Calling All Backers!
It’s been a long wait on Hero’s Journey, and friends: that sucks. We know it sucks. We’ve been hearing your frustrations about it, and we know something’s got to give. We’re not going to go into all the reasons for the delays right now; some you already know if you’ve been following us, and others are irrelevant because let’s face it, explaining them doesn’t help the book get out any faster.
What we are going to do is talk about what we’re doing for you backers in the meantime. It’s been a long wait and you all more than deserve something to show for it.
You’ve given us some great suggestions for how to help keep you involved and get things to you faster, so today, we’re going to start putting some of those into action! You’ve been incredibly patient and we appreciate that deeply - so much so that we would throw an appreciation party if you weren’t in lots of different countries and we didn’t still have lots of work to do. So, to keep from having to make you be any more patient than you have to be, we’re looking for a way to help get HJ to you faster (like, real soon faster!), and we want your input on how to do that. Below we have two options for ways we can get HJ in some form out the door and into your hands sooner, and make sure that, as backers, you get rewarded for your investment and support even while the project takes longer than expected.
In Option A, we’ll release the entire basic-level Hero’s Journey game directly to you, the backers who pledged for it, in a no-frills content-only PDF, so that you can immediately start reading and playing it. Since almost all the work we still have to do regards fine-tuning issues at higher levels of the game, the only things that won’t be included are higher-level powers, which we’ll continue working on while you check out the game’s backbone, character creation, and the kinds of sagas it can design. You will still get all your promised rewards as soon as we finish the outstanding work and send the book to print, without having to wait for that day to get a look at the game you backed.
- Play Now! You can, if you so choose, start creating characters and even running beginning-level games as soon as you receive the material! All the rules for actually running a game, as well as powers for beginning characters and guidelines for GMs, will be immediately available to you.
- Talk About the Game. If you choose, you can discuss the game and give feedback on it via our blog or forum. As designers, we work hard to make sure nothing is broken and to playtest the game thoroughly, but there are hundreds of you with hundreds of extra brains out there, so if you want to bring something up before publication, you can. (Nobody has to be our free playtesters, though, so don’t think you do.) We’ll also all get the opportunity to talk about how things work in blog posts and on the forums with more freedom.
- Get Extra Stuff. Those of us designing player aids and extras that we were planning to provide for download anyway in the future will be able to get a jump on them since there will be people actively playing and able to tell us what they’d like, which means that those things can come out faster and already be ready to go when you receive the finalized book.
- No Change in Rewards. You will still get all promised backer rewards, including a shiny fancy book (or fancy art-filled and linked PDF), dice, prints, etc., as soon as we can go to press. You just get access to the game itself before then, so you don’t have to wait anymore to actually play it.
- Game Leaks. Although we will only release this information to backers who already pledged to get the book in some form, there’s always the chance that someone will, either accidentally or intentionally, leak it to the rest of The Internet. This would mean that backers didn’t have exclusive access to it anymore (although they would still get their much fancier physical or PDF copy at the end), and that we could potentially lose the opportunity for some other folks in the future to buy it, since it was already out there.
- Preparation Pause. There would be a slight slowdown in work on finishing the game for final publication, so that we could get the team together to throw together the material already finished in a decent format and then release it to all of you before moving on.
In Option B, instead of spending even more time working on the outstanding fine-tuning issues remaining, we package up the game as it is now and send that sucker to print, producing a Hero’s Journey official core rulebook right away. The book would omit the higher-level powers and rules we are currently working on in order to avoid making you wait for them any longer, and backers would get all their rewards on a much faster timetable, with the material left out saved, expanded, and released later as a supplement for those who wanted it.
- Books Get Printed! We would be sending the book to print pretty much as soon as the art department can get the current material laid out and ready to go, which means there would be a real-live book in your hands much, much faster.
- Get Non-Book Stuff. You also get all your other rewards, which have been hanging out in boxes at our house, waiting forlornly for the book to be finished so they can see the light of day. If you’re a person who isn’t even getting a book, and only pledged for dice or something, you no longer have to wait around for the book you’re not even reading to be finished before you get them. (For those of you who aren’t getting a book, the only reason we haven’t sent you your other rewards yet is that we didn’t want it to be unfair to those who got your rewards and a book who would have wait longer even though they pledged more.)
- Future Expanded Material. Having more time to work on higher-level parts of the game will allow us to incorporate more material in them than was originally planned for the core book (for example, extra systems for specialized things like animal companions), so that the game unfolds more since we aren’t trying to rush it as much.
- Books Out in the World. Because the book will be officially released, it can also be made available to folks who missed the Kickstarter window or who might be interested in checking it out.
- Less Content. The book comes out right away, but has less content in it than originally planned - it will have everything you need to play at the Mortal level, but it will not have higher-level powers and will not go as in-depth into Immortal- and Divine-level specific systems and issues. It will still have extras achieved from stretch goals (for example, Fire powers), just at Mortal levels.
- Editing Pause. Although the book would definitely come out faster, there would still be some delay while we went back and removed material and graphic design elements that referred to higher levels of play, before it could be released and we could move on to continue working on the next set of stuff.
- Level Cap. If you play and love HJ and your game wants to move on to higher levels, or you were a player who wanted to start at a higher level or convert a higher-level game from another system, you will not be able to do so right away, and you would have to get another book (with more cool stuff in it, but another book nonetheless) in order to do so.
What we’d like to ask of you backers - all of you, whether you pledged one dollar or one hundred, although we'll be paying special attention to those who pledged for a book and are most affected - is which of these options you’d prefer we went with. You can leave comments here, or send us a message, or comment on the blog post over on the official HJ site - but let us know! We want to make sure we provide the one that the majority of backers want, and that we do it soon, so that you have something to show for your dedication while we trudge toward the finish line.
We’ll probably be doing one of these two options above, but if you have a suggestion for a different way you’d like to see backers brought more into the loop and given more access (other than “finish the damn book”, which we agree with but are already working on as much as possible), leave that here for us, too! We’ll be watching this space and ready to discuss it if you do.