Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Comparison Guide to Selecting How to Crowdfund Your RPG

The Unofficial Official Blog Carnival Logo, courtesy of Nevermeet Press

[Today's post is a response to the March RPG Carnival on Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding RPGS]

So you’re thinking of crowdfunding your very own RPG product? Good for you. In recent years sites like Kickstarter and success stories like Open Design and Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple make this a very attractive option. After all, starting your own company or product from the get go can be difficult and costly, finding investors beforehand can really make your ride smoother.

Before you lie many portals you can use to build your fundraising project; today I’m going to give you a quick overlay of three of them.


How it Works

At Number 1 on the list is Kickstarter, the popular go-to tool for tabletop game developers and their projects. Kickstarter works by raising pledges of future donation in return for future rewards or perks, with higher monetary pledges in general receiving more and more perks. If a project doesn’t receive it’s goal by the end of the deadline then there is no harm, no foul. Your investors never give up their cash and the creator isn’t required to finish a project with no funds. Furthermore, if you reach your goal you can just keep on collecting, and in fact many people take advantage of this fact to have a second go at marketing their product and giving even more to their pledges.

Campaign Tools

Kickstarter offers each Project some internet real-estate in the form of a page on their servers. You can include images, a video, and as much or as little sales copy as you want. In addition their pledge level system can be fully customized with whatever amount you want and as many levels as you feel you need. They also include some social media buttons so that you and your backers can tweet or Facebook share the project with the simple press of a button.

The Cost and Other Limiting Factors

Kickstarter has a lot of traffic, but they also have a lot of requests that never see the light of day. Of the hundreds of projects that apply every week Kickstarter only accepts around 60%. As far as actual fees go, Kickstarter claims 5% of all funds raised plus 3-5% to Amazon Payments who process the contributions. That amounts to 8-10% of your raised total, so plan accordingly. In addition, Kickstarter only allows American projects, so if you're out of country you may want to use...


How it Works

Similar to Kickstarter, IndieGoGo works by raising contributions for future projects with higher donations receiving better and better rewards...but there are two ways to to go about the process with IndieGoGo. One method works almost identically to Kickstarter, your backers contribute money and if the fundraising goal isn’t met then you don’t get a dime. However, unlike Kickstarter, IndieGoGo gathers the money upfront and refunds it if the goal isn’t met. The other way IndieGoGo works is through their “flexible funding” plan. In this plan any money that is raised goes to the project, even if the goal isn’t met.

Campaign Tools

IndieGoGo offers you a page on their servers where you can post video, images, and sales copy about your project. In addition they have a fully customizable perk system for both cost of levels and amount. They have a full integration of social tools including Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Devlog to let both you and your users share the campaign with ease.

The Cost and Other Limiting Factors

The cost for the two plans varies only if the goal is not made. If your project does reach its goal then IndieGoGo charges a 4% fee of the total funds raised. If you are using the flexible pricing method and you don’t reach your goal that fee increases to 9%, but you get to keep the remaining funds. Finally there is a 3% fee of funds raised for third party processing. That totals 7% if your goal is reached on either of the plans, or a total of 12% of funds reached if your fundraising fails on the Flexible plan. In addition there is a 25$ fee for wiring the money outside of the United States.

Because money is gathered ahead of time, and those projects which elect for the flexible plan get to keep their funds backers may be leery of being burned. Because of this, even though IndieGoGo is a cheaper alternative than Kickstarter, consumers may be slow in deciding whether to give their money to just anyone, and building trust with your backers becomes even more important.


How it Works

Chipin is a fundraising flash application that can be added to any website. Instead of paying for pledge or perk levels, people who use Chipin...well, they just chip in. Any sort of perks are included only by the author who can use one of Chipin’s tools to view who donated, what they donated, their e-mail address and how they interacted with the event. If you don’t want to host the Chipin applet on your page, Chipin does give a very simple page to you which you can fill with text, but the applet has support for many different types of pages such as Blogger and TypePad. Money donated goes directly into your PayPal account, but can be refunded (on your action) via PayPal if the goal is not reached.

Campaign Tools

Chipin is really short on the campaign tools, including only the applet itself. The app consists of a simple bar graph tracker showing what has been earned, what percentage that is, what it is for (in a few words) and when it is needed by. Oh, and the actual button to chip in of course.

The Cost and Limiting Factors

Chipin itself takes no fee from the transactions, but because they do business through PayPal there is a 2.9% processing fee.

In addition, all the things I said about customers being leery of your campaign in regards to IndieGoGo goes double here. The transactions are made ahead of time, there is no guarantee of product, and to top it all off the Chipin site hasn’t been well maintained since 2006. The software still works, but even though this is the cheapest option for Crowdfunding out of the three, I wouldn’t put one of my products in its hands unless I had a very loyal and trusting audience.

Wrapping Things Up

It’s been my pleasure to give you this quick overview of Crowdfunding services. Are you thinking of crowdfunding a project? If so, will you be using any of the above, and why? Tell me more in the comment below.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Life In Stormreach

A couple times before I've talked about the game Dungeons and Dragons Online here at Dungeon Brew...but I will no longer be using this space as a venue for that. Instead I started a new site a fer months ago called My Life in Stormreach.

My Life in Stomreach is a blog about free Dungeons and Dragons games, namely Dungeons and Dragons Online , Heroes of Neverwinter and the upcoming Neverwinter games.

I discuss builds, provide walkthroughs, and have several advice articles. If you play any of these games, or are interested in learning more about them I invite you to check out Dungeon Brew's new sister site today.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

VG Meet DnD: The Pack from the Dead Space Series

Give baby a kiss
[Necromorphs are the reanimated corpses of the dead, reshaped into horrifying new forms by a mysterious curse.]


They come in swarms, dozens of gray childlike bodies rushing forth from the darkness, a shrieking choir of the damned. Oversized claws glisten with the blood of fresh kills.

Like the lurkers, pack members are created from the bodies of children or small sized humanoids. They serve as shock troopers for the necromorphs, attacking in droves in a hope to overwhelm their foes through strength of numbers.

Unlike most necromorphs members of The Pack are not resilient to damage, and have no regenerative abilities.

Strategies and Tactics

The Pack attack in large numbers, rushing forward on all fours and using teamwork to overcome their opponents. They usually begin combat by charging one foe en masse (to take advantage of their pounce ability), then use their tumble skill to withdraw, spreading out in different directions before wheeling back around and assaulting the target again. Occasionally a pack member or two will stay behind to engage opponents as a sort of living sacrifice, allowing the others precious seconds to prepare for another assault.


Environment: The Pack can be found anywhere, but tend to prefer wide open spaces which allow them freedom of movement.

Typical Physical Characteristics: Members of The Pack appear as they did in life, the wounds which slew them still visible upon their form. Still the curse has made some notable mutations, fusing fingers together on each hand to create a set of claws and adding muscle mass to the upper body.

Alignment: Members of the Pack are always evil.

Typical Treasure

For reasons unknown the pack seems to carry around a modest sum of wealth taken from slain victims. They have half standard treasure.

For Player Characters
A player may create a pack member with the animate dead spell, but must have an additional material component consisting of half a pound of corruption, which must be applied to the corpse before the spell is cast.

Pack Member CR ½
Always NE Small undead
Init +2 Senses Darkvision 60ft; Listen +2, Spot +2
Languages understands creator’s orders; understands telepathic commands

AC 13, touch 13, flat-footed 11
(+1 Size, +2 Dex )
hp 4 (1/2 HD)
Immune undead immunities
Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +4

Speed 40ft
Melee 2 claws +1 (1d3+1)
Space 5ft; Reach 5ft
Base Atk +0; Grp -3

Abilities Str 13, Dex 14, Con -, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 10
SA Pounce
SQ Undead Qualities
Feats Skill Focus (tumble)
Skills Hide +6, Listen +2, Move Silently +2, Spot +2, Tumble +9
Advancement none

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

VG Meet DnD: The Cyst from the Dead Space Series

The pod within the cyst, seen up close.

[Necromorphs are the reanimated corpses of the dead, reshaped into horrifying new forms by a mysterious curse.]


Strange pulsating sacks of flesh litter the walls and floor ahead. Each sack has a set of three sinewy tentacles which peak out from the top of the sack, twitching like the tongue of a snake testing the air for prey.

Cysts are stationary mortars that fire a small explosive projectile when disturbed.

Strategies and Tactics

Unlike other necromorphs, cysts don’t exhibit any sign of intelligence; they react the same way with friend and foe alike.


Environment: Cysts seem to grow only on areas infested with Corruption.

Typical Physical Characteristics: Cysts are small round sacs of flesh within which lies a brainlike pod. The pod has three sinewy tentacles it uses to launch itself from the cyst.

Alignment: Neutral Evil

Typical Treasure

While cysts keep no treasure of their own they are often found as guardians for the treasure of other necromorphs.

Cyst: CR ½; biological (Tiny Undead, AC: 12, hp: 5, Fort+2, Reflex+0, Will +0); proximity trigger; no reset; multiple targets; 1d6 damage (DC 15 Reflex save half damage); Search DC 10; Spot DC 20; Disable Device 10; Cost: N/A

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Volin Krober from "Murder in Oakbridge"

I don't think that guy's friends are going to get to him in time.

You may remember "Murder in Oakbridge" as one of the best murder mysteries published in the print version of Dungeon Magazine (Issue #129). The story of a mysterious killer with a curved blade who flensed trophies from her victims in the City of Sharn. I remember it as the murder mystery which gave my players quite a bit of trouble the last few sessions. Thankfully they caught up to the killer's plot the day she planned to kill Volin Krober, and hiding in his home (with some darn good checks I might add) they waited for the killer to strike. The problem?

No stats for Mr. Krober, and I had no idea this turn of events was going to happen. So, while I winged it, you simply won't have to as I've decided to help out any fellow DMs who may want to run this great module.

[If you were checking the blog looking for the rest of the Necromorphs don't worry, those are on their way. But I figured I'd post this while I put the finishing touches on the next batch of undead horrors]

Volin Krober                        CR 6
Elven bard 3/ranger 2/expert 2
CG Medium humanoid
Init +3; Senses Listen +1, Spot +1
Languages Common, Elven, Halfling

AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 15; Two-Weapon Defense
hp 26 (7 HD)
Fort +4, Ref +9, Will +4

Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee +1 rapier +9 (1d6/18-20) or +1 rapier +7 (1d6/18-20) and mwk dagger +6 (1d4/19-20)
Ranged mwk dagger +6 (1d4/19-20)
Base Atk +4; Grp +4
Atk Options favored enemy animals +2
Special Actions bardic music 3/day (inspire competence, inspire courage +1, fascinate 2 creatures, countersong)
Combat Gear 2 potions of cure light wounds
Bard Spells Known (CL 3rd)
1st (1/day)--cure light wounds, feather fall, hypnotism, ventriloquism (DC 13)
0 (3/day)--ghost sound, mage hand, summon instrument (DC 12)

Abilities Str 10, Dex 16, Con 11, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 15
SQ bardic knowledge +4, wild empathy +4 (+0 magical beasts)
Feats Track, Two-Weapon Defense, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (rapier)
Skills Bluff +5, Concentration +6, Diplomacy +7, Gather Information +7, Handle Animal +12, Listen +1, Knowledge (nature) +7, Perform (string instruments) +12, Ride +6, Search +3, Spot +1, Tumble +5
Possessions combat gear plus +1 chain shirt, +1 rapier, mwk dagger, 228 gp

Not Playing Murder in Oakbridge?
Volin works well as a trainer of wild animals. He could have a lucrative business training foreign beasts and dangerous critters. This works especially well if he hires the PCs to capture a few specimen for him, or perhaps to help him catch a group of monsters that have escaped during their rehabilitation.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

VG Meet DnD: The Lurker from the Dead Space Series

[Necromorphs are the reanimated corpses of the dead, reshaped into horrifying new forms by a mysterious curse.]


Small projectiles launch from the sinewy tentacles of a humanoid creature up ahead. It rushes up the wall on all fours and growls at you menacingly from its perch on the side of the passage.

These creatures serve as the artillery for the curse. Created from children or the bodies of halflings, gnomes or other small sized humanoids they undergo a painful transformation that turns their intestines into launching devices for small bone shards.

Strategies and Tactics

A lurker uses its climb speed to attain a position out of the reach of melee combatants and then proceeds to hide and wait for an ambush. When the trap is sprung it launches bone shards at the opponents and lashes out at enemies who get to close by stabbing at foes with its spike-tipped tentacles.


Environment: As an unnatural monster lurkers can be found anywhere the curse has been unearthed. However they are likely to inhabit areas where their skills can be put to use. Fighting in places with varying heights or with difficult terrain to deter opponents from closing.

Typical Physical Characteristics: Lurkers appear as small naked humanoids with three spiked tentacles projected from their backs underneath the shoulder blades. In addition several small appendages grow from the remains of their stomach which assist them while they climb sheer surfaces.

Alignment: Lurkers are always neutral evil.

Typical Treasure

Lurkers don’t keep treasure and are unlikely to be found with any remains from before their transformation.

For Player Characters

A spellcaster of eleventh level or higher can create a lurker with the create undead spell.

Lurker                                    CR 2
Always NE Small undead
Init +4 Senses Darkvision 60ft; Listen +2, Spot +2
Languages understands creator’s orders; understands telepathic commands

AC 15, touch 15, flat-footed 11
    (+1 Size, +4 Dex)
hp 12 (2 HD); fast healing 5
Immune undead immunities
Fort +0, Ref +4, Will +3

Speed 40ft; Climb 30ft
Melee 3 tentacle spikes -1 (1d4)
Ranged 3 bone shard +3 (1d4)
Space 5ft; Reach 5ft
Base Atk +1; Grp -4

Abilities Str 10, Dex 18, Con -, Int 6, Wis 13, Cha 4
SQ strategic dismemberment, undead qualities
Feats Multiattack
Skills Hide +12, Listen +2, Move Silently +8, Spot +2
Advancement 3-12 (small)

Fast Healing (Ex) Damage dealt to a lurker’s tentacles or head cannot be healed by its fast healing ability. See Strategic Dismemberment below.

Strategic Dismemberment (Ex) The tentacles and head of a lurker can be attacked independently of its main form (AC 17). Each appendage has a fourth of the lurker’s hp. This damage cannot be healed by the lurker’s fast healing ability. While nothing happens if the lurker loses its head when a tentacle is destroyed the lurker loses one of its melee and ranged attacks. If all three of the tentacles are dismembered the lurker is destroyed as if it had reached 0 hit points.

Lurker Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (religion) can learn more about lurkers. When a character makes a successful check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from the lower DCs.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

VG Meet DnD: The Crawler from the Dead Space Series

[Necromorphs are the reanimated corpses of the dead, reshaped into horrifying new forms by a mysterious curse.]


What appears to be a large infant slides forward on two arms and a single burly leg. Its head, which has been twisted backwards, stares vacantly ahead as it pushes its bulbous torso skyward, a torso that pulsates with a sickening yellow light.

Adults aren’t the only ones affected by the curse, children and even infants can be affected as well. The Crawler is an example of what happens when very young children or babies are infected by the curse. Their bodies are too small and weak to be of much use in combat. To offset this they transform into living bombs.

Strategies and Tactics

Crawlers have only one attack to make from the time they are created. They swarm opponents ahead of other necromorphs in a desperate suicide attack to weaken living foes or destroy them outright. They often do this by attacking in cramped quarters where there is less room for their prey to escape.


Environment: These undead can technically be found anywhere. However due to the nature of their slow speed they are usually not found far from the site of their infection. Large concentrations of crawlers can be found in schools or nurseries.

Typical Physical Characteristics: A crawler resembles a bloated human child with ash gray skin offset with red or brown blood vessels. They are covered with dried blood and unknown ichor. Their heads have been twisted in a 180 degree angle and their back legs have fused into one single limb which they use to propel themselves forward in the manner of a caterpillar. Perhaps the most distinguishing feature is their torso, which has been twisted skyward and pulsates with a pale yellow light. The belly itself is the source of their exploding compounds.

Alignment: Crawlers are always neutral evil.

Typical Treasure

Crawlers do not keep treasure, they are usually too young to be adorned with jewelry or magical clothing. Such items, invariably, are destroyed when the creature explodes anyway. Occasionally, that is 5% of the time, they can be found with 1/10th of standard treasure in assorted coins from belt pouches or pockets they had on them before their infection. A crawler with such treasure which explodes invariably scatters the wealth across the combat area. 

For Player Characters

A player can summon a crawler to his service with the summon undead I spell. 

Also the crawler's explosive sac can be removed using the Survival skill and then used as a weapon

Crawler                                CR 1/6
Always NE Tiny undead
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60ft; Listen +1, Spot +1
Languages understands creator's orders; understands telepathic commands

AC 15, touch 15, flat-footed 12
    (+2 size, +3 Dex)
hp 3 (1/2 HD) see kamikaze burst
Immune undead immunities
Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +0

Speed 10 ft (2 squares)
Melee --
Space 2 ½ ft; Reach 0 ft
Base Atk +0; Grp -2

Abilities Str 6, Dex 17, Con --, Int 2, Wis 6, Cha 12
SA kamikaze burst
SQ strategic dismemberment, undead traits
Feats Ability Focus (kamikaze burst)
Skills Hide +13, Listen +1, Spot +1
Advancement none

Kamikaze Burst (Ex) As a standard action a crawler can generate an explosion which effects its squares and every square adjacent to the crawler. Creatures struck by the explosion take 1d6 damage (DC 13 half). The crawler drops to 0 hit points and is destroyed as part of this attack. If a crawler is destroyed through damage other than strategic dismemberment it will automatically initiate a kamikaze burst as a free action.

Strategic Dismemberment (Ex) A crawler can be destroyed without activating its kamikaze burst by decapitating the head or leg (AC 17). If this is done then the sac can be salvaged with a DC 15 survival check. A failed survival check results in the detonation of the sac.

Crawler Lore
Characters who have ranks in Knowledge (religion) can learn more about crawlers. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from the lower DCs.