I have uploaded the finished file to Backerkit, and am pushing the buttons to distribute it to all that ordered the product.

Thanks for your generous support. If  you missed the Kickstarter, you can still Pre-Order through Backerkit!

If you find any errata, please email me at gamingballisticllc@gmail.com

Also, you’re going to get two emails. The second is because I think those that didn’t complete their surveys were excluded from the first one. I still need three folks to update shipping address, but that’s not critical for another few weeks.

Errata include

  • Typos
  • Grammar errors
  • Things that can be reworded for clarity
  • Improper page references
  • Factual errors or stat-block inconsistencies
  • Hyperlinks that should be there but aren’t

Not errata (but I still want to hear it)

  • This rule doesn’t work
  • I would play it differently
  • Major layout or graphical changes

The first set of stuff I can correct, and re-distribute. I will do this before the print copy goes to press, so that the best book can be had.

I will also wait (under advisement from my collaborators) to create and distribute the eBook until the errata are in.

I’m going to say please get comments to me in the next 7-10 days if you can; the “real” deadline will be updated when I hear back from DTRPG about when a proof can be created and sent to me.

Thanks again for all your support!

Current Status

We are so very close.

My team and I just spent about three hours adjusting color saturation and “Total Ink Coverage” as the “really, this should be the last draft!” file just . . . didn’t look right. Sure, it was pretty, but frankly, given the raw art files, it should be gorgeous.

So we should have restored that, and I’ll see a v3 pre-Final draft either today or tomorrow.

I’ll do a detail read, but I’ve done a few of those already, so I think we’ll be ready to go for that part. We’ll still need to add the internal bookmarks and hyperlinks, and get the eBook output. I’d say 1-3 days and we’ll be ready to push the PDF pre-Final copy to everyone.

The Manor Collection and Guardians

I’ve pushed the buttons, I think, that should enable you guys to download your digital copies of The Manor Collection (a .zip file) and Guardians.

If you can or can’t – email me at gamingballisticllc@gmail.com and let me know.

Let me know “it worked” so I can relax about getting that part done. But if it did not work, or isn’t working for you, also let me know, and I’ll get in touch with the Backerkit folks, who are supposed to be handling digital distribution. There are 21 copies of Guardians and 27 of  The Manor Collection that need to go out, and I want to make sure that happens.

Print Proofs

I’ve emailed a copy of the PDF template containing the freaking spectacular cover (sorry, when it comes to art, I’m both a novice and a fan, and Michael did fantastic work) to DriveThruRPG, and hopefully Chris will get that into the hands of whomever needs to look at it.

As soon as we have an interior section we’re happy with, we will also send that over for a preview and order a proof. That will test if our interior ink limits actually did what they’re supposed to do (prevent the pages from sticking together), and if things look good, I’ll place the order for everyone for whom I have a shipping address.

That is, all but three folks for whom I either don’t have shipping addresses, or I do but he has to hit “CONFIRM” to make it stick.

Three. People.

Please? With a cherry on top? I want to make sure you get your print copy!

Final Thanks

I probably say this a lot, but then, I can’t really say it too much: Thank You.

Naturally I ran into a few extra expenses. I needed some art fixes. I wanted a vector-art logo for 5e compatibility (and wait until you see it). I asked Juan to change a few of his pieces to fit better (and they do). But when all is said and done, the Kickstarter will have done it’s job: fund the creation of the book.

I won’t make any money on the campaign. Every dollar went into it (plus a bit more). But I have faith that it’s a quality product, and that folks will love it when they play it.

And even if I did, those funds would get plowed into Dragon Heresy anyway. There’s always another project!

I’ll let you know when I am ready to upload, so you can know to look for it. Thanks for joining me on this adventure.

Just a very quick Dungeon Grappling update

  • Received and responded to another round of layout.
  • 80% of my artists have completed their obligations with complete contracts.
  • I have reached out to Juan for some alterations to two pieces of his, which were not his fault but he’s going to get me altered art within two days anyway. My fault, not his, so he gets paid extra.
  • The cover is done.

 Backerkit Surveys Close Friday

It’s four days until Backerkit Surveys close. There are fewer than 30 of you guys that need to fill them out. If you don’t, I’ll use the name I have from Kickstarter to give credit, and of course you’ll get your stuff as ordered through Kickstarter. But it would be super-great if I could have the confirmation that your name is as you’d like it to be.

So please fill out your surveys this week!

General Impressions

In doing the final edits for the book, I got to re-read it. Twice. I think you’ll like the final version, and it is, quite simply, a gorgeous book. There were some extra art holes that I filled with close-ups from the cover (hope you’ll forgive me for that), and a few bits of grammar and clarity. Plus some updates for feedback from playtesting and reading.

But by and large, there are only a few things left to do.

  • Some of the graphics and logos need reworking
  • The final changed must be made
  • Artists and sponsors inserted where appropriate
  • Final art insertion, a few changes to the art due to layout
  • Table of Contents will be generated
  • MOBI and ePub files will be generated
  • Bookmarks and links will be added to the PDF file
  • Validate CMYK color saturation levels for print versions
  • Validate cover and interior art with RPGNow

Once those things are done, it’s complete. Can’t wait.

Christmas to New Years, I wanted to provide an update on where we are, and some thought I’ve had on the process.


We’re down to the last few pieces for art. Of the 22 commissioned pieces, plus the cover, I’ve received painted/colored final images for all but five. Of those five, one is the cover, which you’ve seen is about 2/3 done. Two are actually painted, but needed tweaks – one was a tiny detail (some magical light coming from where Black Tentacles were emerging from the ground and walls), and the other needed an adjustment to the background in order for the image to make sense as a whole – moving from “warrior” to “gladiator” was narratively more coherent. I expect to have those in hand any moment.

The final two images are also close – one required a lot of discussion between the artist and myself because the art direction and the shape of the art space didn’t mesh well. We resolved that last night, and she’ll be turning that into a sketch and painted final quickly. The final image has an approved sketch as of yesterday too, so I expect that I’ll have it in the next few days.

After I get the finals . . . and pay for them – Gaming Ballistic uses a milestone-based approach so that as each artist finishes a piece, they get paid, and then they upload the high-resolution file . . . I will digitally play with each one a bit, to produce a torn-edge effect as seen in the p.22 preview. Those finished files will go into a repository that Nathan can pull from to insert into the final document. I’ve assigned those at the sponsor level to artwork which matches their contribution; most sponsors have been given more than one piece, because a $100 pledge goes a long way towards sponsoring art. The sponsor levels paid for all but five images, and the cover, of course, was my treat to us all. For what it’s worth, there’s room for four more Art Patrons at the $100 level if a sudden urge to sponsor artwork hits you.

Layout and Editing

With some distance between the last submitted draft and today, I went back, printed out a hard copy, and read it word-for-word. There were mistakes. Not a ton of them, but enough that I was very glad I did it.

What changed in the edit? First, what didn’t change: the content of the document rules-wise. No reviews were endangered by the edits. What got tweaked?

  • The title/credits page got adjusted, and the “S&W Compatibility statement” was added. Some of the new artists got their rightful due.
  • Grammar and clarity were adjusted throughout the document
  • The not-so-good writing that was part of the Pathfinder SRD explanations of the Grappled and Pinned condition (discussed in terms of being Restrained in this document, for consistency) was turned into a bulleted list. It reads better that way.
  • Some examples were fixed. I see what I did, I think, but I like it better another way. Also fixed two internal consistency errors. One was just weird, and the other was an egregious tense mismatch.
  • Some style elements were altered
  • Explicitly mentioned Swords and Wizardy/OSR in the appropriate places.
  • The grappled condition in 5e was weak sauce; I added “can’t make opportunity attacks” to it, which is a step in the right direction.

Overall, I’m still very pleased with the document, and the suggestion of adding reference pages at the back has grown until they’re 2.5 full pages of useful, consolidated stuff. The combat examples that were added – one for each rule set – add materially to how the information is explained and shows how it works in play. The new layout of all the information is clear.

Overall, these changes are good and worthy, and after Nathan gets them into the document, we’ll insert the images and then tweak the hell out of everything to get the final layout.

This may mean going back and commissioning more artwork. Thanks to your generosity and acquisitiveness on the Backerkit surveys, this will probably not injure the project’s financials at all.

Project Financials

On my blog, in my 2016 Review, I tucked in a quick overview of the Dungeon Grappling project as well as Gaming Ballistic’s revenue (all from this project) and expenses (from setup, Dragon Heresy, and Dungeon Grappling) this year.

When Dungeon Grappling completes, I’ll post a financial summary. What I took in and from what sources, and where the money went. As an example:

  • Kickstarter prep: about $400
  • Art: about $2,400
  • Indexing, Layout, eBook prep: About $750
  • Printing and Shipping and Fulfillment Costs: $1,500
  • Kickstarter and Backerkit fees: $600

So the costs were about $5650, while the revenue was about $5,400 ($4,850 from Kickstarter itself, plus another $550 from Backerkit). There were other expenses, but those aren’t directly allocated to the project. Legal fees ($775) for contracting and standing up Gaming Ballistic, and another $50 per month to buy Adobe Creative Cloud, which has already paid dividends in my ability to make mockups of product as well as to start to learn to make edits directly in documents.

So, net/net, I think Dungeon Grappling managed to be turned into what it will become for a net of $150 expense on my part, at least on a project basis. If you detect a bit of satisfaction that I managed to budget reasonably well, you’re not wrong.

Next Steps

The immediate next steps are in your hands. If you haven’t filled out your surveys – and there are about 40 who have not – please do so. I will be locking down survey collection on Friday, January 6, which will charge any extras you’ve plussed-up or rewards to your preferred payment methods. You will all be able to download your extras immediately (they’ve already been uploaded) via Backerkit.

Then, roughly the same time, or perhaps a week after (Jan 6-13), Nathan and I will hopefully finalize the PDF layout of the document, including any extra art I need to buy (some of my artists are very, very fast).

At that point, I will do two things: make the PDF available to y’all for download, and order a print proof via DTRPG. Hopefully I can get that in a week or two.

During that time, I’ll need your help again. During the week I’m waiting for the proof, I’ll need you guys to read the hell out of the PDF file you download, and report to me anything you think is an error at gamingballisticllc@gmail.com, with a lead-in title of [DG ERRATA] in the subject line of your email.

What’s an error? What isn’t?

It’s not “I don’t like this rule.” That’s valid, but it’s not a mistake. As an example, I got a playtest report from someone and his comment from a Pathfinder test was that he was going to alter the thresholds for each condition, because he wanted the low-Strength guys to not be hit so hard.

That’s awesome – he’s altering the rules to fit the game, like GMs have done and will always do. But it’s not a mistake, because another GM will say “if you don’t want your STR 7 wizard to get grappled to death by a dire wolf, stay out of their reach, silly.”

What are a mistake?

Yeah, that was. Grammar foul. Things that I can, and will, change?

  • Grammar and spelling mistakes
  • Clarity issues that generate confusion
  • Consistency errors (you say [blah] on p. 13, but on p. 34 it’s [different blah].

If you see any of those, let me know, and I’ll fix ’em in the PDF. I’ll also fix ’em before I order 120 print copies of the game and mail them out. That way, the book is as good as it can be before it hits hardcopy.

Once that’s done (figure the third week in January, maybe the fourth), I’ll place the orders for all the print copies, and they’ll start their journey to you all. Anywhere from three days to ten weeks (!) later, depending on location, you’ll get your copies, and the Kickstarter will be complete. Worse case lagging shipments should arrive, then, in mid-April. Most orders will be in your hands in February. I’ve resisted the temptation to publish this estimate beforehand, but it seems real enough to make an educated estimate at this point.

Note that pre-orders and retail sales will not ship until a week or so after the Kickstarter backers’ copies go out. It’s only fair. At roughly same time as the pre-orders ship out, I’ll open up for retail on my website, DTRPG, Tabletop Library, and Amazon. Spreading the word at that point would be very much appreciated.

Final warning: I have no visibility or responsibility for any customs duties that are charged for delivery out of the USA. I noted that in the Kickstarter verbiage, but I’ll say it again. Your shipping covers shipping, as I could calculate that fairly precisely using the tools at DTRPG. Customs or other duties are not included.

So . . . that’s it. The end seems in sight, and things are still moving at a good rate to conclusion. Thanks for bearing with me as we conclude this campaign!

It was December 26, 2012 when I first decided to start blogging. Four years later, I’d say that whatever 2016 held for me personally, and for the world at large, it’s certainly been the biggest year ever for Gaming Ballistic.


This was a big month. We started the Aeon campaign, I began the Reloading Press, and I did a few reviews. The Broken Blade appeared in Pyramid.

GURPSDay got recognized as a real thing by SJG, and started a strong, year-long tradition that hasn’t let up despite travel, injury, and toddlers.

Also, the very first posts in what would become Dragon Heresy appeared, with Hit, Miss, Armor, Shield showing up at the end of the month. This month sets my course for the rest of 2016.


More of the same. A few reviews, campaign logs, and more reloading press.

A bunch of alternate GURPS posts showed up too, from finding ways to give limited defenses despite using All-Out Attack, to some concepts for looking at Task Difficulty Modifiers and speeding up guns combat.

I also strongly intimated that I had started Dragon Heresy as a real product.


26 posts, a slight decrease from February’s 28, and Dragon Heresy saw its first playtest games to try out the rules. Kept on with my schedule of posts; I seem to recall my traffic increasing nicely about this time.


Finished up one of my better review series – the GURPS Action line. More reloading presses, including a fun one for April Fool’s Day on the M41 pulse rifle and its ammunition that was very well received.

The GURPSDay traffic on my blog started to increase wonderfully, at least in Blogger hits, though many of those were more than a bit bogus.

The Dragon Heresy manuscript hit 125,000 words, which is about 30% of where it is today. I also did a playtest with 6th level characters. I had a long list of “learned items” that I took away, which informed better writing. You can still see the results of this test in the current draft.


I was still keeping up with my blogging schedule at this point. I had delusions of polishing this into a real form by August 2016. I went looking for artists and cartographers – and did wind up spending a bunch of cash on maps.

A lot of good writeups and a lot of chaos in the Aeon campaign, as we worked out our characters and how to play them. As I was GMing a game and playing in at least one more, I started to fall off the pace of posting, with only 70% of days having a fresh post, down from closer to 100% in Jan-April.


It feels like June is the month my GURPS output really started to drop as I headed towards what would become a pretty major milestone in September. The writing stacks up some major to-dos, and at this point I’m still talking about “only one book.” It must be in July and August that it changed. I’m starting to make more noises about the project management side of things, talking about editing, art, cartography, and Kickstarter. I only got 2 Reloading Presses in, out of four that would usually happen in a month.


Ah, hah. I notice that my non-Dragon Heresy writing has tapered off, and apologize for it. I’m still in the “finish a complete publishable draft” realm of thought, even though the manuscript is now pushing 300,000 words. I’m aiming at September for a Kickstarter, even. I can see I’m very much lowballing the art, but that’s deliberate, and I haven’t seen how text flows yet, and how art holes show up naturally, and more of them than you’d think.

I’m really starting to think hard about crowdfunding here. I’m also thinking hard about self-publishing, and what that means.


Heh. On the first day of August I realized that the book had grown to the point where two 250-275 page volumes were likely . . . and that was likely because my “how many words per page” estimates were still using SJG estimates, which run from 700-800 words per page, which is roughly twice the wordcount I have on, for example, Dungeon Grappling. I was being deliberately art-heavy for DG, but still – the final project of 200,000 words per book, two books, each of something closer to 370 pages (550 words per page) hasn’t poked at me yet. I’m hoping for a Q117 release at this point.

GURPS hardbacks – Mars Attacks! and Discworld – are sent to the printers. This is a welcome change for those that love them some print-copy GURPS.

I start to flirt with how to do art direction. I can see, in hindsight, that my efforts are really underscoped in terms of what I’m providing potential artists.

I do some market research via polling, and learn that in the “one big book” vs “two smaller books” question, it comes down into two smaller books by about a 3-2 margin. Not huge, but reasonably decisive. There’s always the opinion that if your book(s) are that long, they must be poorly written.

I start to really go to down in worldbuilding, fleshing out each country on the map Cornelia Yoder built for me. Each realm has enough history and interest and differentiation to be able to site a campaign there, though I have no plans, as of yet, in doing so.

I do a post on printing costs for offset print runs that is one of my most popular posts ever.

The Dungeon Fantasy boxed set is announced for GURPS. It will Kickstart, and I host a Q&A with Phil Reed.


This is the month that things really changed on me.

I spent the first eight days and eight posts of September flogging and promoting the DF boxed set Kickstarter, including an interview with Sean Punch.

On Sept 9 I announced the formation of Gaming Ballistic, LLC to host my game, my sales, and keep liability for the thing away from my house. I take a look at The World of Aetaltis, a setting for 5e that had some pretty good fiction and biggish names in support. It seemed to have lush art, a whole lot of prework done, and a ton of stuff would come with it. Larry Correia and Ed Greenwood contributed fiction stories in the world.

It failed. Gulp. They asked for $70,000 (reasonable, if not low, given what they were offering), and got only 31% of the way there. It wound up with 189 backers, and Dungeon Grappling wound up with 294. While my book wound up with nicely high production values, World of Aetaltis had demonstrably high quality from the get-go.

Hrm. I start reconsidering the too-soon October Kickstarter. I also start the process to migrate from Blogger to WordPress.

I took a business trip to Thailand, jet-lagged the hell out of myself, and in the background Ken Hite agreed to edit Dragon Heresy. That necessitated pushing the Kickstarter to January. Even now, it’s likely to get pushed to February, and that’s feeling uncomfortably close to right the hell now.

I start quantifying just how nasty international shipping is.

I take delivery of the final copies of the Dragon Heresy maps. They’re very pretty.

I’m doing a lot of writing – bingeing on the monster fluff-text – and my blog output falls to 56% daily posting, which is pretty low. On the other hand, the monsters are getting loving attention. I finally arrive at two books, each of roughly 350-370 pages, as the most likely size of Dragon Heresy. I don’t think that’s changed.


I reached out in late September or early October to a fairly well-regarded launcher of Kickstarters. His advice to me about Dragon Heresy was basically “forget it.” Too big an ask, especially for a first timer. In order to get the backers I need, I’d basically have to get each of the folks that follows my roleplaying collection on Google+ (maybe 1,300 folks at the time) to give me $100.

That isn’t going to happen. So I decided in early October to do a small one first, and landed on grappling as the topic. I anticipated having a “pre-fund Dragon Heresy!” set of tiers, but I dropped that as I considered the Kickstarter, because “focus focus focus” was the right call.

I recognize the need for a boilerplate retail contract. I still don’t have one. This will be “yes, I will sell your stuff through Gaming Ballistic, and give you a large royalty on the sale.”

Near the end of October, I have a playtest in Pathfinder that confirms the “hit point problem,” and we fix it. The draft looks good for release, and I lay the foundation for the Kickstarter . . .

The website gets a major facelift, to the format and aesthetic you see today. I still love it.

By the end of the month, I’d seen a layout pass on the project, made suggestions to Nathan, and most of my time was spent in getting the Kickstarter ready.


I make my video, get some art from Emily Smirle to sell the book, and launch the Kickstarter. That basically consumes my blog and my life for the month of November.

On the other hand, it funds in four days, and passes the first stretch goal in a week. I go on Shane Plays radio as well as the Round Table. I get reviews of my project and post them, and they’re all positive. Eventually, I pre-commit to full-color artwork, since the trajectory looks good.


The Kickstarter closes on December 6, with me in Thailand again, having funded at $4,853, or 323% of my ask. My internals show I’m within a few dollars of hitting the full cost of a custom cover, and as I’ve shown, boy am I glad I did that. For what it’s worth, I have made a few hundred dollars more in Backerkit, and “officially” passed the $5,000 stretch goal anyway, so it was a good call for me to just place the order.

Blog took a bit of a snooze while I was in Thailand – I was sick and jet lagged and worn out. I did, however, keep up with my artists, and am on track to get most of my art in hand in the next week or two, which will allow me to assemble the final copy of the book. I also purchased Adobe Creative Cloud, which has allowed me to begin to do things like provide mockups of books, and play with images in a more sophisticated way. Also learning to make direct edits in InDesign, but I’m a few tutorials short on that one, and I don’t dare touch anything until I know enough to be slightly less dangerous.

The art I have and continue to get is gorgeous, and exceeds my expectations, even my wildest dreams. And I’m on schedule for delivery.

Dragon Heresy needs a renewed shot in the arm, though. I have to find time this week to seriously revisit the old manuscripts.

Parting Shot

It’s been a hell of a year, but a good one.

Dungeon Grappling probably won’t change my life by itself. It’s a small product, and while I suppose it could sell 50,000 copies or something crazy like that, that’s a nice shot in the arm, but it’s not a new career.

Dragon Heresy, though . . . if that goes well, it’s got legs. It’s the beginning of a solid game engine (one that Alex Macris has spoken favorably about in terms of Cyberpunk ACKS), carries with it the promise of supplemental material, and (even if I do say so myself) is a great setting that would be a lot of fun to play in.

I cannot wait to ship Dungeon Grappling to backers, and then start on what will be an even larger project, one that has the same strong team behind it, supplemented by some real powerhouses.


Update: Financials

One thing occurred to me here, which was an update on the financial status of Gaming Ballistic, LLC.

think I’ve gotten all of the actuals entered into my sheet, but over the last year, Gaming Ballistic paid and received the following:

  • Donations: ($150)
  • Expenses: ($5,204)
  • Revenue: 4,544
  • Pending Expenses: ($1501) for art
  • Pending Revenue: $281 for Backerkit add-ons not yet received
  • Expected Net: ($2,030)

Note that above I show some pre-payments and investments on Dragon Heresy, and that amount was $1,390 in actuals and about $706 in pending payments, for a total of just under $2,100. Legal fees that are project independent are also included. I will also be spending $1,562 on printing and shipping Dungeon Grappling books and PDFs add-ons. There’s an unassigned “currency transfer” that is almost certainly Dungeon Grappling related.

Breaking it down, and assigning roughly 706 in pending expenses for Dragon Heresy and a net of $2,076 in expenses for Dungeon Grappling:

  • Dragon Heresy: Invested $2,650
  • Dungeon Grappling: Profit of $107
  • Administration and Setup of Gaming Ballistic: $903
  • Donations: Spent $150

So Dungeon Grappling as a stand-alone project is in the black. Dragon Heresy is in the red and will be for a while. Setup costs and donations are what they are.

Still not bad.


Funding and Surveys

I got confirmation that basically everyone’s pledges have cleared, and the funds that I’ll use to complete the project are on their way. Thanks for being a well-regulated bunch!

With the two week mandatory delay finished, the backer list has been imported into Backerkit, as well as being able to finalize the surveys. I’m mocking up a “this is a POD copy of the book” image for clarity, and after that happens (hopefully today), I can send my survey for review. There won’t be much to it, honestly – I’ll get y’alls shipping and email addresses so I can distribute rewards. My intent is to only have the surveys open for maybe 10-14 days or so, so please look for it and get it filled out quickly, so that I can get you the promised goods correctly the first time.

Art, Art, Baby

Finally, I’ve seen some spectacular art progress over the last week. The new custom cover is freakin’ awesome, and one of my other artists’ commented “Old School never looked so good.” I’m inclined to agree.

Of the 23 pieces of art including the cover, I have 12 color images in hand (some of which are being tweaked), and 10 concept or black and white “sketches,” some of which are basically publishable as-is, but hey, color! The final image was a challenge due to an odd art-space requirement, but Gennifer and I worked out some options last night, and that will be proceeding as well.


Once all the art is in, Nathan and I will finalize the layout, tighten any text to fit, and create the pre-final document. Then my playtest platoon will give it a solid once-over to ensure that any obvious errors are fixed up, and then the electronic files will go out.

I believe electronic documents will be fulfilled by Backerkit. I’ll give them digital copies of Dungeon Grappling in PDF, eBook, and any Manor or Guardians add-ons you’ve purchased (and you’ll select those through the Backerkit survey). They will send those out and it’ll be fairly instant gratification.

As soon as I have the primary file and cover done, I’ll order a proof from DTRPG, inspect it to ensure it meets my standards, and then place the final orders for your books, which will arrive anywhere from 3 days to 10 weeks (!) from order placement, depending on shipping destination.

Thanks for your patience, and I’ll continue to whip the process into shape. I’ve got expert help.

(Yes, this is an art preview. The other images? Yeah, they’re similar quality.)


Well, Gaming Ballistic has just concluded it’s first Kickstarter, and as you can see, the company had a great campaign. We very nearly hit our ultimate stretch goal of $5,000 . . . but the mix of pledges that came in at the end might have actually pushed the “internals” to the point where we actually achieved the stretch goal anyway. Hard to say, but I’ll know in a few hours.

Hearty thanks to not only my backers, but those that backed and those that didn’t, but who shared the project around. I know that made a big difference.

I’ll return with some lessons learned, and a breakdown, when all is said and done, of the true costs of the project, the “money that I can write checks with” vs. “costs I have to pay that I never see,” such as Kickstarter and Backerkit fees, printing, and shipping.

Now comes two new challenges: getting all of the components I need (art, logos, and final rewrites and editing) into place and finalizing the document itself, but also before that navigating the surveys, funds collection, and finishing details that make up the process of finalizing the campaign. So my work is not yet done, but boy it’s great to have come this far!

I got a new review of Dungeon Grappling, and this one was on RPGGeek:

The Short Version? Dungeon Grappling finally makes grappling more like every other system in the game and it works.

Review Review

Things are looking good for Dungeon Grappling at the moment. With 21 hours to go in th
e Kickstarter, dungeon-grappling-cover-mockup-2were closing in on $4,400, only $600 shy of my ultimate stretch goal of $5,000 – that pays for a custom cover that will replace the current mockup that I did that I usually describe as serviceable.

The recap, then, of reviews and discussion thus far:

RPGGeek. “This supplement actually has me excited about grappling in my games again. I think it will make the fights easier and more exciting with better defined and more predictable outcomes. Basically, these are the grappling rules I’ve always wanted.”

The OmnusCritic. The OmnusCritic provides a 21-minute video review of the book, evaluating it and giving a passing grade on four criteria: aesthetics, writing, mechanics, and value.

The Round Table with James Introcaso. Less a review than a 75-minute discussion of the project, game rules for grappling, and other motivations and aesthetics animating the design. Still, if you really want to hear a passionate discussion of why grappling should be more important in fantasy RPGs . . . look no further than this conversation.

Tenkar’s Tavern. “what I have looked at looks good. He even addresses rulesets with descending AC. I’ll give this a closer look over the coming week. Did I mention the buy in is just 5 bucks? Seriously. Currently PDF only, 5 bucks to solve my RPG grappling issues that have dogged me for the last 33 years or so? Priceless…”lady-and-the-minotaur

Ravens’N’Pennies. “Dungeon Grappling is a cohesive set of rules that works across multiple iterations of Dungeons and Dragons. For those familiar with his work on GURPS Technical Grappling Doug approaches the problem in the same way, but tweaked for a different game engine – and it works surprisingly well. To tell you how easy it is I’ve not looked at the new Dungeons and Dragons, glanced at Swords and Wizardry, and gave up on Pathfinder a while back. The system he presents was intuitive, easy to understand, and provides a lot of flavor. In short, it’s a module you can just bolt on and go.”

Dungeon Fantastic. “I’d urge you to check out this Kickstarter. Doug’s got a solid product here – I’ve seen it (I mean, its origin was a co-authored article and I’m the co-author) and it is good. It’s really superior to most of the clunky, ineffective, or downright risky grappling rules that come with so many games. Take a look and give it a chance.”

Follow Me, and Die! “This is something that has been needed in RPG’s for a long time. The Grappling Rules in AD&D are notoriously challenging to implement in play. The short and simple system introduced in Manor #8 is expanded in these pages. It gives a bare bones system and adds options and touches on how it can be used in specific systems. The basic rules will work for variations of the original game and clones, as well as later editions and variants of the original game.

The system is built on a basis of normal combat resolution. I like this approach. Use what is there instead of building a new system that doesn’t feel right. Another good example of this is what James Spahn did in White Star with vehicle combat using the same format as individual combat. I can’t think of a situation not explicitly covered in these rules.”

Original Edition Rules. “Dungeon Grappling is a supplement for your old-school RPG that gives a fast, simple, and robust system for moderating unarmed combat. We loved this system so much that we used it as inspiration for unarmed combat in the Guardians super hero role playing game, and has become the de facto system for all our Original Edition rules. ” The author of this review is Thomas Denmark, who wrote the Guardians superhero RPG with David Pulver.layout-example-1

Bat in the Attic. “The basic idea is that there a better way of dealing with grappling. Doug developed a set of mechanics that takes the same basic mechanics of rolling to hit and inflicting damage and turns the result into something meaningful when it comes to grappling. He did this for GURPS and now he doing this for classic DnD, Pathfinder, and DnD 5e with the kickstarter.”

Shane Plays Radio. This 30-minute live radio show got into a lot of things, but was a bit light on the details of the Dungeon Grappling Kickstarter itself. That was my fault.

Gothridge Manor. “When I run a game I like to have options available for my characters…good options. The way grappling stands in most games it isn’t a good option and the players don’t consider it when in combat. With Doug’s system, combat doesn’t need to be all or nothing. Kill or be killed. In this way it allows for more roleplaying. I’ve never liked the subdual rules of most fantasy RPGs. Basically it’s a crappy way of patching a hole over something the developers couldn’t figure out. Doug has figured it out. And it’s good. And it’s useful. And it doesn’t slow down play.”


Many of these folks were given a preview copy of the rules, laid out but with no art. All of them backed the kickstarter, some before, some after, receiving the rules. Many are game writers in their own right, and several are folks that I’ve become friends with as a result of a shared passion for the hobby.

All of them pull no punches when something is bad – hot fires make strong steel and all that. And none of them told me what their reviews would contain (nor would I ask).

Please Consider Backing

The picture you get is of rules that work, for something that should be an important part of fighting, but usually isn’t, because of mechanical drag on game play. Dungeon Grappling addresses that, and to hear the folks above talk about it, it does so successfully.

The Dungeon Grappling Kickstarter closes at 11pm Central Time on Monday, December 5.