Thursday, April 6, 2017

2017 Progress and Reflection

All too often, I write New Years gaming resolutions, and then I pay very little attention to them until the next December when it's time to start working on the next set. If I've failed to meet any of the goals, it's too late at that point to make any significant change of course. This year I'll be reflecting several times during the year on my progress and sharing my thoughts. The more I share publicly my progress and shortcomings, the more likely it is that I'll hold myself accountable to completing my goals.

In 2017, these were my resolutions:
  1. Start a game night tradition with my family.
  2. Publish one project per quarter on DriveThruRPG or a similar site.
  3. Research the process to make Outsyder Gaming an LLC, and make an intelligent decision. 
  4. Run a Kickstarter for an RPG product.
Four months in, my progress hasn't been very significant. Between lots of illness in the family and work taking up more of my time than I'd like, I just haven't had as much time as I would have liked to have fun. But here's the breakdown of how things are going:
Working version of
cover art for Brimburg.
  1. We do have game nights, but they are sporadic. So far this year, we have played Legendary several evenings (always awesome), and we learned how to play Francis Drake (good, but I wouldn't call it awesome with only two players). What we need is more consistency... an established day of the week/month that is set aside for games.
  2. The first quarter has come and gone, and I haven't published my next product yet. Brimburg is about 80% complete, but I've been overloaded at work, and in my free time I've pursued less creative interests. I'm also realizing how difficult it is to write for RPGs when I'm not playing RPGs. The last campaign I joined fell apart, I haven't found a suitable replacement, and I've been struggling to write RPG content in the interim. I'm still plugging along, but the pace has been slow.
  3. I have done a little research on LLCs, and I do think this is the direction I want to move. However, my initial research is showing that it will cost me around $200 to start out, and around $70 per year just in licensing fees and such. As a side project that currently nets me less than $100 per year, taking this step will require a shift in focus. I need to put more emphasis on turning a profit if I'm going to make that kind of financial investment. Up to this point, I've focused on the fun, and if I happen to earn a few dollars here and there, I'm happy for it... but if I pay $70 in licensing fees but only make $50, I might as well flush $20 down the toilet.
  4. Creating a Kickstarter is one of my goals that was planned for mid-summer anyway, so I'm not overly concerned that I haven't made much progress here. I do have a better grasp of what direction I want to go with the product, though, so that's a start. Smelly Boot Shenanigans was a personal hurdle for me, and I made it, even if the product itself may not be as high-quality as I would have liked. Brimburg is shaping up to be better, and I'm excited for the next installment once I finish. More updates will be coming soon.
So that's where we stand, folks. Not a ton of progress at this point, but still moving in the right direction, at least.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Smelly Boot Shenanigans

My first full adventure just went live on DriveThruRPG, and I'm curious to see how it will do. As my first adventure, I like to think I have high hopes tempered with realistic expectations. Here's the description:

In a small town called Brimburg, townsfolk have been disappearing for about a month in groups of two. The town doesn’t have a standing guard, and those few who have taken it on themselves to investigate haven’t turned up many clues. A few miles upriver, a clan of goblins is being bullied into kidnapping people. Our heroes must deal not only with the goblin kidnappers, but the more frightening forces manipulating them.

In Smelly Boot Shenanigans, heroes will come into contact with this tribe of goblins, and decide whether they deserve enough pity to pardon them from their involvement in a string of recent kidnappings. The Smelly Boot Clan is meant to be a humorous depiction of goblin culture, complete with laughable characters and a dash of middle school potty humor.

Smelly Boot Shenanigans is a location-based adventure for low level PCs. It can be played as a one-shot adventure or as the first in a series of adventures to be published by Outsyder Gaming. This adventure makes reference to a town named Brimburg, another product to be published by Outsyder Gaming. This adventure details the caves that the Smelly Boot Clan calls home. This location can be dropped into any campaign, although its inhabitants are unlikely to pose a threat to experienced adventurers regardless of system.

It's a system-neutral adventure, but I may release crunchy bits later on... likely after more play-testing. I do have several other projects in the works, though, so if people like it enough as-is, I might just let it stand as a system-neutral and focus on other upcoming releases.

Check it out here.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 Gaming Resolutions

It's that time of year again! 2016 is over, and boy was it a crazy year. Let's hope that 2017 is not quite as nuts as last year was, am I right?

In any case, despite the huge mess that 2016 was, I did manage to be pretty productive as far as resolutions go. Here's what I decided on this time last year:
  1. Create a new man cave. You betcha! And boy is it nice. I painted our spare bedroom, built some shelving, bought some organizers, and I once again have a suitable cave to store all my geeky stuff.
  2. Write one meaningful post per month. I'm giving this one half credit. I did write twelve posts over the course of the year that were more than just, "Check out this cool thing I found!" However, they didn't come out once per month. Some months I was productive and wrote more than one, but some months I barely posted at all. I need to be more consistent to give myself full credit here. 
  3. Complete a writing project! I'm giving myself full credit here, even though it's kind of a stretch. I should have my first full adventure published on DriveThruRPG within the week, but the approval won't go through until 2017. Technically, I set the goal to finish a project even if it never got published. So screw it. I'm the one counting up the points here, and I'm giving myself credit. So what if you can't see it yet? It should pop up here in the next few days. 
2.5 out of 3 isn't bad, even if I did stretch it a little on the third resolution. I'm going to call that a successful year! But enough looking back. Let's take a look at what's on the horizon. Here's what we have in store for 2017:
  1. Start a game night tradition with my family. We love board games, but we don't play them enough. When we do have time, we always say that we should do it more often, but then we don't actually change our schedules to make room. I don't know if we can make a weekly game night work, but I'd like to... and even monthly is better than just playing whenever we find some free time. 
  2. Publish one project per quarter on DriveThruRPG or a similar site. Now that I have a little experience putting together projects for publication, I'd like to think that the process will be quicker in the future. With a lot of the newbie questions and hangups out of the way, I'd like to publish four products in 2017 (in addition to the one that should be published this coming week.)
  3. Research the process to make Outsyder Gaming an LLC, and make an intelligent decision. I've been doing a lot of research on self-publishing, and it sounds like one of the things I need to do is get things set up as a true business. I typically make less than a hundred dollars each year from Outsyder Gaming. If things go my way, that may increase in time, and I want to make sure everything is done correctly.
  4. Run a Kickstarter for an RPG product. Later in the year, perhaps third quarter so that I can complete the work over summer break, I want to put together a Kickstarter for one of my products. I'm not sure exactly what it will be at this point, but we'll see how the first few published products go. I might continue in the same direction or shift slightly, but if I'm going to take this self-publishing thing seriously, it's worth giving Kickstarter a shot.
That's all for now. Hope you all have an amazing 2017!
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