Sunday, April 1, 2018

What all the excitement is about: The Steel Road and what the KickStarter campaign will look like

Legendary version of the Bagh Nakh
Art from: The Steel Road
Artist: Zachary Viola

You may have noticed that I'm pretty excited about each project I develop.  It's simple really, if I'm not excited about something how can I expect anyone else to be? 

Throughout the year that this blog has existed I've spoken about projects like "Tale of the Wizard's Eye", "The Draw of Glenfallow", "Comet over Echo Rock", and "47 Furious Tails".  I've teased out samples of art, clips from page drafts, discussed development, talked about crowd funding,  and hinted at projects that were in development.   It has been an exciting first year!

One of the projects I hinted at last summer was a project that was being developed under the title "Bare Steel and Drawn Blood" which went through several title changes as I struggled to find a title that worked with the theme of the book.  That book is soon to be hitting KickStarter (look for it in May if all goes according to plan) under its release title "The Steel Road".

I know, my last two entries have been about this book.  I am just really excited about it, and there is certainly a LOT to be excited about!  This book details fifty weapons from around the world with each weapon being illustrated!

Yes!  Let me make sure everyone understands that point:  Each and EVERY weapon is illustrated! 

But this book doesn't just stop with fifty images of weapons, no.  There is an illustration for each weapon in its common form, and then an illustration of the enchanted "legendary" version of the weapon.  Of itself, that is one hundred weapon illustrations!  

As you may have seen in previous entries about this book (and those illustrations that are included in this entry), the art for "The Steel Road" is done in a sketchbook style.  I wanted this book to have an authentic look to its pages and Zachary Viola (the artist whose work graces this book) agreed with the concept.  Zack set to work in the summer of 2017 to create the art for this book.  He's been creating art for this project for more than eight months as of this writing! 

What The Steel Road is about:

The Steel Road is about bringing exotic weapons from around the world to your role-playing game table. 

This book will be made available in print and pdf formats for your use and enjoyment.  Providing game play statistics, weapon information, all original art, and a background narrative; you will enjoy this book for play and as an attractive addition to your collection. 

It's not just tables and stats.  I've based weapon information on the real world data. Illustrations have been sketched to be true to the dimensions and appearance of the common, mundane versions,  while being elaborated upon in true fantasy tradition, for the enchanted versions.  The PDF versions of the book, which I'm releasing through, will be printable.  This will allow you to print single pages of weapon data for easy reference for your character or adventure scenario.  (Note:  These images are for personal use only.  We are not releasing the art for commercial use.)

Two versions of the book are being developed.  The first version is created for use with the 5th edition game mechanic of the worlds original role-playing game, and released under the open game license as described in the system reference document (SRD5.1) as published by Wizards of the Coast.  To be clear, neither I, Zachary Viola, or Sinopa Publishing LLC are affiliated or employed by WoTC. (You have to love the restrictions placed within the Open Game License.)   The second version is a Pathfinder compatible version.  The Steel Road marks my first publication of a Pathfinder compatible book so I'm looking forward to steping into that role-playing community. 

Basically, I created this book to expand the scope of weapons available in a fun and exciting way.  None of the weapon statistics are copied from anywhere. I created them wholly from my own design.  Any resemblance to other game play representations is coincidental and unintended.  Many of the weapons described in this book haven't been seen in any 5th edition OGL book (that I've ever seen anyway).

What The Steel Road isn't:

The Steel Road isn't heavy with rules.  There are a few optional rules which were created for particular weapons.  These optional rules are meant to enhance the play experience, not to bog down your session.  If you don't like them, please don't use them.  Players, in all instances please remember that your game master has the final say on rules integration.  Let us not waste game time arguing.  Have fun and game on!

The material within this book is NOT released as open content. Do not reprint this material for commercial purposes.  All art within this book was created by, and copyright of,  Zachary Viola and is used under contract and with permission.  All rights to reproduction of art from this book are reserved.  

I designed and wrote this book to be a fun addition to your role-playing game resources.  It is not a history book.  Descriptions of weapons are based on the real world weapon, many of which I have experience handling.  Enchanted versions of these weapons are designed to be used in game play.  As such, many of them do not possess the full scope of powers attributed to them from their real world legends.  It would be game breaking, for example, to give the Trident of Poseidon all of its reputed abilities!

The KickStarter campaign: How, and when, can I get a copy?

The Steel Road will have its crowd funding campaign through KickStarter in May (again, assuming everything continues on schedule as it has been).

I'm using KickStarter to fund the art and backer rewards.  I also wanted to make the book available to people in a cost effective way, keeping costs to a minimum, and making the book as affordable as possible.  KickStarter is a great way to accomplish all of those things.

Another thing I wanted to do, was encourage people to back it (obvious, right?) and provide a real value to backers.  To do this, I'm going to be offering some fantastic early backer rewards.  I think this is a great way to provide a great deal to all of you who have been following this blog who may want a copy.  So, for the first seventy-two (72) hours of the campaign (the first three days), you can get PDF  and Print on Demand codes for either version for backing the Kickstarter at $8.  You can get the PDF and Print on Demand codes for both versions (during that same seventy-two hour period) for backing the KickStarter at $14 (All of these backer levels are in U.S. Dollars).

Go ahead, reread that if you must.  It's true.  You'll be able to get a PDF copy AND the POD code (which lets you order a print copy from DTRPG and only pay the printing cost plus shipping).  Personally, I think that is a good deal, but I wanted it to be GREAT.  So I'm making those backer rewards stretch goal eligible as well. Keep reading for more on the stretch goals (after physical rewards), there is a lot of value that I'm packing into this KickStarter campaign.

Physical rewards include signed print copies, as well as copies with unique sketches done by Zach Viola.  So if you want a one of a kind copy, completely unlike anyone else's, you can certainly get one!  For the physical rewards the copy will be a soft cover, unless we reach the stretch goal, in which case it will be a hard cover.

Stretch goals for the KickStarter campaign are designed to be easy to fulfill and yet be a real value to the backers.

Our first stretch goal makes these books available in hard cover edition as well as the soft cover edition.  All backers who have print on demand codes as part of their backer rewards will receive a code for both soft and hard copies. 

The second stretch goal will add an additional section to the book, which will detail the merchant caravan of the book's narrator.  It will include information on non-player characters, resources, notes on incorporating the caravan into your campaign, as well as a selection of story hooks for your use. 

In a similar vein, I'm going to also include a Social Goal in this campaign. I've seen these popping up in a few KickStarter campaigns over the last several months and I think they are a fantastic idea. This will be my first campaign to have such a goal.  I'm a big believer in keeping things simple, so I've modeled this goal along those lines.  Our social goal is to reach one thousand backers!  If the campaign ends with one thousand backers (or more) I'll commission a new cover to be used exclusively for kickstarter backers.  All backers who receive a POD code will receive a code for that book as well.  In order to prevent non-backers from buying that edition (it has to be live for you to redeem the code through dtrpg, at least that is my understanding) I'll be setting the retail price to an astronomically obscene amount.  Backers will only pay the printing plus shipping costs with the POD code.  Reaching this goal will cause those backers receiving signed and sketch copies to receive the KickStarter backer exclusive version  for those physical rewards.

Fulfillment of the backer rewards:

The Kickstarter campaign will not go live until I have proof copies of the 5th ed rule set version in hand.  My goal is to conduct fulfillment immediately upon receipt of funds from KickStarter.  This will place fulfillment in the month of June, assuming the Kickstarter campaign launches in early May or as late as July if it launches in late May.  The KickStarter page will specify fulfillment projections when it goes live.  

Please do note that the fulfillment is a projection, it may get pushed back to July by the date the campaign launches.  If so, it will be so stated in the campaign. I'm a huge believer in full disclosure and transparency.  The images below were captured from the draft of the KickStarter campaign I am presently working on.  Some of the data may change but the reward levels should remain the same as shown below.

These early backer rewards will be available for those first three days of the campaign:

I hope to see a lot of people taking advantage of these early backer levels.  This is one way for me to 'Thank you' to all of you who have been following this blog and sharing the news of my projects.  Thank you!

After the first three days the backer levels are more in line with a project of this scale:

As you can see, the backer rewards are still a good value for backers.

I'll be disclosing the physical reward levels for signed and sketch copies, as well as a pair of higher end backer rewards in a future blog entry.  Full disclosure on that: I need a final calculation on print and shipping costs that I don't yet have, and I want to be able to account for all of those costs.   

What the KickStarter campaign does for this project:

Using KickStarter allows me to pay for art as well as cover costs for backer rewards.  This makes projects like this possible.

Any revenue in excess of those funds used to pay for art and fulfill backer rewards will be used towards operating expenses and for future project development. (Specifically for 47 Furious Tails and Whispers of Persephone).

For those of you who are planning your own projects, I highly recommend crowdfunding efforts.  It will help you to not only mitigate the risk of loss but also to gauge interest in your project.  You can also very often enjoy feedback from your backers that can help you improve your products. (Make use of such feedback!)

So ladies and gentlemen, gamers and game developers of all ages, that is why I'm so excited about this book.  It is the first source book I'm releasing, and it's packed with good stuff.

I hope you'll share this with other people to help spread the word and raise awareness.  Sharing this blog post with others can help us to reach the social goal and make The Steel Road a success!


Thank you all for joining me once again on my adventure in game development, writing and self-publishing.  I hope that you find this blog useful to your own endeavors as you write and create.

I want to thank Zachary Viola, for his extraordinary work on The Steel Road!  It really wouldn't be the as cool without his hard work and dedication to this project.

As always, your comments are most welcome.  Please +1 and share to social media if you've enjoyed this entry.

Until next time, when I hope you'll join me again!

W.S. "Sam" Quinton


If you're a comic book fan, check out the following KickStarter campaign:

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