Tag Archives: kickstarter

Awesome Ship Kickstarter

Since I am running a long pirate campaign that’s headed to the Razor Coast, I was jazzed to come across this ship and terrain Kickstarter – with various ships including a 60′ barque (La Belle), 90′ sloop-of-war (HMS Drake), and a 130′ frigate (HMS Surprise).  It’s a chunk of change but… I had to do it! Go check it out if you plan on some naval action in your game.

RPG Kickstarters – Crossplatform Is For Chumps

I was just looking at the Kickstarter for Fall of Man, which looks interesting, till I saw them making the same error I’ve seen a lot of RPG Kickstarters make.

“It’s for Pathfinder!  And for stretch goals, we’ll convert to FATE and C&C and 13th Age!”

Here’s why this is a great way to make your Kickstarter fail, either up front or long term.

First, who is your Kickstarter for?  If it’s for a Pathfinder player, they couldn’t give much of a crap whether your product supports other systems, and they’d really prefer your stretch goals to be something that would benefit them.  You’re basically saying “No stretch goals for you!”

And if you’re a e.g. 13th Age player – are you really going to pledge “in case” it gets to the stretch goal? Maybe – and if it doesn’t get close to that level, you’ll pull out, collapsing your funding. Fun!

But that’s not the worst part.  The worst part is that unless you are just porting it to highly similar systems (e.g. Pathfinder and 3.5e, or some OSR clones) – you’re going to do a shit job.

These games are very different.  Pathfinder and FATE come at storytelling from different perspectives.  Your port is either going to be a) shitty and cursory, or b) you’re going to have to pay someone to basically develop native to that system for scratch – and you’re not getting enough money for that to be net positive for you.

Frog God has managed to do a couple Swords & Wizardry ports of things like Razor Coast… But unless you’re that big and professional, you’re not going to make it work, certainly not with multiple systems.

Instead, it’s going to become an albatross around your neck.  Something not really wanted, that doesn’t add a lot to the value of your product, and that once you’ve delivered your main product just hangs there sapping energy and money and credibility.  Stop it.

My Reaper Kickstarter Unboxing

I took part in the Reaper Miniatures “Bones” kickstarter for unpainted resin minis last August and they’ve been working away to produce them.  I came home this week to find this jumbo box sitting on my doorstep!

IMG_1262I popped it open and it was chock full.

IMG_1274I opened it up and took out the components…

IMG_1275Besides the “Vampire” level of funding, I bought a “starter paint kit,” two minis cases, a red dragon and six “deep dwellers.”IMG_1276The paint starter kit is ridiculous huge!  So much paint! And I’ll need it…

IMG_1277Here’s my extra minis – the red dragon, deep dwellers, and then some skeleton with a shovel was in with the paints.

IMG_1279There’s the dragon sculpt, right off the Pathfinder book. Pardon the graininess of my iPhone camera, but you get the gist.  The wings and arm and head were separate components that snapped right on. Now, to the main event!

IMG_1280In the big white Vampire box – 6 keys of smack!  I mean minis!

IMG_1281Here’s one bag.

IMG_1282And in it – a billion little bags!

IMG_1283Some of the smalls are on sticks – some I could twist off but most will need an x-acto knife.

IMG_1284It took a long time to open all the little baggies.  They’re not perforated or anything, scissors are required. I was careless once, and sheared off a spear-tip while cutting baggie after baggie. Here’s the figures from the first bag.

IMG_1285

This one had a bunch of space marines in it!IMG_1286

She wants me.IMG_1287First impressions – they are rubbery – very rubbery.  This is good in that there were no broken minis (except the one I cut while de-bagging) but several of the minis (mainly smalls and skeletons) have trouble standing up. The scuplts are beautiful.

Bag two, now with ectoplasm!

IMG_1288

IMG_1289IMG_1290By the time I was done – an army of minis!

IMG_1293One bag of trash…

IMG_1292And one big box of minis!

IMG_1295Final count:

  • 246 minis (no pieces missing)
  • 0 broken (except for my scissors accident)
  • 5 that won’t stand up no matter what despite loads of bending (and many more that have quite a lean to them)

I’m quite pleased! For a decently low investment, a mess of minis, and all the scuplts are great.  The Pathfinder iconics and goblins are my favorites!

I’ll have to see how the rubbery texture does with painting, it seems a little questionable.  If Reaper’s reading this, I’d go a touch stiffer with the material in subsequent batches. You mainly want to surf the fine line between breakage and wobbliness. I remember Paizo’s first prepaints were too soft, and then the latest ones are really stiff to the point of some breakage. These are way softer than the Paizo/Wizkids ones even at start (or the D&D Minis), and could use a couple levels of stiffening.

If they could add perforations to the baggies it would be nice too, though probably in the future people won’t have to be opening them in such volume.

Anyway – thanks Reaper, and I hope this Kickstarter did well for y’all!

Dwarven Forge Mini Terrain Kickstarter

OK, did you do the Reaper kickstarter and are wondering how you’re going to use your hundred plus minis when they come in?  Well, here’s an idea.

Dwarven Forge makes those super sweet ridiculously detailed 3D resin miniature terrains you may have seen that no one can afford. But… Kickstarter to the rescue!  They are starting a new line of Game Tiles, which is basically the same terrain but made from a less expensive material. And they are Kickstarting them at a ridiculously affordable level!  You can get them “unpainted” – which is still dungeon stone grey – or get them hand painted for a small upcharge.  Man, I wish that was a Reaper option, I’d pay $50 extra to get them all painted for sure.

The Kickstarter is up to $1.2 million already and has only 3 days left. I never considered buying terrain before – this is such an unnecessary luxury – but damn, 2 sets and a bunch of dressing extras, hand painted, for $170 – I’m in.

Razor Coast Kickstarter

Bethany Razor Works It

Bethany Razor Works It

Razor Coast, the mega-adventure by Paizo fan favorite author Nick Logue, has had a long and checkered past. But Frog God Games has it now and is running a Kickstarter to get it out the door finally! It’s in Pathfinder, but they also have Frank Mentzer (Red Box, fools!) himself working on delivering it for Swords & Wizardry too at the same time.

Razor Coast is set on an untamed coastline, with home base being a colonial power’s city and it surrounding plantations. Just on the land you have slavery, hostile natives, crocodile men, volcanoes, and monster-infested jungle to contend with. But Razor Coast, like Skull & Shackles, has a strong nautical component too.  Ply the waves and fight pirates, or be a pirate and fight the navy – plus weresharks and sahuagin and other demented denizens of the deep! (You can get a sneak preview of the maps for RC on Sean MacDonald’s site!) It wouldn’t be Nick Logue if it didn’t reveal the worst side of human nature and end up in various shrieking bloodbaths.

Pele, Goddess of Fire and Wrack

Pele, Goddess of Fire and Wrack

The good news is that the content is pretty much all done.  I was a volunteer editor originally and still am; this adventure (and all the related Indulgences and extras and whatnot) are in the can and just being fine-tuned.  I just finished another round of editing the various Indulgences to make them even better. So there’s not much standing between this and release, unlike other Kickstarters that are being done completely from scratch.

Yes, it’s pricey.  The hardback level is $110, but you are getting a huge tome and a lot of extras for that.  Lou Agresta explains the value and all what you get on the Paizo boards if you’re interested. FGG uses a very high quality textbook printer, made in the USA, so you are paying more but get a book that won’t fall apart and whose binding isn’t mixed with the tears of child laborers. Check out the higher Kickstarter levels too, they have sweet ship models and other cool swag. They’re 2/3 of their way to goal with 19 days left, now’s the time to get in on it! If you preordered back in the day from Sinister, they’ll honor that preorder, so no worries there. You can pledge some to get other bennies though.

Dajobas, Devourer of Worlds

Dajobas, Devourer of Worlds

I’m going to be running Razor Coast as part of my Pathfinder pirate campaign (“Reavers on the Seas of Fate“) soon! Actually, I already ran one of the Indulgences that were available back originally to kick off the campaign, and you can read the extended session summary here to get a feel for the kind of adventure we’re looking at!  (Well… I did zazz it up a bit myself.) I’ll be setting it south of the Shackles with Port Shaw as a Sargavan expansion port.

Do note that you don’t have to be  a pirate for Razor Coast, unlike with Skull & Shackles – it works for good parties as well. In fact, it starts at level 5 (and goes up through 12+), you could capture and impress your PCs with the first chapter of Skull & Shackles and if they end up being goody-goody and don’t want to go pirate, they could flee to Port Shaw and slot right into Razor Coast!  I actually used the first two chapters of Second Darkness to start my Reavers campaign and went pirate from there, out to Azlant and now to the Razor!

Maybe my PCs will see you there… Kickstart now to become on of their many victims!

Razor Coast Lives Again

Back in 2009, noted Paizo freelance author Nick Logue started Sinister Adventures, a small imprint which announced a great-looking product, the pirate mega-adventure Razor Coast. Sadly, it was colossally mismanaged and closed its doors in 2011 without having delivered.

However, the manuscript showed promise and Lou Agresta did a huge amount of development work (for free I might add) to try to save it at the time. I was one of the volunteer editors and it definitely was shaping up well.

So Nick has come back to the States and is paying some attention again and has said “Sorry I was such a doofus” (I’m paraphrasing), paid off refunds, and Lou got Frog God Games to pick the thing up as a Kickstarter starting on Christmas!

It’s a good play.  If I didn’t personally know the state of the manuscript I’d be staying way the hell away from this – “I know I colossally screwed it up once, but let’s try again” is the uninspiring clarion call of various sad sacks of the RPG industry. But it’s reasonably close to completion, and as long as they keep on top of the schedule, this could be sweet.  Certainly the Paizo faithful are eager to pour money into anything they do (the hugely successful Paizo MMO Kickstarter where you don’t even get the game for your pledge proves that). So maybe Razor Coast will see the light of day after all.

Just one caution.  Kickstarter is in a huge bubble right now. The RPG industry in general is all over patronages and pledges and kickstarters and all.  But it just takes a couple where people mess it up and don’t come through to tarnish it for everyone.

I personally am wrestling over pulling out of the Open Designs “Dark Deeds in Freeport” patronage.  I love Freeport but the project (started in 2010) has been plagued with designer turnover (“Previous one just disappeared”) and delays; two years in it’s unclear what’s going on. When head Kobold Wolfgang Baur is asked about progress and schedule, the answer is “I don’t know! I’ll refund you if you want.”

Well, I was going to bail, and it’s only the fact that that very day I got the email that the other Open Design patronage project I was in (Journeys to the West) had finished and would ship stopped me, raising their cred just above my waterline. Kickstarters/patronage projects get you seed money but they don’t reduce AT ALL your need to project manage the heck out of a product to get it out.

I hope FGG structures this so they’re not putting Nick on the critical path for anything, and that this one doesn’t become the thing that gives RPG kickstarters a bad name. With how much companies are starting to go all in on that model, if public opinion turned it could really hurt a lot of people in the industry very quickly. It’s a somewhat fragile trust-based mechanism to convince people to pay you up front – something that historically has been an awful bet in the RPG industry – and it’d be easy to convince people that “wait till it shows up in the store to plunk down money” is the more prudent course.

Anyway, let’s see if Razor Coast can finish out super strong! The third party ecosystem for Pathfinder has oddly been shying away from adventures and adventure paths – that’s maybe 20% of their output and they tend to focus on rules splatbooks just like the ones we all didn’t buy back in the 3.5e days – and since you can never have too much adventure, a third party AP that is a credible major success would encourage that!

Reaper Kickstarter Or OSR Manifesto?

In an interesting move that’s almost a political statement, the Reaper minis kickstarter that’s going crazy ($2.5M, 13,590 backers) is giving away a Swords & Wizardry PDF with the big set of rewards now.

The weird thing about that is that the Swords & Wizardry PDF is already available for free.  So this is less a giveaway and more a promotion.  And it’s likely to be a successful promotion; I don’t know how many people have downloaded Swords & Wizardry ever but I think another 13,500 is a very significant percentage of that number.

I think it’s interesting that a minis company would push something like that basically for no real business benefit (they are selling Pathfinder branded minis, so some giveaway there wouldn’t have been as much of a surprise – or heck, it’s 3e/4e that have pushed miniature use in general a lot more than earlier D&D did, but the financial give-back from any OSR promotion is likely to be in the “maybe it’ll buy a latte” range).  I know some of it’s just personal interest, here in central/north Texas there’s a lot of OSR going on, but one can’t help but reflect during the D&D Next playtest what the implications of a lot of new blood getting their hands on the old rules might mean.  Positive things I hope; Next is starting to bloat during playtest from Basic to 4e very quickly, perhaps people will get a taste of a more stripped down ruleset and realize they don’t need all those layers of rules for fun.

My verdict – ballsy, interesting, good on you guys!