More lessons learned from KS & Relaunch

Lessons Learned

The last two days I have been working through the budget of what can be cut, added and rearranged. I still need funds to guarantee I can pay for an editor or editors. That’s priority number one. I don’t need more art, but it I do want art to accent some areas of the book; mostly in the techniques chapter. I don’t like the map that was commissioned, which is why it wasn’t shown in an update. That needs reworking.

Some art for techniques & new map is a universal simple cost. Savage Worlds needs an editor. 5e needs an editor and a writer to flesh out mechanics for classes and archetypes.

Meanwhile looking at Kickstarter rewards can have a direct influence on how the project makes money to fund future budgets. A kickstarter has rewards that need to be covered and included in your funding goal. A PDF reward has no material cost, but should have a reasonable cost/value associated. Retail value for PDFs should be half or 3/4 the price of your physical reward. Money earned through a PDF reward does go straight to the project.

Physical rewards such as Books & Miniatures, have a physical cost that is directly deducted from the reward and should be listed with a margin above cost, close to shelf sales price. Most kickstarters will mark these rewards at shelf price, so they can count their profit as money to the project. Most books are marked up 4x production cost. So if you mark the book reward 3x production cost, but sale price is 4 or 5 times cost, backers tend to see it as a good discount. This does mean, you need to sell more physical reward pledge levels in this section to make it worth your wild. After you deduct your cost , the “profit” then goes straight to the project.

My initial goal was a cost margin spread across both versions of the book. If we keep half and make the next project focused for strictly on one version of the book, that covers cost and helps with more adventures and additional material resources. In addition, this gives time for the other version to catch up and finish development. Savage Worlds is finished, except for the editor. I think I have my next direction.

Trying something new

I have reworked my stretch goals and compared them to other kickstarters. I have also adjusted pledge levels to be a little more inciting. I want to try a short run campaign like I have seen others do in the past. They are exciting and at half price, it’s all or nothing. The goal will be to raise money for just an editor. It will be a 15-day campaign, and will will launch it on May 29. Art of War for Savage Worlds will have a goal of $1,000.00 or $1,250.00.

48 to the end of Art of War Kickstarter

We have (had) a kickstarter

After a too long of a hiatus, I’m back for another riveting rendition of the things we have been working on at Amora Game.

As many of you may or may not know, I have been publishing material from our Xeno File series here and on the Open Gaming Store under this moniker. My last article was November 2 of last year. What have I been doing with myself? What have you been doing without us?

This Tentacle has been busy working on a little project called Art of War. We are currently in the last 48 hours of our Kickstarter, and I have learned on this project.

  1.  Political Correctness: Very briefly we had someone perform their due diligence and say our project was appropriation. One thing to check during a PC environment is to make sure you do your best not to offend anyone. Having an anime Eastern fantasy setting can bring up such a challenge. While I having taken great pains to make sure nothing of the sort has incurred, I could see where one backer was a little offended saying, this was cultural appropriation. I get it. I do. While I could say it is actually appreciation, admiration and love for the history and countries that I have personally visited, that coming from a middle aged, middle class, white American gringo it sounds like just an excuse. But big companies like Paizo or Wizards or Fantasy Flight Games can introduce an Eastern setting without the internet proclaiming Orientalism. I get it. I can lay before you, saying this project is a love affair. The 1000 of artists and game designers out there are inspired by such rich and deep tradition, are wounded when things are said. All you can do is reassert your love, and continue with the project. Luckily we have been okay.
  2. Backers Cancelling pledges: It’s very interesting the answers you get from former backers if you reach out to them after they cancel their pledge. I never honestly assume a truthful answer is coming, but if I have offended someone, I want to do my best to correct it (see #1). Change your mind, awesome, I get that. Can not afford it, I get that too. I ask them if there is anything I can do to change their mind, or ask what they would like to see and sometimes we’ll get feedback. Then the random sort of “I don’t think your project will get funded, so I am canceling my pledge. I might back it when it has more funding.” If you cancel your pledge, that means that a kickstarter will not get funded. But if the kickstarter isn’t doing well and the time runs out, you don’t get charged. You are not out any money. Maybe it’s a way to save face, so they can say, “I didn’t back that project, I knew it was going to fail”. You see where my statements of not getting charged if it fails comes in.
  3. My complete lack of advertising: This is my fault. I didn’t advertise too much before the Kickstarter. I did a small Facebook and Tweet blast when it launched spontaneously without really thinking about it. I did not use all the tools at my disposal. This is my failing. However, I did do a small circuit around the web with two articles on OGN, Pinnacle put us in the Licensee Spotlight, the podcast Wild Die gave us a shout out, we released both a 5e and a Savage Worlds intro adventure South of the Wall Savage Worlds adventure pdf; South of the Wall 5th Edition adventure pdf; a teaser here Art of War Savage Worlds teaser PDF and we made an old Kemonomimi product free: Kemonomimi Race preview for 5th Edition; and an interview article is here. 

 

We are sitting at over 50%, but will it reach a new height. We’ll see.

Check us out if you want. Back if you love it. Once the KS is over, I’ll have time to start blogging again. 100s of anime to cover.

~TG out.

Faction: ACE or “Who taught you how to fly?” (Starjammer/Starfinder)

The tentacle is back for another article. This time we need to talk about who taught you to fly? What academy did you part-take in? Well let’s make an organization/faction that with built-in plot device.

he tentacle is back for another article. This time we need to talk about who taught you to fly? What academy did you part-take in? Well let’s make an organization/faction that with built-in plot device.

I give you ACE, or Accelerated Certifications of Explorers…

Accelerated Certification of Explorers (ACE)

Pilots for Hire

Leader: CEO and board Chairmen Sheyenne Alexxandra
Headquarters: Alpha Zeta, mobile space station

Two score ago, Accelerated Certification of Explorers, also known as ACE, started as a top gun pilot training academy boasting of the best and brightest from the civilized races around the Quad and beyond the Void. The academy offered a variety of classes ranging from weekend seminars teaching kids to pilot simple single man watercrafts to month-long training simulations on tactical heavy freighter combat. It was in a pilots favor and respected if a pilot held an ACE-approved certification pilot license.

As technology advanced and potential pilots sought cheaper training elsewhere, the ACE program expanded beyond the academy portion of the businesses and branched out to planetary expeditions. They serve as aerial surveillance and security for industrial corporations performing planet side surveys for future developments. The Alpha One (A1) Department services its clients with manned craft and aerial drones protecting the ground crew and providing surveillance shielding for clients that wish to keep operations secret. Providing services of radar jamming and scan deflectors are optional for an additional service fee.

Department Alpha Two (A2) handles requests for security of over long distance travel through hyperspace. Elite A2 starfighter pilots take on escort missions for freighter caravans that need defending from space pirates and organic threats traveling in deep space. This department gives guidance astral navigation through safe routes and pilots assigned to the contract will respond defensively to aggressive actions against employers. However, ACE policy dictates a responsive reaction versus initial confrontation. The pilots that join this department must be skilled in negotiation.

Department Alpha Three (A3) is the salvage and rescue fleet of the ACE company. A3 operates under contracts consisting of simple missions of planet-side equipment retrieval for corporations who left items behind, to answering distress beacons that the Union Worlds do not have time or resources in the area to inspect. The makeup of the A3 hosts a number of large freighters, tow ships, and starfighters equipped with the most advanced scanners and towing technology available.

Rumors persist of a division of the company that offers select services to only the most high profile of clients. ACE Public Relations (PRD) will never confirm the existence of the whispered department within the organization that performs these hush services. However, conspiracy theorists say the Delta Nova Zeta (DNZ) is a corporate mercenary division taking contracts of black ops rescue and withdraws, acting as crack pilot dog fighters bombarding slave ships, emergency medical extractions for undercover corporate or government agents, and performs ethical espionage and sabotage. The DNZ operatives fly in on unmarked ships and disappear before targets can register their movement.

Lead by CEO and Board Chairman Sheyenne Alexxandra, ACE Headquarters is located on a mobile space station that wonders the quadrant known as Alpha Zeta. This station houses a large percentage of ACE internal fleet of ships and offers a wide variety of services to ACE Certified Pilots. These services include medical services and resupply, dormitories for rent, refueling capabilities, including ship repairs and upgrades, an array of equipment (personal and otherwise) for rental and purchase, a job board access with access to freelance contracts and a number of essential services provided to members only.

ACE still operates a number of pilot training facilities among several Union planets, offering local licenses and higher quality ACE certifications. Local licenses focus on the society regulations of the planet, local government and Union qualifications for registered operation of the required craft. Then they offer a more intensive course designed with higher standards and lower graduation rate that qualify the individual as an ACE Certified Pilot. They use these higher courses to scout for potential recruits.

There you go. Small article today. But you have a faction of pilots that do cool stuff.

~Tentacle out!

Developer’s Journal 5: Drejk

Long time freelance writer: Wojciech “Drejk” Gruchała.

Drejk

Today I want to do a brief introduction of my first and long time freelance writer: Wojciech “Drejk” Gruchała.
Drejk, as is his Paizo messageboard name, has a blog over on Blogspot called
Shaper of Worlds. He first started his freelance career for me at Amora Game when I stumbled upon a class he was designing in the “Homebrew” section on the boards. This turned into our third product (that still sells regularly); Commander & Centurion for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

He did the Commander class and Kevin Bond did the Centurion prestige class. Drejk has come a long way in his writing and style of how he writes. I recently gave him a challenge to write a low level adventure scenario for our long dead Prepare for War adventure path. Of all the people to breath a bit of life into it, I think he is the one to do it. I’m excited to see him grow over the years in his development abilities. I can say of all of my freelancers, he receives the least revisions.

Now as a publisher, that doesn’t always do well for freelancing. I’m biased when it comes to his design work that he has done for me. So it is hard for me to see any flaws in design and go back to him with feedback. I commonly hand it off to someone else to review. This is my failure as a publisher and I recognize this, I just really enjoy his work. I will do better to give better feedback directly on this adventure.

So check out some of his work.
Under the name Drejk.
Under his name credits here.
His Patreon is here that helps to fund his free Pathfinder Monster Design Blog here.

Tentacle out!

Developer Diary/Friday Night Life: Time of Reflection 

I find myself spending the day in Hiroshima and doing layout for my Art of  War RPG and realized my artist did an incredible chapter art very similar to the photo I took above.

It’s nice to have artist and freelancers you can rely on to capture the moment. 

As far as the trip, it’s going well. I have traveled from Narita to Tokyo. Kyoto to Nara. Osaka to Hiroshima. Down the large “mainland” to this current stop and realizing there is weeks left to go.

Many shrines and temples left to find, with gardens to transverse. 

Developer’s Journal 3: Creating a Race for Savage Worlds

Construct Race for Savage Worlds – Terracotta

My gaming history started many years ago when I was just a young tentacle sitting around a table playing, if I recall: Vampire the Masquerade, but it also could have been Rifts While others might say D&D or AD&D or any other classic sword and sorcery game, my first introduction was modern day or post-apoc sci-fi tech fun. Now I make mention of this vague memory because within the last year, Savage Rifts was released using the Savage Worlds system. Which as a Pathfinder publisher, this is almost blasphemy for me to say. But I blasphemously say, I love Savage Worlds.

I always loved the d6 Star Wars game by West End Games, for it was an open ruleset to create the character you wanted. It had books and books and books of races from a 100 different planets spread across the galaxy. The openness of this ruleset reminds me of Savage Worlds.

So this week the tentacle sat down to try the race creation rules found in the Savage Worlds Science Fiction Companion. What I wanted to do with the playable race was to have statues that contained the ancestral spirits of the humans that had been brought to animated life. So starting with a little flavor of the above I delved into the book and followed the suggested rules and examples. Using the Construct template as the base, and adapting the flavor and a savage worlds ruleset for the upcoming Art of War , we have the Terracotta (First Draft)

Terracotta

The souls of ancestors of great reverance are entomb in the monasteries of the great cities throughout the land. Royal guards that have served an Imperial Family for at least 30 years or great leaders of rural communities can petition a secret sect of spiritual monks who hold the secrets of reincarnation. These monks guard the sacred ritual of bringing back life of those who have past, rebirthing them into statues of clay and stone. The Heavens do not always answer those who call, but if they are deemed worthy and the offerings are plentiful, the soul of the dead are pushed to animate the statues of their former likeness giving new life to the fabled fallen. These are the Terracota.
Preserved from oblivion at great cost, the terracotta are given a second chance at life. They must knowingly volunteer (or request) to an individual that must serve as a witness during the ritual. With the blessing of Heaven they return to full fill the duty they were unable to accomplish in life. Many terracotta remain in the service of the those that they served in life. Others have stood guard watching over the tombs of long enshrined Emperors they protected for centuries. Upon being brought back, terracottas negotiate their existence before the heavens and with those that bring them back. If terms are not agreed upon, the Heavens withhold their blessings and the soul passes to the afterlife.
Terracottas retain most of the memories of former lives and continue to perform their task. Many have been known to petrify in place where they stand or turn to dust upon failing in their duty. These souls are cursed and unable to pass on, leaving them to haunt the area where they failed. Those that succeed and fulfilled their contract, are given the second chance at life to explore and learn new things that they had missed out on previously.

Racial Concepts:

Immortal Soldier
Terracottas sometimes receive bodies carved from the strongest stone and hardened clay. The new bodies allowing them to take up weapons heavier than any mortal could swing. Going forth to fight again as undying soldiers in the rank and file of a Clan. Dying once only to learned from their flaws of battle and again to stand alongside the living to wage war.

Wise Hermit
After fulfilling their terms, they seek to continue to learn and research the things they were not able to do. Terracottas that play it safe live long and out last many generations of life to pass on the previous teachings to the next. Holding up in libraries and studying the lost arts or applying past techniques to new technologies, they are scholars willing to teach their skills to anyone that will listen.

Racial Traits:

Chi Dependent-2: Terracottas must align their chi for one hour out of every 24 hours to maintain the proper balance of control over their new form with a successful Meditation check. Failing to do so results in Fatigue each day that can lead to Incapacitation. Each level is  recovered with an hour of meditation. At Incapacitation the spirit separates the spirit from the husk and they perish. Alternatively, a terracotta can spend 2 chi points to skip this hour of meditation.
Created: Terracottas are constructs created of stone and clay. They receive +2 to recover from being Shaken, ignore one level of wound modifiers, don’t breathe, and are immune to disease and poison. They cannot heal naturally but must be Repaired (and ignore the “Golden Hour”).
Extreme Weather Sensitivity-2: Terracottas suffers a –4 penalty to resist a extreme heat and cold environmental conditions. It causes their skin to dry out, freeze and crack. If they suffer damage from an attack of these sources, this penalty acts as a bonus to damage.
Flesh of Stone: Their hardened material make up grant Terracottas a +2 Toughness at creation.
Heavenly Mandate-1: Terracottas are still bond to the heavens to serve a purpose after being freed from their initial reasons for rebirth. The being that agreed to fulfill their contract also gains a pawn on the material plane. This divine pact varies, but the terracotta must fulfill this duty. When there’s a chance to complete this goal, they’ll do anything, and take any risk to achieve it.
Inflexible & Heavy-3: Being made of hardened minerals makes it difficult for the terracota to move quickly. They suffer a -1 penalty to all Agility rolls. Their Pace is reduced by 2” and have a run d4 run die.
Unnatural-1: Death should be final for the soul so they can complete the cycle. Those that are rebirthed are seen as an interruption in this process. Not everyone favors the presence of the Terracottas and many view them as outside that natural order. They have the Outsider Hindrance suffer a -2 modifier to Charisma when dealing with those unaccustomed to Terracottas.

 

Overall: The concept of design when using SW is fairly easy for this race. The hardest part was the decision making on the translation of idea to mechanics. I’ll try to go over that next Wednesday for the Developer’s Journal.

Developer’s Journal 2: Rise of the Tiger Clan

Rise of the Tiger Clan

In this edition of Developer’s Journal we look at the 2nd draft copy of the history section of one of the three clans found in our forthcoming RPG Art of War.  This focuses on the the rise of the Tiger Clan


Tiger Clan

Clan Family Names: Date, Huang, Khan, Lao, Luo, Luong, Ma, Sakai, Shingen, Sun, Yu, Zhang, Zhao

Common Tenets: Benevolence, Harmony

Common Concepts: Buxist, Youxia

Common Descriptors: Caregiver, Elemental, Fluid, Monk, White-hare

Clan Technique: Deflect Arrow, Ground Breaker, or Moon Rabbit Leap

Rise of the Stripped Tiger

The story of the Tiger Clan begins just as any other points in history where the oppressed bind together to stand against tyranny of any form. The clan comes from the former nomadic traditions of the vibrant communities across all of the Hanxia Plains. Farming villages that hold to seasonal festivals to celebrate the life of the common people. They believe in the practice of a balance of living in harmony with nature and each other.

They came into their own when the surrounding barbaric warlords threatened their quiet life with raiding and pillaging. Warlords living in the Wylds looking to expand their territory ravaged the land with constant displays of violence. Sending hordes of raiders to raze crops, demolish rival warlord’s villages, the slaughter livestock, enslave those who didn’t pay tribute and desecrate sacred shrines of the Enlightened Way.

It was the keepers of these holy places, the Buxist of the Enlightened Way, were the first to speak out against the imbalances of oppression. These monks of virtue trained in the use of chi, developed physical techniques to align with the mind to perform great feats of marvel. The Buxist taught the basics of these techniques to the local villages in order to help defend against the raiding bandits. They trained while they harvested and fortified their homes with the offerings that the Plains provided to them.

It wasn’t long until the warlord by the name of Black Jade heard of a village that learned the secrets of the balanced path and looked bend it to his will. Arriving in the village, Black jade, went looking for the senior monk that is said to have mastered shattering swords with his fist. To his dismay, the monk had moved onto the next village, leaving behind only his wisdom. Black Jade pressed the village elders for the location of the scrolls the he had left. Offering first with money, than protection from the other warlords, and finally he used intimidation.

Those that were present during the initial altercation are said to have been divided. Some stood in fear, unable to move, while others instinctively responded with flight. Then there were those that responded with a type of aggression of vengeance. Vengeance against those who didn’t follow the basic tenets of balance, those that followed corruption, power and tyranny.

Those that responded became known as the 13 Heroes of the Cleansing Jade. They traveled from village to village spreading their interpretation of the old teachings and training them in defense against invaders. These teachings united villages into larger communities that began to take the names of the heroes as their own. Bring about the 13 established families.

As news spread of the fall of warlord after warlord, so did the Emperor’s eye turn toward the plains. Rumors and fear of revolt spread throughout the court, and under encouragement of Kitsune Samurai of the court, the Emperor dispatched a royal military unit to suppress any threats of the empire. Upon arriving at the village of Lao, it seemed as though life was proceeding as normal. The troops of the Kitsune Clan attache were welcomed with loyal cheers. When village elders meet with the diplomats, they informed them that a resolution was already in hand, and all the Hanxia Plains villages remained loyal to the Empire.

As the royal army traveled to secure further territory from the savagery of the remaining warbands, they found similar stories with each village. The royal emissary called for each hero to return with the Kitsune Clan as honored guest to tell their story to the Emperor. Those that agreed, arrived in the capital to a grand ceremony with an audience to appear in front of the royal family. It was here that, the Emperor annotated each of them minor noble standing. He called the collection of heroes representing each village in attendance the Tiger Clan for their calm and fierce demeanor. All members of the Tiger Clan were assigned the duty of protecting the realm from injustice, preserving the code of BuXia, and keeping the kingdom in balance.

icon-2-tiger-clan-monk