The last 24 hours!
Our final goal: £45,000 for War of the Burning Sky: RELOADED which will go to all £25+ PDF subscribers if we hit the goal!
[Question I've been asked a dozen times today, so I guess it's a popular option: yes, if you would rather have the 12 individual 4E War of the Burning Sky PDFs than the D&D 3.5 compiled version or the upcoming Pathfinder compiled version, I'm totally cool with that. I'll include an option in the survey after the Kickstarter ends, and you can choose 3.5/4E/Pathfinder. Don't worry - I got you covered; no edition warring here! Just be aware that the 4E version isn't a single compiled edition, and it's the Pathfinder edition which will have the new art and stuff].
This page is divided into four sections - FEATURES, BONUS REWARDS, STRETCH GOALS, and BOLT-ONS. (Also note that a good way to keep up with minute-to-minute updates is to follow me on Twitter where I haven't stopped talking about this for days...)
As you may know, EN World was hacked in December 2012. The entire site was destroyed, and I'm building it again from scratch. While the basic functionality is there (news and forums), much of the functionality built up over a decade was lost. I need to hire developers to recode all that cool stuff, but that takes time and - more importantly - money. While EN World ain't going anywhere, I'm turning to the community with whose help we can restore much of what was lost within a few months.
Monte Cook said "EN World is a good cause"; Green Ronin's Chris Pramas said "EN World has been a great center of gaming community many years. I had to back Rebuilding EN World on Kickstarter"; Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens said "Glad to help EN World get back up on its feet!"; and Ryan Dancey said "The ENWorld community is an asset to the whole hobby. Helping them get back up on their feet is just the Right Thing To Do. Back this Kickstarter."
Our goal, put simply:
EN World will be FAST, it will be RELIABLE, and it will have AWESOME FEATURES. It will also, most importantly, STILL BE AROUND FOR YEARS TO COME! And we all want that, right? Right?
Kickstarter staff very kindly said to me: "Normally, we don't accept website projects, but we talked about what you're doing and we think rebuilding a community website through Kickstarter is a great use of our platform."
I'm calling the hacking "The Great Breach of 2012" and the Kickstarter backers "The Defenders of the Wall". Gear up, and take your place on the wall now!
[Lots of people have been asking about backup strategies -- I've added that info to the "Risks & Challenges" section below].
As a community website, I feel it appropriate that this Kickstarter use the Kicking It Forward system. This means that 5% of the profits will be spent supporting other RPG-related Kickstarters as a way not only to give a little back but also to foster more cool RPG stuff!
Here are some of the things that need writing, and the funding targets for each.
Our goals are quite modest. We're not asking for the millions or hundreds of thousands that some other RPG Kickstarters have raised. For example, the first thing - the server optimization and security overhaul - is only £300 (or about $480). I've put both UK and US currencies in the descriptions below.
Pre-Funding: New Server
I've already purchased a brand new, powerful, server, which will be going online this week (being the week this project launches, 13-19 Jan). That bit I've funded myself in advance, and we should be seeing the benefits of it before this Kickstarter ends.
Site Optimization and Security (£300/$480)
First and foremost, the immediate plan includes hiring a professional to optimize the entire site, database, and server. I hired someone to do that late last year, and it worked swimmingly well, but all that work was lost shortly afterwards. This is actually the most important thing, and so is first on the list.
Campaign Manager (£500/$800)
The Campaign Manager is a collection of tightly integrated campaign-management tools including a campaign wiki, journal, links and files, picture albums, calendar system, and more. Together, they make a functional and convenient campaign website. Various tools for the GM include permission and privacy settings, the ability to contact players via PM or email, inviting and booting players from the campaign, and more.
We have 285 campaigns being run in the campaign manager! That's 285 active campaigns and GMs who badly need the features returned!
You don't actually play your campaign in the campaign manager (well, you could if you wanted, I suppose) - its purpose is to organize your campaign, schedule events, store and distribute information, discuss topics outside the actual game itself, and so on. It's designed for both tabletop and online play. It doesn't matter where or how your campaign takes place.
Dice Roller (£1000/$1600)
Our dice roller is not only attractive, it is also secure; there is no way for players to cheat it while using it in an online PbP game. It's one of EN World's most popular features - our play-by-post (PbP) players make hundreds of dice rolls every month.
OGRE (Online Generator Randomizer Engine) (£1500/$2400)
EN World's Online Generic Randomizer Engine (OGRE) is a powerful, flexible framework to create your own random generators and share them with other EN World members. You can create anything from the very simple (a random color generator which rolls a d6 to choose a color) to something very complex (such as an entire, detailed populated village with homes and businesses).
We built this in 2012, and there was a whole pile of random generators created by a variety of talented people. I created some planet generators for space RPGs, someone made a pirate generator, and there were town generators, room generators, NPC generators, and more which all referenced each other. It was horrible losing all that, because they were such fun to make and use!
This is accomplished by the creation of two types of object: tables and generators.
someone creates a table or a generator, it is available for use by
anyone else creating their own tables and generators. In this way,
generators can reference and include other generators as part of their
own output. So if Bob has created a table which picks a random color
such as green, blue, or red, and Alice has created a table which picks a
random object, such as box, table, or book, Eric can create a generator
which references both of those pre-existing tables to generate an
object of a random color, such as a blue box or a green table.
In this way you can create random generators for your tabletop gaming needs. From random elf names to potion descriptions, to entire treasure hoards and NPCs.
Gamers Seeking Gamers (£2000/$3200)
Our extensive Gamers Seeking Gamers system has map and distance searches, and with which many gamers met up and formed groups and games. All the latitude and longitude co-ordinates of members who added themselves to the GsG system are still sitting safely in the database, which means we can be up and running with thousands upon thousands of gamers upon launch!
It really is the most comprehensive, fully populated system of its type on the entire internet, with tens of thousands of gamers already in the system, just waiting for the code to be rewritten!
What's this - more stuff? The £25 PDF Reward Level Keeps Growing!
BONUS ITEM - Tournaments, Fairs, & Taverns for the PATHFINDER RPG
We've produced an updated, revised version of our best ever selling book, Tournaments, Fairs, & Taverns. Originally for D&D 3.5, this exclusive Pathfinder edition is not available for sale anywhere else.We're adding this to the £25 pledge.
The reviews for the D&D 3.5 version of this book were universally glowing! Folks have been begging for a Pathfinder version for years, and now here it is.
"One of the best sourcebooks I ever laid my hands on - you can use it in any Fantasy/DarkAge Setting." [from RPGNow]
"This is one of the most universally useful books I have ever seen. It is also a fun read." [read at RPGNow]
"Tournaments, Fairs & Taverns is one of those extremely usable books. It’s the type of supplement that’ll see use in more than one campaign, more than one gaming world. It’s the type of supplement that can be grabbed and used by a GM working on a scene on the fly and can be used by a GM in the planning stages. Fortunately, T, F & T is good enough that you’ll want to use it in all these occasions." [read at Geek Native]
"I loved the electronic version so much I had to order the print version for quicker reference." [read at Amazon]
"I still have fond memories of this 74-page book. I have tried to find a way to use it in every one of my campaigns." [read at RPG Centric]
There are many more, but we don't want to bore you!
Wild Spellcraft was our first ever real product. It was released in RPGNow's first days, and shocked RPGNow owner James Mathe by selling hundreds of copies within hours. Originally for D&D 3E, we are now updating it for Pathfinder and including it in the £25 EXCLUSIVE PDF reward tier. You should expect this within 3 months of the project's end.
CONFUSED about what's included at the £25 (and above) PDF level? At present it's well over £200 worth of stuff; that's an awesome deal.
- TOURNAMENTS, FAIRS, & TAVERNS for the Pathfinder RPG
- Admiral o' The High Seas for Pathfinder and D&D 4th Edition
- War of the Burning Sky 700-page compiled for D&D 3.5
- Five ZEITGEIST adventure path adventures for Pathfinder or 4E (your choice)
- What's the Pirate Ship Like, Anyway? from Raging Swan Press
- Villainous Pirates from Raging Swan Press
- Wild Spellcraft for the Pathfinder RPG
- The Town of Kalas and the Castles & Crusades Quickstart Rules from Troll Lord Games [also please see Troll Lord's own Kickstarter, which is awesome, too!]
- NEW! Plus the Borderland Keep Deluxe 3D paper terrain models from Fat Dragon Games and A0: Crows Nest Island from Adventureaweek.com (both pictured above, added after the big image below was made).
- NEW! Plus the Darklight 4E Bundle pictured below - adventures, amps,a and a sourccebook!
- NEW! Plus the Savage Mojo bundle pictures below - an adventure, and the largest PDF set of map tiles ever in the form of The Leviathan!
- PLUS -- the O.G.R.E. mobile app, which EVERY backer will get!
Please note that stretch goals will take longer to provide than the core rewards. I have given rough estimates below.
Goodness me! We hit those goals quicker than I dared hope! I guess it's time for a stretch goal. This one's for the PATHFINDER fans amongst you, especially those fond of chaos and wild magic...
Update - we made the £3000 stretch goal, which means that everybody who pledged £25 or more will get the Wild Spellcraft PDF. Thank you - that's astonishing!
New Stretch Goal - £6000: MORE OGRE POWER! -- ACHIEVED!
Thanks to you, we achived this stretch goal, and O.G.R.E. will have the additional scripts and functionality to make it truly awesome!
The O.G.R.E. system is something you need to see to appreciate. Its usefulness can't be exaggerated; it's a crowd-sourced, ever-growing library of interrelated random generators. It's a "generator generator". Creating and sharing random tables and generators of ever-increasing complexity is easy! Honestly, you could create a generator to detail an entire town, and it could call upon already existing tables and generators that others had made before you - descriptions, names, stats, anything you can think of. The utility of this system is really hard to convey, but once you see it you get it!
New Stretch Goal - £9000: Server Upgrade (and you get THE PERTURBED DRAGON Season 2!) - ACHIEVED!
So we have another stretch goal to announce! This one's a little different to the usual RPG PDF type goal/rewards. In 2012 we produced a cartoon series. It was six episodes long, and featured an adventuring group hanging out at their local tavern, playing an RPG called "REAL LIFE". It's called THE PERTURBED DRAGON, and we are very proud of it.
To raise some more money for a new server upgrade (we have a new one on its way, but we can add stuff to it to make it faster!), we will make a second season, taking everything we learned making the first, if we reach £9000. This means shorter, snappier, tighter episodes; more animation frames; and guest stars! We even have a guest star lined up - you probably already know who Monte Cook is, but if you don't, he helped design D&D 3rd Edition, Planescape, just finished a half-million dollar Kickstarter for his own RPG called Numenera, and a whole bunch of other things in a long, long list of achievements. Well, Monte has agreed to appear in an episode of The Perturbed Dragon (we're toying with the idea of having him play an artist called Monet Cooke; but he might play himself). Also appearing will be the winner of our BATTLE OF THE BARDS competition, the wonderful singer Mary Crowell who won with the incredibly catchy song "I Put My Low Stat", to sing in it.
So, the new stretch goal is £9000 for a server upgrade; if we make that goal we'll make a cartoon. That's some more money we can spend upgrading the server already en route to us (making the site even faster than it was going to be!) and also helps us arrange a server maintenance contract for a year. Please help us!
Kickstarter backers will get this before everyone else!
New Stretch Goal: £11000 for a server maintenance contract (and you get a 4E PDF megabundle!) - ACHIEVED!
I've set a new goal which should appeal to the D&D 4E fans among you. We've got some solid Pathfinder material already in the stuff you're getting (and even some Castles & Crusades stuff), and there will be more if we manage to keep this Kickstarter trucking, but for the moment this one's for the 4E fans. Darklight Interactive has donated what can only be described as a pile of stuff. I've made another of my awesome (read; not awesome at all) infographics below to show you what's in it; but here's the list:
- A Hero's Journey (level 0, D&D 4E)
- Death's Edge (level 0, D&D 4E)
- The Dragon's Master (level 5, D&D 4E and Pathfinder)
- The Endless Winter (level 12, D&D 4E)
- The Heart of Fire (level 12, D&D 4E, "megacampaign" of 135 pages; we reviewed this on EN World last year -- "I was very impressed with The Heart of Fire, and I think a lot of gaming groups can enjoy an adventure of this quality. While there are some familiar tropes in this fantasy adventure, they are put to good use making a plot which is fun and exciting, as opposed to being too obvious. The adventure blends a “new school” sand-boxy encounter series with an “old school” mysterious dungeon delve quite seamlessly, and there is a lot of play sessions packed into one dynamic mini-campaign.")
- M1: The Wayside Inn
- M2: The Ring of Stones
- M3: Crypt Entrance
- Items of Legend (D&D 4E supplemental)
You don't have to do anything to get all this. If you pledged £25 or more for the PDF bundle, it will be automatically added as soon as we hit £11,000. We have 26 days, so there's a good chance we'll do it!
Thank you all again for this wonderful response. It's both humbling and gratifying at the same time!
New Stretch Goal: £15000 for the O.G.R.E. mobile app! - ACHIEVED!
You will have read about OGRE above - now imagine you're running your game and you need a random elf name. You grab your phone, hit a button, and you've got one. Or ten. It was there along with the potion description generator, the random weather generator, the planet generator, and the hundreds of other generators all created on EN World by users of both the website and the app!
OGRE stands for ONLINE GENERIC RANDOMIZER ENGINE. There's info about it above, and documentation for the web version here.
If we hit £15000, I'll have mobile version for iOS and Android made. If you're a backer (at any level), you'll get it free. It'll also be on sale in the appropriate app stores.
The potential for this application is amazing!
New Stretch Goal - £21,000 to unlock the exclusive EN World dice bolt-on! - ACHIEVED!
This stretch goal works slightly differently. I'm lucky enough to be able to offer exclusive EN World dice (pictured below) as a separate bolt-on alongside the t-shirts, as well as an automatic bonus reward for some higher pledge levels (£100+). But I can ONLY do that if I make a certain minimum order. The stretch goal, therefore, allows me to make that minimum order without being worried about not selling enough of them.
So it works like this -- if we hit the £21,000 goal, I'll bulk order the dice, and then begin offering them as a separate bolt-on. I know it sounds a bit odd doing it that way round, but that insulation ensures the Kickstarter doesn't *lose* money, which would defeat the purpose!
The good bit for backers of £100 or more is that you will get a black EN World d20 automatically included in your reward package as a bonus if we make that target!
New Stretch Goals - £27,000 and £29,000 to unlock print versions of WILD SPELLCRAFT and Tournaments, Fairs, & Taverns! Plus £30,000 for new art! - ACHIEVED!
This stretch goal took a bit of juggling of schedules and resources, but it's a very cool one!
The two new Pathfinder PDFs, detailed above, are incredibly useful. But I would like to make them into gorgeous, colour softbacks! So the deal is this:
- If we manage to hit £27,000 I will produce a full-colour softcover version of Wild Spellcraft!
- If we manage to hit £29,000 I will produce a full-colour softcover version of Tournaments, Fairs, & Taverns
- If we manage to hit the lofty heights of £30,000, I will commission a bunch of new colour art for both!
As you know, if you've pledged the £25 PDF deal or higher, you're already getting the PDFs - guaranteed. You will still benefit from this, though - because your PDF will benefit from the new art and layout being commissioned for the print version! So the PDF you're already getting will look better!
And if you've pledged £100 or more, guess what? I will send you one of those softcovers (your choice) for FREE as a bonus item. Yup, all you have to do is let me know at the end of the Kickstarter which you want. (Hey, and you're already getting an exclusive black EN World d20!)
Both softcovers will also be available for purchase separately at your online vendor of choice (RPGNow, Amazon, DTRPG, etc.) at a later date.
All that IF we hit the goals of £27,000, £29,000 and £30,000 respectively. That's quite the challenge - but these books are awesome and useful enough that they deserve to be on your bookshelf!
New Stretch Goal - £36000 for FAFNIR's TREASURE! - ACHIEVED, BABY!
This latest reward/stretch goal is courtesy of the fine folks over at Fate of the Norns. Please pay them a visit!
New Stretch Goal - £39,000 for an OSR Gem - the 1977 4th Edition Tunnels & Trolls PDF!
Very kindly donated by the fine folks at Flying Buffalo!
Bolt-Ons are optional bonus items that you can add on to your existing pledge. Simply add the appropriate amount to your pledge. So, if you have the £75 pledge and you would like a t-shirt, you'd alter your pledge and increase it to £95. If you want two black d20s, you'd add £10. Note that backers who have pledged £100+ automatically get one free black d20.
- For t-shirts, please add £5 if you're not in the USA (sorry - that's where they'll be shipped from!)
- For dice, shipping is free in the USA and the UK. For up to 10 dice total, please add £5 for Canada and Europe, £10 for the rest of the world excluding Australia and New Zealand, and £20 for Australia and New Zealand (sorry!) Add the same again foe each additional 10 dice or multiple thereof!
At the end of the Kickstarter, you'll need to let me know which bolt-ons you chose. Don't worry - I'll be sending out a survey, and you'll be able to note that you selected a bolt-on!
- Dice - set of d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20 (blue/green dice assorted randomly): £20
- Dice - single black d20: £5
- T-shirt: £20
Risks and challenges
This will be EN World's third Kickstarter, after we successfully raised funds for Admiral o' the High Seas (a naval sourcebook for Pathfinder and 4E) and To Slay a Dragon (an adventure). For this particular Kickstarter, I'll be hiring coders to specifically rewrite certain features to specification; the most challenging part of that is locating reliable coders within the budget, something I've had a great deal of practice at over the last decade. To that end, I have already sourced these coders in order to ensure that, should the funding be raised, progress is quick.
One of the biggest challenges I've discovered working on Kickstarters is the management of stretch goals -- in the unlikely event that we manage to exceed our target, it's important not to set stretch goals which drastically inflate the time period required to provide rewards (which goals like "OK, instead of a 32 page book, it will now be a 500 page book!" tend to do). The current stretch goals are all rooted in that core functionality we lost; any later stretch goals, should there be any, will not affect the time required to provide existing rewards.
The final - and most difficult challenge - will be that of reaching out to the community, to gamers, to publishers and garnering the support I need to make this happen. I do know that the EN World community has proved itself to be incredibly generous in past years, and that many of my publishing friends and fellow website owners have been very supportive. I hope they will be again!
REGARDING BACKUP STRATEGIES -- a number of people have asked "why didn't you have backups?"
We did. The database was entirely backed up (if you go to EN World right now, you can see that every post, thread, and user is still present and correct - no data was lost).
The code, on the other hand, consisted of a heavily modified vBulletin 3.x codebase. It was a decade old, and subject to exploits over the years. In short, a decade after it was installed, it was no longer secure or reliable -- that's why the hackers were able to get in. In short, it was vulnerable, and the backups of the code were therefore also vulnerable. I made the decision, therefore, to upgrade to the modern, supported, and far more secure vBulletin 4.2. The effect of this was that our code was all rendered obsolete/incompatible. I couldn't just use it again; it was for a different version of the core codebase.
Hopefully that explains why I couldn't just use the backups. I could have, but if the site had been restored to exactly how it was before the hack, the hackers would have immediately jumped in again the next week using the exact same method.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
For the "Virtual Gamer" reward (online G+ Hangout game with Piratecat) is that 3 people total, or the pledger + 3?
It's three people total; so the pledger plus two friends. Although you can always beg Kevin to squeeze another person in, but no guarantees he'll say yes! If he says no, he'll do so in a really charming way, though, so you won't mind.
It is! The Play-By-Poster reward is also included in rewards of £15 or more (it's not included in the £10 "Defending the Sea Walls" reward because that's the same price, but if you want both grab a higher reward - say £15 or £25 - and both Defending the Sea Walls and Play By Poster will be included.
I did! I've addressed this in more detail at the bottom of the Kickstarter page itself, but essentially I could have restored from a backup, but if the site had been restored to exactly how it was before the hack, the hackers would have immediately jumped in again the next week using the exact same method. The safe, prudent course of action was to ditch the decade-old exploited, vulnerable codebase and start again with a more modern, secure version. This means that all the customization, added functionality, etc. that had been added over the course of 12 years was rendered incompatible/obsolete - it couldn't just be re-used, it had to be re-written.
As long as it's supported, we'll keep this codebase (vBulletin 4) updated with all the latest security fixes and patches. While it will become obsolete one day, I anticipate a good 8-10 years of support for it.
Will there be more server-based or technical stretch goals which improve the existing functionality?
Yes! I'm in the midst of various negotiations, finalizing details, and so on. Some of the future goals will, indeed, be related directly to things like site and server performance, hardware upgrades, maintenance contracts, and the like. I'll be sharing those details as soon as I have them!
I get this question a lot, which is not surprising - that £25 reward level took off like a rocket! You'll be glad to know that ALL reward levels above £25 include that ever-growing bundle. That's the VIRTUAL GAMER, PAX EAST GAMER, GEN CON GAMER I & II, LIFER, ZEITGEIST SOFTCOVER BUNDLE, FANTASY MOVIE STAR, TELL US WHAT TO DO and TOO, and CHARACTER PORTRAIT reward levels. That's a long-winded way of saying "all of them that are more than £25".
Can I have the original D&D 3.5 versions of Tournaments, Fairs, & Taverns and Wild Spellcraft instead of the Pathfinder version?
Sure. I'll include an option in the end-of-Kickstarter survey where you can select those versions instead!
One thing about Kickstarter is that it doesn't let you edit or add to pledge levels after the fact; so all the bonus stuff (which by now very much outweighs the original offerings) is found buried in the text on the main page! I figured that a concise summary might help!
1) EVERYBODY who pledges (even just £1) gets the O.G.R.E. mobile app!
2) At the £25 PDF level, you get EVERY PDF mentioned on the page. About £300 worth of them, now, including the first 5 ZEITGEIST adventures, War of the Burning Sky Deluxe (2.5) and RELOADED (Pathfinder, in 2014), piles of stuff donated by generous publishers. And all of those are included in every higher tier. If you're in doubt, or it's not clear - if it's more than £25 you get all the PDFs.
3) At the £100 LIFER or above, you get all that plus the free black EN World d20 AND a sofcover version of either TF&T or Wild Spellcraft.
Any other reward gets the stuff it says plus ANYTHING IN A LOWER TIER. So a £50, £75, £100, £150, £200 reward will automtically include everything in the PDF bundle.
Then you have the BOLT-ONS, which are the DICE and the T-SHIRTS. You can get these by adding the amount to your existing pledge. Be VERY CAREFUL TO CHECK SHIPPING - Kickstarter doesn't allow adjustments after it closes!
It's a question I've been asked a dozen times today, so I guess it's a popular option: yes, if you would rather have the 12 individual 4E War of the Burning Sky PDFs than the D&D 3.5 compiled version or the upcoming Pathfinder compiled version, I'm totally cool with that. I'll include an option in the survey after the Kickstarter ends, and you can choose 3.5/4E/Pathfinder. Don't worry - I got you covered; no edition warring here!
Just be aware the 4E version isn't a compiled version - it's 12 individual PDFs.
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