Ballistic’s Report – Week Ending July 9, 2022

So the last one of these was a full two weeks ago, and a lot has happened since then. The TFT Kickstarter had closed on June 20, and things moved very quickly after that. Bestiary shipping came in, and a metaphorical heart attack ensued (I am sad I need to note metaphorical; age catches us all). I also planned and launched an exploratory Kickstarter aimed squarely at Brazil’s passionate and underserved GURPS market.

  • All files have been sent out and all backers marked as shipped for the Bestiary; there are some damaged packages that we’re working to replace.
  • I got a frightfully large shipping bill for the domestic part of the Bestiary delivery. I made a KS Update about it Some generous backers are helping make up the loss, which I wish I didn’t have to ask for, but I can’t swallow thousands of dollars of over-runs.
  • Speaking of shipping and surveys and project closure, check out the July 9 Daily Illuminator where Phil lays out the reasons that I too follow a similar policy. Gaming Ballistic drops you down to the digital-only version of whatever you ordered instead of an 85% refund, but ultimately: Projects must end.
  • Till Death rips right along. We closed the project on June 20; all content creation was complete by June 30. All books and cards are in manufacturing domestically, and I do still expect that all physical product will be in my hands and ready to commence fulfillment the week of July 18-22, which means that from launch to completion will be about a total of two months. Might be best-ever.
  • The Combate Épico em Masmorras project launched on July 1 and funded last night on July 8 during a really fun interview show I did with the group RPG Next, all natives.
  • SJ himself posted a Daily Illuminator confirming that if it has the SJGames logo on it, it’s official material, even if it’s third-party material.
  • I’m starting to see things resembling formatted drafts for two pieces (see below) that I expect to hit crowdfunding in late fall or early winter.
  • I need to generate three contracts for three separate GURPS projects.
  • I wrote a first draft of a very short article for TFT that might be directed at Hexagram. It needs some revisions and rules work, but this will make it much easier and gamer-friendly than the current format.
  • I got a fantastic email from the proprietor of the company (Necrotic Gnome) that did the Old School Essentials boxed set. He had read one of my prior updates and we conversed on the OSE Solo Project; he was gracious and supportive, so I’m hopeful that those of us who are interested in old-school games will have a lot of runway looking at this. I’ve got a lot more planned too.
  • Talked to several new-to-me authors about a “on the other side of the planet from Nordlond” concept that I think will be an awful lot of fun. Wrote up a guidance document and seeded it around. Hopeful about that one.

To help with ongoing funding of art and speed eventual time to delivery, Gaming Ballistic started a Patreon in January 2021. Here’s the weekly update on Patreon status.

  • Membership status: 60 patrons and $453 per month.
  • Special Content in July: Showed “The Art of Dungeon Grappling,” which contains art from my very first Kickstarter.

Things took a bit of a decline, and that is unfortunate to see.

  • SJ Posted a Daily Illuminator written by him personally endorsing the Combate Épico em Masmorras “official status,” which applies to everything I do for that license: TFT and Powered by GURPS. If I’m permitted to slap the SJGames pyramid logo on it, it’s official content, though of course third-party content.
  • I did a wonderful and fun interview show with Vicinius Watzl and Shelly Poison on RPG Next supporting the CEM Kickstarter. It’s in both English and Portuguese.
  • James Eisert at Castle Archon read, played, gave feedback, and reviewed Till Death on his YouTube channel.

Projects where hardcopies and PDFs are going out or scheduled to do so.

Nordlondr Ovinabokin: Bestiary

  • Now dealing only with damaged books and flawed deliveries. Domestic shipping initial bill was $2,500 than I collected on the entire project for shipping. Overall shipping what cost me $9,000 to print (both cards and books) all over the planet cost a minimum of $11,500. Wild and sad.
  • I got one of the best reviews/comments ever on the Bestiary.

Till Death Do Us Part

  • Closed at $22,093 and 572 backers, making it my second most-backed TFT project ever (best was 608 backers).
  • If you filled out your survey, you already have all of the digital files for the campaign. That happened roughly 10 days after the campaign closed; in fact, it happened before I got paid by Kickstarter.
  • I have already ordered all of the domestic content from Mixam and Artiforge, and I anticipate it in my hands before July 18…but Mixam’s reprinting of Vampire Hunter Belladonna was awful. The new print was on the left; the old Livonia offset print on the right. Reprints of Tower of the Moon and Catacombs of Living Death both came in fine. But I have something like eight more books – including the main one – on the way, and I’ve warned Mixam I’m going to be picky, because over the last 12-18 months they’ve picked up a reputation for uncertain quality.
  • International staging is also proceeding with a good pace. There are only a few books that need to be printed at Mixam UK and shipped from ShipQuest.
  • Shipping was so egregiously high for Australia and New Zealand that I am working with a backer with a freight-forwarding company to deliver all of those regions books to him, and he will re-ship them. Way, way cheaper. This person is known to me as a frequent backer of my projects, so I feel this is going to be reliable.

Now Available on Warehouse 23!

Now Available in PDF format on DriveThruRPG:

  • Tower of the Moon (The Fantasy Trip)

The full Product Catalog has been updated for Spring 2022 and probably needs an update for Summer 2022.

Combate Epico em Masmorras (Epic Dungeon Combat). We funded last night during the RPG Next show. It’s ready to go to backers the day the campaign closes.

Till Death Do Us Part (OSE), by David Pulver will mark Gaming Ballistic’s first release for Old School Essentials. The current plan is to convert all of the four solos I have to OSE and launch them in July, immediately following the TFT version of ‘Till Death. Pledge levels will include “pick 1 PDF,” “Pick 2 PDFs,” “All four solos,” and Four Print+PDFs. Seems like some sort of card layout would make good sense as well.

Let Us Rejoice! is a systemless exploration of festivals and gatherings as great ways to make a world come alive. Uses and collects the Nordlond material that is scattered over several books as examples, but also goes further than that. This will be GB’s first systemless release, aimed at mid-August.

Serpents of Legend. Formerly “Bestiary Project 1,” this is partially just a book of cool snake-themed monsters written by Marko Vujnovic (the Chaotic GM). But it also contains some serious serpent-related cosmology for Nordlond, and a really nifty section on snake cults. This has been making good progress and I’m starting to see formatted draft material.

Writing and content creation for announced projects. Some of this may be cryptic.

  • The “Bugstiary.” Need to work on a contract with the author, but I’ve got an approved outline in hand. This one is looking at 32 pages, and much more of a strict bestiary book of cool bug-and-insect themed monsters.
  • Delvers to Grow Companion. Some new professions. A whole bunch of new disad packages. Epic Upgrades. Who knows what else will strike me? September/October plan.
  • Gear Catalog 1? There’s a good start at what is probably a nice 32-page book, maybe a bit more. Also DFRPG. I’ve talked with a potential author on this one and we need to work out a few things, but not in a bad way.
  • Inns and Taverns, by Marshall LaPira. Systemless. Still postponed indefinitely. A good time for this would either be along with Let Us Rejoice (in a few months) or real close to the end of the year.
  • Let Us Rejoice! Systemless short book (probably less than 16 pages) on festivals in fantasy gaming, and why you should be using more of them.
  • OSE Solo Adventures by David Pulver. Till Death OSE draft already exists, need to work on formatting, editing, and looking at the rules there, then get busy with the other three solos. Crunchy work.
  • Shield Rules Supplement 1. I have something from the author, formatted and ready for a full read-through. He’s a new author, but is good about taking advice and help, both strategically and tactically. Because I hope this book is FDG, but for shields it will need rigorous at-the-table playtesting. Fortunately, that’s what my Patreon is for…
  • Two Warring Houses, by Douglas Cole. Systemless. Actually saw some writing over Valentine’s Day. On hold as other things come first.

I note that for new authors, Delvers to Grow and Bestiary entries are fantastic ways to get into the game, as such projects lend themselves very well to focused writing and fast turn-around. The new concept that I’m shopping around to my circle of authors and contributors will be another entry…but the nature of the concepts require a firm hand on the wheel for gamer utility. So not going public with that yet.

Bits of news and items that put a monkey in the wrench.

  • Holy crap shipping on the Bestiary was more than anything I expected, maybe by 2x. The new Backerkit “charge shipping later” seems to be helping keep things real on Till Death.
  • I wound up having to order a LOT of restock/reprints for Till Death, which is great in one way (I’ve sold out of enough titles to order reprints!), but restocking wasn’t a cost I’d really budgeted for.
  • Just a lot of money out the door this last week. Including moving like 500-600 lbs worth of books from Tennessee to my home, which should arrive in a few days. These are overstock from older print runs, but they’re all from Livonia so they’re high quality books.
  • The misprint on Vampire Hunter Belladonna scares me for the other eight or so titles coming from Mixam.
  • Is it too much to ask to actually pack heavy boxes of books like they’re going to be dropped, stacked, and tossed around by over-worked and under-pressure delivery folks? All three of the boxes of VHB I got from the printer were split up the side from being dropped on the ground. Say “that delivery guy/shipping guy was all evil and stuff” might cut it in a more relaxed shipping environment, but given the environment, the originators need to use more tape, heavier boxes, and reinforce the corners. Including me.
  • The CEM project didn’t explode like I hoped. We did fund (yay!), but there are issues with using Kickstarter in Brazil, mostly in that a lot of Brazilians don’t have an international credit card. Both Shopify and even Backerkit are more flexible with the payments they accept from Backers (PayPal being a big one for Brazilians). That market is also deeply skeptical of all-digital offerings, based on some surprisingly vitriolic messages I’ve received.
  • This gives some pause, but also some hope. Read on.

Information about things that move GB forward.

  • Till Death is screaming along to completion, though I do expect to suffer some delays if I have to reprint books. But at the moment, getting everything in hand the third week in July seems plausible.
  • Starting to really see work that can be turned into usable content for other Powered by GURPS projects, including Serpents of Legend, Shield Rules Project, and the Bugstiary.
  • So much fun on RPG Next last night.
  • Still like the new CEM graphic design, and the only thing left on the book is some references to the PTBR (Brazilian Portuguese) printing of the Basic Set, since the Dungeon Fantasy RPG books are not available in Brazil.
  • Got that article for Steve into a format where it’s all about revision rather than content creation, which is excellent and a weight off my shoulders.
  • The next phase of my existence is going to be all about OSE conversion and helping my three PbG authors work to get drafts in place. Then I can think of my own entries to that project.
  • I’m starting to really eye Backerkit as a vector for future projects, though I need a good vector to test that. Kickstarter’s networking effects are so large it’s hard to dismiss that, but I have a few ideas that might help.

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