The weekly update comes round at last. Thankful, I am, for my backers and those also telling me “Yeah, grappling, but I can’t wait for Dragon Heresy.” Keeps me going.


I was on the Round Table with James Introcaso for Ep 146. It was a fantastic 75 minutes of conversation, and we talked RPG design, my Dungeon Grappling Kickstarter, Dragon Heresy, and why I like 5th Edition.

I procured and utilized a “licensing for existing works” contract. That was a good addition to my repertoire of agreements, and Real Soon Now I’ll procure a retail sales agreement template. That should be what I need: create stuff (professional services agreement), use other folks’ stuff (licensing of existing works), sell stuff.

I continue to realize that my marketing reach is growing, but not all it could be. I would encourage folks that are interested in Gaming Ballistic products to join the Gaming Ballistic Google+ group, for starters. Once the Dungeon Grappling RPG supplement goes on sale both here and on DTRPG/RPGNow, TableTop Library, and Amazon, I’ll be taking the next steps there. I will probably also go to either fortnightly or monthly updates for GB, to avoid the appearance/reality of spam.

The Kickstarter is almost 3/4 complete, both from a timing and funding perspective. I’ve learned a bloody ton about them for use in the next one, though some of the final bits – the Backerkit survey, how product is delivered, etc., are still in the future. Also: how and when to get paid. Judging from the Dungeon Fantasy RPG KS, that isn’t just “snap your fingers and get cash.”

Otherwise, it’s late November, so I need to decide when the fiscal year of Gaming Ballistic ends, for tax purposes. I understand that is arbitrary to some extent, but I really need to consult with a tax pro lest I do something stupid.

Dungeon Grapplinglady-and-the-minotaur

As noted, the Kickstarter is heading to the end of it’s 3rd week (of four) and is trending to a pretty happy place. The ultimate desire is something like $5,000, which will give me the ability to write checks for the amount of about $3,000-$3,300 (a lot of that $5K goes to print and ship costs for the physical product parts of the KS). That pays for:

  • Layout
  • Indexing
  • Contributor Payments
  • Background art for chapter-break pages
  • The 3D art for making the video
  • Some legal fees
  • Help assembling the cover images into a print-ready PDF file
  • eBook layout (single column, no art, yes tables, black and white only)
  • Full color interior art (22 pieces, 331 square inches)
  • A custom cover (an 11 x 11.5 cover art image, which will leave room for text on the side. I like how the D&D books do that – full fidelity to a great image, but clear space on the back for text.

One thing I have noticed – and it’s to be expected – is that folks are starting to move in and out of pledge levels. I would be very interested to know why someone might drop down to a $1 level, or perhaps go from print to PDF, etc.

By and large, I’m in a working mode here, with my artists doing and improving sketches. I’ve got solid submissions from two, and am working with the other two to get to that stage. I’m far from the point of being nervious in any way about timing.

Oh, and here’s a tip: never, ever buy a barcode from Bowker, though you will need to source your ISBNs from them. Why not? Because of this: Free online barcode generator. It might take some doing to figure out exactly how to use it, but it’s FREE, and if you vacillate on pricing, or whatever, you can just generate a new one.

Otherwise, steady as she goes, I think.

Dragon Heresydragonsigilcolor-3

The Big Project got some work this week too, with me updating monsters from my contributors into The Book of Deeds, and also reverse-integrating Dungeon Grappling into The Book of Heroes. I’m on a long business trip to Thailand in December, and I expect I will spend many nights banging away at monster writeups and re-reading both books for edits and progress. I know I need to re-look at the Ranger class writeup, as well as the Druid. The Book of Deeds needs a read-through. But still, closing in on the “done writing” point that enables me to get into the editing and art direction, and maybe even a bit of layout. Even indexing can start.

That’s going to require me reaching out to my team and seeing when the engagement point is. I was hoping in my wildest dreams that there’d be enough influx from Dungeon Grappling to allow me to subsidize the Dragon Heresy project with that revenue. That still might happen with retail sales, but probably not to the extent I was hoping. I guess Dungeon Grappling could explode in the last week or so. Stranger things have happened.

This update definitely falls along the lines of “shameless plug.” Nonetheless, as part of any pledge level to the Dungeon Grappling Kickstarter that includes the basic Dungeon Grappling PDF, you can add to it The Manor Collection (1-8). You do this by adding the cost of the product to your pledge. This will give you a credit when the Backerkit survey comes around, and you can then add it to your “email/ship it to me” shopping cart. This is a digital only product, so instant gratification is where it’s at.

The Manor is a ‘zine published by Gothridge Manor‘s Tim Shorts. I became aware of it when I joined Erik Tenkar’s “B-Team” playing Swords and Wizardry on a more-or-less monthly basis. That was my re-introduction into DnD after a long hiatus, and my actual introduction to the OSR (Old-School Renaissance).

It’s got some great stuff in it, and the nice thing is how, well, digestible it is. A lot of this stuff can be simply dropped into existing low-level campaigns.

And it’s at a pretty steep discount. Adding all eight issues to your cart will run you $12, which is $1.50 per issue, 40% off the usual $2.50 (and way less than the original price of each ‘zine, which could be as much as $4 each). Each issues has an eclectic mix of adventures, adventure seeds, random tables, characters and NPCs, and poetry. Yes, poetry.

Below you can find the contents of each issue. There are plenty of ready-to-play adventures, interesting folks, and exotic locations. It’s definitely worth your time. Continue reading “The Manor Collection – Great Content for the OSR and other games”

I mentioned this yesterday in my Update, but I was on The Round Table with James Introcaso, and the podcast went live yesterday.lady-and-the-minotaur

Wow. Just wow. Best Kickstarter day since the first week of the campaign, when my relatives were claiming “sponsorship” levels.

I listened to the edited podcast, and modesty aside, it’s a good hour-plus of discussion about D&D, the merits of Fifth Edition, some GURPS in there – specifically the merits of Steve Jackson Games as a fairly upstanding corporate citizen – for good measure, and a whole lot of Dungeon Grappling and even some Dragon Heresy.

It’s worth the listen. And judging by the response to the program from my pledge levels, James allowed me, and assisted me, in making a compelling case for not just the why of Dungeon Grappling, but the “how” seems to be getting out there.

So: thanks to James for having me, thanks to y’all for listening, and I really hope to go back on again. On any topic. Because fun.

We’re halfway there! From a time perspective, as well as financially, though projections are still as good as guesses in a networked world. The Kickstarter went live two weeks ago today, and we are currently marching through towards the final two stretch goals – paying for all full-color interior art and also commissioning a great cover.

So thanks to all who have pledged to get us this far! But we still have two weeks left, so where are we, and were are we going?

The Round Table

Firstly, if you haven’t heard it already, you might want to nip over to The Tome Show and hear James Introcaso and I discuss the game extensively on The Round Table Ep 146. If you are on the fence about the game, or are trying to figure out how to entice others to back it so that things can get even nicer, or are just wondering what sensibilities animate the design of the game . . . the conversation with James has you covered.

He’s a great host, and it was a great discussion.

Status and Progress

Just today I sent Nathan a note musing about what would go into the book, cover to cover, in every edition. You guys are my investors, so here’s the basic contents of that note:

  • Cover. I need two covers, one with the bar code and ISBN for the PDF, and another for the print version, which will have the DTRPG SKU on it. I will need a front/back cover image, the relevant bar codes and spaces, the front and back text, and the various logos for compatibility. I don’t have the custom cover yet, but basically everything else is in hand. Nathan has agreed to help me compose those into a print-ready cover.
  • Title Page. This is optional. I like ’em, but I’ll look at final page count after everything else is said and done. Still, that’s words-on-a-page level stuff. No work there.
  • Title/Credits Page. I’ll need two of these, one per ISBN. But other than replacing that number, this is done.
  • Table of Contents. This gets done last, automatically. Push button, receive content. Boom.
  • Main Body. Done, except for the art. All the art direction is finished. I have been receiving sketches from artists. I’m embellishing some of the chapter pages (Chapter 1: Core Concepts) with background images sourced from Dyson Logos and Stephan Joy (that’s an impromptu upgrade, ’cause I like both of their work). Once the art is done, the main body is done.
  • Backer List. Will receive this when the campaign is done, and we’ll sort it by tier, as promised.
  • Quick-Reference Guide. Two pages of tables and calculations all in one place.
  • Index. Done.
  • Hyperlinks and Internal References. Will be done when all is assembled. Not sure how extensive this will be, but the PDF will make use of both layers (for print-friendly behavior) and internal click-and-jump so that you can easily navigate within the book.

And that’s the book, cover to cover. It is THAT close to done. Art, a bit of block and tackle, and then finished. Continue reading “Halfway there! (Duplicates Dungeon Grappling Update #13)”


Still working the kickstarter, of course! Things are going well, and the KS is trending to roughly hit the “full color” stretch goal. Of course, in my Update #11 I promised to deliver full-color anyway, but having all of that art fully covered would be nice, and if we overfunded my team could get bonuses. I’d like that, and so would they.

I was on Shane Plays radio last weekend, and we had a great talk about gaming in general. You can find it on podcast here. That was my first time doing live radio, so new experience for me.

also recorded a session with James Introcaso on his Round Table, and we spoke for quite a while. That podcast should go live Monday, and we spent a great deal of time getting into grappling and game design, and why Dungeon Grappling scratches that particular itch better than other rules may have. It was a great conversation, and I hope you can make time for it. Continue reading “Gaming Ballistic LLC – Update for 11/18”

As always, I want to start off by thanking you for your support thus far. We’ve successfully funded the project, and unlocked the first stretch goal.

Where are we now?

Obviously, we are about 10 days into the campaign, and have raised about $2,165. This is great, and based on Kickstarter fees, shipping costs, and printing costs for the book, this means that about $1,500 will come to me in order to pay the artists and other contributors for their work. (I get paid last, if at all, for the record.)

That’s pretty good! It’s a bit less than half of the raw, out-the-door costs to make the book everything I want, based on the best information I have to date – which is obviously better information than I had when I started the campaign. My estimate was that it would take $5,000 to hit all of my goals for the book; at current distribution of reward selections, we’ll hit the “get everything done” level at about $4,500 in pledges. If everyone suddenly goes print-happy and orders one book each, that will require $6,150. So my budgeting process was pretty good. This pleases me.

Where will we wind up?

Backerkit projections are both more pessimistic and more realistic, I think. They suggest $3,000-$5,800, with a most likely value of $4,400. Kicktraq uses fairly crude algorithms, it would seem, and suggests about $5,400, with a range from about $4,100 to $6,800.

So paying for everything the book needs is not crazy-talk, but it’s not certain, either.

More Backers!

The best thing for the project is to spread the word. Talk to your friends, ask them to check it out, and pledge. We’re a long way from there now, but if we could get in the neighborhood of 500-1000 backers, things become conceivable that simply are not at lower volumes. Continue reading “Dungeon Grappling – Week 2 Update (Duplicates Update #11)”

While the letter-size, two-column format is great for printing and reading on hardcopy and large screens, on a small screen such as most tablets and smartphones, that two-column format can be . . . downright annoying.

Thanks to your generosity and support, we have unlocked the $2,000 first stretch goal! Every backer who at least orders the PDF version will also receive an eBook format at no extra charge.

Once again, thanks for helping to make this happen!



The alpha and the omega of GBLLC this week was the Kickstarter – the video prep, the launch, and hitting F5 like a ferret on crack all week.

In other news, I’ll be on the Shane Plays radio show from basically 1-2pm tomorrow. Not sure what Shane’s going to ask me about, but I’m sure we’ll cover GURPS, Dragon Heresy, and of course Dungeon Grappling.

Dragon Heresy

No progress this week, really.

Dungeon Grappling

Well, lots of news here, of course.

Started the Kickstarter on time, and hit 70% funding on Day one (about $900). Since rumor and rule of thumb predicts that you’ll get about 3x your first day’s total, that’s funding, but not all the stretch goals. However, the DFRPG hit 6-7x with a nice, steady ascent, which for me would be $5,0000-$6,000. Continue reading “Gaming Ballistic, LLC – Update for 11/11”

funded-dg-kickstarterThanks to the generous contributions of both existing and new backers, boosted in no small part by the print offering, the Dungeon Grappling Kickstarter has funded at the basic level.

I am pleased and incredibly grateful that you have chosen to put your faith in me. That the project has funded means that I can now begin art direction – and will do so immediately. Thank you for your support!

At this level, I will be asking for 16 black-and-white pieces of art that will sit within a full-color laid-out manuscript.

The next goal is to create an eBook layout, in single column, to allow easy reading on tablets, phones, and small screens. After that, as we get more and more funding, more and more of that art will be converted to full color. Once the existing art is colorized, I will start adding a few more pieces, and finally at the last goal, I will commission a full-color, fully spectacular cover art for the book.

Once again – thank you for your patronage, your faith, and your trust.

Live to Grapple. Grapple to Live.

So, as of the end of Day 2, we are 87% of the way to the basic funding goal, so things are going fairly well. A very low level of pledges will get us to the basic goal, but of course, I really want to hit at least the $4,000 level, so that I can fill the book with art. If we close in on that, there will likely be a few more stretch goals and reward levels I can comfortably add.

Dungeon Grappling has also gathered some early comments and a few reviews, where I invited someone to read the laid-out preliminary manuscript. Thus far, they’ve read it, and posted their review with no compensation or interactions with me from a “write about this” or “avoid that” level. They do, of course, tend to be folks that I’ve interacted with before. All of the folks I mention below (and likely more coming) are backers of the project. Continue reading “Dungeon Grappling – Update #4 (Early Reviews)”