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Dungeon Crawl Solo (new)

This is my latest solo rules booklet.

Once upon a time someone bought my Solo Adventures for Stars Without Number, and liked the icon driven oracle. They then bought my OSR Solo book, and was disappointed that it did not use the same icon tools. The end result is that the Dungeon Crawl Classics [DCC] solo rules does have an icon oracle, but it also has the roll for page, paragraph and sentence oracle that was first showcased in Rogue Handler.

This book falls into three parts. The first is the oracles and questions and answers. The yes-no oracle is not ground breaking in any way. There are three DC target numbers for unlikely, 50/50 and likely questions. One is a critical no, Twenty is a critical yes. That is all there is to say about that really. This oracle is used to control NPCs, including other members of your party.

Part two is all about clocks and drama dice pools. I like these mechanics as they push things out of your control. You have a top level of control in so much as you decide when to start a clock and what the consequences will be, but from that moment onwards, the even happens when the clock or pool says it will.

Part three is all about building and running adventures. Building adventures is about building 5 room dungeons, one for the entire campaign, and then within that, a 5 room dungeon for each adventure. You then keep cycling through adventures as you level up. You use the stage you are at in the campaign to color the adventures you are creating.

I also cover running published adventures. The Portal Under The Stars was my testbed adventure, and I discuss a couple of approaches to running published adventures.

This book is available in print from my own store and lulu from today. It will be live on DriveThruRPG in a couple of hours, and the print edition will be available in a couple of weeks. On Amazon the Kindle edition is live, the print edition will be available in about 72hrs.

Patrons will get this book for free once it is live on DTRPG.

Newsletter subscribers on this site are entitled to 40% off during May 2021.

If you follow me on DriveThruRPG you will get a discount code for 25% off.

I send out discounts of up to 40% to my blog readers. To qualify all you need to is join my contact list, so I have an email to send the discount code to!

You can of course leave the list whenever you want. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Print on Demand and Publisher Accounts

What do the changes in Lightning Source’s printing set up mean to you and I? It comes down to a slight drop in price and quality for colour books, and an increase in price for the black and white, but no change in quality there.

This combined with the recent killing off of saddle stitch does make DriveThruRPG less attractive to buy printed books from. That they are looking for an alternative gives credit to them. POD must cause 90% of the problems, and probably most of the customer complaints and not a great deal of added revenue either.

I have absolutely no idea what volume of books they send through LS but it has to be a lot. If a normal person wants to set up a POD title on LS, they charge you $49 just for set up, per title. Then you have to still order your proof on top of that.

I find for my titles I get between 1% and 3% of customers pay for the physical book. That could be because mine are pretty small. I use the 6×9 format, and typically a book is 30-40 pages. You can get two pages on a sheet of US Letter or A4, and printing double sided, you get away with just 10 pieces of paper. Of course that is not as nice as a physical book, but it may well be more functional if you want to flip between tables on different pages.

Exclusive vs Non-Exclusive.

I was wondering what the incentives actually were to remain exclusive to DTRPG. They make more money from non-exclusive accounts on a per sale basis, but lose out on sales made elsewhere.

I was looking at the benefits.

  1. You earn about 7% more as an exclusive publisher.
  2. You gain a bonus 10 Publisher Promotion Points to spend on the DTRPG marketing tools.
  3. You get additional homepage exposure in the Exclusive to DTRPG scroller.
  4. You are three times more likely to picked as DotD.

That 7% haircut on income is probably the biggest draw to remain exclusive. I need to make a couple of hundred dollars from other sources to earn what I will miss out on now that I have become non-exclusive.

That also gives me a very simple litmus test. If I earn more than $200 from the same titles that sell on DTRPG, on other sites, such as Itch, then I made the right choice. Less, then I am losing out.

The publisher points are a kind of currency linked to the gross value of your sales. It works out at 1 point for every $10 in sales. Non-exclusive publishers get 10 free points per month, exclusive get 20 free points. That 10 difference is significant when you first start out. Now it is less so. The free points make a tiny difference to how many points I receive each month.

There is another mechanism at work here.

Deal of the Day is the best use of publisher points. The queue of titles is normally 90 or so, and they only have one DotD each day.

The point I am at, I earn more publisher points in 90 days than the cost of a DotD. I can sustainably keep one title in the queue. Or that is the theory. In practice exclusive accounts are three times as likely to be picked. So, on average you should be waiting about 30 days. That does look about right in my limited experience.

But I could not afford to put a new title into the queue every 30 days. I would have to sell about $6,000 worth of books to hit that level.

If I was selling $6,000 of books on DTRPG each month I would not need Deal of the Day.

If I cannot sell $6,000 of books each month then I would not have enough publisher points to add a new title to deal of the day.

So as a non-exclusive I am likely to need to wait nearer the 90 days for a deal of the day. If I was exclusive I could only afford to add a title to the queue roughly once every 90 days.

The whole idea of extra publisher points and the priority picks for DotD cancel each other out, and that is no benefit.

The Exclusive to DTRPG scroller on the homepage is meant to give exclusive publishers added exposure.

It does work. Out of the12,688 books I sold last year, 23 came from people who clicked on a link in that scroller. At an average value to me of $2.49, that scroller netted me an addition $57.27. These are ballpark figures, I don’t know what they actually bought, but I know my average price per book.

As far as benefits go, I don’t think $60 is a huge draw. I can remember when I was starting out, $5/month seemed a lot.

I will add the $5 on to the goal amount.

I think that I can make non-exclusive pay for itself inside a year. The delay will be getting everything listed on all the sites where I can put them. What is one more job to do each week?

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OSR Solo – translations

OSR Solo was Deal of the Day on DriveThruRPG last month.

When I wrote that booklet I gifted it to the community. The entire contents are under a Creative Commons license, you can do what you like with it.

The next day I was contacted by Piotr Koryś, of GRAmel, asking to translate it into Polish. There was no need to ask, as it is public domain, but it was nice to be asked.

Then yesterday I got this:


I write to you on behalf of “Hirukoa Publishing House”, we are a company dedicated to the promotion of and participation in all types of roleplaying, fantasy novels translations, comics, strategy and card games. We are based in Salvatierra in northern Spain.

I am writing to inform you that I am going to translate the title OSR SOLO into Spanish and make it available for free download on DriveThrurpg. Many thanks for your time,
Yours sincerely,
Javier Barroso

I am kind of hoping that the tone comes from English not being their first language. The second paragraph rather irritated me, and it takes a lot to get me annoyed.

For a start, it really isn’t difficult to find out my name, it is written in the front of the book. If you haven’t bought the book, it is on the product page; but I will let that slide.

There is something about being ‘informed’ that really grated.

It annoyed me that they want to give the translation away for free. It is their effort to translate it, they can throw their effort away, I don’t care. I always make sure that you can access all the contents for free, but giving stuff away for free makes it that much harder for people to make a living from writing for RPGs.

If people cannot make a living from it, we cannot invest in art, or any of the other talents/skills needed to make new stuff.

On the other hand, if you would like to translate this, or any of my titles, just ask. Stuff that is Creative Commons, I will happy promote once you have released it. Stuff that isn’t, I am quite happy to revenue share with you. The more people that discover solo play, the better as far as I am concerned.

Some of my titles have been translated into Polish, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. I know someone is working on some German translations as well.

If you do translate something, make sure you earn enough to cover your time and effort!

I send out discounts of up to 40% to my blog readers. To qualify all you need to is join my contact list, so I have an email to send the discount code to!

You can of course leave the list whenever you want. Your support is greatly appreciated.