted words I can probably fit, but I wanted to show you the tally.

Commentary

Big shields and small shields and magic shields and . . . The feats are fun, but also the most potentially issue-filled part of any rules addition. They have to be carefully considered and balanced, which is fine. I’ve got a calculator for combat feats that can help things.

The backgrounds, in my limited experience, are a bit like starting equipment. Soon forgotten after play starts. Other folks’ experience may vary, of course, and since this game focuses on Level 1-5 play, the characters aren’t that far from their backgrounds in the game.

The additional shield rules are fun, and a key component of the game. They enable having bucklers to tower shields, metal reinforcement, and discuss what happens with a magical shield. They are, however, more fiddle. That being said, thus far “more fiddle” is winning the contents, so there’s that.

Additional Rules

I honestly didn’t expect this one to hit the top (at least thus far), but here are the additional rules topics:

  • Stacked Advantage/Disadvantage: Rolling 3d20 or more when conditions apply
  • Facing and Flanking: Rules for what constitutes each. Has illustrations which make this more bulky in terms of page count.
  • Weapon Heft: What happens when you try and parry a greataxe with a dagger
  • Lethality Switches: Disallowing frantic defense and more realistic healing rates
  • DEX and STR in Combat: DEX for attack rolls, STR for damage. STR bonuses for strong bows fits here too

Winding Down

So that’s where we stand! If projections continue, we’ll finish the Kickstarter around $13,000, which is pretty cool. Not “guaranteed offset print run” cool, but pretty cool nonetheless.

As always, a bit of social media boosting helps, and in particular, it would not take many Favorite Local Game Stores to make retail orders to make that print run happen. That’s a win for everyone.

I’m still looking at improving the quality of the books. I should be getting quotes in mid-week, but these things are unpredictable.

More news as events warrant.

Stretch Goal Approaching Rapidly

As of right now, we are only $160 from passing the “Additional Content” Dragon Heresy Introductory Set Kickstarter stretch goal at $10,000, and the odds that we will pass that goal given a full week left seem good.

With that in mind, here are the options that will fill up the survey for “what do you want included?”

Notes

  • I have room for about 9,900 additional words, give or take
  • ALL the backgrounds together are about 9,400 words
  • There is no way to include ALL of the new classes
  • The new spellcasting classes will come with additional spells (of course) that are NOT included in wordcount.
  • The Warlock in particular will be particularly ugly; if this is a top choice other things may go by the wayside
  • The example of the Runic Barbarian has already appeared in an update/blog post
  • Most of the additional rules content falls into the category of highly optional rules. They’ll go into a section called “AppendX” as in “X-perimental”
  • The skald is a nordic bard; the trevinur is a nordic druid. Sorta.
  • The ranger is NOT a spellcaster or a shape-changer. There are scouts and skirmishers. If you want magic-using rangers you’ll want multi-classing

So, that’s it. The survey will ask that you give me your favorite 8,000-10,000 words to include. I’ll see what I can do to automate it a bit.

Continue reading “Dragon Heresy: List of Additional Content Possibilities”

Access is one of the more jealously guarded privileges in hierarchical systems, and social standing reinforced status, but also kept the big dogs ideally focused on the issues they need to be concerned with. Details of policy and realm health, maurauding fae raids, and magical curses. The important stuff.

The rules below are a revision of a new insertion to the Dragon Heresy set, and seemed like a good idea when in my recent streaming play the 1st-level characters seemed bound and determined to head off to see the hajarl or a merchant prince personally. I deflected it in play by having a lower-rank NPC, who happened to be related to the merchant prince, take the call instead. Why pick up dice if you don’t have to?

But some sort of guideline for whether or not an influential person will take the PCs request seemed wise.

Plus: if you’re wondering, this is basically an equivalent of “you get XP for gold.” The wealthier and more successful you are, the more ships, fortresses, and troops you commend, the nicer your armor, weapons, and clothing, the more you look the part of the mighty hero. It’s also a good way to look at how a sheltered offspring of a powerful noble might be a 1st-level or lower character, but still be worthy of dealing with seriously: good Persuasion due to charisma and practice, plus tremendous status and resources. Suddenly not all lords have to be 15th level fighters or mages (though many will be)!

The rules here aren’t final. I may flip it around a bit and instead make the Social Standing a passive check, and recast this as a 2d10 or 3d6 roll for a “reaction” with relative standing as a modifier (so it’s a single, player-facing roll instead of a contest). A passive score will also allow a quick comparison: “no, you’re more than 20 lower than Lord Robert; the best way to get the hajarl’s ear is to approach Lady Alina, the newly-appointed jarl of one of his vassal towns; she’s a jarl, but of lower standing and might treat more equally with you, and SHE can bring your petition before Robert.”

None of the concepts below should replace good roleplay, but they will help guide things. I may yet flatten things out a bit; pretty much anyone could step in front of the Thing/Althing to speak, and the kind of disparity in social standing was a continental thing more than a viking thing. But the core is there, and this basic concept is easily portable into other games: apparently this works out fairly well using ACKS’ native level tables as well.

So there we go. Here’s the Dragon Heresy version of “XP for gold.”

As the Kickstarter winds down, today I’m going to write rules for “flyting,” a ritual poetic contest of insults. That will complete the “alternate rules work” that I want to do to provide options for conflict and conflict resolution that don’t involve pointed sticks. Between flyting and grappling and access restrictions found below, there are plenty of ways to challenge the party without relying n always breaking out weapons.

From here, I will get busy with writing “Identify Fiend or Foe” advice for my monsters, and ensuring that some of the “I’ll do this later” parts of the ms are finally complete.  Continue reading “Dragon Heresy Rules Excerpt: Social Standing”

Greetings, fellow Torengur! We’re entering the third weekend of the Dragon Heresy Introductory Set Kickstarter, and things look pretty good.

Another Skjald-hirð Joins the Battle!

We had a great day yesterday, driven largely by another stalwart joining the ranks of the Skjald-hirð. He’s asked for a sweet, sweet paint job on his shield, too. Dark blue background, with a gold torc, one boar-head, one deer-head, holding the Ingwaz rune between them. All of these symbolize Freyr, who is Yngwi Lifegiver in Dragon Heresy.

This is a personal shield project I just finished, and except the boss (which I used because I had it; it’s too heavy and too large by far), is a good example of what the shields will look like. The heads here are dragon heads. I can do boars, ravens, dragons, bears, stags, and wolves.

The dragon-torc of house Iyiling
The dragon-torc of house Iyiling

The ansuz-rune is the rune of the Asfolk martial arts school at which I’m learning viking-style fighting. You can see the school and me throwing an axe here in the designer’s notes video.

Progress

In the background things are moving in terms of production. I got the first edits from Vince in the mail yesterday, looked them over, and found them worthy. He’s tightening up my language and poking at holes in the thought process.

The entire pre-production team: layout, editing, and indexing, is now being brought in on the communications so we can parallel process the assembly and finalization of the book.

That being said, there are things yet to do, by me, from a writing perspective.

  • I’ve got a neat idea for a way to differentiate between combat prowess and reputation and status. Think of it as an alternate take on “gold for XP” from the old-school days.
  • I am determined to write and add a small section on flyting – a poetic ritual exchange of insults common in viking lore and culture that provides another avenue to victory other than murder-hoboism. Between fisticuffs, weapons, grappling, and flyting, there are many options for dispute and challenge resolution in Dragon Heresy, which is outstanding.
  • Finally, I’m going through the monster section and adding “Identify Fiend or Foe” blocks, where the GM will be provided suggestions for tactically useful elements that can be known about monsters and other foes based on background and skill level.

All of this will be worked into the book, and much of it is already budgeted in terms of space and layout, so that won’t change the basic 256-page book size.

Stretch Goals

As of me typing this, the campaign is just shy of $700 off the $10,000 “more content” stretch goal. If we pass it, I’ll send out a survey to backers with some options of what I can include, which will push the size of the book upward a bit.

Once the ship is completed, what fine adventures we will have!I’m not quite ready to formally re-arrange my published stretch goals yet . . . but some quotes came in from printers that were very compelling. Very.

This has led me to look at options for standard and deluxe printing for the Jarl and Styðja tiers that may take a few more days to lock down.

I’ll tell you this, though: the numbers $12,000 and $16,000 are very significant. There’s another point at about $14,500 that’s significant to me as a publisher but not so much to y’all as backers.

I’m iterating with a few different folks on super-cool things to add for your pledge to the $100 tier. Faux-leather covers, or custom slip-cover, or just a deluxe printing with a dust jacket are all being considered. No decisions yet, and being that it’s bearing down hard on quitting time in the EU (all of the super-aggressive bids are from either the UK or Latvia) on a Friday, I might not be able to confirm much before early next week.

But I’m looking for ways to make both the Jarl and Styðja levels even more appealing. Skjald-hirð backers will get anything the Styðja level gets, of course!

The Final Countdown

This it is, and we’re into single digits. Now it’s in the hands of the Norns.

We’re tracking to around $14,000 if things keep on as they’ve been and we hit an uptick the last few days, which is typical. I still hope we can see enough acceleration to hit that offset print goal – I won’t lie to you: I dream of holding that book as specified in my hands!

For now, have a great weekend, and may all your raids be profitable!