Use this space to cheer the creator along, and talk to your fellow backers.
Have a question?
@Martin: Fair enough, and I really do appreciate your feedback. I suspect you're not the only one who feels that way. I'll certainly keep that in mind going forward. As a DM/GM myself, I recognize full well that all of the other elements of a good adventure matter less if the DM/GM themselves isn't "convinced" as to the gist of things.
Thanks for the explanation. I must say that I’m disappointed. I love the volume of material you put out – but only if it has a good level of detail, consistency and connectivity with other information throughout the product.
Running out of space explains a lot of my disappointments with DO2:
- “Prologue: A Stranger Appears” looks incomplete to me, having lots of information missing based off what I’d expect from setting the reason why the PCs go to Mondaria in the first place.
- As I highlighted in my post below, the “Railshed & Storage East”, after reading the Theme and Purpose section for this location, I thought that this would be a detailed area with lots of information, chances to roleplay, quests, links, etc., etc.. And there was.... nothing. A few short room descriptions and that was it.
- Another example - ML5-MAY: Mayor’s House – the Theme & Purpose entry says “the Mayor’s House is rich with information” – but... it isn’t! 11 locations are briefly described in just less than 2 pages, with box text descriptions and a few flex table entries for items. No “information” – other than the possible short “Conversation” titbits from one of the two NPCs that might be encountered here.
I found this product quite frustrating to pick up and read through, to get an idea of what it was all about, how it would flow and if it was something I wanted to run. It left too many questions for me, and after the first 30 pages all this was looking like was a huge area with lots of individual descriptions. I wasn’t “feeling” the what, why and how of this adventure. Maybe if I read all 839 pages I’d be able to piece that together, and add a lot of my own information in, but that’s not why I purchased this. I was expecting the level of detail, background, information, connectivity and ease of use of DO1. That just wasn’t there for me with DO2. After spending 6 hours reading and flipping through the book, a few small things were beginning to fall into place, but I was actually just feeling drained from trying to piece things together.
I really feel this was a case of quantity over quality. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of nice little titbits throughout the book (the NPC detail is fantastic, for example). But a good clear introduction/ Prologue, coherence throughout the book, and the extra attention to details that were fantastic in DO1 (which I, maybe mistakenly, expected in DO2) just aren’t there for me.
Kudos to your ambition and level of output. But I just feel DO2 suffered because of too much material...
@Martin: Thanks for the feedback!
Two reasons for the relative shortage of Quests in DO2 vs. DO1.
One is intentional: by design, DO1 is far more of a sandbox, really, and its characters much more alive at the time the adventure begins. DO2 is much more a tomb, with NPCs, yes, and opportunities for storytelling and roleplaying, but ultimately, less "real life" questing other than explore, encounter, and discover.
The second reason is that I flat-out ran out of space. Even offloading most of the monsters and encounter detail to the FTEG and ABR, I still ran right up to the publisher/printer's hard limit of what I could fit in a book; I literally had to change the font size in some of the leader/trailer pages to get it down to the needed threshold. That's as lame an excuse as any I gave in high school as to why my essays weren't longer, but it's honest at least.
I'd love to return to the mines someday and hammer out an expansion, or even a prequel... and I actually have an idea as to how to do that, with Prior Lives.
But stay tuned... :)
I've finally got to sit down and start looking through the main PDF in detail. So many things are very nice and good, but where are the Quests?
DO1 had 76 quests (according to the blurb), but I can only find 2 distinct quest entries in DO2.
Was this an oversight? Were they missed out or was there a change in plan?
The reasons I ask this are that I would have expected a lot of quests, just like DO1. But also, the text seems to infer that there should be quest entries, but there aren't - for example, page 290 "ML2-RSS-E-S: Railshed & Storage East: Shed Detail" in the "Theme & Purpose" section states: "Much information can be gleaned from the Magister, and there are Quests to discover and resolve throughout the building." But there is no mention at all of any quests in the 2 pages that detail this building.
Received... :) Wow!! Just wow! Thakns for the tremendous product with such huge potential! :)
Clarification: I received my copy of Dark Obelisk 2 a few days ago (looks awesome BTW), I was in the "hardened Historian" tier, and was assuming Do1 hardcovers have yet to be shipped?
@Fernando: DO2 has already been fulfilled via PDF to all backers entitled to it. Your products were sent to the email address in your Kickstarter account.
Hi. Have You sentido the PDF formas the Pathfinder version? I cannot find It in my email.
Oh wow not expected but thank you so much. My group has be nagging me, when is it showing up we want to play, we want to know what the f’ is going on. It’s awesome. One of the guys is even thinking about starting it as well but just going a slight different route, with all the options and quests it’s easy to have 2 totally different paths. Thank you so much.
@Kyle—I’ve confirmed the order snafu’d. Similar thing happened whennid ordered Berinncorte Basecamp; apparently if I use publisher credit and pay out of pocket it garbles the order and doesn’t tell me. So frustrating and I’m sorry! Placing reorder Monday morning and I’ll throw in a softcover of the Players Guide for everyone who is owed a hardcover.
Has anybody got their pathfinder hard cover yet?
TL;DR: Still validating with the printer. Check out the bloody details in the latest update:
FINISHED. Update coming tomorrow. :)
I think there is value in the Standard color atlas version.
Premium Atlas PDF fulfillment has begun! All backers, please check your email for a complimentary copy link from RPGnow. My way of saying thanks for your patience!
Premium Atlas is complete! PDFs fulfilling soon! Ordering hc proof later this week.
Check out the latest Update posting: A thorough and long-overdue Production Update, as well as several Map Previews!
@Kyle: Good question. I'm waiting for Berinncorte Basecamp to wrap up, that way I can send all of the DO1-era hardcopy material en masse.
DO2 will ship separately on its own once it's finished.
Thanks for your patience. I'd be going out of my mind with eager anticipation for the hardcopy! All I can tell you is that it won't be too much longer now, and that it'll be worth the wait (though of course I'm a *bit* biased...).
Any idea when the hard cover version of DO1 - hardened historian would be coming out or are you eating for DO1 and DO2 hard cover and sending them both out?
Thanks for the great work.
Quick update because some folks check Comments more than Updates, please check the most recent Update for a run-down on where things stand from a production standpoint. Short version:
PROGRESS, YAY! And no, I don't know for sure when DO2 will be finished, but it will be worth the wait and quite enormous. :)
Based on feedback (and my own gaming group), I'm considering a new Kickstarter campaign to expand the planned Berinncorte Basecamp product to be a "Before & After" supplement.
Instead of ~100 pages softcover, it would be 300-500 pages hardcover, and instead of just an overview of the area outside Berinncorte usable for events in between DO1 and DO2, it would contain quests, NPCs, events, etc. for use during DO1 if the PCs wish to wander outside the city.
In a broader sense, it would be a useful campaign tool for fleshing out the area outside any fantasy city.
Thoughts? Feelings? Feedback? :)
@Jon--Stupid question: Are you opening the Pathfinder or 5E version?
@Jon--That's pretty awful! I'm so sorry. Let me try and find a Windows 10 box that doesn't have that font installed and I'll give it a try. I'll also double-check to confirm that used fonts were embedded in the PDF output.
When I try to open the Berinncorte Dramatis Personae and Bestiary pdf in Adobe Acrobat Reader (on Windows 10), I get an error : Cannot extract the embedded font IYRZSX+VlaanderenChiseledNF. Some characters may not display or print correctly. And parts of the pdf are unviewable. Any suggestions?
@J Evans Payne i should have thought of that...
@J. Evans Payne - My group has been wanting to try 5E and they were the ones that convinced me to do this as 5E in the beginning, but as I started to think about it, I just wasn't comfortable running something this size in 5E as none of our group has ever played that system.
Roger: Understood and I quite agree with the logic. I've just sent you the AB and the DB&P via RPGnow; let me know if you don't / can't grab them. Thanks!
@J. Evans Payne - I changed the game system fully to Pathfinder in the backerkit survey. With something of this size I don't want to try to run it with a game system I'm not familiar with. I know Pathfinder and it makes sense to keep this as something I know. So, just an FYI that I changed from 5E to Pathfinder.
Hm... if you mean it blew up while downloading from RPGnow, you should still be able to download it from My Library once you're logged in to RPGnow?
OK, I managed to blow up the code for the adventure... It was taking a while to download, so I went to do something else and came back - the page had timed out. Can you resend the link, as the one in the original email is kaput.
To clarify, the Atlases are only included as explicit Add-Ons, or as part of the Cartographer bundles. So, for everyone, unless you added one of these in BackerKit, no Atlases are included.
Roger--In your specific case, I believe I made an Excel error and interpreted your Complete My Hardened Completionist add-on as including the Pathfinder version. My mistake is your gain! Enjoy the Pathfinder version. :)
You'll still absolutely get the 5E version once it's published. It's still in conversion now, but I'm shooting to have it completed before year-end.
Hope that helps clarify!
@ J. Evans Payne
I got the DO1 Adventure book, Dramatis Personae, and Bestiary, no Atlas so far. Also these were in Pathfinder format when everything else I ordered was in 5E format? Will I also get those for 5E or are you not doing a conversion of the DO1 stuff to 5E?
Jeremy--Your concerns are well-founded, particularly given the failure to deliver of some other KS projects of similarly-lofty ambition.
I did cut myself off from offering more stretch goals that involve additional products--Husks and Grim Tokens really grabbed me, and I wanted to do them, but beyond that, even if pledges reach stratospherically, I'm stopping with additional content. There is DO3 and DO4 to write, eventually, to actually complete the Adventure Path, after all!
I think we're at the point where I have to see what my options are in terms of hiring help. Not because I'm wary of capability, but to accelerate things so I can deliver at a good pace.
I welcome feedback and opinion in all forms to help make things better, and believe it, I will ask your perspective and that of any other high-level backer as things evolve and are developed. I got some exceptionally useful critique from folks during DO1, and I'm optimistic that with twice the backers from then and a lot more focus and investment, the end products will benefit all the more.
Doing this is a pure joy to me; it never feels like work. The only areas that I feel challenged in as a one-man shop are as follows...
1: Artwork. I've been using a great resource, but he only does B&W stuff... time to fire up Fiverr and make a real investment in hunting down folks. This is the one area I can't really brute-force my way around, since I'm many things, but artist is definitely not one of them! If anyone has recommendations, I'd be eager to hear references.
2: 5E Conversion. pcGen's options just don't make this as easy or fun as it is in Pathfinder. But I'm getting better at it.
3. InDesign. My aging 6-year-old desktop has struggled mightily with this software, and earlier in the week it tried to upgrade to the CC2017 version that was just released, and now it won't launch it. This will be solved when I buy a dedicated laptop for creating, but it's lost me weeks, if not a month or more, of productive time. Ugh.
@ J. Evans Payne
You talk very openly about how hitting a $10,000 level has likely impacted your future KS plans. What will happen if you hit another 10k in backerkit (which isn't totally unreasonable)? Like others, I have some concern that a one-man publisher can deliver that much content, much less quality content, in any sort of reasonable time frame. However, I've invested rather fully in the project and will choose to have faith that you will deliver great things.
Also, as a 30+ year veteran of D&D, pathfinder, and numerous other systems, I am happy to be a sounding board should you need it during the development/delivery phases.
Congrats on a shockingly successful campaign.
Some history, then: I've been playing D&D since AD&D / 2nd edition. 3/3.5 is my true love, ultimately, for its complexity and the things it made possible--the OGL and the massive, unprecedented type and quantity of sheer content it unleashed upon our hobby remains perhaps the single most impressive event in the history of roleplaying, though it's easy to argue otherwise or even to view it as a bad thing--after all, who needs yet another $40 "Complete X" hardback with a handful of prestige classes, feats, and magic items?
I buy, and read, every hardcover published by Paizo and The Company That Shall Not Be Named But Shall Instead Be Obliquely Referenced, Lest They Sue Us. At this point, due both to the difference in the prolificness of the publishers and the lifespan of their rules systems, I'm much more acquainted with Pathfinder then with 5E... but 5E and the legacy that made it possible still have a special place in my heart.
So, to get around to answering the question: You're absolutely correct that the two systems have different founding principles, if you will, and therefore you should expect some variance between the output.
My design approach is to create in Pathfinder, and then convert to 5E. I daresay 5E stalwarts will say that it shows, and that's fine with me. Pathfinder is more complex in comparison, almost to a fault. I do try at every point to make sure the monsters and NPCs "feel" as similar as possible across the two systems.
To accelerate the process, I use pcGen, a tool which makes it ridiculously rapid and straightforward to create characters and statblocks... but only for the game elements it supports. Thus the Pathfinder options and detail is much more lux and textured than my 5E output, though no less lovingly crafted.
For my products, I would say the "true" or "best" gaming experience will be whatever you actually plan to play... but all other things being equal, my Pathfinder output will probably always be a bit better, more intricate, more nuanced, than my 5E conversion. Perhaps that will change in the course of fulfilling this KS; perhaps not.
Finally, to put on my managerial hat for a moment: Every designer or author needs to know what makes their products "special". It's a beautiful, wonderful time for indie content; it seems that there are tens of millions of products out there, all available for a pittance compared to the full-blown-retail options from "real" publishers. That's great for consumers, but for authors, it means there's hordes of competition.
For me, the "value proposition" of my RPG projects is an immersive mixture of thoroughness, detail, and real characters. Sure, there's monsters, but who cares--it's the NPCs that shine. NPCs with real motivations, real backstories, real conversations, real quests. Those are the gaming elements that I focus on. The whole concept of variable difficulty and quadded statblocks and all is a really nifty mechanic, and I'm super proud of it--but I only designed that so that anyone, at any level, could find the adventure content accessible and playable. Statblocks are immensely useful, and I love crunch--the "Dramatis Personae & Besitary" is basically 500 pages of pure, unadulterated crunch!--but at the end of the day, what gives an NPC or monster the tone, feel, and flavor is really something beyond the stats.
A good GM helps his players tell a compelling story. A great GM rewrites that story at every interaction, to fit his audience and the decisions they make. An excellent GM should really be able to pick up a great adventure, written for ANY rules system, and be able to use it without too much difficulty.
So although I'd love to try to do a huge sales pitch on how everyone should buy both the Pathfinder AND the 5E versions of the project, at the end of the day, if *I* do my job right, then you should find either one fun and accessible.
That said: The most compelling case for someone buying books for both rules systems is someone whose gaming group is likely to PLAY 5E, but as a GM or as a collector, you want the most complete, full experience; the Pathfinder statblocks will have a bit more detail and flavor there. Or, at the very least, double up on the crunch--so I'd say the DO1 DP&B, and the Bestiary of the Realm, at a minimum.
Hope this helps more than muddles the decision!
@ J. Evans Payne
Are you able to speak more on your process of conversion from the Pathfinder system to 5th Edition? More specifically, how you're maintaining your vision of the world and its inhabitants such that any given monster, npc, or item (etc.) feels consistent and balanced when comparing stats between the two systems? Or will the tone of the world be noticeably different as you interact mechanically with one system or the other?
I originally planned on pledging for a 5th edition copy since that's what my friends and I are currently playing, but I personally cut my teeth on 3.5. Based on my experience with 3.5 and 5th, and what I've read of PF, PF is heavy on crunch and lends itself to uber-powerful PCs while 5th streamlines the crunch and the power levels are more down to earth (in the context of a fantasy RPG, anyway) To reiterate: how (and to what degree) are you maintaining your artistic vision between the different design philosophies of the two systems?
TL;DR: I'm wondering if I should throw a few more bucks into the BackerKit for some Pathfinder stuff to avoid losing anything in translation ;)
@J. Evans Payne
Heya, sorry for taking so bloody to reply to you, but my beloved phone died an untimely and enraging death last Friday. Then I got the flu or a cold from hell, or possibly The Plague - I'm not sure which, but I was down and for a week, (so it took forever to activate a new Note 5 that's been languishing in my underwear draw since last September because I was too lazy to upgrade from my Note 2. I am horrible, I know *hangs head in shame*)
ANYWAY, as to your response, yes, that clears everything up for me. And I understand completely the reasoning behind your decisions. *nodnod* I'll do my best to pick up as many of the unlocked Stretch Goals thru the Backerkit, or whichever pledge manager you use. (I'm hoping my next stipend arrives around the same time - Xmas presents early for me, mwhahaha! ...erm, ahem. No greed there; pretend you didn't read that.)
In closing, yay! $10,000+ is an awesome amount! Congrats on that! Very nice achievement to be proud of. ♡☆♡
All--I went off on a pretty long rant, there, mainly because I can't imagine that Paul is the only backer viewing all of this with a well-intentioned but well-reasoned and logical concern about what it's physically possible for a mostly-one-man-shop to churn out! If that turns you off, well, then, you should probably nix your pledge... "verbose" is a pretty good way to describe my creative side! :)
Paul--"Ambitious" is indeed probably the best word for all of this. It's reasonable to be concerned, to be sure. I appreciate your pledge and look forward to fulfilling it... but it certainly will take some time! I never meant to promise 4,000+ pages of content. All I wanted was $1k up front to pay for expenses for the next piece of this Adventure Path... but every single Stretch Goal was something on my radar to do, eventually, anyway.
In terms of delivery... I can only say that Dark Obelisk 1 was conceived as a 128-page adventure... and was delivered as a 1,000 page monstrosity in six months. (Yes, it's true that I'm still working toward delivering the hardcopies and the 5E conversion.)
During that project, I learned a great deal about how to approach this sort of thing, and how to maximize my time. So although it's taken me longer than expected to churn out DO1, I have the potential to be even more productive going forward.
My goal from these Kickstarters is merely to break even, nothing more--and you can probably figure that out from the enormity of what's being promised at all pledge levels right now. Actual profitability would be nice, and with any luck, not only the 100+ of you who have shown faith and support will enjoy the work, but many others as well once each piece of it goes public and is available for sale.
I won't promise that there won't be delays, nor that my day job and family life won't interfere from time to time. But I *can* promise that I'll deliver. And massive amounts of delivery, too. I'm somewhat proud of what DO1 accomplished, but even if it's not your style or interest, that book has dozens and dozens of fleshed-out NPCs with backstories; any one of them would be worth a few bucks as an indie PDF, and nearly all of them I feel are interesting enough to merit backstory adventures--hence the "Prior Lives" Stretch Goal.
I've got dozens, and dozens, and dozens of books' worth of ideas; Kickstarting is frankly a way of making myself commit to, and follow through with, putting those ideas to paper lest they evaporate without effect. Not to reveal too much, but the entire Dark Obelisk Adventure Path is really a means of introducing the mythology of the known world to the PCs--and to the players and GM--and merely hints at a huge, elaborate, and fairly well-plotted-and-planned-out gaming universe comprising dozens of separate campaign settings and worlds. But I've said too much. :)
I probably won't be launching another Kickstarter until after I'm able to deliver on the promises of this one. I suppose there's a possibility of having a KS whose goal is to enhance an existing promised product--"help fund dozens of pieces of full-color commissioned artwork for Echoes of Time Forgotten" could be a thing, I guess. If I think more about that route, I'd definitely do a survey for DO2 backers to see if that'd be of interest.
But in terms of future plans, I'd summarize to say that the fact that the DO2 KS ended up being ten times as big as I had needed, it has two kind of conflicting impacts: First, it massively ups my passion and dedication to things. Second, it massively *delays* when my next KS will be, since I've now been able to fund what would otherwise have been at least a half-dozen separate KS campaigns!
So. All of that said, the most helpful advice would be from backers or those who have seen the work of DO1 thus far... so I would encourage everyone from the DO1 KS to chime in if they have thoughts one way or the other for Paul (or other backers potentially on the fence about how best to pledge).
Not sure if any of this truly helps... or maybe makes you even more cautious about pledging! But at least it's honest. ;)
Torolf--Congrats and thank you!!!!
Upped pledge by $10 to hit 10k at 10 hours to go.
I have concerns about the sheer size of this project and the amount of time and effort it's going to take to pull off successfully, especially with such a small team. That said, I have backed at the Historian level and am happy to support this independent artistic effort.
@ J. Evans Payne - You have some very ambitious plans for your world, and early on put out some estimates regarding future kickstarters. Can you speak any about how the growth and success of this kickstarter impacts your future plans?
@ Everyone - I like what I see, but am hesitant increase my pledge more than it is. Any last minute persuasion on why I should increase it?
Stormraider--Oops! Oh man I'm sorry; the wording of things is really not accurate and is very confusing. I've posted an update that clarifies things, and I've amended the language.
But in short, starting with the NPC Card decks, future Stretch Goals are merely "unlocked", not included... in ANY pledge levels. I certainly didn't mean to screw over my premium, most valued backers! :)
So, yeah, to get EVERYTHING, it'll be expensive... but 26 products all told, including shipping... it's a pretty insane deal still.
I do realize it's a lot of faith to place in an indie, one-man-shop author, so along the way, I'll probably figure out some way of letting backers scoop up content as it's published for a discount.
Hope that helps! Thanks for the sharp eyes and question!
Heya, there! I was just perusing the list of Stretch Goals to see what new stuff, if any, had been added since last I checked, and I noticed that starting at the $7500 Stretch Goal and following thru the rest of the goals, the two Highest Pledge Levels don't receive ANY of those extras. Umm, what's up with that? Did I simply misunderstand?
I mean I'm already pledging $200, as well as another $60 (I believe that's how much the DO1 hardcover is), so that's $260 right there. But if we hit any further Stretch Goals, I have to pay extra for them since I already have a high pledge...? Is that the gist of excluding the Hardened Completionist and the other Pledge Level from $7500-on Stretch Goal goodies, or am I just not cottoning on to something that seems to be readily apparent to everyone else? I did read thru the comments, and it looks like my comment, as of now, is the sole one asking about this.
If you could explain things when you get an opportunity to do so, that would be lovely. And I really do want to get my hands on everything available, but I'm not sure I can afford to go over $300+ in order to do just that. Which would be terribly unfortunate, since everything I've seen of Dark Obelisk looks like so much fun.
Stormraider--Thanks to your perfectly-numbered pledge increase, yes! The last few stretch goals, we've hit the magic number, but then someone cancels or reduces their pledge, and I feel teased!
So I'll wait until end of day to officially declare the Druids' cribz unlocked, but I think it's fair to assume at this point :)
Woot! We hit $7000! Bring on the Druid stuff!
No problem. I'd rather the questions flow now as opposed to once the campaign wraps up! :)
Figmentia--Sorry; to clarify, Hardened Historian gets hardcopies of DO1 and DO2. HH also gets PDFs of DO1 and DO2, and all applicable unlocked Stretch Goals. All of those are either in 5E *or* Pathfinder format. Hope that helps!
@j Evan yes I messed up the wording sorry so many questions a lot here as I wasn't involved in the First ks!
Figmentia--Hardened Historian gets hardcopies and PDFs of DO1, DO2, and all applicable unlocked Stretch Goals. All of those are either in 5E *or* Pathfinder format.