Gaming

Thousand Suns is Available!

Just before the holidays, PDF, softcover, and hardcover versions of Thousand Suns Rulebook are now available. I did the cover and interior design on this project, and all the production.

It’s been interesting working on a sci-fi game that is so different from Eclipse Phase, and also working on such a setting-light game. I think we did a sweet job of showing the setting style through art, captions, and examples without being too heavy-handed.

This is the first new release for James Maliszewski’s Grognardia Games, and I’m excited to see it live!

There is a nice preview—including the first chapter and the entire Table of Contents—available via OneBookShelf, so check it out!

TS Softcover Softcover Final

It is a time of wonder.

Humanity has reached the stars and created a society of glittering sophistication and diversity on hundreds of planets. Poets declaim, lovers rendezvous, and rakes duel with wits and monoblades. Colonists settle virgin worlds, merchant princes vie for emerging markets, and free traders hawk their exotic wares. The Navy rules the jumplines, putting down pirates and charting new star systems. Scientists uncover startling new truths on long-dead worlds and posit revolutionary theories dizzying in their implications. Technology advances at a rapid pace, each year improving the lot of all who accept its boons. None dare deny the bright destiny Man has seized for himself.

It is a time of upheaval.

The inhabited galaxy-the Thousand Suns-teeters on the brink of chaos. Half a millennium since the Concord, and a generation since the bloody Civil War, the dynamism that ended the Age of Warring States is sorely tested. Diplomats try new gambits, shifting their ground for an unknown future. On dozens of worlds across known space, the lights are going out again and the process of decivilization begins anew. Despots and tyrants who would rather lord it over benighted backwaters than bend their knee to even a distant authority, arise once more. At the edges of explored space, rivals-both human and alien-watch and wait.

It is a time of glory.

Victorious fleets smash enemy armadas in distant star systems. Soldiers parade through liberated planets to alien cheers. Sector governors draw up breathtaking visions of terraforming and orbital cities. New jumplines open to the heart of unex- plored space, daring the bold to venture into the unknown for profit and peril. Surveyors stumble upon lost colonies and puzzle out the mysteries of inscrutable clades. Captains with blazing eyes save worlds from barbarism-and rule them as gods. Daring thieves turn new technologies to unexpected ends or sell them to shadowy cartels on the fringes of known space.

Meanwhile, bold operatives seek out these criminal plans for reprisal. Everything is possible with enough beauty, brains, or blasters, and it’s all within reach of a single jump.

It is a time of adventure.

Ignite Slides from PepCon

I was at the InDesignSecretsLive Print and ePublishing 2011 conference last week, and did a five minute Ignite speech talking about my publishing philosophy, Posthuman Studios, and Eclipse Phase. Regular readers of my blog will be familiar with many of those principles, but I have a sexy slideshow available for download.

I wrote way too much text for a five minute speech, but I had fun and got a lot of nice reactions to it from a crowd of people largely unfamiliar with roleplaying games and their particular publishing niche.

If you were at PepCon and want to chat about the things I said or toss ideas around, there are a ton of ways to get in contact with me!

BattleTech Book Sale

BattleTech fans,

I have a large number of extra BattleTech books. Books that I worked hard on, books that I’m proud of. But, they are extras, and I need some cash and space in my office more than I need them.

So here’s the deal&mdashlpick a book from the list below (all full-color hardcovers, except for the coveted FedCom Civil War):

Total Warfare
TechManual
Tactical Operations
Strategic Operations
25 Years of Art and Fiction
Fedcom Civil War

Email me — adam@adamjury.com (subject line: “BattleTech books” please), telling me which book you want from that list. I’ll reply to confirm that it’s still available. You then zap me $75USD via PayPal. I’ll send you the book and three other softcover BattleTech books. North American shipping included. You can send me a list of softcover books that you would like, and I’ll do my best to fill them, first come, first served.

Don’t want additional softcovers? Want more books? Make an offer!

And here’s a list of the softcovers I have:

Masters and Minions: the Starcorps Dossiers
Starterbook: Sword and Dragon
Starterbook: Wolf and Blake

Blake Ascending
Jihad Hot Spots 3072
Jihad Hot Spots 3076
Jihad Conspiracies

Record Sheets: 3039
Record Sheets: 3067
Record Sheets: MechWarrior Dark Age
Aerotech 2 Record Sheets
Aerotech 2 Revised

Handbook: Major Periphery States
Handbook: House Marik

Field Manual: Periphery
Field Manual: Updates
Field Manual: Mercenaries
Mercenaries Supplemental II
A Guide to Covert Ops
Combat Equipment
War of 3039
Miniatures Rules

Combat Operations
Interstellar Players
Brush Wars
Classic BattleTech Companion

Map Sets:

Solaris VII
Map Set 7
Compilation 2

Technical Readouts:

3039
3050
3055 Upgrade
3057 Revised
3058 Upgrade
3067
3075

Pricing for Niche Electronic Titles

A disclaimer: I wrote most of this post before Adamant Entertainment announced they were re-pricing all of their PDFs at $1, or what Gareth dubbed the “app-pricing” model. I think the approach is interesting, but this post is not a “response” to his decision … although I am incredibly curious as to how it turns out, of course!

If you are publishing a niche RPG—material not compatible with Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder—you should maximize your profits by not underpricing your exclusive electronic releases. An “exclusive electronic release” is material not available in print (not including true Print on Demand, but including short run printing) or that don’t have costs subsidized in a substantial way.

So, by way of example:

A PDF or other electronic title sold on OneBookShelf (DriveThruRPG/RPGNow) gives the publisher 70% of sale price (65% if the publisher is not an exclusive vendor). This means a five dollar title leaves the publisher with $3.50; a two dollar title $1.40.

I think that Eclipse Phase has proved that low price points on electronic core rulebooks can lead to a raise in the number of sales—enough to make up for the difference in per-unit profit. Customers are interested in saving 10 bucks (typical RPG electronic core rulebooks are 20-25 or even more, while Eclipse Phase is 15) and much more willing to try a new game if it’s inexpensive—but supplements are most often sold to existing customers, people who already like your game. They already perceive themselves as invested* (time, money, emotion) in your game, and so a difference of a few dollars is less likely to make a negative impact in your sales. However, it can make a big difference in how much money you have to invest in the projects … And the amount of profit you end up making.

An Eclipse Phase PDF project like Continuity has a total budget of $800. It breaks down like this:

Writing: 200 (5000 words at four cents a word)
Editing: 200 (this covers a copy-edit and dev-edit pass from Rob Boyle. He deserves a raise on this.)
Layout: 100 (I do all the layout and maps in-house.)
Art: 300 (2 to 3 pieces, playing the same as we pay for artwork destined for print.)

There is no budget for “other stuff” yet … so for example, in Continuity, the audio files we included came out of the art budget.

This means that we need to sell 229 copies of a $5 exclusive electronic release to break even. Priced at $2, we would have to sell 572 copies just to break even. What if we sold 572 copies at 5 bucks? Profit of $2002—enough to fund two and a half more releases. Now, our exclusive electronic releases aren’t making huge profits yet, but we are breaking even relatively quickly—and we have a formula for, at the least, supplying the fanbase with a steady flow of material!

* I try not to use the words “invest” or “invested” when talking about my hobbies. I feel that it’s too loaded. But that’s a personal thing.

iPad Notes & Eclipse Phase Updates

PlainText is a great little tool for the iPad; a simple text editor that syncs everything to a Dropbox folder. I’ve been using it to scribble notes and start blog posts while away from the computer lately, and very much enjoying the experience. The iOS 4.2 update has really cranked up the iPad in my eyes, making it more of a tool and less of a gadget. I’ve stopped using my Sony Reader entirely; iBooks and the iPad is more convenient.

Eclipse Phase

Our next hardcover book, Gatecrashing, is at the printers now. The introductory fiction from it, An Infinite Horizon, by Steve Mohan, is available for sale in two different ways: PDF/ePub/Mobi bundle from DriveThruRPG and directly from the Amazon Kindle store. It should be $0.99 no matter where you buy it, but the Kindle store jacks up prices if you’re outside of the USA, so I suggest overseas customers get the PDF/ePub/Mobi version.

EP-AnInfiniteHorizon_500px.jpg

More Gatecrashing previews will hit the Eclipse Phase site soon.

We also released Continuity, a funky adventure where … oh, no, I’m not going to spoil it for you. Here’s the tagline:

The characters, researchers on a remote outpost, check in for a backup—and awaken in new bodies to discover two weeks of their lives are missing. They have limited time to find out what happened to their previous selves—and deal with a looming threat.

EP-Continuity_Crynalus_AnnaChristenson.jpg

It’s a $5 PDF, in both landscape and portrait formats, with original artwork (Including a great piece from new-to-EP artist Anna Christenson, maps, and audio snippets by J.C. Hutchins (read what he has to say about it.) and Mur Lafferty.

Enjoy!

Bite-Sized Fate

Over on RPG.net, there’s a thread discussing TheMouse’s “bite-sized” explanation of Fate. Several people have made 1-page (front and back) pamphlet-style versions of his condensed rules. My rough take on the idea is here:

http://adamjury.com/files/BiteSizedFate_Nov22_2AM.pdf

(if I update this file, I’ll just update that link and post a note. For now, I’m asking that people don’t distribute/mirror the file—please link back to here, and people can grab the most up-to-date version.)