Farewell OGL

Resistance Earth RPG cover. A lone figure faces a desolate landscape, their rifle on their back.

There’s been some . . . issues with Wizards of the Coast recent handling of the Open Game Licence, the licence that SEP published almost all of its first products–many of them under the d20 sub-licence. I still have a bunch of OGL products out there, some of them very recent, using newer rules’ sets.

But the recent attempt to pull the rug from under creators by WotC, probably to please their corporate masters at Hasbro, has soured me on the OGL entirely. I invested a lot of time into these products, and a bunch of them are not anywhere near paying that off, but I’d rather just be done with them and snip that cord. Get free of it.

I’m lucky. I can do this. Many probably can’t. That’s no moral judgment. It’s a business one, and I respect that. Fuck the management at WotC and Hasbro, but not the developers and not the third-party developers, who love the game and the art of design.

So grab stuff while you can. Stuff is 1/2 off until 31 Jan, when it disappears. Some of it might come back–there is a lot of writing in there–but there’s no guarantee. We’ll see.

I’d prefer you to grab stuff at Compose Dream Games or itch, but a lot of my OGL stuff is available only at Drive Thru RPG.

Welcoming in 2023

The cover for the Sword Noir adventure, Broken Tigers. It's a spooky city in shadows and darkness

Listen, 2022 wasn’t the best, but it was better than 2021! I’m hoping that 2023 will continue the improvements. Part of it is that I’ve been able to publish a few adventures and update a few games, bringing products more in line with my hopes. Nothing’s perfect, but I think the products are better.

So I’m tentatively looking forward to 2023. And so why not offer a sale as 2023 arrives?

Just in case there’s some SEP stuff on your list that you’ve been thinking of buying, I’m running a sale over at itch.io that runs into the first week of 2023.

You can find it here: https://fraserronald.itch.io/G8DNCTP3UV

Patreon-izing

I’m sure I’ve made the joke before, but what the heck.

If you have been here in the last few years, you will have noticed something different: nothing directing you to a Patreon. That’s an experiment that has come to a close. I have to admit that having started SEP in 2004, I still haven’t figured out marketing. Unlike Kickstarters, where drive-by traffic can fuel some (for me, it’s most) of the support, Patreon relies on the subject’s ability to pull in people.

Never been really good with that.

For a while, the Patreon proved useful just to push me to create RPG material. The larger one’s catalogue, the more revenue one can expect from Drive-Thru RPG (much like Patreon, itch.io—at least for me—is very dependent on the author/publisher’s ability to draw in customers). So in the end, the Patreon will likely have a longer reach than the revenue which came directly from it.

The sad truth is that, many modern societies and cultures measure a product’s value and impact in revenue. Back in university, I took a course on the social psychology of sport, and in a component about contracts we looked at studies suggesting large contracts are pursued more as a signal of the management’s regard for the athlete than for the money itself. I imagine it’s the same in entertainment as a whole.

All that to say, I’m not immune to this, so I’m afraid I continue to looks at sales and people’s willingness to spend money on me as a measure of my value—at least as an author and RPG designer.

I think I have one or two ‘for pay’ projects I might pursue, but if I write any more adventures, I think I might release them as ‘pay what you will,’ knowing the general perception will be that these are lesser products than those with a fixed price.

Forget it, Jake. It’s capitalism.

Sales 2019 Per Venue

This was originally posted on my Patreon. If you dig my work, please support me there.

Last time I shared the sales for 2019 (with info on second to fourth quarter, since I had already shared the first quarter sales on SEP). Now let’s look at the numbers for each sales venue.

I have not included convention sales, as I did not sell at any conventions in 2019. I am the absolute worse salesperson for my own stuff, and unless one of my friends is hawking my wares (thanks Jason and Josh!) I don’t even bother any more. I might have one or two spare books of the game I am running, but I always get flustered when talking about price and taking a person’s money. I suck at this.

The component that should jump out is how few sales I make on Amazon. Yeah, not surprised. How would one even find my stuff there unless one was specifically looking for it?

IPR will no longer be carrying my stuff, which I completely understand when you look at those numbers. The thing is, even with those low numbers, the monthly revenue was not much lower than that for Drive Thru, through which I sell a lot more. That’s because IPR sells mostly print. And there are costs associated with print—not just shipping costs, but inventory costs when money is tied up in physical copies that are not actually valuable unless someone wants to buy them. Production, shipping and customs swallowed up almost half of my revenue from IPR for 2019, so the actual profit from that revenue stream is actually pretty low.

A new stream that is happening in 2020 is itch.io, which is so far doing better than Amazon, but is not on track to replace IPR’s revenue. It too, however, is an e-product venue, meaning the only costs are the actual production of the games.

I shouldn’t even get into revenue vs. profit, because that’s kind of sad. But quickly: conservatively, I spend about 8-10 hours a week working on RPG material. Based on 2019 numbers, removing money spent on the Sagas of the Sea Peoples Kickstarter, I got paid between $1.08 and $1.35 CAN an hour for my work on RPGs.

If you include in the costs associated with preparing the Sagas Kickstarter, I lost over $1 CAN each hour I worked on RPG stuff.

Ouch.

Anyway, the sales numbers for 2019’s sales venues.

Sales Through Amazon (all sales are print products)
Arcane Kingdoms
For Simple Coin, 1

Other
Nefertiti Overdrive, 3

Sword’s Edge Systems
Kiss My Axe, 1
Sword Noir, 1

Indie Press Revolution Sales for 2019
Other
Centurion: Legionaries of Rome (Print), 1
Nefertiti Overdrive (Print), 5
Nefertiti Overdrive (PDF), 1

Sword’s Edge Systems
Kiss My Axe (Print), 1
Kiss My Axe (PDF), 1
Sword Noir (Print), 3
Sword Noir (PDF), 1
Sword’s Edge (Print), 3
Sword’s Edge (PDF), 1

Sales Through Drive Thru RPG for 2019
Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day (Modern Dispatch 113), 4
Khorforjan Gambit, 4
Qalashar Device, 4
Raid On Ashkashem, 5

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

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

Fifth Edition
Abyss of the Black Cloud, 3
Abyss of the Crimson Cave, 5
Cult of the Abyss, 9

Other
Centurion: Legionaries of Rome, 5
Daughter of the Sun: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 4
HeadCrushers, 6
Hispania Ulterior Motive: A Centurion Adventure, 6
Judged: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 4
Nefertiti Overdrive, 3
Questions of Loyalty: A Centurion Adventure, 8
Starship Commandos, 5
The Wall, 6

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers: A Sword Noir Adventure, 4
Face ‘Splosion: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 3
For A Few Swords More: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 3
HardCASE: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 6
Kheufer Scrolls: A Sword Noir Adventure, 5
Kiss My Axe, 7
Lawless Heaven: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 3
Six Stood Alone: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 6
Suffer the Witch: A Kiss My Axe Adventure, 3
Sword Noir, 14
Sword’s Edge, 8

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)

Sales for First Quarter 2019

Here we are, well into 2019, and I’m just getting the first selection of sales data posted. The first quarter of 2019 was pretty standard. I have been slower to set up for sale items developed for Patreon, but most of them will get to sales venues. Numbers and regular releases are important for sales, and that was one of the reasons I set up my Patreon, to motivate me to get stuff into a sell-able format. So far, that’s worked relatively well.

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.”

Sales for First Quarter 2019 (Jan to Mar)
All sales venues

Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day, 2
Khorforjan Gambit, 2
Qalashar Device, 2
Raid On Ashkashem, 2

Arcane Kingdoms
For Simple Coin, 2

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

Other
Centurion, 3
HeadCrushers, 2
Hispania Ulterior Motive: A Centurion Adventure, 1
Judged: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure,
Nefertiti Overdrive, 9
Starship Commandos, 1
The Wall, 5

Sword’s Edge Systems
Crossing the Millers: A Sword Noir Adventure, 1
Face ‘Splosion: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 1
For A Few Swords More: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 2
HardCASE: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 2
Kheufer Scrolls: A Sword Noir Adventure, 1
Kiss My Axe, 2
Lawless Heaven: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 1
Six Stood Alone: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 1
Sword Noir, 11
Sword’s Edge, 4

Total Sales to Date
Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day (Modern Dispatch 113), 50
Khorforjan Gambit, 132
Qalashar Device, 146
Raid On Ashkashem, 192

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms, 78
For Simple Coin, 13
Gifts of the Elder Gods, 46

Covert Forces
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section, 121
Covert Forces, 100
Covert Forces Redux, 196
In Her Majesty’s Service, 167

Other
The Boltcutter, 5
Centurion, 238
Cyber-state Avatar Toolkit, 47
Daughter of the Sun: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 4
HeadCrushers, 7
Hispania Ulterior Motive: A Centurion Adventure, 5
Judged: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 19
Line Zero, 41
Nefertiti Overdrive, 178
Starship Commandos, 66
The Wall, 29

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers: A Sword Noir Adventure, 178
Face ‘Splosion: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 22
For A Few Swords More: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 20
HardCASE: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 14
Kheufer Scrolls: A Sword Noir Adventure, 224
Kiss My Axe, 275
Lawless Heaven: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 20
Six Stood Alone: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 1
Suffer the Witch, 104
Sword Noir, 778
Sword’s Edge, 55

Sword’s Edge Publishing

SEP has published a few lines that may be of interest, and you can find a page devoted to each.

Centurion: Legionaries of Rome has characters serving under the eagles of Rome in her famous legions.

Nefertiti Overdrive is about high-octane, wire-fu action set in Ancient Egypt and includes a series of adventures that tell a longer story.

Sword’s Edge is a generic system for which multiple adventures in different genres are available.

Sales for Fourth Quarter 2018

And so we wrap up another year. This year was different in that I was using Patreon as a kind of goad to keep me producing. Now, it did not work as planned due to my being involved in a training program at the beginning of the year, then working on finishing my master of arts program during the rest of the year, but it did get me to produce more than I would have alternatively, and some of that made its way out as products for sale.

Below is the numbers for the third quarter – which looking back, I realize I never posted – the numbers for the last quarter, and then the number for 2018 as a whole compared to numbers form 2017, followed by the grand totals. Just a bunch of data that might be of some use to someone, somewhere.

Enjoy!

Sales for Third Quarter 2018 (Jul to Sep)
All sales venues

Albenistan
Raid On Ashkashem, 1

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms, 1

Covert Forces
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section, 2
Covert Forces Redux, 2

Other
Centurion, 3
Cyber-state Avatar Toolkit, 1
Daughter of the Sun: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 3
Judged: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 2
Nefertiti Overdrive, 11
Starship Commandos, 2
The Wall, 1

Sword’s Edge Systems
Crossing the Millers, 4
HardCASE: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 2
Kheufer Scrolls, 4
Kiss My Axe, 10
Suffer the Witch, 2
Sword Noir, 8

Sales for Fourth Quarter 2018 (Oct to Dec)
All sales venues

Albenistan
Khorforjan Gambit, 1
Qalashar Device, 1
Raid On Ashkashem, 1

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms, 1
For Simple Coin, 2
Gifts of the Elder Gods, 1

Other
Centurion, 5
Centurion: Hispania Ulterior Motive, 2
Daughter of the Sun: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 1
HeadCrushers, 5
Judged: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 1
Nefertiti Overdrive, 1
Starship Commandos, 2
The Wall, 3

Sword’s Edge Systems
Crossing the Millers, 4
Kheufer Scrolls, 4
Kiss My Axe, 1
Suffer the Witch, 1
Sword’s Edge, 4
Sword Noir, 8

Sales for 2018 (with 2017 in parantheses)
All sales venues. If there are no numbers for 2017, the product did not exist or made no sales.

Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day, 1 (5)
Khorforjan Gambit, 3 (5)
Qalashar Device, 4 (5)
Raid On Ashkashem, 5 (6)

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms, 3 (7)
For Simple Coin, 3 (2)
Gifts of the Elder Gods, 3 (3)

Covert Forces
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section, 5 (4)
Covert Forces Redux, 6 (5)
In Her Majesty’s Service, 1 (6)

Other
Centurion, 18 (20)
Centurion: Hispania Ulterior Motive, 4
Cyber-state Avatar Toolkit, 1 (3)
Daughter of the Sun: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 4
HeadCrushers, 5
Judged: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 19
Line Zero, 2 (1)
Nefertiti Overdrive, 25 (31)
Starship Commandos, 21 (20)
The Wall, 24

Sword’s Edge Systems
Crossing the Millers, 11 (10)
Face ‘Splosion, 17 (4)
For A Few Swords More, 18
HardCASE: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 12
Kheufer Scrolls, 10 (10)
Kiss My Axe, 16 (28)
Lawless Heaven, 13 (6)
Suffer the Witch, 3 (4)
Sword’s Edge, 33 (18)
Sword Noir, 28 (52)

Total Sales to Date
Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day (Modern Dispatch 113), 48
Khorforjan Gambit, 130
Qalashar Device, 144
Raid On Ashkashem, 190

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms, 78
For Simple Coin, 11
Gifts of the Elder Gods, 46

Covert Forces
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section, 120
Covert Forces, 100
Covert Forces Redux, 195
In Her Majesty’s Service, 166

Other
The Boltcutter, 5
Centurion, 235
Centurion: Hispania Ulterior Motive, 4
Cyber-state Avatar Toolkit, 47
Daughter of the Sun: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 4
HeadCrushers, 5
Judged: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 19
Line Zero, 41
Nefertiti Overdrive, 169
Starship Commandos, 65
The Wall, 24

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers, 177
Face ‘Splosion: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 21
For A Few Swords More: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 18
HardCASE: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 12
Kheufer Scrolls, 223
Kiss My Axe, 273
Lawless Heaven: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 19
Suffer the Witch, 104
Sword’s Edge, 51
Sword Noir, 767

Heads Are Gonna Get Crushed!

Coming to my Patreon in September will be HeadCrushers: an RPG of Fantasy Mayhem. This is a very simple system – more simple even than Sword’s Edge – that is designed for quick, loud fantasy adventures but which can be easily adapted to other genres. This was directly inspired by the fantastic Skullkickers comic, which you can ​read online but which is ​available in print.

I would greatly appreciate your support to my Patreon. HeadCrushers will be coming to the regular venues for sale in around October, but it’s cheaper if you get it through the Patreon.

 

Sales for Second Quarter 2018

This is a bit late, but then again I’ve got my hands full with family, school, and work – and that list is in order of priority. I’ve been pretty honest about running silent and how that’s likely to last for a while longer, and I’m not really happy about that, but I will be happy when my schooling is done and I get that piece of paper.

My neglect of both SEP and my Patreon has not helped sales numbers. Pretty sluggish, but then again, I’ve never been able to figure out what drives sales. I know regular releases help, but the slump started while I was still releasing every month, so not sure exactly what’s goin’ on.

I’ll likely never figure it out.

But, in any case, here are the numbers:

Sales for Second Quarter 2018 (Apr – Jun)
All sales venues

Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day,
Khorforjan Gambit, 1
Qalashar Device, 1
Raid On Ashkashem, 1

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms, 1
For Simple Coin, 1

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

Other
Centurion, 4
Centurion: Hispania Ulterior Motive, 2
Judged: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 2
Line Zero, 1
Nefertiti Overdrive, 2
Starship Commandos, 4
The Wall, 2

Sword’s Edge Systems
Crossing the Millers, 1
Face ‘Splosion, 1
For A Few Swords More, 1
HardCASE, 6
Kheufer Scrolls, 1
Kiss My Axe, 2
Sword’s Edge, 6
Sword Noir, 6

Total Sales to Date
Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day (Modern Dispatch 113), 43
Khorforjan Gambit, 124
Qalashar Device, 138
Raid On Ashkashem, 182

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms, 69
For Simple Coin, 66
Gifts of the Elder Gods, 42

Covert Forces
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section, 114
Covert Forces, 100
Covert Forces Redux, 188
In Her Majesty’s Service, 160

Other
The Boltcutter, 4
Centurion, 207
Centurion: Hispania Ulterior Motive, 2
Cyber-state Avatar Toolkit, 43
Judged: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 16
Line Zero, 42
Nefertiti Overdrive, 126
Starship Commandos, 31
The Wall, 20

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers, 159
Face ‘Splosion, 17
For a Few Swords More, 18
HardCASE, 10
Kheufer Scrolls, 205
Kiss My Axe, 234
Lawless Heaven, 13
Suffer the Witch, 97
Sword’s Edge, 43
Sword Noir, 689