Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Compendium Offset Print Run

The Trilemma Adventures Compendium will now be manufactured by an offset print run.

Ever since I conceived of this book, I've been on a knife's edge about how to get it printed. I explored both options carefully. Ultimately, I decided to follow Kevin Crawford's advice: if you're a one-person RPG writer, you win by writing, not by trying to be a publisher, wrestling with distribution and inventory management with no economy of scale.

For that reason I chose DriveThruRPG as my fulfilment option. As a Canadian with most buyers of my buyers in the US, trying to figure out cross-border (and international!) distribution for 200 copies of my book made no sense.

DTRPG makes a solid book (especially in the premium colour version that I've selected), and distribution is one-step easy. Obvious.

What's Changed?

With the incredible amount of support I've received from backers, however, things look very different now. We hit 200 hardcover copies on the first day! If things stay on track, it could easily be 800 by the time we're done. This completely changes the situation.

It means that an offset print run is now a completely practical approach for delivering this book, and it will be a better book for it.

Eight days remain!

Monday, 20 May 2019

5e Stats for Trilemma Adventures

Over on the Kickstarter, first we unlocked B/X stats, then we unlocked Dungeon World stats. Now it's time for the big one:

Fifth edition.

Do you love 5e? Do you know Dungeon Masters who do?  If so, please help spread the word, so we can rip the lid right off this thing and unlock everything.

* * *

If you're joining the battle late and you've missed the play-by-post action, you can catch up here!

Here are all five of the comic updates:

#1 #2 #3 #4 #5

..and here is the complete map of the fortress—at least, the bits that the axewives are aware of so far.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Compendium Kickstarter News

We've now reached the mid-way point of the Kickstarter campaign for the compendium. The fifth battle update went out this morning, showing the beginning of the Dradkin counter-attack plan.

It's very bad news for the axewives of Grinvolt.

On the 'book' front, layout is progressing very well, and I'm starting to fill in the spots I'd marked off for extra illustrations. You can see one here, down at the bottom of The Mermaids' Knot.

Here's a detail WIP image of a Priestess of Suvuvena, greeting the adventurers. This one is by Juan Ochoa, who contributed the awesome Heelan warrior for Lair of the Lantern Worm! I saw the sketch of the whole image and I can't wait to see the whole thing.

On May 30, the gate closes for good, and anyone not inside gets turned into chirpers. Any help you can offer, spreading the word to people you think would enjoy this compilation is much appreciated!

Thursday, 9 May 2019

$45k Kickstarter Unlock

Things have been busy over on the Kickstarter. A surge of people pushed it up to $45,000 by today (day 8), and as I write there are 997 backers.. three short of a thousand people. (?!)

The stretch goal that was unlocked today was a second gazetteer entry, this time for the south coast. Here, along a strip of rocky coastline are the ancestral lands of Grinvolt, stretching from the labyrinthine High Uttvelt all the way to slumbering Tealwood. In this entry: the hallowed stacks of Millvale, the speakers of the Talking Wood, and the crawling ghosts of Halet Girm!

This means the book is now:
  • 48 adventures
  • A bestiary of 90+ monsters, with OSR stats in a companion PDF
  • A regional hex map
  • Four pages of regional gazetteer entries
  • A history appendix on the cultures, Seree magic, and the nature of the underworld
The play-by-post mass battle against the Dradkin also took a surprising turn! The axewives picked a startling strategy to deal with a hideous monster:

If you'd like to join in, please do!

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Smashing Stretch Goals

The last 24 hours have been remarkable, smashing through six stretch goals. A bunch of people weighed in with their tactics for preparing for the battle.. and now it unfolds.

If you feel like joining the battle, please do!

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Trilemma Kickstarter is LIVE

The wait is over, the horn has sounded! Grinvolt axewives are now pouring down the stairs to the Dradkin fortress. Who knows how far they will get, or what awaits them in the darkness?

The Trilemma Adventures Compendium is now live on Kickstarter!

What's in the Book?

  • 48 two-page adventures lovingly illustrated with isometric maps
  • Remastered for glorious landscape, revised and re-edited
  • Ten of the adventures get full-page expansions!
  • A detailed index of people, places, gods, and monsters
  • Adventure summaries for speedy selection on game night
  • Up to 45 pages of stretch goal content! (If we get there..)

For all the details, click through to the Kickstarter page! Grinvolt needs you!

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Kickstarter Videos & Marketing

A long time ago, I decided to make my adventure PDFs free. I believed that my content would do a better job at marketing itself than I could trying to sell people on something they couldn't see.

(If you just wanna see the videos, scroll down to the bottom!)

Running a Kickstarter challenges this approach. There's a defined funding period, and I need to get interested parties to the Kickstarter page within that period. Not before, and not after! This means actual marketing. Uh oh!

Thanks to the workspace I'm sitting in these days, I'm getting some quick 'n' dirty mentoring in marketing. Yay serendipity!

This has helped me understand that I need very different messages for different groups of people, which is a challenge with my limited manpower! I'd rather be drawing or writing. Surely you'd rather I was drawing or writing too!

Different Dice for Different Mice

For people who already know what I do (maybe you've downloaded, maybe played, or even supported me on Patreon), the message is, "It's happening now," and "tell your friends."

Beyond this, there's a halo of people who kinda know what I'm doing, and may not know whether it's applicable to them. They might have seen my stuff or even played one at a con, but don't remember my name or my blog name. Or maybe they saw one but don't realize how big the collection is. Maybe they saw multiple pieces and didn't realize they were by the same person. (Branding fail.)

For this group, the message has to start earlier in the awareness process. Yep, this is me, this is where you get them, and by the way.. now.

Then there's are people who haven't heard of me, but would love my content. Maybe they weren't on G+ (my main stomping ground, may it rest in peace). This group needs awareness building, which is apparently time-consuming and expensive.

In a way, I suppose you could view the last five years as exactly this sort of awareness building, a crazily slow word-of-mouth campaign for this book. In any case, it's a bit late to be energetically targeting this group at this point in time.

Even so, I want to make sure that any messages they do see still work for them.

The Call-to-Action Hydra

The other complexity is the "call to action." Apparently, unless you're doing long-term brand awareness, marketing messaging needs to urge you to do something. The trick is, that something changes based on who I'm talking to and when I'm talking to them.

I can put out a video spreading awareness of the Kickstarter before it starts, but unless people have a way of book marking their intention to become backers, it's easy to miss a 30-day window. That mechanism varies from place to place.

Liking a Facebook page, following on Twitter, subscribe to my notification mailing list, add this to your blog roll, visit the Kickstarter page. All of these are different messages. That's not too bad in text, but it's way more labour intensive for video content.

Add to all of this that I can't even send people to the Kickstarter page before it launches; there's nothing for them to do. That means on launch day, all my messaging needs to change. Fun times!

Video Punchline

Anyways, here's the punchline to all of this: two slightly different videos, one meant for pre-launch sharing, and another that sits on the Kickstarter page itself.

I'm curious if you think they do the job - communicating what I'm doing, when, while engaging people who already know what I'm all about. Suitable for a possibly wide audience (in case I get a lot of reshares), but not so slick ad advertising-like that they alienate people who've been supporting me for a long time.

Here's video one, the "pre-launch" video:

Here's the video that gets embedded in the Kickstarter page itself. It's exactly the same for the first 90 seconds, but then has a different ending. (I obviously don't want to send people who are watching this on Kickstarter over to! Although the video might get shared outside of KS.. so I can't even take that for granted!)

If any of this works and the Kickstarter is a success, when the dust has cleared I'll have to draw up my "communication map" that shows how it all fits together.

b.r.b. drawing a communication map