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Post Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:32 am 
 

ajatthebank wrote in Islandia modules:Does anyone know if a  'Treasure Troves II' was produced please?

I (like others) am unsure of the full listing of items produced by The Companions Inc....

I am aware (have) the items below ...but not sure if this is complete. If anyone can confirm - most grateful!

The Curse of Hareth
Plague of Terror
Brotherhood of the Bolt
Street of Gems
Gems for Death
Treasurre Troves I
Places of Mystery I - IV
Companion Pieces - Fantasy Furnishings


No Treasure Trove II.

Missing from your list are another version of Fantasy Furnishings (different scales) and a hex pad. Nothing else in the generic fantasy genre. They did a second edition of a WWII RPG called Behind Enemy Lines as well.


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:57 pm 
 

TheHistorian wrote in Islandia modules:No Treasure Trove II.

Missing from your list are another version of Fantasy Furnishings (different scales) and a hex pad. Nothing else in the generic fantasy genre. They did a second edition of a WWII RPG called Behind Enemy Lines as well.


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Post Posted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:44 pm 
 

Interested.

What about first publishing the originals in PDF form to expand the fanbase and generate some working funds, then start on modern 5e and/or OSR updates? If there's one thing we're seen from the digital revolution, legal pdf's, and print on demand, it's that cheap copies only wet gamers' appetite for endless collectable hardcopies.

  

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Post Posted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:28 pm 
 

vestcoat wrote in Islandia modules:What about first publishing the originals in PDF form to expand the fanbase and generate some working funds, then start on modern 5e and/or OSR updates? If there's one thing we're seen from the digital revolution, legal pdf's, and print on demand, it's that cheap copies only wet gamers' appetite for endless collectable hardcopies.


The difficulty for most of these projects is to find and get the approval from the authors, artists and anyone else involved in the original project to be able to do something with their work - in most cases this is near impossible.  I'm not sure how projects like The Complete Oracle Kickstarter were able to do this or simply they didn't care about following proper copyright.  Simple things like changing from a print edition to PDF means a change in format which likely wasn't covered in the initial agreements (who had a clause in their 1980s contract about being able to convert to an electronic format?).  When TSR released their Dragon Archive, they got hit with a huge settlement to pay all the authors/artists who had submitted stuff because "change of format" wasn't covered.

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Post Posted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 4:09 pm 
 

Mars wrote in Islandia modules:
vestcoat wrote in Islandia modules:What about first publishing the originals in PDF form to expand the fanbase and generate some working funds, then start on modern 5e and/or OSR updates? If there's one thing we're seen from the digital revolution, legal pdf's, and print on demand, it's that cheap copies only wet gamers' appetite for endless collectable hardcopies.


The difficulty for most of these projects is to find and get the approval from the authors, artists and anyone else involved in the original project to be able to do something with their work - in most cases this is near impossible.


Agreed that it's very difficult, but not impossible (sometimes....).  

Mars wrote in Islandia modules:I'm not sure how projects like The Complete Oracle Kickstarter were able to do this or simply they didn't care about following proper copyright.  Simple things like changing from a print edition to PDF means a change in format which likely wasn't covered in the initial agreements (who had a clause in their 1980s contract about being able to convert to an electronic format?).  


My understanding is that the Complete Oracle KS was done with the involvement of the original Oracle author---since it was a one-man publication (again, my understanding), it was a much simpler process to reprint the original materials (although they're missing a page-spread from one of the last issues in the reprint...).  

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 11:06 pm 
 

Any updates on this, safletcher?

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Post Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:15 pm 
 

This should be a relatively easy one to bring to fruition.
There were no contributing authors to contend with. The IP for all intent and purposes lies with one person. Any art and cartography can be redrawn with no need to acknowledge the original artists if the intent is a rewrite, and anyone with a scanner can get the original text into Word without too much difficulty.


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Post Posted: Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:32 am 
 

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the radio silence on this for so long. I didn't even realize how long it had been since I first started down this path. Unfortunately, life got in the way and I have not made much progress on this project. However, some recent events have prompted me to return and try to get this moving forward.

I am currently investigating how to start a company to handle this project, as well as the legal costs for a licensing agreement. I need to follow up with Peter Rice to see if he is still interested in licensing the rights to the material.

Since we are talking about this, I will open up the discussion to what such a project would look like. I have been kicking around a few ideas. Please offer your opinions and I will go from there.

First, as someone else mentioned, the initial goal of the Kickstarter could be to simply publish the modules in their original format, with other improvements as stretch goals. I'm thinking this is the most reasonable way to start, but I think some improvements will need to be included at the base level, such as improving the formatting and updating to modern systems. As for what system, I was leaning towards 5e, but I definitely see the draw for other systems as well.

Second, my initial thought is to start with Curse on Hareth, then do additional projects for each product if the previous one was successful. That way I can focus on one product at a time, as well as minimize the amount of money I need to invest to get things started.

Any input anyone has would be greatly appreciated. I am open to any sort of constructive feedback.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:52 am 
 

Kickstarter

I would make sure that you had the product written to completion and proofread before you approach people and ask for their money. Most Kickstarters fail because the people asking for the money dramatically underestimate both the amount of work that needs to be done, and the amount of time it takes to do the work, and subsequently promise things that they have no way of fulfilling. You should create the manuscripts, proofread them, have them typeset, and check their compliance with the current OGL before you even consider asking people to pay upfront.

Maybe consider avoiding stretch goals altogether. They do not increase the amount of revenue proportionately to the amount of work you promise to complete within the time. If the product you are offering in the initial Kickstarter is not a big enough appeal in and of itself, you have the wrong product, and no amount of extra baubles can make the product better. You have the advantage (assuming you have the IP's permission) of starting with solid well written work.

There is a wealth of successful Kickstarters in this market, with principles who can offer you their experience and advice. Do not be too reticent, too shy or too arrogant, not to ask. They do not fear competition and want to see new entrants into the market succeed as much as we do.

Make sure your budget works, and make sure you have contingency funding in place. If the top line figure on Kickstarter says you are $50K funded, that is not how much you get. You lose 10% (or whatever it is these days) off the top to Kickstarter, and you have to pay tax on the remaining balance as of the date you receive it, not the date you spend it. So plan your financial year and know when you want Kickstarter to pay out (i.e. end), and when you'll have to declare and pay tax on that money.

Presentation

Learn the difference between a good quality product and just another RPG book, and then decide which category you want your product to be in. You already have a well written work as a starting point, but you need to understand the difference between good quality presentation, artwork and cartography, and the mass of sh!t that many 'just another RPG books' publish. These differences do translate into actual revenue. They can be felt in the hand, and move physical products faster and at higher prices. You don't want to be doing maps with graph paper and magic markers or your neighbour's kid's drawings in Illustrator, and if you were left with a pallet of books, you'd find it far easier to move a pallet of Hot Spring Islands over a pallet of Dreadmire.

Just my initial thoughts.


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Post Posted: Sun Oct 25, 2020 7:37 pm 
 

Thank you mbassoc2003 for the helpful advice. I agree with you on some points but do have issues with a few.
mbassoc2003 wrote in Islandia modules:
I would make sure that you had the product written to completion and proofread before you approach people and ask for their money. Most Kickstarters fail because the people asking for the money dramatically underestimate both the amount of work that needs to be done, and the amount of time it takes to do the work, and subsequently promise things that they have no way of fulfilling. You should create the manuscripts, proofread them, have them typeset, and check their compliance with the current OGL before you even consider asking people to pay upfront.


I would love to be able to have everything written, proofread, and formatted before asking for money, but since I am not independently wealthy, I don't have the money available to do all of that before the Kickstarter, as I expect I will want to bring in some professionals for some steps. I am going to try to do a lot of work between myself and an old friend of mine who is also a huge fan of the modules. But, I still expect to need some experts in some areas as well.

mbassoc2003 wrote in Islandia modules:Maybe consider avoiding stretch goals altogether. They do not increase the amount of revenue proportionately to the amount of work you promise to complete within the time. If the product you are offering in the initial Kickstarter is not a big enough appeal in and of itself, you have the wrong product, and no amount of extra baubles can make the product better. You have the advantage (assuming you have the IP's permission) of starting with solid well written work.


I appreciate the idea of avoiding stretch goals entirely but I feel adding reasonable stretch goals could be a good thing. Part of me wants to set the base goal of the project to just release the products pretty much as-is, but perhaps updated to work with the OGL. Then, stretch goals could be things like updated formatting, better artwork, color maps, etc. No matter what I do, I plan on thinking it through heavily before starting the Kickstarter.

mbassoc2003 wrote in Islandia modules:There is a wealth of successful Kickstarters in this market, with principles who can offer you their experience and advice. Do not be too reticent, too shy or too arrogant, not to ask. They do not fear competition and want to see new entrants into the market succeed as much as we do.


I appreciate this as well. It does seem that most people in the RPG industry are of the opinion that a rising tide lifts all ships, so they are willing to support others in the industry as it helps increase the interest in the hobby as a whole, which helps ultimately helps everyone. I will definitely contact a few of the people who have had successful Kickstarters with projects that look like they might be of the quality I am trying to produce.

mbassoc2003 wrote in Islandia modules:Make sure your budget works, and make sure you have contingency funding in place. If the top line figure on Kickstarter says you are $50K funded, that is not how much you get. You lose 10% (or whatever it is these days) off the top to Kickstarter, and you have to pay tax on the remaining balance as of the date you receive it, not the date you spend it. So plan your financial year and know when you want Kickstarter to pay out (i.e. end), and when you'll have to declare and pay tax on that money.


These are important things to consider. I had not really thought about some of these, so thank you for sharing. I know Kickstarter takes a share but I had not thought about when taxes would be due on the Kickstarter funds. I will definitely keep that in mind.

mbassoc2003 wrote in Islandia modules:Presentation

Learn the difference between a good quality product and just another RPG book, and then decide which category you want your product to be in. You already have a well written work as a starting point, but you need to understand the difference between good quality presentation, artwork and cartography, and the mass of sh!t that many 'just another RPG books' publish. These differences do translate into actual revenue. They can be felt in the hand, and move physical products faster and at higher prices. You don't want to be doing maps with graph paper and magic markers or your neighbour's kid's drawings in Illustrator, and if you were left with a pallet of books, you'd find it far easier to move a pallet of Hot Spring Islands over a pallet of Dreadmire.


I agree, I want to make sure the quality of the presentation fits the material. I would really hate to ruin the reputation of the modules by delivering a shoddy product. I also want to be sure I am honoring the names of The Companions, William John Wheeler, and Peter L. Rice. I would feel horrible if I did not do the product justice.

Also, I want to avoid having a Kickstarter that turns in to a disaster like the Judge's Guild City State of the Invincible Overlord. That one is quite a train wreck....

mbassoc2003 wrote in Islandia modules:Just my initial thoughts.


Again, thank you for the advice. While I might not follow all of it, you at least give me a lot of things to think about.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:00 am 
 

safletcher wrote in Islandia modules:I would love to be able to have everything written, proofread, and formatted before asking for money, but since I am not independently wealthy, I don't have the money available to do all of that before the Kickstarter, as I expect I will want to bring in some professionals for some steps. I am going to try to do a lot of work between myself and an old friend of mine who is also a huge fan of the modules. But, I still expect to need some experts in some areas as well.


The initial transcription of the original modules is a simple scan of the original work and a copy and paste into Word. This is something you could do with Acrobat and a scanner and a week or so off work (Christmas holiday is coming up), or something you may find people willing to do for you in exchange for a place in the credits and complimentary copies of the finished product.
Editing, manipulating and initial proofreading of that text is also just a time allocation, and time is free unless you cannot do this yourself. The proofreading again is something you could get someone anal to do for you, and probably in exchange for accreditation and complimentary copies.
In both instances, if you are looking for outside help here, it is people who really believes you can pull it off, and are invested in quality of the product, as opposed to looking to earn a wage.
This is a process that could take six months or more, but unless you're actually wanting to run Kickstarter to earn an income, time is not an issue to you. Getting on with the job in hand is, and that is free.

As an aside, I do invest in Kickstarters from time to time, and I do so because I believe in the person and the project. If I think I'm putting money into a project to assure good quality in the presentation, the art and the mapwork, then I have no issue. If I think I'm putting in money to put food on a teams table, or send them to GaryCon, then that's a big red flag for me. Many of the failures in Kickstarters are down to principals spending backers moneys on their own personal requirements, and not the requirements of the project.

safletcher wrote in Islandia modules:I appreciate the idea of avoiding stretch goals entirely but I feel adding reasonable stretch goals could be a good thing. Part of me wants to set the base goal of the project to just release the products pretty much as-is, but perhaps updated to work with the OGL. Then, stretch goals could be things like updated formatting, better artwork, color maps, etc. No matter what I do, I plan on thinking it through heavily before starting the Kickstarter.


In my experience success comes from over delivering. There is no reason why you couldn't provide extra product at a minimal cost when it is available, rather than asking people to pay for extra product at minimal cost up front, or offering extra product FoC when a specific stretch goal is reached, both of which obligate you to meet certain criteria but generate very little additional income. How many people would increase their backing amount because they want a project to reach a declared stretch goal? How many people would encourage more of their friends to become backers because they want to see a stretch goal reached?

The most likely route to success is a very small team, succeeding in a well funded Kickstarter, putting out a product better than most people expected, and then going on to publish additional products on the back of reputation and experience with the funding and publishing mechanisms.

safletcher wrote in Islandia modules:I appreciate this as well. It does seem that most people in the RPG industry are of the opinion that a rising tide lifts all ships, so they are willing to support others in the industry as it helps increase the interest in the hobby as a whole, which helps ultimately helps everyone. I will definitely contact a few of the people who have had successful Kickstarters with projects that look like they might be of the quality I am trying to produce.


Glynn Seal, Luka Rejec, Chris McDowell, Greg Gillespie, Jacob Hurst & Evan Peterson, Matt Finch, Patrick Stuart, James Raggi... I'm sure others will be able to offer up contacts when this becomes a serious writing project. There is real publishing and marketing experience on this forum and over of Dragonsfoot.org, and you should be able to tell from having conversations with people where they are coming from and what real experience they are offering.

safletcher wrote in Islandia modules:I agree, I want to make sure the quality of the presentation fits the material. I would really hate to ruin the reputation of the modules by delivering a shoddy product. I also want to be sure I am honoring the names of The Companions, William John Wheeler, and Peter L. Rice. I would feel horrible if I did not do the product justice.


Now my take on it would be one of presenting the quality of product that buyers want to buy, and producing a suitable product that works really well on the game table. I don't think honouring the legacy of Wheeler and Rice is important, because they have already produced their products, earned their respect, and left their mark on the industry. If I were minded to do a similar project, I would consider getting their world in front of todays players and getting people actually playing with the modules on their tables to be the best way I could honour their work. To me that means producing a product players actually want to buy and play with, and not producing my perception of what I think the Islandia Campaign products should be. What the Islandia Campaign products should be has already happened. What they can be is defined by the way people play the game today.

As a side note, I think you should be targeting players below the age of 30 or so, and not people in their 40's and 50's. Its just a personal observation, and it may be wrong, but that seems to be where the passion and power behind the game is moving, and in 20 years, those are the people who will be deciding the shape and flavour of the hobby for todays children. The quality and flavour of todays products shape how they view the game, just as Judges Guild and TSR shaped how we view the game. So feeding quality products to those buyers' hands moves the canon of work into the next generation. Selling it to me does not.

.

Do you have the original products you are planning to work with/transcribe?

There is a difference between a graphic designer and an artist. It is useful if you understand the difference and the impact the two have on a project. They do both cost money though. That money doesn't need to be spent until the end of the project, and if you end up using a mate or a friend of someone, the project will more than likely end up looking like homebrew vanity publishing done at buyers' expense. You might want to avoid that, buy then there are small publishers that make money publishing homebrew stuff with no art or cartography outwith modern day schoolboy scrapbook stuff, and it's happened to reimaging of publishers' works of yesteryear, and it's a real shame and never successful (unless shifting 200 units is what you consider success.)

It's just that that would be a shame if it happened to Islandia.

The funny thing is the majority of your backers and the majority of your buyers, whom you'll want to be asking questions of, are not on this forum. They are over on Dragonsfoot, as are a lot more of the bloggers and the people who know what you want to know. But the people here are undoubtedly the majority of the people who know the names Wheeler, Rice and Islandia.


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Post Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 9:22 am 
 

If the intent is get the series into the playing public's hands in its original format initially, then why is there any expense at all?
You could simply scan the originals, publish them for free on RPGDriveThru, and give people the option to buy Print on Demand copies.
Wheeler and Rice then get their work out there for whole generation of DMs to download and use, and buy copies of if they wish.
The financial threshold to publishing with RPGDriveThru is so incredibly low it could be done with the author's permission by anyone.

But there is no personal profit in doing that. It would be a magnanimous gesture to honour the original works in their original format.
Although it would be also build the base for an Islandia Campaign Setting Kickstarter, separate the getting paid for doing work (the rewriting), from profiting off of someone elses work motives, and ensure people knew what Islandia was and had to offer before the Kickstarter marketing asked them for pledges.


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Post Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:50 pm 
 

Thank you mbassoc2003 for the input.

I've been giving this some thought and I agree, the best thing to do to start is to just do a basic reedit of the material, with the original artwork and maps. I know I could just go with the current format, but I think it would be best to at least try to clean up some of the formatting, especially with Curse on Hareth. The other modules seem to have a bit more polish on them, so they would need less work.

As for offering them for free on DriveThruRPG, I'm not sure Peter would be willing to do that. But, I do think a Kickstarter with a low goal and a reasonable price could be a good compromise. I do have copies of all the modules and currently have them scanned in, but I might scan them in again at a higher resolution, just to provide a better quality to work with. Peter also offered to sell me everything he has, so that would give me more material to work with as well, especially if I am able to continue past the original products.

Of course, this all comes down to what Peter Rice wants to charge for the rights and the additional material. I emailed him again recently, but I have not heard back from him yet.

My primary concern with doing crowdsourcing for the funding is to make sure I cover my costs for the project. I was considering using DriveThruRPG for delivery, partially because their print on demand would help reduce the overall costs and risks for me, thus improving the chances of the project being successful.

Later, if the initial run of all the original modules is successful, I could use the profits towards improving the products with newer artwork and possibly adding color, etc. Again, the primary intention would be to cover the costs. I no plans for making this my full-time job. I just want to make sure The Companions' products are available for years to come at a price that ordinary people can afford. Sure, the originals will maintain their collector's value, but for someone who just wants to experience the modules, the current prices are prohibitive. That is also where I could look into extending the product line, to include other modules that were planned, such as Mora, Port of Danger.

I will continue to keep everyone updated and also head over to Dragonsfoot and try to drum up some interest, once I get this moving forward more.

  

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:23 pm 
 

safletcher wrote in Islandia modules:My primary concern with doing crowdsourcing for the funding is to make sure I cover my costs for the project.


not having the product written before the Kickstarter start makes this the most dangerous.... it usually goes a bit like this..

expected
$20,000 raised $5000 to print, $5000 to ship.. profit $10000 (pays for writing, artwork, etc)

real life
$20000 raised, $2tax, $2k for company costs, takes 12 months to write.. take $5000 living expenses out.. printing now costs $6000.. postage now costs $6000..total in bank = negative $1000 with artwork, editing etc still to pay

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:35 pm 
 

Yes, I agree. And my plan is to avoid that situation.. That is part of the reason I'm thinking I will keep it simple for the first round .

Also, I have a full-time job, so I will not need money from the project for living expenses.

But, if I stick with a simple version to start, that would make it much easier to have most or all of the work done before starting the Kickstart. For a project format an unknown like myself, that would probably help the project to be successful.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 1:25 am 
 

safletcher wrote in Islandia modules:Also, I have a full-time job, so I will not need money from the project for living expenses.


A more specific term for "living expenses" might be "unanticipated effects upon your day-to-day life which may have indirect financial impact." If you eat out instead of cooking because you're spending time on the project, that could add up. If you crash your car while buying art supplies, well, that counts too.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:08 am 
 

Lets say Peter Rice delivered PDFs to RPGDrivethru at a nominal POD cost of say $2 over print price, and he gets $1 a copy. That's free money and it effectively floods the market with POD copies at cheap prices (relative to buying originals) all of which are direct facsimiles of the the original products.

Granted there's no profit it it for you as the facilitator, but you gave the impression that it was a magnanimous gesture to get his writing recognition and more use, and a desire to make money. As a first step, this achieves those things, and if its done in the name of 'Fletcher Games', then there's a slew of product running around the market in the name of Fletcher Games, then you already know before you consider a Kickstarter what the likely uptake will be in the market, and how well received a renaissance of The Companions products has been.

You still have OSR and 5E rewrites, new cartography and new art, re-imagined, expanded, with 40 pages of new materials, and all that to offer buyers off the back of already establishing your market presence which would have cost you practically nothing except a little hard work.

If the stumbling block is that you're looking for payment for the work you need to put in to get off the ground, then that indicate failure. Small press becomes successful years down the line from inception, and without the indication that this is purely a venture of love for the game and the player, it reads as something else that we have seen over and over in the past. You only need to ask ANY of the small press success stories out there and they will be happy to tell you what they've learned and what the path to success is. You ignore that path to success at your own peril. Unfortunately, you also ignore it at the peril of everyone else's money if you do it with Kickstarter without an upfront intent to do the very best you can. If you speak to many of the successful small publishers in the OSR space, you'll also find its a statement of character that they deliver, regardless of personal finances. They will tell you that they ALL did this for free and for a long time in the early years, many of them cajoling others to work with them and none of them making money.


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:19 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 -

That would certainly be a reasonable plan. I have just been working through the logistics involved in all of it. Nothing was definite at this point.

However, after following up with Peter Rice recently, I received a response that he and his wife have decided to maintain full creative control and republishing rights for now, as he wants to make sure everything keeps the 'certain feel' it had before.

I do not know what his future plans are at this point, but for now, my plan is on hold.

Thanks again to everyone who offered their input.

  
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