For Hand of Asgard, in all cases but one I have final art; for that I have rough-color (though it’s still VERY good even if the artist calls it rough).

I thought I’d share an art preview. If you like it, you can pre-order the book on Backerkit!

Cover (Teresa Guido)

The Allfather (Thanh Tran)

Goddess of Death (Kriz Villaciz)

The Fates (Steven Shan)

The Lawgiver (Piotr Jamroz)

The Lady of Life (Rick Troula)

The Trickster/God of Mischief (Juan Ochoa)

Queen of the World (Matsya Das Bdds)

The Snow Queen (Sandrine Malus)

God of Thunder (Kriz Villacis)

Lord of Warding (Eren Arik)

The God of Wind and Sea (Juan Ochoa)

Valkyrie (Rick Troula)

So, that’s the art for the book. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do. If so…maybe you want to pick it up?

The Nordlond Sagas crowfunding campaign has entered into its next phase. Having surpassed the funding goal, we’re now collecting shipping and “add-on” items for those that pledged.

But there are also many that didn’t, some for bad timing, some because of the Kickstarter labor dispute, or other reasons. No worries: we’ve got you covered. “Pre-Orders” for individual books and bundles similar to those from the campaign are available on Backerkit. If you want to pick and choose what books you get, or just missed the campaign the first time around . . . now is the time to come by!

Pre-Order books from The Norðlond Sagas

The Norðlond Sagas campaign expanded the growing “Norðlond” setting – a Norse-inspired world playable with the material in the Dungeon Fantasy RPG boxed set.

Three books were included in the campaign pledge; a fourth new book is available as an add-on. There are two setting/campaign books (The Dragons of Rosgarth and Forest’s End) and a 16-page supplement of character options (Norðlondr Fólk, detailing the races of Norðlond) which were part of the campaign pledge levels. A fourth 16-page book, Hand of Asgard is available as an add-on. It provides specialization options for clerics devoted to one of the 12 gods detailed in the setting, as well as more than 20 new Holy Might powers.

Whether you get all the things, or pick and choose . . . this is a great opportunity to obtain more ready-to-play material for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG.

For Asgard!

It’s another GURPSDay, and here’s the last few weeks of posts! Scroll all the way down (the random order is, well, random). Catch up and get some repeat views and if you missed some. They’re in reverse chronological order, so if you’re up-to-date, just skim off the top!

News for Gaming Ballistic:

  • The Nordlond Sagas kickstarter keeps plugging away in production. Backerkit phase – and thus pre-orders and a chance to get in on the stuff if you missed, or chose to skip, the actual campaign term – will begin this coming week.
  • Four Perilous Journeys is arriving for international backers, and they seem quite pleased. The books will make landfall on Nov 1 in the USA, and hopefully travel to Studio 2 in time to start shipping those out for US folks such that they arrive before Turkey Day. Canadian backers with card decks and counter sheets? You guys get taken care of with the US folks.

GURPSDay is in its sixth – GURPSDay started in February 2013,  a year after I started Gaming Ballistic. Things have slowed down a bit, and I’ll be considering how to revitalize this weekly activity. I’d like to see an average of 100 posts here per week – one per blog, ish – so we’ll see what we can do to get creative juiced flowing.If you just started a GURPS blog – and I know that some of you have – email me and get on the list! With the advent of the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, Powered by GURPS, there’s even more reason to write.

How? Two action items: post more, recruit more. It’s really that simple. More posters is more posts, and more interest in GURPS.

Below you can find the blog activity for the last week. There’s a whole lotta awesome GURPS going on. Read all the posts.

Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you’re interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line. Take special note of the RSS Settings Fix if you’re on WordPress.
Continue reading “GURPSDay! Oct 3 to Oct 26, 2019”

I’ll start with the obvious: content has been thin on the ground here for a while in terms of stuff that’s not just updates to my production process/crowdfunding efforts. This one won’t be much different, but it’s a bit of a download on what’s going on.

A Bit of Chaos

First thing, the last few months – maybe since April – have been very hectic. My family decided to move. Not far, still in MN, but we started the process. Found a house we liked. Bought it. And moved.

But we still hadn’t sold the old place yet. We’d put a lot of work into it, so we figured it would sell quickly. That didn’t happen. In fact, it still hasn’t happened. So things have been tight around here, and there’s been a lot of time and angst spent on the process. This past week, a buyer’s financing fell through, and so what we thought was a done deal was not. Exhausting, mentally.

The disassembly of my workshop also meant I stopped crafting for a while. That meant shields and promised goods for the Citadel at Nordvorn kickstarter were on the “to-do” list until my shop got set up again.

I also re-started training in Hwa Rang Do, so to spend more time with my wife, who’s an instructor. So my schedule changed quite a bit; again with less time.

This isn’t going to end with “so bad things for Gaming Ballistic, boo hoo.” It just has taken a bit to recover.

All the shields and swords are now done. My workshop is set up. Nordvorn is completely delivered, the physical copies from Four Perilous Journeys are due to arrive at Studio 2 before mid-November. And the Nordlond Sagas campaign . . . well, we’ll get to that in a moment.

GURPSDay

The first thing GB was known for, other than all the gun stuff and occasional forays into grappling rules, was GURPSDay. Before I got heavily into publishing, that was every week, like clockwork.

Now, with my schedule on Thursday being “get kids up for school early, and then get back from martial arts late,” it’s become irregular. I mostly get one out weekly, but not always. The 100 blogs (or so) that are part of the list are a bit more irregular too, and readership seems to have fallen off a bit. The giant spike in stats that I used to get isn’t nearly as impressive as it was.

I’ll still do it, but it needs a shot in the arm somehow.

Crowdfunding

Not any campaign in particular, but in general. Phil Reed has been (correctly) lamenting the state of the gaming industry for some time now. Too many projects, with too short a shelf life in folks’ minds. The usual timetable for how Kickstarter was “supposed” to work was

  • A roughly 30-day campaign, ideally suited to cover five weekends, so that there are at least two, maybe three, pay periods in there
  • Two weeks of “waiting for all the money”
  • Ten to 14 days for the primary Backerkit survey, which is there because one usually doesn’t know what shipping will look like until the thing is done

So that’s two full months of administrative time just getting the orders, sweating marketing, and hoping that folks will be using the power of social media networking to talk up your stuff. That doesn’t usually happen for the big guys, much less me.

Even if you’re completely on the ball and the entire project is done when Backerkit closes, the best you can usually do is send the PDFs out that day. You still have these steps to take, if you intend to go to print, which I like to do.

  • Have your backers check the PDFs for errors. They usually find some. That’s a nice 2 weeks minimum.
  • Assemble the final files, spool them out, and wait for art to be done. Again, that could be basically one day, could be more.
  • Send them to print. That’s a month. There’s a lot of surprisingly inactive time here.
  • Then move them around the world. I do a thing where my international books go to the UK, and ship out. That’s a week from Latvia to the UK, and then 1-6 weeks to arrive, depending on the quality of the post. For the USA, it’s supposed to be about a month more, but in reality seems to take more like six weeks, because things are always delayed. Always. Then it’s 2 more weeks for Media Mail to deliver stuff.

That’s another 14 weeks – three full months – before all stuff is in hand. Once the books go to print, though, the “I have so much stuff to do on Project X” period is really over. Starting a new project is not crazy at this point, but you will be paying lots of money for print, ship, and fulfillment during this period. So while the workload is lower, the financial drain is maximum. The biggest individual checks one writes are for printing and shipping. The total project cost is higher for art, but that’s almost always spent on many artists.

Best case, you can do a project every 2.5 months; worst case if you wait for everyone to get their stuff before you start the next one? Two projects a year.

I can’t really turn Gaming Ballistic into a self-sustaining main job at two projects a year. Even five per year isn’t awesome unless each of those gets roughly 2.5-5x as large as they are now. Doing MORE requires something else. I can parallel process more books at once than Kickstarter will allow me to do, since my project management skills are up to the task.

What to do? Well, I’ve got two options here.

One is to explore alternate options. GameOnTabletop is intriguing. One thing is that all the add-ons and whatnot are available right away, in addition to pledging. You know exactly what folks are getting, they’re just set up as items. So the “add a new thing in the middle” that happened with both Four Perilous Journeys and Nordlond Sagas is much easier to handle. I’m getting a better feel for shipping, too. I mean, it still sucks, and costs too much, but I can probably guess what it’ll be in advance of the projects these days, since I now can calculate the weight of books easily due to experience in actually getting them. So it’s a bit of a one-stop shop for that. Cards are charged right away, too, and the fees are lower. Cash flow should be superior to Kickstarter, and you need money to pay writers and artists right away when the work has already begun.

The other possibility is to bring it all in house. There’s a crowdfunding app on WooCommerce. No rules but the ones I make for myself. If I have an idea, I can put it on there and say “pre-order it, and it gets made if we hit the goal.” This provides a powerful market tool, in that if I’ve got several books I want to make, the backers will vote with their dollars on which ones they like, and which ones they don’t. It means I can have rolling funding drives, too. It’s sort of the bastard child of Kickstarter and Patreon. All the IT burden falls on me, but there are real advantages to this method. I may try it out with a single small project to work the bugs out.

Even so, the actual process of crowdfunding is a bit of a slog, since you’re bound to the rules of the other systems you use (KS, Backerkit, GameOnTabletop), and they take their cut. It may only be 5%, but that’s 5% that doesn’t go into developing new cool stuff. A few thousand bucks goes a long way at my scale.

Nordlond Sagas

Still working away at this. The block-and-tackle of Kickstarter and Backerkit should be done. The two small books – Nordlondr Folk and Hand of Asgard – are looking really good. Layout is finished, art is underway. Now it’s time to turn the effort to full-on editing the adventures, which is a big job. Writing tight, technical, entertaining prose takes work, and so the authors and I are in constant contact helping that out.

I’ve got about five weeks to edit and lay out the two adventures. That will get them in a state to have art done, I hope, by the end of December. I’ll admit it . . . that’s starting to look optimistic. Even so . . . time to get to it.

Next Year

The current project will run through the end of the year at least, and I suspect that I will slow down a bit on the back-to-back sprints that has been this year. Even so, there’s at least two major things happening next year, and maybe more than two.

More Perilous Journeys

The first up in 2020 will be the sequel to 2019s very successful effort. The logistics pathways and needs for counter sheets, card decks, and of course the adventures themselves are now well known. Shipping and production time scales and costs are known. I anticipate a much better planned effort this time. Hopefully with content that folks want. I hope that with a few more hoped-for solos, and lots more time to plan and execute the cards and counters, that this will be even more successful than the last one.

The Nordlond Bestiary

This is the big dog of the coming year. I wrote a huge amount of text for the Dragon Heresy RPG back in 2015 and 2016, taking most of the SRD and writing fluff text and stats accordingly for the Norse-inspired world. Well, those efforts have turned to the Dungeon Fantasy RPG…and the words are still there. This is going to be the bestiary folks in the GURPS sphere have been waiting for. A giant book of monsters, thematically unified by the Nordlond setting . . . but any GM worth their salt can port the critters to their own needs. It’s going to take a lot of work to do right, but I’ve got a great team.

Dragon Heresy

Speaking of Dragon Heresy, I do have plans next year of taking some of the existing work – Lost Hall, Nordvorn, Rosgarth, and Forest’s End and pulling them apart to turn them into two different books. One with lots of setting and flavor information, and one with the adventure content. I’m likely to crowdfund these to see if they can garner up enough interest for a profitable print run as well.

DriveThruRPG

I’ve avoided putting my stuff on DriveThru for a while; the bite they take out of revenue is large, and in most cases the print quality of their POD offerings is simply lower than the books I print in Latvia. But in 2020, all my PDFs will go up on DriveThru as well as through other channels. We’ll see what happens there.

Conventions

I’ll be at two conventions early in 2020. The first is Con of the North, here in Minneapolis Feb 14-16. So Happy Valentine’s Day. The second is FnordCon, down in Austin TX. That’s April 3-5.

Shields and Swords

I’ve refined my techniques on these, but they’re only going to be available by special order, through the website. I love making them, and have gotten much, much better at it. But they’re not really on point for the publishing business. Even so, if you’re interested, reach out. They’re not cheap, but the shields in particular are going to be closer to what you might have seen historically (based on certain finds) than most of what you see made of plywood online. Some of those plywood guys cost more than my planked, accurate ones!

Parting Shot

So that’s the recap for Gaming Ballistic. I’m not sure if the work above will be what folks want – I hope so – but it seems like a good plan for 2020. There might be one surprise – and it would be a big, cool one – that could show up later in the year.

It’s a full schedule, but less than I would be able to do if I could get the reach and interest to make my hobby job my day job. That, of course, is on me . . . and we’ll see how that goes. Maybe I’ll win the lottery.

 

Nordlond Sagas: Last Day!

A big day today, I hope.

We’re in the last half-day of the Nordlond Sagas campaign. Gaming Ballistic’s efforts were mentioned in both the Frog God Games newsletter, as well as an update to the Dungeon Fantasy RPG main Kickstarter page. Hopefully it’ll help push us to the stretch goals. We’re maybe 75 backers short of an offset print run, and perhaps $6,325 from the “more content” stretch goal. That’s only about 125 people, so the difference between the two is not large. We also have sufficient “following but not yet pledged” mass to easily hit both goals and more. So time will tell.

These books – two adventures and two character supplements, including what is basically clerical domains, but for GURPS/Dungeon Fantasy RPG in the “Hand of Asgard” supplement – are going to be very,  very fun. I won’t lie: I’m particularly enthusiastic about Hand of Asgard. Clocking in at only 16 pages, Kevin Smyth has managed to get a lot of flavor in the book, and I’m having a lot of fun with layout.

TFT Advance Copies arrive

I also got copies of the final product for the TFT Kickstarter I ran earlier this year. They’re really pretty and I think the backers will be pleased. I know I am. I’ll be getting the international fulfillment started this weekend, and I know that the remaining print quantity, probably 850-900 copies each, will be on the water soon (a bit of paperwork to do).

Well, here we go! The last 24 hours of a Kickstarter campaign are always the most exciting (ulcer inducing? You pick). Nordlond Sagas will very clearly partake in that trend.

I’ve been getting a lot of manuscript updates from the authors, who are all working to make my life easier in many ways. Revising text, checking formatting, and playtesting in the background.

With that, though, it’s well past time for another glimpse of something. In this case, another page from Hand of Asgard.

This is totally not Hela, Norse goddess of death. Nope. If it were, she’d look like Cate Blanchett, clearly.

Even though this is Norse-flavored, Kevin has done a fantastic job in capturing these as archetypes, so that with a bit of care, they could be worked in as “domain” flavored clerics in any game.

Until tomorrow, then . . . come check out the Nordlond Sagas. Four new books for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG!

Four weeks ago, the Nordlond Sagas campaign launched. It had the strongest start of any of my eight Kickstarters to date, and funded in the first week. That means all the books under development (see below) are being produced.

There are a lot of folks following the campaign right now, which is awesome. In fact, there are over 500 of them. Combine those following but not yet pledged (420) with those who actually pledged (347) and the stage is set for the Nordlond Sagas to be my best campaign ever with over 750 backers. Both in terms of numbers and dollars if we got everyone!

The Nordlond Setting: Under Development

Here’s the quick-and-dirty of the four books under development. Check the main campaign page for some images and further details.

The Dragons of Rosgarth is  a quest adventure. The PCs have to do something that the jarls and their huskarls don’t have the wherewithal to do themselves (likely due to the issues over at Nordvorn). It details Jarngarðr, the “Iron Garden,” likely the most industrialized town in Nordlond. This book is included with the basic campaign pledge. 64 pages.

Forest’s End takes place on a fairly in a relatively new settlement, detailed in the book, called Skogurenda: Forest’s End. The village described can serve as a useful adventuring location. It also contains at least three dungeons to delve, finally putting the dungeon in the Dungeon Fantasy RPG part of the setting! This book is included with the basic campaign pledge. 80 pages.

Norðlondr Fólk provides several new racial templates, and expands on a few existing ones, to bring more setting-appropriate racial options to the setting. Half-elves, dwarves (dvergr), and proper elves get tweaked, a few new races are introduced, and a whole variety of half-breeds and hybrids get introduced with Norse-friendly flavor. Animal-inspired races such as crosses between humans and bears, wolves, ravens, and boars, plus various mixes of Aesir, Demon, Dragon, and Alfar blood with the ever frisky human population. This book is included with the basic campaign pledge. 16 pages.

Hand of Asgard is a character expansion book. It presents template modifications for each of the 12 gods detailed in Hall of Judgment and Nordvorn for Clerics, and about two dozen Holy Might powers flavored for them. These are available for Holy Warriors as well.  This book was added mid-campaign and is available as an add-on. Increase your pledge by $13 to get it in both Print and PDF. 16 pages.

The Nordlond Setting: Already Published

The Nordlond setting was established in two prior funding campaigns, and three books already exist. If you missed both of those, the Allar Sögurnar (all the electrons) and Allar Bækurnar (all the books) pledge levels let you catch up in one fell swoop, if that is your desire.

 

Hall of Judgment introduced Nordlond. It features a quest adventure, and includes several sample locations for other butt-kicking (Logiheimli and the nordalfar warrens), plus the titular hall. It contains the grappling concepts expanded in Fantastic Dungeon Grappling, enhanced survival rules, a bestiary of over 30 creatures, and pre-generated characters letting you get right into the game. Hall of Judgment established the use of the excellent Caverntown model of what to talk about in a city location. This book is available as a post-campaign add-on. 128 pages.

The Citadel at Norðvörn is like Caverntown, but more so. It details one city, two important towns, and several sample villages (plus a village generator). A relationship map covering four competing factions to forms a web, allowing the GM to instantly improv reactions to the PCs actions. Each faction has goals and relationships described in the book. This book is available as a post-campaign add-on. 128 pages.

Fantastic Dungeon Grappling tweaks and expands the concepts in Hall of Judgment, which themselves greatly refined the rules from GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling to enhance speed of play. It hits the actions needed to round out “these are the kinds of things you want do to with a grapple.” It also provides examples of new grappling magic spells, and a page of examples on how to adjudicate new grapple-centric moves that players or monsters might be clever enough to come up with. This book is available as a post-campaign add-on. 8 pages.

Schedule

As noted: the campaign ends this Saturday, October 12, at 10:30 pm Central Time. After that, here’s how I hope it goes down:

  • Oct 12: Kickstarter Campaign Ends
  • Halloween Week: Backerkit phase opens for surveys, shipping, and pre-orders
  • Mid-November: Backerkit “closes” and cards are charged[1]
  • End November: PDF review phase[2]
  • Mid-December: PDF feedback due
  • Before Xmas: PDFs sent out and final files sent to printer
  • End January: Printing
  • End February: Moving books through the world
  • End March: Arrival in-hand

[1] Backerkit won’t really CLOSE until the final printer files go out, so I know how many orders to place, and whether we get the offset print run at 300 physical copies ordered.

[2]The PDF review phase will see about 10% of the backers get preliminary files, probably without full art. These are chosen based on a combination of how much was pledged (total pledge amount, not pledge level) plus a random factor, so that the highest pledge levels get priority, but lower pledge levels are not locked out. This phase is IMPORTANT, and everyone who provides useful feedback receives credit in the book.

Support the Nordlond Sagas!

There’s a lot of great material in this campaign, and if you enjoyed the prior elements in the setting, you’ll like the new ones as well. Jump on board, and help make this Kickstarter – my eighth – the best yet. Stretch goals make the two adventure books even longer . . . and I know the authors have the material to cover them!

Glynn Seal does great work. He’s been my go-to cartographer for my last several books, and never gives me reason to doubt he will be The Guy for the next several.

Gushing aside, he did this image for my currently-in-Kickstarter “Nordlond Sagas” project. I love it.

It’s another GURPSDay, and here’s the last few weeks of posts! Scroll all the way down (the random order is, well, random). Catch up and get some repeat views and if you missed some. They’re in reverse chronological order, so if you’re up-to-date, just skim off the top!

News for Gaming Ballistic:

  • The Nordlond Sagas kickstarter funded, but is having one of the worst cases of the doldrums I’ve yet experienced. About $100 per day for the last 16 days. Fortunately, there are well over 400 folks following but not yet pledged, so there’s a lot of opportunity to hit the $29K stretch goal, and that’s between 145-150 pledges, so there’s still a good shot at that goal. The authors’ manuscripts are starting to come in in more-final form, and those extra pages are going to be needed!
  • The swords and shields from Nordvorn were completed and shipped, save for one where the backer asked me to wait since he won’t be in town. No problem there.
  • The card decks for Four Perilous Journeys have all arrived at the distributors. The die-cut counters shipped out to the UK last night, should arrive in a week or so. The printing of 4PJ was schedule to complete today, but with time differences to Latvia by the time I am at a computer, they’re gone for the evening. And it’s a weekend. I suspect we’ll be ready to parse up the shipment and get it going on Monday.

News for SJG

GURPSDay is in its sixth – GURPSDay started in February 2013,  a year after I started Gaming Ballistic. Things have slowed down a bit, and I’ll be considering how to revitalize this weekly activity. I’d like to see an average of 100 posts here per week – one per blog, ish – so we’ll see what we can do to get creative juiced flowing.If you just started a GURPS blog – and I know that some of you have – email me and get on the list! With the advent of the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, Powered by GURPS, there’s even more reason to write.

How? Two action items: post more, recruit more. It’s really that simple. More posters is more posts, and more interest in GURPS.

Below you can find the blog activity for the last week. There’s a whole lotta awesome GURPS going on. Read all the posts.

Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you’re interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line. Take special note of the RSS Settings Fix if you’re on WordPress.
Continue reading “GURPSDay! Sept 13 to Oct 4, 2019”