Tuesday, October 2, 2018

On Wings of Darkness, Live!

     So here we are, one more Kickstarter going live, another nail-biting moment to endure, and hopefully, the birth of a new Gazetteer to enjoy with friends old and new. Months of work, headaches, debates, guesswork, fateful decisions, knocking at doors, jumping up and down for attention, and waving towels at passing spaceships (hopefully avoiding Vogons) all lead to the dreaded crowdfunding gauntlet.

The Setting
     This Gazetteer dives straight into Caldwen’s magiocracy, a nation of wizards hell-bent on exploring all aspects of magic, demonology, and necromancy, in ways as pragmatic as they are shameless. In keeping with the nature of my writing, eccentric wizards enjoy a certain amount of chaos tempered with laws to prevent self-inflicted doom or wars of extermination with all other realms of Calidar. Despite the magiocracy’s many grim and sinister realities, humor still emerges, making it all bearable.

The Contents
     A book 132 pages long written in condensed type is no small feat. This one counts about 100,000 words (probably more) by the time Thorfinn flags holes in the layout. Although I can’t possibly compete with lead publishers on sales prices and distribution (my books are POD), I make up the handicap with my own design style and by increasing the written content to 1,000 words per full page of text.
     I’ve taken various approaches with the writing, such as linking the Word file with an Excel doc for the purpose of tabulating the various sections’ word counts, intended art, and maps, therefore estimating as accurately as possible whether the text fits where it is supposed to. No such thing as WYSIWYG for me. By the time editing, corrections, and actual layout take place, stuff doesn’t end up quite where I expected it. It’s a moving target.
     Another new thing this time around, I added a ton of hyperlinks to the text intended for the PDF, much like a Wikipedia file. This should make it easier for readers to find something quickly without manually running a global search. It certainly helped me during design stages, considering the number of interconnected NPCs, places, references, and concepts in this book. I wouldn’t dare using the printed version without the PDF at hand. Fortunately, everyone gets this PDF with their books.

The Kickstarter
     There are several points of note. I’ve kept the same pricing structure as the previous Kickstarter, but added back a fee for shipping outside the US. That’s mostly due to uncertainties related to the Brexit issue in the UK. There’s no way to tell how this is going to affect printing and shipping six months down the road. It’s a shot in the dark, and I don’t like it anymore than any of you do.
     Other news: I’m back to 6 core pledge levels:
  • $5 Airman: You get a png file of the main Gazetteer map at 150 dpi. That’s better than the previous Gazetteer, which had issued free poster map at 96 dpi.
  • $10 Bosun: Your reward is the above plus the story at the beginning of the book. It picks up from where the episode ended in CAL1: “In Stranger Skies.” The story takes the Star Phoenix to Caldwen, as a way to introduce readers to important aspects of the magiocracy. This story unveils more about the nature and character of the Star Phoenix.
  • $15 Master: In addition to the free digital map, your core reward is the complete PDF for Wings of Darkness.” This is great if you’re also interested in the earlier books’ PDF files. You can get there here more cheaply than present retail prices on DTRPG.
  • $30 First Mate: Now we’re talking! You essentially get the softcover book. This is a good pledge level to acquire earlier books in print form, at prices lower than those on DTRPG. You also receive two of the fold-up maps (players’ and referee version, printed). You can get the others as add-ons if you wish.
  • $55 Captain: Sailing right along. Your core reward is the hardcover book, printed in color on premium paper. You also receive 3 fold-up maps, as described above. There’s something new here. With the core book, there’s a separate booklet, “Adventure in Caldwen.” It starts out, in PDF form, as a 24 page collection of adventures. However, the final number of pages connects directly with the stretch goals—the more are unlocked, the greater the number of pages. The delivery date may be later, since I’ll have to write this material while production work is underway on everything else. It’s a marathon.
  • $150 Admiral: You get the lion’s share of the booty. Aside from the autographed hardcover book, you get CA2 “Adventures in Caldwen” in print, plus all seven fold up maps, both printed and in digital form at full dpi resolution. I don’t sell my maps as digital files to the public—period—only their printed copies; Admirals are the only exception. I can also arrange for Admirals to pick a name for pre-rolled characters listed in CA2, on a first-come, first-served basis, as the number of characters is limited. As the adventure grows, I’m sure we can find other features begging for familiar names.
     There are lots of add-ons for new Calidar backers. These are all offered at prices lower than those listed on DTRPG, so it’s a good occasion to stock up on stuff. The good thing about these sideline items is that they all contribute to the intended funding, and to the stretch goals. The more of the latter we can unlock, the bigger CA2 “Adventures in Caldwen” gets, so everyone benefits.
     Here you have it. These are the insider news about this Kickstarter. If you have any questions, do feel free to ask, here or on the Kickstarter page. Click the image below for a direct link. Cheers, and thank you for joining this new endeavor.

Other News updates: The project flew past its 33% funding mark within the first hour from launch. It blasted ahead of its funding goal by the morning of the 4th day. Reached the 1st Stretch Goal by the morning of the 5th day, and the 2nd one the following morning. It still has until October 31 before it ends.  Stay tuned!

Big Announcement: The very next project following CA2 "On Wings of Darkness" will aim to produce kits translatings system-neutral stats and general game concepts defining the World of Calidar for the D&D® Game's 5th Edition and perhaps earlier versions (subject to copyrights limitations and OGL permissions). The present idea is to provide game stats indexed chronologically by page and sorted by topic (NPCs, Monsters, etc.) The intention is to make free PDFs and low-cost booklets. Keep in touch!

Meanwhile, we're approaching the 4th Stretch Goal. Thank you everyone who chipped in. This will bring CA2 "Adventures in Caldwen," the supplement associated with your core reward up to 40 pages. Everyone benefits. 

And while we're add it, let's unlock Stretch Goal #4 and start sailing toward #5 with more than 2 weeks still to go. Talk to your friends about this project, and make it a great weekend

We've been a bit busy these past several days. In short:

#Calidar's 10th Stretch Goal was reached last night while many of you were out partying for Halloween. That wasn't so scary. So, "Adventures in Caldwen" has reached its top page count, now at 64, on top of the core sourcebook's 132 and up to 7 fold-up maps. This leaves just one ultimate Stretch Goal, which will unlock the Players' Guide to Caldwen. Will we reach it? The next three days or so will tell. Please pass the word! Of all Calidar Kickstarters, this is probably the most rewarding one. Thank you all for this.

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