Sunday, May 3, 2009

Updates and Notes

I'm up to 28 copies of Green Devil Face #1 and 34 copies of Green Devil Face #2 sold, which is actually more than I had anticipated this quickly, so thanks for that! Thanks as well for the kind comments I've received. Make sure you also let the individual contributors know how you feel about their work!

No Dignity in Death: The Three Brides was a project submitted to a publisher that just got the "we're not a good match at this time" response on Thursday, and I started the "marketing" for that on Friday. Might as well do it myself, right? It's all written and just needs maps and art... and perhaps a bit of organizational editing. Laura seems keen on tackling that art after she finishes up the Death Frost Doom work. To keep costs down the art won't be as extensive as I'd hoped to get the publisher to commission (and Laura's agreed to do this latest slew of artwork for a steal of a price - partially because she's drawing on A4 paper for these instead of A3), but if you guys don't find the remaining graphic ideas interesting I'll eat my hat.

So the plan will be Death Frost Doom first, No Dignity in Death second, and Insect Shrine (which I unfortunately have a lot of money promised to people before publication, not to mention the size of the module which means no in-house printing... lots of mistakes beyond the obvious were made there) as soon as funds allow. Unfortunately I don't have any other income at the moment, which should ensure these projects get done in a timely manner but they have to be self-sufficient. Insect Shrine pre-order people won't be able to get the other items free this time, but they will get it for just shipping + Paypal fees, which will be significantly cheaper than what everyone else will be charged.

The other module (St. McIver) I'd talked about is still just in original game notes form with no art or anything commissioned so it's just a future idea, and at some point the Asylum adventure will be moved up to "go" status as well. In the meantime, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday will see a No Dignity in Death promo until it is released, and if everything else works out (this is still just a hopeful thing since I won't even send the art specs for it until all the Death Frost Doom art is in... one thing at a time!) there will be a companion volume of purely optional resources for the No Dignity adventure released simultaneously.

I have managed to secure the money for the laser printer I wanted (selling a ton of stuff to afford it, noooo... duplex printing, yes...!), and I'm currently researching where I should buy the thing from. I decided to put money into the printer instead of towards Insect Shrine debts for one simple reason: The money isn't enought to clear Insect Shrine so the project would still be stuck anyway, and generating anything more would be iffy (I'm already at the point where a Green Devil Face order means a ton of swearing and illwill towards my current printer, and tomorrow evening's work of printing 7 booklets out to mail on Monday will be an epic battle!).

As projects near completion, I'm looking for advice on how to approach vendors. I believe my efforts and the traditional movement as a whole can only benefit by making stuff available from as many places as possible. I have this goofy dream that if enough of us "basement publishers" can get the word out and demonstrate the ability to move some units, larger companies will see that there is money here and I think there are reputable companies that could make some respectable and uncompromising Early Edition material, which in turn will mean more gamers disconnected from "the scene" being exposed to, and in some cases converted to, "our ways."

Once Death Frost Doom is out, I will also work to get set up with pdf vendors as well, and from then on the plan will be to release pdfs one week after print releases are available, so that people ordering pdf copies don't get to read their stuff before first-day print orderers have a chance to.

Due to the printer issues and the expanded time it causes Green Devil Face to take, and now also No Dignity in Death landing back in my lap, I haven't really taken the time to look at the suggested options for the online game I'd talked about, but I am pleased that people seem interested. I'm off to Rome at the end of this week (not on my dime so don't hold it against me as I talk about money issues), so I'll look into online game tables (my original "what I want" post seemed to forget that unless everyone does mapping, players can't share the map!) when I return.

So that's the plan. Any questions, concerns, or most importantly things I should rethink, do let me know.


  1. If I wanted to get old-school stuff into as wide a distribution as possible, I'd submit my work to Troll Lord Games for publication in their Castles & Crusades line. I've seen lots of C&C products on store shelves, but I've never seen any retro-clone or other sort of old-school products on store shelves.

    In other words, I think the Troll Lords are a few steps ahead (in terms of distribution) of the rest of us old-schoolers. It might make more sense to jump on that bandwagon than try to reinvent the wheel.

    I admit that C&C is certainly not perfect. I prefer any of the pre-3rd edition D&D rules sets, and I prefer any of the retro-clones. But C&C gets it about 90% right. In my opinion, that's close enough for government work. :)

  2. Which duplex printer did you end up with? I'm sort of curious how it works out for this use.

    I am trying an experiment, replacing my two-decades old HP LaserJet workhorse with a cheap Brother laser that does 1200 dpi, duplexing and is network-ready. I was going to drop a lot more on a new LaserJet, but if this one works out, great, and if not, then... well, it's still a relatively small fraction of the price of the LaserJet that I wasted (and I could probably still sell the printer or give it to my cousin who's in college).

  3. I got a Lexmark E260d, and it cost 197€ including VAT (about 22% here I do believe).

    The immediate problem was that the map graphics from GDF #1 and #2 which printed out clean on the old printer came out horribly pixelated on this one. I'm not near tech savvy to fix it properly, but I fixed it to where it's satisfactory, but I can't use the same map generation techniques (MS Paint.. very low-res output...) for future projects.

    I even shipped out a couple of orders before noticing (the covers came out perfect), but I emailed those people just a couple days after their copies went out letting them know before they even received their order that if the map quality is too awful, I'd send replacements. Haven't heard back from them, which is either a very good sign or a very bad one. :P

    But once I made the fix, everything looks just as good as with the old printer, with none of the printer-hating that went along with printing previous orders.

    The big test will be Death Frost Doom. I have the original art now (instead of just a digital camera pic of the art) and it's so detailed and shaded and complex that I now *have* to make the printing come out well or I'm shitting all over brilliant work. But I'm no techie and my photoshop skills are zilch, so we'll see how it goes.