Revisionist Centurion

In the new year, I’m going to have to get serious about updating you all on the progress and plans for Centurion: Legionary of Rome, so that when the crowdfunding campaign happens, you’ll be on board and ready to fork over your hard-earned cash for this dream project of mine.

While I didn’t get a lot of comments on my last post about the project, the one I did get made me thinking. Now, I’ve been reading about how to do crowdfunding and I’ve been looking at some successful Kickstarters, and I think Jason makes salient points about rewards and stretch goals.

I’ve also realized that I’m going to need to do more research than expected to make something I’m proud to release. My initial research notes are years old and in some disarray. There are errors in my initial research – at least the conclusions of the experts on which I am choosing to rely, such as Adrian Goldsworthy and Pat Southern indicate there are errors – and that has led to a delay as I re-research the period of the Civil Wars (from Marius to Augustus).

The realization that I’m going to need to do a lot more research has led me to conclude that if I want something ready to go for GenCon, I need to scale back my initial expectations.

Rather than look at five historical periods, I’m going to focus on three: the Late Republic, the Civil Wars and the Principate (from Tiberius to the Crisis of the Third Century). This should allow me to have the text ready in time to get it to publication in July and have copies to contributors before GenCon.

The other two sections (the Crisis of the Third Century and the Dominate) will be stretch goals, along with two other stretch goals I’ve already got planned. I’m not going to include the short fiction I was original going to include. It is fantasy fiction based on an imaginary analogue to Rome, and the intention with Centurion is adventures set in historical Rome.

As things develop, I’ll be posting here, and the pace should increase as we approach March and the intention to get the crowdfunding rolling.

Jason’s comments on the Centurion crowdfunding ideas here.

Jason’s website is here.

You can learn more about Adrian Goldsworthy here.

You can learn more about Pat Southern here.

Monthly Sales for October and November 2012

Well, I may just be getting old or I’m getting busy . . . on the Gripping Hand, sales may be so small that there’s little point in posting them. Whatever the reason, here are the sales figures for the last two months. Terribly exciting for everyone, I’m sure.

About $17 to go before Sword Noir turns a profit. Another $650 for Kiss My Axe. Yeah, that’s going to take a while.

Total Sales for October 2012
Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms, 1

Covert Forces
Blood and Guts 2: In Her Majesty’s Service, 1
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section, 1
Covert Forces Redux, 1

Other
Line Zero, 1
Operation Nearscape, Free Product, 7

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers, 1
Kheufer Scrolls, 1
Suffer the Witch, 1
Sword’s Edge System, Free Rules, 28
Sword Noir, 2

Total Sales for November 2012
Albenistan Series
Khorforjan Gambit, 1
Qalashar Device, 1
Raid On Ashkashem, 1

Covert Forces
Blood and Guts 2: In Her Majesty’s Service, 2
Covert Forces Redux, 4

Other
Operation Nearscape, Free Product, 5

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers, 2
Kiss My Axe, 1
Kheufer Scrolls, 3
Sword’s Edge System, Free Rules, 20
Sword Noir, 4

Total Sales to Date
Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day (Modern Dispatch 113): 32
Khorforjan Gambit: 105
Qalashar Device: 118
Raid On Ashkashem: 159

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms: 40
Gifts of the Elder Gods: 36
For Simple Coin: 57

Charity Products
Relief Effort: 55

Covert Forces
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section: 101
Covert Forces: 100
Covert Forces Redux: 164
In Her Majesty’s Service: 138

Other
Cyber-state Avatar Toolkit: 36
Line Zero: 35
Operation Nearscape, Free Product, 324

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers, 99
Kiss My Axe, 136
Suffer the Witch, 74
Sword’s Edge System, Free Rules 1165
Sword Noir 351
The Kheufer Scrolls, 144

SEP’s Worst Kept Secret: Centurion

TLDR: Centurion will likely go to crowdfunding in March 2013. I would be interested in hearing thoughts on stretch goals and supporter reward levels.

Full Kit
Centurion: Legionaries of Rome is not exactly a secret. I’ve been blabbing about it in a lot of places for a while now. I’ve also mentioned it here, in connection with possible crowdfunding projects. Right now, it looks like I’m going to move forward with Centurion, and the other possible projects can wait.

I have made some decisions regarding Centurion, but others are dependent on what I learn during my research phase. Here’s what I’m fairly certain of:

1. I know what will be in the book.
Along with the actual rules, I will review five historical periods in which one could enjoy a legionary-style campaign: the Late Republic (from the Punic Wars to Marius), the Civil Wars (the time of Caesar), the Principate (early Empire), the Crisis of the Third Century (many, many civil wars), and the Dominate (late Empire). For each of these historical eras, I’ll include information on the structure of government and the structure of the legions, as well as some general historical information to help situate those who may not have a grounding in Roman history.

There will also be an introductory chapter on military-style RPGing, basically looking at some of the reasons people say they don’t want to play in military games, and how to address those problems.

The book should be roughly 45,000 words, which will likely translate into just over 100 pages in the 6X9 format – the format I used for Sword Noir and Kiss My Axe. Basically, the book should be about the same size as Sword Noir.

2. I know who I want to do the art.
If you own Kiss My Axe, you’ve seen the work of Kieron O’Gorman, who did all the portraits in that book. I’ve spoken with Kieron about doing art for Centurion if the crowdfunding is successful, and he’s agreed to do so.

You can see Kieron’s stuff here.

3. I have some stretch goals mapped out.
I already have two writers/designers whom I respect and whose work I admire on board should this go forward, they’ve agreed to write a few pages of extra material. I will need to negotiate with them exactly how much, but I’m thinking around 2,000 words. I will also include a stretch goal of writing about adapting the mechanics to other eras and genres. That would likely clock in at around 4,000 words, so if those three goals are met, the book increases from 45,000 words to around 53,000, which also means almost 20 more pages.

I’m looking at some other stretch goals, such as maps and more illustrations, but I honestly think that for now – at least until the crowdfunding campaign gets going and I have an idea of it will be successful – the three stretch goals are sufficient.

The stretch goal extras will only be available to crowdfunding supporters for a full year after the initial release of Centurion. So let’s be really optimistic and pretend this gets funded, and all three stretch goals are met. When Centurion hits the shelves, none of those articles will be included in the book, only in the PDFs and/or books crowdfunding supporters receive. Then, if Centurion is still selling a year after its release, I might offer a special book or PDF including the extra material. Likely, it will never be seen.

4. I have some reward levels figured out.
Now, this is going to be odd, as most crowdfunding campaigns throw in a lot of associated rewards outside of the game itself. I’m not going to do that. Also, the sticker price for the resulting Centurion product will not be cheaper than what crowdfunding supporters paid. This means Centurion will almost certainly be the most expensive product in the SEP catalogue if the crowdfunding campaign is successful.

Here’s what I’m looking at right now.
$ 3 – Raw Recruit. Rules PDF – A PDF of just the rules, none of the historical discussion.
$ 5 – Marius’ Mule. Historical PDF – A PDF of just the historical discussion, none of the rules.
$ 7 – Legionary. The Centurion PDF, including any stretch goal additions
$ 12 – Principale. The Centurion PDF and a PDF of my sword & sandal story “Singer of a Strange Song.”
$ 17 – Principale Noir. The Centurion PDF and a PDF of my sword & sandal story “Singer of a Strange Song” and my sandal noir story published in Black Gate, “A Dead Pound of Flesh”
$ 20 – Centurion. The Centurion print and PDF
$ 25 –Pilus Prior. The Centurion print and PDF and a PDF of my sword & sandal story “Singer of a Strange Song.”
$ 30 –Pilus Prior Noir. The Centurion print and PDF and a PDF of my sword & sandal story “Singer of a Strange Song” and my sandal noir story published in Black Gate, “A Dead Pound of Flesh”
$ 40 – Primus Pilus. Everything for Pilus Prior plus the opportunity to name one of the example characters used throughout Centurion. (maximum of 5)
$ 50 – Praefectus Cohortis. Everything for Primus Pilus plus the opportunity to create one of the iconic characters that will be included in Centurion as an NPC. (maximum of 5)
$ 65 – Tribuni Militum. Everything for Pilus Prior plus access to a podcast about Centurion. This will include the existing Collateral episodes on Legionary campaigns, plus at least five further podcasts about the historical eras and playing in them.
$100 – Praefectus Castrorum. Everything at the Tribuni Militum level, plus the opportunity to be a guest on one of the Centurion podcasts. (requires the use of Skype) (maximum of 10)
$150 – Tribunus Laticlavius. Everything at the Tribuni Militum level, plus the opportunity to participate in a Centurion one-shot run by Fraser Ronald at Gen Con 2013 in Indianapolis. (maximum of 8 )
$200 – Legatus Legionis. Everything at the Tribunus Laticlavius level, plus the opportunity to be a guest on one of the Centurion podcasts. (requires the use of Skype) (maximum of 5)

The goal, right now, is $3500. Each stretch will be an extra $1000. I would need 175 backers at the Centurion level to fund and 500 at the Legionary backer to do the same. Daunting task.

5. The rules will be released no matter what.
This is a way to include good art and a restricted print run for the full book. However, if this doesn’t fund, the work that I completed will be released. The rules themselves will see release. Each historical era section will be released independently as well. I’m not clear on exactly how I would go about doing so, but I do know that other than paying for the cover (which is already done) the releases would have little art, and that would be public domain artwork. I would do the layout, and it would be very, very simple.

So maybe that demotivates some people from supporting this, but the book you would get by funding this would be way better than the book you could get otherwise. Also? It’ll be a lot cheaper in the long run if you want it all (rules and historical eras). If it doesn’t get funded, it is likely I would only release products for the Late Republic, the Civil Wars, and the Principate, as the research and outline are completed for those sections.

6. The crowdfunding starts no earlier than March 2013
I want to have the rules in as good a shape as possible, and have at least three of the historical periods written and the others researched and outlined before this goes up for crowdfunding. The plan is to crowdfund in March 2013 and, if the campaign is successful, have the book to printers by July 2013 so that I can have copies before Gen Con in early August 2013. That’s a pretty tight schedule, which is why I want as much of my work done before the campaign done as possible.

There’s still the chance things will be late. But I want something to show the supporters if the campaign is successful, and I hope that if people play to have a game with me at Gen Con, I can hand them their books at the start of the game.

I’ll keep everyone posted here as things move forward. Guaranteed, the posts will be shorter than this one.

I’d be very interested in hearing opinions about reward levels and stretch goals, as in what you would like to see or would be interested in paying for.

Monthly Sales for August and September 2012

Well, yes, August was kind of a crazy month here at the old Ronald household. There was the kitchen installation, the hardwood floors, the porcelain tile, and no monthly sales update for SEP. Now that my home reno work has slowed to a crawl (though not completely vanished) I’ve finally found time to do my monthly reporting.

Not that it is all that exciting. The numbers for the two months are not particularly stellar. What is pretty cool is that we are less than $40 away from profitability for Sword Noir. So, if all goes well, it will have taken me about 18 months to pay off the investment in Sword Noir. I expected to reach profitability in two years’ time. I figured that was being optimistic. This is pretty awesome.

I have also made 40% of my investment in Kiss My Axe back as of 30 Sep. Not bad. Now, for KMA, which I don’t think as the uniqueness of Sword Noir, I expect two to three years for profitability – nothing to cheer about but acceptable. If I get it done earlier, yea me! But I won’t hold my breath.

Also, since we’re talking biz, I’ve made the decision to move forward with Centurion: Legionaries of Rome, an RPG of military action. It’s likely going to be my most abstract game yet, with some tenuous links to the design of Sword Noir and Kiss My Axe (it has Qualities) but it is very different mechanically. I will be crowd-funding it, but it needs a lot more playtesting before I am ready to do that. If you are seriously interested in helping me playtest this version, please drop me a line (look to your right for Contact Us, or bug me at Twitter or Google Plus).

In the interim, I am still wondering if I should bother trying to crowdfund “Boltcutter” (action-thriller short story set in modern Africa) or another short story collection. I will likely do one, but if Centurion takes up a lot of time, “Boltcutter” will be falling by the wayside, at least for now.

Also, do you like the mock-up cover for Centurion that I expect to pretty much be the cover for Centurion. Done by none other than rockin’ Rob Wakefield (you may have heard the name). Suh. Weet.

An earlier post on Sword Noir with my two year prediction is found here.

You can find me on Twitter here.

You can find me on Google Plus here.

You can find Rob Wakefield on Google Plus here.

Total Sales for August 2012
Albenistan
Khorforjan Gambit, 1
Qalashar Device, 1
Raid On Ashkashem, 1

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms, 1
For Simple Coin, 1
Gifts of the Elder Gods, 1

Covert Forces
Blood and Guts 2: In Her Majesty’s Service, 1
Covert Forces Redux, 1

Other
Operation Nearscape, Free Product, 4

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers, 1
Kiss My Axe, 1
Kheufer Scrolls, 1
Suffer the Witch, 1
Sword’s Edge System, Free Rules, 26
Sword Noir, 3

Total Sales for September 2012
Arcane Kingdoms
Gifts of the Elder Gods, 1

Covert Forces
Blood and Guts 2: In Her Majesty’s Service, 1
Covert Forces Redux, 2

Other
Operation Nearscape, Free Product, 9

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers, 4
Kiss My Axe, 4
Kheufer Scrolls, 4
Suffer the Witch, 2
Sword’s Edge System, Free Rules, 25
Sword Noir, 5

Total Sales to Date
Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day (Modern Dispatch 113): 32
Khorforjan Gambit: 104
Qalashar Device: 117
Raid On Ashkashem: 158

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms: 39
Gifts of the Elder Gods: 36
For Simple Coin: 57

Charity Products
Relief Effort: 55

Covert Forces
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section: 100
Covert Forces: 100
Covert Forces Redux: 159
In Her Majesty’s Service: 135

Other
Cyber-state Avatar Toolkit: 36
Line Zero: 34
Operation Nearscape, Free Product, 312

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers, 96
Kiss My Axe, 135
Suffer the Witch, 73
Sword’s Edge System, Free Rules 1127
Sword Noir 345
The Kheufer Scrolls, 140

Rho Pi Gamma = SES Characters

A while back, the Rho Pi Gamma podcast did a review of the Sword’s Edge System. As part of that, co-host Liz mentioned her game using SES to reproduce a certain sci-fi/western intellectual property regarding a crew of a freighter post-civil war in which the captain often wears a brown coat.

You’re right, I haven’t named that IP. You also should be able to bloody well guess it using those clues.

Below are the characters Liz created using the SES. I greatly appreciate her digging them up and letting me post them here. I think she did a great job.

You can find the Rho Pi Gamma podcast here.

The episode with the SES review is here.

the Captain
Aspects
Concept: Soldier turned transport pilot (Good +2)
Background: Battle of Serenity Valley (Good +2)
Faculty: Gun fighter (Great +4)
Flaw: Bitter and Broken (Basic -2)

Traits
Physique: Good +2
Charisma: Good +2
Cunning: Average +0

Qualities:
Code of Honor (Good +2; Cunning)
Inspiring Leader (Good +2; Charisma)
Mal’s Pistol (Good +2, Physique)

Pivots: I will make the Alliance’s lives Hell; Gain an Advancement when you “stick it” to the Alliance.

The Captain’s Right Hand
Aspects
Concept: Loyal Second-in-Command (Great +4)
Background: Battle of Serenity Valley (Good +2)
Faculty: Level-headed (Great +4)
Flaw: Hard to get close to (Basic -2)

Traits
Physique: Good +2
Charisma: Good +2
Cunning: Good +2

Qualities:
Follow orders, but not always without question. (Good +2)

Pivots:
Make it happen; Get an Advancement whenever you take the Captain’s or the Pilot’s ridiculous plan and make it work
Done fooling around; Get an Advancement whenever you take matters into your hands and deal with a problem directly . . . very directly

The Pilot
Aspects
Concept: Transport Pilot (Great +4)
Background: Fired from a Fry-Cook Opportunity (Good +2)
Faculty: Flying Ace (Great +4)
Flaw: Coward (Basic -2)

Traits
Physique: Average (0)
Charisma: Average (0)
Cunning: Average (0)

Qualities:
I’m a Leaf on the Wind (Great +4, Physique)
Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal! (Good +2, Charisma)
Capable Mechanic (Good +2, Cunning)

Pivots:
Daring Ace Pilot; Gain an Advancement whenever you perform an impossible stunt in a ship.
Hopelessly in Love; Gain an Advancement when you do something foolish for the Captain’s Right Hand.

The Thug
Aspects
Concept: Gruff Mercenary (Good +2)
Background: Hero of Canton (Good +2)
Faculty: “Public Relations” Expert (Great +4)
Flaw: Love of Money (Basic -2)

Traits
Physique: Great +4
Charisma: Average +0
Cunning: Average +0

Qualities:
“Vera” Callahain Full-bore Auto-Lock with custom trigger. (Great +4, Physique)
Not afraid of anything (Good +2, Charisma)

Pivots:
The Chain of Command; Get an Advancement whenever you successfully take command of the crew.

The Cute Mechanic
Aspects
Concept: Genius with machines (Great +4)
Background: Back-water home planet (Good +2)
Faculty: Mechanic (Great +4)
Flaw: Too Trusting (Basic -2)

Traits
Physique: Average +0
Charisma: Great +4
Cunning: Good +2

Qualities:
Machines talk to me (Good +2)

Pivots:
Out of the Fire; Get an Advancement whenever your mechanical aptitude saves the crew.
Love-lite; Get an Advancement whenever you unsuccessfully attempt at a blatant attempt to seduce the Doctor (not THAT Doctor).

The Doctor (not THAT Doctor)
Aspects
Concept: Brilliant Doctor (Great +4)
Background: All the best schools (Good +2)
Faculty: Medicine (Great +4)
Flaw: Not good at talking to people (Basic -2)

Traits
Physique: Average 0
Charisma: Good +2
Cunning: Great +4

Qualities:
Criminal Mastermind (Good +2)

Pivots:
Get away from her! ; Get an Advancement whenever you put yourself and/or the crew at risk to protect the Deranged Sister.

The Deranged Sister
Aspects
Concept: Unwitting Government Experiment (Great +4)
Background: All the best schools (Good +2)
Faculty: Super Genius (Good +2)
Flaw: Mentally Damaged (Basic -2)

Traits
Physique: Average 0
Charisma: Good +2
Cunning: (+6)

Qualities:
Government turned me in to a psychic (Good +2)
Martial arts super weapon (Good +2)

Weakness: Eh-Tah-Koo-Nos-Meh (Puts River to sleep when someone speaks it; -2)

Pivots:
My turn; Get an Advancement whenever you rescue the Doctor and/or the crew from danger

The Companion
Aspects
Concept: Guild Companion (Good +2)
Background: Companion Training (Good +2)
Faculty: Feminine Wiles (Good +2)
Flaw: Feelings for the Captain (Basic -2)

Traits
Physique: Average 0
Charisma: Great +4
Cunning: Good +2

Qualities:
Position brings great respect to the crew. (Good +2)
Swordsmanship Training (Good +2)
Graceful and Poised (Good +2)

Pivots:
Another way; Get an Advancement whenever you use guile, deception or diplomacy to extricate the Captain and/or the crew out of a problem that looked to be heading for violence.
Painful yearning; Get an Advancement whenever you ignore your own needs or desires in order to help the Captain in the vain hope that this time the two of you might actually declare your feelings

The Shepherd
Aspects
Concept: Shepherd on a mission (Great, +4)
Background: Violent and Shady past (Great, +4)
Faculty: Sound council (Good, +2)
Flaw: Not allowed to kill (Basic, -2)

Traits
Physique: Average (+0)
Charisma: Good (+2)
Cunning: Great (+4)

Qualities: Uphold my oaths (Good +2, linked to Charisma)

Pivots
On a mission from God; Gain an Advancement when spreading the word to those who need it.

Centurion: By The Numbers

No, the silence hasn’t really been broken. You can pretty much expect the SEP website will consist of monthly sales numbers for some time yet. For those of you still hanging around, maybe with the site in an RSS feed reader or something, I thought I’d continue on with my crowd-sourcing thoughts, as promised.

Centurion, Legionaries of Rome is an RPG for playing legionaries in historical Rome, from the tail-end of the Republic to the Fall of the Empire. The system has been playtested, but is on hold right now (I’ve promised my home group 10 sessions without playtesting) and will require further development.

Were this to go to crowd-sourcing, the amount I’ve set is $8,000. That’s really steep. Here’s how it breaks down.

The entire project is planned at 45,000 words. That’s about 100 pages, possibly bigger with art. At 5 cents per word, that’s $2,250. Copy-editing would cost another 450 and rules editing another 100. The estimates for editing are low, but with these numbers that’s a text budget of $2,800.

For art, I’m looking at 6 quarter pages for $60 each, 3 half pages for $110 each, 1 full page for $225, 1 cover for $225 and 3 full page maps for $250. That’s an art budget of $1,895.

I’m throwing in a very low project management cost of $200 and a graphic and cover design cost of $400.

For the creation of the book itself, that’s a budget of $5,295

Now I could remove the art costs and just use public domain art. That’d actually be pretty time consuming, though it is tempting, as I was totally screwed on art for Kiss My Axe and was saved by a couple of artists who were able to pull together some stuff quickly. I could cut out editing, which increases the chance of people getting an inferior product. If I did all that, I’d still end up with $2,850. More manageable, but if I’m going to crowdfund something, I should do it right.

And creating the book is only part of the process. I’m going to need print copies. A very rough estimate of a softcover print run of 250, including shipping and handling, is around $3,350

Wait, we’re already over $8,000.

Yes. I know. It gets worse.

I intended to have hardcovers available as well. A print run of 50 hardcovers, including shipping and handling, would be around $2,200.

Printing costs are therefore around $5550.

That leaves a project total of $10,845.

Now, where did I get $8,000 from? That would be the cost minus the writing ($2,250). The math is still off, but I rounded down. And that doesn’t even count the Indiegogo fees, which would be just under 10%.

All told, it looks like the only way Centurion has any hope of a crowdfunding launch would be to use public domain art, not pay myself for my work, and don’t do a hardcover print run. If I do that, total costs would be around $4,500. Add the Indiegogo fee for around $5,000.

I really don’t like the idea of not paying me and not paying artists, but there’s no way my project could get off the ground at $10,000. It has more hope at $8,000, but I think $5,000 might just be doable. Maybe.

Then again, I have more research to do. What about doing the books as print on demand? What if I aim for $5,000, get real art, and PoD direct to the backer for books? It’s a thought, but like I said, more research is necessary.

And if I want to include perks like t-shirts or custom dice? Then things get really complex and I have no idea.

Or someone can just give me $5,000, and I’ll do the damn thing and release it for free.

Costing Out Success

Over on Sword’s Edge, I mentioned that I was eying crowd-funding as a way of addressing a couple of projects on which I am working. I gave some numbers in that post, but didn’t really offer how I came to those numbers. This does not relate to the perks, and

The shortest, cheapest project would be a modern, action short story tentatively titled “Boltcutter.” I put the amount needed for success at $500. The writing itself, at around 5 cents per word, would cost $350 (assuming around 7,000 words, which is a rather long piece of short fiction). For layout, I added 20% and rounded up, for $420. Then there are the fees required by the crowd-funding sources (almost certainly Indiegogo, unless Amazon Payments allows Kickstarter to begin embracing Canadian banks in the near future). I added on 10% for the various fees, which put the project at $462. Given that there will likely be unforeseen fees, I increased it to $500, a nice round figure.

The easiest to produce with a medium cost would be a new short story collection. This would include four new stories and one reprint (“A Dead Pound of Flesh,” published previously in Black Gate). I threw out $2,500 as a back of the envelope success point, but that might be too much. It depends on how I want to approach it. For the four new stories, I would want 5 cents per word, leading us to around $800 for those. The reprint, I would want 2.5 cents per word, for $125. Since I’m working with a budget, I’d hire an editor, which I’d like to pay 1 cent per word (not sure if that is a good rate or not) for $210. I’d like to commission a cover for it, so that’s $250. Then there is the layout, which is basic enough that I wouldn’t budget more than $250 for it. That totals $1,635.

Now, that’s just getting the book done. Since one of the perks is a print copy, I need to factor in print costs. I’d need around 250 to 300 backers to get this funded, and most of those I would expect would want a print copy if the perk is reasonable. A print run of 200 would likely cost me around $1,000 (based on previous print runs), and then there is the shipping and handling, which would likely cost me another $1,000, so it looks like my initial estimate was way wrong.

Including print costs, the total would be $3,635. Add in the website fees of 10% for $3,998.5 or $4,000.

That short story collection not looking so cheap now.

Next post, I’ll show you the math for Centurion: Legionaries of Rome RPG, which is even more developed than these, and which costs out at $8,000 including a print run of hardcovers or $6550 without hardcovers.

You can find my post on Sword’s Edge here.

You can find Indiegogo here.

You can find Black Gate here.

Monthly Sales for July 2012

There’s not much to say about July’s sales that I haven’t said before, so I’ll just leave you with the numbers.

Not a bad month, all told. Sword Noir inches toward paying itself off, which will be a glorious day.

Total Sales for July 2012
Albenistan
Khorforjan Gambit, 1
Qalashar Device, 1
Raid On Ashkashem, 1

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms, 1

Covert Forces
Blood and Guts 2: In Her Majesty’s Service, 1
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section, 1
Covert Forces Redux, 3

Other
Cyber-state Avatar Toolkit, 1
Operation Nearscape, Free Product, 1

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers, 2
Kiss My Axe, 6
Kheufer Scrolls, 2
Suffer the Witch, 2
Sword’s Edge System, Free Rules, 16
Sword Noir, 5

Total Sales to Date
Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day (Modern Dispatch 113): 32
Khorforjan Gambit: 103
Qalashar Device: 116
Raid On Ashkashem: 157

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms: 38
Gifts of the Elder Gods: 34
For Simple Coin: 56

Charity Products
Relief Effort: 55

Covert Forces
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section: 100
Covert Forces: 100
Covert Forces Redux: 156
In Her Majesty’s Service: 133

Other
Cyber-state Avatar Toolkit: 36
Line Zero: 34
Operation Nearscape, Free Product, 299

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers, 91
Kiss My Axe, 130
Suffer the Witch, 70
Sword’s Edge System, Free Rules 1076
Sword Noir 337
The Kheufer Scrolls, 135

Monthly Sales for June 2012

This time, I’ve got the sales data up fast. That’s because it’s a holiday weekend in Canada. Happy (belated) Canada Day! Monday is the statutory holiday, and I’m at home with the family, having worked on home renovations the last couple of days. Today is my day off from other work, so I figure I’ll update SEP.

The three words that best describe June’s sales are: slow, slow, slow

As I’ve said before and I’ll say again, that’s what happens when one stops pushing out product. This is all to be expected. Free product (in my admittedly minimal experience) does not give the bump that a regular release does. Not sure why this is.

I’m going to perform a small experiment for July. I’ve got some advertisements available on RPG Now and Drive-Thru RPG, so I’m going to see if these will give Kiss My Axe a bump. I’m only going to advertisement KMA, so hopefully we’ll see a result simply on that.

For those of you not in the know, One Book Shelf (RPG Now and Drive-Thru) offer publisher points, which are a loyalty program for the publishers who sell there. The more one sells, the more points one gets; which makes sense because OBS take a percentage of sales for its services, so the more one sells, the more money OBS makes.

These publisher points can be used for various marketing services on OBS sites. That’s what I’ll be using to advertise KMA on the OBS sites. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

And, with no further ado, June’s rather mediocre sales.

Total Sales for June 2012
Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day (Modern Dispatch 113), 1

Covert Forces
Blood and Guts 2: In Her Majesty’s Service, 1
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section, 2
Covert Forces Redux, 1

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers, 1
Kiss My Axe, 2
Kheufer Scrolls, 1
Suffer the Witch, 4
Sword’s Edge System, Free Rules, 17
Sword Noir, 2

Other
Operation Nearscape, Free Product, 4

Total Sales To Date
Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day (Modern Dispatch 113): 32
Khorforjan Gambit: 102
Qalashar Device: 115
Raid On Ashkashem: 156

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms: 37
Gifts of the Elder Gods: 34
For Simple Coin: 56

Charity Products
Relief Effort: 55

Covert Forces
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section: 99
Covert Forces: 100
Covert Forces Redux: 153
In Her Majesty’s Service: 132

Other
Cyber-state Avatar Toolkit: 35
Line Zero: 34
Operation Nearscape, Free Product, 298

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers, 89
Kiss My Axe, 124
Suffer the Witch, 68
Sword’s Edge System, Free Rules 1060
Sword Noir 332
The Kheufer Scrolls, 133

Monthly Sales for May 2012

And, yes, since you asked, this website is turning into the monthly sales update site.

A few interesting (for me) notes:

As of 31 May 2012, Sword Noir had sold 330 copies, 62 of those in print. The title has cleared $1244.64, meaning there’s less than $100 to go before it’s in the black. That will be an exciting day.

At the same point, Kiss My Axe had sold 122 copies, 24 of those in print. It has cleared $394.46, meaning it’s got about $700 to go.

Kiss My Axe is going to take a lot longer to reach profitability than Sword Noir since SEP was releasing semi-regularly for about 9 months after Sword Noir came out and the majority of its sales happened in that period. To put that in perspective, Kiss My Axe has been out for around 5 months, and in its first 5 months, Sword Noir cleared $741.24, not quite but almost double Kiss My Axe for the same period. This may be due to Sword Noir‘s novelty (not too many hardboiled sword & sorcery games out there), but I think a great part of it is also the regular releases.

Let this be a lesson to you: if you want your back log to move, keep releasing new products, at least once a month.

Now, let’s look at those May numbers.

Total Sales for May 2012
Arcane Kingdoms
Gifts of the Elder Gods, 1

Covert Forces
Blood and Guts 2: In Her Majesty’s Service, 1
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section, 3

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers, 5
Kiss My Axe, 6
Kheufer Scrolls, 4
Suffer the Witch, 2
Sword’s Edge System, Free Rules, 50
Sword Noir, 6

Other
Modern Dispatch 104: Line Zero, 1
Operation Nearscape, Free Product, 4

Total Sales to Date
Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day (Modern Dispatch 113): 31
Khorforjan Gambit: 102
Qalashar Device: 115
Raid On Ashkashem: 156

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms: 37
Gifts of the Elder Gods: 34
For Simple Coin: 56

Charity Products
Relief Effort: 55

Covert Forces
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section: 97
Covert Forces: 100
Covert Forces Redux: 152
In Her Majesty’s Service: 133

Other
Cyber-state Avatar Toolkit: 35
Line Zero: 34
Operation Nearscape, Free Product, 294

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers, 88
Kiss My Axe, 122
Suffer the Witch, 64
Sword’s Edge System, Free Rules 1043
Sword Noir 330
The Kheufer Scrolls, 132