Directorate 7: ASSASSINS

Directorate 7 is the government’s expendable solution to the most dangerous of problems. It offers a simple deal with people that have done wrong: make the world better and we can make your life better. Cross us, and you die.

ASSASSINS

A third-world republic has seen a seismic shift in its political landscape, as bribery and crony capitalism has led to a grassroots movement that has shattered the ruling party’s hold on power. Now a firebrand politician offers real change, and the implications have led D7 to activate a contact team to protect them from their enemies—who are numerous and powerful.

Directorate 7: ASSASSINS is a possible project slated for a vote on my Patreon.

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Trying To Do My Part

Summary: I will donate all proceeds from April’s sales to the Ottawa Food Bank, and make an equal donation to the Brantford Food Bank. You can buy my stuff at itch.io.

The whole spiel . . .

We’re in a pretty bad time right now, but my family and I are doing okay. I’d like to help out, so what I’m going to do is donate all proceeds from sale of my stuff in April—including money I make on Patreon—to the Ottawa Food Bank. I’m also going to match that donation with a donation to the Brantford Food Bank. I live in Ottawa but grew up in Brantford.

For May, all proceeds will go to Feed Nova Scotia and I will donate to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region.

If you want to help make a difference and got something in return, please feel free to purchase any of my stuff wherever you find it. I would prefer you purchase from itch.io, which has the lowest fees among the places I sell, so the most will get to charity.

I’m also happy to provide any of my stuff to anyone having a hard time. And if you are setting up any kind of charity bundle or need a signal boosted, please let me know. My reach is not long, but it might get the signal in front of someone’s who’s got a better reach than I.

All the best and all my love in this trying time.

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Riggers: Meta-Humans in a Shattered World

It has been 70 years since the event. Earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis ravaged the globe. Continents heaved and buckled for three decades, re-shaping the world. Civilization shattered. There is very little left of what had come before. But people survived. People rebuilt.

And people changed.

They are the Riggers. More than human, but treated as less than people. You have come into this world in Elisus, a growing metropolis and a place of hope. Maybe you don’t belong here. Maybe nobody does. All you know is that you are a Rigger and you are being hunted.

Riggers is a meta-human RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world. This is a story-focused game with simple mechanics and characters based on descriptive qualities. The game will include a basic setting, explaining the Shattered World, how it came to be, and what adventures might be found in it.

Riggers is a possible project slated for a vote on my Patreon.

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Sales for 2019

This post was originally presented on my Patreon.

So, it’s been awhile and I have been very bad about releasing sales data. To be honest, not sure if anyone is actually finding this useful. If you do, please let me know. I’m happy to do this, but I’d rather not be shouting into the wind.

So here we go – nothing too special and not really any messages in the numbers other than “this is what a pretty normal quarter looks like for SEP.” I’ll post later about he different venues and types (PDF vs. print).

The one important thing to note about 2019 is that it was a year without high-profile projects. For SEP, a high-profile project is one for which I run a Kickstarter. Kickstarters not only help fund larger projects for which I need assistance (like editing, art, layout, or sensitivity consultation), but also provide exposure to SEP to people who otherwise might not find it. This usually leads to a spike in sales.

While that spike is welcome, it doesn’t balance out the effort for  and stress of a Kickstarter.

It also important to note that a lot of the effort that usually goes into monthly releases was focused on Sagas of the Sea Peoples and its Quickstart. I’m not including data on free products because they really don’t provide any useful information–at least not for SEP–but the Quickstart saw about 400 downloads.

These numbers, then, are a pretty basic  year. And the numbers over the years have remained pretty consistent per title, which means an increase  in revenue is really only facilitated by releasing more products, which my Patreon helps me do through motivating me to produce something almost every month.

Without further ado, the numbers for 2019

Sales for 2019
(Second to Fourth Quarter in Parantheses)
All sales venues

Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day, 4 (2)
Khorforjan Gambit, 4 (2)
Qalashar Device, 4 (2)
Raid On Ashkashem, 5 (3)

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms, 4 (4)
For Simple Coin, 6 (4)
Gifts of the Elder Gods, 2 (2)

Covert Forces
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section, 2 (1)
Covert Forces Redux, 3 (2)
In Her Majesty’s Service, 3 (2)

Fifth Edition
Abyss of the Black Cloud [released Sep 2019], 3 (3)
Abyss of the Crimson Cave [released Aug 2019], 5 (5)
Cult of the Abyss [released Jul 2019], 9 (9)

Other
Centurion: Legionaries of Rome, 8 (5)
Daughter of the Sun: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 4 (4)
HeadCrushers [released Jan 2019], 6 (4)
Hispania Ulterior Motive: A Centurion Adventure, 6 (5)
Judged: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 4 (4)
Nefertiti Overdrive, 17 (8)
Questions of Loyalty: A Centurion Adventure [released Oct 2019], 8 (8)
Starship Commandos, 5 (4)
The Wall, 6 (1)

Sword’s Edge Systems
Crossing the Millers: A Sword Noir Adventure, 4 (3)
Face ‘Splosion: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 3 (2)
For A Few Swords More: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 3 (1)
HardCASE: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 6 (4)
Kheufer Scrolls: A Sword Noir Adventure, 5 (4)
Kiss My Axe, 10 (8)
Lawless Heaven: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 3 (2)
Six Stood Alone: A Sword’s Edge Adventure [released Feb 2019], 6 (5)
Suffer the Witch, A Kiss My Axe Adventure, 3 (3)
Sword Noir, 22 (11)
Sword’s Edge, 12 (8)

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Red Danube: A Centurion Adventure

It’s 271 of the Common Era, and the soldier Aurelian has defeated a host of rivals to become Lucius Domitius Aurelianus Augustus, the ruler of Rome. He faces a shattered empire, and marches on rebel Palmyra. But first he faces an army of the Goths, and their king, Cannabas.

Your characters are scouts and spies, forward elements of the Emperor Aurelian’s army during the Crisis of the Third Century. Aurelian has already taken the first steps to restore the world, but the obstacles before him are vast. You have crossed the Danube to hunt down the Gothic king Cannabas’ stronghold. Alone in enemy territory, your failure could doom the future of the empire.

No problem. You’ve come, now it’s time to see, and later conquer.

Red Danube: A Centurion Adventure will be May’s release from my Patreon.

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Directorate 7: Warmonger

In case you weren’t following it, Sagas of the Sea Peoples failed to fund. My Patreon is ongoing, and I’m going to be posting the various possible projects here for reference.

The first is the project due in April: Directorate 7: Warmonger

Directorate 7 is the government’s expendable solution to the most dangerous of problems. It offers a simple deal with people that have done wrong: make the world better and we can make your life better. Cross us, and you die.

WARMONGER

When reliable intelligence indicates that an arms dealer has access to a strategic weapons system and is ready to sell it, Directorate 7 recruits a contact team to recover the system by any means necessary. The stakes are high, but for those doing the deal, the payoff is even higher, and they aren’t the only pieces on the board ready to kill for what they want.

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Sagas of the Sea Peoples

This is definitely not the best place to find news of my undertakings (that would by my Patreon) but just in case you are following this site hoping for news, you might not realize that the Kickstarter for Sagas of the Sea Peoples is happening right now.

The Kickstarter will run until 29 February 2020, so if you’ve got the money, head on over and help me make something awesome.

NOTE: (16 May 2020) the Kickstarter for Sagas of the Sea Peoples didn’t fund, and as the only purpose of the Quickstart was as a proof of concept for the game, it is no longer publicly available. As I’ve had requests, I’d like to point out that both it and the full game are available on my Patreon.

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Sagas of the Sea Peoples Quickstart

The climate is changing, causing droughts and famines. Natural disasters limit the ability of governments to respond. Those governments are involved in wars that are bankrupting them. The global trade network has collapsed. And all this has created waves of migration, which governments are characterizing as ravening hordes, coming to destroy civilization.

Welcome to the Late Bronze Age Collapse.

It’s the turn of the eleventh century BCE in the Mediterranean. The kingdoms of the Achaean Greeks, the empire of the Hittites, the trade centre of Troy, and the powerful city-states that line the coast have fallen. Egypt faces ruin. The world, as you know it, is ending.

You are one of many who have fled your homeland, finding a community among those we now call the Sea Peoples. How will you survive as order and government collapse? How will your protect your community—your friends and your family—in these most unstable times? When will you ever find peace?

Sagas of the Sea Peoples is a tabletop role-playing game set in the Late Bronze Age Collapse. The characters are leaders of the Sea Peoples, seeking better lives, struggling against innumerable enemies, and facing the fall of the civilizations in which they were born. It will be crowd-funded on Kickstarter in early 2020, and has been released only through my Patreon. This Quickstart is intended to give a glimpse of the system and the setting.

NOTE: (16 May 2020) the Kickstarter for Sagas of the Sea Peoples didn’t fund, and as the only purpose of the Quickstart was as a proof of concept for the game, it is no longer publicly available. As I’ve had requests, I’d like to point out that both it and the full game are available on my Patreon.

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Sagas of the Sea Peoples: Introduction Preview

This post was original presented at My Patreon on 16 Aug 2019.

While the research for Sagas of the Sea Peoples continues, I have begun writing the game itself. I wanted to share the introduction with you, in which I try to encapsulate the aesthetic of the game.  

The stories of the Sea Peoples are heroic tales of the Bronze Age untold by the conquerors. These are chronicles of trade, raids, and migration. Your characters are destined to become great leaders of warrior cultures, but the warrior ethos to which many cling may be a hindrance to success even as it is gains one prestige among one’s people.

Welcome to the Late Bronze Age. Iron is on its way but hasn’t made its full impact on cultures, and many of the dominant polities of southwest Asia and the east Mediterranean Sea coast have collapsed or have seen their power and prestige decline. Economic turmoil and war have created a churn of disarray, leading to suffering and desperation.

In the middle of all this are the Sea Peoples. Led by Mycenaean migrants and joined by the dislocated from around the Aegean Sea and beyond, these groups are seen as pirates, raiders, and barbarian invaders by what remains of the great powers – the Hittites, the Levant city-states, and the Egyptians. There are certainly those among them who have profited from the vast ungoverned space of the Mediterranean and its shores, but there are many more pursuing a better life for their families, seeking opportunities and freedom from oppressive hierarchies.

The characters in Sagas of the Sea Peoples have been pushed to the periphery, and now they have decided it is time to push back. Better to die on your feet than on your knees. They pose a threat to the status quo because they are the other – the outsider and the barbarian. They represent something different, something that is motivating change, and the elites do not like change. While belonging to an egalitarian society which struggles with a conservative need to rebuild the structures of the past, the characters seek to overturn the status quo and avoid a return to the hierarchies that destroyed their society. They cannot escape violence – who in this world can? – but they are special because they have recognized the trap of the warrior ethos and they are seeking something else, something that will preserve their lives, their families, and their peoples.

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It Came From The Sea! Crunching the Numbers

This post was original presented at my Patreon on 6 Aug 2019.

I’ve embarked on writing for Saga of the Sea Peoples, (which you can follow at my Patreon) and in doing so, I’ve started to consider the costs that would be associated with bringing it to actual fruition, meaning distributing it beyond Patreon. The costs for doing a print product – something more than 100 pages – are pretty prohibitive. A ballpark estimate puts the Kickstarter goal at about US $11,500. My biggest success for Kickstarter was Centurion: Legionaries of Rome which brought in around $5,900 USD. Nefertiti Overdrive only brought in about $4,900 CAD, which was about $3,800 USD.

It’s possible to produce a 125 page book without editing or certain sections I’d like to include – such as considering migration and integration in the context of the Sea People – and using stock art. That goal would be about $3,000 USD so a Kickstarter goal of $4,450 CAD . . . or, to be more careful, $5,000 CAD.

A PDF-only product, substantially shorter, and using stock art, would have a goal of $4,500 CAD. That means I would need 350 backers at $13.50 CAD (around $10 USD) a pop to hit that target. Were I to do the base minimum – editing, consultation, extra sections, and more art as stretch goals – I could set the goal at $2,000 USD, meaning I would need about 150 backers.

Centurion only had 180 backers, Nefertiti Overdrive had 302 backers, and Sword’s Edge had 144 backers. So far, it looks on the edge of do-able, but with definite failure potential. Failure is fine – it means the market isn’t interested and if I want to pursue it, it would be on my own dime with minimal expectation for sales.

One thing I learned from the Centurion vs. Nefertiti Overdrive Kickstarters was the value of high ticket pledge levels. Something like creating one of the iconic characters for the game or being a model for a piece of art can support a pretty heft price tag, but does it help?. For the art, I would have to actually increase the goal of the Kickstarter to compensate for the added cost – three openings for modelling for art would increase the cost by almost $600 CAD while bringing in a maximum of $750. That’s about eight extra backers, so there is some potential but it’s not significant.

In the end, I’m going to push forward with the writing, and can promise you the rules portion. There’ll be some historical discussion thrown in there, and I’m continuing to research the era and the Sea Peoples, as it has turned out to be fascinating, but I won’t have a “history” section per se unless I’m able to finance this some other way. Kickstarter looks like a possibility, but it needs more analysis and consideration.

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