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Designer Diary

One of the challenges of being a truly indie creator is the sheer number of skills you have to pick up. My latest need is for video editing. I know I could buy the skill in, but I have a budget of just a few tens of dollars. For now, some entry level software [HitFilm Express] and hours of online tutorials is about my limit.

The videos are required because I am creating a series of Patreon videos for my Dungeon Crawl Classics solo rules. These will be edited down to make a single video that will then go on my YouTube channel for everyone.

I dithered about for ages before starting my YouTube channel because I was too self conscious to record myself. I have the same kind of anxieties about having to watch myself back on screen and do the editing. Just another thing I have to get over myself about.

Deals of the Day

On DriveThruRPG a Deal of the Day is the pinnacle of the marketing options. There are two factors to it. The first is that it takes time to save up enough to afford to run a DotD. The more publishers there are on the site, and new publishers sign up every week, the more people are accumulating the publisher points to afford to run one.

The price is kind of like an auction. Every time a title is added it goes into a queue, the longer the queue gets, the more expensive the price gets.

But with ever more publishers, every month there are more eligible to add a DotD to the queue. There is only ever one DotD so the rate they are worked through remains constant, but the rate of new titles is constantly growing, and the price always rises. I think I paid 450 points for my first DotD, the price today is over 660. It is never going to come down, beyond its natural daily variations.

It also means that the higher the price, the longer you can expect to wait between submission and the event happening. The products are choses at random from the queue, but exclusive products are 3 times more likely to be chosen than non-exclusive.

What this means is that even with thousands of publisher points to spend, you are unlikely to ever be in a position to run more that 5 deals in a single year, the chances of being chosen more often than that are just stacked against you. The number of potential deals is also falling because the queue gets ever longer.

DriveThruCards is a different beast altogether. It has a different, and much smaller number of publishers, much smaller customer base, and a DotD is not an everyday event. The most expensive DotD I have seen was 17 points, most of the time it costs a single publisher point. You don’t earn anywhere the same number of sales (or dollars for that matter), but you do get more exposure and earn more money.

It is also probably possible to become a big name publisher more easily on DriveThruCards than on DTRPG. Less competition. My long term plans will see me creating 30-50 decks of oracle cards. That is more than some dedicated card publishers have.

With my Troika! deck, people who like card decks could by that one deck, and nothing else, I had nothing more for them. This time around, if people see my Rogue Handler deck during its DotD, they could also pick up my Troika! deck at the same time. Roll that forward a year or so, then people could pick up dozens of decks, if that is what they fancied. Every new deck I add to DriveThruCards, is a new opportunity to run a DotD, and then showcase a whole range of decks. If you are interesting in one solo RPG deck, there is a good chance that you could be interested in others.

This is an exercise in creating more brand awareness as much as earning extra sales dollars. Right now, I am looking at this and thinking that it must have a huge potential, but I don’t yet know how to make best use of it.

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Wickedly Solo is now Live!

Last year I was commissioned to write solo rules for Wicked Ones. You remember me writing about it back in December.

I am pleased to say that the supplement is now live.

It uses a different approach to my other Forged in the Dark book (Alone in the Dark, for Blades) in that you will not find the icon oracle in this one.

I went for a more madlib approach.

You grab several words from d66 lists, and use them in order to build a stunted little sentence. You can then riff off that sentences meaning to get your answers.

The yes no oracle is purely a fortune roll, success is a yes, a partial is a yes but with consequences or a complication. A failed roll is a no and with the consequences.

The more likely the answer is to be a yes, the more dice you roll.

The highlight for me is not the bit I wrote, it is the cover.

I just love the idea of a monster solo playing Wicked Ones, which means the monster is playing the humans, playing the monsters.

You can find Wickedly Solo here, and a free edition of Wicked Ones here.

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Cards Are Quite Fun

As a player a GM I don’t use miniatures, battle maps and frequently even a map. As a player I am happy to go along with whatever the GM likes, but if things get too tactical I tend to get anti-tactical. In one group I play with they are constantly trying to maneuver for flank and rear attacks. When things turn into a war game start trying to express my characters personality through movement. If they want to build a barricade to hide behind all I see is a stage to stand upon and issue challenges. I love ju,ping on things and striking a pose, well my characters do, I am more likely to fall off anything I jumped up on.

The point of this rambling is that, I have been playing with oracle decks recently and I quite like them. I don’t see cards in the same way as all the other paraphernalia that we can bring to the table.

I have a long history of using card decks. Devil’s Staircase Wild West is entirely card driven, no dice are used at all. The solo oracle from Devil’s Staircase became the underpinning for my Savage Worlds Solo rules.

When I made the Troika! oracle deck it had the most basic of instructions, no real rulebook, everything was on the cards.

This month I put out a supplement for solo playing anything from Delta Green to Call of Cthulhu to Dark Streets to Eldritch Tales. I don’t normally do system neutral stuff, but that is how this one turned out. Last week I updated the booklet, and this week I ended up creating a card deck for it.

The thing about d100 games is that they need a lot of cards to be really isno good knowing that the 00 is already in the discarded pile. You need at least two of everything to ensure all the options remain in play.

So, yes, this is a 200 card deck. At one point it was 400 cards, but I need bigger hands to shuffle them. 200 cards is a nice chunky deck, and I use both sides, just in different ways.

I uope to get these out next week. They work really well with any d100 modern cthulhu game, big or small. If you have Rogue Handler, these cards extend some of the tables in the book, and add more in the way of NPCs.

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!

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