Friday, October 24, 2014

Secret Gaming Project #78

Those of you know, know.  Those of you don't, may soon. 

I can't say much other than some of you may get something in the mail.  Secret Gaming Project #78 is on its way.

That is all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Con Report: Huge Fun

Thursday the 16th
I arrive at the Con at the Cob hotel without a mishap like last year when my Google maps sent me to the wrong exit.  My roomie for the con, +Ken H pulled into the hotel at the exact same time.  Which made coordinating things easier.  I showed him the layout of the con since it was pretty much set up the same as last year.  When we checked in I got to meet +Tim Snider who greeted me with a The Savage Afterworld d6.  He was running the Pacesetter booth and was running the game later that day, a Cryptworld adventure.  It was great to final meet Tim, I've known his blog for years and he assisted me with one of my projects.

1st Game Session: Dwimmermount

Like all the mega-dungeons I get, as soon as I get them I can't read them because I'm going to be playing in them.  +Jim Yoder ran us through as much Dwimmermount as we could get through in a 4-hour period.  I played a fighter with a 5 intelligence, Ken played another 5 intelligence guy and the third member of out party was Dave (or better known as imredave (Forgotten Runes is his blog), his guy had a 15 intelligence.  I became the door open upper.  From my memory fog banks I think we got through most of the rooms without too much of a problem except the one with the iron masks.  Dave wanted to go back and grab the one off the floor and another one off the wall.  The second one cost him his character's life.  The great thing about playing con games is there is no tomorrow either way.

Interlude
Ken and I checked into our room and chilled out for a bit.  He had come in from a 7 hour drive and right into the Dwimmermount game.  We got something to eat, walked around the vendors and bought stuff.


A pair of Ravenloft boxsets.  A little worn, but the boxes were in good shape and everything was inside (I think).  I've been grooving on Ravenloft lately so I had to grab these two.  I found these and the following at the Goodman Games booth manned by +Roy Snyder.  He was to run our Saturday DCC game.  I was hoping to meet +Doug Kovacs, but I think he was 'sleeping it off'.


More Ravenloft, the 3rd Monstrous Companion.  I was a little dismayed when discovered that stain to the right was no part of the cover design.  That unidentified stain will hopefully wash off.  Then I bought Dungeon Builders because it was buy 3 get 1 free.  The verdict is still out on this one.  What little I did see was a bit of a disappointment.


I already shared this picture, but I'm doing it again.  I went over to Tim Snider's booth he was manning for Pacesetter and purchased Cryptworld and Rotworld.  How could I not?  In addition I received copies of the colored action card and a couple of Pacesetter d10s.  Tim was running our next game so I headed back to the room before and read through some of the stuff I bought.

2nd Game Session: Cryptworld
+Tim Snider, a 30+ year veteran of running Pacesetter games, was the best person to have running a game to introduce you to Cryptworld (or any of them).  His name is on the inside as one of the writers.  He went through a quick intro into the system.  Gave out pre-gens and I think within 15-minutes we began our investigation.  Also, what was fun, was the party fell in together quickly.  We started exploring the haunted mine park and having a ton of fun.  The highlight of the session was this overly complicated way to deal with a pair of rattlesnakes.  It involved a metal desk and an air conditioner.  But who am I to judge?  The plan worked!

After the session I met up with +Rob Conley and +Daniel McEntee.  We sorta, kinda made some tentative plans.

Friday the 17th
We had a light schedule for today.  One game, but before I left it had been cancelled.  So that mean I had no game scheduled.  Ken went on a scavenger hunt to find a not so little red wagon.  I joke you not.  I wandered a bit with Rob and Dan and we found a DCC game.

3rd Game Session: DCC
The adventure we went through was Frozen in Time.  This was a 0-level funnel and we were playing cave men.  Surprisingly, most of our plans worked.  Sure, we fell ass backwards into some solutions, but they worked.  I think I only lost one of my four guys. 

Ken came back successful with his not so little red wagon.  And I planned to run my Esoterrorists game later.  +Chris C. showed up in the evening and after a horrible pizza and some Pop Tarts we found a table.

4th Game Session: Esoterrorists
I haven't GMed much lately so it was fantastic to be able to do it in person with the group.  I had some handouts for the players that they all seemed to appreciate.  I built the adventure around my local area using a lot of real information.  Rob was Googling some of the stuff I was saying and got a little freaked out when he found out they were true.  I think the players had fun, I know I did.  But time caught up with us and we all agreed to call it a day.  Chris wrote a telling post, on his blog The Clash of Spear on Shield that is horribly true.  We are getting old and just don't have the stamina or ability to bounce back after a late night like we used to. 

Saturday the 18th
We met for breakfast and figured out the day's schedule.  We had a early afternoon DCC game and then to finish out the con we would be playing in Rob's last adventure of the con.  Ken and I discussed this even before the con, we had schedule to play in a game on Sunday, but both of us wanted to get an early start home.  So we both passed on Sunday's game.  

5th Game Session: DCC
This adventure was called Tower Out of Time.  Roy ran us through this one.  We had the chance to play 2nd level characters.  I felt like a god in DCC terms.  I've only ever played 0-level dudes.  If you are squeamish about trembling membranes fill with goo, slimy excretions or bulging zits, do not play this adventure.  You'll vomit on your character sheet and your neighbor's.  Again, the party did surprisingly well except for Chris, whose character died and somehow merged with a monkey spirit.


Here's what my badge looked like after the con.  I dig those pins.


I also scored to envelopes of DCC swag. 

And while I was wandering around the vendors I'd been eyeballing this one picture I really liked and wanted to get a copy.  I was finally able to connect with artist, Eric Kempher and grab a copy.  Ken and Dan also bought a piece or two from him.  Dan got one of his originals.


I had to get the zombie emerging from the black mist.  Got it in two sizes and then bought the skeleton warrior crawling out from beneath some rocks.  Need to find more frames!


I also met with +Jolly Blackburn and talked about the upcoming Hackmast DMG.  What he said sounds promising.  I wish I had thought of asking for a postcard sketch of the KotDT.  Doh, maybe next time.

6th and Final Game Session: OD&D Majestic Wilderlands
Mr. Conley has written another very cool adventure.  We rolled up our own characters in the beginning and I chose to be a paladin.  I couldn't tell you how long ago it was since I played one.  And if I do say so myself, I played him very well.  Instead of a paladin who tore the party apart with idealistic rants, I was able to keep the party together.  Again, the Monday night group got to sit around and play face-to-face which can never be duplicated on-line.  It was a lot of fun.  Rob was superb GM as always and I recommend anyone to play in one of his games.

Sunday the 19th
Ken left early, he had a 7-hour drive in front of him.  I met Chris, Dan and Rob for a quick breakfast.  It was great to have had the chance to play with all of them face-to-face.  The con was a lot of fun, but I was tired and was looking forward to getting home to the wife and pups.  If that was incentive enough, Ivy had been baking all the time I was gone.

I came home, petting wife and kissed the pups...reverse that.  Ate a couple of bake goods and immediately took a nap with the pups drape over me.  It was good to be home.

Con on the Cob 2014 was fantastic.    

Friday, October 17, 2014

Treasures at the Con

First day of Con on the Cob in the books.  I started the day meeting +Ken H., but it got mu h better after that.  A little exploration of Dwimmermount.  Out Labyrinth Lord Jim Yoder, ran us through the megadungeon.  The crew survived with only a few minor scrapes.  I nearly got killed earlier by weird, metallic skeletons.

Later, I had the fortune of being run through a Cryptworld adventure by Tim Snider.  What a fricking blast.  Meeting Tim after a batch of years over the internet was great.  I also scored some loot from him.





Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Getting Ready for the Con

Tomorrow I leave for Con on the Cob.  Three days of gaming.  This will be my longest time gaming since I used to do marathon gaming sessions when I was a kid.  Remember those all nighters?  I do.  I remember never having money for anything to eat and I would be starving by the time I got home a day and half later. 

This time around most of the Monday night crew will be there.  +Rob Conley+Ken H , +Chris C. and +Daniel McEntee.  It'll be good to game with the guys in person.  I know we are signed up for one game Rob is running and then I'll be running a Esoterrorist game for the guys on the off time.  I think it'll be fun.  The anti-social bastard that I can become, doesn't seem to be rearing its head so I should be good.

Here are some of the things I changed from last year when I went to the con.
  • Made a loose gaming schedule.  No two, 4-hour sessions in a row.  I don't have the stamina to concentrate that long.  I want to be able to kickback and BS with the guys also.  And while I don't mind reliving a little of the marathon session, I don't want to relive the not eating for 12-hours. 
  • As I said above, run my own game.  GM for live and in person people.  Holy crap on a cracker Batman what a novel fucking concept.  However, I'm not sure how everyone's schedule will jive, but we'll figure it out.
  • Bringing something with me so I can take some picture, hell, maybe do a video.  I'll take along a tablet.  My wife's tablet in which she has already got over one orientation with me on how to use it....a second orientation is schedule for tonight because I goofed around too much for the first one.  
  • Play new games or games I've had very little chance to play.
  • Don't get sick!
 Well I've got about 15-hours worth of work to fit into the next 8-hours so I better get at it.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sometimes the Best Weapon You Have is Your Mouth

Last night our group assaulted the castle in Phandelver.  We struck at it last week.  We just killed a few and when the castle became alert we got out.  This time however, was much different.

We attacked from the south instead of the north this time.  A simple adjustment.  We hoped to avoid any ambushes the goblins may have set up.  They are very good ambushers.  We entered the castle and hell broke loose fairly quickly.  I don't remember exactly how it happened, but we had orcs and goblins to the left and right of us, our exit barred because we had orcs and wolves coming up from behind AND there was an owlbear wandering around.  Wait, wait, not done.  And an elf shooting at us.

Two of our party members are on the floors.  We've killed a large number, but we are just outnumbered and our big fighter is getting torn up by the owlbear.  We were able to stabilize one and I force fed a healing potion to another.  But we were still very trapped.

This is where it got interesting.  We are playing 5E and my character is a rogue with an 18 charisma.  He's more of a con-man than pickpocket or dungeoneer.  Since he hit 3rd level I took Arcane Trickster so I got a few spells to cast.  One included Disguise Self.  I changed myself to look like an orc and pursued the elf (who I targeted as the boss) and hoped he would think I was an orc so I could get close enough to him to get a backshot in.  Nope.  I found him outside taking the form of a dead goblin and he was not fooled by my disguise at all.

But here's where my mouth became the most import weapon.  He ran to a group of orcs and goblins thinking they would attack me.  But I used my persuasion ability along with my disguise and all of a sudden orcs were killing goblins and goblins were bleeding on orcs.  The entire group started slaughtering one another.  The elf said something like "I can't believe this shit". 

Persuasion has been a life saver on more than on occasion.  I was able to take out a group of three orcs, two wolves, and I think six goblins and never shot an arrow or bloodied my blade.  So far in our 5E adventure my mouth has been my deadliest weapon. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

How Not to React to a Bad Review

Over the weekend there was some drama over at Tenkar's Tavern (I know, shocking), but it wasn't the grumpy, drunken dwarf this time, but Dragonwars of Trayth who had a Kickstarter campaign running and Erik called it out.  Here's the link to the review.  Erik has since embellished it with some interesting pictures, but only after he was threatened with a lawsuit.

If you checked out the link you'll see Dragonwars of Trayth has since removed his (I'm assuming it's a male) comments and I believe the Kickstarter is dead.  At least I couldn't find a link to it any longer.  The comments were ridiculous.  And unfortunate.

Years ago I wrote a similar post with the same name, an author of a book had a breakdown in the comment section as she attacked the reviewer.  She made it a 100 times worse.

I get the emotional ties people invest into their products.  They spend a lot of time and effort into them, but because you poured your life's blood into a book or Kickstarter or adventure doesn't mean people are going to like it.   You have to be prepared to receive negative criticism.  If you put it out into the public, it's going to happen.  

Some of the negativity will come from dipshits who are going out of their way to be asses.  But at least they purchased your product or took the time to steal it.  Even when you get a negative review you are more than likely going to get a few sales from it.  Just happens.  When you get a negative review from someone who just hates it because reasons that make no sense (I had one guy who didn't like one of my adventures because it wasn't Tomb of Horrors...no shit, not supposed to be, but for what ever reason he wanted ToH2 and his review was not well thought out and had to do more about him than me) don't reply to these guys.  Just mark it off as someone who didn't like it.  Whatever you do, don't defend what you wrote.  It only makes you look desperate.  

Then you'll have the reviewer who is negative, but states his points, well thought out and highlights some of your weaknesses.  These guys are golden.  I'm serious.  First of all they have taken the time to read your product thoroughly and then they have dissected it to break it down into parts to talk about it.  I've had just as many good reviews for Knowledge Illuminates as I have had bad.  When you get reviewers who take their time to do this, thank them.  Thank them for taking the time for reading and doing a review and maybe they will like the next product better.

There is a lot of in between of these two types.  Some reviews matter more than others.  Some reviewers opinions matter more than others.  Be generous and polite or sometimes silent.  In this day and age very few have the skill to be silent.

It's important to have a thick skin, to not have an ego about your work.  Be proud of what you've done, but don't think it's untouchable.  Do the best work you can do at the time.  If you do your best more people are going to like it than not, but be prepared for the negativity that comes with putting your work into the public.

I think I've used this quote before, but I think it's great.  R.L. Stone of Goosebumps fame has an all-time favorite criticism.  "I've read 40 of your books and I think they're really boring."

I guess to sum up my blathering, don't get pissed off by a bad review.  Don't fall in love with the good reviews.  Listen to both.  If you're hearing a lot of criticism about a specific thing you better take a look at it and see what you can do to fix it.  Most of all, get to work on your next thing.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Maps!

Last night I figured I would just throw a random thing out there, show me your best map.  And a great batch of folks responded.  Here's are links to some of them.

Jim White
http://gamerblog.twwombat.com/2014/10/the-shrine-of-rat-god.html

Edward Lockhart
 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0BJ7oYaKRuteml2UmR6NmEtMzg/view

Jason Zavoda
http://jasonzavoda-hallofthemountainking.blogspot.com/2014/10/map-request.html

Jez Gordon
http://gibletblizzard.blogspot.com.au/2014/10/the-land-of-mutantor_8.html

Matt Widmann
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-In6WtJZh3xA/UbpGIoHP6GI/AAAAAAAAH5M/6kaZWHIGnOc/w1133-h540-no/IngressSubwayMap_02.png

Matt Jackson
http://snikle.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/rassilon-southeastern-quadrant2.jpg

Dyson Logos
http://rpgcharacters.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/mappers-challenge-smaller.jpg

 Joseph Bloch
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-_wP8iQGvkQk/T70iCGZ8LSI/AAAAAAAABKU/HLeJg5wDuOs/s1600/oerik_grehawk_grognard.jpg

MonkeyBlood Design
 https://www.dropbox.com/s/x9sl4y9wk3foflk/Under%20the%20Ruins%20of%20DeBastion%20Keep%20300dpi%20MONO.png?dl=0

Simon Forster
http://www.theskyfullofdust.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/bisforbasilisk.jpg

 Leicester
 http://leicestersramble.blogspot.com/2014/10/quigh-caverns.html

Brett Slocum
http://joyfulsitting.blogspot.com/2014/09/first-dungeon-map-in-30-years.html

Matt Finch
http://swordsandwizardry.blogspot.com/2014/10/map-challenge-domes-of-serpentfolk.html

Chris C.
http://clashofspearonshield.blogspot.com/2014/10/over-at-gothridge-manor-tim-shorts.html

John Perry
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1rSHyIm0UaZQ2Z5Q08zZ0g0UUU/view?usp=shar

Alex Shroeder
https://campaignwiki.org/pics/F%C3%BCnfWinde/Karte.svgz

Josephe Vandel
http://schwarzkreuz.deviantart.com/art/Arden-Mapp-2011-346268703

Boric G.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_s1z5FrtYnwMjBkWGxxRDcySm8/view

Michael Prescott
http://www.trilemma.com/bw/Grunweld-Atlas-v1.jpg

Peter Regan
http://oubliettemagazine.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/the-fella-in-cellar.html 

Herr Zinnling
http://zinnling.blogspot.de/2014/10/the-imaginary-island-waltrop.html

I'm sure there will be more.  If you want to share your map, post a link in the comments so I can add it to the list.

Thanks to those who took part in this random goofy thing.

Enjoy the maps.

Oh, my map?


I like the way this one turned out.  Fairly straight forward and clean.  I'm not too thrilled about the names, Gludder's End (meh) and Freecourt Forest (blech), but those are easy enough to change.

While I was enjoying other folks' maps tonight I was working on fixing a map of my own.  I think it looks damn good.  It's for the next issue of The Manor.  I'll share more on it in the next post.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Calling All Map Makers

Hear ye!

Hear ye!

Will all the map makers of the realm gather round.  Sheath your quills, we will not have another ink fight like last time.

+Dyson Logos please refrain from crosshatching +Simon Forster's forehead.  And that Jackson fellow, +matt jackson drawing contour lines on the Most Wanted posters while amusing it is illegal.
 

Where was I?  To all maps makers out there, if you would, please share you most favoritous map.  It may be difficult, but chose only one and show the world.

+MonkeyBlood Design you can stop drawing fill in dirt in the dirt.  It's dirt. 

Please pass this along and see if we can get back to yapping about the important things in gaming and in life.  Fluffy trees or bare trees.  Contour lines or boobie hills.  Filled in squares or detailed roofs. 

+Michael Prescott, yes, that does look like its a 3D map of a horse and yes it is ironic you drew it on a horse.

If you think you suck at maps, share one anyway.  The only way you can suck is if you don't share.

Only One Roll Away

Last night the Monday Night Group got together for their 10th adventure into the 5E adventure of Phandelver.  Most of you have been through that adventure are probably scratching your head why its taking so long to complete it....we had issues man.  The initial goblin ambushes and cave showed us how deadly 5E could be.  I don't ever remember having surprise being such a huge advantage.

Last night we had an interesting session because not only did we have a plan going in, we also devised an escape plan and rally point.  What?  I know, we got our forward thinking caps on. 

The deal was we were approaching a goblin/orc fortification.  It was in bad shape structurally as the GM pointed out, but our party focused on the stone walls didn't matter as much as the number of the enemy inside.  We were there to save the dwarf.  The dwarf that hired us in the first session.  Took us a little while to get around to this part.

We stealthed our way in.  We were able to take a chuck of foes without being detected.  We agreed to leave the noisy loot behind until it was tie to run.  All went well until the ceiling collapsed on our ranger.  Then it hell broke loose, but instead of sticking around and being heroes.  We used our escape plan and it worked very well.  The GM got to use his Chase cards and we got out unscathed.

Until I had watch.  My not-so-perceptive rogue was attached by a trio of stirges.  Remember how I mentioned surprise was a huge advantage in a fight.  Well, the three stirges would have had my rogue taking a dirt nap if it hadn't been for a bless amulet I'd been wearing.  I was conscious enough to yell.

The mage in our party didn't like being disturbed and sat up long enough to tell me to shut-up, cast sleep on the stirges then he immediately fell back into his trance. 

I don't think three stirges would have been so deadly to a 3rd level rogue/thief in other systems.  Except the original where death is always one roll away.


Friday, October 3, 2014

My Kickstarters and How They are Doing

I haven't done a Kickstarter update in a while.  I figure Tenkar does well enough to stir the shit pot so I don't have to.  It looks like I've backed 11 Kickstarters and 1 Indiegogo.  Out of the 12, 7 are fulfilled.  Come on boys and girls, let's take a look.   
Red Kickstarters are bad.  Not delivered.  
Blue Kickstarters are good.  I got them in my greedy hands.   
Green is I kinda sorta got it.  
Orange is funded and in the process of completion within the scheduled time.

I start with the lone Indiegogo campaign.

Barrowmaze II
Bam, done.  Delivered on time.  Good deal. 

Dwimmermount
This was the very first campaign I got into and the story is well known.  I see some folks are getting copies of Dwimmermount now.  I've yet to receive mine.  Each time I say that someone always seems to pop up and inform me the ACK version will be out later.  Thanks for the information, but I ordered the Labyrinth Lord version.  I've waited over 2 years for it, I guess I can wait a little longer.  This one and the next one are long overdue, but I wasn't going to get upset or hate on the guys.  Was I disappointed?  Yup.  But that didn't last.  Glad to see James is active more these days. 

Appendix N
My second Kickstarter.  I didn't start well with Kickstarters.  Here's another one that ran into several problems.  When it first came out I was excited about them, but I made my peace with it that I'll probably won't see them.  Like James, John is a good guy, meant well, but with personal stuff and miscalculations I think the project overwhelmed him.  Every once in a while he rears back up and says he's shipped some order, but again, I've never gotten anything from this one.

Crawler's Companion
Sorta done.  Jon put out the app fairly quickly and I thought it worker well, but I was in it for the print version of the adventures.  I don't remember what happened, but I was asked if I wanted a refund for part of it because they weren't going to get the print version out.  So I took it and put it towards another kickstarter or monster manual.  The wife couldn't get mad at me for respending gaming money...could she?  But then not long after, the omnibus was released.  Either way, the companion is well worth it and with the coming con I will get some use out of it.

Tabletop Forge
This one confused me.  It combined with roll20 and I got a lot of figures I think.  Really, I'm not sure.
Swords & Wizardry 1st Edition Rules
I went in big on this one.  I was very pleased with the result.  It was delivered on time or very close.

Tavern Cards
Got'em.  I bought 6 decks and gave away a few.  This one went over.  Hannah, while she did all the math, she and her artist got tripped up on how long it would take to complete the art.  Which was a lot.  I love my cards and I used them last night.

Dungeon Deck
This one hurts.  I really wanted these.  Met Jim and Deb at a con.  Bought a set of their cards and really liked them.  And as far as I know they have the cards!  But there was a mailing mix up where all the cards were sent out, but because the label was reversed all those cards were returned to Jim and Deb.  There have been peeps every now and then, but it has pretty much gone dark.  I wish they would come back, shit I would pay a extra for postage so I could get the cards.

Scarlet Heroes
Bam done.  Kevin is the man.  Really knows how to run a Kickstarter.  I'll pretty much back anything he does. 

The Lost Lands: Lost City of Barakus
Another one done on time and quick delivery.  This is the second Frog God Games Kickstarter I backed.  Being a Swords & Wizardry guy, I'm very pleased with everything so far.  I even scored some extras.

City-State of the Invincible Overlord
 This one is scheduled to be delivered next month.  I'm not sure what the status is.  I haven't heard anything for a while.  I know Rob has been busting his ass getting all the tactical maps done.  But not sure about everything else.  I have a bad mojo feeling this one is going to be late.  I hope I'm wrong.

Slumbering Ursine Dunes
 This one is still collecting money.  I think it was a few more weeks to go.  It's funded and chewing through some stretch goals.  I wish Chris a ton of success.  This one is due out in December.

My Kickstarter backing has declined.  That's for a few reasons, most of my gaming income has been to buy as many of the zines that has been created.  It's hard keeping up on all of them, but I try.  Also I've been backing more folks on Patreon.  There are so many ways to spend you money on gaming, but you have to put a cap on it or somewhere down the line you get a frying pan to your head.  I like to support folks when they get excited about something,  but I also like to know the person at least a little beforehand.  When Chris Kutalik did his Slumbering Ursine Dunes, it was a no brainer. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The GM Games Warehouse is Restocked

After massive demands fell upon the GM staff, we worked hard through out the past week to create more Manors.  Hands ached, fingers bled and eyes blurred with exhaustion.  Once we completed the long hours of construction it was discovered the GM Games warehouse could no longer hold the contents.  We sat around pondering the problem.  Oh, what to do?  Day turned into night, night into day and it was then that a voice from the back row of staff members said in a quiet, almost embarrassed voice, "What if we stood the zines on end?"  It was as if a chorus angels of sang.  So for the next 12-hours they worked to rearrange the GM Game warehouse.  In the end, even exhausted, they smiled because they knew this was good.  And it was good.


GM Games September Sales Report

Another month of sales in the books.  Another very good month even though the last thing released was in July.  I had a total of 88 sales.  Many of those came in bundle sales in both print and PDF. 

Interesting Number
I've sold 1459 issues of The Manor.  Holy crap.  I don't have the numbers of how many were print compared to the PDFs.  But nearly 1459 zine sales is just fricking awesome for this backwoods dude in Pennsylvania.

Red numbers indicate the number of free downloads.

News
This month I released a 4-month subscription plan for The Manor.  Once I release issue #8 I'll have to increase the prices of the issues to $5 for US, $5.50 for Canada and $6 for international orders.  If you get the subscription you get a break on the price now.  Postage has been a killer lately.  You can get the subscription by pushing that little button off to the side.


Future Products
Issue #8 of The Manor is in the works. And a renewed old project is getting another look.

Thanks to all the people that ordered this month.  Your support is very appreciated.  Onto a new month, October, probably the coolest month of all.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Manor #8 Tease



I'm tight lipped and no hints...except the one above.  Not going to say a thing.  Nothing.  Not a peep.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tempering Expectations: Kinda Sorta a Timeline of My 1st Product

Lately there have been a lot of new folks getting into publishing their own thing, whether it is a zine, adventure or supplement.  What I've also seen, is the rumblings of disappointment in the sales.  I'm not an expert, but I have a few years under my belt with small press publications.  So everything I'm writing is from my experience and it may or may not pertain to you.

Everyone has their own idea of success.  Some measure success by a certain number of sales, others measure success by the amount of money they can put in their pocket and then there are those that feel that succeeded by getting their product published.  None of these ideas of success it wrong by any means.  They don't have to stand alone from one another, it can be a combo or two or more and other ideas of success combines. 

With more and more gaming material being released some of these folks are disappointed by the response.  While I can't tell you what is good and what is not so good I'll just share some of the experiences I've had.

My first product I published was Knowledge Illuminates (KI) back in February, 2011.  I'd been blogging for almost two years, getting to know the OSR community and I caught the self-publishing bug.  While I was very excited to release KI.  My expectations were low.  I thought if I could sell 25 copies it was a success and if on the outside chance I could sell 50, I'd be thrilled.  My friend +Rob Conley, who did the maps, proclaimed I'd sell a 100.  I covered my ears, "I can't hear you!"  I didn't want to get my hopes up that high.  I hadn't even sold 1 yet.

I released KI and immediately had to go back and edit it again.  My excitement to release the product made me jump the gun.  And I wrote a post about Why I Should Listen to My Wife

The sale jumped out of the gate very well.  I sold 37 copies in February.  Hell, KI was #1 on RPGNow for about 10 minutes, but it was there.  Within a couple of weeks I'd already hit my goal and then some.  The main reason why KI did well was:
  • I had been around a couple of years and folks got to know me through my blog.  Got to know what I was about and were willing to give the adventure a chance.  
  • The other reason was they did reviews.  I asked a bunch of folks if they would do a review and sent them a comp copy to do so.  This alone helped out tremendously.  
  • And overall, the OSR was supportive and helpful, even when there was some controversy over the price I set.  I set it at $4.  My reasoning for that was, it was my wife's lucky number.  Who was I to deny the laws of the universe.  It got people talking and that helped.
  • I did the best job I could do at the time.
In March I sold 15 copies.  The sales came in one or two.  By the end of the month they had dried up.  In April I didn't have any more sales until +James Maliszewski did a review and he was responsible for getting the 13 sales I had that month.  So in the first three months I had surpassed my expectation by selling 65 units.  Holy crap, maybe I did have a chance at a 100.

May 2011 - 4 sales

June 2011 - 3 sales

July 2011 - 1 sale

August, September, October 2011 - 0 sales

While the initial success was great, it tailed off very quickly.  My problem at the time was, I had no follow up product ready to go.  

Since I have been doing The Manor, follow-up releases are huge.  With each new release I get more sales from my older products.  I was doing the numbers for this month sales and 10 new folks picked up issue #1 of the Manor that was released 27 months ago.  On non-release months these tail sales add up and keep you motivated.

Because I kept at it, released new products, continued to blog and get involved with giveaway/contests/Kickstarters, to date Knowledge Illuminates has sold 416 copies.  WAY more than I ever thought it would sell.

No matter what your expectation is, the key to to keep publishing the best product you can do.  Publish what gets you excited.  And for god's sake, have fun with it.  If you can transfer your excitement, the fun you had with creating the process into a written form, you won't have to worry about sales.  They'll come your way, but just don't wait for them.  Move on to the next thing that is making you want to roll dice.