Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thinkin' 'bout Dwimmermount

I'm waiting on a single piece of art for the first part of the Dwimmermount Codex that I've been showing off over the last couple of weeks. Once I have it, I can make the final tweaks to the text and layout and then send it off to DriveThruRPG.com for sale. In the meantime, I've also been working on the second part -- Monsters & Treasures -- and that's coming along nicely, too. And since deciding that doing things myself is probably the fastest way to get it done to my satisfaction, the months-long logjam on Petty Gods has also broken. I'll have more to say about that unduly delayed project over the weekend, but suffice it to say that there will be an early Christmas present waiting for old school fans this year. There's also Thousand Suns, too, and I'll have more to say about that once it's ready for sale.

I've also been giving a lot of thought to the publication of the Dwimmermount megadungeon. It's something I very much want to do and, judging from the comments and emails I get regularly, it's something a lot of people want to see. So, it's not so much a question of if or even when so much as how. I mean, the dungeon is done. I have all my notes and maps and other write-ups. Turning that stuff into something others can use is the issue. For example, I'm a terrible mapper, as I've admitted many times before. To produce a Dwimmermount project, I'll need to pay someone to do the cartography for me and good cartography costs money. Likewise, I'd like to include artwork, both for purely esthetic reasons and also to illustrate some of the more interesting sites in the megadungeon. That, too, requires money to hire people with skills I lack in abundance.

Ultimately, money is the biggest hurdle. Unlike Petty Gods, which was never conceived as a for-profit project, the Dwimmermount megadungeon product would be for sale. If I'm going to ask others to pay for what I've written, it goes without saying that I'd, in turn, pay those who lent their talents to assist me in bringing the megadungeon to print. And, having been a freelance writer in the RPG biz in the past, I know all too well how poorly it treats creatives, especially artists. I don't want to contribute to that sad history, which is why Dwimmermount will likely need to wait till I've accumulated a bit of cash through the sale of stuff I can produce on my own.

On the plus side, I have a very clear idea of how I plan to present the megadungeon. My model is Mike Carr's In Search of the Unknown -- all the rooms in the dungeon are described, but there's also a high degree of customizability, allowing each referee to place whatever monsters and treasures he wishes into many of the room. This, coupled with the ability to expand the maps through the use of geomorphs and self-contained sub-levels, would turn Dwimmermount at least partially into a "design your own megadungeon kit." But, as I said, I'll need a lot of maps to do this right and I can't map to save my life. The other neat part of what I have in mind is the inclusion of integral sandboxes for the worlds of Areon, Kythirea, and Ioun, since there are active portals to all three of these worlds on Level 3A. Those worlds have generated a lot of interest in Dwimmermount over the last couple of years, so their inclusion seems a no-brainer to me.

That's where things stand at the moment. In between my other work, I've been transferring my notes into legible formats and trying to get a sense of how many maps and how much art I'd like to have for this Dwimmermount product. Then I can start to assess how much it'd all cost to produce in the manner I'd like. I suspect it'll be enough that completing it will be a long-term goal -- that is unless one or more of my regular readers is a millionaire with money to burn. A guy can dream, right?

25 comments:

  1. Pay Dyson Logos to do your maps. Then show the maps with rooms to an RPG company, then get them to pay for the illustrations.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "My model is Mike Carr's In Search of the Unknown..."

    Excellent choice.

    I'm also looking forward to Petty Gods.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Dwimmermount Megadungeon sounds like it would make a perfect Kickstarter project.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dyson's maps are awesome and I'd love to have him, but, again, the money thing :)

    As for the RPG company and the art, I'd rather not go that route, since, not to put too fine a point on it, this is my project and I want to keep it that way.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Dwimmermount Megadungeon sounds like it would make a perfect Kickstarter project.

    It's a thought, but I don't think Kickstarter is available in Canada.

    ReplyDelete
  6. CC beat me to it - you should definitely take a look at Kickstarter. I'd gladly pay you today for a hamburger... err, I mean, a megadungeon sometime in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Big thanks to James for all the hard work on these projects and on this blog. As for acquiring funds, maybe you could just create a page with a donate via paypal button. Maybe anyone that donates 50 dollars or more could have their name written in the pdf, or get an autographed copy, etc...

    ReplyDelete
  8. As for the RPG company and the art, I'd rather not go that route, since, not to put too fine a point on it, this is my project and I want to keep it that way.

    James: I'm sure there are plenty of OSR and non-OSR companies out there who'd be happy to license Dwimmermount for publication. You'd be able to retain your rights, and still see it in print (on someone else's dime, too!) :D

    Allan.

    ReplyDelete
  9. PS - re: Kickstarter: other alternatives, like http://www.indiegogo.com/ aren't US-only.

    Allan.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm sure there are plenty of OSR and non-OSR companies out there who'd be happy to license Dwimmermount for publication.

    I'm skeptical of that myself, but I suppose anything's possible. :) Regardless, my plan right now is to self-publish it, even if it takes a while to raise the funds necessary to present it in the way that I want. If some other opportunity arises, great, but I'm going to proceed on the assumption that I'm on my own for this one.

    ReplyDelete
  11. It's a thought, but I don't think Kickstarter is available in Canada.

    Kickstarter requires an US banking account to open a project. There are plenty other crowdfunding services though:

    Ulule
    Pozible
    Fondomat
    Indiegogo
    InvestFashion
    Peerbackers
    Sponsume
    RocketHub

    Take a look at those sites whether any offers acceptable conditions for your project.

    Another way to raise income would be Flattr. Many of your blog entries are flattr-worthy, people interested in Dwimmermount could thus pay for work you already did (or are doing anyway), which would help you to gather the money necessary for a printed Dwimmermount.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Take a look at those sites whether any offers acceptable conditions for your project.

    Thanks for those suggestions. I may well have to look into this, because I'd really like to make Dwimmermount available to others, but, to do that, I need a bit of money beforehand and that's (unfortunately) not something I possess in the necessary amount to make it happen.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You need to hook up with Wolfgang Baur at Open Design. From a purely financial perspective, the idea of getting PREPAID for creating something with collaborative input is the best way to go.

    I have participated in two of his projects. One (Empire of the Ghouls) was amazing. One was ok. Having the prepayments enables you to get some fantastic quality stuff from Lulu.

    I don't know if you can work out a deal with Wolfgang, but he seems like a very affable and rational guy, so what is the harm in trying? I have had modest dealings with him in the past and I could dig up his email somewhere if you need it.

    mark

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think there would be a lot of real value in publishing exactly what you have as is. We need more public examples of exactly what a “working DM’s” materials look like. e.g. There are people out there who feel they are just as bad at mapping as you feel you are. They could use an example that shows that this needn’t keep them from running a good game.

    There would be value in the cleaned up and “made useful for others” version of Dwimmermount too. Indeed, once you got that done as well, the comparison of a “raw Dwimmermount” versus a “polished and productized Dwimmermount” would be really great.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I would be glad to pay into a Kickstarter-type fund in order to get Dwimmermount to market. Also, I'd much rather see this kind of project self-published than risk the compromises commercial publication necessitates.

    ReplyDelete
  16. From a purely financial perspective, the idea of getting PREPAID for creating something with collaborative input is the best way to go.

    That I certainly agree with. After years of writing as a freelancer, I vowed never again to do work where I was expected to wait 9-12 months -- or more -- after completion before I saw any remuneration, assuming I ever did.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think there would be a lot of real value in publishing exactly what you have as is.

    I agree and I may well make some of that material available in some fashion, but I couldn't ask anyone to pay for roughly drawn maps and sketchy keys.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Also, I'd much rather see this kind of project self-published than risk the compromises commercial publication necessitates.

    Yes, me too. There's not much profit to be had in a venture like this anyway, so I figure I should at least get creative satisfaction out of presenting the thing the way I want to.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I couldn't ask anyone to pay for roughly drawn maps and sketchy keys.

    I can certainly understand your reluctance. But it does have value. And there are those of us who, therefore, would pay for it.

    Not that I’ll complain about getting it gratis. ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  20. I can certainly understand your reluctance.

    If I were one of the founding fathers of the hobby, sure, I can see charging people for my Coke-stained notes and shoddy maps, but ...

    ReplyDelete
  21. May fortune shine on your endeavours

    http://bytesanddice.wordpress.com/
    Jon

    ReplyDelete
  22. "If I were one of the founding fathers of the hobby, sure, I can see charging people for my Coke-stained notes and shoddy maps, but ..."

    But you are *the* Grognard, so there must be a certain cachet to your empty chip bags and pizza-box dice arena. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I wouls care more about the content of the text and not too much about the professionalism of the maps and illustrations.

    ReplyDelete
  24. James, I second (third) the comments of those who suggest Kickstarter. Kickstarter has a thriving RPG community so I think you'd do well raising money there.

    Even if you are Canada based, nothing stops you from creating a US LLC and opening up a US bank account for the project -- or simply teaming up with a US-based partner to set up the account.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Even if you are Canada based, nothing stops you from creating a US LLC and opening up a US bank account for the project -- or simply teaming up with a US-based partner to set up the account.

    That seems like a lot of trouble to go to for a project like this :) On the other hand, Kickstarter does seem to be the preferred platform for RPG crowd funding, so I don't know.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.