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Empyrea Kickstarter Rebooting in Monday 16th

Posted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:54 pm
by Havard
Here's the message sent to backers:
Empyrea Kickstarter rebooting on Monday October 16th
Posted by Mike Myler (Crowdfunding Engineer)
Backer3x For backers only
Greetings all.
We're rebooting the Empyrea Kickstarter.
In my first-ever KS I made several miscalculations, so we're fixing them. The Team have discussed options and we're all set. Here are the highlights:
Realistic (lower) goal, carefully analyzed for maximum quality and cost-efficiency (alernate printing sources, etc.)
Realistic delivery time (next Fall, not Summer)
Expanded Living Campaign online at all levels (not just Nobles)
Expanded PDF benefits and options for all
Sorry about that, but now we know how to do this right. Thanks again for your support.
So here are some details from the Team.
Hello everybody! It’s Mike!
In the rush of his lifelong campaign setting being fully realized and shared with the world, Frank’s zeal to make Empyrea have a massive print run with a huge impact got the better of him and bowled me right over. Rightly so—I’ve gotten to sit in on his weekly game, I’ve read the internal documents for it, and it’s a really fantastic place ripe for adventure especially with the huge scope involved. In addition to that a lot of amazing people from the industry came out of the woods to get on board with the project as soon as they got wind of it and did so right up to the night before launch. In the mix of Empyrea being finalized and a widening roster of contributors, the full breadth of Frank’s vision was shadowed by the needs of firming up work agreements and other business concerns.
This last week we’ve worked hard to refine the focus on things and make sure everyone clearly understands the expansive, involved, and frankly ground-breaking gaming phenomenon that Frank has laid out here. It is still a complicated affair—a box set fantasy setting with multiple books and compatibility with 10 RPGs, a medieval campaign world that’s approachable but still filled with fantastic underpinnings he’s spent 40 years refining, all done by an epic team from the industry’s history, an expansive online campaign simultaneously played by citizens and nobles from across the globe—but we’re hoping that it’s clearly presented now and that we can exceed our revised, smaller print run goal to realize Frank’s larger dream.
That dream isn’t happening without you.
Please take a look at the preview page for the Empyrea Kickstarter relaunch and let us know what you think: ... n=63bf5fb9. As Frank notes above we’ve made some fundamental changes but we want your feedback on how else we can make this project a success! We’re extremely grateful for your faith in the Kickstarter thus far and can’t wait to get things started off right to make Empyrea what it should be.
We’re going to implement changes based on what you’ve got to say and relaunch on Monday October 16th at 0:01 EST—we’ll see you there. :)

Re: Empyrea Kickstarter Rebooting in Monday 16th

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:27 am
by Big Mac
Well I didn't get a chance to see the last preview, but now I've seen this one I have to say that I hope that Frank does not go with this option. It's just not set up right. It needs to be set at a level where the project will fund.

Here are two examples of successful Kickstarters that were set up by other ex-TSR designers: Primeval Thule Kickstartr had a base goal of just $15,000. It raised that in two days and then moved onto stetch goals, to add more features to the base goal product. The project hit seven stretch out of eleven published goals (they might have held back some other goals) and eventually raised $52,811, from 870 backers, before the deadline for the Kickstarter kicked in.

The Southlands Kickstarter had a base goal of just $16,000. It raised that in one day and then moved onto stretch goals, to add more features to the base goal product. The project hit well over a dozen stretch goals (I lost track of them) and eventually raised $97,728, from 1,044 backers, before the deadline for the Kickstarter kicked in.

I don't know why the Empyea Kickstarter was given a $250,000 USD target or why, after taking advice, the team is coming back with a $97,000 USD target, but the money being asked for is just too high.

And the bottom line with Kickstarter, is that if you ask for too much money and you don't get to the target, they give you nothing.

The original Kickstarter has $64,397 pledged from 647 and that is easily enough money to guarantee that a modest Empyrea plan would be funded, but you need to cut the thing down, like Wolfgang Baur and Richard Baker did and create stretch goals that will build onto the sure-fire success that you will have if you just lower the base price.

You do not need to start out supporting 10 rules systems. Toss that out of the base plan and you can lower the cost of the product. But that doesn't mean that you don't get to make 10 sets of rules. It just means that you turn those supplements into stretch goals...if you really think that is important...and you only make as many as you get paid to make.

If that doesn't save you enough cash to cut down the base price to a sub-$20,000 target, then throw out those D&D designers that are set to be writing things for the book. How few could you get away with? Make that number your base goal. Add the rest of them back in as stretch goals. (More importantly, don't just namecheck these people. Make sure that everyone knows what each designer or artist will add to the base product, if the backers give you enough cash to hire them.)

You want to sell a boxed set, but Wizards of the Coast abandoned boxed sets because they are harder to sell economically than hardbacks. Ditch that, and make one or more paperbacks and you can sell them via DriveThru's Print on Demand service for a lot less money. More importantly, if you were to fulfil your Kickstarter via DriveThru's system, you could have them print books in different countries and you cut down on international shipping charges. That means that your backers don't have to pay lots of extra money for shipping. (It also means that your future customers can also buy cheap books and that will help the player base grow after the end of the Kickstarter.) You could start off with a single Empyrea book, expand it with stretch goals and eventually split off content into a second or third book if you got enough cash in. (And if you really really really want to offer a boxed set, make it a thing for original backers only and set that as an add-on, when you get enough cash for a boxed set print run.)

The bottom line is this: If you get 90, 80, 60 or 40 percent of the total amount of cash you want to do everything you want to do, would you rather give back all the pledges, employ nobody and have nothing to give the fans? Or would you rather hire some of your crew, get as much of your dream done as possible and give the fans what they are trying to give you the money to buy?

(Don't forget that if you only build part of what you want, you can come back in a few years time with Empyrea Kickstarter 2, to pick up the project and do more with it. But if you shoot high and fail, you get nothing. And you have nothing to build on later.)

This new project preview does have four "stretch goals", but they are goals for Facebook likes, backers, campaign shares and Twitter followers. That's just not how other successful Kickstarter projects do this.

Please go back to the drawing board, before Monday, Frank, have a look at some real ways that you could start with a low cost version of Empyrea and build a number of financial steps that will improve what goes into that budget version to improve and expand it.

I'm begging you to do some more research here, because I want to buy Empyrea and this Kickstarter looks very much like it is going to snatch defeat from the clutches of victory. You have an easy win here. If Wolfgang Baur and Richard Baker could both make realistic projects that would work with less than $20,000 you are guaranteed to get the money to fund a low base goal. Please make sure that the revised Kickstarter will win. Please build a Kickstarter that will have a series of stretch goals that adds value to the product, so that the additional money raised gives customers more Empyrea stuff.

More importantly, please build an Empyrea product line that will keep going after you have handed out cash to the people you have hired to help you run this Kickstarter project. I want to see Print on Demand books that I can point people at, as well as previews I can get people to read, so that they are more likely to want to play or at least talk to me more. A very expensive boxed set aimed at rich people is not going to help me expand the player base. A collection of Empyrea books that backers can buy as a set, but post-Kickstarter fans can buy individually, will allow fans with less money to buy one book and come back for more stuff later.

$75.00 USD is too high a buy in for a dead-tree copy of a campaign world. You can make a lower buy-in if you don't force everyone to have that boxed set to get dead tree stuff. Let the collectors pay that sort of cash and have their boxed set. Let everyone else have their pick of up to six books and a poster map. And please stick it all on Print on Demand, so that Empyrea stays in print forever.

Re: Empyrea Kickstarter Rebooting in Monday 16th

Posted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:42 am
by Sturm
Apparently it won't reboot, a pity as it could have worked well. Big Mac advices above are indeed great and I wrote something similar but less complete on the Kickstarter backers comments...

Re: Empyrea Kickstarter Rebooting in Monday 16th

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:17 pm
by Yaztromo
Any news on Empyrea?

Re: Empyrea Kickstarter Rebooting in Monday 16th

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:13 am
by Morfie
No, nothing :(

There were some other non-Empyrea documented-about issues as well (which I won't go into here as it will start a war) and this has probably put Frank off dealing with the RPG public for a while.

I hope Empyrea comes back one day, especially for BECMI. I was very willing to support this product, at least in pdf.

Re: Empyrea Kickstarter Rebooting in Monday 16th

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:37 pm
by Yaztromo