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Thank you, everyone. Writing now in the calm time after the project has concluded, things seem a bit surreal. "I should be doing promo now, right? I should be checking on recent pledges, right?" I guess not; Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories has SUCCEEDED in its Kickstarter bid, and it's all thanks to you!
A lot of hard work, but this time it's different. We have funding (108% of our target!), and now we need to check and double check the math. In a couple weeks, funds will be released by Amazon Payments (barring any problems with credit cards and whatnot), and we can start printing. Everything else can be put together and/or packaged up, and of course we'll send out backer surveys so you can tell us, e.g., dedications and t-shirt sizes. Hopefully, shipping of physical items will happen in February as predicted.
But the math is just a little bit more complicated now. Remember that $22,500 stretch goal where we were going to print the demo adventure in the full book? We didn't reach that, but we'd love it if we could add those 30 pages to the book anyway. We CAN'T promise anything, but when next week starts up we're going to talk with the printer about exact costs. Maybe we can afford it, and maybe we can't, but we'll let you know!
People have asked about adding a PayPal donation button to our website so we can get some more funding. Right now, we're not planning on it: if the numbers work out, then we can print the book with the extra pages, and folks can just BUY it using PayPal on our website like any other product.
(You remember "buying," right? I hear that's how people "pledged" before Kickstarter . . . )
Meanwhile, we hope to finalize the Arcana Agency document and get you your PDF version within December as predicted. That means editing and proofreading one final time, possibly with the demo attached.
"The season" is about to hit, and updates will slow, but we'll let you know our progress. Next time: a "lessons learned" post! This whole experience has been an education, and we have some words for anyone thinking of taking the plunge and starting a Kickstarter project. Most of them are positive! But we are so very tired, so that's all for today.
Thanks again for making this project possible. We hope you enjoy the final products, and we hope to bring you yet more you'll enjoy in the future.
THANK YOU! We have hit our funding goal and still have 7 hours left to go! We could gush like crazy right now, and we'll surely admit that you backers deserve it, but I can imagine we'll really go wild with the "thank-yous" once the project closes. Until then, there's still more we can to do make Arcana Agency the best book it can be, and ensure we'll be able to bring more good games and products to you into the future: reach a stretch goal or two!
We posted the stretch goals before. Here's an update:
- $20,000 - The book comes to be - FUNDED!
- $22,500 - The Case of the Unghostly Ghost in the gamebook proper - Remember that free preview/prequel/demo we've been mentioning in basically every update? How great would it be to see it in print? As of now, we're $2,000 away from being able to add the 57-section adventure (around 30 full-color pages) to the hardback of The Thief of Memories!
- $30,000 - Faux leather hardcover option - A full-color hardback is already "deluxe"; but how about screaming "special edition"? If we reach this goal, then all backers at the $60 or greater level will have the option of a faux leather cover on the hardback book!
- And then onward!
Friends and fans, we've said "please" before. But . . . please help us reach the first stretch goal. Response to the demo has been universally positive, and we think it needs to be printed. Note that it wouldn't change the availability of the free download: this is just to make the book itself better. And if anyone at the $5 level is wondering, it also won't change your reward: The Case of the Unghostly Ghost would become a sort of "case 0," and your $5 pledge will still earn you the PDF of case 1. Of course, if you could RAISE your pledge . . .
Edit: Whoops, remembered something! You know that Worldcrafter pledge level we added, where $3000 could get you 30 art commissions from the same amazing artists that illustrated Arcana Agency? It's a "dream level," of course, but we thought we might make it a little more realistic here at the end: there is now a $1500 Worldcrafter pledge level for 15 art commissions! Now anyone who felt like bringing us to our stretch goals in short order has multiple options. Thanks for considering!
This is it! People who starred our project have received the "48-hour reminder email," and newcomers looking at the "Ending Soon" page are seeing us for the first time. New pledges (and raised pledges: thank you, backers!) are shooting up, and the $20,000 goal appears to be in reach!
We owe everything to you folks for backing us and getting our project to this point. People who see where Arcana Agency stands today know it's worth it to take the plunge. This means that now is the best and last chance to tell folks about the project. Please, if you have a moment, hit the social media with one last link to our project; send your friends the demo file; talk to the people you pass at school or at work (okay, make sure you're on break first).
There are yet others talking about us, too:
The Brewin' has posted about us and other gamebook projects on his blog. If you want to see more by author Paul Gresty, he links to Paul's entry for the Windhammer Prize for short Gamebook Fiction: a fully-playable gamebook with fantasy and comedy themes.
1KM1KT has added our demo to their database of free RPG's. Currently, they link to our own file, but soon they should have it uploaded; then you'll have another download source if any of the others go too slowly.
Of course, we're also receiving comments from our cross-promotion partners. Reminder: if you backed Maelorum at a minimum of $30 then you can back us at a minimum of $40 and get cross-promotion rewards. Their project was a success, so you have to have already backed them to take advantage of this. Looking to the future, you can back YOU ARE THE HERO at a minimum of £30 (pounds, not dollars) and back us at that same minimum of $40 to get yet more cross-promotion rewards. Their campaign will continue on beyond ours, and we hope the best for them!
We close the update (though not the project: that continues for about 24 hours) on a good note: the funding level continues to rise, and with your help, it will hit the top. Here's Paul again with his own thoughts:
This morning I realized for the first time that our Kickstarter homepage includes a section allowing you to scroll through the list of project backers. I spotted a few familiar names in there; it was a pleasant surprise to have them as backers. But there were far more names that I didn't know, of backers coming from countries including Brazil, Sweden, Australia - coming from all around the world, essentially. This level of support for our project, and for the gamebook industry as a whole, is tremendous. A huge thanks to everybody who has written about us, or tweeted about us, or told a friend about our book during these past 45 days. But thanks especially to our backers. Your commitment to this book is enormously appreciated.
Things are picking up with Arcana Agency, and time left on the Kickstarter project is now measured in hours. With your help, we think we can make it!
There's promotion going all over the place, and the referral log shows more and more people coming from outside Kickstarter. Of course, we're also sharing airtime INSIDE Kickstarter, and we'd like to say hello to folks coming over from projects mentioned last time. Hello!
In the most recent updates, we asked if any among you could raise your pledge to the next level: $5 to $15, $15 to $40, and so on. Each time, there's been a burst of backers doing so, and we are VERY grateful. At this time of year, people are spending a lot of money, and we don't want to ask you for more than is comfortable; but if you CAN toss a little more in the coffer, then we say "thank you" yet again.
With that in mind, a CLARIFICATION on cross-promotion:
Remember our offer about Tech Specialist promo codes? Videogame promo codes are limited in number. But if you select the $15 pledge level to get a code while pledging a HIGHER dollar amount, you get the promo code and the full rewards of that higher level (say, the $40 hardback). We want to emphasize this ALSO applies to cross-promotion: you can get a promo code at the $15 level and ALSO qualify for cross-promotion, so long as you really pledge $40 or more.
Now here are a couple more projects that might interest you (not cross-promotion partners: just interesting projects). Goblin's Bounty is another gamebook active on Kickstarter. This one is in videogame format, and the creative team includes Stuart Lloyd, a well-spoken gamebook author who had nice things to say about our own demo. Its unique feature is the use of a card game system within the gamebook system to control combat.
And we'd previously noted how the rise of gamebooks paralleled the rise of card games, board games, miniatures . . . but we left out any actual miniatures projects. Let's correct that by mentioning Collision: Exploration of Gea. We were directed to it by the artist on many 2-D assets, Alexandra Douglass. What about 3-D? It's a miniatures game, right? Well, the innovation here is that you don't have to buy new miniatures at all in order to play.
Now, we conclude today with something special: a sneak peek into the future. We've hinted about a sequel, and backers at the $500 level are promised a ROLE in that sequel if it comes to pass. Paul Gresty has now drafted the intro to the next book of Arcana Agency!
You all know how Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories begins if you've played our free demo. But then what? What do you suppose happens in the rest of the book . . . to bring us HERE?
THE SEQUEL BEGINS
The New York State Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers stood on a slight rise overlooking Poets' Walk park. The building itself was red, built with high triangular ceilings in the Victorian style, and surrounded by acres of greenery on all sides. All in all, it wouldn't be a bad place to live out one's final years, decided Humphrey, as he steered the Auburn into the building's small parking lot. Then he spotted one of the asylum's residents sitting out on a terrace in front of the building. Both of the man's arms were missing below the elbow, and a heavy bandage was wrapped around his eyes. Of course, reflected Humphrey, there might be a downside to living in such a place, as well...
Strelli was asleep in the car's passenger seat next to Humphrey, his head nodded to one side, a small patch of drool staining his shoulder. Shanigan was asleep on the car's back seat, his knees poking up towards the vehicle's roof. None of the three men had slept a great deal the previous night.
Humphrey gave a short toot on the Auburn's horn. At once, the other two men jerked awake. "Nah, mum," said Shanigan. "I'm too sick to go to school today." Then he blinked, looked around himself. "Oh. Right."
"We're here," Humphrey told them.
The three men entered the building. Humphrey asked the receptionist for directions towards room one hundred and twelve, and she pointed them along one of the building's lengthy corridors.
"I don't suppose you serve coffee here?" Shanigan asked her. "Maybe you have some sort of refectory, something like that?"
The young woman shook her head, and gave him a slight smile. "Not at this time in the morning, I'm afraid," she said.
The detectives followed the receptionist's directions. The asylum's residents were being served their breakfast. Shanigan yawned, and said, "You know, I expected this place to be full of old boys, parading about the grounds in suit and tie, reminiscing about their battles against the Filipinos. But most of these fellas are all kind of young."
"That's the Great War for you," answered Strelli. "A lot of invalids were shipped back from France. The three of us were lucky that we were born just a little too late to be called up."
Shanigan gave a nod of greeting to a man in a wheelchair. Both of the man's legs were missing below the knee. Once they'd passed him, he muttered, "Hell of a way to end up."
"Here it is," said Humphrey. "Room one-one-two."
"Just a moment," said Strelli, halting. "Before we go in there, I'll have to plead the case for rationality one more time. Can we trust anything this guy says? He claims to be, what, seven hundred years old? I'll say that again. Seven... hundred... years... old. Look me in the eye and tell me that's not the talk of a man who's sucked down a little too much mustard gas, or who has the sound of bombshells ringing in his ears every day and night."
Shanigan shook his head. "Joe... after everything we've seen in just the last two days, how can you outright refuse to accept the possibility - just the possibility, mind - that this fella's telling the truth?"
"I don't know how to explain what happened last night," said Strelli. "But I prefer to exhaust the realm of the physical and provable before I look to goblins and ghoulies for my answers."
Humphrey sighed. "Joe, I understand your doubts. Sure, I'm going to take his claims with a pinch of salt, for now. But he called us, with precise knowledge of what we'd done at the Clays' home. Just the fact that he somehow knew about that is enough of a reason to hear him out, at least."
"Fine," said Strelli. "Just don't take everything he says at face value. That's all I ask."
Humphrey knocked on the bedroom door. From the other side, somebody said, "Yes?"
The three detectives entered the room. There were two people within. The room's resident was sitting before the window, looking out over the asylum's grounds. This was no Great War veteran. He appeared to be at least seventy or eighty years old, his skin mottled with liver spots. What little hair remained to him had whitened, and been stained tobacco yellow. He wheezed as he breathed, and a faint whistle escaped from his nose every time he exhaled. The second figure was one of the hospital's orderlies, a man of nineteen or twenty. He sat on a stool to one side of the veteran, gingerly spooning mashed-up food into the old soldier's mouth.
Humphrey cleared his throat. "Uh, Mister Bowyer?"
The orderly looked up at the three of them for the first time, and his face brightened. "Ah, the gents from Arcana Agency. Of course, our meeting almost slipped my mind."
Humphrey's brow creased. "But I thought..."
"Oh, don't worry about Mister Jenkins here," said the orderly, patting the old man on the shoulder. "Say what you like in front of him; he's deaf as a post. Now, I suppose you want to know how to kill an immortal, don't you?"
pledged of $20,000 goal
seconds to go
Oct 29, 2012 - Dec 13, 2012 (45 days)
Pledge $5 or more
A TASTE OF ARCANA: PDF version of case 1 (167 illustrated sections + rules), a complete adventure out of the 3 from the full Arcana Agency gamebook.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $15 or more
THE ARTIST: Full PDF version of the Arcana Agency gamebook with all 3 cases (549 illustrated sections + rules) + PDF of The Art of the Fabled Lands, a full-color artbook from our Fabled Lands apps (120 pages).Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $15 or more
16 backers Limited (134 of 150 left)
TECH SPECIALIST (iPhone and iPod Touch): All the above + a gift for early backers: 1 random promo code for 1 of our iPhone & iPod Touch gamebooks (possible apps: Arcana Agency: Prologue, Fabled Lands, or The Keep of the Lich-Lord). Note: promo codes expire, and are not included in "All the above +" statements in other rewards.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $15 or more
37 backers Limited (63 of 100 left)
TECH SPECIALIST (iPad): All the above + a gift for early backers: 1 random promo code for 1 of our iPad gamebooks (possible apps: Arcana Agency: Prologue, Fabled Lands or Keep of the Lich-Lord). Note: promo codes expire, and are not included in "All the above +" statements in other rewards.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $40 or more
THE REAL DEAL: All the above + what you're really here to get: the 6"x9" full-color hardback of the Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories gamebook. Shipping worldwide included.Estimated delivery: Feb 2013
Pledge $60 or more
BOOK AND A BONUS v. 1: All the above + your Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories hardback will be signed, numbered, and personally dedicated by the author, Paul Gresty. Shipping worldwide included. Note: "book and a bonus" is not included in "All the above +" statements in other rewards unless specifically stated.Estimated delivery: Feb 2013
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BOOK AND A BONUS v. 2: All the above + Megara Entertainment Complete Music Works 2007-2012 CD (including a new track inspired by the Arcana Agency gamebook). Shipping worldwide included. Note: "book and a bonus" is not included in "All the above +" statements in other rewards unless specifically stated.Estimated delivery: Feb 2013
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BOOK AND A BONUS v. 3: All the above + 1 t-shirt from our Way of the Tiger RPG, with your choice from 11 different character classes and 1 gamesmaster design. Shipping worldwide included. Note: "book and a bonus" is not included in "All the above +" statements in other rewards unless specifically stated.Estimated delivery: Feb 2013
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ANGEL OR DEMONESS: All the above + 1 Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories t-shirt: Demoness (t-shirt #1) OR Angel (t-shirt #2). Shipping worldwide included.Estimated delivery: Feb 2013
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ANGEL AND DEMONESS: All the above + the other t-shirt. That is, you receive both Demoness (t-shirt #1) AND Angel (t-shirt #2). Shipping worldwide included.Estimated delivery: Feb 2013
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BOOKSTORE v. 1: All the rewards from the $40 "Real Deal" level, but with 3 hardback copies of the Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories gamebook instead of 1. Shipping worldwide included. Note: "Bookstore" is not included in "All the above +" statements in other rewards unless specifically stated.Estimated delivery: Feb 2013
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THE WRITTEN WORD: All the above + your Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories hardback will be signed, numbered, and personally dedicated by the author, Paul Gresty. Shipping worldwide included.Estimated delivery: Feb 2013
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THE ENTERTAINER: All the above + Megara Entertainment Complete Music Works 2007-2012 CD (including a new track inspired by the Arcana Agency gamebook). Shipping worldwide included.Estimated delivery: Feb 2013
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THE WARDROBE: All the above + 2 t-shirts from our Way of the Tiger RPG, with your choice from 11 different character classes and 1 gamesmaster design. Shipping worldwide included.Estimated delivery: Feb 2013
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BOOKSTORE v. 2: All the rewards from the $40 "Real Deal" level, but with 6 hardback copies of the Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories gamebook instead of 1. Shipping worldwide included. Note: "Bookstore" is not included in "All the above +" statements in other rewards unless specifically stated.Estimated delivery: Feb 2013
Pledge $230 or more
THE LADY: All the above + 1 pair of handmade Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories 1932 style earrings (partly gold-plated). Shipping worldwide included.Estimated delivery: Feb 2013
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0 backers Limited (75 of 75 left)
CROSS-CONTINENTAL ENGAGEMENT: All the above + 1 pack of our Fabled Lands pen-and-pencil RPG FRENCH EDITION (see the visual at the bottom of our story page), including core rule book, 2 maps, 4 copies of the full-color character sheet, a preview of the first game supplement, and 2 digital-only soundtracks. Note: this is a French edition. Shipping worldwide included.Estimated delivery: Feb 2013
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6 backers Limited (14 of 20 left)
ARCANA AGENT: All the above (with an option: 2 additional Way of the Tiger RPG t-shirts instead of the Fabled Lands RPG French edition pack, shipping worldwide included) + become transformed. You send us a picture, and one of our talented artists will draw you as an Arcana Agency character. Paul Gresty will write a background for your character and we will send it to you along with the full-colour A4 CGI JPEG file. If we get to make a sequel, your artwork will appear in the next Arcana Agency gamebook as a secondary character under the name of your choice! Be prepared for anything: "you" may as well help the detectives or confront them as a villain!Estimated delivery: Feb 2013
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0 backers Limited (5 of 5 left)
WORLDCRAFTER v. 1: All the rewards from the $500 "Arcana Agent" level (including the t-shirt option and worldwide shipping) but with a different art commission. Our talented artists will create up to 15 full-colour A4 CGI JPEG illustrations for you: enough to begin illustrating your own story. Each image is to be either one character or one environment. This reward does not include an appearance in a publication, nor a writing commission: the "story" itself is up to you.Estimated delivery: Feb 2013
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0 backers Limited (5 of 5 left)
WORLDCRAFTER v. 2: All the rewards from the $500 "Arcana Agent" level (including the t-shirt option and worldwide shipping) but with a different art commission. Our talented artists will create up to 30 full-colour A4 CGI JPEG illustrations for you: enough to begin illustrating your own story. Each image is to be either one character or one environment. This reward does not include an appearance in a publication, nor a writing commission: the "story" itself is up to you.Estimated delivery: Feb 2013