Starting Your First Kickstarters

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A friend asked for some handy tips for their first starter. This has inspired me to share a few things that we at Tangent Artists have learned from our experience:

FateAccompli_KickStarter_Banner_V2

If I could give you one tip, this would be it:

  • Keep in mind that your production cost (the amount you need to make a minimum order with the printer) and the “funded goal” are not the same thing. Digital products are the easiest to factor, in that they are almost pure profit; a $10 digital backer means you’re $10 closer to your fund goal and, after expenses (taxes, KS’s cut), have $9 towards the production cost. If you’re dealing with physical products, don’t forget that they give you a false “boost” towards your KS funded goal. For example, a $40 backer with a $15 product and a $15 S&H (don’t forgot to include shipping from the printer to you and back out to backer) means you’re $40 closer to the funded goal, but only $21 closer to your production goal. In this sense, it’s better to have two-hundred $5 digital backers than fifty $20 physical backers (although, reaching two-hundred people might be harder). I’ve read plenty of horror stories about people who reached $20,000 goal for a $20,000 printing cost, only to end up going several thousand dollars in the red; they reached 20k, but after S&H, KS’s cut, and taxes, it ends up costing 25K or more.

Other Tips:

  • You can build and share the KS page before you launch it. This lets you get feedback from peers, but also lets you start promoting it in advance. Sadly, you won’t have the final link itself until the launch date, so it’s good to have a private promo page (ex. your website or blog) that you can promote. This way, you can update push people to go to your promo page for both the “preview” link, and then change the link later to an active “KS” link after you launch.
  • KS must approve all pages before you can launch it.. Once you’ve had feedback and are happy with the page, submit it for approval. This can take a few days, so do it at least 7 days before you need it. Once approved, it will give you the option of waiting before you launch, so you can let it sit on it for a while.
  • Backers will shun KS accounts that have never backed KS projects before; they believe you have to give to the community before you can take. Go find a dozen projects you like and support them, even if it’s for a tiny amount. If you’re a company, have a company account and have all of the members back their personal KS through the company, and you’ll build it up faster.
  • Have one “manager” setting up the page, levels and handling the KS updates. You can’t just let it sit for 30 days alone.
  • People like graphics. Have a video. Make sure it has a GREAT opening slide- this the first thing they see when the load the page, and when you share it on social media. Make sure you’re updating your progress with visual aid trackers.
  • If the person managing the page is a different person than the person doing the graphics, prepare all of the graphics for all of the different levels ahead of time. It might seem strange, but we needed our “funded” and three of our “stretch goal” graphics on day two.
  • Set your initial goal as low as you can go afford (assuming it’s not putting you in the negative). People are more likely to back something that is funded than something that is not.
  • Always have a cheap ($1 – $5) level. Even if it has no tangible rewards (thanks, glory, good karma), it allows people to tag you and follow your updates easier, and lets family and friends who have no interest in the product show their support.
  • Have different levels, but don’t overdo it. 3-6 is fine. More than 10 is a mouthful, unless there’s a specific reason why. More levels is also tricky in case you need to send messages out- KS lets you message all backers, or all backers in a specific group (ex. group A); however, if you’re messaging groups A-C but not D, you have to send it to groups A, B, and C individually; thus, if you have 20 levels and you’re sending it to 19 of them, you might be copy-pasting the message 19 times.
  • Have a slightly higher level with recognition; sometimes people will pay $24-50 just to have recognition on the finished product.
  • Have at least one large shoot the moon level. Don’t expect it to be taken, but you never know.
  • KS has strict rules about selling in bulk to merchants; I’ve seen some projects do it, but I would research the rules carefully first to make sure you’re not violating anything.
  • If you’re dealing with a digital product, calculate the longest estimated amount of time you need to deliver it. Then put the delivery date as DOUBLE that date. If it’s a physical product, QUADRUPLE it. That may seem like a stretch, but those dates come on you fast.
  • With stretch goals, digital rewards are your friend! If going with physical products, don’t be afraid to add it as an optional thing they can BUY by pledging extra. Again, a lot of people go crazy adding free physical rewards, which raises their production cost and shrinks the profit.
  • If you are adding an optional stretch bonus product, this can be handled by having the backers over pay and then respond to the survey which add-on product they want. However, MAKE SURE the survey has the optional bubble, “we didn’t pledge anything else, no add-ons,”; alternatively, allow for write-ins. We learned that the hard way, and you can only send out one survey.
  • Limit it to 30 days; you don’t want it to linger.
  • This is a rough estimate, but about 75% of your backers will be pledge on days 1-10, and the last 2 days. In between, don’t be scared by the lull. Be sure to still send updates every few days, and keep promoting outside. If it’s a game, I recommend G+ (there’s LOTS of gamers on G+).
  • Plan a lot more stretch goals than you need. A LOT. The levels these are best planned around price breaks for the printer (ex. cheaper to print at 5k, 10k and 50k). If there are no price breaks, you can set at anything you like. If I could turn back time, I would have spaced them further apart. We had ours set at a fixed increment (about .5K or 1K apart). Although it doesn’t look as clean, I would have spaced it at rising increments. Maybe use the Fibonacci thing (.5k, 1k, 1.5k, 2.5k or 4K), so it’s less than double. The hard part is judging the right amount. Too far and you lose momentum, too small and you flood the backers with too many goals- if you’re forced to do more than you had planned for, you risk creating subpar stretch goals, or hastily adding new physical products that might cost more than you originally estimated.
  • If you have multiple projects in mind, and your KS is starting to go into stretch goals, resist the pressure to merge the two together. There’s no shame in doing a smaller KS first and doing a second one later. If you have a successful KS under your belt, they’re more likely to back you later. Better still, when you do a KS in the future, you have all of the backer info, so it’s easy to promote.

Here are some other tips passed on from Evil Hat’s Kickstarter Guru, Fred Hicks:

  • Launch it on a Mon. night / Tuesday morning. Most office workers do all of their web surfing on Tuesday morning (after they finished Mon’s work).
  • If you’re KSing a physical product, don’t plan to make money from the KS itself; instead, set the selling “price” of the basic ks level (for a backer buying one unit) to be 2x the cost of the unit (including other costs), and then order double the number of product from your printer. Thus, if your KS sells 500 units, you order and ship out 500 units to backers, and have 500 units sitting in your garage that are already paid for; anytime you sell one of those extra units, it’s 100% profit.

That’s all for now. Hope it helps!

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Fate GM Aid: Screen a Little Screen for Me….

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It’s been busy at Tangent Artists, preparing the Fate Accompli material for the printers.

To double-dip a little bit, I thought I’d show off the rough draft for the Fate GM Screen that we plan to use as a bonus to our backers.  Thus, this week we ask you to Screen a Little Screen for Me….

(Yeah, I know the old song was “Dream a little dream OF me,” but whatever…)

Fate Accompli Kickstarter Preview. Click Me!

Fate Accompli Kickstarter Preview. Click Me!

Credit where credit is due: most of this rough draft is pulled from the amazing Fate Core GM Screen created by Jordan Dennis. Find it here at the Evil Hat Wiki page. Likewise, we’ve pulled a little from Richard Bellingham’s Action and Outcome Grid. The final screen will be put into our own words, but they are due a thanks in the final product none the less.

So, tell us: is there anything important we’re missing? Is there something you always wanted to see on a Fate GM screen that isn’t included in the following?


FATE GM SCREEN

The Ladder (p.9)

 +10

+9

+8 Legendary

+7 Epic

+6 Fantastic

+5 Superb

+4 Great

+3 Good

+2 Fair

+1 Average

+0 Mediocre

-1 Poor

-2 Terrible

-3

-4

 

For results above 8 and below -2, create your own names!

 

Dice Results (FAE, Page 18)

Result = Roll of 4 Fate Dice + Skill / Approach bonus + Bonuses from stunts + Bonuses from Invoked Aspects

You can wait until after seeing the opposition’s result to add Invoke Bonuses – it’s not too late!

 

Game Time (p. 194)

• Exchange: time for everyone to get a turn

• Scene: Time to resolve a situation

• Session: a single sitting

• Scenario: An Episode

• Arc: A Season

• Campaign: The entire game in a particular setting

 

Skill Roll (p. 130)

Roll four Fate dice and add to skill rating. Compare to opposition. For each step on the ladder greater than your opposition, you earn a shift.

 

Opposition types (p.131)

• Active: another character rolls against you.

• Passive: A static rating on the ladder.

 

Four Actions (p. 134)

Overcome: attempt get past an obstacle – also used to ignore or remove situation aspect.

Create an Advantage: Attempt to create a story detail (aspect) or add invokes to an aspect for free.

Attack: Harm another character.

Defend: prevent attacks or advantages on you.

 

During Conflicts & Contests, characters may only make ONE action per exchange. (The Exception is defend: you may always defend against attacks and create an advantage rolls for free.)

 

Four Outcomes (p. 132, FAE p. 13):

Fail: Your Result is lower

Tie: Your Result is equal

Success: Your Result is higher (1 – 2)

Success with Style: Your Result is higher (3+)

Overcome

Fail*

Attain Goal (May be at minor cost)

Attain Goal

Goal + Free Boost

Create an Advantage (New Aspect)

Fail or Enemy creates aspect w/ +1 free invoke

Free Boost

Create Aspect (+1 free invoke)

Create Aspect (+2 free invoke)

Create an Advantage (Existing Aspect)

Enemy gets +1 free invoke

Add +1 Free invoke

Add +1 Free invoke

Add +2 Free invokes

Attack

No stress; opponent gets boost (if defender rolls higher by 3+, they gain free boost)

Free Boost

Deal hit equal to number of shifts

Deal hit equal to number of shifts + 1 free boost

Defend^

Suffer aspect or stress; (if opponent rolls higher by 3+, they gain free boost or invoke)

No stress / aspect, opponent gets boost

Suffer no stress /aspect

Suffer no stress / aspect, +1 free boost

*Overcome & Create an Advantage may choose to Succeed at a Cost. With Create an advantage, the Enemy creates the aspect and gains +1 free invoke.

 

^Boosts given with Defense don’t stack with attack; i.e. if an attacker ties, he gains only one boost, not one from the attack result and one from the defend result.

 

Actions -Movement (p. 139)

Movement – Unopposed – During an exchange, if there are no aspects or opponents hindering your movement, you can move one zone for free in addition to your action.

Movement – Sprinting – you may move use overcome to move any number of zones; this counts as your action for the exchange.

Movement – Obstacles – if your movement is blocked, use overcome against passive resistance (if barrier or situation aspect) or active resistance (characters); this counts as your action.

Actions – Miscellaneous

Free Actions  – Small things like drawing weapons and yelling are free and don’t count as actions. (p. 172)

Interpose – Take an attack meant for another character. Attacker rolls against Mediocre (+0) opposition.  (p. 160)

Full Defense – Instead of taking an action, gain +2 to Defense until your next turn. (p. 159)

Helping: Instead of taking an action, you may add +1 to a character’s skill (if you have Average +1 or higher in that skill). GM may place limits on how many characters may help (ex. a character with +3 cannot receive more than +3 from helpers). (FAE, p. 17):

 

Mitigating Damage (p.160)

Stress BoxAbsorbs stress equal to box number (ex. 2 box absorbs 2).

When you suffer stress, do one of the following:

> Fill in one stress box greater than or equal to the value of an attack

> Take one or more consequences

>Fill in one stress box and take consequences

If you can’t do one of these three things, you’re taken out (does not automatically equal dead).

• Giving In: Give in before your opponent’s roll and you can control how you exit the scene. You earn one or more fate points for giving in (page 24).

 

Consequences (p. 162)

• Mild: -2 to attack value

• Moderate: -4 to attack value

• Severe: -6 to attack value

• Extreme: -8 to attack and permanent character aspect

When created, a Consequence has one free invoke which the opposition may use.

Recovery (p. 164)

• Mild: overcome Fair (+2), one whole scene

• Moderate: overcome Great (+4), one whole session.

• Severe: overcome Fantastic (+6), one whole scenario.

Aspect Types (p. 57)

• Game aspects: permanent, made during game creation

• Character aspects: permanent, made during character creation

• Situation aspects: last for a scene, until overcome, or until irrelevant

• Boosts: last until invoked one time, or (often) until end of scene

• Consequences: last until recovered

Invoking Aspects (p. 68) (FAE, p. 27):

Spend a fate point or free invoke.

Choose one:

• +2 to your skill roll.*

• Reroll all our dice

• Teamwork: +2 to another character’s roll versus relevant passive opposition

• Obstacle: +2 to the passive opposition

Warning: You can only spend one Fate Point per aspect per roll (i.e. cannot pay two fate points to invoke same aspect twice for +4).

Free invokes stack with a paid one and each other.

 

Compelling Aspects (p. 71) (FAE, p. 28):

Accept a complication for a fate point.

• Event-based: You have _____ aspect and are in _____ situation, so it makes sense that, unfortunately, _____ would happen to you. Damn your luck.

• Decision-based: You have _____ aspect in _____ situation, so it makes sense that you’d decide to _____. This goes wrong when _____ happens.

Refresh (p. 80)

At the start of a new session, you reset your fate points to your refresh rate. If you ended the last session with more points, you keep the extra. At the end of a scenario, you reset to your refresh rate no matter what.

Spending Fate Points (p. 80):

Spend fate points to:

• Invoke an aspect

• Power a stunt

• Refuse a compel

• Declare a story detail (new aspect, no free invokes) (FAE, p. 29):

Challenges (p.147)

• Each obstacle or goal that requires a different skill gets an overcome roll.

• Interpret failure, costs, and success of each roll to determine final outcome.

Contests (p. 150)

• Contesting characters roll appropriate skills.

• If you got the highest result, you score a victory.

• If you succeed with style and no one else does, then you get two victories.

• If there’s a tie for the highest result, no one gets a victory, and an unexpected twist occurs.

• The first participant to achieve three victories wins the contest.

Conflicts (p. 154)

Pre-Conflict
– Establish Scenic Aspects / Zones
– Roll for Turn Order – Notice / Quick for Physical Conflicts; Empathy / Careful for Mental or Social Conflicts
Conflict
Start the first exchange:
• On your turn, take an action and then resolve it.
• On other people’s turns, defend or respond to their actions as necessary.
• At the end of everyone’s turn, start again with a new exchange.
Conflict is over when everyone on one side has conceded or been taken out.
Post Conflict
> Concessions and Consequences – Agree on the terms of the concession, or the consequences for those taken out
>Remove any boosts or irrelevant situation aspects
>Recovery – Roll to recover appropriate consequences

Earning Fate Points (p. 81)

• Earn fate points when you:

• Accept a compel (get immediately)

• Have your aspects invoked against you (get at the end of the scene)

• Concede a conflict.

 

Setting Target numbers (FAE, p. 37)

• Easy Task: Mediocre (+0) – or success without a roll

• Moderately Difficult: Fair (+2)

• Extremely Difficult: Great (+4)

• Impossibly Difficult: Go as high as you think makes sense. The PC will need to drop some fate points and get lots of help to succeed, but that’s fine.

Turn Order (FAE, p. 21)

• Physical Conflict: Compare Quick approaches—the one with the fastest reflexes goes first.

• Mental Conflict: Compare Careful approaches—the one with the most attention to detail senses danger.

• Everyone else goes in descending order. Break ties in whatever manner makes sense, with the GM having the last word.

• The GM may choose to have all NPCs go on the turn of the most advantageous NPC.

Approaches (FAE, p. 18)

Careful: When you pay close attention to detail and take your time to do the job right. Thinking before you act.

Clever: When you act indirectly, solve problems,or account for complex variables.

Flashy: When you act with style and panache.

Forceful: When you use act directly, or use brute strength.

Quick: When you move quickly and with dexterity. Act before you think.

Sneaky: When you use misdirection, stealth, or deceit.

Skills -Default –

Overcome

Create an Advantage

Attack

Defend

Athletics

x

x

x

Burglary

x

x

Contacts

x

x

x

Crafts

x

x

Deceive

x

x

x

Drive

x

x

x

Empathy

x

x

x

Fight

x

x

x

x

Investigate

x

x

Lore

x

x

Notice

x

x

x

Physique

x

x

x

Provoke

x

x

x

Rapport

x

x

x

Resources

x

x

Shoot

x

x

x

Stealth

x

x

x

Will x x X

Time

Time taken to complete a given action outside of a conflict is measured in the following abstract quantities:

Half <-> One <-> A Few <-> Several

These  are then applied to a timescale, for example: Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, Months, Years, Decades, Generations, Centuries, Millennia.

Shifts can be spent on speeding up the action, with each shift spent bumping you down the scale. If time is an important factor,  the amount of shifts you fail by can bump you UP the scale!


Going past the scale on either side jumps you up or down or up a timescale – for example one shift would jump you from Several Months to Half A Year or from Half A Day to Several Hours.

Milestones

Minor

Frequency: Every Session.

Options: Swap two skills, rename an aspect, buy a stunt or power OR exchange a stunt.

Significant

Frequency: Every Scenario or Plotline (every 2-3 sessions).

Options: Additonal Skill Point & Benefits of a Minor Milestone & spellcasters may reconfigure foci.

Fate Points are reset to your Refresh rating even if you have more than this.

Major

Frequency: When the plot is shaken up a lot, multiple scenarios or a large-scale plotline.

Options: Significant Milestone & Refresh +1 & buy stunts or powers & rename Extreme consequence.

Kickstarter – Site to Behold!

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Only a short post this week, as we’re working hard on getting everything ready for day one of shooting for our Fate Accompli Kickstarter. Gotta make sure all the props are gathered, cue-cards are printed, and camera batteries are charged!

So, this week we unveil our newest piece of prototype art, designed by Tangent Artist Indy: TA-DAH!

Fate Accompli Banner

If you want to commission Indy for your own project, contact tangentartists@gmail.com

Of course, we’d love YOUR advice on where to post it. Where can we post it? Know any affordable advertisement sites for gamers? Where do you recommend? Send us your links!

ASPECTS – CAN YOU PICTURE THAT?

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While thinking of a shameless way to write a blog about our company’s erasable notecards, which will soon be pre-sold on our kickstarter as “Fate Accompli” in July, I was reminded of one of my favorite playtests from GEN CON. We were playing our original FAE setting, “Dungeon Tours LTD,” which included the PCs creating a fake monster by stitching together random animals they had killed. The end result was a bear-boar-miscellaneous hybrid beast which they dubbed the Jeff. The name was all them, but I also asked them to draw the head of the dread Jeff.

the jeff

The Jeff. Fear it.

(Can’t remember the artist’s name, but if wants to come forth, I will be glad to credit him.)

In This Week’s Post: When I often introduce new players to FATE, I often tell them it’s a game of words. However, today we’re going to explore a new idea: using pictures! We’ll talk about the several ways you can use pictures along with or instead of words when creating your boosts and aspects, and in what ways they might enrich your game.

METHOD ONE – WORDS & PICTURES
One of the first ways you can use pictures alongside descriptive sentences; this is a redundancy, and thus has no immediate change on the game play, but it does have a few psychological benefits.

a. Sense of Play – Unless you are a professional artist, you’ve probably spent done more drawing and coloring in one year of elementary than you have in every post-elementary year since then combined. It’s no surprise then that drawing makes you feel young, and reminds you of idyllic art classes from days long ago. It’s a small thing, but it puts people in the right mind set- they’re ready to fire up their imagination and play games of make believe (which is really what RPGs are.)

Toon Tested, Acme Approved

Toon Tested, Acme Approved

b. Genre Immersion – Depending on the setting, drawing also lets the players get in more in touch with the characters. “Dungeon Tours LTD,” as we mentioned above, is a game involving the PCs crafting objects. Likewise, any game which involves the PCs making something, like a cooking show contest or a creation god, the players are mirroring the creation of their characters, making the mental bond closure. Alternatively, drawing is also apt for any game setting typically associated with drawn visuals, such as a setting starring superheroes, anime characters, or loony cartoon characters.

METHOD TWO – PICTURES INSTEAD OF WORDS

As another option, you can have aspects represented by pictures, but with little or no words describing it. For example, you might have an aspect card with the written words “carving on wall,” but the only drawn indicators of what the glyph looks like.

I'm guessing Demon Cult, or Georgia O'Keeffe wannabes.

I’m guessing Demon Cult, or Georgia O’Keeffe wannabes.

Reason a. Mystery and Doubt – This is useful tool when a GM draws a clue for a group of players in a mystery setting. The image is intentionally vague, leaving players several hints, some of them contradictory. Like a Jackson Pollack painting, it might even be unclear which direction is up. Like a Rorschach test, the players might interpret it a hundred different ways. When asked to interpret an evil symbol, they might make wild theories about cults devoted to octopus gods, snakes, pasta monsters, or things you’d never have come up with. If one of their random ideas is better than the one you had, go ahead and change it! *

*Note: If a player is getting frustrated, don’t make the player depend solely on their own wits. Let them roll on their character’s skills (ex. Lore, Academics, Mythos); if successful, you can give the players hints about how the clue might resemble things the character has encountered before.

Reason B. Deliberate Misinterpretation – If a player is trying to create an aspect to reflect something that their character has made well, give them a chance to draw a picture to represent it in all of its glory (if they don’t fancy themselves an artist, imagination can take care of the rest.) However, if their character fails the roll, and creates something half-baked, you can use the player’s drawing to inspire how the malformed creation: this can be done by restricting them in some way, like forcing them to draw with their opposite hand or giving a only a few seconds to work. Thus, any mistakes they make might inspire the final aspect, like an illusionary double that’s basically a smiley face, or a summoned demon that has two arms but no legs.*

Of course that's a dog. Shut up.

Of course that’s a dog. Shut up.

*Laugh at vs. Laughing with- Adding art to aspects can also result in some comically bad drawings; however, you should always be careful about laughing at the art of others, especially people you don’t know very well. If in doubt, only laugh at art you made yourself.

METHOD THREE – MECHANICAL PICTURES

Lastly, it’s possible to have a picture that is not just pretty, but also functional- this normally gets into the pictographic territory, as there is something numeric that is also conveyed in the image. Here are a few things you might convey:

a. Invokes – An easy thing to keep track visually is invokes,

With all the talk of Rorschach, we had to slip in some pretty flowers.

With all the talk of Rorschach, we had to slip in some pretty flowers.

particularly in that they seldom do over a large number. I would recommend one image for the aspect, and a separate image to represent the invokes (ex. Drawing a gun, and using invokes as bullets), or representing an aspect as a white flower with the invokes as dark flowers.

b. Stress – You could have each player draw stress as images (ex. hearts) and erase them as they take stress. Alternatively, you can have it the other way around, with a healthy character drawing stress gaining pictures to represent stress they suffer. (For a variant, see the “Hangman Stress” below).

STRESS VARIANT – HANGMAN STRESS

Rules: All PCs get a single stress track of six points, each absorbing one stress. There are no mild consequences. Stress is measured not in tally marks, but in body parts: head, torso, right leg, left leg, right arm, and left arm, similar to the kid’s game, Hangman. Whenever a pc takes a stress point, they draw

Stayin' alive, stayin' alive.

Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.

a body part onto their tracker. You can pick which part arbitrarily, but it is best done through the fiction- if you take damage from a rock falling on your head, it makes sense to fill out the head. If an opponent attacks you and succeeds with style, instead of gaining a boost, draw an indicator on the wounded body (ex. An arrow sticking out of a body), which counts as an invoke. While there is an invoke on a body part, treat it as an aspect that can be invoked. Ex. Quince the barbarian has an arrow sticking out of his arm. The vicious orc attacking him in combat could invoke the arrow, removing it (and making the aspect disappear.) Instead, he decides to spend a fate point to invoke the hurt arm, saving the free invoke for a future exchange.

When a character has the fully drawn body and suffers stress, they are removed from the combat.

Lower / Higher Stress – If six is too high, consider making the head and torso one piece, or giving the character a “V” as a pair of legs. For higher stress, find a finite number of other body parts to add on (ex. A tough dwarf drawing on a beard.)


CON NEWS!

This Sat & Sun, Tangent Artists will be at Tidewater Comic Convention in Virginia Beach! Drop by to buy a one-sided die, playtest a game, or just say hello! Say that you’re a proud Tangerine, and get a gift prize!

Ecognomics – In the Home Stretch (Goals)

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In what’s likely to be our last Kickstarter themed blog for a while, we’re going to focus on Stretch Goals and Backer Levels.

From the creator’s pov, the goal of a stretch goal is obvious: to make more money, or to fund further projects. Of course, if you wanted to fund further projects, you could theoretically start a second kickstarter. (And, if money was all you really cared about, you’d likely skip all of this hobby stuff and go become a stock broker.)

WHY A STRETCH GOAL?

What is the point of a stretch goal? Here are some reasons:

  • A stretch goal encourages backers of a lower level to reinvest at a higher level. This can be because of a new level is created (that wasn’t there before), or because a higher level has become increasingly valuable.
  • A stretch goal encourages players to spread the word of the kickstarter to others, as having more investors join will increase the value of a level for all backers.
  • After a project has been funded, the stopping point is more abstract. However, a stretch goal gives a psychological end point that a promoter can “push” people towards. Whenever a goal is met, it gives backers a feeling of accomplishment, much like leveling up a character in an RPG.
  • As mentioned above, a stretch goal allows a creator to fund further projects. The advantage to tacking it onto an existing kickstarter is that you already have positive momentum, with a captive audience of people who have already given you some funds, and might be interested in similar products.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD STRETCH GOAL?

Of the panels and articles I’ve seen, the litmus test I’ve seen for a stretch goal is a two-part question:

  • Does the add-on depend on the base project? (Rather than being a stand-alone product in its own right.)
  • Is the add-on finished or near finished?

If the answer to both of the above is “no,” then it doesn’t sound like a good stretch goal item. For example, if you’re selling an RPG rulebook, going through the work of writing a novel for the setting is a poor idea, as it involves as much work as the rulebook. (Of course, if the novel’s already finished and edited, that’s just fine.)

HOW DO I OFFER THESE STRETCH GOALS ITEMS?

There are three ways to offer stretch products to members through Kickstarter:

1. Add-Ons – When a stretch goal is reached, you can give members the option of adding the item on as an add-on.

  • Pros – The cost is easy to calculate; easier customization (i.e. mix & match items); anyone can do it!
  • Cons – Because it’s not listed in the basic backer levels, backers are more likely to miss it; because anyone can add it on, it doesn’t encourage members to increase their level to a higher one.

2. Added to Old Level – The item is added onto to an existing back level.

  • Pros- Pleases current backers; encourages those who haven’t backed to jump in; Good for small, no-cost items (ex. desktop art); increases backers at lower level to upgrade.
  • Cons – Doesn’t encourage current backers to increase pledge (unless at lower level); increases cost without increasing revenue (more on this later.)

3. New Backer level – When a certain stretch goal is reached, the creator adds a new backer level, which merges an older level with the new product.

  • Pros – Increases backers at lower level to upgrade; provides more revenue; easier to track cost of new item.
  • Cons – If not promoted well, older backers might miss the new level; done too excess, can make you look greedy; less backer customization of products than “add-ons.”

PRICE BREAK-DOWN: BAD EXAMPLE

Imagine if you will a fictional Kickstarter creator named Steve. Steve has a really BAD kickstarter stretch goal set-up; we’re going to do everything wrong, just to prove how wrong it can be.

Kickstarter name – KittehPower! – Steve’s fake kickstarter is about releasing a photo book of kittens wearing superhero costume pieces. It has a modest goal of $100.00 (which includes KS’s cut & taxes) and only two backer levels:

  • $5 – PDF – Backers get a digital copy of the KittehPower! Photo book.
  • $20 – Paperback – Backers get a hard copy of the KittehPower! Photo book. (Cost: $10.00)

Very early into the campaign, the goal is met (Steve is happy). So, Steve adds a stretch goal. He really wants to raise $100.00 so he can buy a cheap photo editing software- with it, he hopes to more special effects to his Kittehs! He adds the following stretch goal:

  • $200 – If we reach $200, we will add 20 new pages of kitteh pics in the book.
Photo by Krzysztof P. Jasiutowicz. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license. Alterations made by Dave Joria, because he was bored.

Photo by Krzysztof P. Jasiutowicz. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license. Alterations made by Dave Joria, because he was bored.

Flash forward, the $200 money gets raised! Steve is so pleased, he offers all of his cat-superhero-photographer friends (of which he has many) a chance to jump into the stretch goals- he wants to pay his friends $100.00 each to add their own photos to the book. He adds a series of stretch goals to the kickstarter for $100 each, all of them saying:

  • $300 / $400 / $500 (etc)- For each $100 that is pledged, we’ll add another 20 pages of Kitteh photos to the book.

Why this is a Terrible Set-Up:

The model above doesn’t take a lot into account. Such as:

  • Kickstarter Inc’s 10% cut and taxes. (Although, technically, the software might be fileable as an expense on Steve’s tax return, but that’s a whole ‘nother matter.)
  • Any backers who bought a book are adding $20 towards the stretch goal, but only $10 to the profit.
  • By adding more pages to the book, you increase the cost of the existing product without taking any additional money from the backers who’ve already bought it.

Assuming that each the first $100 was made by having 10 new backers buying new physical books, let’s see how much this stretch goal “earned”:

First Goal:
+$100 revenue
-$100 cost (software)
-$20 (KS’s 10% cut and taxes)
-$50.00 ($10 Cost for each new book)
-$15.00 (Assuming 20 color pages adds $1.50 to the 5 new and 5 old books)
= -$85.00

Now, if Steve got really carried away and reached $600 (initial $100 + five stretch goals), you end up with:

+$600 revenue
-$100 cost (software) (1st Stretch)
-$400 for friend photographers
-$120 (KS’s 10% cut and taxes)
-$420.00 (30 physical books, each now Costing $14.00)
= -$440.00

And thus, a successful $600 equals a huge deficit. Now, just imagine his goal had been for $6000 instead: he might end up with a negative $4-5K.

HOW TO AVOID THIS:

1. If you’re running a digital only or “print-it-yourself” model (see last week), you’ve avoided ONE of the pitfalls already, in that the only costs to consider are for the creators.

2. If you ARE dealing with physical items, only introduce new stretch goal items through add-ons (ex. Pay $5 more to get this keychain) or through a new backer level (ex. The Deluxe level for $50).This way you’re never increasing the print or production cost of an existing, already-paid for item, like Steve did. (Poor Steve. He’ll never learn.)

3. Include your stretch goal level to include all inherent costs plus MORE. I’d recommend double. Like the “stockpile” business model, this means that every stretch goal you reach is paying for that stretch goal and the cost of the next goal too.

STRETCH GOALS: GOOD SET-UP

Steve’s friend, Zara, is running a game kickstarter. She has reached her goal, and wants to hire a guest author to write a new adventure for the setting. It’s a little short, and uses new new art, so her guest and her agree on paying the writer $200 for the adventure (and that includes the editor too). For the following, we’ll assume that Zara is using only the digital only or “print-it-yourself” model.

$200 ~ Writer
+$50 (KS’s 10% cut and taxes- remember, divide by 0.8)
X2
= Stretch goal of $500.

This means if the goal is reached, the next guest writer, who is also paid $200.00, is already-paid for in the budget. This will likely mean that you have $200 that you, the creator, can pocket; but should something end up costing a bit more than you anticipated, you have a little more of a buffer to pay the guests.

However, Zara’s not going to give this PDF away. She’s going to encourage existing backers to increase their level:

$5 – PDF Version
$20 – Print-it-yourself Version + PDF
$30 – Print-it-yourself, + the Guest PDFs.

Resourceful, no?

STRETCH GOAL STRINGS

If you’ve met a few stretch goals, you could theoretically string them into a very long chain, giving your $30 backers an ever increasingly great value for their buck. This is what Evil Hat did with their campaign, which was amazingly successful. However, unless you really know what you’re doing, I would caution against this: while it gives lower backers a LOT of incentives to increase their pledge, it gives backers at the $30 level little reason to increase. I would instead recommend an alternative:

Soon, Zara’s first stretch goal (and thus, 1st guest author,) is reached, she introduces these two levels:

$20 – Basic – Print-it-yourself Version + PDF
$30 – Deluxe – Print-it-yourself, + all Level A PDFs

Level A PDFS – 
Guest PDF 1 
Mystery PDF 2 (Unlocked at $2000) 
Mystery PDF 3 (Unlocked at $2500)
Mystery PDF 4 (Unlocked at $3000)

Thus, the deluxe backers gain one extra pdf for $10 (not great, but not bad.) However, the players have an idea of how good the level will be (fingers crossed). As more stretch goals are unlocked, the extra value of level goes from theoretical to factual, and suddenly you’re getting 4 pdfs for $2.50 each- sweet!

Once the fourth pdf is unlocked at $3000, Zara opens a new level, Level B PDFS, and amends the backer levels:

$20 – Basic – Print-it-yourself Version + PDF
$30 – Deluxe – Print-it-yourself, + all Level A PDFs
$40 – Royale with Cheese – Print-it-yourself, + all Level A PDFs AND + all Level B PDFs

Level B PDFS – 
Guest PDF 5 
Mystery PDF 6 (Unlocked at $3500) 
Mystery PDF 7 (Unlocked at $4000)
Mystery PDF 8 (Unlocked at $4500)

And thus, players are encouraged to increase their level once more. Of course, you can only stretch them so far, but you get the idea. If Mystery PDF 8 is unlocked, perhaps the next goal squeezes a fifth PDF into both Level A & B (4.5 & 8.5?)- this will help satisfy your current backers.

WHEN DOES IT BECOME TOO MERCENARY?

No matter how many levels you make, always ask yourself: “Is the product worth it?” Paying $40 for several hundred pages of well-done, well-edited product sounds worth it- however, paying $40 for something you slapped out in an hour just so you can fill the obligation of one of those stretch goal slots is not. They might buy something you haphazardly publish, but they’re not going to buy it twice. That’s part of the reason raising that extra double for each author is nice: if you end up having to pay for a second author or editor, or find that the author turned in something twice the length (and thus twice the price), you can spend a little more to get a quality product.

Kickstart the Commotion: Ecognomics, Pt 2.

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Last week, I talked about Ecognomics: the assumption that product = profit. Sadly, this is not always the case, unless you plot things out just right. Likewise, a successfully funded kickstarter can mean a product that is paid for, or a heck of lot of unforseen costs.

I’m going to run through a hypothetical kickstarter twice: once with selling electronic pdfs, once with hard books:

Electronic Version – Here’s the neat thing about pdfs… because there is no physical cost per unit, selling one costs as much to the vendor as selling one-million.*

*Assuming you go through a 3rd party to handle downloads and bandwidth cost.

However, this also makes them deceptively tricky, for a few reasons.

1. For the above reason, it can be difficult to convince someone to buy a pdf. If it cost the vendor nothing to give away, why should someone pay $1, $5, $20 for it? This argument is not without some merit- personally, I find it ridiculous that book publishers insist on charging the same amount for an eBook as a physical book; it makes sense to deduct the cost of the paper and shipping and handling, and then pay what is left over.

2. Buyers aren’t the only ones who are unsure about the price tag. Because it costs you nothing to give it away, a generous creator’s instinct might BE to give it away. This is doubly so if they are struggling to find buyers. To quote the Barenaked Ladies lyric, “Can’t even give this stuff away, why would I sell it?”

The reason WHY you have to sell it lies in the old adage: TIME IS MONEY. Now, I advocate humans creating whatever they want, for their own joy and sanity. Creating can bring a state of mental peace or catharsis that cannot be quantified- just because a poet gets published and paid money doesn’t mean that their work was better than the Emily Dickensons of the world who choose to publish little, if at all.

However, if you DO decide to seek money for your creations, make sure you’re not underselling yourself. If you were paid minimum wage for every figure you painted or every campaign you wrote, you’d soon find out how much your work is worth.

A few weeks ago, Morris posted what an rpg writer was paid per word around the industry. http://www.enworld.org/forum/content.php?2301-What-s-a-Freelance-RPG-Writer-Worth#.VNwTtfnF-Sr

Using this as a basis, let’s take a look at the cost of the Skeleton Crew book, which currently around 105,000 words.

Publisher Pay per word Cost of 105,000 words Cost divided over 100 pdfs
Paizo $0.07 $7,350.00 $73.50
Wizards of the Coast $0.06 $6,300.00 $63.00
Evil Hat $0.05 $5,250.00 $52.50
Pelgrane Press $0.04 $4,200.00 $42.00
Goodman Games $0.03 $3,150.00 $31.50
Fat Goblin Games $0.02 $2,100.00 $21.00
Purple Duck Games $0.01 $1,050.00 $10.50

Now, I’m not certain what’s a fair price for a PDF, but I feel pretty certain that asking 73.50 is a bit much. That being said, many modest, first-time kickstarters are lucky to get 100 backers- and at 7 cents a word, that “free” pdf costs quite a lot.

However, as I am a humble guy who wants this kickstarter to succeed more than I desire money, let’s go with the lowest pay rate for myself, aka. .01 a word. That makes the foundation of our kickstarter at $1,050.00.

However, I can’t do the book by myself. We have one of our group members working as editor and publisher, who’s going to work damn hard on the book too. Let’s assume that this person is a saint, who will take a fraction of the cost of a professional. Let’s estimate the total pay: $350.00.

New total: 1400.00.

Next, the art! Our in-house artist charges $40 for a B&W art… let’s assume that we commission her for 15 pieces. We also pay her for a full color cover, bursting forth with tons of different characters (those cost extra), for $100.00. That’s $700.00 for the art.

New total: $2100.00.

Done, right? Wrong! Don’t forget taxes- kickstarters count as income! Our accountant isn’t here, so we’ll set it at a flat 10%. (Now: $2310.00.) Also, if you reach the goal, Kickstarter takes 10%. That means add an extra 10% on, right?

Wrong again, because math is WEIRD; adding an extra 10% (2541.00) and taking 10% again leaves you with 2286.00, about $25 short. To make sure you have enough after Kickstarter takes their cut, here’s the formula:

Kickstarter goal = amount you need / divided by .90.

In this case, the result is $2566.67.

Let’s round that up to $2600.00, just to have a buffer.

So, what does that mean? Well, let’s look back at the pdfs, and see how many we need to sell at what cost to reach that goal.

PDF Sale Cost $ Raised at 100 $ Raised at 200 $ Raised at 500 $ Raised at 1000 # to Sell Reach Goal
$1.00 $100.00 $200.00 $500.00 $1,000.00 2600 sales
$2.50 $250.00 $500.00 $1,250.00 $2,500.00 1040 sales
$5.00 $500.00 $1,000.00 $2,500.00 $5,000.00 520 sales
$7.50 $750.00 $1,500.00 $3,750.00 $7,500.00 347 sales
$10.00 $1,000.00 $2,000.00 $5,000.00 $10,000.00 260 sales
$15.00 $1,500.00 $3,000.00 $7,500.00 $15,000.00 174 sales
$20.00 $2,000.00 $4,000.00 $10,000.00 $20,000.00 130 sales

Of course, the first time you glance at the chart, it might seem that charging more money is the key. However, you’ll notice the catch that, even at $20.00, it takes 130 sales, above your average 100 backers for a newbie kickstarter, just to reach your goal. Even if your product is good, you got to ask yourself: is it harder to convince 100 people to pay $20, or to convince 200 people to pay $10? I don’t really have the answer to that, but I know that the more your kickstarter extends to people who know you and your products less and less, you’ll have a harder time convincing people that the product is worth the money.

Paper-version – if you’re going with a paper-version, the rules of the above stay the same, except every price now has the price of the product, the shipping and handling added on to it.

Let’s assume your company is printing small batches, and going through a domestic printer. In this, let’s take a great company, Ka-blam, that prints our comic. A massive book of 350 pages, with B&W interior and color cover, costs 11.50 for one book. There’s a price break at 25 copies (10.50), and at 100 (9.50). Add in a round 3.50 for shipping and handling per book, that gives you: $15 at 1, $14 at 25, $13 at 100.

For example, the same above chart, adding the same values above:

Add to Cost: Total Sale Cost 1 Revenue at 25 Profit at 25 (-350)
$5.00 $20.00 $500.00 $150.00
$10.00 $25.00 $625.00 $275.00
$15.00 $30.00 $750.00 $400.00
$20.00 $35.00 $875.00 $525.00
$25.00 $40.00 $1,000.00 $650.00
Add to Cost: Total Sale Cost 1 Revenue at 100 Profit at 100 (-1300.00) Revenue at 200 Profit at 200 (-2600.00)
$5.00 $20.00 $2,000.00 $700.00 $4,000.00 $1,400.00
$10.00 $25.00 $2,500.00 $1,200.00 $5,000.00 $2,400.00
$15.00 $30.00 $3,000.00 $1,700.00 $6,000.00 $3,400.00
$20.00 $35.00 $3,500.00 $2,200.00 $7,000.00 $4,400.00
$25.00 $40.00 $4,000.00 $2,700.00 $8,000.00 $5,400.00
Add to Cost: Total Sale Cost 1 Reach Revenue $2600 Cost at Goal Profit at Goal
$5.00 $20.00 130 sales $1,690.00 $910.00
$10.00 $25.00 104 sales $1,352.00 $1,248.00
$15.00 $30.00 87 sales $1,218.00 $1,382.00
$20.00 $35.00 75 sales $1,050.00 $1,550.00
$25.00 $40.00 65 sales $910.00 $1,690.00

So, let’s imagine a hypothetical situation: you got exactly 200 sales. Let’s see what it comes at various prices:

Cost – Remember, this includes the approximately 20% for kickstarter and tax.

Product Revenue Reach Goal? Reached Goal at Cost Profit
PDF $5.00 $1,000.00 No! N/A None None
PDF $10.00 $2,000.00 No! N/A None None
PDF $15.00 $3,000.00 Yes! 174 sales -20% (-$600) $2,400.00
PDF $20 $4,000.00 YES 130 sales -20% (-$800) $3,200.00
Book $20 $4,000.00 Yes 130 sales -20% (-$800), – $2600 (books) $600.00
Book $30 $6,000.00 Yes 87 sales -20% (-$1200), -$2600 (books) $2,200.00
Book $40 $8,000.00 Yes 65 sales -20% (-$1600), -$2600 (books) $3,800.00

Based on the 200 sales model, we can see that selling 200 $1 pdfs gets equals a failed kickstarter; whoever, a kickstarter that sells 200 pdfs at $15 each makes the same as a kickstarter that reaches $6000 selling books at $30, and makes four times the profit of a campaign that sells 200 books at $20 bucks.

One last chart: let’s see what happens if we calculate that each product level made EXACTLY the number of sales it needs to make to reach goal.

Product Reached Goal at Cost Profit
PDF $5.00 520 sales -20% (-$520) $2,080.00
PDF $10.00 260 sales -20% (-$520) $2,080.00
PDF $15.00 174 sales -20% (-$520) $2,080.00
PDF $20 130 sales -20% (-$520) $2,080.00
Book $20 130 sales -20% (-$520), – $1,690 (books) $390.00
Book $30 87 sales -20% (-$520), –$1,218 (books) $862.00
Book $40 65 sales -20% (-$520), –$ 910 (books) $1,170.00

And thus we see how kickstarter goals are really sneaky, in that they measure only revenue, not cost. Adding higher priced goods at higher costs can make you reach your goal faster (the $30 book needs half the sales of a $15 pdf). And reaching a goal is GOOD- backers are more likely to sign up if the goal is reached, so the profits are more likely to come in. However, at the $30 book level, the artists end up with a mere 1/3rd of their self-estimated cost, and less than a 1/4th of what they raised from the kickstarter.

Luckily, this is not the ONLY model for a kickstarter- we’re going to explore a few of those next week.

In the mean, if you’re in the DC Metro Area, you should visit our booth at Katsucon this weekend, Feb 14-15th, in the Artist
Alley! It’s the first anime con featuring our newest book, the Cleric’s Guide to Smiting! Come on down!

gazebo

Ecognomics of a Kickstarter

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Later this year, our group hopes to launch a grand kickstarter for

the Skeleton Crew PRG. We’ve got high hopes. We’ve got big dreams. We want to do it just right; so much so that we’re launching a second kickstarter before it, just to test the waters. I’ve read all of the blogs, heard the panels.

I am still shaking like a newb.

So, this is not a blog from a kickstarter veteran, saying how they got all-the-moneys. Rather, this is the step-by-step brainstorm, so you can see the planning process for yourself… specially, in how to avert Ecognomics.

What are Ecognomics?

Some of you might be old enough to remember the South Park episode with the Underpants Gnomes. If you’ve never seen the episode, the pivotal scene with them plays out as follows…The underpants gnomes, after amassing a large amount of stolen underpants, present their cunning business plan:

Phase 1. Collect underpants

Phase 2. ???

Phase 3. Profit

It’s a silly bit, but I’ve heard that economists and business theorists have actually latched on to it in serious lectures. Personally, I call it “The Underpants Plan,” or Ecognomics.

Who is Guilty of using Ecognomics?A lot of independent artists and creators, sadly. I’ve been on a lot of web comic panels, in which someone in the audience asks, “How do you make money?” The knee-jerk reaction from artists is to laugh, but that could be out of nervousness.

The problem is many creators think that there’s a direct correlation between Product and Profit. They have Phase 1 and Phase 3, but they fail to consider part two. Of course, at least those artists have gone ahead to think about Phase 1: a Product. I remember before the Dot-com bubble burst, some people thought you could launch a website, slap a Paypal donation button on it, and they’d be showered in money.

With Kickstarter, the same pitfalls occur. There are people who think that all they need is a product, launch a kickstarter, and you’ll have a profit. (Again, some don’t even think too hard about the product.)So, I don’t have all three phases planned out, but I’ll walk you through my ponderings.

PHASE 1 – COLLECT UNDERPANTS (Figuratively Speaking)

The first part is to clarify what the product you are selling is. With us, we’re relatively confident about this: it’s an rpg book, using the Fate Core rule system. The setting is based on our webcomic series, Skeleton Crew. Of course, there are still a few things to figure out.

Labels – This issue is mostly resolved, but it wasn’t when we started the project: we had to clearly define the genre of the setting in order to best promote it. We originally called it “Comedy / Horror,” but that didn’t seem to go over well. While there are definitely a few horror elements in the comic, and optional rules for running scary adventures, my cowriters convinced me that the “horror” tag wasn’t accurate. We’re now promoting the rpg as “Supernatural Comedy.”

Stand Alone or Supplement – Shortly into the RPG’s production, we settled on using Evil Hat’s Fate system- it wasn’t too crunchy, we (a bunch of writers) loved the story-telling basis, and the creators were generous to offer it to the Open Gaming License, making it free to use. To add icing to the cake, the Fate Core kickstarter practically exploded.

hipster elves

<hipster moment> Yeah, you heard me- we liked Fate BEFORE it was cool </hipster moment>.While I’ve seen a few kickstarters that offer to add other systems on as a stretch goal, we have decided NOT to make SC for any other system at this time (except a possible FAE side version). If your book can be so easy ported from one system to another, then how much attention did you really pay to that system?The question becomes whether to make it as a “supplement” or as a stand-alone. It’s a fat book already, roughly 350 pages. To make it a “stand-alone” book would require adding additional 100-200 pages, greatly raising the print cost. It would make it more accessible to newcomers, but most of our target audience is experienced gamers who already own the Fate Core rulebook anyway. We’re polling playtesters for their opinion. Speaking of which…

> Playtesters & edits– The last steps are to playtest the stuffing out of it, and edit the feedback into a cohesive book. Easy, right? *nervous cough*

That’s it for the Underpants. On to…

PHASE 2 – ??????

If this were a REAL economics plan, I suspect the middle area is for revenue. For non-business folks like me, that’s “money made before factoring cost.” In regards to kickstarter, it also means, “having a variety of backer levels and add-ons, providing each backer an opportunity to spend exactly the amount of money they are willing to part with.” If the only levels are cheap, you risk losing potential profit. If the only levels are expensive, you risk it all. I’m leaving the ???? in, as it also covers all sorts of other pre- & mid- Kickstarter factors. Like most brainstorms, and keeping with the ‘YES AND’ spirit, the “????” section shall include any ideas, no matter how ridiculous. This is the “yes, we can!” section… (save the “no, we can’t. Really.” for the “Profit” section.) I’ll start with our thoughts for the kickstarter levels.Backer Levels – The first thing to consider for the kickstarter is the basic backer levels. These are the Core levels, ignoring other “throw in one more thing!” Here are the very basic, platonic levels:

  • Impulse Buy
  • Electronic Version
  • Paper Version
  • Special Edition
  • More Money Than God Version

Impulse Buy – Costs a very small amount, which is very good for people who are unsure of the product, broke, or are generous relatives who want to help but could care less about the product. For our version, I think we’re going to take a lesson from Tianxia’s fantastic kickstarter, and give anyone who pledges a small amount ($1-2) gets a copy of the rough draft Beta rulebook pdf. It’s a great way to lure impulse buyers, costs us nothing, and gives the backer a product immediately after they pledge (rather than having to wait for months until the product is finished before the backer receives anything.)

Electronic Version – A digital version- in this case, a pdf of the finished product. Fortunately, Tangent Artists is lucky enough to have a publishing miracle-worker on team, so the layout can be done in house. A pdf is beautiful thing, in regards to profit, but more on that in Phase 3. At the moment, the goal is to have a B&W book with lots of art. For a creepy setting like ours, B&W is perfect, in that it helps capture the mood, and easier on the artists. We plan to have original art by one or two artists, supplemented by art from the webcomic itself. This would likely be in B&W, although, if we’re pulling images from the webcomic, we COULD make the pdf B,W & red.

Paper Version – A physical version of the book printed and mailed. Unless we hit ALL DA STRETCH GOALS, it seems unlikely that the supplemental material will be in print form.

Special Edition – This would be supplemental material tied in directly to the product itself. Some brainstormed ideas:

Art – Prints of the art itself. (May not do this, as shipping art without creasing it is a pain). Maybe the cover art for the book?

Comics – We’re hoping to do a big compilation book of our first few issues of the Skeleton Crew Comic, in a volume called the Necronomnibus. Likely in B&W, to save cost. Luckily, this one doesn’t require much in the ways of creating a new product, which is nice, and it printing in bulk is much cheaper than individually.

-Gaming Extras – If our Kickstarter for Fate Accompli, dry-erasable Fate cards, is successful, then these would be a great add-on.

-Artsy Odds-and-Ends – Any other art-related material, such as keychains, postcards, etc. As I am not an artist, I won’t insist on these, nor will we make these a priority if there’s not demand for it.

However, I remember one kickstarter panelist, who shared a great nugget. He advised against writing new novels as stretch goals to an rpg book. This was his litmus:

– if the supplement is stand-alone (i.e. doesn’t require / build on the base kickstarter), and requires work as much work to finish as the base kickstarter, why doesn’t it have a kickstarter of it’s own?Thus, adding a stand-alone novel is way too much energy to invest on something that doesn’t add to the product. (Of course, if you wrote the novel already, that might be a different matter.)
-Rules Supplements – This is where I have even BIGGER plans and schemes. Here are some wild ideas. These would expand the current rules for new locations and subgenres. Some of the ideas we’re batting around include:

– Guest Authors – Getting outside authors to write additional material for the setting. If we can get well known authors, to draw in more backers, all the better. And while we’re dreaming the impossible dream, we even hope to PAY our staff and guest authors. This would definitely beat the old system of having writers work for free, for credit, or for reassurances that their loved ones will be returned safely (mwah ha ha).
-Adventures – One-shot adventures for players. I’ve definitely a few that I’ve run before that would be great, including Fright at the Museum and the Revenge of Blackstache.

– New Locations – A fairy-focused setting, set in the West Coast, written by our very own Rachael. Several working titles, including “Triskelion.” We’re also considering: a Road Trip Campaign book (WIP title: Highway to Hell, Globe-rotters), with scatterings of monsters from all over the USA or the world; also, a setting focusing on beings from Japanese and Chinese myths.

-New Sourcebooks – A Lovecraft book (because, as we all know, if you want a kickstarter to succeed, throw in an Old One)… the working title is “The Madness of the Color on the Doorstep of the Dark”; a sci-fi 1950s B-movie book “It Came From Science!”; a source book on ancient religions, demigods, demons, cambions, nephilim and angels; a setting in the land of Cockaigne.

-New Twists – Several ideas: Paranormal Investigators – A procedural, monster-of-the-week setting, a la X-Files & Nightstalker. Would likely use a system similar to Atomic Robo’s “Brainstorm” mechanic, assuming our version wasn’t TOO similar (Robo isn’t in Open License); a rule-set for familiars and lesser demons, with a Pokemon-esque “snatch-em all” rule set; Giant, city-smashing monsters (because: giant monsters).

-Rule Adaptations – Attempts to incorporate existing rules from other Fate Core games into SC, assuming we are not violating or infringing on any rights. These might include: Skill modes; super powers / super stunts; Fate Accelerated version.

– Supplemental Info – Languages – A guide to the many real (and fictional) ancient languages, from Rongorongo, to Atlantean, to Epoch. Might have rules, but possibly rules agnostic.

– Characters – Extra mortal states and professions that didn’t fit in our (already bulging) rulebook. We might release it by itself, or might save some of the characters to drop in with supplements that fit the theme.

-Campaign Books – Fate doesn’t really lend itself really well for pre-made campaigns, but I would enjoy an expanded setting based on the Lost Continent of Lemuria.

More Money Than God Version – Generally, these are levels that most people can’t afford, but would be fun anyway. And since we’re not throwing out any ideas here:

– Personal Touch – I, Dave Joria, will official skype / drive / fly / paraglide to your living room or game store to run a game for you.

– Commission Normal – Our artists will draw every member of your party.

– Commission – Published! – Our artists will base one of the character designs in the finished book off of one of the pre-constructed characters off of YOU.

-Comic Star – We will write and draw a 4-page comic based on your skeleton crew characters.

– City of Dreams – I will create a brand new city location just for you and your party.

– Sup it Up – I will design an entire supplement for YOU- rules, characters, monsters, settings, plot points, you name it, we make it.

– We’re Really Reaching Here – I will dress as a zombie and do a happy little dance just for YOU!

– Unholy Rites – I will build a dark shrine to your honor, and sacrifice a goat, chicken or watermelon to you, while chanting in an Eldritch tongue (and film it.)

That’s all of the odd-ball ideas I have for the moment. Next year, I’ll be crunching Phase: Profit!