About this project
How many times have you struggled to keep your tabletop RPG campaigns completely organized? Have you ever lost track of what your players have and haven't learned? Is “real-life” limiting the time you have to prepare for games? Do you waste precious time during games searching for details from previous sessions, some of which occurred months or even years ago? These challenges, and others, are what we set out to solve with Realm Works.
Realm Works takes campaign management for tabletop RPGs to the next level, making it faster and easier to prepare for games, and greatly enhancing the actual game experience. You can use Realm Works with any RPGs you play — it’s “game system neutral” and can be used no matter what type of campaign you run. GMs can create, manage, and share their world using a single tool, rather than trying to cobble things together with multiple, disconnected applications. Realm Works was built by GMs and players for GMs and players.
Note! All content provided through stretch goals will consist of the material fully integrated into Realm Works and ready for use - not as PDFs. The delivery dates on the material will vary in accordance with the publishing plans of each respective publisher below.
Stretch Goal #1 - Successful!
Once $105,000 is raised, all backers at the Pack Hunter pledge level and higher will receive access to the upcoming re-release of Halls of the Mountain King for Pathfinder from Open Design.
Halls of the Mountain King is a non-traditional dungeon, an homage to Moria and Undermountain that adds a few twists. Plot and story have been worked out collaboratively in the private Open Design forum. The dwarves are a hard-working group, whose mining of adamantine lured them ever-deeper and whose pursuit of ore led them into dangerous territory. The vertical dungeon goes from the depths of the earth through the great halls and works of a vanished clan, up to a snowy mountaintop spire and an (optional) airship dock.
Estimated delivery: September 2013.
Stretch Goal #2 - Successful!
Once $110,000 is raised, all backers at the Pack Hunter pledge level and higher will receive access to the Blood Drive Trilogy for Deadlands (Savage Worlds) from Pinnacle.
The Blood Drive series is a complete campaign. Each adventure starts and ends in such a fashion that if you want to use it by itself without the others in the series, you can easily do so. In fact, they’re perfect for getting a posse from one part of the Weird West to another if that’s what you’re looking for, Marshal. Used together, the three combine to take the heroes from greenhorn cowpunchers to hardened trail hands fighting for their cattle, their land, and even their lives!
Estimated delivery: August 2013.
Stretch Goal #3 - Successful!
Once $130,000 is raised, all backers at the Timber Wolf pledge level and higher will receive access to The Blight, an upcoming Adventure Path for Pathfinder from Frog God Games. Richard Pett’s Twisted City - The Blight, is planned to be 12 districts of a city with 12 adventures, providing an Adventure Path with 12 meaty installments.
Between is a temptation too great for some; a land of plenty (and danger) on the doorstep, rich in possible wealth and with the draw of Between Vessels—curious objects that retain memories, feelings and even souls—the reasons for venturing into the land are numerous, and have drawn many. The Illuminati, using the funds of the royal family, have struck again and again into this new empire, and those very incursions threaten to undo the Blight. Constant incursions into Between from the Blight have weakened the fabric of the wall that separates the two places. There are those who wish the levee to break, who would revel in the chaos and madness of life and souls that would happen should a fracture burst and a tidal wave of Between pour into the city. There are also those who have a conscience, who oppose the Illuminati and the royal family as much as they safely can in the face of such power. They know nothing about the levee, but they have their suspicions. And into this world come the PCs…
Estimated delivery: October 2013 and ongoing for 12 months.
Stretch Goal #4 - Successful!
Once $145,000 is raised, all backers at the Pack Hunter pledge level and higher will receive access to the Pirate's Guide to Freeport from Green Ronin Publishing.
Freeport is Green Ronin's signature city setting and has been home to thousands of RPG campaigns since its launch in 2000. Classic fantasy elements, cruel-hearted pirates, and Lovecraftian horror come together in the rum-fueled metropolis known as the City of Adventure. Now a new era is beginning. The Pirate's Guide to Freeport is the definitive new sourcebook for the City of Adventure, set 5 years after the events of the original Freeport Trilogy. This is a pure setting book, focusing entirely on the people, places, politics, and perils of Freeport and containing no game statistics of any kind. The Pirate's Guide to Freeport can thus be used with any fantasy RPG.
The Freeport Companion for FATE and at least one other game system will also be included, detailing cultists, pirates, serpent people, and much more.
Estimated delivery: September 2013.
Stretch Goal #5 - Successful!
Once $165,000 is raised, all backers at the Timber Wolf pledge level and
higher will receive fully integrated access to the Razor Coast, an
upcoming campaign for Pathfinder from Frog God Games. Razor Coast is the
long anticipated Caribe-Polynesian flavored, Age of Sail swashbuckling
RPG campaign envisioned and designed by Nicolas Logue. It has been
praised for its ambitious and original design, its epic flavor and its
lurid, full-color art – including a cover by the award winning Wayne
Reynolds. Logue tapped a team of veteran designers to help develop and
write Razor Coast, including Lou Agresta, Adam Daigle, Tim Hitchcock,
and John Ling. Razor Coast isn’t just an adventure, it’s part setting,
part adventure path, and part toolkit to build your own unique campaign.
It’s non-linear and will never play the same way twice.
Estimated delivery: September 2013.
Special Stretch Goal - The Pursuit of 2,000
This stretch goal is completely independent of the dollar-based objectives above and instead tied to the total number of backers we achieve. If we hit 2,000 backers or more, regardless of the dollars raised, every backer at the Timber Wolf level and higher will receive a free Hero Lab gift license! This is a license you can give to someone else in your gaming group, or you're welcome to be greedy and use it for yourself. :)
Why are we doing this? We've received numerous requests to offer Hero Lab licenses in conjunction with the Kickstarter. We didn't want to do that originally because Realm Works is game system neutral, while Hero Lab only supports specific games. But we're now in stretch goal territory and we want everyone to know we've been listening! So we're going out on a limb and offering something big if we can hit an admittedly big target. The Hero Lab license itself is a $30 value, and combined with all the other great stuff at the Tiimber Wolf level, this will be a steal for everyone who backs at that level or higher.
For those of you who don't play games that Hero Lab supports, we're providing you with a gift license. This means you can freely give the license to a friend (or an enemy, if you prefer) that does play those games. And if you can get a little quid pro quo in return for the license, we're cool with that. At the present time, the list of games that Hero Lab supports includes: Pathfinder, Shadowrun, D&D 3.5, D&D 4E, Savage Worlds, Mutants & Masterminds (2E & 3E), Call of Cthulhu, and World of Darkness.
For backers who have selected the $100 optional extra that includes a Hero Lab license, we will add a new $70 option once we eclipse the 2,000 backer threshold. This will allow you to lower your pledge and use the free license for yourself if you wish. However, that new option won't be made available until we actually reach 2,000 backers. You are also welcome to give away the additional license as a gift.
Estimated delivery: March 2013
Summary of Rewards
Below is a summary of all additional rewards provided to each of the various pledge levels. See the "Additional Details on Rewards and Extras" section further below for more information.
Check Out These Additional Videos!
What Makes Realm Works Unique
Unlike many software Kickstarters, initial Realm Works development is nearly complete. We've been evolving Realm Works for over three years and will be releasing it in July, 2013. Numerous features are already in place, as we demonstrate in the video, but there are many more we want to include in the initial release. Your support of this Kickstarter will allow us to accelerate our current development efforts so we can pack more features into the product in time for its public release.
Our mission with Realm Works is to streamline and improve the tabletop role-playing experience for both GMs and players by empowering GMs to create, manage, and share any world they can imagine. We're doing this in four ways:
- First, provide tools for GMs to efficiently create and assemble materials for their games in a way that's simple to manage, organize, and search.
- Second, let GMs reveal content to players as it's uncovered during play, without introducing extra work for the GM.
- Third, enable GMs to share their creations and smoothly integrate the work of others into their own material, weaving it all together into their campaign.
- Finally, provide a community repository where additional material can be obtained and easily integrated with any other content you have, including the GM's own creations, letting GMs build their games from whatever sources they find compelling or interesting.
Key Realm Works Features
As we demonstrate in our video, Realm Works lets you manage your RPG content in one unified environment. This includes all the people, places, things, and events of your world. Beyond just text, it encompasses pictures and maps, custom calendars, dates tied to those calendars, statblocks, Hero Lab portfolios, audio and video files, and a wealth of other material. Realm Works weaves all this content together through a simple, intuitive interface.
Realm Works provides many powerful features and capabilities which are shown in the video, in images on this page, and on our web site. Everything shown is from the current version of Realm Works, which is in the hands of our Beta team right now. Here's a summary of the most important features:
- Quickly develop new content and revise existing ideas for any genre (e.g. fantasy, sci-fi, modern) and any play style.
- Effortlessly manage diverse content, including images, maps, Hero Lab portfolios, statblocks, audio, video, and virtually anything else.
- Intuitively organize content for on-demand access and review during play, placing everything at your fingertips for quick and easy retrieval. No more leafing through pages of notes to find the information you need!
- Determine exactly what information is known by the players and what remains hidden at a glance.
- With our patent-pending Fog of World™ technology, Realm Works makes it a breeze to incrementally reveal and display every aspect of your world to players, requiring only a single mouse click. Revolutionize how you share your world with your players, easily showing them only what they learn during the game.
- The incremental reveal of maps makes it trivial to illustrate to players what has or has not been explored or discovered.
- Connections between your content are automatically detected and created, allowing instant access to all the interconnected elements of your world.
- Flexible navigation tools let you instantly view any aspect of your world as easily as browsing the internet.
- Track and visualize all the relationships that exist between selected content in your world. Realm Works makes it easy to manage secret identities, view relationship diagrams like family trees, and even track attitudes between or among NPCs or characters. Keeping track of hidden schemes, subterfuge, and actual motivations behind the scenes has never been easier.
- Immediately see what the players learned during a particular span of time. You can find exactly what was learned during the last game session, making recaps before the next session fast and accurate. You can even view a summary of everything the players have learned during the entire campaign, even if it spans many real-life years, and instantly access the details associated with that content.
- Full text search instantly locates what you need, and you can tag any content you wish and leverage the tag for filtering your content. This is extremely powerful in conjunction with Realm Works’ cross-linking capabilities, allowing instant access to the content you seek.
- Place pins on maps to indicate significant locations, events or encounters. Use these maps for navigation to immediately access the information associated with individual pins.
- Fully customizable templates get you started building your world immediately and let you smoothly organize diverse information about all the people, places, things, and events in your world.
- Enter your own original content just like a word processor or efficiently cut-and-paste from source material you already possess.
- At a glance, see all the connections for whatever you’re viewing, both to and from other content. Instantly see everything that references an important NPC or item.
- Weave the critical story elements of your world together and visually outline your plots, whether they are epic quests or minor story arcs.
- Create custom calendars for your world. Link multiple calendars together and see how all the dates translate to your master calendar. Calendars can reflect different in-game cultures, lunar calendars, and worlds.
- Conveniently manage game notes and preparation tasks with full linking to game content.
- Easily show material to players during and after play without having to create additional, separate materials for them.
Realm Works also includes “Isle of Kandril”, a complete setting created by Super Genius Games and available only with Realm Works. This fantasy-based setting is compatible with Pathfinder and other fantasy game systems. Use it “as-is”, easily customize it to fit your world, or simply leverage it as a guide to create your own dynamic settings.
What We Will Do With Your Support
As we indicated above, initial Realm Works development is nearly complete, with release slated for July, 2013. This Kickstarter will allow us to accelerate our current development efforts and pack more features into the product for its public release.
- Full player access to revealed aspects of the world and the ability to download or review anything they’ve learned about the world. Our Fog of World technology governs the information that players can access, limiting them to only what they’ve learned through play.
- GMs can share their creations through the cloud for use by others.
- GMs can browse the work of others and integrate it into their own worlds. Imagine being able to find a pre-made encounter, or a tavern, or an entire region with adventures and NPCs. Drop it into your own world, change a few names, hook it into locations in your world, and it’s fully integrated for use. No scribbled notes. No Post-Its. No juggling between PDFs, books, and your own files. Realm Works is built from the ground up for exactly this purpose.
- Secure cloud backup of all material for GMs.
- Synchronization of different computers to the cloud, with automatic change detection and resolution.
Of course, if we exceed our funding goal, we'll be able to accomplish even more through stretch goals to be announced. There are many additional major features we want to add that will make Realm Works invaluable to virtually all GMs.
As you can imagine, we won't be able to achieve all this without your help, so please tell your friends about Realm Works and have them check out this Kickstarter as well!
We've provided additional information on several podcasts. In these interviews, you can hear more about how Realm Works will enhance game preparation, how it can be used during your games, and some of the pain points we'll solve for GMs. You can also hear how we envision the cloud and community repository being leveraged. These interviews feature our very own Colen McAlister (the Scots Wolf):
- The D6 Generation (Colen's interview starts at around the 2:05 mark.)
- Geekerati Radio. (The first part of the interview focuses on Hero Lab, and the Realm Works discussions starts about halfway through the conversation.)
- The Demiplane of Gaming #15: Realm Works - Streamlined RPG Campaign Tools
- Chronicles Live Episode #2
Options and Extras
You can add to your rewards, or pick up something for a friend! There are a number of options available:
How it works!
Simply increase your pledge to include whichever extras you desire. When you change your pledge, make sure you add the total for the extras (plus any international shipping as noted) to your original pledge value. At the end of the Kickstarter, we'll prepare a survey that lets you indicate what option(s) you'd like for the additional pledge.
Additional Details on Rewards and Extras
Realm Works Developer Blog - You'll receive a monthly update around the middle of the month with developer updates on Realm Works. These updates will be more detailed than our general newsletter updates, and you'll get the information before we announce it to the public! A true insider's view of Realm Works and its march to public release.
Personal Avatar Icon - You'll be able to personalize your Realm Works account! If you choose this additional reward, you'll be able to provide us with your own icon that can be used in conjunction with your Realm Works account rather than selecting one of the standard avatars. Dimensions required for your Avatar will be specified prior to the release of Realm Works. Artwork is subject to review and approval by Lone Wolf Development.
Realm Works T-shirt - You'll receive the official Realm Works supporter t-shirt if you choose this additional reward. Shipping to any address in the U.S. is included; international backers please add $10 for shipping.
New Pathfinder Add-ons for Hero Lab - If you choose this additional reward, all the new data package add-ons for Pathfinder we release in 2013 will be added to your existing Hero Lab license. If you don't already own Hero Lab, you can select the reward that entitles you to these new add-ons, as well as to a copy of Hero Lab and our add-on for the "Advanced Player's Guide" for Pathfinder. (Please Note: The add-ons provided through this reward do not include those released on behalf of third-party publishers. It is limited to add-ons for Paizo products only.)
Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Prep. From award-winning author Phil Vecchione of Gnome Stew, this guide will help you prepare for games faster, avoid common pitfalls, and have more fun in the process. Described as “Phil Vechionne’s epic rock ballad to game prep”, we’ll be weaving this meaty treatise into Realm Works, allowing you to leverage the wisdom therein like never before.
All Backers who choose the Pack Member ($35 pledge) or higher reward tier will receive the material from Never Unprepared (a $9.95 value) fully integrated into Realm Works and absolutely free!
Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game. This is the ultimate NPC resource written by the award-winning authors of Gnome Stew. In fact, Masks won the 2012 Gold ENnie Award for Best Aid/Accessory, and was also nominated for Product of the Year. Within this weighty tome, you’ll find NPCs for fantasy, science fiction and modern games, all easily adaptable to any genre and any RPG, just like Realm Works! Every one of these NPCs will be re-created within Realm Works and available for instant use within your campaigns. Each NPC has a role and specific traits, so you’ll be able to quickly locate exactly what you need through Realm Works' powerful search capabilities.
All Backers who choose the Pack Hunter ($50 pledge) or higher reward tier will receive all 1,000 NPCs from Masks (a $16.95 value) fully integrated into Realm Works at no charge!
Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters. Written by nine veteran game masters, all authors on Gnome Stew, Eureka is more than simple adventure seeds. As you know, adventure hooks alone don’t give you much to work with, but fully developed adventures can be hard to personalize and fit into an on-going game. Eureka strikes a great middle ground, providing the main ingredients and letting you decide how to prepare them. This highly regarded material includes plot hooks to draw your players into the adventure, as well as encounters to flesh them out.
Eureka contains plots for fantasy, science fiction and horror games and they are easily adaptable to multiple genres. We’re building these plots into Realm Works for you so you can quickly tailor them to your purposes and seamlessly weave them into your campaign. Each plot will be tagged with suitable keywords, such as “intrigue”, “exploration”, “combat-heavy”, and many more. Consequently, it will be easy to find what you need and leverage it within Realm Works.
All Backers who choose the Timber Wolf ($65 pledge) or higher reward tier will receive all 501 plots from Eureka (a $16.95 value) fully integrated into Realm Works for free!
The Grande Temple of Jing. It is said that Jing, the trickster god, stole life from the creators, shadow from the darkness, and time from the universe itself. He tricked plants and animals into giving up their secrets - then he bestowed that knowledge upon men and beasts. He has made fools of kings and gods, and taken from them their weapons, their totems, and their finest treasures.
It is also said that one day he settled down, having stolen everything in the world that he desired to possess. Jing built a home for himself, an incredible fortress fixed somewhere between fantasy and reality. The archetypal labyrinth, it acts as both home and temple, and between its walls he has stored all the wondrous things he has acquired over the eons. Of course, he has guarded these treasures with horrific beasts, deadly traps, and devious puzzles. But that's not the point. The point is that Jing invites gods and men alike to visit at any time, take whatever treasure they can win, and leave with all that they can carry. So long as they can find the door that leads out!
Check out the incredible line-up of talent behind this dungeon: Monte Cook, Jonathan Tweet, Ed Greenwood, Dave Gross, Chris Pramas, Skip Williams, Matt Mayfield, Jim Ward, Larry Wilhelm, and Stan! have all contributed to this amazing project. Even Grimtooth the Troll has a role.
All Backers who choose the Timber Wolf ($65 pledge) or higher reward tier will receive this challenging temple fully integrated into Realm Works at no charge!
Risks and challenges
Every project has risks, and software projects are notorious for delays. The key difference for Realm Works is that most of the work on Realm Works has already been completed, so there’s virtually no risk to product delivery.
Lone Wolf Development has been at the forefront of developing tabletop gaming software for over a decade. Our first product, Army Builder, had a profound impact on the tabletop miniatures arena and still reigns as the industry standard against which all other roster construction tools are compared. For RPGs, our Hero Lab product has won two ENnie Awards for Best Game Aid and is the most complete and powerful character management software for game systems including Pathfinder, Shadowrun, and many more. With Realm Works, we're simply taking things up another notch, and, as you can see in our video, we're already close to completion.
As with any software project, there is a chance that the release of Realm Works could be delayed, either due to problems on our part (a delay in hiring additional staff, for example) or because additional functionality is needed before the product is ready. This could impact the release of Realm Works to the public.
It’s also possible that we could face unexpected challenges in building Realm Works’ cloud capabilities. Building a multi-user server system is a lot of work and involves a lot of complexity. However, we've spent a lot of time coming up with a solid design for this, and have good tools to build it, so we’re confident that we can make this happen.
With your support, we can put the last building blocks in place and bring Realm Works to gamers everywhere!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Realm Works will be distributed as an electronic version only. You will receive the information you’ll need to download and install your copy of Realm Works via e-mail. The timing of the e-mail with your information is based on the reward you claim.
Realm Works is not a web application and does not require a continuous internet connection for use. However, initial setup and all server interactions (e.g. cloud access) do require an internet connection when utilized. The product is intentionally fully usable offline to enable its use in venues lacking reliable, high-performance internet connections.
The initial Realm Works release is targeted for Windows (XP and above, but not Windows RT). We plan to support additional platforms in the future, including tablets.
We do plan to offer Realm Works on the Mac, but we don't yet have any details of when this will be available. Some of our Beta Team members are running Realm Works on the Mac using virtual environments, which will continue to be a viable solution in the interim for Mac users.
Backers that gain "pre-release" (or "early") access to Realm Works will be provided with copies of the software prior to its official public release (a "special pre-release version"). The software will still be undergoing further enhancements and refinements after this point, so it will be missing some functionality and require some final polishing before public release. However, you'll have the opportunity to start using the product right away and begin taking advantage of its capabilities during your games. The "special pre-release version" of Realm Works is available to backers at the Arctic Wolf, Dire Wolf, and Alpha Wolf levels. Backers must sign and return our standard Beta testing and non-disclosure agreements prior to receiving access to pre-release versions of the software.
For anyone whose reward includes pre-release access to the software, we need some specific documentation to be in place before we can provide that access. If your reward includes pre-release access, we will send two documents to you. The first will be a non-disclosure agreement. The second will be a Beta testing agreement. You’ll need to sign both documents and return them to us electronically or via the mail. Once we’ve received the documents, you’ll receive information on accessing Realm Works based on your reward.
Tablet support is planned for Realm Works. However, we do not yet have an estimate as to which tablet platforms will be targeted or when tablet support will become available.
Windows XP (SP 3) or higher. Pentium 1 GHz or faster processor, with 512 MB of RAM or more. Disk space requirements vary, depending upon the size of your content. Realm Works also requires the Microsoft .NET framework 4, Client Profile.
Our recommended system requirements for Realm Works are:
OS: Windows 8/Windows 7/Vista/XP with SP3. Recommended CPU: 2.4 GHz or faster. Recommended RAM: 1 GB or more.
Minimum disk space is 100 MB plus whatever is used for user data. User data is probably at least 10 MB but could go up from there depending on how much content the user creates/imports. For example, from beta tester databases we have received so far, they range from ~8 MB up to ~490 MB with an average size of ~56 MB.
Framework: .NET Framework 4.0 Client Profile
Cloud service will provide storage for your content over the internet, with the ability to access that content from multiple computers, as well as players having access to the material. As with other cloud-based solutions, we anticipate providing a few tiers of cloud service. This will allow users to select a tier that's best suited to their storage/bandwidth requirements and budget. No pricing has been decided upon at this time, but backers will get full value or more for their contributions relative to the final pricing at release.
Cloud service is not required. If you don't want the ability to share your campaigns with your players through the cloud, there is no need for any cloud service and you'll only need to purchase the core Realm Works product. There would be no additional monthly costs associated with that usage model.
That being said, there is a critical distinction between the Realm Works "cloud" and more common cloud storage services like Dropbox and GoogleDrive. Before potentially dismissing the Realm Works cloud service as unnecessary, please carefully consider what the Realm Works cloud offers and the additional benefits you’ll receive.
There's a whole new world of possibilities available once your campaign enters the Realm Works cloud:
• It's every detail of your entire campaign individually managed and woven together for instant searching and filtering online.
• It's the ability to review your campaign via a web browser, using any device you own.
• It's making notes and jotting down new ideas for your campaign while you're at work, at school, or at a friend's house.
• It's enabling your players to have full access to everything they've learned through play, including the revealed areas of maps, at their convenience and with no additional work on your part.
• It's eliminating the need for separately created player handouts, as everything they know is readily available to them.
• It's allowing players who miss a session to get a full recap prior to the next session, instantly and automatically.
• It's sharing content you've created with others.
• It's having a wealth of pre-created NPCs, magic items, encounters, and more – fully searchable to locate and drop into your game whenever you need them.
• It's being able to find entire pre-created adventures and settings ready for use, with the ability to quickly import that content into your campaign and then seamlessly integrate it, however you deem appropriate for your game.
• It’s also a backup of your campaigns in the event of a computer failure, like simple cloud storage services.
As you can see, the Realm Works cloud will offer far broader capabilities than simple data storage and backup.
In terms of the cost of the cloud, we anticipate providing a few tiers of cloud service in the same manner as other cloud-based solutions. This will allow users to select a tier that's best suited to their storage/bandwidth requirements and budget. No pricing has been decided upon at this time, since we don't yet have good data on what users will actually need, so we can't yet determine what the optimal tiers would be. However, backers will get full value or more for their contributions relative to the final pricing at release. For example, if we decide on tiers at $10 and $20 (just random numbers for illustration) and a backer level contributes $15, the backer will be given the $20 tier service.
Individual players will be able to access revealed content of realms they participate in through the cloud server and download a copy of what they've learned in the game to that point. Players will access the cloud server with a Player Account. You will only need a single Player Account, even if you play in multiple games with different GMs using Realm Works.
There are two alternatives for players to access material through their accounts. The first is simply reviewing all the information that has been revealed over the internet through the Realm Works server (the cloud). The second is using the Realm Works client application for syncing and offline access to the material that has been revealed.
Accessing the web-based interface will be free for players. In this manner, players can log into the server, access the campaign(s) to which they are authorized, and view all the information that has been revealed to them.
The cost associated with using the Realm Works client application for syncing and offline access with Player Accounts remains uncertain at this point in time. Our goal is to allow Player Accounts to utilize the Realm Works client application without charge as well. That way, players can download and install the Realm Works client application, sync to the cloud to download what's been revealed of a realm, and then utilize the client application to browse all that information at any time. However, achieving this goal has implications to our support costs, since players will also be using the client application and running into questions about how to do X or utilize feature Y, as well as occasional technical issues getting the client application to work on their computers. Those costs have to be paid for somehow, which is why we're not ready to commit to that being free yet.
14. If I sign a non-disclosure agreement, can I use Realm Works with my players before its public release?
Yes. You should feel free to use Realm Works with your gaming group, but make sure to let everyone know that it is in a pre-release state. The players in your group will not need to sign the non-disclosure and beta testing agreements.
15. Can I use the "special pre-release version" of Realm Works in a public place before its public release?
If you run your games at a gaming store, a convention, or similar public place, it’s okay to use the Realm Works "special pre-release version" in those settings. Our only requirement is that, if anyone does stop to see what you’re doing or how you’re doing it, please mention that you are using a pre-release version and it may undergo changes prior to its public release. During the pre-release phase starting in May, we ask that you don’t engage in any widespread posting to the web or other dissemination of screen shots or product details. You are absolutely welcome to talk about the product in general publicly, just not with screen shots or specifics that may change prior to the final release. Note: These rules apply specifically to the "special pre-release version". Rules for Beta releases obtained by members of the Beta team will differ.
There are two primary aspects to this reward.First, you will be added to the Realm Works Beta Testing Team, getting access to Realm Works shortly after the close of the Kickstarter! This is contingent upon completing the Beta testing agreement outlined above. Second, and most significantly, you will remain a member of the Beta Testing Team for Realm Works for as long as you wish (subject to the terms of the Beta agreement). Beta Team members will continue to get advance access to all features throughout the continued evolution of the product after its initial release. This will put you on the inside, helping guide the development team in feature specification and prioritization, usability feedback, and creating the best product possible!
With Charter Backer pricing, you’ll lock in favorable, pre-release pricing on cloud services for the life of your account.
Not at all. Realm Works is a completely separate product. In fact, Realm Works works great for all game systems, even those that Hero Lab does not currently support, including home-brew systems.
No. The two products are distinct and focused on two different aspects of RPGs. If you're using Realm Works, you will still likely want a tool like Hero Lab to facilitate the creation and management of characters, NPCs, and monsters.
Yes. Realm Works allows you to leverage Hero Lab smoothly within your campaigns. If you have both products, they will complement each other very well.
At this point, our plans include selling Realm Works electronically rather than selling physical copies of the software. We are open to selling packages in retail, but we haven’t seen a demand for it. If that changes, we’ll definitely consider it.
Once content is revealed, it's marked as such in the database. From that point, it can be output via any method supported by Realm Works. Initially, those methods will include showing content on a monitor during play, "anytime access" via the cloud, and printing material for use as handouts. We've already prototyped additional capabilities, including the GM's machine operating as a local web server for players to access with their tablets or other devices during play. This type of capability is absolutely planned for the future.
You will be able to install Realm Works on as many computers as you want. Your access will be controlled via an account, so that will be the determining element. In that respect, Realm Works will behave similarly to Steam, but not exactly the same. We wholly expect many GMs to prepare their content on a desktop machine and then use a laptop or tablet during play.
You will also be able to transfer your database from one machine to another if you wish. However, your database could grow very large, which could make this a cumbersome process. The Realm Works cloud server will only entail synchronizing what has actually changed, keeping things fast and efficient.
Setting the visibility of individual items per-player is a priority for us, but the first release of Realm Works won’t provide this ability. The ability to reveal material to individual players is already designed into the infrastructure of how we manage everything internally. However, there's a fair bit of complexity in exposing all the controls cleanly for the GM within the UI, especially when you want to reveal “ItemX” to one subset of players, “ItemY” to a different subset of players, etc. So that's why the feature is not going to be included in V1.0. It should be integrated relatively soon after initial release, since the hardest pieces are already handled.
Realm Works does not include map creation at the current time. We're not trying to reinvent wheels that have already been built by other companies right now. The current assumption is that you'll bring maps in from other tools, such as Dundjinni, Hexographer, Campaign Cartographer, Photoshop, or whatever else you prefer. Once you import a map, you can then place pins on it and leverage the incremental reveal mechanism.
If there is enough demand, we could potentially develop a map creation tool for Realm Works. We've definitely detailed what that would look like, and how it would dovetail with many of Realm Works’ existing features, but no development work has been done at this time.
26. As an Alpha Wolf Backer, what does it mean to get “top tier cloud service for the life of your account”?
As an Alpha Wolf Backer, you will receive the highest tier of cloud service available and this will be available to you for free for the life of your account. There will be no on-going, monthly cost to utilize the Realm Works cloud, so you'll realize all the advantages it provides to you and your players without any costs. This is a Kickstarter-only perk, as we have no plans to allow the purchase of lifetime cloud support in any other way. It is a unique opportunity available only to Backers, and is similar to a “lifetime subscription”. You're essentially pre-paying at one price to help get the Kickstarter funded now, after which you won't have to pay for the cloud service again.
The “free for life” cloud service is account-specific. If you close or delete your Realm Works account, the perk would expire and could not be associated with a different account at a later time. This option also cannot be transferred to others once it is established.
Once we get the community repository into place and sharing of material is supported (i.e. the core goals of this Kickstarter), you will be able to re-use your own campaign. You would first setup and share your basic campaign world (Realm1). Once it's shared, you could then import that realm multiple times as the starting point for multiple distinct campaigns (Realm2, Realm3, etc.). What's revealed would be completely distinct for all the different campaigns, so different groups would know different information about the overall world.
Through the course of this Kickstarter, we've become aware of another cool way that GMs would like to share their campaign worlds across multiple player groups. In this model, there are multiple parties adventuring simultaneously in the same world. Party A's actions have consequences for party B, whose actions could then impact Party A or Party C. Where this gets complicated is that one or more players may be running characters in different parties, and they need to know only what their character knows. This means knowledge must be controlled at the character level instead of at the player level.
This level of functionality is not something we had considered prior to the Kickstarter, and there are some complications associated that will take some time to integrate. However, we think this would be pretty cool, and the architecture we've designed should be able to accommodate it cleanly. So, we've added this to our to-do list so we can make sure this gets slated for inclusion at an appropriate time as an enhancement to Realm Works.
In V1.0, it's not likely we'll have support for multiple GMs, but that's definitely on our to-do list. Everything will be permission-based, so we'll be able to support having multiple users with GM privileges. The gotcha is that things get significantly more complicated when it comes time to sync to the server. If GM1 changes the info for an NPC, and GM2 also changes the info for the same NPC, what happens when both of them sync to the server? The changes for the first GM to sync will work fine. However, the second GM to sync will now be clobbering the changes that the first GM made, which may not be the desired result. Reconciling these situations introduces a fair bit of complexity and we don't expect to have that logic in place for the V1.0 release. Fortunately, we have mapped out a substantial portion of the functionality that would be required to support this type of usage. We just need the time to get it all implemented and fully tested, which is why this will be a future enhancement to Realm Works.
There may be times when a GM simply wants to transfer ownership and control of an existing realm. Transferring the realm from one GM to another should be doable. It's not something we'd thought of prior to this question coming up in the Kickstarter, but we have added it to our to-do list. This won't be part of the V1.0 release, but we don't think it will be a problem from a timing perspective, since it should take some time for a GM to first build up a realm before he decides to hand it off to someone else.
There are a number of ways that GMs will be able to provide access to revealed content to their players.
The first is the ability to show material via an attached monitor or by temporarily swapping the GM's entire display over to a player screen to show them. This approach will definitely be a live feed. If you’re using an external monitor, you can show material on the second monitor while using Realm Works on your primary monitor (or laptop). As you reveal content, including maps, the second monitor will update to show what has been revealed. Additionally, as long as the second monitor is connected to the same computer running Realm Works, you wouldn't need to be connected to the cloud to use this live feed.
In the case of remote players, to provide this type of live feed you’d need to be using some other product that allows you to share your desktop. This would allow you to share what's shown on the player-visible screen at the appropriate time.
The second way to share information is by syncing to the cloud, which will determine what's been changed at either end and perform a sync of those changes. Once the sync is completed by the GM, players would then be able access the updated material themselves. However, we’re uncomfortable portraying this as a "live feed", since there would be a delay while the sync is performed - or possibly two syncs if the players need to sync their client after the GM completes his sync, which would be the case where remote players are concerned. The term "live feed" is often interpreted as a near real-time feed, and that won't be the case with this approach, although it should be relatively quick.
A third method is something we've prototyped and that could appear as a stretch goal for this Kickstarter or a future enhancement. Basically, the GM's machine would operate as a local web server for players to access with their devices during play. Player devices could be PCs, tablets, or other devices. This would definitely offer a live feed, but not to remote players without additional setup by the GM to enable it.
31. How is copyrighted material going to be handled in terms of sharing it through the Realm Works cloud?
There are two aspects to this question.First, the material within an adventure path or other settings/modules/etc is published with the express intent of it being shared within your gaming group through play. As such, there should be no legal issues with putting published material you've purchased into Realm Works and leveraging the cloud service to disclose it to your players. This detail has definitely been vetted with our IP attorney.
The key caveat to this model is that the published material can't be made public beyond your private gaming group. If it's revealed to and consumed by your players, it's being used as the publisher intended it in the first place. To facilitate this, GMs will need to authorize player accounts to access their campaigns, and only those players will then be able to view the material you reveal.
The second aspect of this question applies if you attempt to disclose publisher material to a wider audience than your gaming group. This could potentially be a violation of copyright law. We'll have formal terms of service in place that users will have to abide by, and they will include common sense rules like this to ensure the protection of published material. If someone violates those rules, then we'll have to take action, and it will be similar to if you posted a PDF of a published product on a public site today.
Yes, the ability to sell your content will exist. This won’t be part of the initial release, as it relies on the Community Repository (a key component of this Kickstarter), but it is expected to be available soon after the public release. We’ll be starting out with free content, which is the “Isle of Kandril” setting created by Super Genius Games and available only in Realm Works. Some of the benefits and stretch goals that we've lined up also include content from well-known creators that will be free for backers.
Once the community repository is up, you'll be able to share or sell (your choice) entire campaign worlds, smaller settings, individual adventures, art assets, and even smaller pieces like mini-dungeons, a tavern with a few plot hooks, or individual NPCs. You’ll also be able to control how much of your realm you want to share, including sharing no part of your material.
We'll definitely be partnering with many publishers to sell their material so that it's pre-packaged and ready to go for the GM, expanding the options available to all Realm Works users.
We believe you’ll realize the following benefits as a member of the Beta team:
• In Realm Works, we're doing a lot of things that nobody has done before. We rely heavily on the Beta team to help us create a tool that truly is valuable for all types of GMs, regardless of their play style. Effectively, the best way to think about the team is as a “pilot testing team”, since the feedback provided is way beyond just identifying issues with the current version of the software. As such, the Beta team members are instrumental in shaping the evolution of Realm Works. Beyond simply identifying desirable features, this group provides guidance on how those features should work. As a member of the Beta team, you’ll be helping us tailor and integrate new features in a way that is of maximum usefulness for you and other GMs.
• Members of this group will continue to get advance access to all features throughout the continued evolution of Realm Works after the first release. You’ll be the first to see and be able to use all the cool stuff in the pipeline. Only Beta team members will get this type of early access after Realm Works officially launches in July.
• As a member of the Beta team, you will receive full cloud support. There won’t be any on-going charges for your use of the Realm Works cloud. If you decide to withdraw from the Beta team after we launch, we’ll still make sure you’re set up with a “lifetime” account of cloud support as our way of saying “thanks” for helping Realm Works evolve.
• Another key benefit to joining the Beta team through the Kickstarter is that you’ll remain a part of the Beta team for as long as you wish, subject to the terms of our Beta agreement.
Realm Works will not have export capability in its initial release. As with most products, our focus in the initial launch is to have Realm Works do its own tasks exceptionally well, and to efficiently get material into the product. We wholly expect there will be demand for export to other products and formats, and we'll shift our focus to include those capabilities once we get the core product off the ground.
If there are specific export formats in which you are interested, we encourage you to let us know in the Comments section or on our http://forums.wolflair.com/forumdisplay.php… will allow us to better anticipate future needs and capabilities while implementing the current feature set.
Each piece of content is distinct and names can be repeated, just like in real life. Realm Works anticipates this and detects name collisions when automatically creating links for you.If you have two people named Andrew and you reference "Andrew" in a third piece of content, you'll be prompted to resolve the collision.Realm Works will recognize that there are two people named Andrew and present both of them to you so you can select the one you want.
Names can also be repeated across different types of content, such as a person named York, a city named York, and a ship called the York. The links between two pieces of content are completely independent of the name, so you can link the person York to the city York while avoiding any links to the similarly named ship.
You can also rename a piece of content after creating links, and Realm Works will go back and fix up all the links to use the new name.
We've been in discussions with the d20Pro team and we anticipate providing smooth integration between our two products. That being said, we aren't prepared to say what level of integration will exist in the first release of Realm Works. We do believe Realm Works and VTTs will work well together even without full integration since Realm Works is more broadly focused on the campaign itself.
Additionally, any integration with VTTs is going to entail work by us and the VTT development team, and we haven’t agreed upon any specifics with d20Pro or anyone else as of yet. The integration will be further complicated by the fact that using VTTs for play is game-specific, while Realm Works is completely game system neutral. So, good integration with VTTs is planned, but we don’t have an estimate as to when that will be achieved.
Realm Works does not provide native tablet support yet, although tablet support is planned. Probably the best technique we've seen used for leveraging tablets at the table with non-tablet software is through an app named SplashTop. There are probably other similar apps as well, but this is the one with which we have some familiarity. Using SplashTop, you can run everything on your computer and access/control it all on the tablet via Remote Desktop. We've seen this approach used with our Hero Lab product on multiple occasions, and it ought to work just as well with Realm Works, although we haven’t yet tested it ourselves.
Realm Works will definitely run smoothly on the Mac in a virtual environment under all three major virtualization products. Members of our Beta team are using Parallels, Fusion, and VirtualBox successfully. We also run Fusion on Mac Minis as demo machines at tradeshows (e.g. Gen Con), with great success.
As of last summer, Realm Works was not able to run smoothly under Linux using WINE. This was due to the fact that Realm Works relies on the .Net Framework 4.0, and WINE did not support .Net 4.0 sufficiently at that time. Our understanding is that some critical modifications were made to WINE in the latter part of 2012 that could change all this, but we've not yet had the opportunity to circle back and re-test the product under the latest version of WINE. Once WINE fully supports .Net 4.0, Realm Works should work smoothly on Linux.
We’ve looked at Crossover as a potential solution, but this is not currently viable. We found Crossover to be largely a wrapper around WINE when we first looked at it about two years ago. The thing to note about WINE is that there are some aspects of the .Net Framework 4.0 that it didn't support when we last looked at it (see separate FAQ entry above). Once WINE fully supports the .Net Framework 4.0 (thus making running Realm Works on it viable), Crossover may become an option. However, our experience from two years ago leads us to believe that there will be performance issues. Realm Works is reliant on a performance database, and that's not a purpose for which Crossover appeared to be designed when we evaluated it.
There won't be a weather generator in V1.0, but it's definitely something we could add later. Once the first version of Realm Works is out the door in July, we'll be looking at what's in highest demand from our users and allocating resources as appropriate.
42. Why is Realm Works any different than other products that have promised similar things and fallen short or failed to deliver?
We certainly understand the hesitancy based on past endeavors from others that never saw the light of day. You can rest assured that Realm Works is completely different for the following reasons:
1.The single biggest thing is that the hardest pieces are already working! You've seen it yourself in the video, and that’s a great place to point others since seeing is believing. The video shows many of the cool features we've already got implemented, and that should go a long ways towards mitigating concerns about our ability to deliver.
2.We provided a detailed walk-through of Realm Works this past week for a couple of the GMs who comprise Gnome Stew. They shared their thoughts on the product in their blog updates this week, so that should provide some objective perspective on the value Realm Works offers.
3.Since everything you see in the video and other places is working today, it's not a question of whether we will deliver. It's merely a question of how much more we'll be able to get done between now and the official release. That's completely different from most software Kickstarters, where the goal has been to raise funding to get something created in the first place.
4.As a follow-up to the previous item, Realm Works will be publicly released in July, 2013, whether the Kickstarter funds or not. That's because we're nearly finished with all the core product functionality. The goal of the Kickstarter is to include the sophisticated cloud and community repository components at the same time. Otherwise, they will take us many more months to add, and other features that backers like yourself are asking for will be delayed while we do that. That's far from ideal, and that’s why we want the Kickstarter to succeed.
5.Remember, we've been developing Realm Works for almost three years now. That stuff in the video isn't a bunch of prototypes or an unrealizable vision that you might have seen in other Kickstarters. The images you see on the Kickstarter page and on our website are actual images from the current version. It all works! It’s all in the hands of our existing Beta team today!
6.We have an excellent track record in the tabletop gaming industry. We launched our first product in this industry almost 15 years ago (Army Builder®) and it's still the industry standard today among miniatures players. Our Hero Lab® product has won multiple ENnie Awards, has been adopted in-house by industry leaders, and continues to expand its reach with gamers. We aren't some fly-by-night, new company; we’re highly experienced in delivering software for tabletop games.
7.The entire development team is a bunch of hardcore gamers who have been playing RPGs longer than we like to admit (30+ years for some of us). You can see that experience reflected in the functionality currently in place, and that experience is invaluable to the enhancements we’ll deliver in the future.
The bottom line is that we know what we're doing, we understand what tools gamers want, and we've already got all the hardest pieces working. That's a completely different formula from most Kickstarters, and it's why we'll be able to deliver Realm Works just a handful of months from now.
43. With the world shifting to web-based and mobile applications, why isn't Realm Works a purely web-based product with a mobile focus?
Mobile solutions are where the sands are shifting to. But we're in a period of transition technologically, and a product is needed that works well with the current technology landscape while also providing a migration into the future. Realm Works strives to address both current needs and the future, providing users with an appropriate evolutionary path to embrace new technology as it becomes readily available.
There are both short-term and long-term goals for Realm Works. In the short-term, there are two main factors involved regarding a mobile-friendly, web-based solution. The first is that mobile devices are not yet generally designed for storing gigabytes of data for a single application today, which means that a server connection would be required by most users for a product like Realm Works. The second factor is that many games are being played where high-speed internet access is not reliably and inexpensively available. Cons are a prime example of this, as are venues like many schools, clubs, and libraries.
Now consider the reliability factor. How often do people experience internet drops or slow-downs? What about server outages? What happens when you've only got a slow connection or the server goes down for even 5 minutes? It renders your game unplayable if you're 100% reliant on a high-speed connection to a server somewhere.
What if you're a GM who normally runs games at home with full internet access but also wants to run games at GenCon or a local Con, where internet access is still costly and/or slow? Do you want to have all these tools available for your home games and then have nothing at the Con? That's far from an ideal scenario.
The only way to address these issues is to provide a non-web-based solution that runs on a disconnected client. Always available. Guaranteed performance.
The number of mobile devices that can provide this capability are not nearly as widely owned by gamers as desktops and laptops. Plus each platform has wildly disparate development tools and languages, which means even greater costs to try supporting them all. And the cross-platform tools that are available don't provide the functionality we can obtain through third-party components under Windows, which means that development costs would escalate even higher. The best cross-platform solution across all these devices is a web-based interface, which brings us back to the issue of connectedness.
That's the short-term reality. So let's look at the long-term now.
The sands are indeed shifting. In the upcoming years, internet access will continue to become faster, cheaper, more widely accessible, and more reliable. At some point, it will become truly ubiquitous and inexpensive for everyone. The same applies to mobile devices, which will continue to provide more power and storage, until the day that someone with gigabytes of content within Realm Works can readily store that data on their mobile device. When we reach those points, the client application will be of no value to anyone. But we're not there yet. We're living in a transitional period, so we need something that will work today and shift along with the sands.
Enter the cloud. The Realm Works cloud is NOT just storage. It's not Dropbox or GoogleDrive. It's the entire campaign fully operational on a server. Players can access it via a web-based interface from their tablets if they want. It's fully accessible between games. But nobody is reliant on the server in order to actually PLAY their game.
Over time, we'll be replicating all the functionality of the client application onto the server through a web-based interface. The net result will be duplicate functionality with both a purely online interface and the client application, catering appropriately to anyone in any environment. At some point, the sands will have shifted enough that we leave the client application behind entirely.
That's the evolution plan for Realm Works. We've designed Realm Works to meet the future demands of gamers, but we're doing it without sacrificing the needs of gamers today.
This question was addressed in detail within Update #15. Instead of re-stating everything here, please see Update #15 for a complete answer. Thanks!
A maguffin is just an arbitrary plot device designed to motivate the protagonist in a story to take some sort of action. Popularized by Alfred Hitchcock some 70+ years ago, it's a goal or desired object that the protagonist will do almost anything to obtain, protect, or control.
In other words, it's the core element of virtually every RPG adventure and campaign since Gygax and Arneson penned the first words that became D&D over 40 years ago! So we thought it was quite fitting to use the maguffin for our stretch goals. :)
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