Jump to content
Darren Watts

Pre-Kickstart Thread for Golden Age Champions

Recommended Posts

My favorite kickstarter reward has always been a chance to play with the creator.

Normally a for hour game over roll20 or Google hangout.

My wife even bought me the chance to game with Steve for book of the Impress and it was totally awesome and he signed a ton of my books. While I won't have $$ to drop on something like that again, I know I am not the only person who thinks running adventures with the designers would be awesome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey guys! Home from Origins, where Jason and I had a couple of good talks and I made some deals with other people working on the project, including some longtime FOHs (Friends of Hero). This is definitely happening in August, exact start date yet to be determined but probably beginning early in the month to take advantage of Gencon publicity-hounding. dw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Won't be ready in time for that, alas- we don't have a video or sufficient art done yet. Hopefully we'll be able to *start* it at Gencon. I am happy to announce as of today that old buddy Storn Cook has agreed to do the cover, and maybe some interior art as well but that will eventually depend on you guys! Bill's and my plan for the art is to feature many swipes and references to classic GA comic covers, in the manners of Kirby, Kane, Shuster, Reed Crandall, Will Eisner, Jack Cole, CC Beck, and always and foremost my personal fave Mac Raboy. What's your favorite GA cover? dw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll just chime in that I can't think of many better sources of Kickstarter advice than Balabanto.

 

Thank you, Hugh. I"m honored. But a lot of that is just running the numbers. Darren wants to run his Kickstarter after Gencon. This has two possibilities. The first of these is when they get home, Darren puts up the link, and they back it. However, this is unlikely to actually be the case as much as we think. 

 

The day that Darren needs to launch his kickstarter is August 12th, and it needs to run for exactly 34 days until September 19th at 4 AM Tuesday morning Eastern Standard Time. 

 

Is Balabanto insane? This is probably a good question that you're all asking, but there are several factors here that I'm urging Darren to consider. 

 

1) Kickstarters are not about having money. Kickstarters are about people who think they have money. 

 

Is he serious? Well, unfortunately, when watching my own KIckstarter just recently, I encountered this; People were reluctant to back until the end because they thought (wrongly) that the money for the backing fee is spent the instant that it's committed. This isn't actually the case. No money gets charged to your card or account until the Kickstarter ends and the computer begins the collection process. However, that isn't what people actually think. 

 

2) When people get back from Gencon, generally, their wallets are tapped. Unless you're on the design side like me and Darren, and sometimes even if you're Darren or me, you come home from Gencon with a lot of swag. That means that your wallet is kind of empty, and you think you don't have money. Launch too close to Gencon, and the effect of your initial 3 day push will be diluted. 

 

While I think Darren's project will get made no matter what, I would like Darren to make as much money as possible. This project is a labor of love. Labor of love projects are awesome, because you can see the love in the product. However...occasionally this blinds the launcher of the kickstarter to project flaws. (GUILTY OF THIS AGAIN, See Imaginary Friends Kickstarter for why) 

 

3) The most common days that people get paid are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Unfortunately, many of these payments occur at midnight the following day as far as checks are concerned. 

 

Why does this matter? Not only does it matter what day people get paid on, but it also matters what time you end your Kickstarter. 95 percent of your backers will be from the United States. Repeated examinations of every Kickstarter Hero/Blackwyrm/High Rock Press has ever run prove this. You want to take advantage of this fact by running your Kickstarter at times when many of your potential backers who are on the fence will have the opportunity to back it, or add additional money if the Kickstarter is not faring as well as hoped.

 

4) Lost days. This is why you need five extra days, because your Kickstarter is run in the most painful part of the year for lost days.

 

Running a Kickstarter in August requires the following awareness of lost days. You not only lose Labor Day, and that entire weekend, but also, no one buys anything on September 11th. I know it's been 16 years, but trust me. I work in retail. I do everything possible to take that day off, because nobody spends money on that day. So that's five days. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday for Labor Day weekend, and September 11th. You also run into the additional problem of Jewish Holidays of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashonah, which generally take place during that time, and during which time any Jewish customer is also done, and they're the two biggest holidays of the Jewish year.  

 

People also tend to be away from home over Labor Day weekend, including a lot of your fan support. They're at Tacticon, Dragoncon, and any other con that might be run that weekend. Now, if I were Darren, I'd be at Dragoncon that weekend and pushing the product hard with everyone he sees. Cosplayers love cool costume ideas, but original golden age artwork is sometimes enough for them to purchase a product, especially if they are dressed like a favorite golden age character. The gamers will buy the product for what it is, especially if Darren's sections on running in the Golden Age are on point (and they will be). He has enough of an awesome reputation that stats really don't matter anymore as far as which superhero system a gamer chooses to run. 

 

6) The Kickstarter needs to end on a day when you can monitor the last 12-24 hours exclusively. Always assume that your Kickstarter is NOT going to make it without a final push. This way, you can give the Kickstarter a final push in some manner by staying on your computer and giving out announcements about once an hour, sharing it, etc. This is why I always choose Tuesday at 4 AM EST or Friday at 4 AM EST, whenever possible. I didn't do this for Journey to the Center of the Earth because we ended that KIckstarter one day before the Father's Day Rush truly began. Remember, it's about people thinking they have money, not actually having money. And I don't know a lot of people who, in a case like that one, would rather spend fifty bucks on Champions than on Dad. To be honest, if I was in that situation, my dad would get the gift, and I would not back the Kickstarter. (See the section on Lost Days, above)  

 

7) If there's a snag before launch, wait until November/December, because this is the one time of year when Lost Days don't matter. Only one thing matters. Ending your Kickstarter and making sure everything is done by December 8th. Christmas breaks every single rule in the business, because everyone has money at Christmas, regardless of whether or not they actually do. 

 

I hope that sharing my experience with my own Kickstarters has been helpful. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, latest news update: Storn's already underway on the cover- his sketches for Dr. Twilight, Optimus and Mara the Sea Hawk are up on his Facebook page as well as the Hero fandom group. Jess Nevins has already sent the Golden Age Encyclopedia pdf to Jason, and all looks good there- we have a bid from Lulu to print the hardcovers as needed. John Adames has come on board as structural editor; I don't really need a copy editor as I pride myself on clean drafts (and I do do this for a living), but nobody should be the only set of eyes on their own text and I greatly respect John's skills and opinions as far as matters like "this subchapter should go before that one."

 

Tim Rodriguez just recorded me blathering on about the text for half an hour this evening- that raw footage will go to Jason this weekend in hopes he can find ninety seconds where I don't look like a complete boob for the KS video. There won't be any fancy bells and whistles in said video- probably just me and Jason (and maybe Bill) as talking heads, interspersed with awesome Storn art and sketches (we have three completed color pieces, plus a few pencils.) IMO, if you don't spend thousands on the video (and we won't), there's no reason to spend hundreds- let's just say what the thing is why you should care and get out in two minutes or so. 

 

We're currently chatting with a few friends about the possibilities of extreme success, including additional materials for stretch goals. We'll let you know when and if any of that solidifies, but we think you'll be delighted by the combination of new and old friends who might get involved here. Keep 'em flying! dw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If by Vanguard you mean, the CU's analogue to Superman, I think that's unlikely. Vanguard's origin was in 1959. IIRC Darren said Vanguard would appear in his Silver Age Champions, when and if that book is ready to publish. We should probably get one Age dealt with at a time. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will be finally get to see a write up Vanguard?  Will some of the characters from the 4th Edition GAC returning?

 

As my fellow Canadian has already pointed out, Vanguard will be in Silver Age. As for characters from the 4E Golden Age, I'm pretty sure that Darren isn't using any of them. I'm not even sure if Hero still owns the rights to those characters. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It wouldn't hurt to package it with more time-related stuff (a timeline of say, 1975-1990), tips on clothes, movies, culture, cars, global politics, etc, in such a book.  That would make it part of its time more than just a bunch of bad guys.  Plus you could roll back the Champions Universe to a time before modern stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It wouldn't hurt to package it with more time-related stuff (a timeline of say, 1975-1990), tips on clothes, movies, culture, cars, global politics, etc, in such a book.  That would make it part of its time more than just a bunch of bad guys.  Plus you could roll back the Champions Universe to a time before modern stuff.

 

A good idea.

 

I myself liek to make my modern games 70-85ish.  Just before the PC really took off, pre-internet and at the very very very beginning of cell phones.

 

I have no problem because it was just yesterday........  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, how about some more Storn art? These three pieces were part of a set commissioned by Rich Gonzalez for my playtest group a couple years back- all three characters made the book, so with everyone's kind permission this art will be as well if we get funded. I present Fubar, Prince of Gremlins (originally by Mitchell Albala and then swiped by me), the Streak (originally by me but a version of which was played by Michael Keon), and Toy Soldier (created and played by Tim Rodriguez.) Whaddya all think? Want to know more about them? dw

 

post-76-0-18461400-1469048744_thumb.jpgpost-76-0-22961600-1469048769_thumb.jpgpost-76-0-27929800-1469048799_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Me likey much! :yes:  "Fubar, Prince of Gremlins" is particularly awesome. :rockon:

 

I am curious about Streak, after getting to know his successor in your cool Digital Hero articles about the Fabulous Five. I wanted to explore the precedents that might apply to creating a Streak III.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Billy Taylor was an orphan, born in Missouri sometime around 1920. As a young boy he fell in with the crew of the Merriweather Brothers Traveling Circus, doing odd jobs like cleaning stables and repairing equipment, while learning the fine arts of gently fleecing a crowd with card tricks and snappy sideshow patter. One night in 1939 he came across a pack of thugs who were threatening the circus’ new fortune teller, Madame Antonia, in her tent. Billy ran in to defend her, managing to give a pretty good account of himself before going down under sheer weight of numbers. The amount of noise the brawl made attracted several other circus workers, though, and the toughs fled.

                Madame Antonia was grateful for Billy’s help, and tended to the sizable gash on his forehead. “You were very brave, and very quick, mi nino,” she said. Billy smiled ruefully, and pointed to his wound. “Not quick enough, I’m afraid.” 

                Antonia gave him an odd, appraising look. “I could help with that, if you like. Wait here,” she said, and shuffled off to the back of her tent where a stewpot sat on a small burner. She tossed in several ingredients, herbs and spices from small unmarked containers. Billy watched idly, somewhat curious but mostly content to let his head stop throbbing. When she returned with a small bowl of soup, Billy drank it gratefully. Soon his head felt better and he made his way back to his tent.

                That night, he slept fitfully, with odd dreams, and awoke well before dawn to the sounds of people attempting to sneak around the workers’ encampment. He peeked outside and saw the same band of ruffians from earlier, back for another try. Without even thinking of the danger, Billy leapt out and attacked them again. This time, however, it seemed as though they were moving in slow motion, as he easily dodged their punches and hit them back several times before they could react. Shortly, he had defeated all of them, standing in their midst as his fellow carnies looked on in awe. “How did you do that?” asked the lion tamer. “Do what?” asked Billy, genuinely confused. “Billy, you knocked out all those men in less than five seconds. You were moving so fast I could barely see you!”

                Billy and his friends dashed over to Madame Antonia’s tent (well, Billy dashed, and then waited for his friends to catch up), but she was gone, packed up and vanished in the night without anyone seeing her leave.

                Billy continued to work for the circus for the next several months, at first keeping his powers secret from the paying public but eventually allowing his love of entertaining the crowds to overwhelm his caution. He also used his powers occasionally to perform good deeds around Missouri, rescuing families from fires and helping the police apprehend a notorious bank robber. He became known as The Streak, and in 1941 he wound up helping the Defenders of Justice defeat the criminal mastermind known as the Scarlet Scorpion in St. Louis. Inspired by Optimus and Meteor Man, Billy developed a costume and began taking crimefighting more seriously. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he volunteered to help out any way he could, and wound up joining the homefront Defenders to help replace the members who’d gone overseas...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I am going to do this in Agile Style (a computer engineering procedural form).  If I run a Golden Age Champions game, I am going to want to

 

1) put the players in a bank robbery and a car chase.  (so I'll need stats for a couple of cars, guns, mob thugs and possibly generic pictures/counters for them).

2) have them stop Nazi saboteurs (so I'll need Nazi secret agents, FBI contacts, and bombs)

3) fight Nazi's in WWII (so I'll need Nazi soldiers and super soldiers, as well as tanks, fighter planes, and bombers.)

4) stop a V2 attack and retrieve a German failed nuclear bomb prototype (mad scientists, V2 stats, a 1 KT nuclear bomb)

5) stop Nazi's from uncovering the ark of the covenant or other artifact (Nazi mages and archaeologists may be in order)

6) stop Imperial Japan's assault on Hawaii (Japanese super villains, zeroes, ships, soldiers, and tanks)

7) destroy Japan's microwave death ray technology. (typical samurai solider - a normal soldier with kenjutsu training, Japanese mad scientists (probably can use Nazi scientist but what the hell))

8) stop a prototype japanese giant robot (giant robot and crew of 5 young youths from all walks of life color coded)

9) stop a japanese biological weapon named Gojira. (giant monster)

 

In general I'd like 36 (6d6!) first and last names of German and Japanese people.  Let me be specific.  36 popular boys first names in German.  36 popular girls first names in German.  36 popular boys first names in Japanese.  36 popular girls first names in Japanese.  36 German last names.  36 Japanese last names.

 

36 special operation names and one liners as to what it might entail in German and Japanese.  Something like:

Operation: Kusakariki "Grass cutter" - A Japanese operation to destroy America's wheat fields.

Operation: Himmelsfeuer "Sky fire" - A German attempt to put an attack satellite into orbit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't forget Italy :)  They were a major enemy in WW2 as well.

 

Meanwhile in the home front, lots of potential gangster and crime stories can be examined.  Not just saboteurs but people abusing the ration system, blackmarketeers, gambling, etc.  And you need some odd side stories, like the zoo floods and the animals escape, etc.  Things not directly related to the war, but set in the time period.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×