Development of Fearful Ends is continuing at a good pace. I just got off a call with my art director and layout editor and am feeling quite excited about the visual direction. I don’t have anything to share on that side of things yet, all the artwork is currently placeholder as we continue to try and engage some artists for the cover and interior pieces. My layout editor mentioned at one point that the book had “lots of weird text”, which I take as a lovely compliment, and has motivated me to put my nose back to the grindstone and see what other ways I can push forward on this project.
I feel like the core of this project is well in hand – at minimum it is a rulebook and a deck of cards. Actually at bare minimum it’s a nicely laid out PDF of the above that users can print at home, but personally I much prefer the physical print copy, so that will be the core of the kickstarter. But what about stretch goals? With the minimum viable product in hand, let’s take some time to dream big.
The most obvious stretch goal here is to include a scenario. I’ve written several in loose form for my own use at conventions, and always wanted to tidy them up for publication. In fact, this was a major incentive to starting this project in the first place. I hemmed and hawed about what system to target my horror modules against, and finally landed on “I guess I better just write my own.”
So which scenario should I include first? After careful review, I think the strongest choice is Mazes and Monsters. It’s such a fun one at conventions and is really dead on for the tone of what I want from games of Fearful Ends. That said, there is an intellectual property issue around this module which usually makes me shuffle it to the bottom of the list. There’s a strong argument that this qualifies as parody and so it should be fine to publish, but after careful thought I decided the best way forward is probably to just change the names and assume my readers will get what I’m alluding to.
I’ve started writing up the doc and I’m at about 10 pages so far. I was originally targeting 16, but given how much I still have to go I’m guessing it’s going to exceed that. And to be clear, these are half-sized booklet pages (8.5″ x 5.5″), because that’s my favorite format to work in. I’m also debating if/how I should include the pre-gen characters I usually use to run this game, and what about hand outs…? This thing could get big, and pretty demanding on the art side of things. Besides needing its own cover, there’s one handout that I’d have to get someone to draw for me that’s basically a full page piece of artwork. Though wouldn’t it be awesome to have that as a nice full 8.5″ x 11″ piece folded right into the middle of the book?
It’s definitely feeling a bit above and beyond, but this is what stretch goals are for, right?
The core product is already two things – a book and a deck of cards. If we add a second book, maybe a loose printed hand out to go with it, the pile is getting a bit unwieldy. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a box to keep all the stuff in?
If I dream big of what this product could be, I tend to think of the Paranoia white box set I got through kickstarter many years ago. It’s a nice cardboard box just big enough to hold the 3-4 books and the pile of cards that came with it. The art design on this was perhaps an odd choice – white print on a white box – but I like the format and how easily the whole thing fits on my shelf.
But is it worth it? I’d need yet more art for the box and the layout work of applying it to a box template. The actual printing and shipping of said box to deal with, and of course the work of assembling all the pieces to ship out to the end customer is a fair bit of work. Is all that expense and effort worth just having a box to put these things in? I’m not sure, it feels like there are a lot of more valuable things those resources could be put towards. But I can’t help but love the production value add of a nice box. This one I’ll have to mull over further.
That’s all that’s in my head right now. Of course if anyone reading this has a great idea for other stretch goals they’d like to see on this project, please do let me know!
And if you’re reading this and just want to know when the heck this thing goes live on kickstarter, please consider signing up for the mailing list here. For now I’m keeping the dev updates here on my blog so don’t worry that this is going to generate a ton of spam. I imagine this email list will be used for major updates only, such as “OMG it’s on kickstarter finally – go check it out!”
Seriously, I can’t wait to write that email.