Sunday, January 22, 2017

A plan for my Patrons, redux

One of my more valued readers criticized my recent post, and I think he had a top-notch point.  Why is my plan for my Patrons patron-only?  Wouldn't it make sense to tell everyone what the plan is, going forward?  That way you could judge for yourself whether I am worth your patronage?  What will you be getting for your money?

Originally, my intent with that post was to point out to my Patrons, the ones I already had, what my intent for the future was, because some people have given money already and that money's coming out of their wallets on February 1st, and I wanted them to know that they were getting something for their money. That said, I think he has a great point, let's do that.  Let's talk about what my plan is for my blog, for patron and non-patron alike, moving forward.

Not a Patron?

I still love you.  You read my blog, and that drives me to write.  I started this blog without patrons and I'll continue it without patrons.  The core conceit behind this blog is not that I want to get paid, but that I want to help you understand how to write, how to build, how to create settings and campaigns.  I want to show you that top-notch gaming experiences are not out of your reach, anymore than gourmet cooking is beyond your reach, or a good job, or whatever.  It's all about education and approach.

I've been building a rather intense posting schedule for the next few months, which means I'm not as far ahead as I'd like: I'm only two months deep into my blogging schedule, so I can't tell you what everything will look like, but you'll have a taste of what to expect, as a non-patron, my blog will be like.

In February, I'll finish off Iteration 5.  The next couple of weeks, I look at planetary environments, then after that I'll look at space monsters and aliens, then you'll get the Iteration 5 documents.

March sees the beginning of Iteration 6, which will be specific setting material, and I'll kick it off with a discussion on my theory of setting design, a quick look at history, and then I'm wind up with the Empire, which I'm in the midst of writing now.

It should be good stuff, and if it looks like how my blog has been up until now, that's the intention.  I want Psi-Wars to be available to people, not locked behind a pay wall.

So what is locked behind the paywall?

You're a Patron?

I write a lot of material that doesn't really fit into the flow of the "narrative" of my blog.  For example, I've realized that Communion has a few problems, but where would I stop in the midst of setting material and discuss it?  Or, recently, I needed to work out grav vehicles in detail, and no real material was there to support what I was doing, so I had to make some.  I'm doing this in the context of building my setting, so it's an aside, it doesn't really fit anywhere.  But I bed you'd like to see it!

So, I've split most of these off into Patron-only posts.  Normally, these would have been "bonus posts," but now those go to Patrons.  They get a look at my deeper notes.  Here's the three Patron-only posts coming up in February:
  • Rethinking Capital Ships: I dive into what works and what doesn't with the current system when it comes to actually running a capital ship, which I expect someone, as an Officer, will want to do, as well as looking at handling large numbers of fighters as a group, for when you want really big battles (akin to Rafari vs the Empire, only with spaceships.)
  • Power Ups: Conspirator and Magnate: I had associated these with the recently released Diplomat, but you'll notice she didn't really suffer for their lack of release.  They're more of an aside, and a distraction from what she was really about, but still very important.  These discuss building up players as major movers and shakers in the setting, while still retaining their deeper action focus.  In particular, I take a look at how Illuminated should work here.
  • Rethinking Communion: Space Monsters dives into some new Communion ideas (especially regarding Broken Communion), and I've felt since Rafari and Novina's results in their respective playtests that I'm missing miracles.  So, I've expanded all three forms of Communion with more combat-focused miracles that I hope fit their respective flavors.
Currently, this is the order of their release, one a week on Thursday, though I may switch it up so you see Communion first, because I think that's what people want the most.

Now, to be clear, all of these are in the final release of Iteration 5. It's not that Patrons get the extra miracles and the rest of you plebes don't.  No, everyone gets Psi-Wars.  It's that Patrons will get Iteration 5 on February 2nd, before Iteration 5 finishes and they get to see the design notes, the reasons behind them.

After that, I've got one set of notes I want to show my Patrons earlier, which are my notes on grav cars and using GURPS Vehicles 3e in GURPS 4e, how I build the grav vehicles of the Empire.  Some of my notes on the Empire also demand additional expansion. This isn't a promise, by any means, and it's subject to change, but right now, I think I might be looking at:
  • Discussions of Imperial tactics, such as how to handle them in large fights
  • The Security Agent template
  • Early Access to the evolving setting notes, which currently includes the Empire, the history of the setting, and some notes on Aliens, 
Though I have an entire month to expand this further before I settle on release notes, so expect more, rather than less.

Beyond that, I'd like to do something Amplitude Studios does, which I find really interesting: Getting community input on the game, and putting callouts to their community directly in the setting.  I have lots of NPCs that need to happen in this game, and I think it would be fun for some higher level Patrons to put their stamp on some of them.  Amplitude also runs polls for content creation, such as alien races or factions.  Alien races in particular interest me, so I'd like to do a few "create an alien" polls and place them in the setting.  I have some more ideas, but we're talking several months from now, and a lot can change in that amount of time.  So we'll see.

Moving Forward

You can see that the intent here is early access, greater involvement and an exclusive glimpse behind the scenes, which will result in some additional content.  Right now, I don't have plans for a Ravens'n'Pennies-style "exclusive content," not because I think that's wrong, but because my process doesn't really lend itself to that very well.  But, who knows in the future.

If this impresses you and you'd like to invest now, that'd be great and I'd love to have you.  If you'd rather wait and see if something pops up and you want access to that specific thing, I totally understand, that's how these things generally work, and it's one of the reasons I didn't make that post publicly available, because I figured once the extra Communion notes dropped, for example, people would go "Oh hey, that looks neat" and become Patreons then.

However you want to patronize me is up to you.  Some people spread the word of Psi-Wars, and that's great.  Other people make excellent commentary, like Kalzazz who improves my blog and my work.  Some people support me directly and financially, and I deeply appreciate that too.  I hope this plan strikes a balance between Patron and non-Patron, but we'll have to see and revisit things as necessary.

As before, if you need the link to my Patreon, it's in the sidebar, but let me put it below just in case.

Support me on Patreon!
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