Posted on Leave a comment

A day of Playtime

Do you know those days where you are on the go all day, but achieve next to nothing. Today was one of those.

The image on the left may look like a set of solo rules for Index Card RPG, but it isn’t. That is a wasted half an hour using one of those really clever product mock up websites and a screenshot from Microsoft Word.

The naming Trial of One, or more accurately it has since been renamed Trials for One, comes from the trials in the Index Card RPG Core. Hankerin saying in the text to play them, solo, but doesn’t give any rules. I am building those missing rules.

But I am building them slowly. My handwriting is so bad that I cannot really show you any of the rules so far.

You will notice from the cover mockup that the genre is sci fi. The rules are completey setting and genre neutral, but the CORE gives us two settings, fantasy and sci fi, so I chose sci fi. If you like fantasy, do let this put you off.

If you look at a Crystal Worm, they make just as good an alien as they do fantasy monster, and don’t get me started on the Child of Azatoth, you cannot tell me that they don’t come from beyond the stars!

This is really a long post to say that I haven’t really made much progress today. I have killed a few characters, which is not ideal, muched about with some art, and made a few tables.

Still nothing worth showing. I hope to have more for you next week.

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.

 
Posted on Leave a comment

ICRPG Solo – Work in Progress

If you are familiar with the Index Card RPG from RUNEHAMMER, you will probably recognize the node layout from the image here. ICRPG has a distinctive artistic style that indie writers are not allowed to emulate, for fear of a third party book being mistaken for an official publication, so In place of the regular map cards, I have been using Game Icons with my ICRPG Solo rules.

I have a natural affinity to the ICRPG, you must be familiar with my love of the humble post-it note. It feels to me that Hankerin Ferinale and I were kind of on the same page with the desire to strip away all the necessary stuff.

My favourite quote from the rules is leave no content behind. The idea of moving anything unused back infront of the characters is dear to my heart.

Roll that d20

The solo rules the ICRPG are d20 based. I don’t normally use too many reference tables but in this case it felt like the right solution. The problem I wanted to solve was adventure creation. The joy of ICRPG is that you can deal out a new adventure almost at will. The harder part is integrating the location, goals and obstacles. Locations are easy, you deal them out. The goals and objectives are the harder parts. What I wanted to do was preserve as much of the unknown as possible.

I like the discovery aspect of roleplaying. That is part of why I like the sandbox style of play, adventures that can go anywhere and anything can happen.

ICRPG has Location/Obstacle/Goal at its heart. Without the obstacles this isn’t going to work. That is why I needed a mechanism to be able build obstacles on the fly.

Once you start down a particular design road, it is better for the player if you make everything work the same way. It keeps the player in the same headspace.

ICRPG Solo

ICRPG has very few game mechanics, and that suits my own rules light approach to solo play. This game has been an absolute joy to play and create for. What is strange is how many revisions this book is taking. I need to refine this until it is right. However many rewrites it needs.

I think you are going to see this one turn up on the blog a fair few times before it is ready.

Definitely work in progress.

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.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Building an Online Store Part II

WooCommerce-vs-Shopify

So, yesterday I started to look at two options for an online store. The first is WooCommerce and the second Shopify. The image to the right here is from Website Builder Expert.com and shows that other people reached the same conclusion.

To save you some time reading, the gist of it is that they are both viable, but shopify is slightly easier. Part of the drawback of Woo is that you need your own wordpress site and hosting. The second is that you need some technical ability.

The only downsides to shopify is that it costs more and is less flexible.

The thing is, the more extremes of flexibility are things that I don’t need. I am one person building a basic bookstore for my own books. I will not be the next Amazon.

The article also says that Woo stores take time to build. This is proving to be true. I now have about 5 items in my store. It is going to be a case of adding things bit by bit, a few per day. I think I can get everything added inside a month.

Woo agree with the article, they suggest that on average a Woo store waits 31 days before getting its first sale. I am going to start that clock from the day I have everything uploaded and live on the store.

Woo vs Shopify?

I imagine that I will end up with Shopify. The reason is not that it is easier, the reasoning is going to be time. As a one person businesses, if Woo + Lulu API is going to take more time to set up and maintain, that is time I cannot be reading, learning, playing, writing and playtesting new books.

I am not overly worried about print on demand at the moment. I want to get all the PDFs written and released first. During that time I know I can get the products listed in a Woo store.

I am also not expecting to be selling a huge volume. Roleplayers know to go and search DriveThruRPG. Getting word out about the my own store is going to be a long term endeavour. The Woo store will let me get an idea of what volume I will end up selling and whether the numbers will stack up to make a Shopify store viable.

Print on Demand

It is Print on Demand cards and books that are going to be the crunch point. To offer that from my own store will require either the lulu api or the shopify app. If I go shopify, I can integrate the shopify download centre and the shopify lulu app and have everything under one roof. If I go woo plus lulu api, I think the payments are going to get messy when people want print and PDF.

Luckily, I don’t have to choose yet. The way I am building the store means that if someone buys the PDF, their download link will work forever.

Plan of Action

So my plan of action is to write an extension of my business plan to include my own online store, research these two options looking at downloads, POD books, cards and possibly other solo kit like dice and other cool stuff. Work out how to market the store effectively to generate sales here in preference to DriveThruRPG, and how to optimise a product description.

That doesn’t sound too bad does it? Somehow it was so much easier when I just played games every evening!

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.

 
Posted on 4 Comments

Building My Online Store?

In today’s video I start by talking about ERA for Navigator RPG. That is really exciting, but if you read this blog because of my shared thoughts on making a living from writing for games, the second half of the video will be of more interest.

https://youtu.be/RXVODX5dEEI

Since I made the video, about 4hrs ago, I have had lunch and deleted all the items in the store, watched the wooComerce videos on creating digital downloads, installed the PayPal payment gateway and read the LuLu documentation.

Creating the download store is going to be easy. I will get a least one product up and working today. It may even be live by the time you read this.

The challenge looks like it is going to be getting print on demand integrated.

The easy option is to use the shopify app and woo plugin. This would mean putting all the PDFs and books on a shopify shop and then using the shopify wooCommerce plugin to handle putting the products on this site, handling the payments and fulfillment.

For that to work, I need to find out if I can run a download store from Shopify.

Shopify has four levels of service, lite starts at $9/month, then $29, $79, and $299/month. The gain would be that I would only be paying a fraction under 3% in costs per sale, rather than 30%.

If I go with purely digital for now, and the PayPal solution, there are no upfront or running costs, but chargebacks can be a killer. If someone decides that they don’t want the PDF after buying it, the store gets charged for processing the refund.

Going the PayPal way for Print on Demand would mean using the Lulu API. I have never implemented an API, but how hard can it be?

I think I am leaning towards PayPal and the Lulu API. It will be an interesting learning challenge.

In the meantime, I can set up a digital download store, to learn the back end side of things.

Then of course, the product page optimisation can start.

Update: Enter solo in the Search Products box to see the current version of the product listing.

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.

 
Posted on Leave a comment

Red vs Blue Jam?

Versus compare. red vs blue battle conflict frame, confrontation clash and  fight comic | Premium Vector

I was thinking today and I came up with a neat little game idea. Initially it was just a solo system.

  1. Take two dice, one red, one blue.
  2. Roll the pair.
  3. If red is higher, the answer is yes.
  4. If blue is higher, the answer is no.
  5. On a double, a plot twist occurs.

Then I though we need some stats, Physique and Smarts.

You get three +1s to share between two stats, so that is a +1 and a +2.

The red vs blue roll is also our skill system. When you are rolling a skill you get to add the appropriate stat to the red die.

Rolling a d6+2 vs 1d6 gives you a pretty good chance of success, even the d6+1 gives you a 16% greater chance of success.

Combat Challenges

I am not really building this for hack and slash but we do need some way of dealing with fights. Narratively, we can deal with much of this with descriptive combat. By that I mean, you describe how you are going to win, and then roll to see how well you achieve it.

This makes combat very tactical. Imagine the situation, how you would defeat this foe, how will you move, how will you act. Then you roll the dice. Did the plan work? If not, you have to rationalise how you are defeated.

Mini System

This is an obviously a micro light system. You have the entire system here in this post. The point is that anyone could take this a make a specific system.

Game jams are just that. I can offer this us, and let anyone do the specific setting and genre stuff. Build what they like.

Does anyone fancy building a Red vs. Blue game?

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.