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Semi-Transparent spell graphics printed on clear plastic to create fantastic overlays for Tabletop Roleplaying Games.
Semi-Transparent spell graphics printed on clear plastic to create fantastic overlays for Tabletop Roleplaying Games.
319 backers pledged $20,436 to help bring this project to life.

The 5E Bard is in production.

Posted by Arcknight (Creator)
3 likes

Delays continue, but there's light at the end of the tunnel.

The 5E Bard is in production, while another half dozen are laid out and awaiting Philip's attention to art-up and finalize.

Philip just recently had a baby, on top of his move to Las Vegas, and his primary business working him over 60-80 hours a week. But, at least this week there was some progress and when things ease up he hopes to continue completing these packs.

The 5E Bard changed a little from it's design notes, dropping it's Rangefinder and adding a few custom graphics for a magical Tiny Hut, Bardic Inspiration Tokens, and a few other goodies.

I'll update with photos when I get them in hand.

Production Update - Unable to Print Currently

Posted by Arcknight (Creator)
2 likes

Status of Printer - Moved to Las Vegas but not yet operational

Last week we found out that power has been established for the new printer in Las Vegas, so I flew out to visit Philip and we spent monday - thursday together.

Here's the update of what happened, there was progress all around but it sure doesn't feel like it in the big picture.

1> Power was installed to the printer (yay!). But we cant start it because we need to drill holes in the wall, and run the chiller cables.

2> Chiller running! 3 internal cables are mysteriously missing, so we search for them, find 1/3 cables but not the rest. We rip the cables out of the old printer and get them installed.

3> The electrician has put a security lock on the power box for the printer's room... so there goes an evening of progress.

4> Everything has power, except the main computer terminal, which is connected through an uninterrupted power supply. We have 2x, but both of them have been unplugged/drained for a month+ during relocation. Neither will feed power. We believe after waiting 8+ hours to recharge their internal batteries, they should be live. We wait almost 4 hours Thusday night, they still won't come on, so we call it for the week.

Phil isn't available during the weekend, but is back to it Monday and by then I'm back in the warehouse in Texas. BUT, I'm flying BACK to Las Vegas October 1st - 5th.

5> It's Monday, Philip tried to run the machine again, still no power. He believes something is wired wrong, and the electrician is coming out tomorrow (Tuesday) to see if he can figure that out.

So, as we hit a stall each day, how did we make use of our time?

1> we drafted and created the framework for the Spell Minis (a very sought after set!). We've completely laid it out, and philip has about 60% of it's art from existing spell effects, doodads and graphics he's made in the past. He'll make the other 40% and then this pack will have an art showcase. We pitched this idea as "spell minis" in the past, things that are like our Flat Plastic Miniatures - they print and are are die-cut, but instead of being traditional characters they are graphics of effects, doodads, buff placers, and other status conditions that we think might be useful or convenient to be "standing".

Basics like a Holy Weapon or a Wall of Fire are certainly in there, along with spell portals, all sorts of conceptual buff markers, elemental runes, etc. Now you can say you're casting explosive runes or Bigby's Hand, and literally place down a fiery rune marker, or a giant hand marker on the table. Also if you want to "Hold Person" you could use that same hand marker next to an enemy to show that he's paralyzed, etc etc.

2> we laid out the doodad sheet for the "Boats" objects page. Another page in the concept / works for ages we never got to. Basically we're taking the Ship from our maps set, retooling the art down to the size of a smaller ship, alongside a smaller cruiser and a rowboat, and filled the rest of the space with ropes, oars, cannons, gangplank, a shark, and some "blasted holes" you can place on the ships which will overlay a flooding hull.

3> We laid out the "Modern Cars" doodads / objects page. Just a plethora of cars, motorcycles, trucks, busses, and a helicopter. B-sides are car variations, or destroyed versions of the cars.

Modern Cars
Modern Cars

4> "Room" Objects. Fantasy Furniture Overlays.

This one is interesting. We pitched it as a way to "furnish" rooms instantly with a transparent furniture overlay. We wanted to re-produce a version of our Cobblestone City map set with 3x3 and 4x4 and 3x4 "rooms" and pair that with this sheet - so you could modulate which furnishings the rooms had. However, we also wanted this sheet to stand on it's own, and be able to furnish "other" things too - like the existing map set, or even other sizes of room.

We came up with a system of right-trapezoidal pieces with "half" of a room's furnishings. By using these as-is in a smaller room, it fills a smaller 3x3 or 3x4 room with the basics. By pairing any 2 of these, you fill much larger rooms and areas.

It's coming together quite well, and isn't fully fleshed out, but they're very effective!

Fantasy Room Object Furnishings
Fantasy Room Object Furnishings

General Production Update - Lots of ups and downs

Posted by Arcknight (Creator)
3 likes

Where are the Spell Effects?

First i'd like to re-iterate that the 5E Wizard, 5E Cleric, 5E Druid, PF Wizard, PFS Wizard (round and jagged versions) have been in stock for a long time. While we promised and are creating packs for every class and every edition, and the list of packs is quite long - the bulk of orders are all finished and shipped.

Some of you have been waiting ages for product, especially if your interest was in Spell School packs Vs Class Packs. In these cases, we recommended backers switch to the Wizard pack, since the class packs have been more successful in general and you're able to use them immediately. We modified a number of orders, but I'm sure there are more. If you weren't aware this was an option, surely you should message us if you're interested in this change. 

The holdup right now is production related.

The 5E Bard, 5E Paladin, 5E Sorcerer, 5E Necromancy, 5E Illusion and a few others are finished and awaiting print. They need a final round of corrections, then have print tests, and those tests tell us how to correct the art / coloring. Then the batch prints. 

Production is heavily bogged down by 2 compounding problems, 1> the printer is damaged and continuously breaking down. We're in an endless repair cycle and 'something' is eluding us. To compensate we've changed the way were printing to accommodate the machine, which affects the speed and reliability of printing. Never before have we not been able to fix the machine by replacing the obvious parts that wear down, but in this case we've replaced all of them, multiple times, and "something else" is wrong - something we're not sure can ever be fixed.

Ironically, Philip believes that the current printing problem does NOT affect the Spell Effects themselves - but since 90% of our business is the production of Flat Plastic Miniatures, Object overlays, and other transparent items - you can imagine that when the printer is having issues everything is affected. Namely - instead of printing new spell effects, Philip is repairing / replacing the printer for the 50th time and lucky if he's getting me a few hundred sheets.

2> The production facility that we partner with is moving. It's been happening in stages, which has made their day to day operations wacky to say the least, and the "bulk move" will begin soon - and how long the actual moving and resetting of all machinery will take is largely up in the air. "In the next 30 days" or "In the next 60 days" is mentioned a lot, but I also know they're now paying rent at their new facility and they have a forced move-out date at their current location. This means that soon, everything is temporarily shutting down.

New Machinery

We're not entirely blinded by the current machine's problems. In fact, we have 2 other (newer) copies of the machine. Arcknight has purchased one itself, which is at our warehouse in Texas. And our production partner has a second much newer version awaiting to be set up after the move. On paper, this is GREAT NEWS! We're going potentially from 1 unreliable machine, to 2 reliable machines AND a backup unreliable machine, woooo. And of course the 'plan' is for me to just produce everything myself whenever I want it.

Everything has hurdles however. For them, the move is a major hurdle, which is triggered from overwhelming success that requires a bigger everything - which also means they're strapped for time in every direction. After the move we're hoping things go well and the new machine gets set up, and everything is wonderful forever. Of course, this machine is not THEIR priority, it's one of many machines and not entirely critical. I have no real say in how quickly it gets up and running, and of course any number of things can go wrong in a huge move.

For us, our Texas warehouse does not have appropriate power; its not clean AND it's not the correct 3 phase, so even if we get a power converter, a weak feed could cause damage to the new printer. So we're ALSO moving. I'm currently paying rent at a second new Texas warehouse for Arcknight, and all of our machinery is moving on the 20th of June. This new location WILL have correct 3-phase power, and many other perks - but none of it is ready. 3-phase power has been run from the street to the warehouse strip, but we have to have it drawn to our unit. Then, we can begin to set up, troubleshoot, and address a slew of problems with power, cooling and printing - not an easy process - but at the end of this road we're hoping to have an even more reliable version of our printer and completely in-house.

Refunding Dormant Orders

This is kickstarter, and in general, I'd say the audience has been overwhelmingly patient and kind. The "real question" seems to be 'will we ever get this stuff?' Yes. You will all get all the stuff. Arcknight is not going anywhere and the overall business is strong. We love these spell effects, we want to make them, and they're a big part of our future.

However, if you're tired of waiting, we completely understand. We've mentioned in the comments that we can refund / convert any orders that are outstanding. You can instead get products from our website. We can send you payment through Paypal, etc.

Digital Items

A LOT of the emails / comments we get are about the digital copies of the spell effect items. Frankly, the situation sucks. Conceptually, this isn't so hard to tackle - we take existing spell effects in print, we break the shapes into artboards, we export and name the files. Whats so hard about that!? I agree with you. Which is why I've attempted to outsource this work over 5 times now, and I can't say much other than "this project is cursed". No less than 5 times I've hired and trained someone to help me do this work, wasted significant hours getting them up to speed, paid them - of course - and had them walk away from the project before ever getting started. The most recent one was an illustrator veteran being paid a frankly absurd amount just to 'get it done' although being incredibly easy work for them.

This is the kind of work that can so easily be done over the internet, every perspective employee wants to do the work from home. I believe this is a trap and a mistake, since the job is so fluid and easy to accomplish, they languish in their duties and take advantage of the situation until it collapses, then disappear.

Overall, we call this type of work 'Art Debt'. The artwork / file processing / renaming / catalog building and other grunt work that endlessly marches forward. In hindsight, I always say 'well, I should have just done it myself!' but there's always more, and in the big picture I cannot possibly do this myself without other things suffering - which is why it needs to be outsourced.

I'm very frustrated by the lack of progress on this, but the choice is always the same, find someone new and start the process over, which puts me further behind. So we're still looking for 'that candidate' who knows Adobe Illustrator, can work quickly and independently on a relatively easy task. Artboard manipulation, exporting, renaming. Anyone with illustrator experience COULD do it. I need to find someone reliable I can pay well to do it quickly and with minimal training.

5E Druid is printed. 5E Illusion and 5E Generic tokens layouts finished

Posted by Arcknight (Creator)
5 likes

Hello backers! It's been a crazy few months and progress on this campaign has been slow/stalled. But there is a silver lining and good news on the horizon. Progress is underway again, and we now have the help we need to accelerate the delivery of these items.

We're fully operational in our new warehouse in Fort Worth, Texas. Additionally I've reached out to my local gaming community asking for help with file creation, and have a SLEW of new part-time employee / helpers.

I had previously asked various parties on the internet if they'd be able to help accelerate the creation of these layouts and digital files, and while the reception was good - it just didn't save time. Finding time in our schedules, teaching them the nuts and bolts of what I needed, and then regularly checking up on the progress would of course yield results eventually, but that was time I could be making the files myself - if I was even available to teach them. Of course, with how slammed we've been over the last few months, there hasn't been time for any of that.

These new helpers are in-house, by my side, and learning the ropes quickly. The fruits of these labors are immediately apparent as we've finished layouts for the 5E Druid, 5E Illusion, and 5E Generic Tokens - and now they're up to speed.

For now, the 5E Druid has been art-ified in all it's glory, and sent to print. So these are 100% ready to go!

5E Druid - Concept to final form

 

 

Tinkering with Wild Shape / Polymorph Icons
Tinkering with Wild Shape / Polymorph Icons

 

 

And here's how the final sheets look after printing;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5E Druid pack in Detail

The 5E Druid is a 3-page pack, with a variety of large-area spells and buff/debuff chips. Additionally, it has 8x "generic animal" tokens for those of you who like to summon an army of stags to irritate your GM, some 1" and 2" Wild Shape tokens (Brown Bear, Black Bear, and Wolf tokens have full stats.). Since many Druids at lvl 7 and beyond tend to cast Polymorph on themselves and select higher CR beasts, we've created a 3" Giant Ape token (a very common Polymorph choice). And we've included an Elemental token for large elementals.

The list of large AOE spells:

  • Spike Growth
  • Wall of Thorns
  • Wall of Fire
  • Moonbeam
  • Call Lightning
  • Insect Plague
  • Web
  • Cone of Cold (Arctic Druids)
  • Sleet Storm
  • Fog Cloud
  • Antilife shell
  • Confusion
  • Thunder wave
  • Entangle
  • Faerie Fire
  • Darkness

List of Buff / Debuff Chips:

  • Barkskin
  • Blur
  • Protection From Energy
  • Protection From Poison
  • Slow
  • Stoneskin
  • Water walk
  • Flame Blade
  • Freedom of Movement
  • Greater Invisibility
  • Animal Token x8
  • Elemental Token
  • Brown Bear Token
  • Black Bear Token
  • Wolf Token
  • Giant Ape Token

5E Illusion (School Pack)

We'll have an update again within a week with the new artwork. This one is only a single-pager and very clean. It's got a large cone for Fear, a smaller cone for Color Spray, a 20' radius (silence), a 30' cube (hypnotic pattern), a variety of buff tokens, and some versatile illusory units for the phantasmal spells and summoned illusions both medium and large sized. Should be a slam dunk and printing as well almost immediately.

5E Generic Tokens

This pack has gone through some changes. For starters, it has a number of large "Inspiration" tokens, a slew of game-mechanic tokens for status effects and conditions, and a huge pile of random iconic tokens - like hearts, skulls, potions, armor, swords and more.

Lastly, unlike other spell effects, this sheet is going to be Double-Sided where possible.

For instance, a Fire Vulnerability token (broken fire shield) can be used as a Fire Resistance / Fire Immunity token when flipped over (unbroken fire shield). Since many of these tokens are thematic without specific rules or spell text, there will be minimal conflicts.

Should make for a neat and useful page of trinkets.

5E Generic Buff/Debuff Ringlets

Lastly, since we love to experiment, we're trying something else a little new with the 5E Generic Tokens. A number of the tokens that are about 1" and round in size, can be scaled up just slightly, and modified with 1/3rd of a ring on the edge. As they are, they'll work just like normal buff/debuff tokens, albeit with an artistic shape.

However, if you place a standard 1" mini over the art of the token, the "ring" on the edge will still show the buff name. We'll show examples when they're printed, I think they'll look pretty cool.

5E Cleric, PF/PFS Wizard,

Posted by Arcknight (Creator)
8 likes

In the world of Kickstarter news is news, whether its bad news, good news, or no "news" at all, anything is better than silence. I apologize for taking so long to make a proper update, but I didn't have much meat and substance to share yet.

Current status of all shipping

Phase 1 delivered pre-existing items, 5E Wizard sets, PFS Generic sheets (in arcane, fire, plain, darkness, and the multicolored default).

This had a total of 273 backers, of which 239 have shipped. All domestic backers, and international backers who could be shipped in full were among them.

~39 international backers had pre-existing or 5E product, but did not ship yet because they are waiting on additional product.

The 5E Cleric is now also finished, printed, and 100% shipped. There were 25 backers who received this item, including a few international backers in limbo from Phase 1. If you were an international backer and I was debating whether to split shipments, having the 5E Cleric in your order was enough incentive, and has caused you to ship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In preparation for the next phase, a slew of additional items have had their shipping status toggled, and their orders pushed to ship station. This further muddles the 'shipping status' in Backerkit, so keep in mind anyone logging in will probably see their order "pending shipment" which is a nonsense category. It simply means I have their information loaded in ship station. It's been a continual headache having this many products with such a long development cycle since we're not able to check individual items as shipped, and leave the rest pending in Backerkit.

Moving forward, as it was for the 5E Cleric, each new product that's finished will cause a new list of backers to ship (many of which have already shipped previous items) causing backer kit's "shipping status" to get continually less reliable.

Also for this reason, if you had emailed us and said something to the effect of "I'm willing to wait, please don't split my shipments, save the $5-10 bucks and send it all when its ready." it's a wonderful sentiment, but the reality is that its often more complicated and taxing to check for these messages than to just split the shipments and get them off my books. We're HAPPILY splitting domestic shipments, the cost is very minor. The hangup is just with international shipments.

PF/PFS Wizard

The PFS (squared off edges) and PF (natural rounded shapes) Wizard layouts are finished. Now they only need to be colored and printed. This layout was quite a headache, and a few compromises had to be made to accommodate the 60' cones particularly, but we're overall very happy with the results.

So the set will have a 15', 30' and 60' cone, 10', 15', 20', 40' radii, a 5' wide beam, a wall of fire correctly depicting the flame and gas lines for the different damage results, a rangefinder, a 10' square, and roughly 45 buff and debuff icons. Having the full spread of shapes is really nice.

Quick note - Because of the massive list of spells in the core PF book, I had no trouble filling this pack without even looking elsewhere. So by happenstance, the basic PF/PFS wizard set (and likely all the future PF/PFS sets) will be "core only". This is somewhat good, since there is a recent rise in PF Core (a game mode where you're restricted to using ONLY the core rule book, and not the myriad of supplemental material) and of course these are the 'normal' spells from the game and perfectly valid in every PF game.

Ironically, the awkward euclidian spacing in the PFS set makes it possible to angle the 60' cone in such a way that it barely fits within the print edge of the sheet.

This will not be possible with the PF naturally rounded version, which will see the graphic clip at the edge of the plastic. When cutting the cone naturally and ignoring the hiccup where the print edge gets cut off, you can minimize the defect, but the 'actual cone' still goes off the plastic, and there will always be a small slash on the edge of the cone. Doing it this way has ensured that the origin, the ends, and the max length of the cone are all perfectly intact.

Since it will have a wide internal ice effect, it's hard to imagine the final cone with the edge clipped, but I assume it'll look decent and there aren't better alternatives so this is what we've had to settle on.

Once the PF/PFS Wizard sets ship, there will be 60 backers who haven't received any product, out of 375 total.

State of the Business, cause of delays, looking for help

"Arcknight" is doing well, which is part of the problem with this campaign and it's delays. Philip and I are extremely busy with our "other jobs" so to speak (Arcknight's day-to-day shipping and operations is my other job, and Philip works 50-80 hours a week in his family business). Plus I've just had a second child and he just got married. So in the last few months, we simply haven't had the time and energy we usually have. We've made honest plans and schedules regarding this project, but we've missed our last several deadlines in a row. We know it will pass (it somewhat has already passed, and we've had a lot more time these last 2 weeks) but this is further evidence that Arcknight is getting too big for the 2 of us alone.

I've mentioned before that I'm moving all our operations to the Dallas/Fort Worth, TX area, where I have a much larger warehouse lined up, and our first employee to take the shipping off my plate and unleash me to keep doing all the new design and special projects we want to continue with.

But we're also interested in help in other forms, specifically 2 part time (but could become full time) positions that we're hiring for. The ideal situation would be if one of our dedicated backers are interested in the work, since you understand the project, our company, and this genre.

We've experienced so much growth, and we would love to find people that we can work with to get us back on schedule, and possibly keep working with for many years to come.

Position 1; First-Pass Cataloguer

Needs to be familiar with the PF game (ideally, public society play in general). Needs to be able to use excel, and mine the internet for spell lists, paring down the hundreds of spells that could work in our format into concise lists based on the number of pages in each pack. Format an excel file to our needs, that I can in turn work off of, to save me the time of doing this "first pass" myself. PFS experience is helpful to know the common non-core spells that are legal in PFS that modern players tend to use and want.

(Estimated $12-15 an hour, negotiable, can change based on how it goes.)

Position 2; Adobe Illustrator VTT file processor

Needs to be proficient in adobe illustrator, ideally with Adobe CC installed and up to date (though older versions might work). Has a computer capable of handling complex .ai files with MANY graphic styles and patterns (more than an older laptop). Needs to take existing .ai files and break their elements into individual artboards, and export those artboards with specific settings, then rename the individual files and feed formatted folders back to us, creating the groundwork for the VTT digital assets that we are behind on creating. This will ensure that backers do not have to wait any longer than necessary for these files (since it would directly delay getting new packs done, these are a lower priority for my immediate time).

(Estimated $12-15 an hour, negotiable, can change based on how it goes.)

How to apply

If you're interested in either job, please send an email to jobs@arcknight.com with the position and your name in the subject line.

1> Yes, I do want a resume, but it doesn't need to be a normal resume. Just a brief section on yourself and your gaming history, why you would be good for the job, and your relevant work experience. Confirmation that you have the programs/skills needed for the task.

2> If you're interested in both jobs, yes I would like you to send 2 separate emails, one for each position, even if they are just copies of each other.

SXSW Gaming was a Travesty

Last month was SXSW Gaming in Austin, TX. It was awful. The least successful tradeshow I've ever attended. Although video game booths and game-centric booths were present, it's just not a real game show. IMO the gamer culture and the drug/music culture do not mix well. Wait 5 years then if, and ONLY if, you hear people you trust saying "no it's actually good now" should you consider attending.

Our total sales over the 4 day show did not cover the booth, let alone associated expenses. And these products sell themselves. To give you context, we often made more per hour at PAX South than we made the entire weekend at SXSW, and these shows are 2 hours apart. There just wasn't an RPG/tabletop audience to speak of (well, there really wasn't any audience at all, except for those casually curious to wander the show for an hour, or people interested in queuing up for the nintendo switch booth and playing zelda for 15m).

The "tabletop experience" was a dozen or so aluminum tables where you could play your own games.

There were no scheduled RPGs. There was no 'schedule' for any games at all really. So unless RPG players were willing to bring their dice, books, and miniatures and hope for a pickup game... they weren't playing. And, no surprise, nobody attempted to do that.

This show shares the weekend with the GAMA Trade show, so it's no loss for us, but I was hoping this would be another regular for us in Texas.

GenCon 2017

Our next trade show is GenCon 2017. This will be the big 50th anniversary, so it could be big! 2016 was a great show for us, so we're excited to return.

PAX Unplugged 2017

If you haven't heard, PAX is launching a new show in November, in Philadelphia. "PAX Unplugged" is coming fast, and there's not a whole lot of information on it yet, but we're certainly excited and we'll be there.

"PAX Unplugged will be an exciting analog-focused extension of our already existing portfolio of PAX events. We've found that the Tabletop parts of PAX have grown and grown to the point where we said, "You know what? Let's make a show that's just that.""

So as I understand it, it's an all-tabletop, no electronics show. For us, that could be MASSIVE. If you're interested, check it out!