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General Forge Forums => Independent Publishing => Topic started by: darkveil on January 19, 2011, 11:49:00 AM



Title: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: darkveil on January 19, 2011, 11:49:00 AM
Hi

I have just released a new indie RPG for electronic download - The Blight

www.theblight.org

A fantasy world but with a frightening twist of reality where you play a survivor with full control over your life except for The Blight.
Monsters and nightmares are no longer a mythical horror they could be your neighbour!

Driven by the Multiverse game system a cinematic system designed to give the player full control over what their character does you will play in a world where one mistake could spell the end of everything.

Play a vagabond intent on gaining power and wealth for your own selfish ends or play a hero of the finest cut who has chosen to struggle to find a cure for this worlds woes.
The world of The Blight is a world inhabited by refugees from across the Multiverse from escaped slaves to beings so powerful some call them Gods.

----------------------------------
The game has taken me about 10 years to get to this stage and there is a sourcebook with rules system and background and the first scenario out.
There are currently 2 further supplements and 2 further scenarios planned.

I hope  this is ok to post here and people will support the site.

Iain



Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: Chris_Chinn on January 19, 2011, 11:59:51 AM
Hi Iain,

I'm having a very hard time navigating your site.  I found a PDF with an intro bit but no mechanics, and hidden in the upper corner, (dark font on dark background!) a link to a character sheet?

Can you tell us more (or link) to how your game works and what help in development you're looking for?

Chris


Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 19, 2011, 12:43:38 PM
Hi Iain,

Welcome to the Forge. It's kind of a nice return to Forge roots to see Multiverser stuff discussed here.

This particular forum is intended to house discussions about developing a game. Is The Blight still in development? Is there anything you can tell us about how playtesting has gone, or what features of Multiverser have been brought forward?

Best, Ron



Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: darkveil on January 19, 2011, 01:59:06 PM
Hi Iain,

I'm having a very hard time navigating your site.  I found a PDF with an intro bit but no mechanics, and hidden in the upper corner, (dark font on dark background!) a link to a character sheet?

Ok I've changed the link colour to a lighter one.

Can you tell us more (or link) to how your game works and what help in development you're looking for?


Chris


Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: darkveil on January 19, 2011, 02:01:40 PM

This particular forum is intended to house discussions about developing a game. Is The Blight still in development? Is there anything you can tell us about how playtesting has gone, or what features of Multiverser have been brought forward?

The system is my own - Multiverse. Is there another called Multiverser?
Basically I have developed the game and the system completely now (as completely as it will be for now anyway)

I am now ready to publish and release


Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: Gregor Hutton on January 20, 2011, 03:52:36 AM
Ah, I too thought it was referring to MJ Young's Multiverser.

You can read about Multiverser on the Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverser or at the sites linked from it.


Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 20, 2011, 05:38:50 AM
Let's focus this thread.

1. It can be about publishing (based on the last post) or development, and either way, belongs in the right forum. Darkvell, this is a discussion site, not a place for press releases. We can help you with your publishing decisions by providing information and accounts of our own experiences. Is that what you'd like?

2. It cannot continue in its current form because it does not meet forum requirements. The rules for what's required in each forum are posted as the first thread in each one.

3. My perception is that Darkvell is trying to participate here but is very uncertain about how. The distraction about Multiverser, which was my fault, is not helping and needs to be abandoned immediately.

No more posting from anyone besides Darkvell until he or she answers my question #1.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: darkveil on January 20, 2011, 06:19:39 AM
Let's focus this thread.

1. It can be about publishing (based on the last post) or development, and either way, belongs in the right forum. Darkvell, this is a discussion site, not a place for press releases. We can help you with your publishing decisions by providing information and accounts of our own experiences. Is that what you'd like?

Hi Ron Thanks for the clarification (and accurate analysis). The game is "developed" (as far as it can be at any one time) and I am happy to do this side of things. Where I am in desperate need of advice and help is in the publishing and basically "Where to go from here?" question.

I hope this is the right place for that.

Thanks

Iain


Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 20, 2011, 06:58:33 AM
Whoops again - "darkveil" not "vell" - geez. Let me know your first name if that's OK by you, because I am very awful with internet handles. Oh shoot! you did. Damn I am getting senile. Iain. Got it.

So, yes, you are in the right place, or so I hope after ten-plus years of draining my energies into it for this purpose. The issues are:

Production
- final writing, layout, physical design
- product: print, electronic, both, something else
- if print: on-demand vs. traditional, local vs. off-shore

Venue for sales
- on-line
- retail
- other (e.g. conventions)

Primary financial return
- direct sales
- distributor-mediated sales

Legalities and finances
- copyright and trademark decisions
- payment for services (art, layout, et cetera)
- managing the books
- taxes

A lot of the above issues use specialized vocabulary that doesn't always make literal sense. For example, "direct" sales include retailer sales if you didn't use a distributor to get the books to the retailer; and "print on demand" includes short (in the 100's) print runs. So it's probably best to pick one thing at a time and dig into the commonly-used terms and the current means of checking out the options.

Here are some points which I've found are most important to keep in mind throughout the whole thing.

1. Many of the above options are not exclusive. It's not a matter of using stores and only stores, vs. using your own on-line sales page. You can do both. The issue is how much of your business you want to conduct in which venue.

2. Details and options change at least yearly, if not seasonally. So I can't recommend "the" printer or "the" way to do things; we have to find out which ones are most troublesome or immediate for you and then open it up for multi-publisher discussion here.

3. You may find that you are not ready to launch yet. As examples, many people who arrive here with similar announcements have, upon inquiry, not playtested their game outside themselves and a couple of friends at most; or they have spent a ton of money on art and have no idea how to make a printable file out of it, and have not yet begun layout. I'm not saying this is your status because I don't know; I am saying that it's wise to be prepared for such discoveries and not to be committed at this moment to a particular production date.

4. "Success" is defined by you and by you alone. There is no magic number of books sold or money made that applies to everyone. Although no one here expects you to agree with their personal benchmark, we need to know more about yours to help you.

I'll make the already-presumptuous assumption that you do not want actually to beggar yourself by doing this, and that you do not want to print up a zillion books only to have to mulch them to avoid paying inventory taxes a year later. These are real-world, actual possibilities if you go into this blindly, and we definitely can help you avoid them.

Welcome to the Forge!

Best, Ron


Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: darkveil on January 21, 2011, 08:12:52 AM
hey Ron

Thanks for the direction - glad I'm in the right place.

So to try and get some sort of idea out there as to where I am in the process.
1. I currently have a sourcebook and a first (introductory) scenario done (done explained below)
2. I have a website with all the commerce stuff and coding sorted. Commerce via paypal - automated scripting to provide secure downloads.
3. I have 3 supplements and 2 more scenarios in production.

So on to the "done" word.
The system and background setting is complete and play-tested. The layout is done to a good standard and the PDF is pretty professional (IMO). I am not 100% happy with the artwork, but that was because I had to do it all myself and didn't have an artist on hand.
I am confident that the system stands up. The issue lies with whether the write up in the sourcebook is sufficient to relay this to the reader. I took the call that I would not truly be able to answer this question with the resources I had without releasing it to a larger audience, getting feedback and then releasing updates. It was because of this that I decided to go down the independent online PDF route with the intention of hopefully building a small community where I could address any issue that arose.

Where do I want to get to?
I want to publish a darn good RPG. I would love to see it in print (what writer wouldn't) but thats about it. If I could get a solid community and following for the game without charging for it I would, but I cant afford to so I have 2 choices (as I see it):

1. Sell enough on line to fund a independent print run and try and distribute it independently.
2. Attract the interest of a publishing house and hope they run with it.

So that is where I am with all my (admittedly un-informed) thoughts.

I would be really interested in anyone elses opinion and in fact I am probably a bit pathetically keen to follow someone else advice.

Many thanks in advance.

Iain


Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: Chris_Chinn on January 21, 2011, 08:59:06 AM
Hi Iain,

A third option for getting into print is to use a print on demand publisher like Lulu.com.  Lots of folks here have used lulu or similar services and it works well - customers order from the site, they print up the book and send it to the customer, the fees for printing are taken out, and you get your money.  You keep all of your copyrights, and can even amend or change things fairly easily as they print from PDFs that you upload.  (Do a search for "roleplaying games" on Lulu, you'll see a lot of them!)

Granted, POD sites cost significantly more per unit than traditional printing, but it does mean that you're not paying for printing up front, warehouse/storage fees, shipping, or inventory tax.

As far as building community, the #1 thing which we've seen work over time is actual play!  Posting about your actual play, having your players/playtest groups talk about it, running demos or full sessions at conventions, etc.  When people talk about what your game does well, and differently than other games, it draws attention.  (When people talk about what your game doesn't do well, it can also draw good attention- sometimes a negative review sparks people going, "But, that's TOTALLY the game I want!" - Burning Wheel has this experience a lot on forums like rpg.net.)

Chris


Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: Nathan P. on January 21, 2011, 11:21:06 AM
Iain, you may also want to look at OneBookShelf (which operates RPGNow (http://www.rpgnow.com/) and DriveThruRPG (http://www.drivethrurpg.com)), as they are the largest PDF "distributor" and just started a print-on-demand service as well. So, it's a way to get your work out in front of more eyeballs, and then provide customers with a choice of PDF or a printed book, without any additional cost to you. Of course, you'll get less of each sale (they take about 30% of cover for PDF downloads, I dont know what the cut is for POD), but I've found that OneBookShelf sales seem to be in addition to my direct sales, not replacing them (that is, I haven't had a downturn in direct sales since I started offering PDFs on OBS).

Also, one of the most convenient tools they offer is that you can send updated PDFs to everyone who's bought one in the past with one button-click. Worth keeping in mind if you're planning on updating your PDFs over time.

If your goal is to spend the minimum of money on publishing while getting it out there, the model of PDF/POD sales + enthusiastic support and actual play is pretty well-traveled ground around these parts.The key determinate is getting the word out (whether by AP reports, reviews, paid advertising, convention presence, word-of-mouth in other venues, and so on)



Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: darkveil on January 31, 2011, 03:37:22 AM
Hi

Many thanks for all the suggestions - I have created a PDF for Lulu and am looking at the OneBookShelf option - it seems reasonable.

What about a 3rd option? Has anyone had any success getting a 3rd party publisher of games to take things of this sort? And if so any lists available that I can tout round with proof copy?

Many thanks

Iain


Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 31, 2011, 06:28:26 AM
Hi Iain,

That third option exists, as the default as many see it. This website includes the mission of repudiating that viewpoint. My take, and that of the co-founder (Ed Healy), his successor and founder of the current format (Clinton Nixon), and my current partner (Vincent Baker), is that this option is universally abusive to the author of the game. No matter how much yipyap about IP is involved, or royalties deals, or anything like that. The Forge is about fully owning what you create.

I'm not going to preach at you about it, nor do I think you should stop information-gathering. But I strongly advise you to look past the blandishments and promises, to examine what really happens when people let others take over their work, and to compare it with what can happen when you maintain full control. In this hobby, anyone and everyone can publish, and there is no special Guy who can make or break you, or act as your angel into "real" publishing. I suggest that in the short or long run, people who pose as this Guy screw the author, every time.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: darkveil on January 31, 2011, 07:58:07 AM
Hi Ron

I see what you are saying - having done some by-the-word writing in the past i know how poor the returns are and how little your work is respected. Based on this I am more than happy to explore other avenues. With some of the sites that the guys above have mentioned, it really is possible to publish yourself (which it wasn't 10 years ago), but the problem I see is how do you get your game noticed. If you go the way of the publisher then that becomes their problem (which I am sure they sting you heavily for). I am more than happy to give the game away for free if I think it would actually help it take off, but this is self-defeating if it does not produce a core of gamers and a critical mass.

I guess it all comes down to spreading the word

Hmmm. All very tricky

iain


Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 31, 2011, 09:58:35 AM
That's exactly right.

Merely getting your game "into stores" doesn't do it.Your book sitting on the shelf only gets you the piddly profit margin for that particular copy; store sales are only actually profitable in major bulk or if you can rely on retailers to re-order what sells. So some self-proclaimed Guy telling you "I can get your book into the stores" is blowing smoke in terms of concrete success. I have my books in stores, but only stores I trust to re-order and only those which the store owner is confident of selling.

Nor does hitting the internet with tons of nigh-spam corporate boilerplate press releases and banner ads; we've all seen so much of that it bounces off our eyeballs into the void. Nor does engaging in fierce battles with jerks who make it their life's work merely to trash reviews of games they don't know because they aren't (fill-in-the-blank title).

What we've found here is that honest reporting about your play and publishing experiences, the bad with the good, can really showcase the good. Opinions vary about the interfering qualities of fashion and personality support, but I think there are some pretty powerful case studies of people presenting their games well, and with good will, in such a way that others who would like this kind of game become interested customers for this game.

Personal enthusiasm helps, especially if you have the time and money to make it to conventions and hook up with people who know you're coming, and especially if you like other people's games, play them, and talk about them too. I wish it were true that these things were reliably successful, but as it is, I can only say that they apparently help.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: Devon Oratz on January 31, 2011, 10:28:45 AM
Someone settle something for me. Is this particular subforum the correct place for this type of thread (i.e. the OP)? As opposed to Game Development. I'm confused because Game Development seems to be more like Actual Play and I'm not entirely sure where the boundaries of any forum are delineated after the big compression that I gather took place a while ago. Thanks, and I don't mean to hijack your thread, Iain. I am just trying to learn how to 'use' the Forge by observing examples.


Title: Re: New Indie RPG released - The Blight
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 31, 2011, 11:24:09 AM
Hi Devon,

The original post isn't exactly a great Forge post in the first place, being mainly a press release. Iain has amended that by turning it into a relevant discussion, and the topic he chose happened to fit best in Publishing.

Game Development is about the design of the game content, up to and including prose presentation. That includes but is not limited to playtesting and talking about it.

Whereas Publishing is about visual presentation, physical design, marketing, and all considerations of getting the thing available to people in the way you want - all that goes here.

Actual Play is for any and all discussions about playing already-published games.

I hope that clears up any confusion. Let me know.

Best, Ron