A monster on the verge of eating an adventurer.

Kickstarter Report Card III

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on January 12, 2014

Tagged: kickstarter

It’s been about a half year since my previous post about RPG crowd funding. In that time some projects I backed that were running late mailed me books; others continue to be mired in the minutia of producing their product. I’m still a fan of Kickstarter, but I try to be much more picky about what I back.

I finally received the LotFP hardcover Rules and Magic book. As noted in my review, it’s an incredibly well put together book. One of the modules from the LotFP summer adventures campaign also shipped: Vincent Baker’s Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions. This was originally supposed to be a 32-page softcover adventure that morphed into a 160-page hardcover book. I’m still waiting on three more modules from that summer adventure campaign, but it sounds like there is at least some forward progress on two of them. I’ve been so pleased with the books from LotFP so I don’t mind the delay. People will generally forgive long delays if the final product they receive superlative. That James Raggi has avoided a lot of the drama that surrounds late Kickstarter projects is a probably a combination of the quality of the books he puts out and the forgiving fan base he has cultivated.

I received a PDF copy of Champions of Zed and am still waiting for my copy of the book in print. I’m pretty unimpressed with the project. The author has been missing in action for most of the project. The PDF feels very amateur. (The last update on Kickstarter about sums it all up: it’s from a month ago and was about how there were some glaring errors in some tables in the PDF.) Considering how much time has passed since this project funded and how much money was raised I was expecting more from Champions of Zed. There is some nice art in between lots of so-so art. The layout of the book is terrible. Champions of Zed is the only RPG Kickstarter I regret backing.

The first print module from the Appendix N Adventure Toolkits Kickstarter arrived a couple weeks ago. There was some bonus material included in the package I received, a thank you to people who have been waiting patiently (and not so patiently) for their modules. The wait continues for many other backers. Although John did a good job getting PDF material out to backers quickly, his continued insistence that the print versions of the books would be arriving any day now for the last year and a half has really hurt his reputation as a publisher and probably soured many people on this project. The modules are nice, so it’s a shame the project is probably going to be better known for being tardy than what was actually produced.1

Dwimmermount is still late. There is not much else to say about all of that. The nerd-rage surrounding this project crossed the line to embarrassing stupidness a long time ago. Autarch have slowed down somewhat with updates on the state of things, but it’s clear this is a tough project for them to finish. To compound their problems they are also working on Domains at War, which missed its ship deadline by 4 months now. Most people have a natural tendency to underestimate the work required to complete a task. Domains at War does look very close to completion.

It’s not all doom and gloom. The Brom Kickstarter mailed me a giant art book with little fanfare. I love it. I backed three new projects, one of which looks to be well on its way to completion. I’ll be curious to see where all these projects stand in the summer.

As an aside, for an example of how to run a Kickstarter correctly check out the Cadence and Slang project. The project began in July, with an estimated ship date of October. There were no stupid stretch goals. Nick Disabato printed and shipped his book in three months, just like he said he would. It’s also a very nice book hardbound book, not something from Lulu.

# Project Funded Expected Delivery Shipped?
1 Playsets The future of social storytelling. November 2013 Feb 2014 Partially
2 Reaper Miniatures Bones II October 2013 October 2014 No
3 LotFP Hardcover Referee Book October 2013 January 2019 Partially
4 Domains at War June 2013 August 2013 Partially
5 LotFP 2013 Free RPG Day Adventure February 2013 July 2013 Partially
6 The Art of Brom October 2012 June 2013 Yes!
7 Appendix N Adventure Toolkits July 2012 July 2012 Partially
8 LotFP Summer Adventure Campaign July 2012 December 2012 Partially
9 Champions of Zed June 2012 August 2012 Partially
10 LotFP Hardcover and Adventures Project May 2012 October 2012 Yes!
11 Dwimmermount April 2012 August 2012 Hells No!
  1. I have a huge blog post about this Kickstarter and the Delving Deeper box set. I have yet to post it because I haven’t figured out if it’s actually constructive or not to do so. The internet is full of people complaining.

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