Links of the Week: April 2, 2012

A fair bit of variety to this week’s links.

I’m off work until April 10, so I’m trying arrange to do some writing of my own.

Kickstarter Projects

BlackDiamond at Quest for Fun! has an interesting point regarding Kickstarter and Retailers.

When setting up a Kickstarter project, consider a ‘retailer’ level that includes multiple copies of the product at a discounted price.  I can see why this wouldn’t appeal to some people and projects, but at the same time I can see how it could be a good thing.

I can imagine a model where a project might have for hard copy something like

  • Normal product price (post-Kickstarter)
  • Kickstarter price (for backers, call it 80% of normal price)
  • Retailer price (for backers ordering multiple copies, over a minimum number, for about 60% of the normal price)

PDFs are outside this, and you could probably go with full price on those for everyone.

This rewards early supporters who help you get the product off the ground, and early supporters who buy multiple copies.  It’s probably still more lucrative than normal channels if you would be dealing with distributors.

If I ever get this point with Echelon (bearing in mind that Kickstarter doesn’t accept Canadian projects) I’ll keep this in mind.

Adventures Dark and Deep

Joseph Bloch is producing his best guess (based on research of material published by Gary Gygax in Dragon Magazine and other places) of what he thinks Dungeons & Dragons might have looked like had Gary not left TSR in 1985.

He is looking for money to pay for professional editing and artwork.  I think it an interesting project.

Project closes on April 15 and is funded (2518/2500 when I last checked).

Cerulean Seas

From the project description

A bit over a year ago, my small group (Alluria Publishing) began producing a Pathfinder compatible RPG setting called “Cerulean Seas”. It is an underwater campaign setting that is extremely detailed and well done. So well done, in fact, that we put far too much money into its production and did not make enough back to continue the project, despite winning awards and getting EXCELLENT reviews and much acclaim by those that did invest in it. This combined with many unfortunate and unrelated blows to some of the members of our group put us out of commission and into massive debt.

This kickstarter is to get Alluria Publishing back up and running well enough to begin producing products for the Cerulean Seas Campaign Setting again, starting with a few supplements that are already near completion including “Waves of Thought: Undersea Psionics” and “Indigo Ice: Guide to the Arctic Seas.”

We are looking to raise $2000 to help with the production and initial print run of these upcoming products and put us back into business!

A funding drive to get their feet back under themselves and start producing more material, and backer awards include not only upcoming products but existing products at low price.  Reviews at RPGNow are generally positive (4-5 stars).  If you’re interested in the material this is an excellent opportunity to get the products and give them a hand.

Project closes April 22, fully funded (3,375/2,000 when I looked).

Hall of Fame Additions

TERRIBLEMINDS: Chuck Wendig, Freelance Penmonkey

Adventure writing isn’t entirely like story writing.  At least, I hope not; I try to prepare scenarios and campaigns so that I will be surprised how they turn out, too.

However, adventure writing isn’t entirely unlike story writing either.  Many of the same considerations that go into story writing are still applicable to adventure writing.

Chuck Wendig provides an immense amount of advice to writers via TERRIBLEMINDS: Chuck Wendig, Freelance Penmonkey (and a few books published on the same topic).

I’ll be maintaining a list here of my favorites, or at least the ones I find most applicable to what I do.

  • Shot Through The Heart: Your Story’s Throughline doesn’t necessarily apply directly to adventure writing in that the way I prepare things, I have no expectation whatsoever of linear presentation.  However, considering how various story elements can turn up, their frequency and impact based on story priority is a worthwhile activity.  I’ve seen campaigns become derailed because the clues and other information received was imbalanced against the actual events.  In a story sense, a subplot buried the actual plot because there was more cool stuff regarding the subplot.

Filed under ‘Writing Guidelines and Tools

Science & Technology


MapsTD is a tower defense game using the new Google Maps 8-bit ‘Quest’ view.

I tried one game, made it through all fifty rounds.  I don’t know that I’d want to make a hobby out of it, but it was interesting to try… and I admit to having a thing for 8-bit graphics-style maps.

Blog Posts

Atomic Dragon Battleship

Richard Baker has designed a few monsters for TSR and Wizards of the Coast and offers Five Rules of Monster Design.

  1. Monsters should create expectations and meet them.
  2. Monsters should belong in the game.
  3. Monsters shouldn’t be like other monsters.
  4. Monsters need offense, defense, and utility.  [sounds like my Character Design Requirements]
  5. Monsters need an Achilles heel.

As usual, I’m willing to include the list headings, but you’ll need to go to the original post for the expanded explanations.

Magician’s Manse

Ian talks somewhat about Making Weapons More Interesting, something I’ve long been interested in.  He suggests a weapon design methodology fairly similar to my Weapons Guidelines from a while ago.

RetroRoleplaying: The Blog

Randall’s found a method for Converting RPG PDFs to ebook Formats for Free.

Like him, I’ve got a collection of PDFs I’d love to be able to read on my ebook reader.  My tablet handles PDFs pretty well, but I like the ebook reader more for long reading.

This is greatly to my interest… and if Mobipocket Reader Desktop can do a better job aggregating RSS feeds than other tools I’ve tried it will make for an even more useful tool for me.

Unofficial Games

Zzarchov gives us a Sneak Peak of Magical Terrain from the upcoming release of Neoclassical Geek Revival, and explains why wizards build towers in the middle of godsforesaken wilderness.

The Welsh Piper

Erin talks about developing and documenting Hex Crawl Encounters.  I think her guidelines here can be readily applied to more than hex crawling though.

Wampus Country

Erik writes An Entire Post About Hats, which ultimately provides benefits for different kinds of hats.  Helmets shouldn’t be the only thing that you might find desirable to have n your head.

What really grabbed my attention here, though, was that it reminded me of a conversation I had with one of the senior managers in my office.  The spoons in our lunchroom had been steadily disappearing, so she sent an email out after making some tea and not finding any spoons.  “A spoon!  A spoon! My kingdom for a spoon!”.  Having a spare spoon at my desk (I have perhaps the ugliest flatware at my desk, it’s a magic trick to keep other people from borrowing it and forgetting to return it) I looked for more details.  A kingdom for a spoon?  It might be a worthwhile trade.

“Your kingdom for a spoon?  I’ve got a spare, what kind of kingdom is it?”

“The Teabag Kingdom, of course!”

Am I a bad man that my first thought was “I bet they have funny-looking hats”?

(Yes, this was prompted by the STR-benefiting hats)


  1. As to Kickstarter… Rather than a Retailers option (although I could see that might work) but a GM/Party pack option. It depends on the product as to whether it is suitable, but a “GM’s product” + 4″players product” (to make a 5 pack) could be worthwhile for a traditional RPG product.

    Certainly it may pay to be creative in thinking how the users (the GM’s & Players) will actually use the product.

    • I can get behind that idea too, certainly. I’ve looked at a couple of projects that did offer bulk (3-6 copies) ordering and wondered if I could find enough people locally to make it worth my while.

      ‘Retailer’ was a convenient label and the one that came to mind because of what I was commenting on, but a ‘Party Pack’ (multiple copies at once to a single address, without the requirement that they be retailed in one piece) could be another way to send it. If the product clearly has a ‘GM piece’ and ‘player pieces’ I could see bundling them, too. I’d likely start that at 1*GM+3*player, and allow increasing the number of player packages (and possibly GM packages) from there.

      Good point. What I really want is to get into the hands of the customers. Getting into the retailers is good too, but ultimately I want people playing my game.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Assembly: Pre-PAX and Short On Time | The Gamer Assembly

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