In 2011 I indie-published my first novel, Wearing the Cape, a superhero story that launched the adventures of Astra and a widening cast of her fellow capes. Wearing the Cape earned a 4.5 Star rating on Amazon and climbed in the rankings to spend most of 2012 in the Top 10 books for its category.
Wearing the Cape came from my love of comics but was also shaped by my lifelong enjoyment of tabletop roleplaying games, especially superhero roleplaying games. Early on, I decided I would eventually pay that enjoyment back by moving the Post-Event world into the games I love.
Over the past two years I have worked with roleplaying veterans to develop Wearing the Cape: The Roleplaying Game as a complete roleplaying setting and rulebook using the award-winning Fate System created by Evil Hat. Now I am printing a high-quality edition of the rules, for the enjoyment of Wearing the Cape fans and superhero-roleplaying enthusiasts alike.
To distinguish between the gamebooks given as rewards in this campaign, and any printed later, each backer's gamebook will be printed with a golden number on the bottom right corner of the cover. It will also have an interior bookplate, signed by me to commemorate the campaign.
FOR A SAMPLE OF THE GAMEBOOK, GO HERE:
Wearing the Cape: The Roleplaying Game is a finished gamebook ready for printing and distribution. Within 2 weeks of the campaign's end, backers will receive their tickets to download the PDF copy of the game at DriveThru RPG (available there for $24.99 if you miss the Kickstarter), and fully viewable on desktops, laptops, Kindles, iPads, and other e-readers. Assuming you have dice, pencils, etc., you will be ready to begin playing!
The hardcover printing will take a little more time, but I have made arrangements with a small publishing company in Las Vegas, Imagined Interprises Inc., to do a beautiful print run if the funding goal is met.
Imagined Interprises Inc. has produced for Kickstarter before, specifically the SnarfQuest 30th Anniversary Remastered Graphic Novel for Larry Elmore. Again, there will be no extended development phase for the edition; the master copy for the print run will be ready and waiting for the end of the campaign. We project a 3-month printing and delivery date!
While the Kickstarter campaign is all about funding the printing of the game, I've been reliably told that pledgers like to see more—and since the gamebook couldn't include everything, I would certainly like to do more!
The first Add-Ons will be two companion sourcebooks.
Wearing the Cape: Barlow’s Guide to Superhumans, and Wearing the Cape: The B-Files (Barlow's Guide volume 2), will be world-expanding sourcebooks full of places, capes, and villains from the series, as well as backer-created capes and background! Backer-created capes and teams will become an official part of the background of a wider Post-Event world.
Barlow’s Guide to Superhumans started as a joke and an homage to Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials, a formative sci-fi artbook from my youth. It appeared as an informative chapter-header in several of the Wearing the Cape books and is the Post-Event World analogue to the various real-world Jane’s Guides to military craft, weapons, etc. Wearing the Cape: Barlow’s Guide to Superhumans and Wearing the Cape: The B-Files will add more Post-Event history and places to the Post-Event World, more Power-Types, more Power Stunts, and most of all, many more popular capes and villains from the books.
More than this, it will be a collaborative effort, with fans of the books able to work up their own superhuman player-characters and place them officially in the Post-Event World. Want to know more about what happened in Europe? Central and South America? The Middle East? Asia and India? So do I.
Sentinel and Cape-File level backers will work with me to ensure their chosen heroes fit the rules of play and the canonical background of my stories. Their stories will help illuminate what happened during and after The Event in places far beyond Chicago, and they may even appear in later books!
As a final bonus for Sentinel and Cape-File level backers, I have secured the services of two of the gamebook's three main artists. One of them, the cover-artist of the series’ most recent book, Team-Ups and Crossovers will render Sentinels pledger's heroes in her beautiful style for the Barlow's Guide. The other will do the same for The B-Files.
Barlow's Guide Production Schedule
Wearing the Cape: Barlow’s Guide to Superhumans funds as the first Stretch Goal Add-On, and The B-Files the second, as PDF editions. Since both will partly be collaborative work with the pledgers, real work on the books will not begin until the campaign ends and they have time to receive their electronic copies of Wearing the Cape: The Roleplaying Game.
This means that pledgers will be receiving their e-copies of WtC: BGTS and WtC:TBF some months after the end of the campaign, with their hardback copies delivered after that (they will be shipped with the gamebook as a set). I will do everything in my power to expedite this, but experience working with artists and collaborative creators has taught me that promising anything sooner would be insanely optimistic of me and frustrating to campaign backers.
Production Plan Update!
The initial project envisioned two books, the gamebook and a single sourcebook, for fans of the Wearing the Cape series who wanted to play. $110 seemed a bit pricy, but I was able to reduce the cost of each book by $10, for a $90 investment for the reader who wants every printed word. Now with three books, totaling $130, plus another PDF-Only sourcebook (see The Archon Files, below), I've been looking for ways to cut down the backer cost again. So after speaking with my publisher, a production change has been made.
The hardback editions of Wearing the Cape: Barlow's Guide to Superhumans and Wearing the Cape: The B-Files will be merged into a single Wearing the Cape: Barlow's Guide and B-Files. This unified sourcebook will be slightly larger than the gamebook, and will price at $59! Although there is now only one, unified hardback book, the two electronic-edition sourcebooks will remain separate and still available at $19 each. They will be extensively cross referenced (see the unlocked Add-Ons, below).
The second Add-On is dice. The Fate System that Wearing the Cape: The Roleplaying Game is built on uses special dice. Fate Dice can be purchased at most game stores and online from Amazon.com, but I thought it would be neat to design a set of Fate Dice just for the game. The Dice Pack that comes as a City Protector pledge reward includes 4 Hero Dice (blue, with Astra’s crest) and 4 Opposition Dice (orange, explosion design), but while I was at it I designed a few more! The additional dice packs will become available as Stretch Goal Add-Ons.
The dice will be ready to ship with the gamebooks; they have been one of the easiest and funnest parts of the project.
In my most recent book, Team-Ups and Crossovers, Astra did what all superheroes seem to do sooner or later; wander into other worlds and make interesting new friends or meet interesting variations on old ones. One of the stories, Astra Gets Grrl Power, was a collaboration between me and Dave Barrack, writer of the smart and funny Grrl Power online comic. Astra got to meet Halo, Maxima, and other members of Arc-SWAT, the "superhero" field team of Archon, at a comic convention. Hilarity and property damage ensued. My fans loved it. Dave's fans loved it.
Continuing our partnership, Dave and I have decided to create a special sourcebook, PDF only, giving background and WtC:RPG stats for the Arc-SWAT team and some of the villains of their world. It will feature Maxima, Halo, and the rest of the team, as well as background and stats for Archon as an organization, background on Halo's world (from the point of view of Astra and later agents who "surveyed" the alternate reality), entries on every named character, and whatever other goodies Dave and I can think to throw in.
Wearing the Cape: The Archon Files will be a sourcebook using the same format as Barlow's Guide and The B-Files. Its characters will be fully compatible with WtC:RPG rules and the characters given in the gamebook and other sourcebooks, with enough information for players who wish to campaign exclusively in Dave's excellent superhero world or just launch crossover adventures of their own.
As a final set of Stretch Goal Add-Ons, there is the Wearing the Cape Special Edition. When I indie-published Wearing the Cape in mid-2011, I did my best to edit it but errors remained in the published draft. To commemorate the five-year run of the series and publication of the gamebook, I’ve decided to release a special edition of my first book. It will be professionally re-edited, and will feature several pages of interior art. If the campaign reaches $50,000 then I will be able to again engage the services of Imagined Interprises Inc. to produce a high-quality hardback edition with beautiful litho-printed covers.Truly a special edition!
So how do you get the Add-Ons?
I am using Backerkit for campaign fulfillment, and that makes it easy.
1. Choose your pledge-level and click on it to select the reward.
2. When the blue box asks you to fill in the pledge amount, enter the pledge-level amount + the price of any Add-Ons you want. (If it has not yet unlocked, you may wish to wait for the Update which announces it.)
3. When the campaign ends and you receive your survey, you will re-select the Add-Ons you decided on to verify correct fulfillment and postage.
As the campaign progresses, I will be sending out updates showing which Add-Ons have been unlocked. You can add or remove Add-On credit up till the end of the campaign without changing your pledge level.
Inside the US, all physical pledge level rewards will be sent via USPS Media or Priority Mail (Kickstarter is charging a flat $15 for Guardian, City Protector, Sentinel, and Big Box pledgers).
When the Kickstarter campaign ends, backers will have the opportunity to select and purchase Add-Ons through the Backerkit Survey. These Add-Ons will include additional postage where necessary, which the backers will be able to add.
Outside the US, all pledge level rewards will be shipped via USPS. Backerkit will add $10 more to the shipping included in the Guardian, City Protector, and Sentinel pledges. The Big Box pledge has a $65 international shipping fee (included in the Kickstarter pledge cost), which pays for a flat-rate box. Pledgers taking advantage of the Big Box, who wish to add the dice set Add-Ons, will also be given the option through Backerkit.
Wearing the Cape Special Edition will ship separately, through USPS Media Mail domestically ($5), and USPS First Class Mail internationally ($20).
See The Big Shipping Update (#20) for more details.
Fulfilling my first dream by indie-publishing Wearing the Cape and its sequels has been one long adventure for me. Successful indie-publishing means building your own private publishing company while continuing to write, and I have been blessed with wonderful editors and reviewers, lucky to find great artists and graphics designers. Even so, the learning curve has often been a steep one.
Writing and developing Wearing the Cape: The Roleplaying Game has fulfilled my second dream, and has certainly been a new adventure with its own learning curve to climb. I cannot express how excited and proud I am to be finally launching this campaign, and how grateful I am to everyone who has helped me come this far.
With this campaign and your help, the adventure is just beginning.
Risks and challenges
The PDF edition of the gamebook is complete. The dice designs have been approved. Imagined Interprises Inc. is preparing the file for the print-run. All other things that must be ready at the end of the campaign are ready, and I am in perfect health. As with all physically produced products, delays in manufacturing and/or shipping are always a reality, but we have done our best to mitigate these risks. The Sweet Meteor of Death may strike the Earth between now and the expected fulfillment times, and speedy completion of Barlow's Guide to Superhumans will depend upon cooperation from the contributing pledgers (and of course the artist). There are no guarantees, but I don't foresee anything short of the end of Western Civilization stopping this project from a successful completion.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (39 days)