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.

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