Sunday, December 30, 2018

A Year Review for Backed Kickstarters

In 2018 I returned to Kickstarter by backing more than I had any other year. A total of 8 Kickstarters backed. I thought I'd go through and take a look at which ones I backed and how they did or are doing.

For Coin & Blood
I went in on the $5 pledge to get the PDF. It delivered on time. The concept is an interesting spin on developing villains. This is one of those ones I really love the concept, got the PDF, put it in a folder and forgot about it. And this is something I could really use. I put the PDF on my desktop so I am more likely to read it. No complaints about this Kickstarter.

Off the Beaten Path, Desert Excursions
I pledged at the $9 level to get a print on demand book. This was the second Kickstarter I backed by Thom Wilson of Throwi Games. He keeps his Kickstarters simple and easy to understand. Some of these damn Kickstarter pledge options are confusing. Thom is in the same space as I am, create short adventures. He also enlists the aid of MonkeyBlood Design, Mr. Glynn Seal added some fantastic maps. Thom's stuff is solid and inspiring. Good stuff and another well done Kickstarter.

Dice Coins
I was in at the $12 pledge so I could get two of the three d20 dice coins. I love these things. They are cool. Delivered on time. I did a video of them, so if you're interest give it a watch.

The Dragon Heresy Introduction Set Fantasy RPG
I was in at the $50 mark so I could get a big, fat hardback copy. Doug Cole is the mind behind this one. I was lucky enough to be there during the embryonic stages of Doug coming up with Dragon Heresy. It has an interesting take on hit points (and grappling of course). It really settles the argument about the philosophy of hit points.  Then add the intensity and depth of the Norse culture setting. These are the type of rulesets I enjoy the most, those that are built specific for a setting. Delivered on time and amazing quality.

Choose Your Own: Sci-Fi Stock Art
I plopped down $50 for this one. Another interesting concept, building your own stockart by using different elements. The artist, James Shields was going to produce Weapons, Ships, Portraits, People, and Scenes. Over 250 individual pieces of art. And he was throwing in $20 vouchers for his current work. This one was due in September 2018. Nothing yet. His last update he showed a bunch of work, but nothing looks close to being done. Sometimes Kickstarters end up being a ton more work than you expect. I'd love to see this one get fulfilled.

The GMs Tarot 
I started my pledge at 15 pounds, but then I threw in 12 more pounds for the stretch goals. To us Yanks that's $34.31. I like these kind of gaming accessories. Anything that helps with scraps of inspiration I am in. It was to deliver in September, but not yet. However, last week I received a PDF copy of the cards. I just hope I get my hands on the physical copy. Card PDFs are like getting cotton candy that tastes like pickles.

Woodfall - A mini hexcrawl setting
Went in for 15 pounds on this one. It billed itself as a swamp where witches, thieves, and outlaws are squatting. How can you say no to something like that. Well I got my PDF on time. I got my hardcover soon after. I've been reading through it the past few days and need to do a proper review. This Kickstarter went very well.

Lost Hall of Tyr
Another Kickstarter by Doug Cole. I pledged $26 for a print copy. This adventure goes with his Dragon Heresy setting. This Kickstarter ended a few days ago, but Doug has a solid track record of not only getting things done, but doing them at the highest quality. The man doesn't sleep. I have the utmost confidence that I'll be getting my copy by June 2019.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Goals for 2019

Goals for 2019...I don't usually do this kind of thing. But this coming year will be different. I want to make goals and do my best to hit these goals. While I am making year goals, I am also making quarter goals. Wife, The Happy Whisk, likes her solstice and equinox goals. I think it makes the goals more digestible. So let's get into this.

Quick addition...I wrote the goals then looked at them and saw I only had one with a measurable outcome. So I went back and added numbers to the goals. And where appropriate, a baseline.

100 Patrons
I've had my Patreon running since July 2014, or 55 months. At current I have 81 fantastic patrons. I've been hovering around that number for probably half the year. People come and go and sometimes come back again. I try to make it fun. And useful. I need to continue to get the word out and running more games...another one of my goals.
Current Patrons: 81
By Spring Equinox: 86
By Summer Solstice: 91
By Autumnal Equinox: 96
By Winter Solstice: 100

Moving Gothridge Manor
I've had domain for years. And years. And I've done nothing with it. Until last night. Whisk and I went over to Wix to check out their website options. I want a site to blog, have an eCommerce store, and to post games/events/releases. Then I got a super good deal. Woot. Now I need to sit down and figure out how to build my website. 
This goal needs completed early in the first quarter.

Continue Podcasting
This past year has been my introduction into podcasting. It's been a lot of fun. I already have a hundred twenty-six episodes under my belt. I'd like to do interviews or collaborations. I've done none. The Anchorites have a Discord channel where they meet, but I don't get over there too often. I plan to check in more often.
Complete two interviews/collaborations each quarter.

Game with More Folks
In 2018 I gamed more than I ever have. Gaming three nights a week during most weeks. But I'd like to do more random gatherings with different people. Get to know some others. I think the new website should help with that. And I'll need to get on Discord a bit more often.
Complete two events during each quarter.

Collaboration with Other Gamers
Writing adventures has been a favorite pastime of mine. It is a solitary en devour. This year I want to partner with other gamers and mushing our brains together to see what squirts out.  
Complete one adventure collaboration per quarter. 

What do you think? It is a lot of goals. Sometimes my job takes the shit and vinegar right out of me. It doesn't leave me a lot left over in the tank to be social. This year I've done much better with it and I've come to rely on it to recharge my batteries. These goals are about having fun. Doing more of what I love to do. A win win situation. I am winning at D&D. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Patreon: Year's End of Micro-Adventures

I'm not sure if I've done a year end report for my Patreon to check on the growth (or decline) of my Micro-Adventures. This year I thought it would be good to take a look at the past three years just to get some perspective.

Why don't I start off with my production through these years.

Stats for 2016
  • 16 Micro-Adventures
  •   7 Micro Locations
Start: 68
End: 63
Highest: 73
Lowest: 63

Start: 165.75
End: 158.75
Highest: 176.25 (Aug)
Lowest: 149.75 (Feb)
  • Loss of 5 patrons
  • Loss of $7 of pledges
  • My production was 1.92 releases a month. 
  • I had six months of growth and six months of decline.
  • The largest losses were $16 in pledges in February and $10.50 in October. 
  • The largest gains were $10.50 in May and $8.50 in October. 
Since this was a couple years back my memory about what happened is fuzzy. I do remember struggling with the lack of progress with my Patreon. It seemed to have 'topped out'. I decided to try a few things to increase patrons such as being better with sharing my content. I was lax on spreading the word about what I was doing. If I wanted to get my Micro-Adventures in the right direction I needed to try new things. Even if they were out of my comfort zone. 

Some of My Favorites from 2016

The Hoblin Goblin Run
First off, I love the title. My wife, The Happy Whisk, is the one who came up with it after mishearing me say hobgoblin. It is also the first micro-adventure with a isometric map. Not the best in the world, but suited the adventure. I also created a Potion of Treasure Finding that was specific toward one item and with a horrible side effect that would kill the imbiber if the item was not found in time.

The Charcoaler's Ransom
I did a lot of research for this adventure. I love grabbing a piece of minutiae and digging in to find an adventure. Taking a simple charcoaler out of the economy can cripple the area.  And to top it off, those that kidnapped the charcoaler, treat him like a king. While the kidnappers wanted to extort money from the nobles, they had no intention of harming the charcoaler. Providing another small twist.

The Weeping Witch
I've run this adventure a few times. It's a ton of fun. It has a lot of elements squeezed into a situation. A boy goes missing. There are some questions about his caretaker. The identity of the Weeping Witch. And why are all of them connected? It is a cool little mystery that can have very different endings. I feel good about all the elements and possibilities I managed to get in this one. It is my go to adventure for cons right now. 

Stats for 2017
  • 15 Micro-Adventures
  •   4 Micro-Locations
  •   4 NPC Cards
  •   1 The Manor #9

Start: 68
End: 74
Highest: 84 (April & June)
Lowest: 68 (Jan)

Start: $147.25
End: $227.75
Highest: $227.75 (Dec)
Lowest: $147.25 (Jan)

  • A gain of 6 patrons
  • A gain of $80.50 of pledges
  • My production was 2.0 releases per month.
  • I did not have a release in November.
  • I had seven months of growth and five months of decline.
  • The largest losses were $11.50 in January and $7.50 in May and July.
  • The largest gains were $32.50 in March, $20.50 in December*, $18.50 in June and $13.50 in April.
It was in December of 2017 that Patreon announced they were no longer going to charge creators fees, but rather transfer the cost to the patrons. I was pissed because it asked more from people who were already being generous. This caused an exodus of patrons, but the strange thing is while I lost eight patrons that month, my existing patrons actually increased their pledges! Amazing. Patreon did reverse their decision before the month was out. It just goes to show how fantastic my patrons are. 

My growth was fantastic in 2017. After a decline in 2016 I thought about winding the my Patreon down. That I had peaked. Or I needed to promote a little more, do some giveaways. Get some interest. I kept creating content I enjoyed, and one by one my following increased.  

Some of my Favorites from 2017


Mr. Cruddy's Grave
Again, I go back to simple situations that have gone wrong. When Cross-Eyed Willie gets himself in a spot, the party may have to lend a hand. This is clumsy cross-section map, but I still like it. Kinda illustrated that you don't need a grand setting to have an adventure. This one lends itself to humor, with the incompetency of Cross-Eyed Willie coupled with the still angry in death Mr. Cruddy. Plus, I like what's in the chest. 

My NPC cards started hitting their stride and became a favorite of my patrons. Brax is an NPC I've used a lot. He cracks me up. He seems to crack up the players. While I had some very cool, earlier NPC cards, I think Brax hits that balance of being interesting, simple, and humorous. Those anti-spider ties would sell on QVC like hotcakes. Or Potions of Healing to stay in game.

The Manor #9
It had been a couple years since I released an issue of The Manor. Because I geared my Patreon to populate my campaign using the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light system, this issue became easy to write. It's funny how daunting it can becoming to release an issue even with several under my belt. I was glad to get this one released. And I thought the content was useful.

Stats for 2018
  • 8 Micro-Adventures
  • 4 Micro-Locations
  • 6 NPC Cards
  • Adventure Time Cards

Start: 76
End: 86
Highest: 89 (Oct)
Lowest: 76 (Jan)

Start: $229.75
End: $254.75
Highest: $256.25 (Oct)
Lowest: $224.75 (Feb)

  • A gain of 10 patrons
  • A gain of $25 of pledges
  • My production was 1.4 releases per month.
  • I did not have a release in May.
  • I had nine months of growth and three months of decline.
  • The largest losses were $5 in February and $3 November.
  • The largest gains were $9.50 in April, $6.50 in May, and $6 in October.
It was an interesting year. My lowest output compared to the previous two years, but I still managed to gain traction. There were no real big swings in loss or gain from month to month. I enjoyed a steady growth for the most part. I was hoping to crack a 100 patrons in 2018, but couldn't quite do it. So guess what my goal for 2019 is? 100 patrons! 

Some of My Favorites from 2018

The Broken Girl
I love the vibrate colors and simplicity of the map. The mysterious giant dock tells of an age long past. But the true meat to this adventure is the weird little creature that murdered the little girl. The creature goes from a raging murder without thought of its consequences to become overcome by a flood of emotions and regret. I use children often as a factor in my adventures, for good or bad, they play an important role. 

Ansel's Secret Workshop
I absolutely love this location. A place the group can find and take it with no combat. And if nothing else how can you not like a spider named Clyde who likes long walks and playing chess. An example of how all locations or adventures don't need to end in a bloodbath. 

Thurber Village
Another piece created to fill out a section of my campaign. I've found this entry and the format for other villages very useful. I provide given the GM lots of opportunities to to breath life into Thurber Village in a small space.

Final Thoughts
I'm planning of moving my Gothrdige Manor blog to a new home, set up an honest to goodness eCommerce site. Getting help with edits. And finally getting around to compiling these adventures into a book. As of this time I have a total of 78 Micro-Adventures, 26 Micro-Locations, 11 NPC Cards, and 3 miscellaneous for a total of 118 items I've created for my Patreon since July 2014. 

As always, I can't thank my patrons enough for their support, past and present. They provide me the inspiration to create and to share. And while we hear a lot of negative things about the OSR, I think in part it is because of its success, as a group. But the foundation is built upon sharing ideas, creating content, and if nothing else, drawing a map.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Hearth of the Hill Giants

Merry Christmas everyone!
I hope you guys got some good gaming stuff in your stocking and under the tree. I was given a nice collection of books this year. They should keep me busy for at least a couple of months. 
Having a little time off, my brain finally had a moment to focus on gaming material again. The Hearth of the Hill Giants is an adventure that I started months ago. It was born out of a random encounter. I decided the big buy needed a home. I surrounded the giants' home with worgs to the south protecting a corrupted an ancient Northmen well. To the north is a crabbers paradise. Imagine a single crab where you could harvest 40 pounds of meat. You're going to need a LOT of butter. But that's a different adventure. 
I've implied different reason why a party would journey this way, but the end reason is the privilege of the GM. I've dropped a few hooks a party could latch onto. Maybe papa hill giant chewed on a messenger with a very important message. Rumors of a long lost treasure of the Northmen, or the worg problem is getting out of hand. The source must be destroyed. 
With the year coming to a close I'm planning a year end for my Patreon. I want to share the progress, accomplishments, and challenges over the year. As much as I can remember. 
Thank you and enjoy the holidays.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Moving The Manor Soon

I may be a little premature in writing about this, but I am planning on moving Gothridge Manor and GM Games to a new home. I've been very lax in using my blog. I find it more frustrating these days when I spend more time moderating comments from blatant spammers that Google opened the gates. For example, I haven't written a post in a few weeks. Within two days I have 83 spam comments. Most days it's two to ten. It shows me Google has no interest in the integrity of their platforms. 

In addition I want a new home to get back to writing and to develop an honest to goodness eCommerce store. I've got ideas for 2019. There are a few larger items I'd like to get done. Maybe do a few collaborations. Get more organized. Ha. I know, that last one is funny. 

I've never had a real store, just some Paypal buttons at the bottom of some posts. I'd like to make it nicer for you folks to find what your looking for. Once I set up my new place I'll let you know. 

I think a new place to play might be the ticket in 2019.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Inspiration and Development of a Campaign

Ray Otus asked about my campaign. What my inspirations were/are. So I decided to do a podcast.

Most of you know I'm a huge fan of the Thieves World books. No doubt those had the biggest influence on the way I game. Then add in some magical realism and the values of Harn. There's more, but you'll have to give it a listen.