For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.
No wallpaper today, because there's a PDF download coming. It's the third installment of A Monster for Every Season, specifically the Autumn 2016 edition. Yes, I'm aware that it is neither autumn nor 2016, but I only missed it by 12 and 2 days, respectively, which is positively punctual for me. Plus, this is the set that I had more than 50% completed in late November when I realized that life had gotten in the way of my plan to get the O-Chul story finished in time for the end of the year, so it was easier to keep going with it rather than switch to drawing the Winter set.
This set of monster miniatures is the biggest one yet, and I still didn't have room for every last demon, devil, or undead I wanted to include. There are a lot of those, it turns out. Also, a lot of flying head monsters. I drew five for this set. Five different official variations on, "Look out, it's a flying head!" and I'm pretty sure there are more that I missed. D&D is weird sometimes. Anyway, a second (backer-only) update will be along in a few minutes with download links to the miniature sets, so stare at your email client relentlessly until it arrives.
Let's look at the Workometer:
O-Chul is so...close...and yet still a lot of drawing left. I'm hoping to pare back what I have to work on to just O-Chul and the regular comic for the next two months, though.
Which brings me to the subject of updates. I said a few posts ago that I would update more, even if I had nothing to report, and it...hasn't really worked out that way. It's very difficult for me to not think that if I just work one more week before making a post, I'll have something to deliver. I want to believe in my own productivity despite ample evidence to the contrary. So we're going to try something else—I'm going to tell you now when the next update will be. The next update will be on February 22, 2017, the five-year anniversary of the end of the drive. I'll make a post that day even if I haven't finished O-Chul or a wallpaper or anything. I'm hoping the existence of a set date will compel me to actually make an update. Actually, I'm hoping that a deadline will help me finish O-Chul, but I can at least commit to making a post about it if I don't.
That's it for this update. Happy New Year, and I hope everyone enjoys their new 400-something monsters to play with. I'll see you all back here on February 22.
Before we get to the important update stuff, here's your new wallpaper:
As always, you can get the new wallpaper on the site's Wallpaper page. I couldn't tell you why I decided to do a fight scene with a pyrohydra, except maybe the knowledge that it's highly unlikely the gang will ever fight one during the story. But if you're in a part of the world currently dealing with cold temperatures, then hopefully a nice warm-looking scene on your desktop will fool your brain into thinking it's toasty out.
Today is the four-year anniversary of the end of the original pledge drive. I'm not sure exactly what to say on this somewhat unfortunate anniversary; certainly, I didn't expect this to take this long to finish. While something like 99% of you have the physical goods you paid for, most of those who pledged to get a crayon drawing are still waiting for their boxes to arrive in the mail. And all of you are still waiting on digital stories, especially the original O-Chul story that started this thing. I think if I stopped working on the regular comic, I could probably finish everything outstanding for this Kickstarter in about 6-8 months. But presumably most of you supported the reprint drive because you liked the ongoing comic, and you wouldn't want me to stop it in its tracks for the better part of a year.
As a result of these delays, I've had people asking me if I've abandoned the project, and the answer to that is an emphatic No. Let me be perfectly clear: I will never abandon this project, ever. I will see it through to the end, even if it takes another four years. If I'm alive and physically capable of creating comics, this project will continue until every bonus story, every monster miniature, every crayon drawing is finished. This will be true regardless of the frequency with which I post updates here about my progress; even if you don't hear from me for a while, it changes nothing about my commitment to finish. Since the only thing that is going to stop me is my literal inability to produce content, consider each new comic I post over on the website to be a mini-update that says, "Yep, I'm still here."
The other dubious milestone passed since the last update is that the very last of the money raised by this project has now been spent. At the start of the fulfillment phase, I divided the money into two accounts: one for postage, and one for everything else. The "everything else" fund is long gone, having gone toward printing, taxes, and a bunch of other fulfillment costs before the end of 2013. The short version is that expenses exceeded the amount raised, even including the "surplus" that was raised at the end of the project (which ended up being used just to cover unforeseen costs; I never got a new computer or anything), but the print runs that were financed allowed me to cover the "loss" with regular sales through Ookoodook and game store distribution.
But that was all OK because the postage account still had enough to mail out everyone's packages. Well, that account is now empty, too, due to the fact that postage rates have risen several times since the project ended, with overseas rates rising the most dramatically. For example, one package for which I collected $37 in postage actually cost $98 to mail by the time it went out the door. So the remaining crayon drawings that still need to be mailed out will be paid for out of my income from other products—mostly the PDF editions of the books that have been coming out. (The tiny shameless marketer in my head wants me to tell you that No Cure for the Paladin Blues is now available in PDF from Gumroad.) Ultimately, this lack of funds shouldn't affect anyone's package, because I'll be able to cover the postage costs as I go for the handful of drawings I get done each month. I just thought that some of you might be interested in a peek behind the finances for something like this. I might write up a full breakdown of costs at some point, if any of you are interested.
Let's take a look at the scoreboard and see what I've actually accomplished:
The bulk of my work has been on the aforementioned O-Chul story, and it's coming along very nicely. I think you'll all really enjoy it when it's done. One of things you might be wondering is whether this will be just 50-something pages of O-Chul walking around in stoic silence or talking to himself, since he's pretty solitary as paladins go. Rest assured, he will have plenty of people to talk to, some of whom are completely new characters. A sneak preview, you say? Well, I wouldn't normally, but it is a special occasion...
Please welcome Zhou Bo (left) and Saha Kapoor (right) to the story; I blanked out the text to keep their dialogue a surprise. What could these two women have to do with O-Chul and how he got his famous scar? Obviously I'm not going to tell you right now, but I will tell you later. In story format!
The other thing I've been trying is to draw one monster for the next Monster for Every Season packet every day when I sit down to work. That's why that's been inching up on the Work-o-meter despite my general focus on O-Chul. I can give you a sample of that one, too:
Yes, I just sent you a dretch butt. You're welcome.
That's about all I have to report, and I don't think I could top that anyway. As I've said so many times over the last four years, thank you for your continued patience and support. You're the best.
This is almost not even a full update, but, first thing's first: There is a new wallpaper, but I am not attaching the picture of it to this update because it's based on a panel from OOTS #1000, which came out last night. If, for some reason, you haven't yet read OOTS #1000, go over to Giant in the Playground and do that right now. When you're done, you can head to the Wallpaper page there and check out the new wallpaper.
In other news: OOTS #1000! I hope everyone enjoys it and everything that's going on in the comic these days. I will be the first to admit that I didn't get very much Kickstarter work done in the last month or so, as I was focused on getting the main strip up to this point without too many delays—so the Workometer is going to be a bit anemic. Sorry about that.
I wouldn't even normally do an update at this stage except that I was able to dovetail the wallpaper and regular comic so nicely. And hey, everyone tells me that they want regular communications even if I haven't finished anything new, so...here you go!
There's one other announcement that you probably already saw on the site—and won't affect most of you because you already bought the paper books during the Kickstarter. But there was a small contingent of backers among you who wanted only digital material, rejecting even the refrigerator magnet to which they were entitled with a $10 pledge. To those people, I would like to mention that, after many requests from readers, I have begun releasing the existing OOTS books as PDF files (at that link) starting with Dungeon Crawlin' Fools and On the Origin of PCs. If you're a digital ascetic who eschews physical objects, you can now finally enjoy these previously paper-only products.
OK, that's it for this semi-update. See you next time!
Your new wallpaper can be seen below, and downloaded here. I came up with the idea as a tribute to Leonard Nemoy when he passed away, but as always with me, it took a while to actually get it done. I hope it being late doesn't diminish the thought, but at least it gives me a chance to send you all to the For the Love of Spock Kickstarter, where Adam Nimoy is working to create the definitive documentary about his father's famous character.
Turning back to this Kickstarter, though: I am thrilled to announce that after way too long, I have begun actually drawing the O-Chul prequel story, How the Paladin Got His Scar. Before you start refreshing your inbox for the link to show up, though, I should tell you that it's clocking in well over 50 pages at this point, with potential to grow as I draw action scenes. So it's still going to take quite a while.
I did also manage to get another major reward fulfilled since the last update, as you probably know if your read the News section of my website. The elven favored soul Veldrina—who recently appeared in the regular comic with her pet tiger Little Whiskers—is the walk-on cameo character that was purchased during the pledge drive. And actually, she's getting a bit more than a walk-on, since it was easier to swap her into a role that I already had planned than it was to fit her in separately. I added the cameo to the Workometer below so I would have something to check off, because it's really unsatisfying to accomplish something and not get to fill in a colored box.
There are a few other changes to the Workometer, too—beyond the fact that I swapped out my old stick portrait with my current one in order to show you all the grim toll webcomics take on the human body. I added the Mystery Box that one backer snagged so I can mark that off when the time comes, as well as the secret-until-it's-done Mystery Prize #9. I also adjusted the number of wallpapers completed to reflect the number I've actually released, to avoid confusion. And I have another stack of crayon drawings done that I haven't packed up and mailed, as represented by the half-lit box. I didn't want to delay making an update any longer, though, so there you go.
Also, I'd point out that I am now completely done with digital portraits—the Stick It to You and Stick It to Your Family artwork has all been sent out. If you ordered one and you aren't currently basking in your family's stick figure likeness, either a.) you are one of the 11 backers who still hasn't sent me photographs of you or your family and thus I couldn't draw anything, or b.) the email with download links to the artwork got caught in your spam filter or some other related goof-up. In either case, send an email to email@example.com and let us know that you don't have it yet and I'll get right on it.
And that's it for this update. See you all back here at an indeterminate point in the future when I will have an unspecified amount more work completed!