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Help us reprint the out-of-print The Order of the Stick books to reach new readers (and let existing fans complete their collections).
Created by

Rich Burlew

14,952 backers pledged $1,254,120 to help bring this project to life.

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At Least It's Not a Pony

We have received reports—scattered at first, but growing in frequency—that backers have begun getting their magnets in the mail. Should this prove true, I can only say that no one is more surprised than I am that we managed to get them into people's hands on time.

This week, we received the 8" x 10" art prints that some of you are getting, and they look great. Here's a sorta-blurry picture of one now:

According to the package tracking oracle that lives in the computer, the embroidered patches arrived in Houston yesterday as well, though I do not have photographic confirmation of that yet. If they're not there already, they will be very soon, which means that the $15 "patch-and-a-magnet" packages will start mailing this week. After those have shipped, all other packages are waiting on the coloring book or the Sticky Shticks (or both). Here's where the Workometer stands:

You'll notice that I've begun work in earnest on the Monster Minis document (at least the Spring edition; the other three seasons that have been promised will get added to the Workometer later). This first installment is shaping up to be include a lot of orcs, fey, goblins (Small, not Medium), animals (dire and regular), druids, and rangers, plus a bunch of other random monsters like an owlbear and a hippogriff. To further whet your appetite, I give you a sneak preview of the art for one of the most tenacious and difficult monsters in the game...the pack mule!

Hey, don't laugh. The number of sessions where I needed a mini for a pack mule (and didn't have one) is far greater than the number of sessions where I needed a mini for a dragon. 

Five Things I've Done Since My Last Update:

  • Reviewed and approved physical proofs of the coloring book.
  • Reviewed and approved digital proofs of the updated copyright pages for the reprints.
  • Printed, cut out, and assembled paper mock-ups of the various monster sizes (Tiny through Large) for the miniatures to make sure they stood up properly using regular paper. (I still need to try Huge and Gargantuan.)
  • Picked up the holiday ornaments for the signed ornament reward packages.
  • Started contacting backers who forgot to include money for international shipping in their pledge. This is a big list, though, so if you know you're on it, please be patient and wait for me to contact you.
Have a nice week, everyone, and I'll see you back here when something new has happened.

--Rich Burlew

Samples, Samples, Everywhere

Lots of progress over the past week. Just about all the physical products have gotten moving, and I'm actually waiting for delivery on the art prints, notepads, patches, and sticker sheets. Nothing to do but keep looking out the window for the delivery truck (metaphorically speaking, since the truck will be going to Houston).

The helpful folks that have been printing the sticker sheets, Stand Out Stickers, sent me a few production samples the other day. They are magnificent. Shiny and durable vinyl stickers that will stay stuck to whatever it is to which you stick them. Here's a photograph of the samples next to a punk rocker minifig, which has been the traditional standard of measurement among fine sticker artisans since the late 14th century.

Also, in case some of you didn't see the revised patch sample picture that I entwiticated, here it is again. Since I've already had like twenty people ask: Sorry, no, you can't have the old incorrect sample, even if you like it better than the correct one. There was only one of those made.

In other news: After a surprising amount of editing for something with so little text per page, I finally sent off the completed files for the coloring book to the printer (a different printer; everything gets its own printer). We should get proofs back sometime this week. With a little luck, the actual coloring books will arrive in the warehouse ahead of the regular OOTS books so we have time to ship out all the bookless rewards first.

Speaking of shipping, I've gotten word that all of the $10 nothing-but-a-magnet and $14 nothing-but-two-magnets reward packages have now shipped—not counting those that added a patch or the Sticky Shticks, and not counting those 100+ people from those reward levels who still haven't filled out their shipping survey. Even if you are declining the magnet and just want the digital rewards, I ask that everyone fills out their surveys so I'll know not to bug you about it later. Anyway, that's like 1800+ envelopes in the mail, so good news there, right?

Let's take a look at the Workometer:

One thing that I want to point out is that this is strictly my Workometer, not the printer's or Ookoodook's. The book reprints still have at least two weeks of printing ahead of them (maybe two-and-a-half), but most of it doesn't involve me. I need to check the updated copyright page proofs when they come and write another big check, and that's about it. Still, as far as I know, we're still on target for books to begin shipping out by the last week of April.

Five Things I've Done Since My Last Update:

  • Proofread and edited the coloring book (several times).
  • Ordered, proofed, and approved the notepads (I didn't get a sample yet, though).
  • Updated and revised the copyright pages of all six reprinted OOTS books to reflect things like their current print run, the other titles printed in the series, and, in the case of No Cure for the Paladin Blues, that we're now printing on recycled paper that wasn't available the last time we reprinted it.
  • Worked with my site admin on a plan to securely distribute the digital PDF comics that are coming without overloading my server on the day that they're announced.
  • Wrote up a list of exactly which monsters will be appearing in the first Monster Mini document.

I guess that's everything I have to talk about. Thanks for reading.

--Rich Burlew

Mo' Money, Mo' Production

My days as an official millionaire have come and gone. The money became available to use on Friday, and I started spending it this morning. A heady 55 hours during which I wore a monocle, took an interest in yacht racing, and held strong opinions on the Estate Tax. But that time has passed already as I've started ordering stuff. Most importantly, the book reprints have begun their march to completion, along with the art print; the stickers and notepads will join them in a day or two.

Here's a sneak preview of the embroidered patch sample that I received last week. Some of the colors are off, so we're going to fix them in the final product, but I think the stitching came out very well. Check it out:

I've noticed that a lot of the survey results have comments along the line of, "I wanted to get a patch but I didn't know I needed to add money before the pledge drive was over." If that's you, don't worry; we're going to be stitching a few hundred extra. When everyone's rewards have been fulfilled, there will be a way for backers to buy patches through Ookoodook if they missed them (or need extras), until we run out.  This will only be available to people who backed the project, though; I imagine we'll require some sort of verification of your Kickstarter info before you'll be able to place the order. The same will hold true for any leftover art prints we may have. In contrast, I expect we'll put up any extra stickers, notepads, coloring books, and Sticky Shticks that we have remaining without such a requirement, since those weren't explicitly pledge-exclusives the way the patches and the art print were.

So let's check out the Workometer and see where we stand:

In case any of you missed the announcement at Giant in the Playground, I've now started a Twitter feed for myself: @RichBurlew. I should be making updates about things as they happen, as well as pointing out some stuff that might interest backers (like other cool Kickstarter drives that need support). It won't be updated every day because I'm not an everyday kind of person, but there should be some useful announcements here and there.

Five Things I've Done Since My Last Update:

  • Placed the order for the art prints (now awaiting the press proof).
  • Sent out surveys for all signed reward packages except for those listed as "Patience" packages, which won't go out for a few weeks.
  • Had a meeting with my lawyer about various concerns arising from the Kickstarter pledge drive.
  • Emptied my email inbox, as promised! (It got full again, but still.)
  • Placed the order for all six book reprints and sent the first of three Very Large Checks along with it.

That's it for now, I'll check back in soon. 

--Rich Burlew

Pictures of Magnets

Just a very quick update this time. The magnets arrived at the Houston warehouse this week and will start being mailed to $10 and $14 backers shortly (though there will be a gap while Ookoodook's staff attends the GAMA Trade Show this week). All the other production chains are waiting on the money, though I should be getting my sample of the patch any day now. Here's a photo of the magnet on a fine woodgrain surface (NOTE: magnet does not stick to wood):

And here's a photo of 20,000 magnets not on a woodgrain surface of any quality (they're the boxes on the two carts; behind them are the boxes with envelopes):

And since we're on a roll with images, here's today's Workometer:

You'll notice we have our first completed item, highlighted with the purple text. Not much else to say, so I'll leave you with the Five Things I Did Since the Last Update:

  • Spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to stop the backer information I downloaded from Kickstarter from dropping all vowels with diacritic marks.
  • Finalized the rulesheet for the Sticky Shtick mini-expansion so formal playtesting can begin.
  • Finally found a paper that I like for the coloring book, even though it will make it more expensive (for me, not for you). Also, received paper samples for the art print and immediately approved them.
  • Ignored my email inbox, which I will try to empty this week.
  • Finished ten more pages of interior art for the coloring book (almost...done...).

That's it for now. If you haven't filled out your survey yet, go do so! If you're waiting for a survey for the autographed packages, they should be going out very soon. (Tomorrow, maybe? Or Monday.) See you all back here when I have something new to show off, and everyone have a nice weekend.

--Rich Burlew

Final Tallies and Other Stuff

So we've gotten the final tally for how many pledges went through, and the total of all pledges that were dropped (due to irresolvable processing errors or the like) added up to just $3954.00 from 61 backers. That represents just 0.32% of our final pledge total, or less than one-third of one percent. That is shockingly low; you'll remember that I allowed for 5% of all the money pledged to drop out due to complications. So congratulations to you: As a group, you have excellent credit. We also have the final total for how much we paid to Kickstarter and Amazon in fees: $106,799.87, divided up among the two companies in a way that would require more math to explain than I feel like doing. It does represent 11.71% of my completed pledge totals, which is a little higher than I had counted on (10%). Still, given how much extra I had allowed for dropped pledges, it's not a problem at all.

Things are starting to move on reward fulfillment, albeit a little slowly. We won't be able to order any of the books or most of the swag until the money hits my actual bank account around the middle of this month, but there are a few items that I was able to pay for out of money I had saved. 

The Roy Greenhilt magnets are scheduled to ship from the manufacturer next Tuesday (March 6th) and should arrive at Ookoodook's warehouse for processing a few days later. That means that the lowest level pledge packages ($10, $12, and $14 rewards) should begin shipping around March 9th. If you have one of those packages and you haven't filled out your survey, you must do so as soon as possible. If we don't have your information by the time we're ready to start shipping, your order will go to the end of the line, to be shipped after all the other unsigned book and game packages.

Let's see how the Workometer stands:

Hmmm. Not as much as I would like, but a lot of those projects are being held up by the money (or the time I'm spending on the logistics). Let's hope the next one has more lit up.

I wanted to say a few words about the various PDFs I'll be making and sending out, too. I thought you should all know that I'm going to be producing these in the order in which I think I can get them done fastest (so the "low-hanging fruit" first), rather than in the order in which they were announced. And they will be released as I complete each story, so that means that you will get them one or two at a time, spread out over the next few months. Important: The information on how to download each PDF story will be sent to the email address associated with your Kickstarter account, so you MUST have access to that account in order to get the files.

I've also gotten a lot of questions about what the "Backer's Choice" PDFs are that were mentioned on the Monster in the Darkness' charts. Scroll down the list of rewards to the $1250 level: three stories where the main character is being chosen by a backer rather than by me. I'm also ready to announce which three characters these stories will be about: Therkla, the Cliffport Police Department, and a pre-Order Belkar Bitterleaf. All three stories will be delivered to all backers once they are completed, too, so that's three more things you have to look forward to.

That's enough for now; I'll try to get another update up early next week.

--Rich Burlew

Five Things I've Done Since the Last Update:

  • Sent out surveys for all unsigned book or game packages (check your email for them).
  • Reviewed a second paper stock sample dummy for the coloring book because the first one was cheap crap.
  • Researched whether or not the fact that this was a pledge drive meant that I could mark international orders as "gifts" on the customs form, rather than "merchandise." (Short answer: No, because GITP is not a registered charity.)
  • Found out how to reactivate my long-dormant Pennsylvania Sales Tax license.
  • Finished about half of the art for the coloring book.