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!