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Dragon Reflections #5: Charting New Directions Sunday, 15th July, 2018 11:51 AM

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  1. surfarcher surfarcher is offline

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Thursday, 12th July, 2018


Thursday, 5th July, 2018


Wednesday, 27th June, 2018


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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Friday, 13th July, 2018

  • 03:11 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted M.T. Black in post Dragon Reflections #5: Charting New Directions
    Since you asked... Tolkien wrote that "[The Istari] were forbidden to dominate the free peoples of Middle-earth or to match Sauron's power with power." Gandalf only used magic in an extreme of need, and most likely not the greatest of his magic, even then. That is to say, it is impossible to adjudicate his level based on the magic he used. A better measuring stick would be Saruman, who broke that rule. Using the OD&D spell list of the times, debatably the highest-level spell he uses is Mass Charm, an 8th level spell. I believe that puts him at 16th level. Gandalf would’ve started out below that, since he accords Saruman as being the more powerful wizard, but eventually levels up beyond him. Please share them!

Thursday, 12th July, 2018

  • 04:38 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted M.T. Black in post Dragon Reflections #5: Charting New Directions
    Tunnels & Trolls isn’t mentioned, but Monsters-Monsters (I assume he means Monsters! Monsters!), St. Andre’s reverse dungeon is listed. Generally speaking, I recognize less than half of that list of games. I do adore Tunnels & Trolls, in all its humor. And that it still looks a whole lot like its first edition, but for a few tweaks here and there. The “Gandalf was a 5th Level Magic-User” remains an article that generates discussion. I’d never seen the author’s follow-up, though. I have my thoughts on the matter, but I always thought the take-away point was that one could create epic adventures at all sorts of levels, that you weren’t stuck waiting until the higher levels. I extend this invitation to non-authors (of games) to do this also. I’m looking for articles on STELLAR CONQUEST, THE YTHRI, WBRM, GODSFIRE, STARSHIP TROOPERS, OUTREACH, SORCERER, STARSOLDIER, GREEN PLANET TRILOGY, OGRE, MONSTERS-MONSTERS, VENERABLE DESTRUCTION and others. It’s time for THE DRAGON to expand its subjec...
  • 10:47 AM - JeffB quoted M.T. Black in post Dragon Reflections #5: Charting New Directions
    I hadn't heard that EGG was negative about T&T. Do you have a link about that? According to Ken St. Andre he was. St. Andre wrote an article on the origins of T&T and at one point he says Gygax took a dislike to him and T&T at a convention. The web address is below. I'm not certain he's correct, but it seemed to be generally understood that Gygax was not a fan of T&T. https://www.tunnelsandtrolls.com/the-origins-of-tunnels-and-trolls-by-ken-st-andre-july-1997/ Ken also has spoken about it on one of his video interviews on T&T. Tim spoke a little about it on one of his Curmudgeon in the Cellar episodes on youtube as well. Don't recall which interview/episodes specifically. Ken felt it necessary to remove his specific "thanks for the inspiration , D&D" messaging from the introduction in T&T post 1st edition, too..instead talking about "that other game" (paraphrasing) As R_Chance said, it's pretty well known Gary was not a fan.
  • 08:25 AM - R_Chance quoted M.T. Black in post Dragon Reflections #5: Charting New Directions
    I hadn't heard that EGG was negative about T&T. Do you have a link about that? According to Ken St. Andre he was. St. Andre wrote an article on the origins of T&T and at one point he says Gygax took a dislike to him and T&T at a convention. The web address is below. I'm not certain he's correct, but it seemed to be generally understood that Gygax was not a fan of T&T. https://www.tunnelsandtrolls.com/the-origins-of-tunnels-and-trolls-by-ken-st-andre-july-1997/
  • 08:13 AM - R_Chance quoted M.T. Black in post Dragon Reflections #5: Charting New Directions
    There is also "implicit" vs "explicit" in a way. In LOTR you don't *learn* magic, you *are* magic. Well put.
  • 02:16 AM - R_Chance quoted M.T. Black in post Dragon Reflections #5: Charting New Directions
    It's amazing how much this question has been revisited over the years! There are many reddit threads and forum articles, and folk often refer back to this Dragon article as a kind of authoritative word. I know. It's like a Vampire, it just keeps on coming back. At the time I remember thinking the scope / range of magic in Tolkein was far larger than in D&D. D&D magic was flashy and pretty much tactical. Sauron's control of the weather and driving his troops into a frenzy was strategic. It's a different system of magic, subtler and, I think, more powerful.

Friday, 6th July, 2018


Friday, 29th June, 2018


Thursday, 28th June, 2018

  • 11:37 AM - amethal quoted M.T. Black in post Dragon Reflections #3: Controversy Strikes!
    To be fair, Jim Ward (who was VP of creative services near the end of TSR) strongly disputes Ryan Dancey's assessment. I'll have to find the link later.The Dragonsfoot interview with Jim Ward is in the "History of D&D" section Morrus mentioned above. The relevant part :- again not wanting to bad mouth mr. Dancey, but his statement is ridiculous. The RPGA was created to pay attention to what the fans wanted. TSR had millions of consumer research cards telling us what they wanted and I bet I personally read over a million of them. I had my staff read them as well. The company sent out its designers and editors to fifty plus conventions a year to hear what the fans wanted. TSR paid over a million is scientific marketing studies on our consumers and I read every one of those reports. To say the company didn’t care about listening to the fans is preposterous. I always made sure I knew exactly who the fans were and what they wanted. . .

Wednesday, 20th June, 2018

  • 11:13 PM - Shasarak quoted M.T. Black in post Dragon Reflections #2: Heavy On Fiction But Light On Mechanics
    However, the sparse nature of the gaming articles shows how difficult it was for Tim Kask to source this material in the early days, and it's hard to believe he would have been very pleased with this follow-up issue. And behind the scenes, complaints were already piling up about the amount of fiction he was publishing. Kask was forced to make a difficult decision in Issue #3, and we will find out what that was next week This is exciting cliff hanger, what will happen in issue 3?

Sunday, 17th June, 2018

  • 09:00 AM - R_Chance quoted M.T. Black in post Dragon Reflections #1: A New Arrival
    What can you tell me about the current EPT "scene"? Are many people playing it? How do they keep in touch (facebook, google+, etc)? I know that James Maliszewski runs an EPT game that Dyson Logos plays in, but are there any other well known games out there? I don't know how much communication there is really. Tekumel has had 4 official RPGs since EPT. The current is Bethorm by Unigames (Jeff Dee, who has done a lot of fantasy art, especially Tekumel). Tekumel has it's own podcast, The Hall of Blue Illumination with Maliszweski, Victor Raymond and others. There have been 22 episodes as of March 2018 iirc. In addition to the official games there have been a number of others over the years. In short, people play the setting using a number of rulesets, including the original. I understand that Maliszewski runs EPT as does Victor Raymond and other people, but its scattered and in terms of numbers not that large. There are several conventions with Tekumel tracks. I use a house ruled version of EPT,...

Saturday, 16th June, 2018

  • 08:18 AM - R_Chance quoted M.T. Black in post Dragon Reflections #1: A New Arrival
    You will enjoy issue #4 then! Yes, I did. It was the first issue of TD I was thrilled for. I was hoping it was a trend that would continue but EPT content dropped off after that with just the occasional Tekumel article. I've picked up everything Tekumel related since then (up to the current Bethorm game and the Kurt Hills sourcebook). Something special about that setting.

Monday, 4th June, 2018

  • 02:23 AM - vecna00 quoted M.T. Black in post Second Dungeons & Dragons Product for Fall 2018: Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
    In terms of other settings, I'm guessing that most levels of the megadungeon can be transported elsewhere with little to no modification. So if you want to place it beneath Castle Greyhawk on Oerth, or beneath Skullcap on Krynn, or wherever, should be easy. Oh I'm planning on seeing how well this will work as an ancient catacomb under Sharn in Eberron. And mayhaps using it as Under Tyr...

Sunday, 3rd June, 2018

  • 02:42 PM - AmerginLiath quoted M.T. Black in post Second Dungeons & Dragons Product for Fall 2018: Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
    I'm so glad to see an official megadungeon being developed for 5e! I anticipate many hours spent exploring this with my players. That’s the exciting part in my eyes, seeing a proper megadungeon (with the tools for a DM to populate and respawn it) instead of another one-and-done, alongside a similar toolkit on running urban-based campaigns. As someone who tends to play in sort of “megacampaigns” where multiple groups under different DMs are existing in the same world, the way they describe these two books makes me curious. I’d love to partner up two or more local DMs, each running Dragon Heist with a different possible enemy and then each running this one, allowing players to move between groups as schedules allowed as members of one big adventuring company of sorts.

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 ...


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