Today is once again GURPSDay, and here’s the last four weeks of posts! I’m starting to get a bit more content on the actual blog front; this is always improved with more actual game play, and I hope to return to that in the near future, once the 4PJ Kickstarter winds down fully. More on that in a bit.

Scroll all the way down (the random order is, well, random). Catch up and get some repeat views and if you missed some. They’re in reverse chronological order, so if you’re up-to-date, just skim off the top!

News for Gaming Ballistic:

  • The first edition of Hall of Judgment hardcover is on sale for 50% off at both the Gaming Ballistic store and Warehouse 23. Pick it up for $12.50.
  • The Citadel at Nordvorn, Hall of Judgment 2nd Edition, and Fantastic Dungeon Grappling print books have arrived at Studio 2 in TN and I am working with them to get the shipping labels worked out.
    • If you ordered a physical copy of Dungeon Grappling, I’m out of those and have ordered more. I will ship you that separately when I get them, at my expense. There are 14 people in this category.
    • If you ordered a physical copy of Lost Hall of Tyr (Second Edition), Studio 2 is out of those because the USPS lost a box of 20 books. I have re-sent 40 which should arrive in 5-7 days. This may or may not impact delivery schedule. There are 11 people in this category.
    • For nearly everyone else, I expect books to start flowing out next week, and thus final completion will be Aug 19 through Aug 30. If you don’t have your stuff by September 1, contact me immediately.
  • Art is complete for all four primary adventures for 4PJ and three of the four books are under review with SJG. I have final changes for Curse of the Pirate King that need to be made, mostly typos. I have the final editing pass for Vampire Hunter Belladonna in place, the book is laid out, and all art has been commissioned. Once I get the manuscripts finished (next few days) I can and will turn to the card decks (black and white) and token sheets (color) and the PDFs of each. I’ve got some stock art to purchase, but really, playing with photoshop and InDesign are fun for me, so this should go fairly quickly. The hardest part will be picking which NPCs/Monsters to make cards out of: 12 or 13 per adventure!
  • I made my first substantial retail sale! Source Comics and Games in the Twin Cities bought six each of everything I had stock to deliver, and we finally worked out the Invoicing. I wanted to tie it to WooCommerce, but my plugins are borked up. So I just used PayPal and that went in flawlessly. The eCommerce end of things on my website could use some real help.

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 “GURPSDay! July 12 to Aug 8, 2019”

As I continue to work towards the closure of various Kickstarters, I thought I’d take a moment to work down the list of what GB currently offers, and its status. I’ll do this in the order they were published for active products, and then talk about a few things I’m retiring or deprecating.

One quick note: unless I screw things up badly, and in business, that’s always possible, 2019 is going to be the best year to date for Gaming Ballistic. Not only is revenue up already by 2x over 2018 (and there’s still likely another KS in the near future this year), but GB is strongly trending to a profit as well. Even formal break-even would be amazing – covering 100% of all costs – but having something left over to fund future work or (gasp) reimburse my own inputs is a great thing, and very good for Year 3 of a business.

Anyway: to arms!

Active Products

The following products are currently on sale at Gaming Ballistic and/or other places, and likely to remain so.

Dungeon Grappling

Dungeon Grappling was my first product, and the one that set the tone for Gaming Ballistic and Kickstarters. It’s also sold well: Since creation, Dungeon Grappling has moved 654 PDF copies and an additional 358 print copies, for what was my first title with over 1,000 sales.

It is, even if I do say so myself, very good, and achieves its mission of unifying the grappling mechanics and feel in S&W and 5e; I think it falls short on Pathfinder a bit. Other folks think so too.

I recently found myself having to re-order 100 copies of my print version, having run out. I’d need to do a well-received crowdfunding campaign that scored at least 500 (and ideally 750) backers to reprint this in a way that could go do distribution, though. Unless that happened it’s going to have to stay POD.

Honestly? The demand should be there. It really adds to games. Perhaps if I continue to grow revenue and income I’ll invest and take the inventory risk. That can be a 2020 goal.

Dragon Heresy Introductory Set

The crown jewel, in a way, of my RPG line, this was the reason I got into RPG publishing in the first place. This is, bar none, the highest production value book I have made, and competes favorably with any other book on the market from that perspective.  Heavy weight cover (3mm board), 128gsm (85#) matte-coated paper with a sewn binding, done by offset printing. In the last 15 minutes of the Kickstarter, I got a $1,000 pledge that pushed me into “offset print run” territory, and I committed hard, ordering 1,500 books.

Well, I still have a lot of those left, but my recent experience at CONVergence gives me hope – it was my strongest seller in numbers and dollars, at a convention where basically no one shows up to buy RPGs (that’s not its purpose).

To date, Dragon Heresy has moved 414 PDF and 309 Print copies. There have been perhaps 30 distribution sales into retail, and 8 direct-to-retail sales. Folks that have played it – really played it – have commented favorably on the blend of tactics and options without being overwhelming. OSR players that have experimented with it talk of it as “the only version of 5e they’ll play.” At the convention, when asked, I not-entirely jokingly said “Well, this one time, GURPS and 5e got drunk at a convention, and disappeared to a room for a bit. A year (maybe two?) later, Dragon Heresy was born.”

There will be more Dragon Heresy support coming out in the future, and should things pick up more, I have levels 6-20 already written, with vastly more monsters, classes, races, and spells, all tuned to the game.

Lost Hall of Tyr (Second Edition)

An enhanced version of the original Lost Hall of Tyr based on the doubling of the page count that we did for Hall of Judgment.

It includes a lot more on the city of Isfjall, which is a great viking-flavored location for any D&D game (and is presented in mostly system-neutral terms anyway, which means it’s a great location for any game). It’s moved about 91 PDF and 118 Print copies, so not a strong seller yet. I’ve got an idea about that, but it’ll be late 2020 I think before I can pull it off.

Hall of Judgment (First and Second Edition)

My first license for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, it was, at the time, almost my best Kickstarter to date (since eclipsed by both Nordvorn and Four Perilous Journeys). It was the expansion that added 64 pages to the convention-driven Lost Hall of Tyr (1st Edition) and added new maps.

The success of Nordvorn meant I could revisit it for distribution, and I did. Sewn binding, excellent paper, and upgrade maps, plus errata fixes. And a cost to produce that’s low enough to support sitting with pride next to Nordvorn and (hopefully . . . retailers get on it!) the Dungeon Fantasy RPG boxed set.

Folks that have played this with me at conventions have loved it. Play reports and reviews have been very positive. Inspired by Dungeon Fantasy: Caverntown, it delivers what GURPS fans have been asking for: a full-color, high production value treatment of their favorite game, and adventure support to boot. In print.

It also includes a preliminary version of “Fantastic Dungeon Grappling,” which was later expanded into its own stand-alone release. Taking the concepts from my SJG-published book GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling, and refined in Dungeon Grappling, it distills the core down to about four pages.

It also includes over 30 monsters and 16 pre-generated DFRPG characters, which means it has more monsters in it than the excellent DFRPG Monsters 2 book.

To date, Hall of Judgment (both editions) has moved 717 PDF and 541 Print copies, for 1,258 total sales! Over 120 of those came from the Nordvorn Kickstarter as the second edition version . . . and THAT book just arrived at Studio 2 on August 6, which means it should start heading off to backers Real Soon Now.

Note that until I run out, Hall of Judgment 1st Edition is on sale at both my website and Warehouse 23 for 50% off. So if you want a print version of the book but don’t want to pay as much, you can nab it for about $12.50.

The Citadel at Norðvorn

While Dragon Heresy has – by virtue of being a hardcover – ostensibly higher production values, I am ridiculously proud of Norðvorn.

Front to back, it’s a gorgeous book. The art team over-delivered, and the setting screams to be used. As a mini-setting, it’s not an “adventure” so much as it is a playground. A great, glorious, full-color playground that lets you go romping around Nordlond dealing with men, faerie, and dragonkin in a strongly interlinked set of issues. It provides a relationship map that will allow GMs to improvise responses to their players’ actions, and I have used that map on more than one occasion to improvise four- and five-hour play sessions.

Nearly all the sales have come from the Kickstarter, and it’s not yet available for wide release. It arrived at Studio 2 in TN for distribution the week of Aug 6, and will hopefully be in all backers’ hands by the end of the month.

Thus far, even so, it’s sold 587 PDF and 432 Print copies, for 1,119 total.

Fantastic Dungeon Grappling

Yeah, I write a lot of grappling rules. But rarely have I had an opportunity to play, refine, rewrite, play some more, play with other people, and then finally commit to print such a concise, fun-filled short work.

I won’t lie, folks: this is the grappling product you want. It is better-written, fully tested, and simply an improved version of Technical Grappling, done in 8 pages rather than 50. Why? Because as it turns out, you don’t really need more. Now, I could certainly take TG and do each technique as a worked example using the concepts presented in Fantastic Dungeon Grappling. But for the DFRPG, well, those techniques don’t exist.

This is my most-played concept. I and my fellow GM friends have used these rules in actual play over multiple campaigns, and they add a lot of flavor and fun to the game with minimal overhead.

It moved 272 PDF copies and 171 Print copies through me during the kickstarter . . . and, well, at least 1,000 more because it was included in the DFRPG Boxed Set Reprint. That was something I never expected SJG to do, but they did, and it means in terms of number of copies floaing out there, this is my #1 product, ever.

Pending Products

The following products are currently in the final stages of development and production. They are all part of the “Four Perilous Journeys” crowdfunding campaign and were developed for The Fantasy Trip, with rules under license from Steve Jackson Games.

  • Ironskull Castle (16-page GM’d adventure by David Pulver)
  • Crown of Eternity (16-page GM’d adventure by Christopher Rice and J. Edward Tremlett)
  • Citadel of Ice (16-page GM’d adventure by David Pulver)
  • Curse of the Pirate King (16-page GM’d adventure by Christopher Rice and J. Edward Tremlett)
  • Vampire Hunter Belladonna (32-page solo adventure by David Pulver)

These products are being finalized and are due to go live, and be sent to the printer, before Aug 18. They will also have NPC/Monster cards available – but ONLY through the Kickstarter/Backerkit Pre-order – that are compatible with the Decks of Destiny. And full-color 1″ counters to go with each adventure. And more.

This was my most successful Kickstarter in backer count and funding level, with only a few dollars shy of $50,000 raised before fees and licensing and whatnot. These are going to be very, very pretty on the inside, and the color cover/greyscale interior aesthetic is being put to great use by the art team. These will also go into distribution!

The Kickstarter moved 608 PDF copies and 432 Print copies of each volume, making it an instant 1,000+ club member.

Viking Shields

These mostly move through my Kickstarters as super-high-end tier products, and (due to a house move that disassembled my workshop) I still have four in the queue to make. I’ve maybe sold 10 . . . but they get better and more historically accurate with each one, and they’re an awful lot of fun.

I’ve gotten better supply chains and so they’re more affordable, and the materials (hides, cheese glue or hide glue, milk-based paints, quarter- or rift-sawn poplar that I cut down and dried myself) are top notch.

Retiring/Idle Products

There are several products that are going to be de-emphasized or retired completely.

  • Lost Hall 1st Edition in all forms
  • Hall of Judgment 1st Edition PDF

For obvious reasons, these “first edition” products are being replaced by their improved versions. Accounts at Warehouse 23 and other places will be updated with the new versions where possible, but they’re new ISBNs for the new editions as well.

Parting Shot

Even if I do say so myself, the fact that all of my DFRPG products have moved 1,000 copies or more impresses me. In fact, the only books of mine that haven’t moved more than 1,000 copies (though that does add together print and PDF sales independently) are Dragon Heresy and Lost Hall of Tyr.

I have more stuff on the way, as well. I’m contracted with authors to provide the equivalent of six 16-page TFT books (which will likely be another 32-page solo and four GM’d adventures). I’m also looking for more authors, and I hope to find a way to release a lot more of these 16-page and 32-page books in the next few years.

The next project that launches will be a pair of Nordlond expansions, The Dragons of Rosgarth and Forest’s End, each of which will be 64-80 pages long and further flesh out the northern border of the Nordlond Setting. Look for that in late August or September.

So . . . that’s what’s going on with my books. Take a look. Maybe buy a few.

Castle Ironskull and Crown of Eternity

Yesterday I sent out preliminary PDF copies of Castle Ironskull, a 16-page adventure by David Pulver for The Fantasy Trip. It’s the first of five adventures created for the “Four Perilous Journeys” Kickstarter, which successfully funded at well over target level. This begins roughly a month of proofing, refining, and final adjustment before the files to to the printer and finalizing quantities. That means if you missed the Kickstarter campaign proper . . . it’s not too late! Pre-orders are open on Backerkit.

This morning I “blasted” notification emails for Crown of Eternity. These notes should be in your in-box; if not, check Spam. If not, email me or send me a message through Kickstarter.

Unlike Castle Ironskull, Crown’s counter art is not yet complete. But here’s what’s coming

  • 14 salt-wraiths
  • 7 wights
  • 6 royal wights
  • 4 gargoyles
  • 3 cactus things
  • 3 human henchmen
  • 3 tooth snakes
  • 2 important NPCs

I’ve seen the preliminary art for the salt wraiths and the royal wights this morning; they’re lovely.

As always, please send any observed mistakes to my email: gamingballisticllc@gmail.com with [Crown of Eternity] in the subject header.

Other Progress

We really are coming to the end. The next big steps are to prepare the actual printed counter sheets, which means choosing a design for the back of each sheet (something y’all helped me with in prior updates), and then moving the color version of each one to the vendor site.

It also means preparing the PDF of the color sheets for those that get it. These two steps are really the same.

It also means putting some labels down on each counter so that you can distinguish them by more than looks. Again: that’s going to happen at the same time as the other two steps.

Since the color counter art is in hand for most of these, the job is tedious but can be done at any time; because physical printing of the books is slower than printing the counters, I can even start this after the final book print files go to Latvia . . . but I probably will try and get a jump on them earlier.

The card decks are the other bit of tedium. These will require some coordination with SJG, but again, a lot of work is done – largely thanks to SJG giving me the files for Decks of Destiny. If someone says (and I saw this on Reddit) “SJG is hard to work with,” let’s just say my experience has been radically different, and better (and I said this on Reddit). It continues to be a true pleasure.

So really, once the final art comes in, it’s a whole bunch of “grunt work” but that’s that. The rest is proofing, tweaking, and getting the very-simple NPC stats transferred over.

Card Decks

Just to be clear: we passed the 250-deck stretch goal for increasing the number of cards in the deck to 63. That means 12 or 13 cards per adventure. The next goal would be at 500 decks, which seems unlikely at this time. Pre-orders in sufficient quantity – which means nice comments need to spread beyond this forum! – would fix that, but it needs to be soon!

In any case, for (say) Crown of Eternity, you would get both important NPCs, one each of the rest (minimum), and duplicated of the salt wraiths and wights. Where I have to choose, items that already appear somewhere else (another deck) or are fairly mundane – like the gargoyle above – will be dropped to ensure a unique monster, especially one that appears in large numbers, has more than one such card.

About those Pre-Orders

This has been a very successful project for me, and is on track to remain so (but it’s not over until I pay for shipping, so . . . ). Pre-order volume, however, has been very light.

You can help me with that. Saying nice things on Social Media, and including the pre-order link, really does make a difference. Now that the adventures are in hand, quick capsule reviews of the good (which can generate sales) and the improvable (which helps me and the authors refine the game for next time) are huge boosters. Coming from not-Gaming-Ballistic they have more weight than me or my authors promoting our own product.

And after all, there were 3,300 backers or so for the original Legacy Edition. That leaves roughly 2,700 people who are right smack in the target market here! Let’s get busy. (Kidding. Sort of. Well, not really.)

All Book Covers

Just to leave you with some pictures, and most of you have seen these before. But . . . here are the final covers for all five adventures.

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.

user avatar
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!