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Take An Adventure In Dystopia With West End Game's Original Paranoia Thursday, 10th May, 2018 10:47 AM

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Thursday, 1st February, 2018

  • 03:22 PM - Jester David mentioned M.T. Black in post [UPDATED] DM's Guild No Longer Allows Creator Logos On Product Covers
    ... you considered a Kickstarted book as a trial? It would be interesting to see how it worked for you. If they dropped the exclusivity requirement, I'd be very tempted to Kickstarter a book and then put it on DMsG to see what happened. It would be a killer combo getting the benefit of both platforms. Kickstarter is great if you have an audience already and a well known name. If people know you and are willing to give you money on a promise of future content. If you don't have that reputation, then Kickstarter will not be better. Because people aren't going to spend money on that gamble. Only 11.6% of creators on the DMsGuild have a product that has the Copper Seller medal. Which equates with $50 sales. 88.4% of books on the DMsGuild have sold fewer than 50 copies. And only 2% have sold over 500 copies, which is roughly 300 books. Most people are not well known enough to warrant people giving money to immediately receive their work, let alone in six months. From the numbers M.T. Black gives, his book has sold <2000 copies. Which is far fewer than the 2,454 of even a small Kickstarter like Touch of Class. Is it realistic that he would have sold more copies by stripping out Elminster and not giving it to people immediately? He would have made more money per sale going through DriveThru where he'd be making that extra 15% of each sale, that's $4000, which is roughly 400 sales. However, if 400 fewer people had noticed the book because it was mixed it with all the other RPGs and/or didn't manage to crack the sales chart (competing against Genesys, Stars Without Numbers, Vampire, Blades in the Dark, Traveller, Flash Gordon, and Star Trek) then he would have paradoxically made less money with more royalties. I'm fairly successful on the Guild: 5 platinum products, 1 gold, 2 electrum, 4 silver, and 2 copper copper. But ignoring a few books with high sales number due to a bungle sale, my highest selling book has moved a little over a thousand copies. Spread out over...

Wednesday, 11th January, 2017

  • 03:00 AM - Quickleaf mentioned M.T. Black in post Chase encounters in D&D
    M.T. Black I fully agree with pdzoch's analysis that the DMG chase rules rarely map to the reality of the gaming table (where "catch in a chase" and "shoot into submission" tend to be conflated by players & players almost never run away). That said, I've had some success implementing chases across various editions...albeit tweaking the rules to make them my own. I highly recommend you take a gander at this thread I started about chase rules: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?482668-Making-Chase-Rules-that-actually-do-what-they-re-supposed-to! And there is really good commentary there too, well worth your read.

Monday, 12th December, 2016

  • 09:26 PM - Quickleaf mentioned M.T. Black in post Adventure Twists
    M.T. Black Back when we played 4e I put together a cheat sheet which also had a list of plot twists: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?307923-4e-DM-Cheat-Sheet It's nicely formatted there (last page of PDF) and other cool system-agnostic stuff, but I'll copy-paste here: d20 Twist 1 Face from the past a. Defeated enemy new role b. Old ally in new setting c. Retired PC cameo 2 Secret from a PC’s past 3 Taken off the case a. PCs become suspects b. Corrupt NPC(s) takes over 4 Villain adapts to PCs 5 Forced collaboration a. In face of greater threat b. Need each other’s info. 6 Double mission a. Second quest is added b. Original quest is a ruse 7 Bad guys got there first 8 Unexpected reversal a. Enemy < > Ally b. Consequence of quest 9 A tempting offer 10 Bad guys kick in the door a. Assassins ambush PCs b. Massive attack on town c. Summoned monsters d. Duel challenge issued 11 Ethical dilemma a. Lesser of two evils b. Ally vs. rule...

Friday, 9th December, 2016

  • 02:09 AM - Quickleaf mentioned M.T. Black in post Empty Rooms
    M.T. Black A guy named Courtney Campbell (username 'valis') shared a great PDF on the Hack & Slash that deals with empty rooms extensively that I highly recommend: http://hackslashmaster.blogspot.com/2011/02/on-tricks-empty-rooms-and-basic-trap.html and here's the direct link: http://angband.oook.cz/steamband/Tricks.pdf

Wednesday, 23rd November, 2016

  • 12:52 AM - Quickleaf mentioned M.T. Black in post Ideas for a Wizards Tower
    M.T. Black The Rare and Banned Books Repository Aging parchments written in forgotten tongues, map folios bursting at the seams, and spellbooks inscribed with the True Names of fiends and celestials alike line the 40-foot high circular walls of this creaking repository. Two barely visible walls of force contoured to the shape of the room whirl in opposite directions at varying speeds; each wall of force has a slight gap in it that only lines up for a fraction of a second with the gap of the other wall of force. Thus, physically reaching through that gap to grasp a book from the shelves is an extremely difficult task beyond the scope of all but the most talented of mortal thieves. At the very top and center of the room is a large 25-pound floating black book that serves as a magical index of all rare and banned books in the repository; within this index is mention of several books containing spells that might be helpful for dealing with the whirling walls of force, among whatever other v...

Tuesday, 4th October, 2016

  • 10:21 PM - surfarcher mentioned M.T. Black in post Can You Fund A DMs Guild Product On Kickstarter?
    Thanks @M.T. Black .... I'm feeling more positive again this morning. I'm sure I'll get something working. My original thought was to have the content on multiple sites but naturally that isn't allowed. Which I completely understand. At the moment I'm thinking along the lines of simply releasing all the content as free. Then having both a Paypal donate button and a Patreon page (the main benefit of which is, I guess, an inside line to me). Every cent is going into producing content anyway. Noone contributes it'll be rather slow going lol I wonder if I should ask the guys at WotC directly... Only Greg was the main guy from that side of things that I talked with. Maybe I should ask him who to ask lol Edit: Always cool to get an enworld response from a fellow aussie :-D

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Saturday, 3rd February, 2018


Thursday, 1st February, 2018

  • 01:10 PM - Morrus quoted M.T. Black in post [UPDATED] DM's Guild No Longer Allows Creator Logos On Product Covers
    I may well try OGL in the future, but if I enjoy success there it will probably be because I've built up a fan base on the DMs Guild. Oh, for sure. Whatever your choice of outlet, you have to work to build customers. There's no getting round that, whatever you do. For me, crowdfunding is *so* useful. Patreon and Kickstarter have both been very good to us.
  • 11:25 AM - Morrus quoted M.T. Black in post [UPDATED] DM's Guild No Longer Allows Creator Logos On Product Covers
    I think it made a difference to our sales that we could publish "Elminster's Guide to Magic". But it's very hard to prove such matters one way or the other. But if you had made “Garglrthimp’s Guide to Magic” and funded/marketer it using Kickstarter and the OGL, you could have made an initial sum, and then be selling it on DTRPG, Amazon, and other places (and have it print on demand, retain all rights, pay less commission, no exclusivity limits, etc). The question I was asking there - or the suggestion I was making, I guess - was whether DMsG + Elminster > Kickstarter. I’d be inclined to wager no, but obviously I don’t know your profit on that book. I guess you could answer that question better than me, since you have access to your figures and can see public Kickstarter figures, whereas I only have one of those figures. But then, A Touch of Class is doing pretty well on Amazon and DTRPG, and did very well on Kickstarter. I would be surprised if it could have done nearly as well for us on DMsG...

Wednesday, 31st January, 2018

  • 07:19 AM - FrogReaver quoted M.T. Black in post [UPDATED] DM's Guild No Longer Allows Creator Logos On Product Covers
    True - and i agree that this doesn't quite add up. It may just be pragmatism, as the cover is very public, while the inside is not (or not easily accessible). Yea, As of right now that would appear to be the most likely reason. If it is let's hope they don't admit it. Honestly I think most of us are going to be fine with them banning logos on the cover if that's the reason for it.
  • 06:43 AM - FrogReaver quoted M.T. Black in post [UPDATED] DM's Guild No Longer Allows Creator Logos On Product Covers
    The truth is that some logos have been designed to mimic existing logos - mostly ones already owned by WOTC. I can see that this sort of thing puts WOTC and OBS in a bit of a bind. Do they tap individual people on the shoulder (and be the bad guy), or do they just put a blanket ban on logos and avoid the argument? But they aren't banning logos. They are banning logos on the cover. Logos apparently can still be used anywhere else in the book.
  • 05:47 AM - FrogReaver quoted M.T. Black in post [UPDATED] DM's Guild No Longer Allows Creator Logos On Product Covers
    As it stands, this change will not affect my own products. As others have pointed out, the only branding on my covers is my name (which happens to be a pseudonym). And when I create collaborative projects (such as the Player's Companion), I don't list names on the cover at all. So this announcement has not affected my publishing plans - I am still committed to creating on the DMs Guild. I'll take OBS at face value when they say this is to help them police copyright infringing logos. There has certainly been some branding that sails close to the wind of copyright infringement in the past. If there is a darker purpose, I can't see it. The main negative is that people like Chris from "Loot the Room" are likely to leave the platform, since their logo is a big, big part of their brand strategy. I'll be very sorry to see them go, though I'm hopeful they will find great success selling through their own portals and also DTRPG. And they may blaze a trail for future creators to explore the OGL and ...

Tuesday, 12th December, 2017

  • 01:08 PM - Jacob Lewis quoted M.T. Black in post How Did D&D Become a Best-Seller?
    What do you play these days, Jacob? I am heavily invested in the Star Wars RPG from Fantasy Flight Games, possibly looking at the new Gensys system derived from that, and a variety of board and card games which allow for more casual experiences with my wife and friends. The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is one of our constant favorites and easy to get friends involved, but I am looking forward to starting an Imperial Assault campaign. I've recently completed my Edge of the Empire collection. We just moved, so looking to find a new group for a regular campaign using that system sometime next year.

Monday, 11th December, 2017


Saturday, 26th August, 2017

  • 12:11 PM - Morrus quoted M.T. Black in post News Digest: Gen Con, ENnies, Diana Jones, Star Wars, Starfinder, and more!
    I would be very surprised if WOTC were to give permission for someone to "beat them to the punch" with a Greyhawk release. I'd also be surprised if they allowed it to be published outside the DMs Guild (where they receive an automatic royalty). Companies license stuff all the time - WotC has done so, historically, both as licensor and licensee.

Monday, 5th June, 2017

  • 01:40 PM - TrippyHippy quoted M.T. Black in post Is Tabletop Gaming D&D's "Sideshow"?
    If we are talking total profit vs profit margin, I'd be very surprised if the minis were bringing in more money than the RPG itself. We don't know the figures, though we do know the PHB was an Amazon #1 for a while. Plastic minis are a lot more profitable than full colour books in terms of the costs to produce them. Games Workshop based much of their business on this very point.
  • 01:04 PM - TrippyHippy quoted M.T. Black in post Is Tabletop Gaming D&D's "Sideshow"?
    Trippy, which *current properties* do you think are making more money than the RPG? The only options at the moment are the board games, the video games or the novels.Videogames, movies and TV shows take longer to market and produce - largely because there is more revenue at stake. I'd still wager that accessories like miniatures and cards and dice have a higher profit margin than the books themselves though. Same with the boxset boardgames - which sell more to casual gamers (you'll note a boardgames release with pretty much every campaign these days). Publishing books isn't cheap, and the risk of online piracy is high too. The basic output of official D&D books has been kept deliberately low as they have carefully rebuilt the brand since the difficulties they had under 4E.
  • 12:13 PM - TrippyHippy quoted M.T. Black in post Is Tabletop Gaming D&D's "Sideshow"?
    I think we are a long way from the RPG becoming D&D's "sideshow". I don't have any figures, of course, but I don't think anyone would argue that the other franchise properties (board games, video games & novels) would bring in as much money as the RPG itself. In any event, all the evidence suggests that 5e is doing very well. Mike Mearls has mentioned that it has now sold better than 4e and 3e, and I imagine it is closing in on 2e. Anecdotal evidence suggests the hobby is adding new people all the time (I'm seeing that myself in my own small circles - a number of friends now have kids who play D&D, for example). Hasbro continued to invest in D&D even during the difficult days of 4e. It's hard to believe they would stop now that they have a hit on their hands. Returning to your original question, the only properties that could conceivably outperform the RPG would be a movie and/or tv show. Personally, I'd love to see a highly profitable movie or tv series released. I suspect this would en...

Monday, 22nd May, 2017

  • 05:46 AM - LordEntrails quoted M.T. Black in post The right use of hazards
    I see hazards as being environmental challenges, which can grossly increase the lethality of any creatures capable of exploiting them. What is the use? They give environments character and make them more memorable. Your players may not remember Generic Swamp #321, but they will sure as hell remember "that swamp with the flame spouts and quicksand and giant rats." Yes! Character. Realism or a synonym of that I can't think of now. But absolutely. I mean, who hasn't seen the Princess Bride and doesn't remember the Fire Swamp? ... I think modern designers fail to take the opportunity to give their dungeons, cities, and wilderness areas more character. So much is focused on the denizens of the environments and the traps and protections they set. Hazards can increase immersion and give variety to the challenges your adventurers face. Yes, again, great point. People complain about the grind of one combat after another. About being bored about another group of orc, etc. HAzards, as part of the ...
  • 01:35 AM - MNblockhead quoted M.T. Black in post The right use of hazards
    Thanks for such a comprehensive answer MN, that was great. I will refer back to this post in future, no doubt. You wrote: Can you give me a more concrete example of this? Example of bad hate would be when the party encounters hazard after hazard where they are just asked to make some dice rolls, maybe take some damage, and move one. Such hazards, if used too often, just slow down the game. They are not memorable. Even worse is a hazard that the party HAS to overcome to move on in the story, but then a mixture of the party not seeing the "solution" and/or having the dice-gods be against them, can't overcome the hazard. Now they are either stuck, get to "take 10" to overcome it (boring), or forced to keep trying until they get it (even more boring). I think that the other posters gave many good examples of hazards and how to use them. I would just add that you should find a way to work them into the story. For example, the party hears that a couple of stone masons found a scroll case conta...

Sunday, 21st May, 2017

  • 10:13 PM - the Jester quoted M.T. Black in post The right use of hazards
    I define a hazard as an aspect of the environment or terrain that poses a threat to the party. Examples might include avalanches, cave-ins, boiling geysers and rooms full of poison gas. I've got some questions around the best way to use hazards. Specifically: * What is the "in game" purpose of hazards? * How do you make hazards fun for the players? * How does the use of dungeon hazards differ from wilderness hazards? * What are 1 or 2 good examples of hazard encounters? First, I'd like to point to 4e as an amazing source of examples of hazards, including cool mechanics for dealing with them. They're in a lot (most?) of 4e adventures, and work like traps, except that they aren't intentionally set to hurt people... they just do. So to answer your questions: 1. The in game purpose of hazards (at least, to me) is twofold: first is to make encounters more interesting by adding an additional component to them. Second is to establish that the environment is a thing that isn't always safe for you,...

Tuesday, 16th May, 2017

  • 07:25 PM - ninjayeti quoted M.T. Black in post [UPDATED] Here's Mike Mearls' New D&D 5E Initiative System
    Mearls indicated it was [I]cyclic initiative he didn't like ("Cyclical initiative - too predictable"), which the above doesn't address at all (it merely changes the die rolls). This. "If you don't like cyclical initiative, roll initiative at the start of each round." -Shortest Unearthed Arcana article ever.

Wednesday, 26th April, 2017

  • 09:43 PM - Quickleaf quoted M.T. Black in post Interesting encounters - what is the secret sauce?
    Great response as always, Quickleaf! You really should publish a book on all this stuff Glad it was inspirational for you M.T. :) I'm always hesitant to offer unsolicited advice, even writing an e-book or blog of "GM advice", because SO much depends on the particular people involved, the timing, the gaming group's setup... Advice I might offer for a particular GM or group at a particular time might change under a different set of circumstances. I have started keeping a folder of my GMing notes finally, so at least I'm not losing stuff in the expense of the Net. And the guy I think should publish is Celebrim I believe; he's offered some really insightful advice in the past that shows a real mastery of storytelling and GMing.
  • 03:54 AM - Quickleaf quoted M.T. Black in post Interesting encounters - what is the secret sauce?
    Hi folks, I heard Mike Mearls on DragonTalk recently, talking about Forge of Fury. He noted the need to make the dungeon very dynamic, because if you just played it as a room by room monster bash, it would become quite "boring". I've heard similar comments recently about other combat heavy adventures as well. My question is simple - how do we keep combat interesting in a dungeon? What makes for a compelling experience when there is a whole heap of fighting in front of you? It's a simple question (in three parts), but there is a lot of nuance in the answer :) I have a 3x3 guideline I use to pose questions to myself that ensure my combats aren't static... 1) Before the combat Why do the PCs care? How does the combat speak to their characters? What are the stakes of the combat? What do the PCs have to gain or lose? How many approaches to the combat exist? Including avoiding it? 2) During the combat What changes during the combat? What unexpected twists open up new options/...

Monday, 24th April, 2017

  • 10:01 AM - aramis erak quoted M.T. Black in post Interesting encounters - what is the secret sauce?
    Thanks! What are some examples of good "meaningful choices" in combat? Once you're into combat, you've already gone past most meaningful choices. The only ones that really have meaning in combat are how to concentrate attacks, and when to flee. If the GM is good, Parley may still be an option, but many are not. In dungeon, the choices need to be more than "In or Out". And note that if going left, right, or center makes no difference in what you encounter, the choice was not meaningful. In encounters, the choice between Attack, Parley, Flee, Seduce, Avoid, and Evade is meaningful only if at least two of them are valid and have different effects.

Monday, 16th January, 2017



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