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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!

While we’re all sitting at home, Gaming Ballistic has not been idle. Lots going on in the background, some of which I can talk about, some I can’ or it’s not yet time.

Confirmed and Upcoming Projects

In the immediate future, I’ve got three things on my horizon, though some of them may break into smaller bits.

More Perilous Journeys (2020)

The first thing up, and sooner rather than later, is the next installment of projects for The Fantasy Trip from Gaming Ballistic. It features more works by the same author group as last time, and features five more books.

Two are solos by David Pulver. I should be getting the first draft of one of them Any Day Now, and he’ll turn to the other immediately thereafter.

Three are the continuation and conclusion of the Jok Sevantes adventures by Christopher R. Rice and J. Edward Tremlett. I have read and reviewed all three of their submissions. One is in editing with me, the other two went back for revision to the authors with extensive feedback. That is a very normal part of the writing process, and I definitely think that if we can pull off the shared vision of agency, action, and freedom of choice that the revised books promise, they’ll be really fun to play.

One thing I’m going to do a little differently for this project is to have the “books” part of the project run differently than the “stuff” part. So counters and cards that appeared in the Four Perilous Journeys project are still on the docket, but staggered so that the “books” and “stuff” supply chains don’t cross. I think, overall, this will make the projects go more smoothly.

I also have a thought in mind for that “stuff” project, and I’ll bring that up later.

Norðlond Bestiary (2020)

With the bestiary, called the Norðlondr Ovinabokin (Nordlond Enemies Book), I hope to provide a resource for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG that allows folks running games set in Norðlond to just play. Coming up with good adversaries can be very time consuming, and being able to just pick from a list is really handy. That Other Game has had the Monster Manual since I was eight years old – it was published in 1977 – and having that for inspiration and reference was quite handy.

Most readers of the blog know that originally, “The Book of Foes” was written for my stand-alone RPG Dragon Heresy, and has incorporated many of the creatures found in the SRD, eliminated others, and plussed up the sections on regular flora and fauna. Perhaps a third, maybe fewer, of the monsters appeared in the bestiary section of the Dragon Heresy book. But every word of fluff text was new, or modified, to fit the setting.

So there’s a LOT done already, and the biggest job is monster stats. As envisioned, this will be a mighty tome. Lots of critters, lots of stats, lots of art. It’s going to be a big lift and I hope that folks help me by backing the project heavily!

Mission X (2021)

If you were at virtual FnordCon 2 and attended the GURPS panel discussion, you may have heard the wonderful news (for me, anyway!) that SJG has agreed to allow me to create a stand-alone RPG using the GURPS core. It is technically a “Powered by GURPS” product much like the Dungeon Fantasy RPG.

Tentatively titled “Mission X,” though it may change by the time it launches, it will be a modern-day action-oriented game featuring a party of trained operatives heading off into the great beyond to obtain technology and intelligence from a hostile universe. If you read my writeups and notes from my Alien Menace campaign (short-lived due to the arrival of my second daughter), you can see that it grabbed concepts and missions from diverse sources, but featured modern weapons, gear, and tactics plus a “kill aliens and take their stuff” theme to help it feel like “the Dungeon Fantasy RPG in space.”

Mission X is going to be more than that, though. I’m envisioning a setup that allows a GM to run modern day Special Ops or SWAT missions, super-spies, and other genres that involve guns. Lots of guns.

My vision for the series is evolving, but I want a faster “on-ramp” for new players, but I also want folks to look and see my imprint on the game, as I finally get some real ballistics in the Gaming Ballistic product portfolio!

Stay tuned. I have to get through quite a bit before I really turn my mind to this, and until I have my own outline for what needs doing, announcing titles or contents of books is premature. Even so: there are several worked-example books already to give the overall ‘what does this need to look like?’ feel. The Dungeon Fantasy RPG obviously; the Dungeon Fantasy GURPS series, Action (the gift that keeps on giving; read my reviews here), Monster Hunters, and After the End all provide a structure that I would be remiss to ignore.

But there are also things I’ve written for Pyramid that are very on point, and other things written by Sean that are even more so. My mandate to borrow is pretty wide, but not all-inclusive. I can’t hardly wait to get started on it, but first things’ first.

Other Projects (2020 and 2021)

There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes, too. While the three items above represent the BIG projects already announced, there are others in the works.

  • I’m chatting with my authors about at least one Nordlond project. All are short-ish, featuring about two dozen pages, providing drop-in flavor to the setting, but exportable outside of it with little work. Some stuff. Some people. Not tied to a particular location or adventure, but rather ready-to-use help in running free-form campaigns. Or inspiring new adventures.
  • I’d also like to port Nordvorn, Forest’s End, and the Dragons of Rosgarth to Dragon Heresy. They’re pre-written and filled with art already, so expanding the ability of folks to play the Dragon Heresy game – with its blend of 5e and GURPS concepts – is handy.
  • There’s another big project still in the discussion and development phase; so much so I can’t discuss it at all. Next year maybe.
  • Venture Beyond is under discussion again with David. We both want to do it and it’s a matter of time and priority. It’s a full-on RPG, and not based on any existing system! Nothing firm as to timing, but it was well advanced when it was back-burnered.

Alternate Crowdfunding Platform

I intend in late 2020 to explore other crowdfunding options more tailored to the RPG space. Some of the post-mortem from 2019 showed that while Gaming Ballistic is capable of producing many volume projects at once (Four/Five Perilous Journeys and Nordlond Sagas), tying them all together in a bundle is complicated and doesn’t allow the kind of delivery flexibility that my backers deserve.

So I’m going to look at Game On Tabletop for at least one project, as the platform combines the crowdfunding capabilities of a Kickstarter with an integrated pledge manager and add-on capability, as well as phased approaches to handling shipping. I want to start small, so I get a feel for the platform on my end, as well as ensuring that the slide over to a new spot that’s not Kickstarter or IndieGoGo doesn’t put too much at risk.

 

I joined Che Webster this morning on his Roleplay Rescue podcast.

He’s in the UK, so the best time for us both was 6am for me, noon for him. It is, after all, a work day.

This means there were a few times I lost the thread; too much blood in my caffeine stream. But by and large, we had a great chat.

Topics?

  • We talked about the Nordlond Sagas adventures
  • This lead into sandbox vs railroad/roller-coaster [1] discussions
  • We touched on The Fantasy Trip and the adventures produced by the Four Perilous Journeys campaign
  • There was a lot of discussion on how RPGs are not TV, and while adventure movies and television have great elements to be mined, translating that into RPG awesomeness requires a different lens

The conversation was pretty wide-ranging, and there were some really fun moments; Che’s a good interviewer and the topic was interesting to both of us.

Look for it in about a month.

Quick note.

I worked with GoDaddy to get some site maintenance done over the weekend. I’m finally on PHP7, which caused me issues when I wasn’t after the new year.

Also, I now have print and PDF copies of the TFT books from Five Perilous Journeys up for sale on the GB Store. Was only PDF for a while. The link is to the bundle for all five, but you can also get them individually.

I’ve got a bit more to go before I post the 2019 in review.

Gaming Ballistic products are now on DriveThruRPG. One of my goals entering 2020 was to host PDF versions of my products on DriveThruRPG. The reach is so large that even with the cut they take, hopefully it will balance out. Of course, if you’re already here, you might simply go to my web store – we small-time publishers can use all the direct sales we can get!

On the flip side, Gaming Ballistic goes to great lengths for print copies to get offset print runs, or if the demand isn’t there for a full run, then higher quality digital printing.

With that in mind, the following titles are currently available in PDF via DriveThru:

D&D/OSR Products

The Dungeon Fantasy RPG

The Fantasy Trip

More will come later as the PDFs are finalized.

 

This is a nice unboxing video of the Four Perilous Journeys “ALL THE THINGS” pledge level. All five adventures (and the 1-2% error rate on Vampire Hunter Belladonna for assembly problems did not affect this order, so yay!), plus the counter sheets and card deck. Engage MN Passive Voice: “Nice things are said.”

Plus: beer.

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Here’s a bit of a hodge-podge of updates for Gaming Ballistic. Sorry I’ve been content light for a bit; all of my efforts are going to the Nordlond Sagas writing and editing and layout.

Books Arriving!

I’m starting to get reports that the books are arriving in the USA. Excellent; that sounds about right. Some Media Mail is super fast, others can take up to 10 business days. So stay alert.

Errors? Can fix.

Also, make sure you get what you paid for; with a big delivery, fulfillment errors can take place. This includes everything from “oops, you’re missing X” to “the USPS crushed my books into something unrecognizable.”

I’ve got LOTS of spare copies of books. If your card decks or counter sheets are damaged . . . that’s going to be more of an issue. But let’s hope that the really high price I pay for each box (I mean, really?) means they’re quality stuff and protect the goods well. That being said, I’ve sent out two replacement sets of adventures to our “not the USA” friends due to mis-handling, and I’ve got lots and lots of copies in the USA that can be used for that purpose…so if your stuff is broke, email me directly with a photo of the damage and we’ll sort it out.

Feedback Wanted

As always: the thing that creators probably get the least of is post-campaign feedback. “I liked it,” or even better, “I played it” and “here’s what I liked and what I didn’t” is super-valuable. Especially since I’m going to be turning my efforts to “More Perilous Journeys” in 2020.

More Perilous Journeys?

Yep. That’s going to be the new title of the Kickstarter. I may try and take a page from the Car Wars concept and rack up as many pre-orders as possible…but I’m going to be trying a few different things in 2020 with my crowdfunding direction, so we’ll have to see. Kickstarter is popular but a bit confusing; Backerkit is nice, but really labor intensive. Both lack tools that I’d like to see and make things harder than they should. I may try something else, but I want to test it first with a smaller project.

First: let’s take care of “when.” I expect/hope to have all five manuscripts in my hands by Feb 14, 2020. Three are already done, though not edited or laid out. The TFT layout is very clean, so I don’t anticipate any issues there. I’m going to do my best to have all of the text layout ready to go on these by the time crowdfunding launches; I also need a bit of a break after the Nordlond Sagas campaign due to behind-the-scenes stuff. So figure late Feb/early March for a launch date on these.

You’ll be seeing three more adventures that are sequels to Crown of Eternity and Curse of the Pirate King; these are GM’d adventures written by the same team of Christopher R. Rice and J. Edward Tremlett.

You’ll also be getting two 32-page solos from David Pulver; he’s writing those now. They will be very, very different than Vampire Hunter Belladonna in subject matter.

I’ll see if folks want more counters and card decks. As before, these will only be offered as one-time specials for the Kickstarter, but I will certainly have the older counter sheets and card decks from “Four/Five Perilous Journeys” as an add-on, a dedicated print run for those.

Smaller and Bigger 2020

That’s what I’ve got on tap for you for TFT in 2020 thus far. I’ve got other things in mind that year, of course. One is a giant Dungeon Fantasy RPG book, the Norðlondr Ovinabokin, the “Nordlond Enemies Book,” which is planned as a huge bestiary, in hardcover, full color. We’ll see if “A full-length monster manual for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG” has the legs folks say it will! Also, maybe-possibly a brand new RPG from a name you know well (not mine) that is neither TFT nor GURPSy, but I’m very excited about. That one would come late in the year.

So “smaller” number of major releases; each one will be “bigger” though, in terms of how much content will come with the project. I’ve also got a number of projects in mind that will pop up when they’re ready to go, and if my alternate vector for crowdfunding works out, can pop up at any time. I’m already working a really neat DFRPG concept for a 16 or 32-page book with the author of Nordlondr Folk and Hand of Asgard…and more besides. Anything like this will show up as shorter works, though.

By Special Request

A comment in the TFT Discord channel boiled down to “I’d really like a set of cards for the Nordlond monsters.”

I’ll tell you what I told him: after the Nordlondr Ovinabokin is done, I’ll have prose and art for likely over 200 creatures. Turning those into the much-simpler TFT critters should be straight-forward.

So consider it under consideration. Obviously something like this requires permission and discussion with SJG . . . but if they say yes, I’ll see what I can do to slot something like it in for 2020.