Monday, May 14, 2012

In Which The Warlock Muses on Rewards...

In amongst all of the other numerous projects that I've been working on--and, y'know, my actual "real" job of teaching--I've been contemplating what exactly I need to do, when I start the Kickstarter for Cold Steel Wardens.  Obviously, I'll need to officially incorporate as well as establish my copyright and trademark registries, all of which I hope to have finished by August of this year. 

But, rather, I mean the actual Kickstarter itself.  I've been reading numerous blogs dealing with the issue, as KS can be a massive boon when done correctly...and an utter disaster when not.

Analysis shows that Kickstarter projects tend to do significantly better when accompanied with some kind of audio-visual element (not necessarily a video, though video does tend to help) as well as preview material and character sheets to show what the game itself will look like and how it will play.

Rewards, though, are really what drive Kickstarter projects.  After all, as a patron system, it's hard to get people to patronize you without good reason!  One of the neatest things about Kickstarter is the fact that rewards aren't necessarily always tangible.  A high-level patronage might provide some experience or opportunity that not necessarily be "worth" anything, but ramps up the level of awesome instead.

So, in thinking about all this, I've begun brainstorming a reward system with tiers based on the three levels of adversaries in CSW:  Mooks, Made Men, and Masterminds.  Take a look!  And, as always, if you have any feedback, it'd be greatly appreciated!

Mooks ($1-$100)
  • $10--A PDF copy of Cold Steel Wardens.
  • $30--Both a PDF copy of Cold Steel Wardens and a softcover copy of the same, upon publication.
  • $50--A signed softcover copy of Cold Steel Wardens, the PDF copy, and an exclusive adventure set in Greensburg (pdf).
  • $75--Two signed softcover copies, the PDF copy, the exclusive adventure, and a pre-order for the next books:  Cold Steel Wardens:  Rogues' Gallery.
  • $100--all at $75 level, plus a lifetime 10% discount on any of my products.
Made Men ($100-$500)  (All "Made Men" rewards levels automatically include all rewards given for the $100 "Mook" level)
  • $150--An 8 1/2" by 11" art print of a piece of your choosing from the Cold Steel Wardens core rulebook, signed by the artist.
  • $200--Either an original 8 1/2" by 11" art print of a character of your choosing from Cold Steel Wardens OR inclusion of a character of your creation in the upcoming book, Cold Steel Wardens: Rogues' Gallery.
  • $300--Both rewards from the $200 level!
  • $500--Both rewards from the $200 level AND I will run an exclusive, off-the-books Cold Steel Wardens session for you and up to 5 of your friends at either GenCon Indy or the Origins Game Fair, at a day and time of your choosing. 
Masterminds ($1000+) (All "Mastermind" rewards levels automatically include all rewards given for the $100 "Mook" level and the $500 "Made Men" level)
  • $1,000--At my expense and on a weekend of our combined choosing, I will travel to your house and prepare a dinner for you and up to 5 of your friends.  I will then run an exclusive, never-before-seen Cold Steel Wardens investigation for you and said friends, using all new characters made specifically for the evening.  All materials, including the adventure and the characters, are exclusively yours following the session.  (Limited to the Continental United States only).
  • $2,000--All rewards listed at the $1,000 level, plus a two free copies of every Cold Steel Wardens product produced...ever!
  • $5,000--True partnership.  You'll be brought on board as a consultant for further products, design ideas, and more.   Obviously, there'll be negotiation at this level, which will be hashed out upon such a pledge.
So...what do you think?  Viable?  Is this a scale that seems reasonable?  Am I missing an opportunity?  Feedback would be great!


  1. Anonymous10:58 PM

    The biggest issue I see is with the $50 tier adding an adventure. I have no idea what you're going to do with an adventure set in a town in Kansas. Something to do with the tornado that tore through it five years ago? Regardless, you probably should explain it a little more for people to want it.

    Ultimately, I think you should divorce the adventure from the signed copy tier. Either make it on its own tier or save it as a stretch goal. I personally would rather have an adventure over a signed copy, since I can often get those at conventions.

    The $75 level has a typo. It should be "next book" (singular). Also, what format will the preorder be?

    I assume for the art tiers we are going to see samples of the art that we get to choose from. I doubt that anyone will choose art blindly.

    For the $200 level you should clarify it to something like "an original 8 1/2" by 11" art print of a character of your creation. This will not be included in the book." Of course, if that's not what you meant, you probably should rephrase it to better convey what you meant. Oh, and make sure that they know who the artist will be and any links to his or her work (that doesn't have to be in this little box, but make sure it's included).

    I would probably move the character in the Rogues Gallery book from the $200 level to the $100 level and keep the $300 level the same. I imagine it's much cheaper to create some statblocks and a backstory for a character than it is to have an art commission for an original character.

    The $1,000 level makes it sound like the adventure is theirs and will never be made again. I presume your intention is that any printed materials are going to be left with them, but the adventure will be eventually released. As a player, I'd hate to have the only copy of what I presume will be a great scenario.

    You should specify the format for the copies at the $2,000 level. I presume it's both PDF and Print.

    Finally, you should make provisions for international shipping on the print products. I've seen this as either separate tiers or a note at a tier saying "Please at $X for international shipping."

  2. Anonymous11:05 PM

    Also, the $2,000 level seems a bit high. After factoring out the $1,000 level, at $30 a book, there would need to be 33 CSW books published to make it worthwhile; all with an author that has not yet published anything. I would suggest making it $1,500 (making it 17 books) and having it be all RPG books from you, rather than just CSW. This still is a leap of faith, but it's easier to swallow.

  3. Brother, this is exactly the sort of thing that I was hoping to hear. Thanks for the great feedback.

    For the $50 mark--Greensburg is the default setting for CSW, not an actual real-life city.

    I'm figuring that the $75 mark would be a hard copy for the follow-up. But, looking at it now, it seems like this is something best served for the $100 mark?

    The $1,000 mark was meant to be *exclusive*--as in, the patron and their group would be the ONLY people who got those character and that adventure.

    Shipping thing is a good pull--good stuff, there!