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Customized Adventures

My work on the WotC super-huge adventure is winding down, and I'm considering doing something completely different: a customized adventure delivered direct to the fans who pay for it. This is a little like the Glorantha patrons project (Issaries, it was called) from a few years back. People who want to see me write something just for them would get some creative input in exchange for payment up front. Roughly 90 days later, they'd get a copy of the adventure. Repeat quarterly to suit the audience.

Obviously, the adventure can't be set in a WotC campaign world because they own those copyrights. It might be set in a sympathetic d20 publisher's world, but most of them retain the rights to the non-rule portions. So really, this is an adventure for any D&D campaign, meant for a wide range of players and DMs. It could be a "Kingdom of the Ghouls" sequel, an outrageous dragon hunt, or a great 1st-level adventure for a new campaign. I'd use all core and/or d20 material, add new monsters or items, and let the buyers determine some of what the adventure is, for $10 or $5 per suggestion they make. No contribution, no customization. If you send me a 1,000-word outline, you best back it up with a $200 check or the like. I'd have to iron out the details, but it might allow for a kind of feedback between gamer and designer that you don't see very often.

It would take just a couple hundred folks at $10 each to make this worthwhile, compared to the standard industry rates of 5 to 8 cents a word. A rate that hasn't budged in about 10 years or so. Am I crazy, or is offering customized design worth a shot?

Poll #694321 Customized Adventure

How crazy is this?

I want to tell you what to do! Sign me up.
Write the post that announces it, and I'll cross-post to my blog.
I want to tell you what to do, but not if it costs money.
It's a little crazy, but go for it. At your own risk.
It's plenty crazy. No marketing + no art = no interest.

What features would you want to customize?

Level of the adventure
Location: wilderness, city, dungeon, Underdark
Monsters featured
Boss villain type
Style: combat-heavy, investigative, chatty, puzzles
Plot points or premise

How polished would you want it, considering that more editing, art, and maps means less game design?

Full-color art, cover treatment, the works. I'll pay for a better-looking result.
No art, but professional editing, maps, and layout.
Skip the edit and fancy layout. Do professional maps, though.
We gamers are a cheap and hardy people. Simple text and kinda ugly B&W maps will do.

What else would make this project fly?


( 8 sutras — Your wisdom )
Mar. 20th, 2006 10:58 am (UTC)
Hmmm. Good idea. Sounds like you need to write a business plan. I'll gladly edit your business plan at a rate of :P j/k :D
I guess my questions is: is there enough of a market out there for this kind of thing to make it worthwhile?

Mar. 20th, 2006 02:40 pm (UTC)
You know, for certain values of "this kind of thing", there is a market. The circulation numbers for Dungeon magazine have risen lately. I'm certainly a name author in the adventure-writing field. And the audience for the big publishers in the field is measured in thousands and tens of thousands.

I'd be looking to attract a few hundred of the hard core. I think Robin Bailey or someone has done a similar set of monthly patron-only stories in the fiction world, with some success.

The audience already has to know you for this to work, of course, but it might make sense.
Mar. 21st, 2006 01:34 am (UTC)
The audience already has to know you for this to work, of course, but it might make sense.

Hey if you have the 'street cred' push it! As long as you're satisfying your tier one customer base word of mouth will get out to others. Even if you don't have the 'street cred' push it anyway. I think it is a good idea and worth seeing to fruition.
Mar. 21st, 2006 05:15 am (UTC)
I'm going to push this thing forward and see if it flies. It would be very, very cool if it did — I have visions of it being referenced on Slashdot or the like someday.

Details to follow at open_design.
Mar. 20th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's so crazy it just might work. I'd love to see you give this a shot, Wolf. Good luck!
Mar. 21st, 2006 05:12 am (UTC)
I'm going for it. Expect further details this week.
Mar. 20th, 2006 04:34 pm (UTC)
This is probably the best idea in gaming I've seen a while. I've always wanted to try out DMing again, but my first experience was so awful i haven't had the courage to try it again. But if knew I could pro help on writing and campaign structure through a one-on-one service I would so bite! :D
Mar. 21st, 2006 05:16 am (UTC)
Glad you like it. I think it might work; the audience it needs to reach to succeed is fairly small.

I'll post new details in a separate LJ this week, with an announcement here.
( 8 sutras — Your wisdom )

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