I did a Q&A on the #rpgnet IRC channel, mostly talking about Adventures on Dungeon Planet.
You can see the log of the whole thing at the Hardboiled GMshoe’s Office.
I did a Q&A on the #rpgnet IRC channel, mostly talking about Adventures on Dungeon Planet.
Since I put Adventures on Dungeon Planet up for sale in March, the end of August marks the first six calendar months of me being a “professional” game design studio. These are my sales numbers so far (“print” includes bundled sales):
56 Dungeon Planet print
31 Dungeon Planet pdf
53 Dungeon Planet print
61 Dungeon Planet pdf
42 Dungeon Planet print
33 Dungeon Planet pdf
11 Dungeon Planet print
28 Dungeon Planet pdf
16 Dungeon Planet print
21 Dungeon Planet pdf
10 Lair print
44 Lair pdf
8 Dungeon Planet print
24 Dungeon Planet pdf
7 Knives print
23 Knives pdf
9 Lair print
27 Lair pdf
- From selling games, I’m basically pulling in half of a minimum wage salary right now. The end of September will mark the end of a full year of what roughly amounts to a full-time job designing rpgs (not that I actually keep track of my hours).
- If you want to at least try to compare all this with the DW-related kickstarter projects, compressing these six months of Dungeon Planet into similar figures gets us 384 backers with a total raised of something like $6,500-7,500, depending on how much I would be gouging people for shipping. You can probably use this comparison as an argument in favour of Kickstarter as a marketing platform.
- My marketing strategy is pretty crap, not gonna lie. It currently consists of little more than g+, SG, and “continue releasing books.” That third one takes up a lot of my time, though. You’d think that given the low sales of RK1 Knives in the Dark, I’d give up on that series altogether, but no, I’m doing more. They’re quality, so hopefully they’ll pay off at some point.
Adventures on Dungeon Planet is now available from DriveThruRPG.
The pdf now comes with all the character sheets, so you don’t have to come back here and get them. The book is printed on white paper and there may be thin white borders around some of the pictures because it does not have full bleed.
You can still buy the print version from Lulu. They print on creme paper and produce what I consider to be a superior book, although I can’t guarantee what they send to you is exactly the same as what they send to me. I care about the difference in quality, but enough other people told me it was not as big a deal as I thought that I decided to switch. Lulu’s storefront is terrible and DriveThruRPG’s is not. So there it is, and soon there will be more.
I have a new book out: Adventures on Dungeon Planet.
You may know me from my previous work, which includes: The Metamorphica, Heralds of Hell, World of Algol, Sexy Deadly, the tables on page 14 of Dark Heart of the Dreamer, and a few other things, like my semi-regular gaming group Red Box Vancouver. But never mind that stuff right now.
Adventures on Dungeon Planet is a science fantasy supplement for the award-winning role-playing game Dungeon World. It has all sorts of cool stuff in it:
* Four new character classes: the Earthling, the Engine of Destruction, the Mutant, and the Technician.
* Three new PC races: aliens, androids, and white apes.
* Four new compendium classes: the Alien, the Scientist, the Sniper, and the Visitor.
* Futuristic gadgets, special equipment, and robots.
* New rules for spaceships.
* New dangers and two example fronts that use them.
* Procedures for creating alien planets and cultures.
* More than 30 new science fantasy monsters.
It is also full of really old pulp science fiction art from the early part of the 20th century!
And a few pieces from the Prismatic Art Collection.
Adventures on Dungeon Planet is now available from DriveThruRPG. The pdf is still $8 and the print+pdf is still $20, but now the pdf comes with the character sheets so you don’t need to come here to get them. DriveThruRPG prints on white pages and does not have full bleed, so there may be a thin white border on some of the pages with illustrations. The Lulu print version is still available, but the pdf is no longer available through them. It has creme pages that are slightly thicker and the copies I receive are slightly better quality, in my opinion.
If you have any questions, please ask.
If you have any problems purchasing Adventures on Dungeon Planet, contact me at johnstone (dot) metzger (at) the gmail address.
Some more pictures:
Also, please note:
If you buy just the pdf and later on you want to get yourself a print copy because you like it so much, but you don’t want to pay for the pdf twice, get in touch with me at johnstone (dot) metzger at the gmail thing and I will set you up with a discounted version of the softcover that doesn’t come with a pdf, so you can have them both for the same price as everybody else.
Shown with eraser, highlighter, and one of Blair’s old digest-sized Planet Algol booklets for scale.
It’s a print of the cover art from Adventurer Conqueror King. Was I supposed to know I was getting this? Was it listed as part of the reward level I donated at? I don’t remember at all. It’s nice though. It says it’s number 4 of 8 on it, which is amusing because as far as Red Box Vancouver DMs go, I am number 4 of 6. I guess we need to get two more DMs.
Semi-related, for whatever reason, I did not realize that Ryan Browning the ACKS artist was Ryan Browning the guy who did Cloak of Invisibility until after I’d already sent him money for original ACKS artwork (which I’ll post pictures of when it arrives). I had one of those “wait… this guy is that guy?” moments.
I received the actual physical books in the mail not too long ago. Aside from a few typos here and there, the art and layout is quite pleasing, but you have likely seen other peoples’ pictures of them already.
A couple of observations:
Isle of the Unknown isn’t a fully-conceptualized setting, but Carcosa is. However, it’s a minimalist setting, with a fairly tight, singular premise around which the whole book revolves. And while I admire that, artistically, I actually prefer maximalism, when it’s done right (i.e. integrated maximalism, not pastiche overcrowdingism). Not that I think either book should be less minimalist and more maximalist, it’s just a personal preference I’ve noticed. Luckily for me, I don’t think either product is too weird to be easily incorporated as one layer of a maximalist setting.
In the poster map, the races of men are colour-coded, which is interesting because there are three fictional colours on Carcosa.* While this adds to the book’s tone of otherworldly strangeness, it is also somewhat difficult to actually imagine and picture mentally. To take a couple examples from other sources, when I imagine garrow, I think it looks like both black and yellow simultaneously (not mixed together), and I think of Terry Pratchett’s octarine as looking similar, but with blue and orange, also simultaneously.
(*Never mind that adding one new primary colour actually results in at least five new colours, that’s something to take up with David Lindsay.)
On the Carcosa poster, Dolm Men are colour-coded with light blue and cream, Jale Men are coded with dark blue and red, and Ulfire Men are coded with cream and deep purple. But when I think of ulfire, I think of red, green, and white at the same time (this might be partly due to some bird that was covered in ulfire-coloured flames in one of Blair’s early Planet Algol reports). Jale and dolm, though… I’m not entirely sure. Sometimes I imagine dolm being a bit like olive green, and other times I can’t imagine what either of them looks like. Maybe jale is similar to yellow and pink and neon colours. I mean, sure, it’s “dreamlike, feverish, and voluptuous,” but so is purple.
If there is just one fictional colour, then it’s easy to imagine, because every person’s different interpretation can stand without interfering with each other, as long as they imagine some kind of fictional, hitherto-unimagined colour. When you have to differentiate between fictional colours, that can start to get weird.
That’s not a criticism, just an observation. What do you imagine dolm, ulfire, and jale look like?
I do have some actual criticisms of the two books, though. There are a few things that could have made the books easier to use, at least for me.
I think both maps could have benefited greatly from the addition of roads being marked. Even without them, Isle of the Unknown’s keyed map is pretty good, but Carcosa’s is slightly less so. The poster has a map keyed with the locations of rituals and Great Old Ones, but there is no map with settlements or the colours of the men that live in them. When the locations of certain colours of settlements—such as we find around the other lake (the one that isn’t Hali)—are mentioned as plot points in the hex descriptions, it would help to have this information in map format. Likewise, there is a mention of a trade route road winding around the icy wastes, but no indication of where this road is coming from or where it is going.
The political situation isn’t the most useful aspect of this information, however. Terrain, and especially roads, determines how fast characters can move across the map, and how fast characters can move across the map determines how much the DM has to prep between sessions in order to respond to the players’ choices. If there is a road that stretches across three hexes, on either Carcosa or the Isle, it’s entirely possible that the PCs could travel the whole way in a single day, walking from dawn to dusk. Without having roads on the map, the DM basically needs to prep three hexes away from the PC’s present location in every direction, in order to get an idea of where to even place roads. It seems to me that adding even just major roads is not much additional work when all major settlements are already plotted out, which is the case for both books, and some hex descriptions even mention roads, which is at least the case for Carcosa.
Being able to see the roads helps to envision the possibilities of PC movement, which makes the DM’s job easier.
Any hint of motivation or personality is missing from most of the magic-users and clerics in Isle of the Unknown. They are treated simply like monsters—if you want to kill them, all the problems you’ll face and the lack of rewards you’ll receive (in most cases) are listed, but not much else. It makes me wonder why anybody would want to interact with these characters in the first place. Even a little bit of information would have been useful, evocative, and inspirational—the way threats are summarized in Apocalypse World, for example. Describing a warlord’s personality with “Dictator (impulse: to control)” or the character of a landscape with “Maze (impulse: to trap, to frustrate passage)” goes a long way with a short amount of text.
While Carcosa has numerous settlements with motivation-less leaders and populations listed, there are also many characters who do have goals, connections to other parts of the map, and even some small semblance of personality. It would have been nice to have a little bit of that in Isle of the Unknown as well, though it’s by no means a dealbreaker. And while I think including something like the Carcosan Ethnography supplemental material in the book itself would have been fantastic, so that DMs can just randomly generate genre-appropriate population details and character motivations, it’s good enough without it that I’m not really upset.
Similarly, there are a few occasions in both books where the material is essentially a tableau to be presented to the players, with little opportunity for them to interact successfully with it, or to use it in combination with other setting elements. When the text describes something the PCs can see but never do anything with, when some magical effect can only happen once in one location by accident, or when the benefits of braving obscene risks turns out to be a measly +1, I’m a little underwhelmed. I much prefer the part of Carcosa’s premise that includes finding a giant laser cannon and deciding to kill Cthulhu with it. Especially if it doesn’t work because you used up all the charges destroying castles and fortresses that asked you to pay tithes for safe passage, and now you’re facing Cthulhu with no ammo and no castles or fortresses to hide in. There’s slightly less of that in Isle of the Unknown, but both books should have had a little more, in my opinion.
Those are all relatively minor concerns, though. Overall, I think the good things everybody says about these two books are pretty accurate.