A Change Is Coming...
  • A Change Is Coming...


    Change is in the air in tabletop role-playing games, and it comes not because of a publisher, or a designer. But because of online streaming.


    A lot of people have been talking this week about Matthew Colville and his Strongholds & Streaming Kickstarter project. The success of the Kickstarter has been astounding, and fast. At the time of writing, having been live for less than a week, the project is about $75,000 away from becoming the second ever role-playing Kickstarter project to reach a million dollars. Two years ago, nearly exactly, John Wick took the second edition of 7th Sea to Kickstarter and raised $1.3 million dollars over the course of its term. Holding to the current rate of growth, Strongholds & Streaming looks to shatter that record long before it hits the half way point.

    The Kickstarter project for the second edition of the 7th Sea role-playing game showed the success of the old ways of the industry. 7th Sea was a popular game of its time, one of the small handfuls of games that managed to make a name for itself outside of Dungeons & Dragons. There was a strong nostalgia element to the project, and it came at the right time economically to make a lot of money. But it was lightning in the bottle, a success that could not be duplicated even by industry powers like Monte Cook Games. Numenera 2: Discovery and Destiny came close, but peaked at $845K. The Kickstarter for 7th Sea had 11,483 backers, while Numenera 2 had only 4,185 backers. That is a staggering number right there: a project with slightly over four thousand backers brought in nearly one million dollars. With just straight division that is just over $200 per backer! Even when you look at the project itself, you can see that, due to the expensive and high level pledges, nearly $30K came from less than forty of the backers of the Numenera project.


    That is how the older industry method target's their market and monetizes them: success comes from getting a devoted following and getting them to spend big. You see that in a lot of role-playing game campaigns, particularly ones that push collectable, high end versions of the books. If you compare that to Strongholds & Streaming (at the time that I am writing this column) the backers are spending around $82 each by simple division. The final backer count for 7th Sea is only a few hundred more than where Strongholds & Streaming is at the time of this writing, but 7th Sea had a slightly larger per backer amount: $113 and change.

    The interesting thing about this looks to be that the larger numbers of streaming fans seem to be paying less money than what gets labeled as the more traditional gaming demographic, however they spend less money on a project than that established demographic. Is that good or bad? Well, the numbers are obviously good. With less than a week in the campaign, you can't really determine how many more people and money will get piled onto the project. The Kicktraq website is rarely right in these hectic early days of a campaign, and that site is currently trending the project towards $6 million (down dramatically from the early trend of $18 million). My educated guess is that the upper reach of Strongholds & Streaming would only be as high as half of that, but if it continues as strongly as it has been and weathers the inevitable mid-project slump, it will probably beat the total of the 7th Sea project, and hit with a final funding total of around $2 million.


    The thing that I have been seeing a lot in online discussions of the Strongholds & Streaming project is that it has come as a complete surprise to many, if not most, of the people who consider themselves part of the established tabletop role-playing demographic. For those people, this is a seismic shift in the industry, but honestly one of the problems with the communities that accumulate around games tend to isolate from each other and have high walls that the inhabitants don't often try to look over, and see what other people are doing. I would say that while this Kickstarter project does represent a sizeable shift in the business of selling games, it is actually at the tail end of a number of shifts. Some of these shifts were more significant than others, but cumulatively over the last fifteen years they have added up to a big change in how gaming as an industry operates.

    The first, and probably one of the most significant changes, would have been the Open Gaming License. The reason that this was such a significant change to the industry is because it had a leveling effect upon the playing field of the role-playing industry. Not only did it give every publisher, regardless of how great or small, access to the keys of the car of Dungeons & Dragons, but it also more or less said that all of the material published for it was more or less equal to each other. The big D20 boom and glut in the market demonstrated otherwise, as the brand was tarnished some by the lack of quality control, and it made it harder for the quality to stand out from amongst the drek. However, due to how the OGL works, once this door was opened it could not be closed again. Eventually, this would lead to Paizo challenging the market supremacy of Wizards of the Coast and Dungeons & Dragons with the Pathfinder and now Starfinder game lines. Through the OGL, Wizards of the Coast ended up inadvertently creating their own best competition.

    The survivors of the OGL period have also given us industry leaders outside of Paizo. We likely wouldn't have publishers like Green Ronin being as strong as they are today without that early D20 support that the company did. While Monte Cook Games has their Cypher System rules, the reputation of Monte Cook, as a designer and publisher, was made on the basis of his involvement with the creation of D&D 3.x and his prominence as a third party publisher for the D20 system, with settings like Ptolus and supplements like The Book of Eldritch Might and Arcana Unearthed/Evolved through Malhavoc Press.

    The next shift to how the industry works came with sites like RPGNow and DriveThruRPG (some may not remember that these two sites were once actually owned by different companies) offering up an easy way to distribute games in PDF format. Eventually this would expand to Print on Demand services as well. Due to the low overhead of being an RPG publisher in PDF format, these sites further democratized the role-playing game market. Building off of the ubiquity of the Open Gaming License, the digital marketplace made it easier for a multitude of publishers whose works would not otherwise be seen by significant numbers of gamers to not only find followings, but to also build them into financially stable and viable businesses. This is what would allow companies like Precis Intermedia to get to a point where it would acquire game lines like Shatterzone and Masterbook from the declining West End Games.

    These two shift together had probably the largest seismic shift to the industry of role-playing games. They would also allow the rise of the hobbyist publisher to a degree that was previously unheard of, and groups like the Old School Renaissance would spring up because of these factors. Combined with the rise of social media, the tools of production and marketing were available to publishers in ways that had previously been unheard of. For both good and bad, this meant that tabletop role-playing gamers could find games to a previously unprecedented degree. But, just as important, the shifting of the market to games in PDF format, and eventually into Print on Demand publishing, also meant that would be publishers would not have to put down the financial stake of paying for tens of thousands of copies of books that might not ever sell, because they had no way to find a market for them.

    The third shift would be crowdfunding. Kickstarter. Indie-Gogo. Patreon. All of those sites and so much more. I'm not entirely convinced that the shift caused by crowdfunding is as great to the marketplace of role-playing games as the previous two were, but it still represents a fairly significant shift in how games are sold. We have seen great successes like John Wick's 7th Sea, Numenera from Monte Cook Games and the creation of the latest edition of the Fate role-playing game from Evil Hat Productions.

    The rise of crowdfunding meant a few different things.

    First, it meant that publishers could get their games out without needing to have a significant amount of capital. I know that I have a number of games on my shelves, from the White Wolf/Onyx Path 20th anniversary editions of Werewolf and Vampire to important indie games like Ron Edward's Sorcerer to old school clones like OpenQuest and Blueholme. I don't know that a nearly 500 page book like the 20th anniversary edition of Changeling would have even been viable without crowdfunding or Print on Demand production methods. The industry of role-playing games hasn't entirely shifted to one method or another, however, there are still those companies who are doing traditionally produced and funded books, and they are still being successful at it.

    Second, it helps with marketing in ways a traditionally done book doesn't. Do a quick Google search for "Strongholds & Streaming." Now scroll through and see how many sites are talking about this game. There are a lot of them. Even before this article, we have spent a lot of "space" in talking about Colville's project here at E.N. World, and all of that adds up to a lot of free publicity. I would say that this supplement is getting more discussion than the last D&D book, or the last book for either Pathfinder or Starfinder. In cases like Strongholds & Streaming, everything starts to reach a critical mass of attention, and all of that will help to push this project over the top.

    Now, one last thing specific to this project that I want to address is the idea that the funding for the streaming part of this project is actually what is putting it over the top, rather than the book itself. That could very well be, but I think that is irrelevant. How much of the money raised by John Wick for 7th Sea went into infrastructure (offices, new hires, general administrative things) rather than just going into producing the books themselves? We aren't going to know that, but the idea that this isn't a gaming success because the money isn't going 100% into the production of a book, or a game, is a silly one. The audiences for gaming streaming are significantly larger even than those who come to sites like this one. Game stores have reported that large numbers of people are coming into their stores and buying D&D books for the first time because they watched the Critical Role streams, and Green Ronin's campaign setting for the D&D campaign that Critical Role's Matt Mercer co-authored was a blockbuster success for the company.

    We are on the precipice regarding how people approach and consume role-playing games. A couple of years ago our online group streamed some of our games, and I posted them on YouTube for posterity. It was more of an experiment than anything else, and even our videos have had hundreds of views by complete strangers. I would say that online streaming is probably one of the best tools that we have for introducing new players and GMs to role-playing games, because the games themselves aren't usually great at that. And, as long as the demographic of those new gamers is growing, they are going to continue to have a significant impact on how games are going to be made in the future. This isn't a place that we are going to be retreating from.


    I think that the potential influx of new blood is going to be comparable to the people that were introduced to tabletop RPGs by Vampire, and the White Wolf games of the 90s. This is going to be a new demographic, with new interests and backgrounds, with a different way of looking at and interacting with role-playing games. And I think with them will come as significant of a shift on games themselves as the White Wolf fans created back then. We will see over the next few years how all of this shakes out, because it is just too new right now for anyone of us to see the forest from the trees. It will be a shift, but how big of one?
    Comments 81 Comments
    1. pogre's Avatar
      pogre -
      I don't know how much this kickstarter signals a change. As you suggest, it is a convergence of a lot of factors.

      However, I really feel old these days - like my parents who did not get my music. I really don't get watching RPGs. I've tried many times - streaming isn't for me. I'm glad it is increasing the popularity of the hobby, but I just don't get it.

      Oh, and get off of my lawn!
    1. Flexor the Mighty! -
      Quote Originally Posted by pogre View Post
      I don't know how much this kickstarter signals a change. As you suggest, it is a convergence of a lot of factors.

      However, I really feel old these days - like my parents who did not get my music. I really don't get watching RPGs. I've tried many times - streaming isn't for me. I'm glad it is increasing the popularity of the hobby, but I just don't get it.

      Oh, and get off of my lawn!
      Same here. I get watching a game to understand the rules, youtube how to videos are nice for complex boardgames. But watching people play D&D isn't my bag, which makes it strange when I read people say they wonder how it will be incorporated into future editions.
    1. Christopher Helton's Avatar
      Christopher Helton -
      I've said this a few times in reviews across different sites, but role-playing games are really terrible at explaining themselves to new people. The presentation of games assumes that there is going to be someone who knows what they are doing who is going to explain the basic conceits to people who haven't been playing RPGs for a while. As I said in my reviews of 5E, while I was still writing for Bleeding Cool, D&D is particularly bad about that, even in things like their Starter Set. I think that the rise in popularity of streaming is directly attributable to that.
    1. Christopher Helton's Avatar
      Christopher Helton -
      Quote Originally Posted by pogre View Post
      I don't know how much this kickstarter signals a change. As you suggest, it is a convergence of a lot of factors.
      It does signal a change, it is just one more change in a series of changes over the last 15 years or so. We shouldn't minimize the impact of streaming on RPGs, as this Kickstarter and the sales of books like the Tal'Dorei campaign setting demonstrate.
    1. Rhineglade's Avatar
      Rhineglade -
      Completely beside the point, but on a strictly nerd topic... How many people, when reading the first part of this article "Change is in the air...," thought about the beginning of the LotR movie: "The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost; for none now live who remember it."

      Or am I the only one?
    1. Christopher Helton's Avatar
      Christopher Helton -
      I haven't seen a LotR movie since they were in the theaters. I doubt I could quote them if I tried.
    1. schneeland's Avatar
      schneeland -
      Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Helton View Post
      I've said this a few times in reviews across different sites, but role-playing games are really terrible at explaining themselves to new people. The presentation of games assumes that there is going to be someone who knows what they are doing who is going to explain the basic conceits to people who haven't been playing RPGs for a while. As I said in my reviews of 5E, while I was still writing for Bleeding Cool, D&D is particularly bad about that, even in things like their Starter Set. I think that the rise in popularity of streaming is directly attributable to that.
      That's one thing I noted, too. I am playing tabletop RPGs for a good 30 years now (and D&D for about 20), but I still found the organization of the material in the player's handbook to be only moderately helpful.

      Regarding the topic of streaming:
      Before Critical Role, I also wondered why people would every watch other people play games, let alone RPGs, but somehow it clicked. And despite the show's players not being very representative of the groups I play/have played with, I found that especially the early shows gave quite a good impression of why tabletop RPGs are so much fun. Based on my impression that shows like Critical Role seem to foster a "rules are not (that) important" attitude, I wonder if a potential next edition of D&D will be a lot more streamlined to accommodate the focus on story.
    1. Christopher Helton's Avatar
      Christopher Helton -
      I think that one of the best things that games streaming does is to show that there are different approaches to playing a game. I've approached games with a "rules are not (that) important" attitude for decades. For me, the most important thing is what happens at the "table," with the group of people.
    1. schneeland's Avatar
      schneeland -
      I'm not quite sure if I agree. I think I caught quite a few of the more popular streams at least once, but none of them had an emphasis on rules, tactical combat and the like. I don't mind that and, in fact, I think it is more entertaining to watch that way; also, like you, I have played that way for the better part of my gaming history. However, even though e.g. Matt Mercer regularly emphasizes that there are many ways to play RPGs and all are equally valid, I don't see streams promoting that through examples.
    1. Christopher Helton's Avatar
      Christopher Helton -
      I don't think that streams should promote anything except for the way that they want to play.
    1. schneeland's Avatar
      schneeland -
      I don't think any of them do it explicitly. My reasoning is that successful streams all seem to be story over rules, and that this will shift the player base (proportionally) towards that play style, thus also influencing future RPG products. But that may or may not be true - I guess we'll have to see.
    1. darjr's Avatar
      darjr -
      That was already a trend with 5e st least. A micro trend maybe.
    1. Cergorach's Avatar
      Cergorach -
      Well, I think that the fact that this KS might raise $1-$2 million is blinding people from the other facts.
      #1 This is not just an RPG KS, this is a RPG book, miniature dragons and Streaming KS.
      #2 If your just backing this for the RPG book, your not getting overly much compared to the competition.
      #3 MattColville is trading on his popularity, which is fine imho, because he's earned that through hard work.

      Let's compare this to a publisher like Paizo with their Pathfinder products. A $40 product like Pathfinder Mythic Adventures or Unchained has 256 pages, about double what Strongholds was planned for. The Pathfinder PDF only costs $10 and the Strongholds PDF costs $20. When ordering online you can easily get a 25% discount through avenues like Amazon.com. So your getting not all that much bang for the buck... If they do wind up getting to the 256 page mark your getting just about as much 'worth' from this as similar commercially available products at a similar pricepoinmt, but your just preordering it without any idea about the quality in it, no reviews. It would also contain an odd conglomeration of content

      The Gem dragons look like there's one advanced piece of artwork for it, but no actual sculpts yet.

      Now the biggest part of the KS is the Streaming section. While I do watch some Youtube channels and the occasional live stream, I haven't watched any RPGs. The problem for me is that the folks doing that need both a good voice for it and have something interesting to say (and for me to listen too). That's already problematic for most Youtube channels with one presenter, for an RPG you'll quickly need 5+ people with those qualities. And add to that, a practicing good DM (as opposed to a theoretical good DM)... That's a tall order. Matt might do that, he might not. But apparently he's convinced many he can, good for him, he's done a ton of work for it making videos and giving advice on forums. But that does make the streaming part of the equation the overbearing part.

      The 7th Sea KS did create 2500+ pages of gaming content plus two novels. Officially for the Strongholds KS, only 128 pages has been created. Maybe double that...

      So IF a streamer asks his fans: "Please buy this book so that I can get a streaming studio going!" that much different from Patreon where people pay you x amount for every video you release (for free)? Patreon he hates, but KS he loves... When I look at Patreons that stream/Youtube, the views, the subscribers, etc. You would need to run about 16-17 years of Patreon to raise $2 million with those numbers. Even the biggest Patreons would need to run 1.5-2 years to raise that kind of money...

      I'm not a MattColville hater, I think he's done some wonderful stuff. But this being a 'change' to the industry... Not really, there's after all less content here the some of the $20k KS projects...
    1. Christopher Helton's Avatar
      Christopher Helton -
      I think that conflating page count with influence is, at best, disingenuous. Looking at something like the Fantasy Grounds usage figures, 7th Sea doesn't even make the top 20 for the site. Yes, 7th Sea made a lot of money, and generated a lot of content, but what has it done lately? Even the creator program at OneBookShelf is spare compared to the other programs.
    1. Cergorach's Avatar
      Cergorach -
      Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Helton View Post
      I think that conflating page count with influence is, at best, disingenuous. Looking at something like the Fantasy Grounds usage figures, 7th Sea doesn't even make the top 20 for the site. Yes, 7th Sea made a lot of money, and generated a lot of content, but what has it done lately? Even the creator program at OneBookShelf is spare compared to the other programs.
      How much of a percentage will Strongholds hold on Fantasy Grounds in two years? Right... 0%, just like the year before.

      Numenera raised $2.1 million over four KS, they only had 2507 games over the whole of 2017. In 2016 around 4000... I suspect that this platform isn't a dependable indicator on how well a game does.

      As for 7th Sea, they did a recent followup KS, that was significantly less popular then the first one covering the continent of Kithai.

      I'm saying that the success of this KS has very little to do with the actual content of the book and all with the personality MattColville. And that the value for the consumer is less then for most other KS. For example, I recently backed the Aeon Trinity KS, $35 for 500+ pages of content, which wasn't a great deal, but for $15 I could now get a 12-20 1E pfd collection (of the books I already have in print on my shelf). As for the aforementioned Kithai KS, I got 3200 pages of recent content (7th Sea 2nd and Kithai) in pdf for $45, THAT's a great deal!
    1. default_entry's Avatar
      default_entry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cergorach View Post
      Well, I think that the fact that this KS might raise $1-$2 million is blinding people from the other facts.
      #1 This is not just an RPG KS, this is a RPG book, miniature dragons and Streaming KS.
      #2 If your just backing this for the RPG book, your not getting overly much compared to the competition.
      #3 MattColville is trading on his popularity, which is fine imho, because he's earned that through hard work.

      Let's compare this to a publisher like Paizo with their Pathfinder products. A $40 product like Pathfinder Mythic Adventures or Unchained has 256 pages, about double what Strongholds was planned for. The Pathfinder PDF only costs $10 and the Strongholds PDF costs $20. When ordering online you can easily get a 25% discount through avenues like Amazon.com. So your getting not all that much bang for the buck... If they do wind up getting to the 256 page mark your getting just about as much 'worth' from this as similar commercially available products at a similar pricepoinmt, but your just preordering it without any idea about the quality in it, no reviews. It would also contain an odd conglomeration of content

      The Gem dragons look like there's one advanced piece of artwork for it, but no actual sculpts yet.

      Now the biggest part of the KS is the Streaming section. While I do watch some Youtube channels and the occasional live stream, I haven't watched any RPGs. The problem for me is that the folks doing that need both a good voice for it and have something interesting to say (and for me to listen too). That's already problematic for most Youtube channels with one presenter, for an RPG you'll quickly need 5+ people with those qualities. And add to that, a practicing good DM (as opposed to a theoretical good DM)... That's a tall order. Matt might do that, he might not. But apparently he's convinced many he can, good for him, he's done a ton of work for it making videos and giving advice on forums. But that does make the streaming part of the equation the overbearing part.

      The 7th Sea KS did create 2500+ pages of gaming content plus two novels. Officially for the Strongholds KS, only 128 pages has been created. Maybe double that...

      So IF a streamer asks his fans: "Please buy this book so that I can get a streaming studio going!" that much different from Patreon where people pay you x amount for every video you release (for free)? Patreon he hates, but KS he loves... When I look at Patreons that stream/Youtube, the views, the subscribers, etc. You would need to run about 16-17 years of Patreon to raise $2 million with those numbers. Even the biggest Patreons would need to run 1.5-2 years to raise that kind of money...

      I'm not a MattColville hater, I think he's done some wonderful stuff. But this being a 'change' to the industry... Not really, there's after all less content here the some of the $20k KS projects...
      I think its a signal of a change thats already in motion - people are looking at funding and capital differently than we used to. The big question is how does a big commercial success like this affect game stores? How many see actual value in a product that may have already hit market saturation in its first shot?
    1. Jester David's Avatar
      Jester David -
      Quote Originally Posted by schneeland View Post
      I'm not quite sure if I agree. I think I caught quite a few of the more popular streams at least once, but none of them had an emphasis on rules, tactical combat and the like. I don't mind that and, in fact, I think it is more entertaining to watch that way; also, like you, I have played that way for the better part of my gaming history. However, even though e.g. Matt Mercer regularly emphasizes that there are many ways to play RPGs and all are equally valid, I don't see streams promoting that through examples.

      Quote Originally Posted by schneeland View Post
      I don't think any of them do it explicitly. My reasoning is that successful streams all seem to be story over rules, and that this will shift the player base (proportionally) towards that play style, thus also influencing future RPG products. But that may or may not be true - I guess we'll have to see.
      I have to agree.

      Long crunchy combats and an emphasis on tactical play are just less enjoyable to watch than amusing interactions. The overwhelming majority of streaming shows tend to use rules lite and narrative systems. Because an hour plus if combat can kill interest.

      Despite being the number two RPG, there's not a lot of Pathfinder/ Starfinder steaming shows. And even something like Dan Harmond's tends to edit out the gamely bits.
      This as actually something I commented on in my review of Starfinder. They didn't make the game simpler or faster and thus more amendable to streaming. Which loses those venues for spreading word of the game and advertising.

      Streamability is almost certainly something future RPG games are likely to consider when designing their rules.
    1. Cergorach's Avatar
      Cergorach -
      Quote Originally Posted by default_entry View Post
      I think its a signal of a change thats already in motion - people are looking at funding and capital differently than we used to. The big question is how does a big commercial success like this affect game stores? How many see actual value in a product that may have already hit market saturation in its first shot?
      Kickstarter changed funding for gaming about six years ago with Zombicide by CMoN for the larger audience, Reaper Miniatures followed a little later with their miniatures range...

      BUT I think in RPG land things changed much, much sooner then that, mostly through communities like ENWorld. Remember Ptolus:City of the Spire, a massive book that could only be made if they could print a 1000+? They did a massive preorder on that for a $120, almost 700 page, book. I ordered mine then and still have it! More info: https://www.montecookgames.com/monte...0-years-later/

      As for game stores, imho already old news when electronic products became a significant part of the market, back in 2001 when RPGnow started and expanded further with DTRPG in 2004. To be honest, RPG book availability was already an issue in many FLGS just before the D&D 3E resurgence and D20 glut. I suspect that many retailers that are still in business are VERY careful with 5E OGL products.

      As for whether or not there is an already saturated market for this (and other) book(s) depends on the target audience and product quality. When Zombicide was funded through KS, many gamestore owners threw a hissyfit that KS and CMoN/Gilliotine were cannibalizing their sales and 'boycoted' the Zombicide products. Many actual business men/women did stock the game because it was a popular product that was very much in demand and made money of those products. I suspect that many of those hissyfit throwers weren't long in business anyway if they let their personal feelings interfere to that extend with their business decisions. But I've heard similar comments as recently as Zombicide: Black Plague from newer FLGS owners, go figure...

      Something like Kingdom of Death: Monster will have reached it's saturation point by now, especially with a $400 starter box. Other things like this Stronghold book won't reach market saturation with around 20.000 books, if it's any good. Because many people either don't buy through KS, didn't hear about it after it was funded or came out. Many might also keep it in stock because it's made by a famous RPG personality. If the RIngmaster wasn't co-written by Jerry Spring (at least, he has his name on it), not many bookstores would have carried it. The same goes for Monte Cook, how many sales were made based on his name alone?
    1. ShinHakkaider's Avatar
      ShinHakkaider -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cergorach View Post
      BUT I think in RPG land things changed much, much sooner then that, mostly through communities like ENWorld. Remember Ptolus:City of the Spire, a massive book that could only be made if they could print a 1000+? They did a massive preorder on that for a $120, almost 700 page, book. I ordered mine then and still have it! More info: https://www.montecookgames.com/monte...0-years-later/
      ?
      YUP. Still have mine too. And the fact that I'm selling/trading most of my RPG library off to Noble Knight Games and refuse to part with Ptolus (and a few other products) says alot about the quality of that book both physically and content wise.
    1. Jester David's Avatar
      Jester David -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cergorach View Post
      Well, I think that the fact that this KS might raise $1-$2 million is blinding people from the other facts.
      #1 This is not just an RPG KS, this is a RPG book, miniature dragons and Streaming KS.
      #2 If your just backing this for the RPG book, your not getting overly much compared to the competition.
      #3 MattColville is trading on his popularity, which is fine imho, because he's earned that through hard work.

      Let's compare this to a publisher like Paizo with their Pathfinder products. A $40 product like Pathfinder Mythic Adventures or Unchained has 256 pages, about double what Strongholds was planned for. The Pathfinder PDF only costs $10 and the Strongholds PDF costs $20. When ordering online you can easily get a 25% discount through avenues like Amazon.com. So your getting not all that much bang for the buck... If they do wind up getting to the 256 page mark your getting just about as much 'worth' from this as similar commercially available products at a similar pricepoinmt, but your just preordering it without any idea about the quality in it, no reviews. It would also contain an odd conglomeration of content
      Pathfinder also did a Kickstarter. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...sy-sandbox-mmo
      It struggled to make a million. (And given the sudden surge at the end I think they got some help from an investor.) And that had a really cool collector's edition book, minis, a video game, and more. And at the time Paizo was still the #1 RPG publisher.

      Meanwhile, Colville is an effective nobody in the industry. He's not a famous writer or a well known publisher. He's not building off an established brand. Instead he's a streamer. He *is* the brand. And that apparently means more than any other credits.

      Now imagine if an even more popular streamer launched an RPG product. If Matt Mercer decided to break away from D&D and do his own RPG?
      Streaming is an industry game changer. New people. A new audience. New interests
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