It’s been a bit since I provided an update, so here we go.

At the high level, the Four (Five!) Perilous Journeys Kickstarter is chugging along, on budget, on schedule, and making progress. Backerkit is moving along, pre-orders are a bit light, and the art that’s coming in is really blowing my socks off.

Shipping

International shipping still scares the pants off me. That being said, I have made a few adjustments I wanted to cover (again, really: I mentioned it in a prior update).

If you’re shipping game accessories to Canada, instead of having the orders ship from the UK, they’ll ship from the US. This avoids weird questions with taxes and VAT from the UK side and saves Canucks a few bucks.

If you’re shipping books only, which are not taxed, they’ll still come from the UK.

Otherwise, I sent the list of international shipments to my fulfillment partner and he pre-calculated what I was going to likely owe given where we were on things, and basically I’ve gotten the shipping essentially correct. I’m not hundreds or thousands of dollars over or under for the international shipping, which is what I was afraid of. Under because that would turn a successful project into a very painful one, and I don’t want to do that. Over because shipping is not supposed to be a profit center. If one includes the money it will take to get the accessories over to the UK in the first place . . . I may be within a few tens of dollars of “exactly right.” So booyah. That’s good and right.

Backerkit Progress, Funding, and Spending

We’re really doing very well. We’re well over 90% and have been for a bit, and have brought in as I type this about $8,600 in extra revenue, with 93% of backers having responded to the survey. In truth, about half of the 37 folks who haven’t yet responded aren’t receiving any products that are set to ship, so unless they wish to engage in a pledge adjustment or throw down some add-ons, they’ll get what they paid for.

It looks like we’re linearizing to about $9,000 to $9,100 in total extra funds, which means overall, the Kickstarter probably brought in close to $50K at the top line. That’s rather nice.

I’ve done a preliminary tally, and total revenue (less Kickstarter fees) will be around $45,000 – $9K from Backerkit and $36K from Kickstarter. I’ve paid a bunch of bills so far and I project having anywhere from $25-29K left to spend. That will leave me with actual profit for the campaign, plus the distribution sales that hopefully will come once the print versions go into retail stores.

So the trajectory is good, though of course in business there’s always room to screw things up.

Pre-Orders thus far are pretty light. Hopefully folks will see this update who missed the Kickstarter and jump in.

Covers

Mostly you’ve seen these, I think. But three of the five covers are basically finished.

I’m working with my artists on the last two covers; I will likely tweak each one out a bit more to ensure maximum readability and uniformity of presentation: logo sizes and position, etc.

Interior

I’m starting to see interior art come in, but that’s a bit of the long pole in the tent. One of the long poles.

The art here is by Ben Jan, who also did the covers of Crown (this book) and Curse. I’ve engaged Sandrine Malus to balance out a few more pieces in Crown, which will effectively finish the book save for title page credits, playtester credits, ISBN, and some map tweaks.

Citadel of Ice will have the interior art done last…but see below for progress on the counters.

Pirate King has been commissioned and is being worked; I need to get in touch with the artist for Ironskull, which though the first finished is the last to be worked from an art perspective.

Vampire Hunter Belladonna transitioned to the writing rather than outlining stage in the last week or so.

Counter Art

I got some updates from Rick (Citadel of Ice) on the die-cut color counter art. Holy wow.

I’ll just leave a few examples here, and then sign off. If you are inspired to jump in now, having missed the campaign . . . it’s not to late to pre-order.

The crowdfunding campaign for “Four Perilous Journeys: New Adventures for The Fantasy Trip” closed on June 8. It hit 250% funding and smashed my previous records for both backers and funds raised.

If you missed the campaign, or wanted to join in but could not . . .it’s not too late.

The Pre-Order Store for Four Perilous Journeys is open

Everything that was available during the campaign can be had in the pre-order store, plus a lot more besides.

 

I sent out a LOT of updates over the last few days. But this one is the best.

Thank you. We broke all my records that really matter this campaign: most backers (608 vs 600), most funding ($40,108!).

The trajectory of the campaign is something I’ll mull over and study a lot once I get my ducks in a row on producing five books, five token sheets, and a card deck all at once.

The relatively boring pledge curve, up to the campaign re-orientation, was a forceful lesson in what the TFT fans want in their product mix, at least (a) for Kickstarters, and (b) for Kickstarters being run simultaneously with a hugely successful OTHER Kickstarter from SJG!

In any case: Here’s the key bits of the schedule I’ll be trying to hit for you guys:

  • Kickstarter Ends June 8
  • Backerkit Opens June 25
  • Backerkit Ends July 8
  • Distribute PDFs End July
  • Files to Printer mid-August
  • Ship International end of September
  • Final Arrival end of October

The addition of the card decks and fifth adventure really pushed my schedule to the far side of “October,” and I’ll see where, if anywhere, I can accelerate to have more slack. But I need to give the artists time to do their thing properly, and David needs time to write Vampire Hunter Belladonna. Life may happen…but I’ll try and keep it tight, and you know you’ll be kept well informed.

This is it. The last day. The sprint and dash. The Final Countdown.

But the Kickstarter campaign for Four Perilous Journeys is not over yet, and the last day is often one of the best days.

Go. Go Tell Your Friends.

At this point, the very best thing that you, as backers, can do for the campaign that you already haven’t done by pledging is to post about the campaign, and share the link.

The 48-hour announcement is a good one to share. So is the Daily Illuminator, though that requires two clicks.

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We’re funded. We’ve hit stretch goals. And, as I realized yesterday, there’s a very significant discount on the ALL THE DIGITAL THINGS and BRING ME THE THINGS. ALL OF THEM levels.The ‘sold separately’ price of the digital “sweeper” pledge is over $65. The same calculation for the all the things physical pledge is about $200.

Can’t Wait for Physical

Just a bit of a side note, but related.

I received my advance copy/test proof for my 8-page booklet “Fantastic Dungeon Grappling” for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, Powered by GURPS. It’s my first chance to handle my own works printed by Livonia in Latvia.

It’s gorgeous. The color is super-vivid, the paper luxurious. These are the same printers who will print the five adventures being produced here, so I can tell you you’re going to be very happy with them. In particular, I can’t wait to see how the Vampire Hunter Belladonna cover turns out. It is going to POP.

With that . . . I’ve got a 5-year-old girl whose birthday party is today, so I’ll catch you guys after she’s proerly sugar-soaked and satiated. We’ve got a unicorn pinata to destroy, and she needs to choose her weapons.

I’m voting longsword.

FIVE Perilous Journeys

We’re now within the 48-hour window until the Four Perilous Journeys Kickstarter comes to an end. Thanks to the generosity of over 500 backers, we’re approaching 200% funding. The campaign got a complete makeover on May 30! If you’ve not checked out what’s on offer since then . . . now would be a good time!

If you’re new to the campaign . . .

Welcome! Since the campaign started, the four GM’d 16-page adventures . . . the original “Four Perilous Journeys” have grown to five, now including a 32-page solitaire adventure called Vampire Hunter Belladonna. Here’s a preview of the cover:
Vampire Hunter Belladonna Cover Template; Art to be added later!

Additionally, check out the die-cut counters!Prototype 1

Also, the NPC/Creature Cards follow the pattern of the Creature and Wizard cards from Decks of Destiny. Shuffle them in and poof! Instant challenge. The placeholder art shows color (it’s what I have). The actual decks may be turned to greyscale to harmonize with the Decks of Destiny.Gargoyle, with placeholder artWizard, with placeholder art

The card backs will match exactly those of the Decks of Destiny.

If you’ve already pledged . . .

If you’ve already pledged at the basic Digital Voyager ($20) or Print Quartermaster ($50) level, you get all five adventures, which include on their last page the greyscale counters to print yourself. If you want the physical die-cut counters or the NPC/Monster cards, or the PDFs of that content, the “ALL THE DIGITAL THINGS” ($50) and “BRING ME THE THINGS. ALL OF THEM.” ($110) levels both include substantial discounts in overall pricing of the combined totals. Consider upgrading if you’re interested in more than one or two of the component pieces.

FIVE Perilous Journeys

Ironskull Castle (Pulver). Visit Ironskull Castle, the headquarters of Lady Raelle Ironskull, mercenary warlord turned magical arms dealer, mistress of Eldritch Arms. An entire castle filled with nasty surprises, strange magic items, and detailed NPCs. 16 pages.

Crown of Eternity (Rice/Tremlett). The party is tasked with finding a lost researcher for an exclusive league of magical explorers. The lost eldritch archaeologist was in search of the fabled Crown of Eternity. 16 pages.

Citadel of Ice (Pulver). The dungeon is a frozen labyrinth inside an iceberg drifting in the ocean. The team of adventurers must journey to the floating tomb before it melts, taking the treasure with it. 16 pages.

Curse of the Pirate King (Rice/Tremlett). Travel to the former capitol of a vast pirate nation, and find the fabled Blade of Dawn. Go to the lifeless rock, and loot the treasure of a thousand dead buccaneers. What could go wrong? 16 pages.

Vampire Hunter Belladonna is a programmed adventure for The Fantasy Trip. You won’t need a Game Master—instead a system of branching paragraphs directs you from encounter to encounter as you make your own choice. This independent adventure has ties to Ironskull Castle, so you can use both together in a campaign if you wish. 32 pages.

Check out the prototype cover art templates. The megahexes leave no doubt that you’re playing The Fantasy Trip, and while the art is a placeholder, I’m drawing from a highly successful pool of artists who have all worked with Gaming Ballistic before.
New Add-ons and RewardsNew Add-ons and RewardsNew Add-ons and Rewards

New Add-ons and Rewards

NPC/Creature Deck

For quick reference and easy play at the table, nothing beats the utility of a printed NPC or monster card.

The basic add-on will be 42 cards in the “Creature and Wizard” size: 3.5 x 5″. These will be printed on quality UV-gloss coated stock for maximum compatibility with dry-erase markers.

There is not a unique card deck per adventure: there’s a single deck that draws from the selection of creatures that come with the adventures, including the solo adventure we added when we passed the $21,000 stretch goal.

The “deck” will also be available in PDF format.

Token Sheets

Each adventure has creatures and NPCs to fight, negotiate with, or charm. While print-your-own tokens are on the last page in each adventure, this add-on gets you a COLOR version of that page, either in PDF or die-cut 1.6mm glossy cardboard.

Each sheet contains 42 1″ square tokens depicting the creatures and characters from the adventure. There is a separate sheet for each adventure.

New Reward Levels

All the Digital Things! ($50)

This pledge level includes a PDF of all the rewards offered in the campaign in digital format.

  • PDFs of all five Perilous Journeys: Four 16-page GM’d adventures, and a 32-page solitaire from a successful stretch goal.
  • Color PDFs of the token sheets that come with the adventure, supporting those with print-it-yourself aspirations with quality color inkjet or laser printers
  • Color PDFs of all the NPC/Monster cards, with a hyperlinked table of contents for quick reference

These are discounted as a bundle from their price as individual add-ons (see below for item pricing).

Bring Me The Things. All of Them. ($110)

This is the place for those that must loot and pillage. This pledge level includes a PDF of all the rewards offered in the campaign in physical AND digital format.

  • Print and PDF copies of all PDFs of all five Perilous Journeys: Four 16-page GM’d adventures, and a 32-page solitaire from a successful stretch goal.
  • Printed die-cut token sheets, in color, of all the tokens that come with each adventure. These are printed on 1.6mm gloss-laminated stock
  • Color PDFs of the token sheets that come with the adventure, supporting those with print-it-yourself aspirations with quality color inkjet or laser printers.
  • UV-gloss laminated NPC and Monster cards. A minimum of 42 cards will be provided.
  • Color PDFs of the NPC/Monster cards, with a hyperlinked table of contents for quick reference

These are discounted as a bundle from their price as individual add-ons (see below for item pricing). There are, of course, other reward levels for those who just want the adventures in PDF or Print format without the (super-cool, really) extras. There is also a retailer level for those wanting multiple copies to sell in your store!

The campaign for Four Perilous Journeys ends in less than two days! Jump on board, and set your course for adventure!

Funding Status

The Four Perilous Journeys Kickstarter campaign is about to enter its home stretch. The campaign ends this Saturday at 10pm Central time.

We’ve done quite well: we’re sitting at just shy (like a single All the Things pledge) of $30,000 with over 350 folks following but not pledged. We’re also nearly averaging $60 per pledge, so as we hopefully draw in the folks who are currently watching, we will push through. The question in my mind is if we pick up another 100 or so backers, so as to surpass The Citadel at Nordvorn as my most-backed Kickstarter ever; it’s already my most funded.

If you’re following but not yet pledged . . . jump on! It’s never too early.

Covers!

I sent out a bunch of updates because I was having a lot of fun putting the covers together. I got several done, some with placeholder images to capture the spirit of the adventure, and one without, because all of the placeholder images I wanted to use were, well, filled with Buffy or Anna Valerious.

But I knew that I wanted to feature megahexes – the signature TFT element, really – in the design. Early feedback suggests it went well enough. Here’s what I have so far:

I don’t quite have one for Crown of Eternity yet, but the primary terrain element is a giant desert, so desert terrain seems likely. Curse of the Pirate King may get a revamp too, either to make it jungle, or perhaps the decking boards of ships. Even if I do say so myself: the red silk and black megahexes from Vampire Hunter Belladonna turned out really well.

What’s Next

Well, we finish! The next 3.5 days from when I write this should hopefully see an acceleration of interest and funding, with an increase in backer count to help the authors get paid more! Right now, they’re being paid double the original base pay rate thanks to your backer count. I’d love to see them get paid triple (at 750 backers).

Today in between and around Day Job activities, and before the KS ends, I’ll be

  • Digging in hard on the editing of Crown of Eternity.
  • Getting the cartography commissions completed.
  • Doing a few mock-up cards to show what the NPC/Monster card will look like; the art will change because I’ll use some temp art . . . but you’ll see what you’ll get.
  • Continuing to shop around art direction. The 42 tokens per adventure – even if some are duplicates (five yetis, twelve salt wraiths, whatever) are a lot of work
  • I will make some edits based on playtest feedback and get the three finished adventures back out into the playtest group’s hands.

From here on out, it’s all about finalization. I may need to push some deadlines around in order to give the artists time to do their thing. I’d rather get the (now five) books done right than insist on shipping a less-good product on a particular day, but I haven’t been late yet, and I don’t wish to start now!

So . . . back to the salt mines. Which are, naturally, filled with wraiths. Onward!

Check out Four Five! Perilous Journeys on Kickstarter

Holy Wow.

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I mean, I was listening to y’all, and I thought I heard what you wanted. Thanks for supporting my attempt to give it to you!

Just for perspective, we increased the funding total on Four Five! Perilous Journeys by 22% in one day. That day was in the middle of the campaign, as well, when the daily total is usually about 1/10 the average of the first two days. In our case, we increased campaign funding by $4,220 against an expected baseline of about $520.

That, as they say, ain’t bad.

What now?

Now the real work truly begins. This weekend I’ll be laying down art direction for the two finished books, and editing the heck out of the unfinished ones. We’re adding a few new monsters and some variations to enhance the unpredictability of one of them, and boosting the “player facing” nature of the other. All good stuff; these are going to be fun to play.

I’ll also be making a few trial NPC/Monster cards for demo. As I’ve said before, SJG has been VERY generous with their stuff, so the backs of these cards will be identical to those of Decks of Destiny. And when I say “identical,” I mean they provided me the actual design files. So.

Now that I know I’ll be doing cards, tokens, and back-cover art, that massively helps me spec out the art direction. I’ll be reaching out to folks over the next few days to get it done. Each book will be given to a different artist, both to make each one visually distinctive, but also to speed time to completion.

Likewise, cartography. I’ll be getting this rolling as well.

October? Really?

Pretty sure, yes. Giving David time to write the fifth adventure pushed the schedule back by 2-3 weeks, but that took it from “projected October 2 or earlier” to “Projected October 31 or earlier.” So: still October.

Things could, of course, go pear-shaped. They could also accelerate. Wacky fun, is Kickstarter.

Thanks Again; Spread the Word

We’ve funded, passed stretch goals, and things are kicking along. The appreciation for the new pledge tiers is great . . . but if you want to help your authors, please spread the word of the campaign and the recent changes! They are (as of the time of this writing) 10 backers away from getting another bump-up in pay – you’ve increased their per-adventure share of the rewards by 70% already. I really hope we can bring in at least 150 more people – 600 backers is my current record, and I want to beat it! Also, at that point, the authors pay rate is 2.4 times the initial rate.

There’s no cap on that. If we hit 1,250 backers, they get paid five times base price. Rising tide lifting boats and all that.

So: please spread the word!

And Thank You!

I’ve revamped the campaign by adding a few new stretch goals and adding some “all the things” pledge levels, which include the new reward items.

NPC/Creature Deck

For quick reference and easy play at the table, nothing beats the utility of a printed NPC or monster card.

The basic add-on will be 42 cards in the “Creature and Wizard” size: 3.5 x 5″. These will be printed on quality UV-gloss coated stock for maximum compatibility with dry-erase markers.

There is not a unique card deck per adventure: there’s a single deck that draws from the selection of creatures that come with the adventures, including the solo adventure if we hit the $21,000 stretch goal.

The “deck” will also be available in PDF format.

  • PDF: $20
  • Physical Card Deck: $40

Token Sheets

Each adventure has creatures and NPCs to fight, negotiate with, or charm. While print-your-own tokens are on the last page in each adventure, this add-on gets you a COLOR version of that page. Each sheet contains 42 1″ square tokens depicting the creatures and characters from the adventure. There is a separate sheet for each adventure; if you want a physical sheet for each adventure, you’ll want to increase your pledge by $10 per sheet.

  • PDF: $5 each
  • Print: $10 each
Prototype Token Sheets (they'll be different for the final release)
Prototype Token Sheets (they’ll be different for the final release)

All the Digital Things! ($50)

This pledge level includes a PDF of all the rewards offered in the campaign in digital format.

  • PDFs of all of the Perilous Journeys: Four at the moment, but if we cross $21,000, the fifth adventure – a 32-page solo by David Pulver – gets added as well.
  • Color PDFs of the token sheets that come with the adventure. This is to support those with print-it-yourself aspirations who have quality color inkjet or laser printers
  • Color PDFs of all the NPC/Monster cards, with a hyperlinked table of contents for quick reference

These are discounted as a bundle from their price as individual add-ons (see below for item pricing)

Bring Me The Things. All of Them. ($110)

This is the place for those that must loot and pillage.  This pledge level includes a PDF of all the rewards offered in the campaign in physical AND digital format.

  • Print and PDF copies of all of the Perilous Journeys: Four at the moment, but if we cross $21,000, the fifth adventure – a 32-page solo by David Pulver – gets added as well!
  • Printed die-cut token sheets, in color, of all the tokens that come with each adventure. These are printed on 1.6mm gloss-laminated stock . . . but see the stretch goals!
  • Color PDFs of the token sheets that come with the adventure. This is to support those with print-it-yourself aspirations who have quality color inkjet or laser printers and for folks who want more of a particular token.
  • UV-gloss laminated NPC and Monster cards. A minimum of 42 cards will be provided, but see the stretch goals: if we get enough orders, I’ll include more cards in the deck. Maybe a lot more.
  • Color PDFs of the NPC/Monster cards, with a hyperlinked table of contents for quick reference

These are discounted as a bundle from their price as individual add-ons (see below for item pricing)

If we pass $21,000 . . . the campaign turns into FIVE Perilous Journeys. After listening to feedback on what the backers want, I talked with David Pulver, and we came up with some thing for you. If we hit $21,000 the following 32-page solo adventure will be included in both the $20 PDF and $50 Print+PDF adventure groups. ANY pledge tier that includes the original four 16-page adventures will include this fifth perilous journey at no additional cost.

Vampire Hunter Belladonna

You are Belladonna, the young maid and cook at Castle Ironskull—moonlighting as a vampire slayer!

Years ago, the sinister Lord Adrik Blackbird turned your best friend into a vampire. For their own good, you had to stake them both! Somehow, you succeeded—but while those vampires perished, they had already infected others. The bloodsuckers will spread like a plague through the local countryside—unless you hunt them down!

Play as the lethal maid Belladonna (wielder of silver stakes and deadly poisons), or as your own vampire slaying hero or wizard. Travel through the villages and wilderness near Ironskull Castle, hunting vampires (and possibly other monsters). During your quest, you may uncover disturbing rumors of the rise of a new and terrifying master vampire, and the arcane relic they seek. Can you find it first?

Vampire Hunter Belladonna is a programmed adventure for The Fantasy Trip. You won’t need a Game Master—instead a system of branching paragraphs directs you from encounter to encounter as you make your own choice. You resolve combat or other encounters using the TFT rules.

In this double-sized 32-page adventure, you will find:

  • Over 200 paragraphs detailing wilderness and village encounters.
  • Multiple new monsters (not just vampires!) and magic items.
  • A “sandbox” wilderness setting that can reward multiple plays.
  • A choice of using the included pre-generated characters or your existing PC.

VAMPIRE HUNTER BELLADONNA is an independent adventure, but it has ties to IRONSKULL CASTLE, so you can use both together in a campaign if you wish. If you think of it as “Vampire Hunter B,” we won’t mind that either.

If this stretch goal is reached, a fifth token sheet will be made available and included in the “All the Things” level pledges for no additional cost.
Check out the full campaign page: Four Perilous Journeys. There are new stretch goals as well as more information on the rewards and pledge levels.

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In the comments section of the Four Perilous Journeys Kickstarter, there’s a very good question as to what’s included in a pledge. Let me try and break this down a bit, with the caveat that I’m hoping to introduce some new tiers at the end of the weekend that will be “ALL THE THINGS.”

The Adventures

The adventures are each similar to each other: they are 16 interior pages long (the PDFs will be four pages longer, to accommodate the front and back cover, plus blank spacer pages to preserve left/right page formatting).

The first page is a title page, with author attribution, table of contents, and legal stuff.

The LAST page is a print-it-yourself list of tokens. It will contain black and white (greyscale, really) versions of the art in the token sheets that are in the add-ons list. There will be 42 tokens per adventure, on 1″ squares. There is (currently) a small amount of space between each one (0.125″ to be precise).

There are no megahexes provided at this time.

All the maps needed to run the adventure are included within the 14 content pages. Those who have seen the playtest copies of David’s adventures see the rough draft  maps that I will hire professional artists to recreate in TFT style.

Right now, your $20 pledge gets you four PDF adventures; your $50 pledge gets you the PDFs plus soft-cover, saddle-stitched printed copies of each. Each adventure is a separate product, with its own cover. It will be printed on 130gsm (86.7 lb) interior paper stock, with  255gsm (between 10.5 and 11 point) cover stock.

The Fifth Perilous Journey (Stretch goal at $21,000)

After listening to feedback on what the backers want, I talked with David Pulver, and we came up with some thing for you. If we hit $21,000 the following 32-page solo adventure will be included in both the $20 PDF and $50 Print+PDF adventure groups. ANY pledge tier that includes the original four 16-page adventures will include this fifth perilous journey at no additional cost.

Vampire Hunter Belladonna

You are Belladonna, the young maid and cook at Castle Ironskull—moonlighting as a vampire slayer!

Years ago, the sinister Lord Adrik Blackbird turned your best friend into a vampire. For their own good, you had to stake them both! Somehow, you succeeded—but while those vampires perished, they had already infected others. The bloodsuckers will spread like a plague through the local countryside—unless you hunt them down!

Play as the lethal maid Belladonna (wielder of silver stakes and deadly poisons), or as your own vampire slaying hero or wizard. Travel through the villages and wilderness near Ironskull Castle, hunting vampires (and possibly other monsters). During your quest, you may uncover disturbing rumors of the rise of a new and terrifying master vampire, and the arcane relic they seek. Can you find it first?

VAMPIRE HUNTER BELLADONNA is a programmed adventure for THE FANTASY TRIP. You won’t need a Game Master—instead a system of branching paragraphs directs you from encounter to encounter as you make your own choice. You resolve combat or other encounters using the TFT rules.

In this double-sized 32-page adventure, you will find:

  • Over 200 paragraphs detailing wilderness and village encounters.
  • Multiple new monsters (not just vampires!) and magic items.
  • A “sandbox” wilderness setting that can reward multiple plays.
  • A choice of using the included pre-generated characters or your existing PC.

VAMPIRE HUNTER BELLADONNA is an independent adventure, but it has ties to IRONSKULL CASTLE, so you can use both together in a campaign if you wish.

The Add-Ons

There are two flavors of add-on being worked. I can say right now that megahexes are not on that list this time. The sourcing of the oddly-shaped hex tiles is not nearly as straight-forward for me as the cards and tokens, both of which are available in many form factors in ready-to-print configurators.

The Token Sheets

Each token sheet will have 42 one-inch square color tokens. They will be the exact same tokens (but again, in color) as will appear on the back page of each adventure. The card stock will be 1.6mm thick; if there are enough orders it’s possible I can upgrade this to 2.5mm card stock.

Each sheet, ordered separately, is $10. As mentioned in a prior update, the company that I’m ordering these from will drop-ship to the UK, which means that while you may also need to add $2 to cover the VAT, the shipping should be somewhat reasonable, and it’s entirely plausible that I can combine books and token sheets into the same outbound package at my UK-based fulfillment partner’s site.

There’s also been a request for the color sheets to be made available as print-them-yourself PDFs. I find that reasonable: $5 for the PDF if you just want the token sheet digitally.

The Monster/NPC Cards

These are less well defined, as I’m still working the details. I’m trying to affordably target about a $30-40 price point, which could affordably produce 55 cards (if only a few dozen people order them) to as high as 140 or so (if lots of folks do). I suspect that what I’ll wind up doing is having a minimum set (say, 55) of cards, and then Backerkit stretch goals where the more folks order them, the more cards you get. A $40 deck would be 55 cards at fewer than 50 orders, 90 cards at 100 orders, 126 cards at 500 orders, and maybe some midpoints.

  • The cards are planned to be 2.5 x 3.5″ and UV-gloss coated, to best support erasable markers.
  • I’m trying to validate whether I can match the corner radius of the Decks of Destiny cards.
  • I may need several card types, even: one for spellcasting NPCs/Monsters (larger cards) and one for fighter types.

As you can see . . . there’s a lot left to sort out, and I hope to settle it over the next few days.

Extra Copies

As mentioned earlier, extra copies of each adventure will be offered as add-ons.

ALL THE THINGS

One of the side-effects of this being my first TFT Kickstarter is learning what you, the buying public, actually want. As part of that, once the details of the adventures, tokens, and cards finalize over the next few days, there will be new pledge tiers in both digital only (“All the Digital Things!”) and physical plus digital (“Get the Things. ALL of Them.”) that will basically be the equivalent of SJG’s usual “I want it all!” level. These tiers will represent something like a 20% (or more) discount over buying all the things separately.

Stay tuned! This is a major revamp of the Four Perilous Journeys Kickstarter, and the main campaign page will change accordingly. But I think the overall package more accurately reflects what you want, and I’m happy to learn from your input.

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Funded!

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.

Tokens!

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.