I’m going to be on two more shows in the next two days!

RPG Coast to Coast

I will be one of the hosts tonight at the RPG Coast to Coast at 9:00pmEST//8:00pmCST//7:00pmMST//6:00pmPST.

Topics for tonight include discussing Longevity of D&D, Art not the Artist, How Best to Promote your Product, and whatever else strikes our fancy.

It’s going to be held in the Tenkar’s Tavern Discord chat.

How do I get to The Tavern Discord? Follow these Steps:

  • Step 1.) Go here https://discordapp.com/download
  • Step 2.) Click which is best for you Windows, Mac, Android, IOS, or Linux and download it.
  • Step 3.) Once it has finished downloading click the + button surrounded by a dotted circle on the left hand side
  • Step 4.) Click the Join a Server button and copy and paste this into it https://discord.gg/GaXW2TX

Being Stalked by Matt Finch

OK, not really. I reached out to him. 🙂

Even so, we will be chatting on his D&D Neighborhood channel at 6pm Central time, Saturday Feb 23. We always have fun.

Morning! As we head into what will be a heavy writing weekend for me on Citadel at NorĂ°vorn, I wanted to leave you with two podcasts.

Roleplay Rescue (Che Webster)

Che and I talk for about an hour, and cover gaming stuff both old and new.

Game Night on Geek Gab

I return to their show for the third time. We cover what’s gone on at Gaming Ballistic since HoJ, being nice to customers, and group stealth rolls . . . plus a bunch of Nordvorn sporadically through the show.

Thursday is GURPSDay, Valentine’s Day, and a great day for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG.

Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 was put on the “watch this space” calendar. SJG doesn’t do teasers – they’re either ready to rock, or they keep quiet. So look for this one.

Also, The Citadel at Nordvorn will go live on Kickstarter on Tuesday, Feb 19. Return to Nordlond about 250 miles east of Isfjall as the raven flies . . . and check out the Kickstarter preview.

In personal Gaming Ballistic News:

  1. The Lost Hall of Tyr proofs are on the way; I should get one from the US printer today even!
  2. The graphic design of Citadel got a major overhaul, and the Kickstarter is ready to go; it’s even approved by KS launch control.
  3. I posted a hoped-for publishing schedule for me in 2019.
  4. I received word from my authors on TFT projects that the first two (one from each) are over 75% completed for writing.
  5. I’ll be headed down to FNORDCon April 6-7, and running a table. Lots of Nordlond, maybe a preview of Citadel even, and several surprises

GURPSDay is starting 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 “ValenGURPSDay: GURPSDay Summary Feb 8, 2019 – Feb 14, 2019”

The next installment in the licensed adventures for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG is starting to really come together. Look for The Citadel at Nordvorn soon! I’ve got over 42,000 words written so far, and in super-dense text format (no art, only the barest of layout, and a very temporary background) I’m at 650 words per page and 66 pages. The usual with-art layout is 500-550 words per page, which means the final document would be something like 78-86 pages were it done.

Which it’s not.

A Mini-Setting for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG

In Hall of Judgment, I set up Isfjall as “Town,” where you buy and sell your stuff, and it served as a jumping-off point for the quest to find the titular Hall.

Nordvorn is going to be a bit different. Yes, there’s Town. And nice GMs will tell the players which that is. But there are many other potential settlements to explore, and all of those are very much not Town.

There will of course be monsters to fight, ruins to explore, and bandits to kill and take their stuff. There will also be a tapestry of personalities and culture to play in, and if you liked what you got with Isfjall for Hall of Judgment, well, you’re going to get a whole lot more of it with the Citadel at Nordvorn.

Bear in mind that everything about the presentation of this will probably change. The image is just a simple background of a castle done up in Photoshop; the real background and graphic design will be similar enough to Hall of Judgment that you will know they’re related, but different enough to set it apart.

But it’s much easier for me to pick apart words on a page than it is to stare at a screen, so I dumped it into layout and now I can see what’s going on.

Nordvorn Itself

Nordvorn itself, both the Citadel and Laegribaer, the lower town. I cannot wait to get an artist to detail this up. I’ve got a really crude sketch of the city and town in, well, PowerPoint.

I’ve also got notes on what braethralag (brotherhoods devoted to the same god) cluster where, temples, craft districts, etc. Note that the Citadel is not necessarily “Town,” and that betrayals, violence, and things that aren’t rest, study, and buying and selling stuff can happen there!

There are five inns in the city, and each is located and described. There’s a fun section on shopping (and shipping, for that matter), of course. Plus even more festivals, some familiar, some new:

Geitur Dag (October). A festival peculiar to Norðvörn—and peculiar in general, really—Goat Day. Each year, the Lower Town goes absolutely mad for goats. Goat costumes, fermented goat milk, goat races, head-butting competitions, and the animal husbandry competition to see which pair of goats will be dubbed Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr (the goats that pull the Thunder God’s chariot) for the day. Alas for the winners, at the end of the day, they get eaten by the Hamar and Steðji of the Thunder God’s temple.

More than One Town

Two neighboring towns, one of which very much is “Town.” The other is Ainferill, and there’s . . . a lot going on there. Little of it good. Violence, betrayal, cult activity, and a tangled web of intrigue. Plus folks to kill and stuff to take. Good times.

This is a piece I commissioned a long time ago for Dragon Heresy . . . but from the moment I set it down, I knew it was going to be one of the plot points in Citadel at Nordvorn.

There’s also Longbru, which is home to a dwarf-made bridge that spans the Jotunnain river for over a mile (thus: Long Bridge), and the opposite end terminates at one of the few sallyports in Audreyn’s Wall. Naturally, Longbru hosts many adventures seeking glory in the Endalaus Forest . . . and can be considered “Town” as per Exploits!

Coming Soon

With the relationship web already written, and the nouns coming together (Places, People, Things), I’m hoping to get to the point where I feel comfortable launching a project in a few weeks. That will be the first of three Dungeon Fantasy RPG projects, all set in Nordlond, and all planned for PDF delivery, if not print, in 2019. I’ve got some finalization to do on another project first, but when that’s done, it’s all Citadel, all the time when it comes to writing.

Unlike many of my prior projects for the last bit of time, though, Nordvorn is going to feature virtually zero re-used art from prior books, unless it’s absolutely on point. So you’ll get to see the graphic design and maps and imagery take shape more or less at the same time as I do.

Stay tuned! I hope you will have as much fun exploring this, which is the beginning of an extended look at Nordlond, as I am having writing it.

Thursday is GURPSDay, and this one shows up on Friday. I swear, the first thing I’m doing when I finish writing Citadel is to try and implement my ideas around making this happen in a more automated fashion. More on that later.

I am busily writing The Citadel at Nordvorn, a mini-setting with far too much going on for its my own good, but it’s over 30,000 words and I will be doing a lot of writing for it in the next four days.

In personal Gaming Ballistic News:

  1. If you liked Hall of Judgment, and either also play or have friends that play Fifth Edition or Dragon Heresy, the Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) campaign closed having raised roughly the same amount of money as the 1st edition. That left us short of the offset print run stretch goal at $6,000 . . . but the Backerkit Phase is going very well, especially thanks to a few folks who ordered Viking-style shields! If you can show your D&D-playing friends the link, pitch it to your FLGS, it would go a long way. We’re something like $100-400 from that stretch goal, with two weeks left in the Backerkit phase. The more I can get product out there, the better stuff I can do for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, as rising sales lift all boats.
  2. There’s been a lot happening “under the waterline” over at GB, and more will be revealed soon. I will say that several varieties of product, not written by me, are all simmering on the mid-stove. Some of these will really excite SJG fans!

GURPSDay is in its fifth year – 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.

The Dungeon Fantasy RPG, Powered by GURPSIf 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 Summary January 11, 2019 – January 18, 2019”

Thursday is GURPSDay, and marks the first full week of 2019. It’s been a bit of a crazy week for me, as schedules are only now returning to normal after break (the kids are back in school) and trying to work out a good balance of writing and doing other things.

There are, however, things to do. I am busily writing The Citadel at Nordvorn, a mini-setting with far too much going on for its own good, for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. This is the first of three works that will be published for that game in 2019. As noted in my brief post today: I’m having ridiculous fun writing it.

In personal Gaming Ballistic News:

  1. If you liked Hall of Judgment, and either also play or have friends that play Fifth Edition or Dragon Heresy, the Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) campaign closed having raised roughly the same amount of money as the 1st edition. That left us short of the offset print run stretch goal at $6,000 . . . but the Backerkit Phase is going very well, especially thanks to a few folks who ordered Viking-style shields! If you can show your D&D-playing friends the link, pitch it to your FLGS, it would go a long way. We’re something like $100-400 from that stretch goal, with two weeks left in the Backerkit phase. The more I can get product out there, the better stuff I can do for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, as rising sales lift all boats.
  2. There’s been a lot happening “under the waterline” over at GB, and more will be revealed soon. I will say that several varieties of product, not written by me, are all simmering on the mid-stove. Some of these will really excite SJG fans!

GURPSDay is in its fifth year – 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.

The Dungeon Fantasy RPG, Powered by GURPSIf 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 Summary January 4, 2019 – January 10, 2019”

There’s a lot going on here at Gaming Ballistic, and eight days into the New Year I find myself multitasking furiously. This is good. One of the things I’m working on is setting up international print-on-demand for Hall of Judgment.

One of the eternal frustrations of working as a US publisher is the difficulty – largely due to shipping – of serving cross-border customers. For whatever reason (and I’ve read several), it’s darn near prohibitively expensive to get books made in the USA out. This is especially irksome given that if for some reason I am able to afford an offset print run, which brings the cost per book down to levels that can survive a distribution channel profitably . . . I can’t effectively get the books OUT again.

Anyway, short version here. I really liked the production values of Hall of Judgment. It wasn’t sewn or lay-flat, but it was a nice perfect-bound book on 93# paper (140gsm).

I just approved the new cover for Hall of Judgment via Print-on-Demand from the same vendor (CPI Anthony Rowe). It’s going to be about 1mm thinner, but still printed on nice thick silk-coated paper stock. It’s also going to be print-on-demand out of the UK, and sent by Royal Mail. This is the best shipping arrangement I’ve found.

So if you order a book from me and you’re not in the USA, it’ll probably come from them, and we can avoid the extra $20-40 in shipping that comes when I send out of the USA.

Once it’s all finalized, I just received word that the title is now ready to print! As soon as I get an update on prices, I’ll change the shipping prices on my website for that product. But it’s a good step to getting product worldwide for less.

Glynn is hard at work on new maps for Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition), and below you can find a bit of history on the old maps, how he and I got to collaborate, and some WIP he’s willing to show.

Maps and Expenses

When Lost Hall of Tyr (1st Edition) was being made, I budgeted for a Kickstarter that equaled my first: about 300 folks. I also spent a bunch of money on a really prime piece of artwork that was (and still is) the most expensive single image I’ve yet procured.

(It is really awesome though.)

Even so, I couldn’t afford bespoke maps. Bogie Maps – and Dan was a pleasure to work with – had stock maps in hand, and was able to mildly customize a few for me using assets he already had.

As an example, he created a generic location for “Rival Claim” using a stock map. The advantage was obviously cost. The disadvantage was that it had no real tie to the adventure description: it was just a big map.

That has its charm, as it’s portable. And the full-scale combat maps are still part of the book package. But when I got the opportunity to upgrade content of the book for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG as Hall of Judgment, the project required more maps. Specific maps, that would let the linear convention-style demonstration adventure – Lost Hall’s purpose was to demonstrate the concepts in Dungeon Grappling – turn into something much more non-linear and sandboxy. Not a true sand-box; it is a quest adventure, after all. But something with more geography, and a lot more detail and options on the approach.

Glynn Seal’s The Midderlands

I got to know Glynn through his Midderlands kickstarter(s). I was impressed by his high production values on the book, and also with the quality of his cartography and artwork. Very evocative, and really brought the feeling he was going for to the work.

 

When I decided to produce new maps, and new locations, from the Village at Logiheimli to the Goblin Warrens (two of them!) to make mincemeat out of adventurers . . . um, provide a suitable challenge for adventurers . . . I reached out to see if he was available for commission.

Well, he was.

Logiheimli; an Easy Choice

He was (and remains) extremely easy to work with. I sent really, really coarse sketches of what I was looking for – I’m a stick-figure kind of guy when it comes to de novo art creation, though I’m a fair hand at digital compositing of existing work.

He turned it into something glorious, which is of course included in Lost Hall 2nd Edition.

So when it came time to upgrade the maps such as Rival Claim to something better as part of the Lost Hall 2nd Edition conversion . . . Glynn was the obvious choice.

I sent him some art notes, and of course he has a copy of Hall of Judgment since he worked on it (and super-easy to get it to him, since the books were printed in the UK).

Now that the New Year is here, he’s already hard at work, and has documented his creation of the new Rival Claim map on his blog.

I can’t recommend Glynn enough as a creator and a collaborator.  You can see the first of seven new maps below . . . stay tuned for more, and of course please help steer your friends and Favorite Game Store folks to the Pre-Order page!

Thanks for staying with me!

Update on Surveys

The “Smoke Test,” which vets the survey for effectiveness and function, is nearly complete. I will likely send it out to all backers shortly.

It will run for three full weeks, during which time I hope you’ll help me get the word out, as the Pre-Order Store is open, and if we can hit extra stretch goals during that time, I’m all for it.

I should be seeing the initial Kickstarter campaign funds settle sometime between today and Sunday. That will allow me to, in earnest, get cracking on the finalization of text, maps, and printing.

That’s it! Hope you guys had Holiday breaks that were eventful in only good ways.

Also, if you’re curious to how 2018 treated Gaming Ballistic, read about it below and see what’s coming next.

Gaming Ballistic 2018 Year in Review

It’s that time again, and on the first day of the New Year, it’s time to do a retrospective, a Gaming Ballistic 2018 Year in Review.

Summary

Here’s the skinny.

The Blog

  • Averaged 4.25 posts per week, 220 posts total for the year. Best year ever was 307 in 2016.
  • Lower unique content delivery in general, as things focused on the publishing end
  • Maintained good fidelity to GURPSDay
  • Need to re-energize the blog side of things in 2019

The Company

  • Ran three successful Kickstarters in one year! The first two continued my record of “on time or early” on my KS projects, making me four-for-four. The last one kicked off in December, and while it’s on schedule, can’t be considered early, late, or other just yet.
  • Dragon Heresy got published as a Level 1-5 Introductory Set, in what is the best-feeling RPG book I’ve ever handled. Really: the production values are stunning and compare with anything the big dogs (or anyone else) have made. It’s a great book with great content, and I’m very proud of it.
  • Hall of Judgment became the first-ever, and currently only, licensed product for SJG’s Dungeon Fantasy RPG
  • HoJ was run at several conventions, including GameHole Con by me, and was quite popular
  • HoJ was my most successful KS to date in terms of backer count (over 500), and post-KS sales have been good. Counting PDF and Print sales individually (which means if you bought a print and PDF copy, you get counted twice), Hall of Judgment has moved over 1,000 copies, making it my most popular product to date. GURPS folks have been good to me.
  • GB was profitable by a few thousand bucks (more on that in the coming weeks) in 2018. If sales of the Dragon Heresy core book take off even a little, this will provide a vital source of revenue to support ongoing work. I have since learned that what I thought were zero sales in December (true) was expected; first actual sales coming in January, with 25 pre-orders confirmed, with more expected! This is unexpected wind in my sails (sales?).
  • I received three additional contracts for more expansions for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG in 2019! The releases will be spread through the year. The first title will be The Citadel at NorĂ°vörn and it should enter crowdfunding in the first quarter of 2019.
  • A second edition of Lost Hall of Tyr was successfully crowd-funded, but once again I was shocked at how few folks backed the project based on my pre-campaign market analysis.
  • Marketing and outreach needs to be a priority for 2019 if I’m going to successfully see “take-off” in the future
  • GameHole Con was awesome and I’ll return there, and try and generally increase my convention presence in the future; even so: day job limits the amount of time I can spend at such events.

The Man

  • I gamed less than I wanted to this year
  • I definitely felt singed running two Kickstarters back-to-back with Dragon Heresy and Hall of Judgment. These were successful, but wow.
  • Some major and positive life-changes in my household (my wife got a great full-time job in her area of expertise) were still very disruptive on my schedule
  • I need to exercise more, and force time for it. Day-job and schedule changes make this harder
  • Keeping track of many social media feeds is draining.
  • I’ve been enjoying the hell out of shield-building and wooden weapon-crafting for my Viking stuff, but there are issues to be resolved with it in terms of where my time is best spent.

Overall, it’s hard to argue:  2018 was a successful year for Gaming Ballistic. I just wish it felt more successful. The miss on the number of folks who would be interested in Lost Hall 2e is particularly painful. I’d pondered hanging up GB entirely in October-November, but then I got the three contracts for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG for 2019, which was uplifting. I hope that these three projects, plus a few more in the pipeline, provide the wind in the sails for 2019.

Dragon Heresy needs some actual play, some good reviews and press, and a bit of word-of-mouth. If it can get it, it can be a bit player overall and still make the difference in my being able to self-fund, rather than crowdfund, projects. I have more ideas from myself and others than I have cash-flow to support, mostly in the “it costs good money to get good art” category. I like going into crowdfunding with nearly everything complete, and that can’t happen just yet in 2019.

That’s the summary. More details below the break.

Continue reading “Gaming Ballistic 2018 Year in Review”

I’m always on the lookout for better options than the usual “please amputate your leg in exchange for shipping internationally.” Gaming Ballistic is thrilled to announce that I found a good source for Hall of Judgment Print-on-Demand.

Over the last month or so, I’ve initiated a POD option for new orders of Hall of Judgment, done by the same printer that did the original copies.

The new books print on 130gsm silk-coated paper instead of 140gsm, so they’re slightly thinner, but otherwise they’re the same quality as the prior books. I believe Lulu prints on 80#/120gsm paper, and premium POD with DriveThru is on 105gsm/70# paper.

But if you got the PDF and wanted a print copy, there’s now a source that originates outside of the USA for these books, which saves big-time on shipping.