TL:DR - The Rhune: Dawn of Twilight Campaign Guide went live (for backers) today! Also, we're expanding into some other gaming systems! Also, I answer some questions.... Finally, an outline of what we're tackling as we continue to roll through 2016! Really, you should read this post. Just trust me!
Lessons Learned: Kickstarter isn't always easy....
If I have learned anything about this process, it is this; running a Kickstarter is no small task and it is very much an organic, ongoing process. Even though this is a roleplaying game, this Kickstarter is more than just building stat blocks, making sure mechanics are balanced, making sure the correct (and best possible) art is arranged to match the setting, and that the overall story is presented in the best possible light - it's also a business venture, one that involves a lot of trust. When backers put up their hard earned cash, you inherit a lot from them as a creative person. It's not just about making sure you turn over a product, but that you remain transparent about the process (and your roadblocks, when those arise), push forward when things get tough, and make sure that you leave no email or message unanswered. Running a successful Kickstarter is not about being funded; it's about delivery.
Are we finished? Do I feel like we're done? Not in the least. But today, we hit a notable benchmark and I am so very grateful to everyone who has supported us while we've been in the proverbial trenches. Of course, this is a two-way street and I honestly think our delivery of the Rhune: Dawn of Twilight Campaign Guide (PDF) proves we're in this for the long haul. In fact, when I look back at the Kickstarter, I have to smile at the irony of the tome we actually finished. I promised backers 240 pages. We delivered 354 - that's well over a hundred pages of extra content! So, while we didn't hit the original delivery date I set for October 2015, I think the product we delivered was worth the wait. Hopefully, this process has proven to backers that Kickstarter is still an excellent platform for small, Indie-style game studios and not just the bigger companies who launch regular Kickstarters. So, what's our next step? Like I told the backers earlier today when I released the campaign guide, our next step is to get this baby in print. Print and PDF are two different animals entirely, so we're going to need to make some minor tweaks to get this file ready to go to print. This process should take another 3-5 weeks, but hopefully no longer than that (because believe me, I want to hold this book in my hands as badly as the rest of you). Still, we need to do things right and I'm not going to risk the quality of this book just to push things through. That, of course, brings me to my next topic. So you didn't back the Kickstarter, but you want a copy?
As you might imagine, I've been answering questions all day (via email, on Facebook, and so on) about the campaign guide. More than a few folks have asked if they could get copies of the book, even though they didn't back the Kickstarter. Obviously, I want to get the Rhune: Dawn of Twilight Campaign Guide into as many gaming libraries as possible, so that's a big ol' yes! Of course, I can't give folks the same deal I gave my backers (because that wouldn't be very fair to them), but I will be making the final book available to the general public. I'll be making that announcement here, but I'll cover as many social networks as possible (so, please feel free to share any related posts). Right now, I'm aiming for April 15th (because we all need something to look forward to mid-April that isn't submitting our taxes). Once I make that announcement, the general public will have 7-12 days to order their copies, which I'll then ship out with the backers' copies. It'll be that simple. Once copies go out to backers, I will make the PDF available as a print-on-demand option for the general public. Meanwhile, I plan to release the PDF (via fine retailers like DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the D20PFSRD store) on or about April 30th. Of course, if the general public does order my book through me, I'll be throwing in the PDF for free (that's a $30 value), which I'll be delivering when they order it (so they don't have to wait until the end of April for it).
What about the Beyond the Glittering Fane adventure arc? Like I said above, we're not done. When I launched this Kickstarter, I also promised backers the Beyond the Glittering Fane adventure arc and I plan to deliver that. While we're done writing it, I've been so focused on getting the campaign guide done, that I've had to out the adventures on standby on more than one occasion. Still, I've been laying out the actual adventures when I've had time to, so we're not too terribly behind. In the coming months, those will be released (as promised) as I finish them. At first, my plan is release them to backers, and then to make them available as print on demand books (for those of you who don't want to wait), as well as PDFs. For backers, if they elect to use this option, they will receive codes to print those at cost (which they'll have to cover). Otherwise, once all of the adventures are complete, we're going to compile those into a single volume, at which point my plans are to print those and ship them out. What's the time frame for those? Honestly, I'm giving myself another 6-8 months, although I'm about 25% done with laying thole AP out, so it will hopefully go quicker.
Is that it? Will I see more about Rhune now that the campaign guide is out?
The short answer is yes. For those interested, here's the longer list:
I've been working with Brad Bell and we're very close to releasing the Rhune: Dawn of Twilight Savage Worlds Primer (which I'm affectionately calling the Savage Rhune Primer). This will be the first of several mechanical conversions planned for Rhune: Dawn of Twilight. So, if you're a fan of the setting, but aren't necessarily married to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, you'll have another option very, very soon. Look for this to release sometime in late April (if not, sooner).
This summer, I plan to release Into the Mines of the Missing, a short dungeon crawl I wrote for Gen Con, 2014. This will be released as a Pathfinder-compatible dungeon (and is designed to be used with Dwarven Forge terrain, even if we have no official endorsement from the fine folks over at Dwarven Forge). We'll also be releasing it as a Savage Worlds compatible product.
After that, I plan to release Mike Myler's The Zephryfan Tournament, a short but deadly adventure set in Rhune.
Additionally, with the release of the 5e OGL, there is already talk of converting Rhune to Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (this has been, so far, the single largest request from fans and is quickly becoming a priority). While I don't have a date for that, I have given Mike Myler the thumbs up to include some of the classes (namely, the Clockwork Adept) for his upcoming Kickstarter, the Mists of Akuma (which Storm Bunny Studios will be publishing).
Of course, I'm also a BIG fan of the Cypher System and the recent announcement about the Cypher System Creator Program means I am very, very tempted to convert Rhune to that system, as well. If you've played Numenera or the Cypher System, you'll know why. It's one of my personal favorites and easily one of the most stream-lined systems to date. Sure, there's some loss in that simplification, but it definitely suits certain play styles and I'd love to see A Castoff Clockwork Adept who Plays With Fire. It should be a thing. You know it should be a thing!
Finally, this summer (we're leaning towards the end of June), Storm Bunny Studios will be announcing another very cool project that we're going to launch for a small, select audience. I don't want to say more now, but this is something you're going to want to check out. Why? Because it's full of awesome!
Wow, Jaye, that seems like a lot. Do you sleep?
Yes, but that's mostly because I have another job in The Dreamlands and folks get mad when I don't show up for work. Still, this business of designing games, writing books, and making awesome things does demand a lot of my time. That, combined with the fact that I'm also a full time student (finishing up a degree in a demanding IT field) means that I sometimes go for weeks with my head in computer labs (and computer books) only to pull shifts writing gaming material. But hey, that's the #NerdLife for ya!
So, yeah, 2016 is going to be a very, very busy year for Storm Bunny Studios. In addition to all this work, we're going to be hitting up several conventions (including Nexus Game Fair and quite possibly, Gen Con), as well as working on several projects (including the aforementioned Mists of Akuma). And, when I can manage the free time, I'm going to make more blog posts. Because, you know, I want to share things with all of you. Cool, awesome, gamer things. ;) Have a great spring everyone! Cheers, Jaye