Mid-Campaign Ulcers and Status

Of the book. Not the ulcers.

I won’t kid you guys – seeing the Lost Hall of Tyr pledge total move up and down as it has has not been good for my stomach lining. As I mentioned in the comments, all of the withdrawals to date have been legit life reasons, but it’s certainly painful to watch.

We’re still funded, though, and the book is progressing well. I just sent Todd a pretty thorough edit of the manuscript as a last look before we really start assembling the thing, corrected a bunch of typos, and made a few edits for clarity of writing.

I have received the promised art that I commissioned from the team in four of the five cases: the cover, Roland’s piece, and two of the other pieces. The last one is on schedule. All the maps are done. I’m in the process of commissioning the remaining art assets for the basic book. Things are on track.

Stretch Goal Adjustment

I took a hard look at what the goals of the campaign were, and I’ve made some adjustments.

No adjustments have been made to reward levels; if you’ve pledged something, you’ll get what was promised.

So what changed:

  • I have decided to fulfill all physical product through a high-quality POD company, PubGraphics. I was very impressed with their work on Dungeon Grappling, so the books that come out of this Kickstarter, and any future orders through my website, will come from them. The product will, of course be available through DriveThruRPG as well.
  • I have merged the “More Art” and “S&W Conversion” stretch goals, which will both happen at $6,000.
  • Additionally, I have spoken to Alex Macris of Autarch Publishing, and I will also commit to an Adventurer Conqueror King System conversion of Lost Hall. That one might take some reframing, but he has agreed to give me some advice there.
  • This allowed pulling in the “more art from Roland” levels to $8,000 and $11,000 respectively

Both of the conversions would be delivered when the print books have been promised: April of 2018 (or before).

What about Delivery? Later?

No.

My initial scheduling was done assuming we hit all the stretch goals and I was commissioning all the art that might be needed. So the changes above don’t impact anything.

The Swords and Wizardry conversion pull-in was the result of doing a hard look at what was required to do it, and it’s less work than I had planned.

Finally, ACKS is awesome, and I have wanted to do a Dungeon Grappling tuning of ACKS for a bit; it’s not that different than Swords and Wizardry at the core, and the proficiency-based capability system is similar to the various skill and feat systems in 5e. So it’s a fairly easy conversion. I will discuss with Alex the right way to execute this in terms of his product line, and get working fast.

So I have confidence I can execute this.

Stythja Tiers

A bit more about those tiers.

As part of the reward level, each backer at this level will work with me to create a character for the scenario. You will also receive a preview copy of the Dragon Heresy races and classes chapters, from which the Etera setting is drawn.

We’ll work up a character together, then I’ll make art notes, share them with the backer for review, make any tweaks required, and then fire off the art notes to the artist whose reward level you’ve chosen. Those characters will then appear in a separate PDF file that will be distributed along with the physical rewards and conversion material. Kind of “pre-gens” for the scenario.

Onward to the Finish

We’re headed into the last week of the campaign. Thus far, we’ve seen two reviews of the product:

Fantastical Beckelhimer and Follow Me and Die! both liked it. They also saw the ease of conversion to other material and appreciated the setting details as well as the value the Dungeon Grappling system brings to the table.

I’ve also been on four podcasts to talk about the work:

  • Table Top Babble where the topic was also Kickstarter advice
  • Geek Gab Game Night where we talked a lot about adventure design
  • Delve Podcast which focused pretty hard on the Lost Hall details
  • Shane Plays (forthcoming) about 10 minutes on the adventure

These are good places to point folks for more details about the game. There is, of course, also my blog, which has a category for Lost Hall.

So, with that . . . I hope that folks continue to get energized about Lost Hall of Tyr, and invite others to do so. To the finish line!

The post below is duplicated from Roland Warzecha’s Patreon page, which everyone should visit and support. If you are a fan of historical swordsmanship, you definitely owe yourself a visit his way.

Here is the completed illustration which I did for a role-play adventure written by Dougas Cole, that is currently campaigning on kickstarter, to attract as many backers as possible. (One of the stretch goals will be more art work such as this!)

The adventure is apparently set in a fantasy world, partially drawing on Norse mythology and culture. In the background, you can see a page from the Icelandic Codex Regius (the King’s Book) which is the oldest written source for the Poetic Edda. The typographic elements are verses from the Hávamál which is included in the Codex Regius. Naturally, I thought it appropriate to depict Viking arms and armour with the image’s leading character. Doug had suggested a female warrior, and so I created this heroine, which I named Sólveig Ravnsdóttir. Her first name can be interpreted in a number of ways, e.g. as path of the sun, mistress of the hall, power of the house. Her last name means Raven’s daughter.

Sólveig wears lamellar armour of oriental origin. Remains of this kind of protection have been found in the Swedish Viking settlement of Birka. It consist of small plates, so-called lamellae which are laced to form individual belts. These belts are laced more loosely to each other in such a fashion that they overlap and can move much like a telescope, assisting hinging motions of the wearer’s torso.

Her head is protected by a helmet with ”spectacles“ based on a Norwegian find from Gjermundbu, the only original Viking helmet ever to be discovered.

The account of an Arab chronicler who had met Eastern Vikings described them as being tattooed. Accordingly, I decided to show Sólveig being tatted in ornaments of the so-called Urnes style which became popular in the late Viking Age. Her sword with bronze fittings is of the typical late spate type that was widespread in Scandinavia and Russia. Its scabbard is mounted with an eastern bronze scabbard chape in the shape of a raven. Her arms are adorned with various bracelets.

The bottom hem of her wide tunic is tucked up above her thighs to allow for freedom of movement, as seen with a sword-fighter in the 9th century Utrecht Psalter, and some men wading through water on the late 11th century Bayeux Tapestry.

She has just deflected a spear thrust with her flat round shield, then turned the shield pushing forward its edge to keep the sear at bay and pin her opponent, at the same time striking a death blow.

Her adversaries are Hobgoblins which carry both bucklers as well as large Celtic style shields. They are armed with swords modeled on both Viking Age ones as well as late medieval ranges messer. One also brandishes a bearded axe. The helmets are so-called kettle hats based on late 14th and 15th century models. All Goblin arms are made from bronze, because they cannot stand steel, as Douglas explained to me.

Obviously, they have a weak spot for the same beard styles that I like myself, and it appears to be a custom with this tribe to put on war paint made from some local berries.

I have also picked kind of a motto for Sólveig which is based on a line from the collection of Hávamál verses that Douglas had provided me with: “Never slain shall she bow before sword.”See it somewhat concealed in the image above.

If you like this art work, keep an eye on the stretch goals suggested by Douglas for his kickstarter project.

A 300 dpi version of this image is available as a download for $7+ patrons.

What’s next? The up-coming weapon documentation and photo set will feature a late 14th/early 15th century type XIV sword from Switzerland which will be made available for $25+ patrons, with the full scale drawing to follow for my $35+ patrons.

New Reward Level – Dimicator Stythja

As you can see, the detail work in Roland’s piece is amazing. If you want to have your character illustrated by him, in this style . . . now you can!

I have introduced another reward level: the top-tier Dimicator Stythja. At this level, for $750 you will get a quarter-page illustration in the same style as the image featured above . . . or for a kingly sum of $2,000, a full page.

As with all of the Stythja (Patron) levels, the first task is to create a level 3-6 character that will either come from the SRD, or the Dragon Heresy preview chapter that I will send to the patron backer. Once the character is created, the patron backer will provide reference images, and I will provide art direction to Roland based on the character, the images, and our conversations.

I’m sure the result will be quite inspiring!

Lost Hall has Funded!

Lost Hall of Tyr has funded! We passed the basic goal about 8 days in, so the project will definitely happen.

This is excellent news for Gaming Ballistic, of course – who doesn’t want their projects to succeed? – but it’s only a first step. Continue reading “Kickstarter Update Summary – Lost Hall of Tyr”

Roland just shared a sample of the art he’s providing for the Dungeon Grappling quick-start chapter for Lost Hall of Tyr.

If the hobgoblin looks familiar to you, there’s a reason. The final version has more details of what “grappling with weapons” can mean – she’s stepping on the hob’s spear to pin it in place, as well as using her own shield to trap his left arm.

Because it’s Roland, all of the equipment and stances are historical and accurate, modeled off of real pieces. The detail is phenomenal.

I simply cannot wait to see the entire full-page piece.

If we hit the bit stretch goals at the top end, there will be more of this type of illustration in the book!

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t extra-point you to Roland’s Patreon, plus his awesome collection of informative YouTube videos on historical fighting and weapons.

I was on the Geek Gab Game Night podcast just a few moments ago. Nearly two hours on adventure design and other topics – we didn’t hold ourselves tightly to a particular theme. As always, it was a hoot interacting with my gracious hosts, and it definitely plays out as a conversation rather than a lecture!

Give a listen, and of course, support Lost Hall of Tyr!

Greetings from Thailand!

The big news is that, of course, Lost Hall of Tyr passed the  basic funding goal! Now it’s all about stretch goals.

Had a great night’s sleep last night, which if you’re familiar with the vagaries of international air travel, is from from a guarantee.

In addition to passing the basic funding goal (woo hoo!), I’ve got some updates on art progress

John B has reported he’s on schedule for delivery before the end of the Kickstarter for his piece, as has Roland W. That’s all of the pre-commissioned art thus far, but since the campaign has met it funding goal, I can look into starting up the remaining pieces. As things proceed, I will see how we are doing and look carefully at how much additional art the campaign can afford.

I also got to sit down over email with Todd, and I asked him to mock up the real cover, rather than what I did in five minutes with Photoshop’s Magic Wand tool. I suggested we incorporate “the sword” I use for the banners (I really like it) into the cover design, and he overachieved. I wasn’t sure how I’d have done it, but what he actually did really made me happy.

What? Stop talking and show? OK!

Front Cover
Front Cover

 

Back Cover and Teaser Text
Back Cover and Teaser Text

Feedback Wanted

One thing that backers of my prior Kickstarter – Dungeon Grappling – will tell you is that I’m pretty good about taking and acting on feedback from my contributors. You guys are sponsoring the work, after all, so it makes good sense to listen where possible.

So . . . if you think that the wording of the cover, or something about placement could be improved . . . make the suggestion! Worst case is a polite no, and best case for all is “that’s a fantastic idea!”

As always, please spread the word about the project where you can. I’m going on several podcasts – Geek Gab and the Delve Podcast – to talk about the project, and would love to do more.

Congratulations and Thanks!

We made funding at the basic level last night, sneaking over the wire while I was travelling between Minnesota and Thailand on business. I’m currently a bit bleary-eyed, but the trip was as smooth and fast as one could ask for. Four hours to Seattle, 12 hours to Korea, and five hours to Thailand. Then an overnight stay at the hotel at the airport, then three hours drive to Korat (Nakhon Rhatchasima) where our plant is located.

But a big thank you to the backers who have taken us this far.

Miles to go before I sleep

The next goal is important – enough backers and money to guarantee that we can get the thing done and printed not through the usual suspects. Right now, though, we’re really only talking about 50 copies of the print version, which might be a low enough number that I procure it through a third party anyway. We shall see!

The big stuff happens between $5000 to $8000, with more art and the Swords and Wizardry full conversion next on deck. Following that, we get into icing on the cake: inside cover art and other gritty/realistic illustrations by Roland Warzecha

The Days Ahead

I’m looking to go on a few podcasts in the near future to pitch the adventure and talk grappling monsters. I will also be doing a bit of a featurette on each of the artists that are working the project, highlighting their styles and showing the kind of thing that can happen for the custom commission tiers.

Once Again: Thanks!

But that’s all in the future. I’ll work on delivering you the best book I can. The more you guys talk it up, the better. Again: the invite for “if you will run or review it, I’ll get you a prelim copy” so long as you write up up before the campaign ends!

Josh Beckelhimer is an early backer of the project. He requested and received an early preview copy of the adventure, and reviewed it in detail at his website Fantastical Beckelhimer. I have reproduced the entire review below, but have also made some comments where appropriate to address some of his open questions. Thanks to Josh for the review!

A Review – Lost Hall of Tyr (Kickstarter Edition)

As I am writing this up Lost Hall of Tyr: A 5e Adventure (Dungeon Grappling support) just needs less than $400 to be funded. If you read my previous post you know that I am pretty excited about this project.

Gaming Ballistic: About $225 to go as of this post!

Also, Douglas Cole sent me a Review Copy for me to read through. And these are my spoiler free thoughts on it.

In this current state Lost Hall of Tyr is 52 pages (not including the cover and back cover).

  • Introduction/Background – 4 pages
  • Adventure – 19 pages
  • Wilderness Travel Rules – 3 pages
  • Bestiary – 16 pages
  • Quick Start: Dungeon Grappling – 2 pages
  • Preface/Legal Jargon/Table of Contents/Art
  • Placeholder Pages – the rest of the pages

First, and like my previous post, the layout is great. The coloring and the borders for the layout really have set the bar on what a 5th Edition adventure should look like. Yes, a thousand times better than WotC’s layouts for their adventures.

Gaming Ballistic: I expect a page of Kickstarter Backers, at least six pages of maps, a page of scenario flowchart, Table of Contents (no index) as a first pass as to extra pages beyond simple adventure content. If we start punching through stretch goals, the page count may increase.

Introduction/Background

This section gives a brief description of the setting and where the adventure will take place. And rumor has it there is a campaign setting in the works for where this adventure takes place.

Also, there is a brief story that sets up the adventure and the hook for the characters. There is also information on how to tie this adventure into your own setting. Though, there are two things I want to address:

  • 1. No where in the Introduction or the Preface does it state what level the characters should be and how many characters the adventure is designed for.
  • 2. There is a weapon mentioned in the introduction, “magical against all foes and as a +1 magical weapon against a creature type.” (I left out the type of weapon and creature type) But I don’t know if it is meant to be +1 against all foes and a +2 against the creature type or is it supposed to be treated as non-magical +0 against all foes except magical +1 against the creature type.

Gaming Ballistic: Fair cop on the scenario parameters; it was supposed to be printed on the back cover, which isn’t done yet. It’s designed around 4-6 characters of Level 3-6, and I’ll make sure that’s reiterated in the interior of the book.

For the sword, one of the neat things about 5e is that a weapon can be magical but provide no bonuses – there are several spells and power-ups that let mundane weapons strike foes as if they were magical, and this matters for creatures who have resistance or immunity to damage from non-magical weapons. So the sword is magical against just about anything. It gets a small bonus against a particular type of creature owing to how it was created. 

Adventure

*When reading through this the maps were not included just the placeholders for where they would be.*  

First, there is something that needs to be addressed before I continue on with this section. There is NO flavor text. As in, there is no blocked text that is dedicated to the GM to read to the players. Personally, this doesn’t bother me at all. This might be a turnoff for some but I think this also helps with adapting this adventure into whatever setting the GM is running.

I like the writing layout Douglas has done with this adventure. He has created four different categories that helps the GM with running the adventure.

  • Challenges – Describes the challenges that the PCs will have to overcome in this section. Whether it is NPCs or an obstacle that is their way.
  • Concealed – Describes some skill checks they may be needed to achieve a challenge. Also information that may be hidden from the PCs.
  • Alternatives – Describes some alternative ways to deal with the challenge in the section.
  • Rewards – Describes the rewards/treasure the PCs can find in this section. Some rewards are just being able to bypass the challenge.

Though, this adventure was written for 5th edition, there is enough information with this writing layout that the adventure could easily be converted to another system.

Wilderness Travel

This section of the book shouldn’t be treated as something optional. Surviving in the wilderness is essential to this adventure. This adventure is a fairly long trek and a challenge within itself. In this section there are all sorts of rules and information on how to survive in the wilderness. Such as, how much food/water the PCs should have, hunting/gathering, preserving food, weather and climate. Again, this shouldn’t be optional in this adventure.

Gaming Ballistic: I’m very glad that Josh likes the additional wilderness travel guidance. However, for groups that are more of the “let’s just kill some bad guys already!” variety, it’s quite possible to play without using these. In general, though, I think that being able to use the environment as a potentially deadly challenge adds some real flavor and spice to a scenario, and I’ve tried to make it more meaty with the addition of the section on Wilderness Travel.

Bestiary  

This section of the book describes all the NPCs that will be found in this adventure. There is a description for each NPC and their stat blocks. There are familiar monsters that most GMs should know but some of them have been modified to fit this campaign setting. Such as, the goblinoids are considered fae in this setting. There are a total of fifteen NPCs in the Bestiary.

Gaming Ballisitc: One fun note here is that the final PDF will make extensive use of hyperlinks for navigation. So when you see (for example) there are 18 (or 18,000) goblins, you’ll see it as “18 goblins will attack the party,” or the equivalent, with the (curently italicized) goblins taking you directly to the bestiary entry. There will also be return navigation, so you can hop back to the encounters that have the monster. There’s plenty of room for this in the layout, but of course it’ll have to wait for the final layout until we implement it.

Quick Start: Dungeon Grappling

This section of the book is also very important and shouldn’t be ignored or treated as optional. Douglas has created an awesome system when it comes to grappling. The preface of this adventure also describes the importance of this system. If you get this adventure and you plan on running it I highly recommend that you read through this quick start guide and know how Dungeon Grappling works and then show your players how it works. Some of the Challenges in this adventure use this system so it is important to know. Encourage your players to take advantage of this system. You can learn more about Dungeon Grappling here.

Gaming Ballistic: There’s no doubt I love me some grappling – especially when it’s the monsters doing the grappling. And eating. Or dragging you back to its lair. But while I think the grappling rules (“DnD grappling rules that don’t suck!”) are excellent and add a lot of dimensions to the scenario, they are optional. I mean, you should use them. And you should love them. But if you don’t, well . . . the scenario is still fully usable.

I didn’t have any art or the maps but from this Review Copy I could run this adventure now without any of the maps. And that is an important thing to me; being able to just use the text to run an adventure. I look forward to receiving both my PDF and Physical Copy after it is completed. There is still plenty of time to back this project. $7 for PDF backer level and $20 for PDF and Physical Copy backer level. Also, the more money this project receives the more that will be added to it!

Gaming Ballistic’s Final Word:

Thanks to Josh for writing this review of Lost Hall of Tyr. I’m glad my enthusiasm for the adventure comes through, and he’s correct that this is based on the campaign setting for my Dragon Heresy RPG, which is 400,000 words and roughly 790 pages of eventually-to-be-released goodness currently in editing with Ken Hite. 

For now, though – I hope that you enjoy the adventure, and spread the word so that we smash the funding goal and continue into the stretch goals!

(Duplicates Update #6)

Thus just in!

I just got the cover art in from Juan. Pretty awesome, so I put it into Todd’s cover mockup using the power of the Magic Wand Tool in Photoshop. The real version will have non-fake text for the back blurb, as well as better fidelity in the text elements. Still, this is what the thing will look like!

We are only $275 from the basic funding goal! One more good day, or two or three typical ones, and we’ll hit the first, most important milestone: getting funded.

After that, it’s stretch goal time. The most important for me is hitting the $6,000 goal where I can start commissioning more internal art. Over the coming days, you’ll see previews from each artist, as well as some work-in progress.

Until then . . . spread the word! We’re nearly there!

Did you Play Lost Hall at the Grappling Smackdown at GenCon?

I know a few folks – maybe one or two – who played what was called then “The Tower of Justice” or “Grappling Smackdown” with me in the IGDN booth at GenCon this year.

Friday and Saturday mornings, 10am start time. Each day was 7-8 people, some who’d signed up, some who didn’t.

As the book that will be now titled Lost Hall of Tyr: Dómstóllinn is closing in on its basic funding goal, I want to give you folks playtest credit. And a free copy.

So: email me! You have my card from the event. You can also hit me at gamingballisticllc@gmail.com, or leave a comment to this post. Let me know which game you attended, what character you played, the name you wish to be credited with, and the most memorable thing that happened to you during the game.