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2022 Q2 Notes From The Publisher

Jason S.Walters

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Hello everyone! Hero Games publisher Jason Walters here with an update. But before I being telling you what we are up to at Hero Games this quarter, I thought I would take a moment to share my thoughts on where we are, what we are doing, and where we may go in the future. And, of course, to hear your thoughts as well. Because an RPG publishing company is at its core its fans. With them, it can accomplish a great many things. Without them, it can’t accomplish anything at all.


As many of you know Hero Games is owned by a parent company called DOJ Inc, which also owns the small press RPG distributor and promoter Indie Press Revolution (or IPR). While serving as general manager of IPR takes up most of my work time each day, it has also given me a lot of new ways to think about RPG publishing. Among these is the conviction that in the world of RPGs the line between fan, creator, and publisher should remain as blurry as possible. We are all fans and, in playing these games with one another, also creators. And that is really only a few short steps away from becoming designers and publishers as well.


If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent a measurable amount of your life using the Hero System to create just the sort of characters you’ve imagined, then shared them with your friends. I remember doing that a lot in my youth and, looking back on it, wasn’t that basically a kind of publishing? (Though admittedly, one with an extremely select audience!) Then years later in the late 90’s I discovered that there was an online community of people doing exactly the same thing, which renewed my interest in locating people to play Champions with once again. This in turn led to an odd and extremely unlikely series of events that involved befriending a nearly seven-foot-tall bouncer at a seedy San Francisco bar, making an entirely new circle of interesting friends, and eventually attending a business meeting with one of the suspects in actual case behind Tom Hank’s 1982 made-for-television film Mazes and Monsters that, eventually, ended in my writing the words you are reading today.


So that’s who I am, and probably who you are too: a fan. And it was in that spirit that I launched our DriveThruRPG community content program Hall of Champions a year or two back, which hummed along nicely for a while for a while before quieting down. Now I have a new idea in the same vein. I’m planning on launching a Hero Games Patreon (https://www.patreon.com) account that will serve a platform for new manuscripts to be seen and reviewed by serious fans before moving on to physical and electronic publication and distribution, with the goal moving forward to release a new book or project each quarter. You’ll be able to see and comment upon raw, unedited work before it travels the road to publication, and get an early peek into upcoming products while also contributing to their development. And you’ll get credit in the pages of that work for doing so.


My plan is for there to be a single level at $5.00 per month. We’ll release individual 3 to 5 page sections of manuscripts sequentially each week, possibly several manuscripts at a time, entering patron’s suggestions and edits into a spreadsheet for that manuscript as we go. Then, after those patrons have had a good hard look at the content, we’ll integrate the input into the product during the later stages of production.


Right now I’ve got several complete or almost complete manuscripts ready to go plus the beginnings of several others. The first is Gaslight by Christopher Hackler, author of Hero System Book of Templates 1 & 2. It’s a setting for competent normals set in London in the 1890’s. Think League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Call of Cthulhu, and Sherlock Holmes mashed together with all sorts of period characters like Spring-Heeled Jack, Dracula, and the Invisible Man.


The second is Imperial Throne, a Champions organization book about a deadly conspiracy whose goal is to transform the world into villainous parody of classical Chinese heaven. Our friend and fellow fan Michael Satran, author of such works as Imaginary Friends and Foxbat For President, was writing it when he was suddenly and tragically struck down by brain cancer in 2017. It’s 99% complete, and packed with hundreds of pages of characters, locations, and source material.


Though it isn’t a Hero Games product, I’m in possession of the final unreleased novel of our recently deceased friend and veteran Hero Games author Scott Bennie. Entitled The Last Orc, it's quite a lovely, classical sort of fantasy novel - the sort of thing we all grew up on, but one seldom sees these days. I’ve touched base with Scott’s family and they would like for it to be released, so we will use the upcoming Patreon account to do that, then most likely pass it on to my own High Rock Press imprint for actual publication.


Additionally, I have some projects of my own I would like to release using this method. I’ve begun getting chapters of my Star Hero supplement The Melancholy Seas of Space ready. It’s a sort of homage to Nishizaki’s Space Battleship Yamato, informed by simple setting creation elements I’ve taken from Powered By The Apocalypse games. Finally – and probably of the most interest to you – Hero Games legend Steve Long will be contributing material to this project as well, most likely beginning with chapters of The Martial World and Advanced Players Guide III. Though like the titans of old his ways are mysterious, and He Shall Create those books which He Shall Create.


If you have a manuscript of your own you would like to submit, contact me at jason@herogames.com and we can talk about it.


Now onto other Hero Games matters!


1) A lot of people have downloaded our free introductory product Champions Begins since we introduced it earlier this year and made it available on DriveThru, Indie Press Revolution, Itch.io, and our own website. Than you once again to the mysterious “Hero Fans” for their hard work.


2) We’ve been making various edits to Thomas Stadley’s IHA: Pride & Prejudice, and are basically ready to publish it. Steve wants to check over the manuscript and make sure the information in it lines up with the Champions Universe; then we’ll take it to press. We have an excellent cover and interior artwork all ready to go.


3) Veteran Hero System fan Carlos Castaneda has come to us with a proposal to create a Champions Complete package for Roll20. We’ve already signed a contract and he will be getting to work shortly with a proposed release date of October 2022. He’ll be keeping you updated about his progress here on the forums.


4) As many you already already know, Steve and I have already written six chapters of Champions International and he’s working on a seventh. So we should have that ready to go by Q3 2022 as promised. After that we’ll focus on running new material through Patreon before publication, with the exception of the Gemini System project, which is mostly complete down to a final layout.



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Will Champions International have a chapter of San Muerte? I know, TPP has an excellent supplement for San Muerte already, but it is litterly on the wrong side of the continent so it can be litterly different from the official version of the Island nation.

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Hello everyone. Thank you for your enthusiasm! We should have the Patreon account up in the next couple of days, with the first two manuscripts in the "chute" being Chris Hackler's Gaslight and Michael Satran's Imperial Throne, which together will take us through August - though we may throw out some extra weekly tidbits as we go along.


I should take a moment to clarify something that's been mentioned by some fans. We won't be relying solely upon patrons to edit the manuscripts; that's not the point of this undertaking. They will all have have regular post-Patreon editing. What I meant more specifically in my post above is that patrons will have an opportunity to collaborate on books by making suggestions and edits, much as they've done with our past crowdfunding projects. These have ranged in the past from very minor suggestions in the comments to people turning in complete manuscript edits to me, depending on their level of enthusiasm for a particular project. I suspect it will be the same with the Patreon account; but nobody is expected to do anything other than enjoy the content.

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If anyone is on the fence about the Patreon, the first two manuscript sections are interesting reads, although a bit frustrating without the bits which will be along later.

Gaslight has potential, although the section by itself felt a bit waffly. Imperial Throne is downright weird.

I definitely want more.

And the Patreon is cheap.


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2 hours ago, GM Joe said:

I don't know the details of how Patreon works, so I'm curious why with 29 members, there's only $121/month instead of $145. Do people who support lots of different Patreons get a volume discount or something?



It’s possible some people might be just throwing a buck or two at it in a custom pledge. You can support a Patreon campaign without selecting a tier.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 4/21/2022 at 1:32 PM, GM Joe said:

I don't know the details of how Patreon works, so I'm curious why with 29 members, there's only $121/month instead of $145. Do people who support lots of different Patreons get a volume discount or something?



Super late to the show, but, as a long time Patron--and have to go pledge for Hero--I believe that currently the total shown is supposed to be an estimate of what the creator will receive after all of their fees, etc.

Steve is also correct that you can contribute $1 or more if you want to, which will also affect the total shown. It can also happen that someone will sign up at a particular pledge level and then give more. So those totals never did line up, even when they were showing the actual pledge amounts.

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