Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Industry news, rumoured and announced new products, and discussion of games company policies.

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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Tim Baker » Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:56 am

If I remember correctly, you don't get that information until you're in the checkout process. I don't remember seeing a grand total before then.
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Morfie » Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:04 am

Yeah you're right, just tried one. Shipping is cheap :D

Are they bound? Is there a spine? For ease of use in shelving them.
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Tim Baker » Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:40 am

Morfie wrote:Are they bound? Is there a spine? For ease of use in shelving them.

I believe there are different print options that publishers can choose to make available for their products. I've ordered a hardback and a couple softcover PoD books from them, and they each had a spine and look great on my bookshelf next to other mass-printed books. That being said, each of the books I ordered was over 100 pages, so stapled covers wouldn't be possible at that size. I'm not as sure about 24-page D&D modules, for example.
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Big Mac » Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:06 am

gmanv2 wrote:
Angel Tarragon wrote:I posted about this earlier in The Wishing Well. This is awesome indeed.

I really hope this going to force price gougers to make it less worth their while to sell at exorbitant costs secondhand.


I have secret revenge fantasies about Price Gougers...like calling the IRS and reporting that they are massively under reporting their inventory value so they get massive IRS fines. I dunno if that's a thing, but it should be! :D


To be fair to sellers, some things have genuinely risen in value.

There are certain products that were printed in small numbers, where demand outstrips supply. If someone had to pay double the price to get something, I wouldn't expect them to sell it at a loss.

The people I consider eBay bandits are people who try to invent rarity, as a justification for stupid prices. Back when Casey Brown's Unnofficial Living Greyhawk Bandit Kingdoms book came out (as a Print on Demand book on CreateSpace/Amazon) it had a base price (before shipping) of about £7-£8 UKP and someone tried to sell a used copy for over £100 UKP.

People that do that sort of stuff are rip-off merchants. That's why the Acaeum exists. The people over there check to see what the sensible resale price is for items. You would expect to see some things at higher or lower prices to the values that those people work out, but if you are seeing someone trying to sell everything at double or tripple the average price, then I'd just avoid them.

The real "revenge" on Price Gougers is that the stuff that is really valuable (the sort of stuff that Frank mentioned) is going to hold it's value and all the stuff where fans just want the content and don't care about the format is sitting on thin ice. That ice could crack if people all tell their friends about the best price (which isn't always going to be DMs Guild BTW). The people charging fair prices for second hand stuff will continue to have customers, but the people listing non-rare products at silly prices are going to find it harder to sell them.

However, there is one chump born every minute, so I don't think that eBay bandits will ever cease to exist.

gmanv2 wrote:I love the PoD concept and will be filling DM's Guild/RPG DriveThru's coffers with my money in the coming months/year.

I have a an astronomical amount of old D&D stuff in pdf, but would love to have hard copies, just not willing to pay the ransom that online sellers demand for our hobbys early products.


I would suggest checking the Book-House at The Piazza and also finding some price comparison websites in your area.

I don't think that DriveThru have sorted out Print on Demand maps yet. So there might be some advantage to buying second hand stuff if it is complete and within a fair price range.
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby BotWizo » Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:24 pm

I have a question about print on demand.

What are the actual modules and rulebooks like?

Are they like the modules in the 80s or are the covers paper?
Are the rule books hardcover like they wore in the 80s or is the cover material different.

As you can tell I have never used print on demand.
I was curios what I would get if I choose print on demand, or if I just go get a VG copy from some other source.

My 1e collection is 50% complete or more for modules so I was wondering if I would see a change in my collection/material if I go the POD route.
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby gmanv2 » Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:02 am

Big Mac wrote:
gmanv2 wrote:
Angel Tarragon wrote:I posted about this earlier in The Wishing Well. This is awesome indeed.

I really hope this going to force price gougers to make it less worth their while to sell at exorbitant costs secondhand.


I have secret revenge fantasies about Price Gougers...like calling the IRS and reporting that they are massively under reporting their inventory value so they get massive IRS fines. I dunno if that's a thing, but it should be! :D


To be fair to sellers, some things have genuinely risen in value.

There are certain products that were printed in small numbers, where demand outstrips supply. If someone had to pay double the price to get something, I wouldn't expect them to sell it at a loss.

The people I consider eBay bandits are people who try to invent rarity, as a justification for stupid prices. Back when Casey Brown's Unnofficial Living Greyhawk Bandit Kingdoms book came out (as a Print on Demand book on CreateSpace/Amazon) it had a base price (before shipping) of about £7-£8 UKP and someone tried to sell a used copy for over £100 UKP.

People that do that sort of stuff are rip-off merchants. That's why the Acaeum exists. The people over there check to see what the sensible resale price is for items. You would expect to see some things at higher or lower prices to the values that those people work out, but if you are seeing someone trying to sell everything at double or tripple the average price, then I'd just avoid them.

The real "revenge" on Price Gougers is that the stuff that is really valuable (the sort of stuff that Frank mentioned) is going to hold it's value and all the stuff where fans just want the content and don't care about the format is sitting on thin ice. That ice could crack if people all tell their friends about the best price (which isn't always going to be DMs Guild BTW). The people charging fair prices for second hand stuff will continue to have customers, but the people listing non-rare products at silly prices are going to find it harder to sell them.

However, there is one chump born every minute, so I don't think that eBay bandits will ever cease to exist.

gmanv2 wrote:I love the PoD concept and will be filling DM's Guild/RPG DriveThru's coffers with my money in the coming months/year.

I have a an astronomical amount of old D&D stuff in pdf, but would love to have hard copies, just not willing to pay the ransom that online sellers demand for our hobbys early products.


I would suggest checking the Book-House at The Piazza and also finding some price comparison websites in your area.

I don't think that DriveThru have sorted out Print on Demand maps yet. So there might be some advantage to buying second hand stuff if it is complete and within a fair price range.


Agreed on all counts. Certainly having an original for a reasonable price is always going to be first choice. Ebay Bandits, hah, I like it. Yeah, I guess I'm cynical but I think a lot of them buy low from thrift stores, flea markets, regular people just selling their collection and then artificially inflate the price whilst cornering as much of the supply as they can. Obviously one seller isn't capable of this, but if you have all of them doing it, eventually the price gets driven up while they have say, 12 copies of Tall Tales of the Wee Folk and 7 copies of The Great Modron March gathering dust next to a stack of SJR1 modules.

Free market and all that, but I don't have to like it, :D. I do hope that thin ice cracks under their feet (along with the .22 caliber ammo hoarders but that's a different topic).

Thanks for your response, :).
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Big Mac » Sat Nov 19, 2016 9:01 am

Morfie wrote:Yeah you're right, just tried one. Shipping is cheap :D


Back when DriveThru/RPG Now first started using Lightning Source for PoD the company had outlets in the USA (Lightning Source Inc.) and the UK (Lightning Source UK Ltd). Now it looks like they have another international branch in Australia (Lightning Source Australia PTY Limited). That means that shipping to New Zealand would be at "Australia to New Zealand" rates (and speeds) rather than "USA to New Zealand" or "UK to New Zealand" rates (and speeds).

And according to the Global Connect page on the Lightning Source website they can get books to people "from Mumbai to Milan" and cover markets "like: South Korea, Germany, Brazil, Poland, and Russia".

I can't find a full list of the countries that Lightning Source covers, but I know I've tried to help far-away-friends in places like Australia and South America find places where they could buy traditional books without shipping rates putting prices out of their reach, in the past. Even a couple of years ago I've seen people who just could not afford to buy books they needed.

So this PoD service for D&D books, might not just provide better value for people in the US and UK (vs things like Amazon or eBay) - it could also be the first and only way for people living in countries without a well established RPG market to get books at affordable rates.

(I would encourage Piazza membrs around the world to check the shipping prices of one of these books, just to see what the "total buy in" price could be for similar books that you want to get, when they get converted to PoD format.)
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Big Mac » Sat Nov 19, 2016 1:02 pm

Morfie wrote:Are they bound? Is there a spine? For ease of use in shelving them.


...and...

BotWizo wrote:I have a question about print on demand.

What are the actual modules and rulebooks like?

Are they like the modules in the 80s or are the covers paper?
Are the rule books hardcover like they wore in the 80s or is the cover material different.


I've bought Print on Demands books from three different places now (Lulu, CreateSpace and Lightning Source). Those are the only three sources of PoD RPG books that I know about. Everyone else goes through one of them. Lulu and CreateSpace both have their own online stores. CreateSpace also allows publishers to pay a bit extra for products to be sold via Amazon (and that is Amazon in multiple countries). Lightning Source do not have their own bespoke store (not that I know about) but they offer a service that plugs into other people's stores.

DMs Guild/DriveThru RPG/RPG Now have a tie-in to Lightning Source.

A few years back, when PoD was just starting, people were complaining about the quality a lot, but things have moved on a bit now. They can do PoD books in both black and white and colour. And they can do them in different sizes and different formats.

Back when I bought a copy of Midgard Campaign Setting on PoD (via DriveThru) back in 2014, I posted some pictures of it in the Midgard forum at The Piazza. My pictures are low quality pictures, but you can get a good idea of the sort of high standards that Kobold Press are able to deliver via the same online store and more importantly the same printing company (Lightning Source) that the PoD D&D books are going to use. :D

...however, before I get your hopes up too much, do bear in mind that the visual quality of D&D reprints is not going to be the same as that Midgard book I bought.

If you role back time, the technology used for printing was much more primitive than it is now. Some of the ex-TSR and ex-WotC artists work digitally now, but back then they had to make paintings for book covers. I'm not sure if they were scanned or photographed, but I think there was (and might still be) issues with printing inks not being the exact same colour as the colours in pictures. I think that some graphic design work in D&D books has been made by artists who have had to separate different colours, so that a page could be printed with a two colour or four colour printing process. (I think the real skill with the ex-TSR artists is that they have worked inside the technical limits and created awesome results, and pushed those older technologies to the limits.)

The new process for making books is that it is all done digitally. They have some sort of master file fomat they put together that could be sent off to a normal printing company and I presume that could simply be passed over to DMs Guild/Lightning Source so that they can throw out Print on Demand copies that are almost identical.

Those electronic files do not exist for the 2e, 1e, Classic and OD&D products. So they need to be created (or recreated if they are scans made years back on scanners with a low resolution). I think that print format needs a higher quality than PDF format.

So, the new PoD products are not going to be the "same" as the originals. The new process is a higher quality than what TSR had available, but we are working with old content that has been printed out and scanned back in. If that process was 100 percent perfect, then the new content would look as good as the originals. You might find that some colours look slightly different or that a scan of a particular D&D product includes a scan of a TSR page with a printing error.

The other thing that is going to change is the product format. It might be the same, in some cases, but it does not "need" to be the same, so they probably will not attempt to make it the same.

TSR has made small booklets that are stapled and big booklets that are stapled. Part of the reason they did this was that the format was economical. It would not necessarily make sense for this format to be retained if it was more expensive than the modern alternatives.

There used to be some sort of binary page unit. (Night Druid has spoken about this.) If you fold a sheet of paper in half (with a staple going into the fold) you have four pages on that sheet. So multiplying from there you get a binary progression of 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 and 256. All of the TSR booklets had pages that were multiples of four, but it seemed that a lot of them were 32 pages, 64 pages or 96 pages (64+32).

A lot of the Print on Demand companies put out books in a format that involves a stack of sheets of paper glued on the left side, with a cover glued onto that side and folded around the front and back. TSR did use that format too, for some of it's products, but I think that some of the earlier products might move over to that format.

One thing we do know is that the Hollow World Campaign Set is being changed from a boxed set format into a single book. (Boxed sets are much more expensive to create. You have to make several different products, bring them together and pack them into a bespoke box.) I can't imagine any boxed sets being supported, in boxed set format (again unless we are talking about a premium thing for rich games who want to buy something and stick it in a ziplock back). The boxed set format just does not make sense, these days.

So, if you think that things like detachable covers and boxed set extras are things that are important to you, you might want to hold off and find out what other people are getting.

I certainly think that people are going to get chopped up maps in these PoD books. (What I want is for DMs Guild to offer a separate PoD poster service for all the D&D products that included maps. This would also be a great way for people to get replacement maps.)

BotWizo wrote:As you can tell I have never used print on demand.
I was curios what I would get if I choose print on demand, or if I just go get a VG copy from some other source.

My 1e collection is 50% complete or more for modules so I was wondering if I would see a change in my collection/material if I go the POD route.


I think that which option you go for is going to have to come down to how fussy you are about the difference that PoD softbacks and PoD hardbacks are going to bring to these old products.

If you are a person who "just wants the stuff" then PoD may work better for you in most cases.

If you are hoping to buy products with extras (like maps, loose cards, the weird flip-books that Dark Sun had or the transparant hex-sheet that one of the Forgotten Realms products came with) then PoD might not work for you in many cases.

I think they are going to struggle to replicate the special metallic ink that Al-Qadim used. I think that CGR1 The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook used some silver ink too. It could be that you want to do some research and decide what books you would prefer in the original TSR format.

I'm not nailed down with a strategy yet, but what I might do is:
  • Let someone else be the early adopter customer who finds out if anything is missing,
  • Divide D&D into "must have" stuff (where I am more likely to pay more) and "not very interested" stuff (where I will buy it if it is dirt cheap),
  • Buy one or two PoD products (probably ones that have a Spelljammer connection, but are too expensive) on a "lets spend a bit of cash checking to see what I get" basis and
  • See if I can get people to encourage DMs Guild to set up a Print on Demand map/extra service.

One thing I would say about maps is that I think that LCD TV technology is getting to the stage that people might start using TVs as "digital photo frames" and then they might throw a bunch of TVs onto the walls of their gaming room, rather than throw up posters. (Data projectors are another way to do this, if people don't want a bunch of TVs on their walls.) So I think that some gamers might be less bothered about getting poster maps and more bothered about getting a collection of awesome maps that they can throw up for a gaming session and then easily change if they want to play a game in a different world.

And, when it comes to maps, I think that fans could be a lot better off downloading Thorf's Mystara digital maps, Anna Meyer's Greyhawk digital maps or Markustay's Forgotten Realms digital maps and investing in a way to throw them onto their walls during gaming sessions. (There are other people out there, making great maps for other campaign settings, but those are three prolific cartographers who spring to mind.)

I hope that some of this helps with your "purchasing decision" and that it gives you a few things you might want to think about before you buy anything.

If anyone does buy anything, I'd love to see photos. Especially photos that show the similarities/differences compared to the TSR originals.
Last edited by Big Mac on Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Havard » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:16 pm

New material has now been added to the list, including the following:

Mystara Print on Demand Products
Thunder Rift Print on Demand Products


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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby kracht » Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:53 pm

This might be of some interest (video not mine):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpR_okBwHEg
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby night_druid » Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:58 pm

kracht wrote:This might be of some interest (video not mine):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpR_okBwHEg


Wow. Quality is far and away much better than I anticipated. I was thinking they might go pretty cheap quality but that looks better than the original, material quality-wise.
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Angel Tarragon » Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:46 am

night_druid wrote:Wow. Quality is far and away much better than I anticipated. I was thinking they might go pretty cheap quality but that looks better than the original, material quality-wise.
Agreed, I am quite impressed.
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Big Mac » Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:39 pm

kracht wrote:This might be of some interest (video not mine):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpR_okBwHEg


Thanks for posting that Kracht. That was a really useful video. I have had PoD products from DriveThru/RPG Now before and been happy with the quality, but it is dependent on the data given to Lightning Source.

I'll have to see how they deal with all the weird and wonderful components put into boxed sets.
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Vokarius » Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:58 pm

Thank you for the reminder on POD. I am waiting like crazy for others to become POD. I have most of the Thunder Rift items, but I would like to get some of the rest listed on the TR adventure paths.
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Big Mac » Thu Dec 29, 2016 1:40 pm

Vokarius wrote:Thank you for the reminder on POD. I am waiting like crazy for others to become POD. I have most of the Thunder Rift items, but I would like to get some of the rest listed on the TR adventure paths.


It could take a while for an entire campaign setting to get fully converted to PoD, as DriveThru seem to be hopping randomly about.

I wonder which setting will get fully converted first.
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby night_druid » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:32 pm

Wow, Undermountain II for $20? You can't even get a ratty copy of the Undermountain boxes for less than $50. :)
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Big Mac » Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:39 pm

night_druid wrote:Wow, Undermountain II for $20? You can't even get a ratty copy of the Undermountain boxes for less than $50. :)


They have Undermountain: Stardock too. I think I'm going to be able to complete a "Stardock: Undermountain" collection in the next couple of years. :)
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Havard » Fri Dec 30, 2016 5:20 pm

More Mystara and Hollow World material has been added. See updates in this thread.

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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Sable Aradia » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:12 pm

Does anybody know if this means that I could put my Spelljammer fanfic up for Print on Demand service through the DMs Guild or similar? (That would be freakin' awesome!)
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby RobJN » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:26 pm

Sable Aradia wrote:Does anybody know if this means that I could put my Spelljammer fanfic up for Print on Demand service through the DMs Guild or similar? (That would be freakin' awesome!)

Spelljammer hasn't technically been released into the wilds of the DM's Guild, last I checked.
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Big Mac » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:32 am

Sable Aradia wrote:Does anybody know if this means that I could put my Spelljammer fanfic up for Print on Demand service through the DMs Guild or similar? (That would be freakin' awesome!)


What RobJN said + DMs Guild only allows 5th Edition game content. So even when Spelljammer does go up, you won't be able to put fanfic there.

You may be able to put some related materials up there.

Someone out there has put up some Realmspace content, because Realmspace has been released as a Forgotten Realms thing. But you can't do the Phlogiston or any other crystal spheres.

That means you might be able to put up some 5e game stats for NPCs based on characters on the worlds of Realmspace in your story. Or you might be able to put up your IEN base in the Tears of Selûne.

And you might be able to put up some stuff with minimal game stats, but a lot of background information.

And you might be able to put up some stuff with minimal game stats, a lot of background information and an illustrative story.

But it's edge case upon edge case upon edge case if you go down that route.
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Ambreville » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:57 pm

Greetings.

I posted the following on the D&D BECMI group on Facebook. Crossposting here, as some of you may be interested:

Regarding the D&D Rules Cyclopedia becoming available in print from DTRPG: I'd suggest kindly requesting the DM's Guild offer this title at their earliest opportunity as there is evidently lots of demand for it. If you're interested in adding weight to this suggestion, you could place this suggestion in the DM's Guild suggestion/feedback box, located on the bottom right corner of their page.

The page is located here:http://www.dmsguild.com/

Otherwise, use the Contact Us screen, which is here:
http://support.dmsguild.com/hc/en-us/requests/new

I'm not entirely sure what the best avenue is, but certainly, these two can't hurt. Thanks for your support and participation.

Edit -- there was a note on their site that they check suggestions once a week, so any sort of response on this, if any, won't surface until possibly next week sometime. Just keep bringing it up.
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby night_druid » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:23 pm

Dangit, I broke down and bought a couple of books. See how they turn out. :)
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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby Havard » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:37 pm

night_druid wrote:Dangit, I broke down and bought a couple of books. See how they turn out. :)


What did you end up getting? :)

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Re: Breaking news: D&D Print on Demand on sale!

Postby night_druid » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:46 pm

Havard wrote:What did you end up getting? :)


Nosy, aren'tcha? ;)

Just a couple of books to fill out my collection.
Ruins of Undermountain II - Can't beat $20 for print & pdf. Esp. since ratty copies go for way more than that.
Secret of Bone Hill - a classic, couldn't pass it up
Castle Amber - heard good things about it
Sages and Specialists - probably not a "great" product, but for $12 I couldn't really pass it up.

Mostly this is a "test run" to see what the quality of the final products will be. I have more on my wish list to buy eventually, but I first want to make sure quality is up to snuff :)
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