Browsing articles in "Musings"

May Sales and Milestone

Jun 3, 2012
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During the month of May, Mithril & Mages delivered 34 non-free products consisting of 19 copies of Old West Names, 9 Medieval Forenames, and 6 Medieval Surname books. Fifty three additional free products were delivered (Labyrinth Lord Treasure Book on Demand). In total, the 87 product deliveries grossed $28.61 resulting in $18.60 of revenue.
Namespace: Wild West Names had fixed expenses of $7.95 for the royalty free clip art image on the cover. Net revenue was $10.65 for the month.

Sales did exceed my goal of 31 books in May. The drop was dramatic from April (62 non-free, 185 free). Why? Names from the old west fulfill a smaller niche than medieval names. The initial prices for the medieval name series reverted to full cost from the introductory pricing. The Medieval Forenames also dropped off the top-100 small press list during May from its peak of #34 in April. No significant promotions were undertaken leading to less exposure. May also saw the first reviews of the products posted. Both Wild West Names and the Medieval Names bundles were given 5 star reviews by Margaret E. (Thanks for the kind words, Margaret.) The Treasure Book on Demand also received a 5 star rating with no review posted.

May also was the first month the website surpassed 100,000 page views topping out at 101,752 with a record 10,334 visitors. A small fraction of those visitors were generated from product views on DriveThruRPG/RPGNow. The visitors originating from Google+ also saw an uptick. I posted a couple of times with site links. I was also significantly more engaged with a number of individuals who enjoy gaming.

I sincerely appreciate everyone who has visited or purchased one of the PDF’s. If anything would improve your experience, please feel free to let me know.


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Quick Thoughts: Welcome to Mortiston, USA

May 31, 2012
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I wrapped up reading Welcome to Mortiston, USA over the lunch hour today. Overall, I was quite pleased with the work.

78 pages, Available June 8th

Mortiston is first and foremost a modern setting supplement. While it is billed as a generic zombie apocalypse setting, the zombie element is not significant. If you are looking for detailed zombie apocalypse back story along with the uprising as a focal element, Mortiston will fall short. In fact, game masters can easily ignore all mentions of zombies and just use the locale as a setting for any modern apocalypse setting. Just shift the zeds to some other invader or group and the supplement will work out of the box.

The author, Mark Cookman, focuses primarily on people, interesting places, and the shifting dynamics within the small city. He strikes a great balance of detailing important personas and locations while allowing the GM to add as much detail as desired. The non player characters are presented in detail. Each and every major survivor has a good history with interesting hooks. The trope of skeletons in the closet is a bit overused but doesn’t detract significantly from the focus of the work. Mortiston supports five different systems. Stat blocks are presented for each NPC for every supported system inline with the text. While the multi-system support is admirable, I would have rather seen the stat blocks for each particular individual in an appendix rather than inline. About 1/3 of the page for each character is devoted to statistics.

Locations, like characters, are well represented. Each location is detailed on an individual page containing not only a description but also loot worth items across the timeline. Characters present in the locations based on the timeline are also discussed, which really helped pull together the people presented in the character section of the book. Many locations include a relationship table for the differing groups within Mortiston. However, the groups are not detailed until the subsequent section. As I was reading, I kept wondering why the table was present. It is a useful feature but I’d have preferred having the group dynamics detailed prior to the locations. What really left me wanting was the complete lack of individual location maps. No location is represented in map form. The descriptions are detailed but every GM is going to need to sketch out a set of maps to aid players.

The faction/group section of the supplement doesn’t show up until near the end of the book. Throughout the characters and location sections, factions are mentioned in passing but the linear reader has no idea of the general groupings in town. The section should have prefaced the characters and locales. Especially considering it is a brief 2 pages. Likely an oversight of editing with comprehensive knowledge of the environment.

The last major element of the book is both at the start and at the end — the Timeline. Day one is presented at the start of the book while Z+1 and subsequent events are not detailed until the end. For a reader, I understand the split because the initial Z-day timeline provides a great hook. As a game master, its bothersome because I have to flip between two discrete sections to correlate the details. Not a major negative but I’d have preferred it consolidated (even repeated) in one location within the book. Especially for the PDF — pages are cheap in PDF form. Not so much in a printed work.

I like the overall work but minor fiddly bits bothered me. The overall premise of Z-day seemed too busy. Four major events occur in one day. While they are correlated, I kept thinking it didn’t need to be so complex. The premise is one entry point. Absolutely nothing prohibits me from modifying the introductory events to meet my style of play. The author dictated on numerous occasions that the GM would need to fill in details. Shifting the introduction was not one of them but I’m certain he’d take no offense to changing it.

Zombies are almost completely absent in the book. For a zombie apocalypse setting, the token mentions are completely peripheral to the work. Odd? I thought so but the dynamics of the survivor groups make Mortiston more interesting. Survivors are the menace not the undead. Still, I would have liked to have seen more influence on the zombies in the overall work. Especially during the early days after the onset. My take is not the intent of the author. Early on he mentions zombies are just “icing”. Take that for gospel. Zombies are a very minor element.

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Fifty Cent Sale — The Crazy GM Benefit Sale

May 29, 2012
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May is coming to a close. Not to mention I caught at least five fish a day over my five day weekend. As I was catching up with all of my online pursuits, I discovered my friend, Michael Garcia, had run into unexpected medical bills. Michael has helped me out with CSS and layout issues on more than one occasion. I’d grumble. He’d tell me how to fix it. He never blinked. He’d just jump in and do it. So I’m going to return the favor.

From now until the end of May, everything from M&M is $0.50 over at DriveThru/RPGNow. All proceeds will be directed to aid him with the medical bills. If I sell 20 products in the next 2 days, I’ll extend the benefit sale through June. For $1.50, you can get over 30,000 historical names from the medieval and wild west eras. To make it even easier, you can buy the Crazy GM Bundle or any of the individual products below.

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Yea Ole Ugly Zombie Mugshot in Print

May 17, 2012
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A few weeks back, I posted the three pictures drawn by the masterful Byron Rempel as part of his 1000 Zombies project. Those drawings plus an additional 47 have been combined into his first book – 1000 Zombies: The first 50 zombies of the 1000 zombie art project. The first volume is available on Create Space as a printed work for $17.99 or in electronic format directly from Byron’s website for $3.99. Additionally, he has a select set of individual high resolution images available for sale as well. Still not enough options? He also has t-shirts available.

I picked up one of the first copies off the Create Space press. The quality of the book is fantastic. The layout is gorgeous. Not that I expected anything less from Bryon but I was beyond happy. Each of the individuals has a backstory along with the drawing. Wheels, Garrett, and myself are featured close to the end since we were rounding out the last portion of the first 50. I have no complaints. First time my ugly mug showed up in a book and I’m a MF’ing zombie. Sweet.

Prepare Yourself

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Kickstarter Love: Mortiston, USA

May 4, 2012
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I was aware of Welcome to Mortiston, USA: An All American Zombie Apocalypse as a project. I was not aware of it being a Kickstarter project until today. Mortiston is either a standalone or drop in setting for the zombie apocalypse. From the blurb…

“Welcome to Mortiston, USA” is a multi-system zombie apocalypse set in an “average” American town. The setting is licensed for five different RPG game systems. All game stats are included for immediate integration into any game of Outbreak: Undead, Savage Worlds, The Modern Path for Pathfinder, Rotworld and OGL Modern. Mortiston needs heroes who can step up to the challenge, or only the dead and the damned will walk the streets, or something far, far worse…

The Kickstarter project’s goal is to get the book printed not to develop and release it. The work is already completed — something quite unusual for a project. Plus it supports multiple systems out of the box including ROTWORLD, which I like but have yet to play. If you are familiar with any of the systems, it would be trivial to convert to another system you’d prefer for the game.

As of this writing, the project is a mere $89 from fully funded. The books will be released in June. A release date within a month is instant gratification in the project world. Like most, Mortiston offers many levels of support are available with oodles of extras.

If you’ve been considering a zombie game but holding off due to a lack of a setting, this project could be a perfect match. Give it a look.

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Namespace: Wild West Names

May 1, 2012
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The third Namespace volume was released on DriveThruRPG today. Wild West Names contains over one thousand male, one thousand female, and ten thousand surnames collated from 1860 to 1890 United States sources. The sixty page PDF provides pure names like the other Namespace editions and is priced at $0.89.

The price for Given Names from Medieval and Ancient Times and Surnames from Medieval and Ancient Times returned to non-sale pricing of $0.99 and 0.89 respectively. Alternatively, the Medieval volumes can be purchased as a bundle for $1.58.

Sales since the launch of the products have surpassed expectations including twenty two copies of the bundled volumes, ten copies of given names, and eight individual sales of surnames. The sales were sufficient to load up on some stock art to adorn the interior pages of the secret project for June.

Finally, the free Treasure Book on Demand was downloaded 185 times, dwarfing the for sale products. The book has always been free and will remain so. The release was intended to raise awareness of the Labyrinth Lord™ utilities available from Mithril & Mages to an audience who may not have seen them. Finally, TBoD was the only product to be rated and was pegged at 5 stars.

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One year already? Yup

Apr 30, 2012

A few days ago, Mithril & Mages passed by its one year anniversary. The last year was pretty amazing. I had a great time tinkering with gaming materials and writing a fair bit of code. Judging from the response, far more people are interested in the products of my coding talents than are interested in the ramblings of my mind.

As with most things, the site has taken time to build and even longer to find an audience. I’m quite happy with the results of the last year although I have been slacking for the last few months. Over 12 months, nearly 26,000 unique visitors came to the site resulting in 225,000 page views (69000 unique). Statistics are notoriously biased but I took the information from Google analytics with my own visits removed.

Visits over 12 Months

Page Views over 12 Months

Both curves are moving up and to the right. If the site were a stock, I’d be retiring on the returns. Who could complain about that? I appreciate all the visitors who have found my efforts useful in the last year. It is humbling to know I’ve aided so many different people in such a short span. I hope you found what you needed or the inspiration to create something based on chaotic results.

Here’s to next year, we’re going to surpass a 100K page views in a month. I can feel it.. Thanks again to all the visitors and individuals who have made it possible thus far.