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Gamerprinter
10-21-2009, 01:01 PM
So yesterday's experiment with the Gnomic Vault map follows another publishing idea I've been working on. In a way, I am unhappy with my relationship with Dementia 5 Publishing, though I am still working with them on the Kaidan project. I wanted to see what else I could create that could have a faster ROI and not require as much work from me.

So, on a whim, I took my June Challenge Winning entry (Assassin's Lair):
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=5870
wrote up a detailed map key, then sliced the map into printable letter size chunks for easy printing on home inkjet or laser printers.

I contacted Johnn Four of Roleplayingtips Newsletter fame, (and a rare member here) about the possibility of developing a product that I would market exclusively through him. In addition to his newsletter, Johnn has been developing a site and blog focusing on teaching how to create your own RPG publication - emphasizing the business side of game development.

He was very excited with the idea with using the Assassin's Lair map and the prospects for making a larger product out of it. So what he wants me to do, is to create two more Roguish Lairs in similar hand-drawn style, key them and slice the map. Johnn and his partner Mike Bourke will write 12,000 to 15,000 words of text regarding RPG adventures with Assassins, using my three base maps as useable options for the publication.

My part is the idea, and the three maps (one already completed). We're looking at creating a $15 product that will be split three ways.

All marketing will occur through Roleplayingtips.com Newsletter, Campaign Mastery Blog, and Johnn's RPG marketing site - he will write reviews, articles in the newsletter/blog, and place ads through his various RPG contacts.

So we'll see what happens.

Traditionally the cartographer is commissioned to create maps for a given project, is paid after work is complete, but never sees any profit from the publication later on. While this publication venture idea doesn't pay a commission per se, it allows me to be the primary pubisher and active participant in the project and potentially make much more money. Its a different Method of Operation, but I think there's great potential.

I'll update this as the project moves forward.

GP

PS: if this idea turns out to be profitable, then there's any number of following products consisting of three themed maps that could be expanded with text into an ongoing series of products...

torstan
10-21-2009, 01:13 PM
Interesting idea. There are some products along these lines. I have a series of maps that I sell directly through RPGNow. These are just a single map, sliced up into printable chunks and bundled into a pdf, along with the high res gridded and ungridded jpg for use in tabletop play. These get sold through all the one bookshelf stores including ENWorld and Paizo. They sell for $1 at the moment, but I think that's a little low. I'd say $2 is fine for a single, usable map. The reviews back this up. I'd say that 3 maps with associated text for $15 seems like a good price on those numbers. I'll be interested to see how that goes.

Make sure that you provide a printer friendly greyscale version of your chopped up map. There's nothing worse than buying a $15 pdf and then finding out you need to replace your printer cartridge twice just to print the pages.

Sounds like a great venture. I look forward to hearing how it goes.

Gamerprinter
10-21-2009, 01:25 PM
Interesting idea. There are some products along these lines. I have a series of maps that I sell directly through RPGNow. These are just a single map, sliced up into printable chunks and bundled into a pdf, along with the high res gridded and ungridded jpg for use in tabletop play. These get sold through all the one bookshelf stores including ENWorld and Paizo. They sell for $1 at the moment, but I think that's a little low. I'd say $2 is fine for a single, usable map. The reviews back this up. I'd say that 3 maps with associated text for $15 seems like a good price on those numbers. I'll be interested to see how that goes.

Make sure that you provide a printer friendly greyscale version of your chopped up map. There's nothing worse than buying a $15 pdf and then finding out you need to replace your printer cartridge twice just to print the pages.

Sounds like a great venture. I look forward to hearing how it goes.

Oh, I quite realize this type of project has been done before, perhaps not with the Assassin as a theme, but there are already many products like it. Regarding the price, Johnn's opinion is that the RPG market isn't the high volume of sales it was ten years ago, so a product selling at only a few dollars is very difficult to see a ROI quickly. He feels that $15 is the minimum amount a potential publisher should sell any product and justify the efforts of marketing the thing.

While I am an advocate of pricing as low as you can afford for better "bang for the buck" for the end-user, that's why Kaidan is priced so low, however, since Johnn will do all the marketing himself, and he has ready vehicles to do it with in his blog and newsletter (with 14,000+ subscribers), I think its worth the attempt.

Johnn also wanted to emphasize that while map only products do sell, mix products consisting of maps and cool written content sells even better, so that's the planned direction with this.

I do think its an interesting idea and something worth pursuing.

GP

PS: Johnn has also agreed, if the product sells, then this will be the first in a series of related products (3 maps and text) in multiple themes, so this won't be just a one-off publication.

mearrin69
10-21-2009, 02:16 PM
Great idea and good luck with this. I know I'm having more fun making maps than I am developing the text side of my stuff :)
M

torstan
10-21-2009, 02:35 PM
Absolutely. I'll be very interested in finding out how this does.

I wasn't criticising the price at all. For the amount of work you're putting into that $15 is absolutely what you should be looking at.

Notsonoble
10-21-2009, 07:55 PM
Sounds like a interesting project. Hope it goes well.


In addition to his newsletter, Johnn has been developing a site and blog focusing on teaching how to create your own RPG publication - emphasizing the business side of game development.



Link please? This is one of those things I'm so lost about i feel like I need a nav beacon, approach radar, and carefully written instructions.

Gamerprinter
10-21-2009, 11:28 PM
Can't seem to find the original link, but here's one that points to it...

Gamer LIfestyle (http://www.dungeonmastering.com/gaming-life/gamer-lifestyle-strategies-free-pdf-by-yax-and-johnn-four)


GP

Gamerprinter
10-22-2009, 03:49 AM
Just for clarification, Johnn Four was one of my first Gamer Printshop customers, I've printed maps for him, laminated shipped boxes filled with published maps from boxed sets, have traded ads, sent him some of my early products where he did reviews on them. He's not just a known industry contact, he's truly a customer and associate, I've known for quite a while now. Sometimes I justed batted ideas back and forth through Emails, just for industry advice and such. I should have been working with someone like Johnn, instead of someone realitively new to me, like Dementia 5 Publishing.

I have a communication problem with D5 and their consistency of not meeting deadlines - which is my main problem with my current publisher, otherwise they are a fine company and I don't mean to slight them, its just we don't work well enough together to satisfy my publishing goals. The Gift may end up as a mini-campaign one off, without a follow up setting - things are up in the air at this point. (I am not hopeful.)

I should have started a publishing partnership with someone I knew well and trusted more - that's why my new project is going into Johnn Four's capable hands.

GP

Notsonoble
10-22-2009, 11:41 PM
I have a communication problem with D5 and their consistency of not meeting deadlines - which is my main problem with my current publisher, otherwise they are a fine company and I don't mean to slight them, its just we don't work well enough together to satisfy my publishing goals. The Gift may end up as a mini-campaign one off, without a follow up setting - things are up in the air at this point. (I am not hopeful.)

I should have started a publishing partnership with someone I knew well and trusted more - that's why my new project is going into Johnn Four's capable hands.

GP

That sucks... I was really hoping to see where it went... are you really in a situation where you can't continue it with someone else?

Gamerprinter
10-25-2009, 04:44 PM
Since its known I'm a 3e or Pathfinder gamer and not a 4e gamer, I never thought I'd be creating content for 4e, but then that's the kind of product John Four and Yax (Mike Bourne) of Gamer Mastery blog creates.

So it looks like this 3 associated maps product will be for 4e, interesting.

On an aside, Johnn gave me his philosophy on making money selling RPG products. The secrets are to create easy and inexpensive to create, but high quality products that sell for no less than $15 each. Create multiple products over the year. Through advertising, blogging and other shared exposure, obtain 1000 loyal fans - which Johnn says is not that difficult to do.

You can expect loyal fans to spend one days pay, out of an annual income on your products, which averages $100 per year. This means 1000 fans at $100 each, or $100,000 per year - a decent income for being creative.

I hope things really work out that way, I need to make $100K per year for a change! :P

Thoughts?

GP

Gamerprinter
10-28-2009, 03:41 AM
About 15 years ago, I had developed a race of gnomes, who comprised a racial thieves guild called the Gnomic Syndicate, unfortunately Star Trek TNG created the Ferengi, which is very much like my Gnomes.

1. Holy Codex is called the Gnomicon, similar to the rules of acquisition.
2. Instead of an ear fetish, my gnomes have a boot fetish.
3. Gnomes sponsor or found all thieves guilds of other races.
4. Goal of the gnomes is the total fiduciary domination of all non-gnome races.
5. They breed and sell human pleasure slaves.
6. They steal, reverse engineer, improve and sell weapons technology.
7. Shrinking pantheon of gods who through alliance and assassination kill off other gnome gods to rise in hierarchy.
8. Fiduciary high priests are head of the syndicate, while Wizards and Sorcerers form the officer corps, rogues, bards and fighters at the bottom.

These are the guys, whom the Gnomic Vault map is all about.

Anyway, I've just talked Johnn Four into adding them as part of the Underworld Map set, to expand the resource - cool, cool!

Expected for publication early in 2010.

GP

Sigurd
10-28-2009, 08:46 AM
I think the best thing you've got going for you GP is you obviously enjoy doing it and you make a good product.


good luck,


S

Turgenev
10-28-2009, 07:09 PM
Best of luck on your new venture, GP. I love the idea about the Gnomic Syndicate and your maps are always top quality.

Gamerprinter
11-02-2009, 11:49 PM
Working on my thieves guild map for the upcoming product. A few things I need to think about.

1. A thieves guild should look like a normal structure on the outside, so as not to draw attention to itself and better blend into the neighborhood, but on the inside I need a cool layout as better looking gaming tool.

2. I plan to place a small dungeon maze beneath the structure for things like practice for opening locks, find traps and remove them, also as a defensive means for escape (knowing where the traps and dead ends are) when the authorities raid the guildhouse - it will happen.

3. I need multiple stories so that a hidden courtyard in the center, as some interesting wall surfaces to practice climbing and ledge walking skills.

My problem is not knowing 4e enough. What sort of "powers" do thieves have and how should I implement the 4e powers as part of the design of the guild. For example, if Shadow Power is a thief thing in 4e, I might need to place a shadowy chambers with light obstruction to create the atmosphere necessary to really make the site a 4e guild layout.

Since I'm a Pathfinder or 3e and earlier guy, I don't know what is intrinsically 4e as regarding thieves. I don't want to necessarily buy 4e books just to make one map. I'm hoping there are some 4e experts here (more or less) to give me pointers on how I should fulfill this aspect of a 4e thieves guild map.

Any tips somebody can offer?

GP

mearrin69
11-03-2009, 12:24 PM
Ahem. They prefer the term "rogues"...have for a while now. "thieves" just isn't p-c anymore. :)

I can't help you with 4E powers but it sounds like you're on track with the stuff you've outlined so far. I think your room of light and shadow sounds like a good idea anyway, even if there's no power that grants an SU ability to hide. How about a room filled with noisy traps and crisp leaves, etc. to hone Move Silently? Maybe 4E has combined Hide/Move Silently too? If so, put them in the shadow room.

A product like this would help build a fun side-adventure for a rogue...make her do a bunch of skill challenges to get into the guild. You thought about doing something similar for wizards, fighters, and other classes? I'm not a big CRPG player but I did play Oblivion for a while and I think there were guilds in there for every class and they had pretty cool stuff inside that you could train your skills on.

Gamerprinter
11-03-2009, 01:34 PM
Yax of Game Mastery blog, one of the two writer/publishers involved in this project has already expressed interest in follow up products to include a Wizards Academy, a Druids Grove, a Fighting Man's border fort and other specific locations for all the base classes, perhaps including the more "not so base" classes like a Shadow Dancers guild hall.

I am aware of the class being "rogue" rather than "thief", however, I am building a specific Thieves Guild rather than the more general "rogues hall", which follows the historical and/or trope fantasy Thieves Guild concept. The D&D rogue is often described as a free spirit depending on manual skills versus special powers that other more arcane classes practice, this is never just "thief-like" in nature. A thieves guild on the other hand is specifically a criminal organization and thereby "thief" is more accurate than simply "rogue" in this instance.

I am hoping with some 4e insight by one of the members I can touch upon a 4e rogues aspect that may have not been emphasized in a guild map before, therefore provide a much more appropriate playing aid for 4e DMs.

GP

Gamerprinter
11-03-2009, 02:13 PM
OK, I asked this question on another board more specifically related to D&D, however the answer only helps slightly. Rather than an arcane type power, rogues use Martial Power, just as the Fighter and Ranger uses.

The only problem now, is I am aware that 4e powers like Martial is not equivalent to mundane powers, there is a kind of "magic" in all 4e powers, at least that's how things are treated in that game. So the next question then is what is unique and non-mundane regarding Martial power?

GP