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Well, we did it! Hit our funding target for Four Perilous Journeys and a bit more, and we’re sitting almost exactly at the halfway point of the campaign.

So that means the project will happen. Yay!

But even more is going on, and some of this information is hot off the press, so to speak.

Offset Printing

If you’re the type that reads the campaign story over and over, you’ll notice something.

The $32,000 stretch goal for offset printing has been removed from the “Stretch Goals” section.

That’s because I got a quote this morning from my Latvian printer, and simultaneously discovered an error in my comparison/budgeting spreadsheet. That error vastly under-costed the price of POD (you can look it up: $1.97 for an 18-page book, the minimum, on DriveThruRPG).

In any case, with the new quote in hand for an offset print run, it turns out the break-even point for number of backers to make offset the economical option is . . . 237.

As of the time of the Kickstarter crossing the $16,000 mark, we had orders of 257 physical copies, which means offset is the way to go. No longer a stretch goal, it’s “just the way it is.”

The book will be printed with a color cover (255gsm, or about 12-point stock), on 130gsm matte-coated interiors (about 85# paper, a bit heavier than what Lulu uses, and 14% heavier than DriveThru’s “Premium Color” paper).

The minimum order quantity is 500 copies of each one . . . so no matter what, I’ll have about 250 “spares” that will go into distribution – retail stores – after the campaign is complete and all physical copies have been sent to backers.

I consider this a major win for all of us. Offset printing is just better than print-on-demand when it’s affordable. Putting these adventures next to the Legacy Edition in stores will give ready-to-play  additional material to support that gorgeous box.

This is, frankly, how I wanted to do this thing from the get-go, and I’m thrilled that it’s going to happen. I’m a little irked at my mistake to begin with, but I blame never attempting to print four books at the same time before. It’s easy to either forget to count the x4, or double-count it. Anyway . . . yay, offset.


As you’ve seen, the add-on for token sheets has been announced. Each $10 you add to your pledge will be able to be spent on the four token sheets – one per adventure – that are being made to accompany the adventure.

Each sheet will be in full color; the exact same art will be used, but converted to greyscale, to make print-your-own tokens on the back of each adventure. Contrast and emphasis will be adjusted at the minimum to ensure what looks good in color still looks good in black and white.

I’ve contracted with Juan Ochoa, an artist that has worked with me on every Kickstarter I’ve run to date, to rapidly (like 36 hours) generate 42 sample tokens that I will use to prototype a sample sheet for Ironskull Castle.

These are not necessarily final! I wanted a good example of going through the entire process, AND converting these to B/W, to see how they’ll look.

But . . . here’s some of Juan’s initial output.

Skeleton Archer 1
Skeleton Archer 1
Skeleton Archer 2 - each figure is different
Skeleton Archer 2 – each figure is different
Skeleton Halberdier
Skeleton Halberdier
Silent Knight
Silent Knight

I’ve asked Juan to use a great deal of artistic license on these prototypes, and so some of the details in the final images will be different. For example: the Ironskull tabard (for the archers and the halberdiers) should be sable (a brown so dark it’s almost black), with the skull emblem in grey/silver. That’s how it’s described by David, so that’s what we want to see.

But . . . I really wanted to test the token manufacturer’s abilities to reproduce color and lines effectively, so this particular test isn’t about getting all the details right – it’s about doing it at all.

NPC and Monster Cards

There’s more on the way, too. Each token (and piece of art) will match up to an NPC or Monster card in the same format as those being made for Decks of Destiny.

Some of those cards – as per the stretch goal announcement – will be unique to Decks of Destiny. I’ll make the rest with a card deck per adventure, just as there will be a token sheet per adventure.

And when I say “the same format as those being made for Decks of Destiny,” I mean EXACTLY the same – at least on the card back, plus the form factor. Steve Jackson Games is very generous with their licensees, and I have precise specs (and even some raw files!) to ensure that if you shuffle the Four Perilous Journeys cards in with the Decks of Destiny . . . you will be surprised with every card flip.

The fronts may be more unique . . . but the backs and sizes will be entirely compatible.

No formal announcement on pricing and timing yet. Look for those as my plans mature. But . . . I’ve got my eye on it. The expensive bit – as is par for the course for printing – is setup. So a single deck of 130 cards would probably wind up being $30-35, but contain cards for just about every NPC and creature in the book, ready to kill and be killed by the GM and players.

Megahex Meanderings

The last thing I’m looking into is megahexes. These are tricky, as custom laser-cutting to make the hex shapes is something that is hard to come by.

Even So, two ideas, and I’d like your feedback on both.

A gripping concept

That being said . . . I have an idea. What would you all think of, instead of die-cut cardboard, I looked into die-cut stickers. I’ll need to chat with the vendor to see if these are going to work with dry-erase markers. But I can affordably print megahexes – with full-color art – on stickers, which will be die-cut “for no additional charge” to any shape, including custom multi-hex tiles. Backers would have to remove the backing (see what I did there?) and then mount them on your board-stock of choice.

If you ain’t got that cling

Another option, would be to produce static-cling stickers. The best thing here would be what they call face-adhesive stickers – they’re designed to stick to a surface and be viewed THROUGH the surface.

You’d mount them under a sheet of acrylic, lexan, or glass (the last two work GREAT with dry-erase) and then place the sheet on a table. You could assemble the stickers on a large sheet of glass, and then your labyrinth is fixed in place, cat-proof, and you can mark on the glass without marring or risking the underlying megahexes.

I spoke too soon about the expense. Turns out that at least at one source, they’re CHEAPER than stickers.

To Stretch Goals, and Beyond!

The big stretch goals on the table right now are the Decks of Destiny co-campaign goals published by Steve Jackson Games:

Three stretch goals that expand the Decks of Destiny project as the Four Perilous Journeys campaign attracts support.

  •  Four Perilous Journeys – $16,000 – Rumors & Treasures – Four rumor cards added to the Rumors & Treasures subassembly, each based on one of the Four Perilous Journeys adventures.
  •  Four Perilous Journeys – $20,000 – Adversaries – Four character cards added to the Adversaries subassembly, each based on one of the Four Perilous Journeys adventures.
  •  Four Perilous Journeys – $25,000 – Rumors & Treasures – Four more rumor cards added to the Rumors & Treasures subassembly, each based on one of the Four Perilous Journeys adventures.

These new cards, if unlocked, will provide you with hooks to the four adventures that may either be used to guide the player characters into one of the adventures or, if you wish, as the springboard to an adventure of your own design.

Now that we’re funded . . .

Stretch goals are cool, but not delivering the main product is the opposite of cool. It’s UN-cool. (If you heard that as the voice of Alan Tudyk’s Duke Weaselton from Zootopia, you heard it right.)

So, the biggest factor for me now that we’ve funded is to blitzkrieg the editing and layout so I can start engaging with the artists. Once that is in hand – and my goal is to have it in hand by the middle of next week – I will contract artists and cartographers and set that in motion.

Simultaneous with that I will work with SJG on first the “we funded!” goal of four Rumors and Treasures cards, to ensure no delays to DoD come from my end. I will also look into NPC and Monster full card decks as described above.

This is getting rather exciting.

Two weeks in: 93% funded

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So, we’re at Day 14 and 93% funded on Four Perilous Journeys: New Adventures for The Fantasy Trip. Nordvorn, my best-to-date Kickstarter took 20 days to get to this point. So while I’d dearly love to have that extra 7% right the heck now, I must force myself to realize that we’re on a fairly typical trajectory for a Kickstarter.

Editing Status

There was a round of playtesting and some further commentary on Ironskull Castle. Caught a few typos and inconsistencies, and two logical “WTF?” moments. They’ve been fixed. Through Memorial Day, I’ll be editing the manuscripts for content and flow; preliminary layouts of the edited manuscripts should be in place, therefore, by the end of Monday. That will allow me to get playtest copies out to the Master and Commander backers for the other three adventures.

Die-cut Tokens

I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at die-cut tokens and cards. I can report:

  • I’ve found a way to make them.
  • The art is still going to be the expensive part; this not a surprise.
  • The die-cut tokens will be in full color; black and white versions of the tokens will appear as “print them yourself” on the last page of each book.

I’ve contracted with one of my artists to make a trial sheet. He should be getting back to me with 42 sketches based on the characters in Ironskull Castle sometime today or tomorrow. At that point, I’ll place an order for a prototype and have it express-shipped to me.

Once I have the prototype in hand, I’ll put the add-on officially in the campaign. They’ll be $10 per sheet, and you’ll be able to choose which sheets you want ad-hoc in the Backerkit cart phase of the project.

If you are so confident that you’ll be getting tokens, you can certainly up your pledge now (if for some reason it all falls apart, you can reduce your pledge before the end of the campaign) which would help us fund. If 10% of current backers each go in for token sheets, we fund.

Oh, and for mini-stretch-goals: If I can 100 or more of any one sheet, I’ll upgrade the board from 1.6mm to 2.5mm at no extra cost for that sheet. Another very important note: This is a THING, not a BOOK, and will follow a different logistics train than the books. This means international shipping, customs, and taxes could be egregiously high, and I won’t know that until the end. Please plan accordingly.

Sample of what PROTOTYPE art will look like (though it'll be color).
Sample of what PROTOTYPE art will look like (though it’ll be color).

NPC and Monster Cards

I’m working on these as well. I have had excellent help from SJG on this, and they’ve really gone above and beyond to make this happen. I can’t report anything yet, but I can say anything produced will be identical in form factor to existing cards of similar function. No promises on making “a card for each token” decks yet, though I’d very much like to do that . . . so I’m working on it. If things go to plan and I’m ready with “all but the art” drafts of all four adventures by Monday (and doubly so if we’ve funded by then), this will get most of my attention.

Current and Latent Backers

We’re holding steady at 372 “latent” backers, who are following but not yet pledged. That’s a potential for as much as $30,000 or so: enough to get us through all of the announced Decks of Destiny stretch goals and within easy striking distance of an offset print run.

I’m getting the books re-quoted using the same printer in the EU I’m using for my Dungeon Fantasy RPG projects; maybe that offset print run can come down if it’s a good price.

The key for us now is two-fold:

  • Entice those following the project to jump in. We need only 27 new backers to fund, if they come in at the current average pledge
  • Get the word out to others. That’s Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, MeWe, gaming forums, and nice things and reminders on the existing TFT comment lists. A word from a backer is worth way, way more than what always feels like a continual barrage of spam from the creator.

The halfway point for Four Perilous Journeys is Thursday. Let’s see if we can fund by then!

It’s well past time for a GURPSDay! The move was still disruptive, but we’re coming out the back end of it, I think. Now to sell the old house. That’ll be a load off.

But here you go. I went back three weeks this time, to catch up and get some repeat views and if you missed some.

In news for Gaming Ballistic, Citadel at Nordvorn, Hall of Judgment, and Fantastic Dungeon Grappling files were all sent to the printer. I just spent time reviewing and correcting one pesky error in Nordvorn’s image rendering (fixed), and I have a lingering doubt on image quality on Fantastic Dungeon Grappling that might be nothing, but I want to make sure.

My new venture, Four Perilous Journeys, for The Fantasy Trip is over 80% funded, but it’s in the doldrums so things are slow; plus Decks of Destiny is doing so well it’s got lots of spotlight, so there’s that.

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 “Thursday is GURPSDay! Apr 26 to May 17, 2019”

Thanks to their patience, persistence, and an amazingly successful Kickstarter, Steve Jackson Games re-acquired the rights to The Fantasy Trip . . . and produced The Fantasy Trip: Legacy Edition. It arrived with a resounding thunk in a Cidri-scale box. Then came the TFT Adventures. Ready-to-play support for The Fantasy Trip with maps, counters, and megahexes. Now, in partnership with Steve Jackson GamesGaming Ballistic launched on Kickstarter Four Perilous Journeys: New Adventures for The Fantasy Trip.

What’s Being Created

The campaign will fund publication of four new 16-page adventures, each of which is already written. The funds pay for editing, layout, art, maps, and a high-quality print run if that stretch goal is unlocked.

Each softcover adventure will sport a unique color cover, and contain black and white interiors on high-quality paper. Sixteen pages means the binding will be saddle-stitched (stapled).

The campaign is off to a fantastic start: nearly 50% funding on the first day. If you want to know more . . . read on. If you have heard enough and just want to get to the campaign page already:

Four Perilous Journeys: New Adventures for The Fantasy Trip

Continue reading “Four Perilous Journeys: New Adventures for The Fantasy Trip LIVE on Kickstarter”