We are ten days in to the More Perilous Journeys crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. We’re over 350 backers, who have collectively pledged just under $21,000 of the $25,000 needed to fund. With 15 days left to go, the chances of us funding are strong.

Even so . . . funding sooner is better than funding later, for two reasons. One, a funded project draws even more backers, which is good for everyone. Second, as soon as the project funds, I start commissioning art and finalizing layout and editing. Basically lopping time off the back end of the schedule, targeting early delivery.

I’ve already started with some of the art: Ksenia Kozhevnikova, a long-time collaborator on Gaming Ballistic projects, is working on the cover for the 40-page solo/programmed adventure Dragon Hunt! You can see her Work-in-Progress image below. I loved this work so much I’ve asked her to do the other four covers as well.

The good news is that while we have 355 backers so far, we have over 400 folks currently “following” the campaign who have not yet pledged. Perhaps you’re one of them. 

If so, I would ask that you consider pledging sooner rather than later, if you can. COVID has messed up everyone’s plans and finances this year, of course, No getting around it. But jumping in now really helps the progress of the project, and once we hit that milestone, I can start engaging with the art team to move things along even faster.

Fifteen days to go! 

More Perilous Journeys

I received word from the shipping company that the books should be dropped off at my house tomorrow around lunchtime. Hopefully the forecast will remain accurate (hah ha HA HAH HA!!!) and it will not rain.

Regardless, this means I can start getting the USA physical orders shipped out right away.

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Brief update this morning!

Holiday Weekend

For those in the USA, it’s Memorial Day, the day dedicated to those who died in the armed service of their country (Veterans Day honors those still alive who served). At least here in Minnesota, it traditionally rains like mad…today is no exception.

Campaign Progress

In development news, the More Perilous Journeys campaign stands less than $100 from hitting 80% funding, and still with 19 days to go. We’re in the period best characterized as “the doldrums,” which is that slow, steady period of funding between the first 2-3 day rush after launch and the last 48 hours near the end.

This is where a few re-shares, tweets, or forum posts by not-the-publisher have the most impact. At the current rate, we likely only need about 90 pledges to fund. We have nearly 400 people following the campaign who have not yet backed. This means there’s enough ‘latent’ interest to not just fund, but succeed spectacularly.

Cover Work

I received an update to the work-in-progress image on the cover of Dragon Hunt. I liked it so much that I asked the artist if she had time to do the other four…she does, and she will. I’m procuring these covers in the anticipation that we fund, of which I have no doubt.

We’ve already talked about some changes. The dragon on the front cover will have fore-limbs added, to better match up with the TFT lore. The ruins in the background get more detail. Everything, in fact, gets more detailed as things go forward, and she touches up the details, adds textures, and does whatever it is artists of her caliber do. I can’t wait to see it. The next four will come out roughly every two weeks thereafter, meaning I should have those done by the end of July.

Ksenia Kozhovnikova just shared with me her rough pencils (rough! rough! This is rough for her!) of one of the covers for the new TFT books for my More Perilous Journeys Kickstarter.

This one is (obviously) for “Dragon Hunt,” David Pulver’s 40-page solo/programmed adventure. This one can also be easily run with a GM, since going dragon hunting (and other monsters) really ought to be a group effort. Unless, of course, you’re just that mighty.

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There was an inquiry about a retail level – and bad on me forgetting about it!

There are now two new pledge levels. One for the new books, one for all the books. If you know an FLGS who wishes to support TFT . . . steer them to this!

Retail Level – 5 Each New Physical Books ($180)

For our retail customers! Five copies each of the printed books (no PDFs!) that are new to this campaign. This is at a 50% discount from the retail cost of the five books.

Retail Option – ALL TEN Print Books (5×) ($360)

If you missed the first campaign and want to put ALL TEN print books on your store shelves, this is your pledge level. Five copies EACH of the softcover books from “Five Perilous Journeys,” plus the five books from “More Perilous Journeys” (this campaign), all discounted at 50% for retail sale. No PDFs are included with this reward!

Thanks to you guys, Gaming Ballistic delivered with More Perilous Journeys its best first day performance on a Kickstarter, ever. It wasn’t even close: my prior record was less than $7,000 . . . and that was the Four Perilous Journeys campaign!

We’re over 60% funded as of this morning, and hopefully we’ll see another solid day. Who knows . . . maybe we’ll even fund today? Four Perilous Journeys saw about 40-50% of Day 1 on Day 2 . . . and that would bring us (dare I say it) Perilously close to success.

Progress

This morning I received the updated and revised draft of The Sunken Library, which means all five books are in my hands. Now, it’s all me for editing and layout.

I have commissioned the cover for Dragon Hunt!, and I’ve seen a work-in-progress draft of the pencils for the cover. It’s glorious. The artist and I discussed some revisions and she should get back to me this week, I hope. I’ll post that as soon as it’s ready.

Today I hope to get preliminary work done on all five books. Not full edits, but getting the formatting and initial layouts right. On the programmed adventures, that’s no small task.

With funding moving along at a very healthy clip (knock on wood), I need to accelerate this part of it, so the moment we fund, I’m ready for art direction. Art usually takes a month or so.

Share, Share, Share some More!

We have 461 “followers” in the campaign, and of those so far, 147 have pledged. We also have 277 actual backers . . . which means 130 folks came aboard that never followed the campaign. This is excellent, as it provides a lot of latent capability to fund . . . and more than fund.

The key thing right now is reach and word of mouth. A kind word and a pointer on a social media feed from a fan, rather than a publisher or author, is huge.

Even so: we had a great first day. Hopefully Day 2 brings us that much closer!

The More Perilous Journeys campaign, producing five new old-school adventures for TFT, is now live! 

 

What is The Fantasy Trip?

The Fantasy Trip is an “old school” RPG created by Steve Jackson. Its first element was released in 1977: the combat game Melee (available FREE from Steve Jackson Games!). That was followed by the magic game Wizard and a full roleplaying rulebook: In the Labyrinth.

The Fantasy Trip is more “cinematic” than “simulationist” — speed and ease of play are the goal, not an exact representation of every swing and every defense. The background is unabashedly swords and sorcery. Elves are noble, dragons are greedy, and gunpowder weapons exist but are very likely to blow up in your face!

TFT was off the market for more than 35 years, until 2017 when Steve Jackson regained the rights to his work and set about creating a new edition. The Legacy Edition came out in 2018 . . . and More Perilous Journeys supports that amazing deluxe edition.

What books?

The campaign features five new adventures. Three expect you to run with a GM at the helm; the other two are solo adventures.

Roc of Sages (Christopher R. Rice and J. Edward Tremlett). Beset by Collectors – assassins from the Indhyna League – the party must journey to the Isle of Greater Zosi to collect items for the semi-corporeal Jok Sevantes. Of course, there are several dangerous stops along the way. Roc of Sages is designed for 4-6 characters of 34-36 points.

Catacombs of Living Death (Christopher R. Rice and J. Edward Tremlett). Following the events of Roc of Sages, Jok Sevantes again calls the party to aid him. They must venture forth through a plague-stricken land, and enter the Catacombs of Eulogia to recover the Helm of Baat. Simple enough . . . but things are not always as they appear. Catacombs of Living Death is designed for 4-6 characters of 36-38 points.

The Sunken Library (Christopher R. Rice and J. Edward Tremlett). Set immediately following Catacombs, the players flee the plague-ridden landscape beset by numerous foes. Sevantes’ plans reach their climax as his partners must bring all of the previously found artifacts beneath the depths of a lake in Meloria. There, a lost tome sits in the sunken Great Library of Meloria, and matters become treacherously clear. The Sunken Library  is designed for 4-6 characters of 36-38 points.

Dragon Hunt! (David Pulver). Baron Gwalathar’s armies marched off to war. Without its defenders, the dragons of the wild sensed weakness, ravaging the realm. The young Baroness Tanith Gwalathar calls for heroes: It’s time for a dragon hunt! This is a solo/programmed adventure for one 37-39 point character or two 35-36 point characters. It can optionally also be run with a GM.

Dark Lord’s Doom (David Pulver). Another Dark Lord is on the march, threatening to bring death and destruction to all who oppose, and maybe a few who don’t. This solo/programmed adventure features a squad of soldiers fighting in an all-out war to defeat the evil Lord Saethor and his allies before it’s too late. Will the Dark Lord’s doom fall upon the party, or on the villain himself?  Dark Lord’s Doom is designed for 4 characters of 33-36 points each.

Read More, and Join the Campaign!

More Perilous Journeys

I got a lot of great feedback on the More Perilous Journeys campaign page, and as a result, I’ve made substantial revisions to the campaign page. The campaign was originally kept very simple. Print+PDF or PDF; all the new stuff, or all the new stuff AND the old stuff.

Simple, yes. But folks want what they want, and TFT folks know what they want. And YOU let me know what you wanted.

So I adapted.

There are still tiers that sweep up all the TFT books that GB is making, and has made. But now there are also a few more options. Also, discounts for jumping in on the Kickstarter to help get it funded. Check out the new pledges, prices, and campaign overview. And tell all your friends.

All the New Stuff

There are two reward levels that get you all five of the new adventures being offered during the More Perilous Journeys campaign.

$25 – ALL FIVE NEW PDFs

Includes Roc of Sages, Catcombs of Living Death, The Sunken Library, Dragon Hunt!, and Dark Lord’s Doom in PDF format.

$70 – ALL FIVE NEW ADVENTURES IN PRINT & PDF

Includes Roc of Sages, Catcombs of Living Death, The Sunken Library, Dragon Hunt!, and Dark Lord’s Doom in both softcover print and PDF format.

ALL The Stuff, Old and New

If you missed out on the first campaign (Five Perilous Journeys), and you still want it all, these two reward levels are just what you’re looking for.

$50 – ALL TEN ADVENTURES IN PDF Format

This pledge level includes the five new adventures (Roc of Sages, Catcombs of Living Death, The Sunken Library, Dragon Hunt!, and Dark Lord’s Doom), as well as the five adventures produced in the Five Perilous Journeys campaign (Crown of Eternity, Curse of the Pirate King, Citadel of Ice, Ironskull Castle, and the solo Vamprire Hunter Belladonna).

$135 – ALL TEN ADVENTURES IN PRINT & PDF

This pledge level includes the five new adventures (Roc of Sages, Catcombs of Living Death, The Sunken Library, Dragon Hunt!, and Dark Lord’s Doom), as well as the five adventures produced in the Five Perilous Journeys campaign (Crown of Eternity, Curse of the Pirate King, Citadel of Ice, Ironskull Castle, and the solo adventure Vamprire Hunter Belladonna).

The Jok Sevantes Campaign

The five adventures written by Christopher R. Rice and J. Edward Tremlett form a campaign arc that provides for a whole lot of adventuring. If you want these five books as a set, here’s your chance!

$25 – COMPLETE JOK SEVANTES CAMPAIGN IN PDF FORMAT

PDF copies of the five linked adventures that form the “Jok Sevantes” campaign arc. These include Crown of Eternity, Curse of the Pirate King, Roc of Sages, Catacombs of Living Death, and The Sunken Library. (These five adventures retail for $32)

$70 – COMPLETE JOK SEVANTES CAMPAIGN IN PRINT & PDF FORMAT

Print and PDF copies of the five linked adventures that form the “Jok Sevantes” campaign arc. These include Crown of Eternity, Curse of the Pirate King, Roc of Sages, Catacombs of Living Death, and The Sunken Library. (This reward would retail for $87)

Just the Solo Adventures

TFT fans seem to really love solo adventures, and let the publishers know this regularly. So, if that’s what you want, here you go!

$20 – JUST THE SOLOS IN PDF FORMAT

You want solos? Portable, no-shelf-space-required solos? You got ’em. All three of David’s solo/programmed adventures that Gaming Ballistic has produced, and ONLY the solo/programmed adventures, in PDF format. Includes Vampire Hunter Belladonna, Dragon Hunt!, and Dark Lord’s Doom. Both of the new adventures can be run as group adventures with or without a GM.

$50 – JUST THE SOLOS IN PRINT & PDF FORMAT

You want solos? You got ’em. All three of David’s solo/programmed adventures that he’s written for Gaming Ballistic in both Print and PDF format. Includes Vampire Hunter Belladonna, Dragon Hunt!, and Dark Lord’s Doom. Both of the new adventures can be run as group adventures with or without a GM.

Pick and Choose

Sometimes, you just want what you want. Based on backer feedback (and no small amount of discussion with Backerkit), Gaming Ballistic is pleased to offer some a la carte pledge levels.

After choosing one of these levels, during the Backerkit phase of the project, you will select from the ten available TFT adventures from Gaming Ballistic.

The following reward levels are PDF-ONLY.

  • $6 – Choose any ONE PDF
  • $12 – Choose any TWO PDFs
  • $18 – Choose any THREE PDFs

The following reward levels are PRINT-ONLY. No PDF is included with these pledge levels!

  • $12 – Choose any ONE softcover print adventure
  • $22 – Choose any TWO  softcover print adventures
  • $33 – Choose any THREE  softcover print adventures

What more?

I’ve also added some preview images that give a much better idea of what the books will look like. Some are work-in-progress, others represent past books, but since I’m using the same art team . . . pretty representative!

The covers for the five new books utilize the same template as those from Five Perilous Journeys. Inspired by the iconic Megahex tiles of The Fantasy Trip, here are two example of the cover layouts. Of course, the images will be added later!

I’ve already selected Ksenia Kozhovnikova to illustrate Dragon Hunt! And she knows dragons!

Image is “Maendrath” from The Dragons of Rosgarth, by Ksenia

My art team is pretty consistent from project to project, though I’m always looking for outstanding new talent. Here’s the cover of Citadel of Ice, done by Rick Troula for the last campaign:

Art, Maps, and Layout

Layout and editing are underway, and will continue as the campaign progresses. Here’s a screen capture from Roc of Sages, which is substantially complete in layout, needing only more fine-tuning of the language. It is representative of both the prior books, and the format of the upcoming products. The maps (see below) will be replaced by Glynn with something more than a rough sketch!

 

TFT is a tactical battle game, and a roleplaying game. But good maps make for good fights. Fortunately, I’ve good good help. Glynn Seal, the ENnie Gold Medal cartographer in 2018 for his work on his Midderlands setting, has once again agreed to provide the maps for these five new books.

Here’s an example of his B/W work from Vampire Hunter Belladonna, featuring a tactical hex-map.

One more spread! This one from Citadel of Ice, showing a topographical map of the titular Citadel on the rapidly disintegrating iceberg, as well as a tracker who has clearly made a very poor 3/IQ roll.

I hope that, despite the art and maps being mostly pending, these images give you a feel for what the team shall provide.

Made it this far? Good

Check out the Campaign, and Get Notified when it Launches!

March 19th

I am setting out to make my way in the world apart from my father, who is warring against the Neveri Nomads in the south. It’s been a long journey up from the coast but I believe I’m on  my last ship for awhile. I’ve booked passage on a ship headed north, to Nordvorn. I am leaving the wars to the south to the old men and instead seeking glory in battle with the fae to the north. I am excited for the journey. Captain Einarsson is charging me nothing for my passage but a promise to defend the ship if it comes under attack, a proper fare for a warrior. Even better: none of the crew seems to have identified me as Sigurðsson. Perhaps I’ll be able to build a reputation in my own name.

 March 21st 

A few more warriors joined us today at Jarngardr. And now the crew knows. I suspect the Hrafnar (Georg) told them. I suspect Loki put him up to it. Thankfully the word hasn’t gotten out about mother. It helps that to hear father, or the skalds tell it, he’s seduced half the women of Nordlond, and half the women among the Aesir as well, so no one questions where one more bastard son came from.

March 23rd

We had a battle today. A longboat with 20 raiders attempted to board us. A few had bows, I recognized them to be the greatest threat to the bird-man and the elf I was going to leave behind me when I boarded the ship. So I threw my spear as the ship came alongside us. I skewered one of the bandits with the bows and then leapt aboard and drew my sword. My bold companions, Natalie, a Gullinálmur, and Chuff, a… Chuff has 3 cat heads. Anyway, my companions were of the same mind I was and we all boarded the ship. I can’t be too mad at the bird-man, one of the bandits managed to get behind me and he stabbed it in the eye. I was able to defend Chuff from one of the bandits engaging her by knocking his axe from his hand. Mostly I felt I could have done more, but Chuff and Natalie’s eagerness left me in a poor tactical position. I will have to demonstrate my leadership abilities so that we may all be more effective in the future.

 We won the day and claimed the bandit ship. I helped impress upon Captain Einarsson the importance of not cheating us out of our spoils while Georg negotiated with him. We are back underway toward Áinferill.

One more thing, a cause for some concern. When Georg was stabbing that bandit who’d gotten behind me, he mentioned something about my mother. Does he know?

This will be the last of the play reports for the first session. You can expect to see several, from different points of view, as the campaign progresses.

Setting the scene:

We started off On A Boat (knar, technically, a big ol fat cargo vessel with no on-deck buildings or fortifications) sailing down an extremely big river (half mile wide) to Aienferill. We were hired on by the knar captain (Einarsson) to protect it from being raided, there having been problems with raiding on this particular route.

Chuff was trying to fish off the deep-water side, and failed, because at least one of her heads kept trying to catch dragonflies and another liked the sparklies of the sun on the water. Natalie the boarfolk hung around with Chuff in hopes of getting a share of fish, should any be caught. Daingean the elfard is hanging out on the prow of the knarr, refusing to say he’s king of the world. Georg the ravenfolk is is playing card games with crew, and confusing everyone with an ever-changing series of “rituals” he apparently has to do before taking a seat, dealing new cards, eating, etc. Rollo the Himneskur (god-blooded) is sulking as far away from the crew as he can get because they won’t stop asking for his signature.

The captain sighted a longboat sailing upriver towards us at full sail, packed with heavily armed warriors (almost 20), and called us all together to do our dang jobs. The approaching raiders either didn’t have missile weapons or were total crap with them, I’m not sure which, but we weren’t threatened at range. We, on the other hand, are lethal at many ranges. Chuff was particularly proud of nailing one with a sling bullet before they threw out the grappling hooks and pulled up along our knar as a prelude to boarding.

As mentioned, we’re deadly at many ranges, but particularly at close range and I don’t think the raiders were expecting a “defensive” group about a quarter their size to start the fight by boarding them. There wasn’t really any room on their longboat to board them, to be fair, but we sorted that out by murdering raiders until we cleared out space, via melee and spell. Georg snuck up invisible and stabbed a raider right in the eye.

The bandits also helped us clear themselves a bit by slipping and sliding on Daingean’s grease spell, tripping over their own spears, and generally doing a Laurel and Hardy bit, but with pointy things. Chuff shatters one bandits knee, and while she tries to avenge herself on Chuff from the deck, she only manages to throw her axe away in the process. George later claimed the axe was clearly a cursed sword. She follows this up by dropping her buckler too.

Axe Bandit cries out in frustration and curses the gods
Daingeann: Oh, I would NOT have cursed the gods. Sometimes they listen.
GM: clearly weren’t listening to broken leg self disarming bandit up till now
Chuff: Oh, they might have been listening. And laughing.
Daingeann: “Make him whiff again!” “Father, haven’t you tired of this?” “Never, Loki. Never. Make him whiff again.”

Finally Chuff spots a raider who managed to set one foot on the knar and completely loses her composure. Screaming a nightmare chorus of “MY ship! Mine mine mine!” (pees on the ship, like any cat would) “MINE!” she brings her Morningstar crashing down onto the offenders skull, for a critical hit doing 40 (!) cr and splattering his head.

After this the fight winds down rapidly, although Chuff does take a solid hit from an axe in the mess, and Georg finishes everything off by grabbing a bandit from behind and slitting his throat quite dramatically.

After the dust settles there’s almost immediately a bit of conflict over who owns the longship of the unfortunate raiders.

Rollo: Their ship is mine!
Chuff: “Just the little one! The big one is MINE! I peed on it!”
Chuff has exactly zero interest in actual ownership.
Georg Svangeirsson: “Chuff, you can’t have the big one, it was already peed on by the captain here.”
Georg Svangeirsson: “The little one’s ours, though.”

Captain Einarsson, on the other hand, clearly feels he has a financial stake in it as well, like any good merchant. He points out that the raiding longboat is a piece of crap Pinto of a longboat, which might be why they were taking such risks to get another vessel. And we aren’t exactly sailors. Negotiations follow hotly, as Rollo and Georg go back and forth with Einarsson over towing the longboat to Aienferril (and lending us enough crew to keep it afloat while we do so), and settle on paying Einarsson 1/6th of whatever we sell the thing for, but he gives up any claim to the raiders equipment. Einarsson also will be helping us get the best deal possible, as of course he has a vested interest now.