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Dragon Reflections 21 Saturday, 18th May, 2019 02:28 AM

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Saturday, 18th May, 2019


Friday, 17th May, 2019



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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, 18th May, 2019


Wednesday, 8th May, 2019

  • 09:01 AM - Nightfly quoted M.T. Black in post Paizo To Make Kingmaker Bestiary... For D&D 5E!
    The other issue with a bloated product line is that it makes it harder for new players to onboard. Mike Mearls spoke about this as one of the reasons behind the constrained 5e release schedule. Would-be new players were simply overwhelmed by the amount of content they had to navigate through. Sure, you can say, "Just buy the core books", but that assumes they have a trusted voice to guide them through the tangle. There was also the sad/amusing anecdote of the would-be newbie who bought the Player's Handbook 3, thinking he would skip the older versions and just get the latest! Thanks for sharing this anecdote. It really shows why shoveling supplements out the door becomes a problem. One of the best things about 5e is that it started with just 12 basic classes, and then over the ensuing five years, it's ballooned all the way up to...uh, still just 12 classes. That's awesome. WotC keeps players happy with a few new subclasses and spells, and doesn't foist weird classes like Warden or Witch or Pal...

Friday, 3rd May, 2019

  • 11:37 PM - Jester David quoted M.T. Black in post Paizo To Make Kingmaker Bestiary... For D&D 5E!
    There is easy money on the table for Paizo, converting some of their classic APs to 5e. It would self-fund via crowdfunding and they could contract out the actual work to Kobold etc. I suspect the only thing stopping them is that their existing fan base would revolt, possibly seeing it as the beginning of the end for PF. But I suspect it is inevitable... Paizo’s fans are loyal, but they also listen and engage with the company. If Paizo’s staff is honest and comes out and says “we don’t support Edition wars, because we’re all gamers, and these products aren’t coming at the expense of Pathfinder products” or even “the fans have been asking for 5e support, so we’re giving that audience what they want” it will quickly end any revolt. Especially as there are two or three Paizo alumni working for WotC now.

Friday, 19th April, 2019

  • 07:27 AM - CleverNickName quoted M.T. Black in post The Washington Post Weighs In On D&D!
    More interesting to me is the estimate the article includes of the current number of D&D players worldwide - 40 million!I know right? That's like, triple the number of people who watched the World Series last year (14.13M viewers, according to Statista.com).
  • 02:55 AM - ad_hoc quoted M.T. Black in post The Washington Post Weighs In On D&D!
    More interesting to me is the estimate the article includes of the current number of D&D players worldwide - 40 million! 40 million. That's more than the population of Canada!

Thursday, 18th April, 2019


Wednesday, 10th April, 2019

  • 01:23 PM - Morrus quoted M.T. Black in post A Guide to RPG Freelance Rates: Part 1 (Writing and Editing)
    I got those figures from Daniel himself. I suspect he must be including dtrpg sales as well - ZWEIHÄNDER is an adamantine best-seller, which means it has sold at least 5,000 copies. Daniel might be willing to clarify further, but that is up to him. Has he factored in the time he spends doing things other than writing? He does a lot of promotion, and presumably other tasks (I don’t know how involved he is on layout, art direction, editing, dealing with printers, al that stuff). Those come out of the profits too, not just the writing part of his job. I dare say for my own books, I’ve spent more hours doing adjacent work than actual writing.

Monday, 8th April, 2019

  • 06:20 PM - Reynard quoted M.T. Black in post A Guide to RPG Freelance Rates: Part 1 (Writing and Editing)
    Multiple draftings (which I assume most people do) certainly complicate the "average words per day" scenario. I'm curious about your experience, if you don't mind sharing. Let's say you wrote 6,000 words of "first draft" quality material. How many more hours, on average, would you spend on it to get it to "submission quality". I don't know too many game writers that go through multiple full drafts. In my experience there is a lot of prep and planning, plus in brain percolation, such that the first real draft is a mostly there draft. There's editing and revisions to be done for sure, but it's rare to see people completely write through on this kind of work. Especially when you are making 3 cents a word.

Saturday, 6th April, 2019

  • 12:31 AM - Morrus quoted M.T. Black in post A Guide to RPG Freelance Rates: Part 1 (Writing and Editing)
    Hi Mike, Sorry if I wasn't clear. I know you that ZEITGEIST is EN World IP. What I'm asking is this - say I was to write a ZEITGEIST adventure for EN5ider, what would happen to the right to that adventure after a year, given it includes EN World IP? A ZEITGEIST adventure is like writing a Forgotten Realms adventure for WotC, or a Star Wars novel -- obviously, we're not going to give you the setting IP (but then we're not commissioning new ZEITGEIST material from freelancers - there's just the core AP which we produced in-house). But a non-ZEITGEIST adventure for something like EN5ider, you retain the rights. It's not even a reversion really - you keep them from the start, but in exchange for being paid, you license us to have a year to make our money back. Then you can do what you want with it.
  • 12:17 AM - Mike Myler quoted M.T. Black in post A Guide to RPG Freelance Rates: Part 1 (Writing and Editing)
    Hi Mike, Sorry if I wasn't clear. I know you that ZEITGEIST is EN World IP. What I'm asking is this - say I was to write a ZEITGEIST adventure for EN5ider, what would happen to the right to that adventure after a year, given it includes EN World IP? Oh golly I'm not sure. You'd have to check with Morrus but I think that all stays in-house, so to speak. At this point ZEITGEIST is in three different editions though so it's probably not going anywhere (any part of it, new additions or old bits). Maybe though! It's not my place to say. :)

Friday, 5th April, 2019

  • 11:34 PM - Mike Myler quoted M.T. Black in post A Guide to RPG Freelance Rates: Part 1 (Writing and Editing)
    Yes, rights is a big thing to take into account. Virtually all of the work I've seen is "work for hire". However, if you can get the rights back and there is a market for what you've written, you can take "two bites of the cherry" and self-publish, and you need to take that into account. @mike, how does your rights reversion work when someone has worked on an EN World property? I'm think specifically about your ZEITGEIST campaign setting? I can only speak from my experience (N.O.W., Tip of the Tongue, To Stake A Vampire) but my pre-EN5ider work was all work for hire--they (and I suspect the whole of ZEITGEIST, which is something gradually getting converted over to 5E over on the Patreon) are EN Publishing's intellectual property. To be clear ZEITGEIST is not one of my campaign settings, and I didn't actually write any of the original content (I think that's mostly Ryan Nock and Thursty Hillman)

Tuesday, 5th March, 2019


Saturday, 2nd February, 2019


Thursday, 31st January, 2019


Tuesday, 8th January, 2019

  • 01:00 PM - GreyLord quoted M.T. Black in post Self Publishing: What's An Artist Worth?
    Thanks, this is good practical advice. What is your background in the industry, if I may ask? You clearly know a lot about it. Stock and business wise I normally don't get into that here. However, on a more personal level I've been involved with writing and publishing for a while, over 20 years at this point (actually longer than that, but 20 years is a nice round number to look at). It was more with my personal involvement than anything dealing with what I actually did for work. Some of it has been published by other companies and some of it has been published on my own. Got my start originally with the magazines (though back then they did things somewhat differently, similar idea with submissions though). Moved onto books after a few years. Unfortunately, not a ton of fiction in there. I do fiction as a hobby and for fun, but a lot of non-fiction was a side job (not the main one I did to make money, but a side job I did sort of as a combination of hobby/keeping my foot in...
  • 07:39 AM - GreyLord quoted M.T. Black in post Self Publishing: What's An Artist Worth?
    Thanks for your comments, GreyLord. What advice can you suggest to someone who is looking to hire an artist for their game or book? What does a reasonable rate look like? So, that long paragraph above doesn't really answer your question, of which I'm sorry, because there is no REAL set answer. Just as your article states (though not the rates), it's almost impossible to pin down. It depends on the artist. LUCKILY...if you are dealing with someone who is EXPERIENCED (which also probably means they are dependable), they will know their rates already. You can see their reviews and many of the webpages for freelancers will have a listing where you can see their rates and compare it to others who are also out there. For someone who is new, it will boil down to how many illustrations do you want, how detailed do you want them, and when you want them. Let's put a general price of $100 per illustration (just an average to make it easy...so smaller illustrations should be less, bigg...
  • 07:24 AM - GreyLord quoted M.T. Black in post Self Publishing: What's An Artist Worth?
    Thanks for your comments, GreyLord. What advice can you suggest to someone who is looking to hire an artist for their game or book? What does a reasonable rate look like? I listed above a long post about it, but in general I'd probably go with the idea that you take how long it will take you to make the piece of art and multiply it by the hour. A beginning artist should probably charge NO LESS than $10 an hour. $15/hr is probably not unusual to charge either. Then it depends on the size and detail (obviously). For a sketch of less than an hour you probably shouldn't charge more than $30 -$50. For a normal piece of artwork that takes around half a day probably $50-$80. For something more complex, let's say full page...you'd probably be looking at something between $100 - $150. This depends on DETAIL and scope though. IMO (obviously), the problem dealing with newcomers to the art scene has several factors. The first is how skilled they are. I hate to say it, but the bet...
  • 06:50 AM - GreyLord quoted M.T. Black in post Self Publishing: What's An Artist Worth?
    I've put together a guide to RPG Freelance rates, based on my experiences over the last few years. Your feedback is appreciated! http://bit.ly/RPGRates For Illustration, depends on the experience and skill of the illustrator. Your paragraph introducing and discussing rates is pretty good, but the lists that you put down from Spencer probably should not be listed as to what most of those who are inquiring about rates need to know. For someone starting, I'd never pay them that unless they had exceptional skill. It's WAAAAY too high. Good way to never get employed if that's what they are looking for, at least for normal projects. On the other side of the equation...WAAAY too low for someone who is really skilled and has a good bit of experience. I'd jump on those rates for full page illustrations in half a second for someone who had a good amount of skilled and showed that they were very dependable. Average going rates right now are probably somewhere around $20/hr for illustrat...

Monday, 7th January, 2019

  • 10:25 AM - Zak S quoted M.T. Black in post What's a Freelance RPG Writer Worth?
    You've said Raggi virtually guarantees a minimum of 20 cents I don't think I did say that. He does do well though, here's his original statement: https://plus.google.com/112262093672917983853/posts/4B6j9CaezK7 " Not that I want to brag or anything, but looking at how LotFP authors' royalties break down on a per-word rate... My 21st best selling book (meaning 20 other books I've released have sold more copies) has earned the author 21 cents a word in royalties to date. Euro cents, not those weak-ass dollar cents. That seems kinda nuts. " ...are you aware of any other small RPG publishers out there that pay a minimum of 10 cents per word? I know Schwalb does. Do you know any others? I will list them in my rate document. Here's the thing: most of these small publishers don't pay by the word. They partner together with people they get along with and work out a way of splitting profits or working together that doesn't incentivize bloating word count. You should talk to ...
  • 09:39 AM - Zak S quoted M.T. Black in post What's a Freelance RPG Writer Worth?
    Zak, thanks for responding! I saw your comments on twitter but didn't have a useful response in 240 characters. One thing to note is that I'm not commenting on whether these rates are reasonable or acceptable. I'm just reporting what I've seen in the market. I accept that but when people point out to the companies involved that these rates are sub-poverty line and predatory, they often go "That's the industry standard, you must not know much about the industry". And the fact is we need to make sure there is no rhetorical room for that position: that is only the "standard" for companies where 1 or 2 people make a living wage and the rest are working on what amounts to a content farm and in 2019 we can all do better. I think you are right that more money can be made (potentially) with kickstarting. What I feel like you are not acknowledging is the need to build an audience first, Again: 1 Mothership and Dead Planet (and the original pre-Lotfp Carcosa) all made more than 10cents a word of...


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