Thursday, November 4, 2021

WHY I PUBLISHED... #7: Terror in the Streets!

'allo all!

On October 25 we made 10 new releases available from ; eight for sale, and two freebies to entice purchase.
Packing and shipping from that initial avalanche of orders is ongoing, but I'm going to take a few minutes every day or two to explain why I decided to publish the items I did, and I will do so in order from what I expected to be the most generally acceptable to what I expect to be the most controversial.
Now coming in at #7... Terror in the Streets!
The original plan was to send Terror in the Streets and the Book of Antitheses to press in October 2020, as a quick turnaround after the summer's releases. TitS was ready... but Antitheses was not. So what to do?
Instead of putting Kelvin to work on another project, I decided like a total publishing genius "Hey! While we're waiting, let's make more content for the adventure and we'll do a big ol' boxed set!"
There were all sorts of plans for the box... even to have a 7" record in the box. (The publishing rights ended up being something too involved for me to navigate, since the rights fees are tied up in the final price of the product, and in this case it would have cost me 8000€ just for mechanical royalties on two tracks and I couldn't find anyone at the Nordic music publishing agency to give me the time of day to explain this was to just be a component inside of a greater project and not a fancy presentation for a 7". Sucks since I did get a couple tracks for it.)
While I was wasting time pursuing that, Kelvin was working on a book of sidequests to TitS (mainly "stuff that happens around/starts off in Paris," and not really connected to the main adventure) and so the project ended up looking like two parts from my perspective: A more grounded "main adventure" that is along the lines of "A Jack the Ripper type situation, but in Musketeer era Paris," with sociopolitical ramifications. It's not strictly historical, there is some supernatural weirdness and "enhanced reality" lurking about, but it's more subtle than in most adventures but it'll be fun if the players get lulled into a false sense of security and it bites them right in the butt. And there's one suggestion I made in this one that I am inordinately proud of. I can't remember why we had Yannick Bouchard do this cover instead of Kelvin doing it. I remember thinking at the time that it might be a bit edgy to have Notre Dame burning on the cover but I expect nobody would have even noticed now if I didn't mention it because of the freak shows that ended up being released alongside this book.
The bonus book, Huguenauts (an intentional misspelling of Huguenots, giving a clue to what one of the sidequests is all about), is just bugfuck nuts weirdness ranging from the campy to the quite sinister. Great stuff in here. It's... difficult. It's such good stuff that it's a shame to keep it limited edition in the box, but on the other hand the box needs something special. I didn't want to do the "oh Japan wants an exclusive bonus track, guess we need to do a cover song or instrumental" move with it.
And then Kelvin designed a custom die, all six sides, so we had something to go along with the social unrest mechanic in the main adventure, made some handouts, and a bunch of paper cutouts/miniatures because I always thought that was cool in a couple of old TSR things in the 80s. We had that done in Poland.
And then... the box. The bloody box.
Turns out for a proper game box that even 550 copies is a really small amount to manufacture and it's going to be expensive as hell to do. I could have gone for a printed cardboard folded thing like the old 2010 and 2011 LotFP boxed sets, but no, my conception from the beginning was that this time we were going to do a PROPER BOX dammit! But as it turns out, doing a proper box in these quantities meant that the box cost more to manufacture per unit than everything in the box combined. ffuuuuuuucck. But that's why it's the price it is.
Then there was a matter of sealing the box. It wasn't going through the distribution chain, so we had some leeway. Shrinkwrapping would have been the most professional way to do it, but the printer would have charged like 59€/hour to have someone manually putting all of the components into the box, so I did that myself. And it wasn't going to work having them ship me all the stuff separately, me putting everything into the box, and then shipping them all to the place to do the shrinkwrapping, then sending it all back to me. So I needed another way to seal it. I came up with the wrap idea with the sticker, and I was going to be an asshole about it. My idea was that by using the paper wrap with a sticker used to seal it shut, people couldn't open the thing without tearing the wrap and leaving all the sticker gunk on the box. Brilliant! Collectors would have to buy TWO if they wanted to see what's inside AND have a mint copy!
Didn't work, which serves me right. I was asked if I wanted paper or vinyl stickers, and what do I know about stickers? Vinyl would be shinier and prettier, so I chose that. Damn things peel right off. uugghhhhhh.
I don't think I'll be willing to put myself through another boxed set anytime soon. Hopefully you'll find them to be a neat collector's item though.
phew. This one was a bit of a whine. But if you end up enjoying it, then it was all worth it.
#6 in a day or two!