Status:  So Very Close…

We’ll just get this out of the way fast. We’re only $391 away from funding the More Perilous Journeys kickstarter, with a week to go. Anywhere from two (retail level) to about 16 pledges, and if the average holds, it’s about seven. The project also has a record-breaking 632 followers, of whom 440 have not yet backed. We have 417 actual backers as well.

So this is looking pretty good for funding, and depending on how many of the following-but-not-backed come in, we could wind up anywhere from “barely squeaking by” to “record-setting Kickstarter for Gaming Ballistic,” and a dang good way to ring in my making a go of just being a publisher. Of course, I need your help to do that!

We need 205 of the 440 to come in in order to it be the most number of backers for the “regular session” of Kickstarter for a Gaming Ballistic project. I hope we get there!

Dark Lord’s Doom Cover WIP

Ksenia’s been working and working on the next cover. She sent me three versions, I got feedback via Discord groups (The Fantasy Trip and Gaming Ballistic servers), and got that off to her to help the next iteration. I frequently use those two servers to get pre-press feedback from folks, and interact with the customer base. So it’s a good place to find me and interact.

Here’s the WIP of the cover:

And here are the modifications we decided on:

  • Begin with this cover as the basis, because more folks (including myself) responded positively to that than the others; the other, however, have some strong pieces of those others that if brought into #1 will enhance the image.
  • The framing of the the cover is really good; I think if the dark lord were more obviously threatening or attacking the PCs while looking like he was moving forward, that would emphasize his power, his villainy, and that he’s opposed to the PCs, not giving a speech.
  • I like the size and position of the Dark Lord in this version, as it keeps the title overlaying “background” rather than “action.”
  • We’re going to need to watch the color and lighting of the doorway, so we keep the dark-iron of the title sharply contrasted with the background
  • I think overall folks like the shadowy demon figure on the back cover more than the balcony, but . . .
  • On the other hand, the demon is a bit more spoilery than the sorceror-dude, but this is advertising, so I’m OK with that.

I’ll also be improving the back cover text; I got some great input from David that makes for a really fun “hey, play me!” message that emphasizes just how different this is from other adventures.

Dark Lord’s Doom is very different. Inspired by books like the The Black Company, it’s an “epic” different programmed TFT adventure: a mini-campaign that follows a single squad of characters over the course of an entire war, with encounters including patrols, desperate holding actions, massed battle scenes, siege warfare, street and house-to-house fighting, and a confrontation with an evil dark lord. Your characters can go from being common soldiers to having the fate of the entire kingdom in your hands. Like all programmed adventures you can run it solo or with a GM acting as the adversary player, but it supports play with one to four players.

This can definitely be shortened and punched up for the back cover blurb, but hits the highlights of this solo. Squad of characters. Fight a war. Glenn Cook’s Black Company in feel. GM or solo. Good stuff!

I suspect that I’ll see an updated pencil sketch next, then rough color, then final. I’ll keep y’all posted.

Back More Perilous Journeys

and push it over the funding goal!

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Status

We’re headed into the home stretch now for More Perilous Journeys on Kickstarter, with the final sprint starting in about a week. The campaign has passed the 90% mark, and is less than $2,000 from funding. That’s fewer than 35 people at the average pledge rate . . . we can do it, and more, given that just about 430 folks are following the campaign but haven’t yet backed.

The Authors Own Words

You’ve heard me talk about the works . . . now let’s hear from the actual writers!

David Pulver

Dragon Hunt! is similar to my earlier Vampire Hunter Belladonna (or to Grail Quest), but it’s an even bigger adventure, the longest TFT solo ever produced. One of the things it does is describe a large sandbox-sized region to explore, with multiple named villages, castles, and monster lairs and NPCs, sharing an intertwined history that will be revealed as you adventure. The ostensible theme is hunting dragons, but there are lots of other monsters to encounter. Dragon Hunt is designed for one or two players; again, you can play it solo or with a GM as the adversary. It also introduces several new TFT monsters.

Dark Lord’s Doom is very different. Inspired by books like the The Black Company, it’s an “epic” different programmed TFT adventure: a mini-campaign that follows a single squad of characters over the course of an entire war, with encounters including patrols, desperate holding actions, massed battle scenes, siege warfare, street and house-to-house fighting, and a confrontation with an evil dark lord. Your characters can go from being common soldiers to having the fate of the entire kingdom in your hands. Like all programmed adventures you can run it solo or with a GM acting as the adversary player, but it supports play with one to four players.

Both are being edited and illustrated at present.

Christopher R. Rice and J. Edward Tremlett

In Roc of Sages the characters get talked into going to a dilapidated and dangerous island in order to help their ghostly patron harvest parts of a very rare (and extremely dangerous) breed of roc. This requires a trip to a rather forward-thinking temple, a showdown with a horde of League Collectors (and their ill-tempered boss), and the invasion of one of my favorite dungeons — a giant drill, slowly boring into Cidri for reasons left unsaid. All that plus alchemy, questionable instructions, and possums of unusual size, as per Christopher’s request.

Continuing on to Catacombs of Living Death, the newly-resurrected Sevantes has summoned them to a small, Christian kingdom to help him locate another powerful artifact, but wouldn’t you know it, there’s a plague on? Worse, the plague turns its victims into rot-spreading zombies. Worse still, to find the artifact they have to go upriver into ground zero of the contagion…and there’s something even nastier waiting in the catacombs for them. Our answer to Ravenloft by way of Apocalypse Now, the trip upriver should give your players a few good shivers, and the choice they have to make on the way back will have large repercussions on what happens next.

The Sunken Library provides the epic conclusion to the Sevantes/OIan-Pok pentology! Sandwiched between a tense escape and a trip to the strangest library the party might ever visit is a chance to do the unthinkable — assassinate the three heads of the Indhyna League and take control of the organization. Doing so requires subterfuge and planning, not to mention the possibility of saving an entire city-state. Just one problem: their patron’s never been precisely what he seemed, and the last people he double-crossed are on on the move. As final acts go, it’s a doozy.

Bringing it Home

The last third of the campaign looks to be where it’s all decided. If a large fraction (about half) of the followed-but-not-yet-backed come in, we could pretty much equal Five Perilous Journeys in backer count. That would make for a nice project! And the sooner we fund, the sooner I can start getting busy with commissioning the interior artwork, which only happens after the project funds.

Ksenia and I did exchange notes on the art direction for Dark Lord’s Doom, and I can’t wait to see what she brings to the table. I really think the first cover for Dragon Hunt! is outstanding, and Christopher and J and I are working on the direction for the Jok Sevantes trilogy as well. We expect to have all five covers done by the end of June, if not before . . . so I’ll keep folks posted.

Onward!

The Big News: All Packages Shipped

As of right now, every domestic and international shipment has been boxed up, a label printed, and all but the last batch are physically in the mail. ALL packages will be in the mail by about 1pm today, since I’m dropping by the post office on my way to my former job site (see below).

One of the more pleasing things in boxing up all of these has been the number of you fine folks who have added Nordvorn, Hall of Judgment, and Fantastic Dungeon Grappling to your order. I really think that those of you who have all seven books will have a fantastic time exploring the world.

That being said: if you have any problems with your order, if there are any pieces missing (such as maps, or books, or anything), please let me know immediately. Fulfillment of this project was spread out over much time, and I want to ensure each and every one of you get what you paid for.

One Door Closes: Kick Down the Next One

On Monday, I received notice that my Day Job was laying me off after 19 years of employment. So that’s a big ball of uncertainty combined with the already fun times being had due to COVID-related wackiness and the terrible events underway all over the country sparked by the death of George Floyd here in my home metro area of Minneapolis. We’ve had an old college friend and her family staying with us for the last week-ish because the violence was threatening to overrun their home.

But with this chapter of my life closing – I go in to turn in my computer right after I mail the last packages – I’m going to try and give a run at being a publisher for real. Lots of projects pending (including one for The Fantasy Trip on Kickstarter right now), and more and more support for Nordlond, a full Powered by GURPS RPG tentatively titled Mission X, and more. Read about some of the pending projects here.

That means I’m going to get busy doing more and more, and hopefully, y’all will continue to help me do so. I’d love to do publishing full time, and I can’t do it without you.

Stay safe, and don’t forget: contact me immediately if you find that your order is missing anything. One of these days I’ll put up a post-mortem summary of Nordlond Sagas, though I can tell you it won’t be pretty.

We are ten days in to the More Perilous Journeys crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. We’re over 350 backers, who have collectively pledged just under $21,000 of the $25,000 needed to fund. With 15 days left to go, the chances of us funding are strong.

Even so . . . funding sooner is better than funding later, for two reasons. One, a funded project draws even more backers, which is good for everyone. Second, as soon as the project funds, I start commissioning art and finalizing layout and editing. Basically lopping time off the back end of the schedule, targeting early delivery.

I’ve already started with some of the art: Ksenia Kozhevnikova, a long-time collaborator on Gaming Ballistic projects, is working on the cover for the 40-page solo/programmed adventure Dragon Hunt! You can see her Work-in-Progress image below. I loved this work so much I’ve asked her to do the other four covers as well.

The good news is that while we have 355 backers so far, we have over 400 folks currently “following” the campaign who have not yet pledged. Perhaps you’re one of them. 

If so, I would ask that you consider pledging sooner rather than later, if you can. COVID has messed up everyone’s plans and finances this year, of course, No getting around it. But jumping in now really helps the progress of the project, and once we hit that milestone, I can start engaging with the art team to move things along even faster.

Fifteen days to go! 

More Perilous Journeys

I received word from the shipping company that the books should be dropped off at my house tomorrow around lunchtime. Hopefully the forecast will remain accurate (hah ha HA HAH HA!!!) and it will not rain.

Regardless, this means I can start getting the USA physical orders shipped out right away.

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Brief update this morning!

Holiday Weekend

For those in the USA, it’s Memorial Day, the day dedicated to those who died in the armed service of their country (Veterans Day honors those still alive who served). At least here in Minnesota, it traditionally rains like mad…today is no exception.

Campaign Progress

In development news, the More Perilous Journeys campaign stands less than $100 from hitting 80% funding, and still with 19 days to go. We’re in the period best characterized as “the doldrums,” which is that slow, steady period of funding between the first 2-3 day rush after launch and the last 48 hours near the end.

This is where a few re-shares, tweets, or forum posts by not-the-publisher have the most impact. At the current rate, we likely only need about 90 pledges to fund. We have nearly 400 people following the campaign who have not yet backed. This means there’s enough ‘latent’ interest to not just fund, but succeed spectacularly.

Cover Work

I received an update to the work-in-progress image on the cover of Dragon Hunt. I liked it so much that I asked the artist if she had time to do the other four…she does, and she will. I’m procuring these covers in the anticipation that we fund, of which I have no doubt.

We’ve already talked about some changes. The dragon on the front cover will have fore-limbs added, to better match up with the TFT lore. The ruins in the background get more detail. Everything, in fact, gets more detailed as things go forward, and she touches up the details, adds textures, and does whatever it is artists of her caliber do. I can’t wait to see it. The next four will come out roughly every two weeks thereafter, meaning I should have those done by the end of July.

Ksenia Kozhovnikova just shared with me her rough pencils (rough! rough! This is rough for her!) of one of the covers for the new TFT books for my More Perilous Journeys Kickstarter.

This one is (obviously) for “Dragon Hunt,” David Pulver’s 40-page solo/programmed adventure. This one can also be easily run with a GM, since going dragon hunting (and other monsters) really ought to be a group effort. Unless, of course, you’re just that mighty.

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There was an inquiry about a retail level – and bad on me forgetting about it!

There are now two new pledge levels. One for the new books, one for all the books. If you know an FLGS who wishes to support TFT . . . steer them to this!

Retail Level – 5 Each New Physical Books ($180)

For our retail customers! Five copies each of the printed books (no PDFs!) that are new to this campaign. This is at a 50% discount from the retail cost of the five books.

Retail Option – ALL TEN Print Books (5×) ($360)

If you missed the first campaign and want to put ALL TEN print books on your store shelves, this is your pledge level. Five copies EACH of the softcover books from “Five Perilous Journeys,” plus the five books from “More Perilous Journeys” (this campaign), all discounted at 50% for retail sale. No PDFs are included with this reward!

Thanks to you guys, Gaming Ballistic delivered with More Perilous Journeys its best first day performance on a Kickstarter, ever. It wasn’t even close: my prior record was less than $7,000 . . . and that was the Four Perilous Journeys campaign!

We’re over 60% funded as of this morning, and hopefully we’ll see another solid day. Who knows . . . maybe we’ll even fund today? Four Perilous Journeys saw about 40-50% of Day 1 on Day 2 . . . and that would bring us (dare I say it) Perilously close to success.

Progress

This morning I received the updated and revised draft of The Sunken Library, which means all five books are in my hands. Now, it’s all me for editing and layout.

I have commissioned the cover for Dragon Hunt!, and I’ve seen a work-in-progress draft of the pencils for the cover. It’s glorious. The artist and I discussed some revisions and she should get back to me this week, I hope. I’ll post that as soon as it’s ready.

Today I hope to get preliminary work done on all five books. Not full edits, but getting the formatting and initial layouts right. On the programmed adventures, that’s no small task.

With funding moving along at a very healthy clip (knock on wood), I need to accelerate this part of it, so the moment we fund, I’m ready for art direction. Art usually takes a month or so.

Share, Share, Share some More!

We have 461 “followers” in the campaign, and of those so far, 147 have pledged. We also have 277 actual backers . . . which means 130 folks came aboard that never followed the campaign. This is excellent, as it provides a lot of latent capability to fund . . . and more than fund.

The key thing right now is reach and word of mouth. A kind word and a pointer on a social media feed from a fan, rather than a publisher or author, is huge.

Even so: we had a great first day. Hopefully Day 2 brings us that much closer!

The More Perilous Journeys campaign, producing five new old-school adventures for TFT, is now live! 

 

What is The Fantasy Trip?

The Fantasy Trip is an “old school” RPG created by Steve Jackson. Its first element was released in 1977: the combat game Melee (available FREE from Steve Jackson Games!). That was followed by the magic game Wizard and a full roleplaying rulebook: In the Labyrinth.

The Fantasy Trip is more “cinematic” than “simulationist” — speed and ease of play are the goal, not an exact representation of every swing and every defense. The background is unabashedly swords and sorcery. Elves are noble, dragons are greedy, and gunpowder weapons exist but are very likely to blow up in your face!

TFT was off the market for more than 35 years, until 2017 when Steve Jackson regained the rights to his work and set about creating a new edition. The Legacy Edition came out in 2018 . . . and More Perilous Journeys supports that amazing deluxe edition.

What books?

The campaign features five new adventures. Three expect you to run with a GM at the helm; the other two are solo adventures.

Roc of Sages (Christopher R. Rice and J. Edward Tremlett). Beset by Collectors – assassins from the Indhyna League – the party must journey to the Isle of Greater Zosi to collect items for the semi-corporeal Jok Sevantes. Of course, there are several dangerous stops along the way. Roc of Sages is designed for 4-6 characters of 34-36 points.

Catacombs of Living Death (Christopher R. Rice and J. Edward Tremlett). Following the events of Roc of Sages, Jok Sevantes again calls the party to aid him. They must venture forth through a plague-stricken land, and enter the Catacombs of Eulogia to recover the Helm of Baat. Simple enough . . . but things are not always as they appear. Catacombs of Living Death is designed for 4-6 characters of 36-38 points.

The Sunken Library (Christopher R. Rice and J. Edward Tremlett). Set immediately following Catacombs, the players flee the plague-ridden landscape beset by numerous foes. Sevantes’ plans reach their climax as his partners must bring all of the previously found artifacts beneath the depths of a lake in Meloria. There, a lost tome sits in the sunken Great Library of Meloria, and matters become treacherously clear. The Sunken Library  is designed for 4-6 characters of 36-38 points.

Dragon Hunt! (David Pulver). Baron Gwalathar’s armies marched off to war. Without its defenders, the dragons of the wild sensed weakness, ravaging the realm. The young Baroness Tanith Gwalathar calls for heroes: It’s time for a dragon hunt! This is a solo/programmed adventure for one 37-39 point character or two 35-36 point characters. It can optionally also be run with a GM.

Dark Lord’s Doom (David Pulver). Another Dark Lord is on the march, threatening to bring death and destruction to all who oppose, and maybe a few who don’t. This solo/programmed adventure features a squad of soldiers fighting in an all-out war to defeat the evil Lord Saethor and his allies before it’s too late. Will the Dark Lord’s doom fall upon the party, or on the villain himself?  Dark Lord’s Doom is designed for 4 characters of 33-36 points each.

Read More, and Join the Campaign!

More Perilous Journeys