Ever wonder what goes in to writing a good pitch?
Want to know how to develop and design your own gaming content for beyond your table?
Ever ponder what steps you'd need to bring your idea from concept to print?
Interested in an immersive RPG design environment where you can look over the shoulders of industry professionals to learn the craft?
Design Camp is a hands-on look behind the curtain of the RPG design process. As a Patron, you will get a front-row, behind the scenes seat as the designers work. Along the way, you will be able to comment and suggest changes to the manuscript, and you can even pitch and write up your own ideas for inclusion in the final document.
With Wolfgang Baur’s blessing, we have launched Design Camp to follow in the footsteps of Open Design. An epic, patron-sponsored series of projects, Wolfgang Baur’s Open Design taught hundreds the “in’s and out’s” of the design world and launched the careers of many brilliant RPG writers. For those who would enjoy a return of the days of Open Design, we proudly present Design Camp.
What Wolfgang said about Open Design is still true for Design Camp: Our Goal? To share design knowledge with interested gamers and give Patrons a say in our developing projects.
What’s the result of having a hundred or so Patrons peeking over our shoulders while we’re writing? Better adventures and better supplements!
Who’s Behind Design Camp?
Design Camp is run by three professional RPG designers with roots in projects like this one. With three of us collectively working as a team, we think we'll give all of the Patrons (and all of the backers) a much better experience.
Ben McFarland – A multi ENnie award winning designer, Ben cut his teeth on Open Design and has since gone on to design material for Paizo Publishing, Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, Rite Publishing, Atlas Games, Storm Bunny Studios, and many others. Ben has worked on three Kickstarter projects for Kobold Press-- Deep Magic (2014 Judge's Choice Ennie), Midgard Tales, and Southlands (2016 Silver Ennie for Best Setting). He's worked with backers and led patron-style projects for Kobold Press and Rite Publishing since 2008; his pre-KS crowdfunded project for Kobold Press, Streets of Zobeck, won the 2012 Gold Ennie for Best Adventure. His patron project for Rite Publishing, Breaking of Forstor Nagar, can be found in print, PDF, and on multiple VTT platforms.
Jaye Sonia – Ennie nominated game designer and founder of Storm Bunny Studios, Jaye Sonia has written for Kobold Press, Kobold Quarterly, Bazaar Magazine, Open Gaming Monthly and Total Party Kill Games. Jaye also contributed to several early crowdfunded projects at Kobold Press, including Empire of the Ghouls and Six Arabian Nights.
Brian Suskind – A professional screenwriter and an ENnie award winner in his own right, Brian emerged out of the Open Design world to write multiple adventures and setting material for Kobold Press, Zombie Sky Press and Storm Bunny Studios. He worked on several crowdfunded projects for Kobold Press, including Journeys to the West, Midgard Legends, Advanced Races Compendium, Midgard Tales, and, most recently, was the co-lead writer on the Ennie-award winning Southlands.
What Is The Camp?
Design Camp is a twelve-week, immersive RPG design school and Patron project aimed at opening the design doors to aspiring writers, designers, and developers. Drawing on over twenty-five years of collective design experience, Design Camp will show Patrons how a project comes together from start to finish, allowing them to comment and be involved from day one! Along the way, we will open the vault doors, showing aspiring RPG designers the tools and tricks the Pros use; whether that's crafting better magic items, plots, or characters, developing and writing strong pitches, professional style and word choice, or building memorable material that gets people talking.
Guest appearances by other industry professionals are planned, guaranteeing a well-rounded and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Some of these planned appearances include Paizo freelancers Clinton Boomer and Savannah Broadway, as well as Brian Berg, the man behind Total Party Kill Games.
How Will You Work With Patrons?
We'll be using a website called "basecamp" (see basecamp.com) which offers us a gatekept manner to interact with backers while offering them bot-free forums, chat spaces, file repositories, and schedules. This allows us to interact with everyone directly while sharing the development process. Patrons will need to create an account there (for free!) which will allow them to access the project experience. We'll also utilize Google Hangouts and direct email communication. Some dropbox-esque usage might be involved, but hey, let's not get too crazy.
What Is The Project This Year?
The title of the 2016 project is The Celestial Host. Remember cracking open the original Deities & Demigods? The awe when you beheld the stat blocks of the gods drawn from religions across the planet? Well, we think it is far past time to revisit Zeus, Ra, Ishtar, King Arthur, and all of the others from real world mythologies. Designed for the Pathfinder RPG system, The Celestial Host will unleash the might and glory of three pantheons pulled from history; we'll give a game-ready (and considerate) look at the followers, temples, sacred tomes, secret cults (or splinter sects) and more!
Patrons will be the ones to decide which three pantheons will be included in The Celestial Host.
How Many Patrons Are There?
We expect class sizes to range between 67 (the minimum to fund the project) and approximately 150 (the maximum) participants. Since there is no retailer, no publisher, no distributor, and no print costs, it maximizes the benefit to the Patrons.
For patrons backing at the $60 level, this translates to less than a dollar a day (about $.71 a day, actually). With 24 hour access, weekly posts by designers, and scheduled chat times (that will vary to include as many people as possible), this is going to be a fun time.
What Do You Get?
In addition to a memorable experience, you’ll get the complete manuscript, professionally edited, possibly including sample art. You'll also get access to several months of in-depth design discussion, Q&A, and design tips, all of it aimed at ensuring you walk away from this experience with a better understanding of what goes into making great games!
We will be looking at elements of project design and management while talking with backers about topics like:
- How to tackle a manuscript, what elements do you need?
- When to research, when to run with it
- How to pitch
- How to run a playtest
- How to write art briefs
- 3 hours of collective design time each week, divided between all of the designers (which isn't counting the time spent by designers reading pitches, evaluating ideas, and so on). That's a total of 36 hours of design time!
There will be several Pitch Opportunities where Patrons can pitch their own ideas for the project and, if selected by a voting poll, can write up their idea under the supervision of the Design Camp team to be included in the final manuscript.
Patrons of the current Design Camp will also vote on the next project, so future Design Camps will allow you to explore a wide spectrum of potential material.
Overall, patrons will get as much out of Design Camp as they put into it-- of course, they'll get the final PDF, but the value of the experience depends on each backer's participation and engagement. We want to show you how we do this, come join us!
When Does It Start?
The first class begins October 3rd, 2016 and ends approximately December 31st, 2016.*
*We realize the holidays are a busy time, and - if needed - we can extend Design Camp into early January to ensure every Patron gets a chance to pitch, vote, and interact with the designers.
Stretch Goals for this Kickstarter are going to be a little different than most Kickstarters, which we'll explain bellow. Patrons should keep in mind that we're paying ourselves the absolute bare minimum to run this 12-week course (it works out to be less than minimum wage, with most of us expecting to put in something like 60+ hours each), splitting our time between the actual writing (20k words per designer at slightly below industry norms) and running the actual Design Camp. Because we want to focus our efforts on making this the best possible experience (and honestly, it's truly a labor of love), our stretch goals are going to focus on that, which allows all of us to do more with Patrons, up to including more design-time and live chats, as well as a better overall product.
If we hit $6,000, Ben, Brian, and Jaye are going to do the happy dance and might even treat themselves to an extra value meal (we're kidding, none of us eat that stuff). In actuality, we're going to schedule some more time with the Patrons, adding a total of 12 floating hours to the project. The Patrons will choose how we spend that time, but we'll be suggesting things like: live playtests, design discussions, or even running a sample encounter or two.
At $7,500, we unleash the awesomeness.
At $8,500, we unleash even more awesomeness. Oh, so much awesomeness!!!!!!
At $10,000, aweSOMEness! AwesomeNESS! AWEsomeNESS!
At $12,500, all of our awesomeness will belong to you!
At $1.5 Million, we will take all the Patrons on an all-expense paid tour of special RPG landmarks. SEE the wonders of the Arctic when we run a RPG from the far north via Google+ or Skype! LISTEN to Wolfgang Baur explain why he won't reveal his secret cookie recipe! SIGH with envy when you see the tropical island we'll be buying. FEEL the meaty impacts of Paizo Security's nightsticks when we raid their HQ....Okay, those things won't happen. But if we DO reach this stretch goal stay tuned for more information on the incredibly amazing thing we will be doing for the Patrons...
As the Kickstarter campaign continues we will update you on more specific goals.
Risks and challenges
This is Storm Bunny Studios's second Kickstarter and we've learned a lot from our previous experience. While we'll certainly be leading the effort, we've assembled a great team; both Ben and Brian have helped run previous Open Design projects and know the territory well. Providing a quality experience is not a concern.
Our costs revolve largely around funding the infrastructure and editing, as well as covering our time necessary take to run this course for 12+ weeks. That's one of the reasons we selected Kickstarter as our funding model. While we could use PayPal or another funding option, we wanted to limit backer risk. We know what it's going to cost to run this project - if we fund, it will happen. If we don't, we'll try again.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)