[LotFP all-star adventures thing] Chat, coordinate and maybe resident authors can say a thing or two

edited July 2012 in Directed Promotion
(I put this under directed promotion although it's not really, in the strictest sense.)
((I pre-emptively transferred the discussion here from Stuff to Watch because I expect it will get more than three replies one way or another.))

James Raggi of Lamentations of the Flame Princess has gathered a number of writers/designers and paired them with artists and launching a simultaneous crowdfunding campaign for them all. You can see the progress of all the campaigns here: lotfp.com/RPG/grand-adventure-campaign

Notable names include Anna Kreider, Vincent Baker, Monte Cook, Jeff Rients and others.

In the other thread, Rafu asked:
Has anybody here took time to scan them all? Is any other author besides Vincent producing an adventure-construction-toolkit or something else which is not just "an adventure"? Is any of them promising a pure location-based adventure with no overarching "plot" to it?
I looked through a number of them, but the descriptions are sadly not very informative for the most part.
I think Vincent's the only one which is explicitly a toolkit. I seem to remember Machinations of the Space Princess might have some make-your-own elements, but that is by no means certain information misremembered. I expect Anna's contribution might be something more along the lines of a scenario, but that's just me speculating - I hope she will pitch in herself.
I'd say with almost absolute certainty that the vast majority of them are location-based. This is an OSR outfit after all and those guys and "plot" are usually like oil and water.

I am currently the most interested in Vincent's adventure but Of Unknown Provenance intrigues me as well (or what little is known of it). Other adventures that I expect to be interesting (based on the author or otherwise) are Machinations of the Space Princess, Horror among Thieves, We Who are Lost, The House of Bone and Amber and The Unbegotten Citadel, Broodmother Sky Fortress - these seem to be getting the most founding at the moment, too.


  • edited July 2012
    I must say, I find this set-up a little maddening. I'm pretty profligate with kickstarters and the like, but the way this campaign is going there are a number of incentives not to chip in. The upper level rewards are all extremely high-risk - either you don't know which adventures you're getting, or you don't know how many (I'm aware that Raggi is trying to compensate for this, but it's not sufficient). And the interlinkage of the campaigns creates a perverse incentive for everyone to hang back and wait and see what happens before deciding where and how much to contribute, which can't be a positive dynamic. Yet despite the fact that these options are extremely unpalatable, the fact that this is the form in which discounts are offered to backers makes me feel like a sucker for considering funding more than one or two adventures at $20. People have talked about how a piece of Kickstarter's success is that it makes pledging so easy. This particular campaign makes pledging hard because of all the options, many of which are somewhat undesirable - it makes people hesitate, which is going to lead to a lot of lost contributions.

    I really like LotFP, and I also like sweet published adventures, but there must have been a better way to organize this project - maybe dividing it into 3-4 adventure anthologies? Or one adventure anthology with the 6 biggest names, adding new adventures as stretch goals? That would also reduce the feeling that some of the lesser-known authors are being set up to fail, when they could have been paired with the more prominent ones in a way that would have helped all of them.

    I'll probably back the Seclusium of Orphone, since it's by an author whose stuff I play regularly and like, will have awesome art, and is explicitly as much toolkit as adventure. There are other pitches I find intriguing (machinations of the space princess, escaping leviathan) and authors whose work I like (Anna Kreider, Jeff Rients), but honestly I may well just wait to see what gets funded, then read reviews after they're published.
  • Ignotus - I like the idea of pairing up designers for small projects like this. An awesome setup would have been a well known author paired with a lesser-known author and then the top pledge level would let you be the third author. I bet you'd get some good updates as the team design blogged about working together.
  • I'm sharing some of my notes about Orphone's Seclusium on G+ and over on my blog. Come by!

    I'm curious how and whether the campaign will work out too.
  • The setup is maddening! James is trying to fix the risk factor of the high-end rewards by giving out 100$ coupons to the LotFP store which is ok, but not great.

    The real issue I have is, if one adventure is 20$ with included shipping, and I want to get, say, three adventures, do I have to play separate shipping for all of them? And if I go the 100$ reward route to get one adventure plus five random ones for a small discount (20$ less compared to ordering six adventures individually) then...well..they're random.

    This is why I think coordination might be good. Getting people to collectively found just a few adventures might make it easier for everyone to chose which ones to back (and makes the 100$ reward more palpable). It would mean a lot of the adventures wouldn't get any backing, but it's the only way to make this sane. Otherwise I'll just pitch in a few bucks for pdfs of one or two of these.
  • I'm with Ignotus on this. I've funded a dozen or more projects in the past year or so and I love my LotFP products but I'm hanging back to watch this one. The magic of kickstarting is it reduces/removes risk for both designer and consumer. I'm intrigued - leaning toward skeptical - to see if this will work.
  • edited July 2012
    Raggi has changed the reward structure again by adding some stuff to the giant pledge.
    I don't think that really changes the equation for me, but I appreciate that he's trying. I hope it works!
    There is a common thread to a lot of the comments I'm seeing. You seem excited (there has been a surge in Gardening Society signups so you want to do bundles!) but unsure. "The bundle packs are risky!" And people are holding back. Waiting and seeing.

    This isn't going to work if everyone waits and sees. But if people think the bundle packs are a bit of a risk now, I must listen (because I want every single adventure in this campaign funded, and failing that, enough funded!). And I will sweeten the deal, because I think the bundles are what will get all this done:

    For the $160/$180 levels, you will get the following:

    A copy of every single adventure funded in these campaigns.
    NEW: All of the "Extras" sheets (my notes on each funded adventure of how I'd adapt it to my campaign) combined into a booklet with exclusive Zak S art. (These were separate perk options, but nobody chose those on a bundle level, so I will listen, and just put them at this perk level.)
    If you choose this option and it is the only adventure that funds, you get a 100€ coupon code for the LotFP store. If only the adventure you contribute to, and one other, funds, you get a 50€ coupon code.
    NEW: A copy of a 64-page adventure by me. The writing is done and it's been sitting around for a couple months waiting for its turn to go into production. This printing will be exclusive to this campaign, will only be made available to the people picking the bundle perks, and it will never be seen again in this expanded format--only in an edited 32 page format. This adventure doesn't count against the number in the previous point. (This adventure will not have a PDF version. You know how this big adventure campaign is an experiment in crowdfunding? This adventure is just as experimental as a concept.) (My new adventure will not be part of the hardcover slipcase set, although you will get a copy of the softcover with your Collector perk).
  • I agree that the campaign is set up such that it dissuades participation. But I have a more fundamental question.

    Is $20 for an adventure reasonable? I'm asking as an outsider and the last time I bought an adventure module for a fantasy role-playing game it was the '80s.

    I feel like I buy games for $20, but I'm open to seeing things in a new light.
  • $20 is steep, I agree. It includes worldwide shipping, which further dissuades one from participating when the intent would be to buy several adventures or when you don't need international shipping. So if you're living in Finland or know that you're going to buy everything Jim decides to publish anyway, then I don't see much point in pre-funding it: it will be cheaper to buy the stuff when it comes out, considerably so, assuming the final price per module ends up somewhere around 10-ish dollars.

    (Not that I want to suggest that it's not a good idea to do crowdfunding - obviously enough nothing will get funded if nobody participates. The way this is set up it truly is not a very good preordering deal, but it is still exciting as an opportunity for sponsorship of the arts, if there's something in there that you want to see getting done.)
  • He said in a podcast or something that part of what he wants is to pay the contributors like rock stars. That's nice. But it might prevent the thing from happening. Maybe they could be offered a royalty and set the patronage costs lower and especially the targets lower; tune the numbers so that at minimum financing they'll get whatever half a rockstar 'deserves' and then if there are more sales, they'll get more. I bet lower targets would incentivize patronage even with the baroque pricing and inter-locking scheme that's in place. But I dunno, in any case it's interesting to see different models attempted.
  • The "everyone gets paid like a rock star" thing is a byproduct of the process.

    I've got big names and not-as-big names and I thought it would look like crap for some projects in the series to be priced significantly lower than others.

    Art is especially difficult to gauge. We don't know exactly how much art is needed on a particular project until layout, and getting pro artists on board to maybe do something if funding happens, the amount of which we won't know til after that even... you need to let them know it'll be worth their while.

    Instead of sending any sort of "some of these people are less valuable than others" I decided everyone involved would be treated equally. If making sure the people doing the creative work get properly paid is a problem that sinks the whole thing, then I'll be proud to sink.

    (I would have more territory-dependent pricing schemes and have it be cheaper in Finland or Europe, but IndieGoGo only allows 12 perks per project and most of my customers are in North America... but I expect the retail price for each adventure would be 10-12€ before shipping, maybe more if a particular writer bypasses the minimum wordcount and we print a bigger book, so $20 total to the US isn't any real exaggeration in price)
  • Ask me questions!

    I recently learned how to make little videos on my computer and I'm all excited about it. I want to make a Q&A video for Orphone's Seclusium. Ask me anything you want about it and I'll answer on camera. You can ask here or over on my blog.

  • Vincent, a question: could you answer in writing instead of video? I ask because I usually (read: practically ever) don't bother with net video for something as mundane as questions and answers. Don't know how common this is, but at least I find the slow and resource-hogging format of video strictly inferior to simple text. At least include a clear-text summary, if you don't mind.

    Also, a substantial question about your product, something we've been discussing around here regarding this project: do you think that it is fair to characterize your relationship to Orphone's Seclusium as work for hire insofar as the creative genuineness goes? What I mean is, should fans of your previous work trust that your relationship to this project is the equal of your accustomed level of quality, or will there be compromise caused by the new publishing arrangement?

    Finally, a closing question: are you shooting for a playable old school D&D adventure module that merely happens to involve an adventure-generation appendix, or is your goal an adventure-creation tool that might include some accidental example adventure as well for the sake of illustration?
  • Vincent, a question: could you answer in writing instead of video? I ask because I usually (read: practically ever) don't bother with net video for something as mundane as questions and answers. Don't know how common this is, but at least I find the slow and resource-hogging format of video strictly inferior to simple text. At least include a clear-text summary, if you don't mind.
    Ditto - I'm not interested in video for what's most easily understood via text.
  • Now that Broodmother Sky Fortress has funded, those higher $$$ levels are going to get more and more attractive... Particularly since D Vincent Baker's adventure (The Seclusium of Orphone) is likely the next one on the list to get funded.
  • Rients' Broodmother Sky Fortress is funded. Baker's Seclusium of Orphone is funded.

    There are 4 projects which have a ways to go but which could still get done. 36 hours. Time is short. Each has unique incentives:

    Monte Cook's Unbegotten Citadel. Monte is offering a free copy of the Ptolus PDF (goes for $60 on its own!) for any Grab Bag + contributors should the project fund. We'd need 48 more contributors at that level.
    Kelvin Green's Horror Among Thieves. The gimmick here is that if you contribute, and it doesn't fund, we're going to publish the adventure and you'll get it for free. This one's closest to funding: 27 Grab Bag level contributors will get it done.
    Anna Kreider's We Who Are Lost. Anna will do a custom finished black and white ink character illustration for people who contribute at the Grab Bag level. For anyone who contributes at The Faithful or higher, she will do a finished color character illustration. Backers will receive signed originals. 40 Grab Bags will get this done.
    Dave Brockie's Towers Two. There's a $50 "T-shirt and poster" perk and a $75 "shirt and poster and tickets and meet Brockie" perk here. 54 of those Meet'n'Greet perks will fund this.

    In addition to the above individual project incentives, there are a lot of things one gets for a Grab Bag level contribution:

    Up to 6 adventures that fund (so we've got 2 so far, your contributions would be working to get more!)

    Each comes with a conversion PDF for those that like 3rd edition and its offshoots.

    Rob Conley's sandbox supplement in print + PDF (exclusive to these campaigns, never to be offered again)
    A bonus adventure by James Raggi

    Plus a couple fans are offering things out of their collection to help out and encourage Grab Bag and higher levels of support (contact them directly for terms and arrangements):

  • Rients' Broodmother Sky Fortress is FUNDED. Baker's Seclusium of Orphone is FUNDED. And now Green's Horror Among Thieves is FUNDED.

    Next up, with 11 hours to go: Dave Brockie's Towers Two. This one has some cool GWAR-related perks so you might want to double-dip. ;)

  • edited July 2012
    It's a shame the page at http://www.lotfp.com/RPG/grand-adventure-campaign only shows 6 of the 19 campaigns (at least, to me... tried two different browsers as well).

    Also, all of the funded adventures have their $100 grab bag entries closed out (set to 0 available, probably). Which means either gambling on whether one of the others make it, or going for just one or two of the adventures that really speak to you. And deal with the question "can I afford to spend, say $30 + 2 x $10 or $20, plus $100 for the "open" grab bag on one of the unfunded ones" ...

    I'm curious how much funding (in total) would have come from running this as a single campaign with various levels of buy-in. Also, the current form means I probably won't get to see what Mike Pohjola or Ville Vuorela would come up with (unless they manage to get most of their funding in the last 9 or so hours).
  • Towers is funded. That's four total.

    Next up: Anna Kreider's We Who Are Lost is next. Three hours left. Can we do it?
  • Herman:

    With only a couple days left in the campaigns I streamlined the Adventure Campaign page in hopes of funneling money to projects more likely to get funded than the ones which at that point seemed hopeless.

    Likewise, I close off the multi-project options on ones that fund in order to get them concentrated on ones that can still fund (which I would think people willing to go in for more money would appreciate, but if not, it's hardly the first mistake I've made on this whole thing :D).

  • Herman:

    With only a couple days left in the campaigns I streamlined the Adventure Campaign page in hopes of funneling money to projects more likely to get funded than the ones which at that point seemed hopeless.

    Likewise, I close off the multi-project options on ones that fund in order to get them concentrated on ones that can still fund (which I would think people willing to go in for more money would appreciate, but if not, it's hardly the first mistake I've made on this whole thing :D).

    For the record, Jim, I think the difference on the multi-project (such as the grab bag) isn't for people who haven't funded at all, it's for people who have already funded and would want to increase their funding. I funded one adventure at $45 (I know there isn't a $45 reward level, but I felt like kicking in a bit extra).

    Later, when a few more had funded, I might have wanted to increase funding to $100 for the other adventures. My options, instead, would be to fund every adventure separately ($45+($20-30 * 3)) or fund the grab bag on a non-funded adventure ($45 + $100) which would've been $105-145 for essentially the same thing as the $100 option (and, in later option, land me with duplicates of an adventure, which I really don't want or need).

    That said, I can see the reasoning behind closing them off, and I'm still glad I backed the two projects I did.

    - Alex
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