Wrath of the River King - Wolfgang Baur's Open Design - Page 4




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  1. #31
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    If that's true, the prices have vastly increased since I was a patron. $25 was the workhorse level. There were higher levels that bought more access, but I didn't find them cost effective.

    I was happy with what I received in return for my money. But, if I had to pay $100 for what I received for $25 in the past, I wouldn't do it again either.

    (Edit: the pdf only level for my round was $10.)
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  • #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starglim View Post
    $15, for the last project, was the supporter level that only got the PDF. I believe this was new to that round and may be different for the next one.

    $30 is the patron level that gives you access to the design discussions.
    Oh.

    I wasn't aware of the $15 supporter level; I thought the 30 was "supporter", given that I've never seen more than two options. I thought that the design privileges were stripped from the $30.

    The supporter option was only available before the start of the project.
    Oh. I thought all the options continued until the project was finished, and then cut off.

    That is much more reasonable. Thank you. Outraged outburst reascended.

    I hope the policy of purchasing earlier products hasn't went away. If not, I might just subscribe to the next project.
    Last edited by Rechan; Friday, 26th December, 2008 at 05:25 AM.

  • #33
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    Same boat as me. Was interested in the first one, liked the Ghouls one (was a patron) and waiting to see if anything else catches my attention.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Opal View Post
    Close. That's the idea, but just for semantics sake and speaking from my own experience:

    I paid $25. That gave me access to design journals, polls to guide monster, encounter and theme development. There was a community of patrons that could discuss aspects that we liked and disliked, with Wolfgang taking this into account. The process took about 3 months; I had something interesting to read at least once a week. I was one of the DMs chosen to playtest a portion of the adventure.

    I was also given the opportunity to purchase Castle Shadowcrag, the previous project.

    At the close, we were given a pdf. A period of time later, I forget how long, we were given a pdf with all of the editing corrections and errata incorporated into the pdf.

    If / when we wished, we could go to a separate entity and pay them to produce a physical copy. Wolfgang set things up with Lulu for our convienence, but it could have been any third party we wished. He did all of the copyright footwork with them. He didn't get a cut of the Lulu price.

    If you put your money down, you get a pdf. You may consider that overpriced, but you are getting something custom made. When it is done, it is yours. The time limit comes in when the project is started and someone wants in after the project is completed.

    If I am understanding your concerns, I share them to a certain extent. I don't think that it is in the least underhanded, but I do find it expensive. And, it is the reason why I have bought in on only one project. It would have to be directly applicable to my gaming needs, with very little adaption. Also, it takes some time to keep abreast of what the pending projects are. You want to buy in at the beginning, not at the end.

    I really wanted Steam and Brass. Badly.

  • #34
    I have been a patron since the first project, Steam & Brass. I have really, thoroughly enjoyed participating in all the projects. I kind of dove whole hog into the first one, participating very actively. The last three I have scaled back to "lurker" status, enjoying the essays and keeping tabs on things but not really speaking up much, due to personal time constraints and such. But I still choose to participate at senior patron levels each time. I consider the money well spent.

    Wolfgang is an artist with what he does. And I like the idea of sponsoring an artist. The product I have received at the end of each project has been wonderful, totally worth it to me. I have run 3 of the adventures (so far) for my own players in my home game. The experience of running the adventures was each time very enjoyable to me and my players.

    I also kind of like the exclusivity of the projects. I like the idea that I can run an adventure that few others (an elite few) can enjoy the experience of. I must admit that I feel a certain amount of pride (tinged with schadenfreude) that I have my own personal copy of Steam & Brass that no one else will ever get to see except those adventurous and perspicacious patrons that funded the first project.

    But my greatest impetus in being a patron is that I want Wolfgang to keep on being gainfully employed so he can keep on writing great adventures for many years to come. If this model works for him, then I am happy to help keep funding such projects.

    The advantage to Wolfgang would seem to be that he can pitch a product to potential patrons, just as he would pitch an article proposal or a book project to a publisher. If they fund it, he gets paid and writes the project to the specs of the patrons. That way he has a guaranteed income. He doesn't have to bear the financial risk of publishing something that doesn't sell. Patrons are happy, Wolfgang is happy. Everyone is happy except those non-patrons who have regrets about choosing not to participate.

    But the whole point is that this is NOT the standard business model, where the creator bears the risk of regret. It's not a "sales" model. It's an art commission. There are no "consumers" who can choose to buy the product off the shelf (or not). Wolfgang doesn't have to labor over a project and then worry whether anyone will buy what he is offering to sell. Once the work is commissioned then the agreement is complete. Wolfgang gets paid. He can control his costs, budget his time. The work is delivered when it is written. Hopefully the patrons are happy with the work, and if they are then Wolfgang gets more commissions.

    Not just anyone can pull that off, either. I note that Stephen King tried that once, and the project failed. As an experiment, King attempted to write a novel in exchange for online donations per chapter. He wrote a couple of chapters of a novel online but donations dropped off to where the remaining chapters were not funded. More power to Wolfgang that he has managed to succeed at implementing the patronage model where others have tried and failed at it.

    I think it is an interesting business model, and I will be curious to see if more designers attempt it in the future.

  • #35
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    pricing

    Hi,

    I've been a patron since Empire of the Ghouls. In all cases, I went for the basic patron option, paying $25 for Six Arabian Nights, Blood of the Gorgon, Tales of Zobeck and Wrath of the River King, and $30 for Empire of the Ghouls.

    This gave me access to plenty of posts from Wolfgang, design essays and discussion via Livejournal with the other patrons and then a PDF of the adventure when the project is finished. I had fun inputting into the finished products and little bits of stuff I came up with made their way into several of the adventures which is really cool.

    Yes, you're paying more than a PDF adventure would cost you off the (virtual) shelf, but I think $25-$30 is well worth it for the experience of seeing the design unfold. You can pay more to be a Senior Patron and get access to more stuff during the design process but I found the basic option to be great for me.

    I haven't read Wrath of the River King all the way through yet but it looks excellent so far and, since it's 4e, I'm actually going to run it. Keep an eye on Wolfgang's Open Design LJ page or here on ENWorld if you're interested in signing up for the next project which will start soon.

    Cheers


    Richard

  • #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Opal View Post
    I really wanted Steam and Brass. Badly.
    This. Creating artificial scarcity of a completely electronic finished product is a braindead marketing strategy.

    Sorry, but there's no way I am buying into this "I will start working into a cool adventure, but only if you pay before seeing it or even reading a review" scheme.

    Edit: And the "sponsor an artist" stuff is just more marketing spin. This is not the 15th century and we are talking about a finished pdf that can be copied an indefinite number of times, not the sistine chapel or any other unique, irreplaceable work of art.
    Last edited by Amphimir Míriel; Friday, 26th December, 2008 at 03:14 PM.
    Wizards of the Coast has now unveiled its nefarious plan: Sell awesome boxed sets full of feelie goodness so that we will WANT to buy them, instead of just getting the info through D&Di

  • #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Amphimir Míriel View Post
    This. Creating artificial scarcity of a completely electronic finished product is a braindead marketing strategy.

    Sorry, but there's no way I am buying into this "I will start working into a cool adventure, but only if you pay before seeing it or reading a review" scam
    Calling this a scam is not only extremely rude, but also completely untrue.

    If you don't want to be a patron, fine. But you can leave out the "braindead" comments.
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  • #38
    Kind of sounds like the ransom model used by Reign's creator but the contributors are much more involved in the process.

    So let me get this right. Basically, after he reaches a certain threshhold of donations that he setup, he will start to work on the project. The contributors will have varying amount of access to the creation process depending on how much money they contributed to the project. The project is finished when the majority are satisfied with the final product.

    It is an interesting model and with the economy right now as well as the state of the rpg industry, it could potentially be a better business model for some writers.

    If I didn't take a break from D&D, it would have piqued my interest to participate just for the experience.

  • #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amphimir Míriel View Post
    This. Creating artificial scarcity of a completely electronic finished product is a braindead marketing strategy.

    Sorry, but there's no way I am buying into this "I will start working into a cool adventure, but only if you pay before seeing it or even reading a review" scheme.

    Edit: And the "sponsor an artist" stuff is just more marketing spin. This is not the 15th century and we are talking about a finished pdf that can be copied an indefinite number of times, not the sistine chapel or any other unique, irreplaceable work of art.
    And yet, enough people continue to do it that it continues to be a viable way to go.

    Odd that.

    Damn scamnsters! Get off my lawn!

  • #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amphimir Míriel View Post
    This. Creating artificial scarcity of a completely electronic finished product is a braindead marketing strategy.
    You mean it's so simple that everyone should have had this idea?

    Well, they have. Thousands of software developers write code - an entirely electronically existing product - and sell them to their customer. Exclusively. Corporations write management software for their operations, and never give it out to anyone else. It is their software. If it's good, it might even be an advantage over their concurrents. If it's bad... not so much.

    Sorry, but there's no way I am buying into this "I will start working into a cool adventure, but only if you pay before seeing it or even reading a review" scheme.
    You don't have to be sorry! If you start feeling sorry for all the offers you don't take, you... well, I guess you will never not feel sorry.

    Edit: And the "sponsor an artist" stuff is just more marketing spin. This is not the 15th century and we are talking about a finished pdf that can be copied an indefinite number of times, not the sistine chapel or any other unique, irreplaceable work of art.
    The difficulty of replication is not the thing you are paying someone like Wolfgang Baur for.

    There are certain fixed cost for creating a print or PDF product. It is basically the entire work time that the writers need to write down their ideas, edit them and format them. These costs do not change, regardless whether you sell _one_ copy or one million.
    If you know you can sell one million of your PDFs, things are great. If you don't know whether you'll sell ten, hundred, or thousands, you feel less safe. You have to take a risk and hope you reach or exceed the mark where you begin to make profit, the point where your investment payed off. But if you do not have the starting capital to pay this up-front time and to pay for the risks of not making any profit, you can't do your project. You need a way to ensure you get the money.

    The ransom/patron project is doing exactly that. But you might need to add additional incentives for people to give you money up-front. Exclusivitivy and the opportunity to actively participate are such ways.

    Yeah, it sucks like guys for me and you if we can't get ahold of a product that sounds cool just because the business model makes it impossible. But wouldn't it also suck if that product was never made because the creator didn't have the resources to pull it off?

    Of course, there might be variations possible. For example, Wolfgang Baur could provide his patrons with a way to share his profits for copies he sells to non-patrons. But setting up a distribution scheme that is fair to the initial investments and doesn't cost more then the profits it is to distribute isn't that easy, either. And it might still be a reason for some patrons to say that it's not enough.
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