The final part of the Priest Encounters article still isn’t finished, so here’s something else readers might find of interest…

I approach Kickstarter very much from the perspective of the consumer and possible backer.

That means that when I encounter such a campaign, my first question is always, “Am I interested in this?”, my second is “If I commit to this, will it be value for money?”, my third is always “Can I afford to commit to this?”, and my fourth is “Do I want to commit to this?”.

Sadly, the answer to Question three is “no” most of the time that the answers to questions one and two are “yes”. For example, when I wrote about the Corporia Kickstarter campaign, I knew in advance that the answer to question three was almost certainly “no”. I am very pleased that the campaign succeeded without me – I would have hated for them to have fallen short by just less than the amount that I would have pledged had I been able to afford it!

Two Phases

There are two major phases to any successful Kickstarter campaign, and both hold different sources of excitement. The first is before a campaign achieves its initial funding target, when you don’t know if they are going to get over the line or not. The resulting excitement and tension are remarkably similar to those that result from watching a sporting event. You feel the excitement all the more acutely if you have actually contributed to it, but it must be all the more intense if it’s your own project in the spotlight.

The second occurs when a campaign has achieved its initial target, and the question then becomes one of how many stretch goals will be achieved. Most of the uncertainty is gone, and its’ only a question of how much bang you will get for your commitment.

Today, I have two Kickstarter campaigns to bring to your attention. One is the second phase, having smashed its initial target to smithereens, and the other is just getting started.

Mutant Chronicles, Third Edition

I thought from the first time that this campaign came to my attention that it looked professional, it looked slick, and it looked primed for success. It ticked all the boxes that I had described as essential for a successful campaign back in that Corporia article. It was very clear what their goals would be, those goals were enticing, it was clear what you would get for a given level of commitment, and the promised product looked great and sounded interesting.

Of the initial funding sought, £11,000, they currently have support totaling £83,584, with 10 days to go. They not only have their core funding in place, but have smashed about a dozen of their stretch goals – with more good ones still to go. It would not surprise me if they achieved every stretch goal they currently have listed, and one or two more beyond that they have yet to announce.

Funded so far are the 400 page hardcover Core book in full color, a 98 page Player’s Guide, GM Screen, Imperial Guide Book, Custom Dice Sets, Cartel Artefact Bag, Massive Fabric Maps, T-Shirts, Cheaper shipping, Capitol Guide Book, The Guide to the Dark Soul & Apostles, and Dark Symmetry Marionettes Miniatures Set. That’s an awful lot of bang for your buck, and doesn’t even take account of the add-on products that you can add to your commitment – access to which has been unlocked by the stretch goals. By any measure, Mutant Chronicles is going to be a 2014 success story.

It becomes a lot easier to commit to a project when you know exactly what you’re going to get, and right now, backing Mutant Chronicles looks like being a bargain.

Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition is described as being a full reboot/rewrite of the techno-fantasy RPG, but one that does not negate or exclude the original timeline for those who want to continue playing in the existing game with updated rules. This is an interesting blend of modernization and respect for the past that a number of other RPG producers could learn from.

So, if you’re interested in anything from Space Opera to Cyberpunk to Superheroes as a genre, or any modern/pulp campaign that integrates technology and magic, this is definitely a project worth looking more closely at. To find out more about Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition, visit the kickstarter page.

Orin Rakatha

Draft Cover Art based on the work of Brett Macdonald – the final art should look even cooler than this!?

From Sci-Fi to Fantasy. Orin Rakatha’s fundsourcing page is nowhere near as slickly polished and developed as that for Mutant Chronicles, but in terms of its appeal, it’s right up there. A campaign that’s been in active play for 27 years, and that is now being recast as a set of sourcebooks and adventures using the Pathfinder game system – with, I think, stretch goals to include stats for other systems such as D&D 3.5 – and that is as rich, imaginative, and diverse as you could ever want. The creators are promising epic, and with that starting point, I would expect them to deliver.

Coming from a live-roleplaying source, it strikes me that this material will be heavy on imaginative concepts and roleplay, and less-focused on meaningless, mindless combat than a great many other published adventures that I have looked at over the years. That means that at the very least, it should be full of ideas and characters that you can expropriate for use in an existing campaign.

One term that could be used to describe what I expect could be “resource-rich”.

The campaign world will suit all systems; it’s system agnostic and written from a storytellers view, focusing on the plot, history, background, and nature of Orin Rakatha rather than majoring on stats (although stats will be included for Pathfinder and if we are successful other OGL systems such as D&D 3.5, D20 & Fate) so game-masters will be able to use it for any fantasy system.

We plan to make this a massive campaign and have hundreds of hours of storyline for modules and campaign guides for forthcoming releases and (we can dare to hope) stretch goals.

All that sounds both epic and resource-rich to me…

Orin Rakatha still has 33 days of fundraising to go, as of the time I write this. Already, it has raised £1,957 of its £14,900 goal. In fact, it’s so early in the campaign that it is not at all clear at this point how successful it will ultimately be; I can only state that if it doesn’t get across the line, it will be a great disappointment, and many games will probably be the poorer for it.

In terms of the campaign, there’s currently an awful lot that we don’t know. Specific stretch goals and funding targets have yet to be announced. Details of add-ons have yet to be announced. They don’t have artwork and promotional banners ready for blogs like CM to use to promote the Kickstarter campaign. Those are all negatives that might stall early investment.

The goal itself also bears some assessment. At almost 15,000 pounds, it’s notably higher than the initial goal of Mutant Chronicles; and it’s been my observation in the past that 10-11K targets (in $US) tend to succeed more often than those with only slightly higher targets, though there are always exceptions, and don’t go as far over the target a lot of the time. I’ve seen numerous projects with more modest ambitions barely achieve the base level of funding. So there are a lot of question marks at the moment.

That said, I get the impression that this fundraising campaign is just a little different to most. They actively built up a social media presence before launching the fundraising, the announcement of the campaign was therefore actively promoted through social media contacts and supporters, and its just possible that they have a planned program of regular announcements such as stretch goals and add-ons to keep the buzz fermenting. I have never observed such a campaign – not to the extent that it appears Orin Rakatha may be attempting – and the established patterns might be comparing apples with ponytails, as a result.

The usual pattern to Kickstarters is an initial flurry of success, a lengthy slowdown, and then a surge at the end. The plan might just be to trade some of that initial surge for ongoing buzz in the normally flat middle phase in the hopes of a snowballing effect through social media.

What do you need to know right now to commit? That the core product looks like it will be value for money? Check. That there will be stretch goals that will enhance its utility? Check. That you can up your commitment to include add-ons as they are announced, or to carry the project closer to achieving those stretch goals when they are made public? Check. That they have answers to the Risks and Challenges that confront such a project? Check. That it costs you nothing if they don’t meet their initial target? Check. The Kicktraq for the project currently forecasts success to the tune of about £23,000, or about 156% of their initial goal – but that might be applying a standard pattern that doesn’t apply.

Oh, and the creators are active on social media, and hence available to answering questions in the course of the fund-raiser? Check.

I think that Orin Rakatha might just be that rare fundraiser that breaks the mould – or, perhaps, that creates a new one. In terms of my interest level, it definitely deserves to succeed. Whether the impediments that appear to be in place at the moment turn out to be actual negatives or they break the established pattern of fundraising on Kickstarter remains to be seen.

To find out more about this fundraiser, and perhaps to pledge your support, you can check out their kickstarter project page. Follow their twitter account and/or like them on facebook for updates, news on stretch goals, add ons, and whether or not my conjectures about their approach are correct.

Something for everyone

Between them, these two kickstarter campaigns offer something for just about everyone, whether you’re into sci-fi, superhero, or fantasy gaming – or a whole heap of other genres besides. They are both projects worth supporting, at two very different phases of their life cycles. Check them out, and tell them that Mike at Campaign Mastery sent you!

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