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Red Markets is a game of economic horror, where the world has ended and the rent is still due.
1,448 backers pledged $72,248 to help bring this project to life.

Stepping Up Our Game

Posted by Caleb Stokes (Creator)
In the four years I’ve spent working on this game and planning the Kickstarter needed to see it made, I never expected this degree of response. To see that we’ve come this far with 21 days to go? It’s absolutely mind-blowing. Thank you so much.

We’ve unlocked the War PDF. Red Markets now has the mass combat rules necessary to expand the game up to an epic scope. It also had its third PDF supplement to go along with the three additional chapters already added by this fantastic community.

I also got some sweet art for the inventory section in today, so excuse me if I pepper this update with pictures of nifty stuff.

Look cute as you remotely scout the hordes!
Look cute as you remotely scout the hordes!

What’s Next?

The Carrion Economy PDF brings the Red Markets setting global. Learn which nations survived, how they did it, and where to set the enclaves and Taker groups of your international campaign. This will be the fourth PDF expansion to the game, and it brings the supplementary material unlocked by the KS to over 40,000 words!

New Stretch Goal Revealed: 48K Off-Set Run

Alright. It’s time to talk about the realities of printing an RPG. If you don't trust me to do the subject justice, here's the breakdown from Publisher's Weekly.

Offset printing means using a commercial printer to create a large number of books at one time. It requires a lot of technicians to make the customized lithograph plates, assemble the pages, and pack the books for shipping. In short, it costs a lot of money. But once those big presses get rolling, the process becomes easier to perpetuate. Offset printing gets cheaper the more books it prints at once. Using even relatively small runs, it’s possible to decrease the price-per-unit to less than 50% of what it would be if you paid to print only one book.

The Print-on-Demand (POD) model we are currently using prints directly from a digital file every time an order comes in. The economies of scale never materialize, and the book costs the same amount every time. But POD works for small-scale publishers that can’t afford to print a ton of books at once.

As an example, a book that cost $15 to POD might cost $6 in an offset run…provided you can afford the $15,000+ required to print a couple thousand at once.

As of this moment, we currently have 304 hardcover book pledges. We have 203  softcover pledges. That’s 508 books total. If they were the same edition (read: same cover type), I’d officially be insane not to switch over to off-set run right now. But considering the smallest commercial print runs come in groups of a thousand, that would mean 1000 hardcover and 1000 softcovers. I can’t afford that much printing, expect to sell that much product, or house that many books. There’s no way to have it both ways without utilizing POD, which is why we designed the Kickstarter that way.

But if we get roughly 100 more hardback backers, offset starts to make sense again for hardcover all by itself. And it’s certainly looking possible. Hardcover is our most in-demand physical reward; it has nearly as many backers as the digital tiers and is 34% more popular than softcover. The math looks good, and I’d be a fool to underestimate the power of this community to improve Red Markets after the week we’ve had.

So here’s the deal: at 48K, after-KS costs for Believer backers and above are reduced to shipping only. I’ll cover the cost of printing the hardcovers entirely because it allows me to secure distribution and grow the business. In exchange, everybody at $50 and above gets the same rewards, but at a much better price after the campaign ends.

Nothing changes for softcover backers. All Takers, Scavengers, and Hustlers still get DTRPG codes that provide the book for print cost + shipping. You'll get Red Markets as the same high-quality softcover always promised. I’d love to provide increased value across the board, but while POD for multiple editions isn’t a problem, it’s not financially possible to do offset print runs for both soft and hardcover.

But hopefully, 48K is just a stepping-stone towards the goal that does increase value for everyone ….

Like a mule, but bullet-proof!
Like a mule, but bullet-proof!


ANOTHER Stretch Goal Revealed: 52K Full Color

The reduction in per-unit cost achieved by doing an offset run puts us within striking distance of full color. That’s right. FULL COLOR. Every piece of art. Every margin. Every sidebar. All of it in glorious CMYK.

When I dream about Red Markets, I dream in color. I commissioned nearly all the KS preview art up to this point in color, knowing we’d likely never be able to afford it. When I asked Kyle and Kat to get started early designing the look of the interior, I told them to do it color… just in case. It didn’t make any economic sense at the time – I paid thousands extra out of my pocket for something that would likely never happen – but I wanted to see at least a small sample of color if I couldn’t make the big, gorgeous monster I had in mind. And now it might actually happen.

Here’s a sample of what a color interior would look like. Along with the complete Combat rules for the Profit system.

If we hit 52K by the end of the campaign, all hardcover backers get automatically upgraded to a color book. Softcover backers get the option to print in color. Since the softcover is still POD, printing in color will increase the cost before shipping. But don’t worry! B+W versions of the books will remain available at no increased cost, so there’s no up-charge for anyone that wishes to stick to the initial backer reward. The only thing that changes is that now the art of Red Markets can be seen as originally intended.

I hope we get there, but if anybody can do it, it’s you fine backers.

The next step in bludgeon technology
The next step in bludgeon technology

Social Bounty Update

All this and a social stretch goal? Sheesh!

  • We added 294 people to the Facebook group 
  • We added 173 to our G+ community 
  • I have 107 new followers on Twitter 
  • #RedMarkets has been retweeted 140 times as of now 
  • The subreddit enclave has 89 new survivors 
  • We’ve gotten 8 blog posts for 800 Bounty total 
  • We’ve scheduled 8 podcast interviews for 1600 bounty total 
  • Social Bounty: 3203 
We’ve unlocked the RPPR Pregens! Keep up the great work, Takers.

Always On Grind

Whew…that was a doosey of an update. I’ve got to get back to writing the book we’re all so excited about. If any of you have questions, don’t hesitate to hit me up in the comments, messages, or on your Ubiq specs. I’ve always got time for my fellow enclavists.

See the FUTURE!
See the FUTURE!

Back to work!

Christoph Naefgen, Noah Carden, and 29 more people like this update.


Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Caleb Stokes 3-time creator on

      @ Robin Gonzales: you can!

    2. Missing avatar

      Robin Gonzales

      Not gonna lie, I really want to have a Gremlin drone like in XCOM 2.

    3. Phil Ward

      "I'd buy that for a dollar!"

      *Buys upgrade to H/C for 60 bucks*

    4. Caleb Stokes 3-time creator on


      It's not surprising; I hadn't run the copy by my editor.

      The goal of the preview was to establish the look of the book (fonts, headers, margin assets, etc) and estimate the word count per page ratio for budgeting purposes. I didn't pay for Laura to do a full editing pass because I didn't have the money (this was months before the KS campaign started). Rest assured the final copy will be in better shape.

    5. Caleb Stokes 3-time creator on


      For a 350-400 page softcover color book, printing in color will cost about $5 more per unit.

    6. Missing avatar

      TheDarkFiddler on

      Loved the look at the rules, getting a good idea on the system... that said, there were a surprising number of typos. If you need a proofreader, I'll do it for a free upgrade to the hardcover :p

    7. Cassiel

      How much will the softcover color upgrade be?

    8. Dalton Paget on

      If we get anywhere near 48K I'm upgrading to hardcover. It only makes economic sense.

    9. Caleb Stokes 3-time creator on

      @Stephen O'Shannessy

      I'll be looking into it over the next few weeks. We'll see what our fulfillment services has to say about it if we make it to the offset run. I'll be sure to keep you informed.

    10. Missing avatar

      Stephen O'Shannessy on

      I'm excited, you've sold me on the upgrade...
      *Upgrades furiously*

      Will you be able to combine postage with the dice to reduce it for Vectors, or are they going to be handled too separately for that to be viable?

    11. Patrick on

      I want so bad to upgrade to the hardcover, but my family has got to eat. The color layout looks amazing. Caleb, why do you have to go and do an OG RPPR listener dirty like this! Congrats man and in all seriousness Red Markets is going to be the success that we all thought it would be. Keep dreaming the big dream my friend!

    12. Herrigold on

      Alright Caleb, you fantastic maniacal bastard. You've convinced me. Upgraded to a Hardcover book.