Designer Diary: 30hrs & $5

First up, my current Kickstarter is decidedly underwhelming. On the one hand, I had big expectations for ZineQuest5/ZiMo2023. These are featured events, and I had expected that to bring in more backers. On the other hand, lOn the other hand, last year, ZineQuest4 was moved from February to August, and I had penciled in to run two zine projects this year, one in February for ZiMo [Zine Month] and a second in August for ZineQuest. As it happened, Kickstarter moved ZineQuest back to February, so there is just a single zine event in 2023.

I suspect that my project hasn’t performed well because I launched mid-month. All the excitement would have been at the beginning of the month, and if people had a budget for zines, they would likely be spent by now.

That is pure supposition, but it feels logical. But, unfortunately, that was outside my control because I couldn’t launch at the beginning of the month. After all, I was waiting on Kickstarter to payout for the previous project and let me fulfill the rewards.

If I look at this positively, the project is a success; it funded. It continues to bring organic Kickstarter fans that are not coming from my mailing lists or this site. Unfortunately, I believe you need to have completed six kickstarters before they will let you start to overlap projects, so I am now four down and two to go.

How much money would I have made from a solo supplement for a free game? When I released rules for White Lies [DwD studios], that was also a free game, and I have made $201 net since its release. It is possible that this project could still hit that level by the time it finishes, and I also can get longtail sales on my storefronts.


I have now spent about 30 hours working on my first Pathfinder adventure and about $5. You will not be surprised that I am not worried about the money. The positive is that the more of these adventures I create, the better I will become at eyeballing the balance of encounters. If the encounters are right the first time, the less rework required, the faster the process will go. I have also now got a template I can use for both print and PDF. A lot of the groundwork is now done, and my experience is going up.

The $5 was for a few bits of stock art. Yes, I know I said I had all this stock art, but things just happened when I started writing. I didn’t need monster art. I wanted NPC art to help bring the NPCs to life. The monsters are never the star of an adventure; the NPCs provide the roleplaying in the RPGs. Players need people to roleplay off of.

I will be really interested to see how the second iteration shapes up. I would hope that it takes 25 hrs or less. That will suggest that I can make these faster just by doing the technical bit quicker. The ultimate aim will still be 16hrs, but even 24hrs will be acceptable.

What is interesting, for me,at least, is the idea of building a stockpile. I have an adventure, and I want to put it on sale. Part of me says I cannot make anything on something that isn’t on sale. The other part of me knows that the greater plan of fortnightly releases should/may lead to much bigger gains on Amazon and DTRPG.

But, one adventure does not make a stockpile!

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