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Shipping Update and Moving Forward

GeneralJason L Blair07 November 2013

Shipping Update
My hope is that, by now, almost all of you have received your physical rewards (books and dice). If you pledged $60 or less and have not received your reward, please let me know!

Most of the $100 and $200 backers should have their goods as well though I did just discover that ten international orders didn’t make it out due to being hidden in the spreadsheet. *sigh* But I’m fixing that immediately. I have a stack of packages ready to go out tomorrow morning.

Moving Forward
Latest word from Ed Lima is that the soundtrack is coming along well and should be wrapping up soon. I’m very excited to get the rest of the soundtrack out to you folks.

For those who have been wanted to pick up Five-Story Drop, I will have the book added to the online store tomorrow.

Last major bit to wrap up are the backer-influenced scenarios. If you’re one of those backers, expect an email next week to get the ball rolling.

Streets of Bedlam has had multiple bumps in the road since the Kickstarter launch. I fumbled some major aspects and I sincerely apologize to everyone. I will endeavor to wrap up these last few bits in the coming months.

Early next year, expect word on the next book in the series. I have the writer contracted and will be moving forward with that soon. Stay tuned.

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Chat with Me Tonight!

GeneralJason L Blair11 March 2013

Hey everyone, sorry for the last minute notice but I’ll be sitting down with the folks at #rpgnet for a chat tonight, starting at 8p Eastern/7p Central. I’ll be talking about all things Streets of Bedlam and Little Fears, as well as whatever other topics pop up.

You can pop into the chat via this link. I hope to see you there!

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Resolving the New Year

GeneralJason L Blair01 January 2013

The new year has come and brought with it a stupid amount of writing I have to do. Some of it is brand new and some it is spill-over from last year.

The biggest spill-over is, of course, Five-Story Drop which is still (sadly, unfortunately) in development. It’s all on me. Shawn handed over the last of the artwork a while ago. I am continuing to work on it as I can, I promise you. I’m amount to get back to it after I hit “publish” on this post, as a matter of fact.

There’s not been one thing holding it back though working out the plot intricacies has been a personal stumbling block for me. I want these to be proper noir/pulp/crime dramas and, well, I seem to have a high goal for that stuff. Ideally, that’ll mean a better product for you in the end but, well, it also means stuff like this. What I need to do is push forward harder and get this book done. A lot of you are waiting on your entire order. I apologize for that.

The other spill-overs from last year are the standalone SoB Stories, some of which will be shaped by high-level backers, and Sounds of Bedlam. I’ll be in talks with Ed about the status of the rest of Sounds this week. I’ll update you all when I have news.

So. Onward. As always, feel free to email me at JasonLBlair@gmail.com if you have any questions or concerns.

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Coroner’s Report: Kickstarter

GeneralJason L Blair28 October 2012

It’s traditional in video games for the developers to write post-mortems after a game has shipped. These briefs provide folks with a way to talk about what went right and what went wrong during the development cycle. Usually, they call out unexpected surprises (such as “synergies”) but also shine a light on bumps in the road, flaws in the process, and areas to be reexamined and/or revised.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Streets of Bedlam, Kickstarter, and the good and bad of this whole process which gave me the idea to do my own post-mortem, a coroner’s report, on the SoB KS.

Now, overall, I feel the Kickstarter was overwhelmingly positive. It allowed me to create a setting I’d been brewing for years, gave gamers some (hopefully) fun and useful tools for telling their own blood-soaked crime operas, and helped some creatives financially in the process. But it wasn’t without its hiccups. As parts of the Kickstarter are winding down and I’m able to focus more and more on the last remaining bits (looking at, Five-Story Drop), I thought I’d take a moment to talk about what went right and what went wrong from my perspective.

What I Did Right

I minimized my own additional work. Especially in regards to Stretch Goals. I’ve seen other projects where the main contributor gives herself more work with each Stretch Goal. I already felt like I was taking on a lot with just the main project so I looked for ways to give backers new, cool things without putting big projects on my plate. Now, I added a fifth episode to Five-Story Drop (originally Four-Story Drop) and put together some exclusive Archetypes but these are rather minor additions in the grand scheme. I didn’t promise a third book, another chapter in the corebook, or anything like that. As each Stretch Goal was smashed, I brainstormed ideas for a big finish, something to reward backers for being far more awesome than I anticipated. This led to commissioning a soundtrack from Ed Lima. Not only is this a huge thing for Bedlam to have but it’s something I could not have done without the support of KS backers.

I gave some unexpected perks. Originally, I was going to buy some generic bulk dice from Chessex for those backing at the 60+ level or higher. But after asking some industry friends, I learned custom dice are actually quite affordable. So I commissioned a run of custom d6s, bundled them with some black, white, red dice, and packaged them inside a sow’s ear. Nice. I try to overdeliver whenever I can and I feel that a custom set of dice in its own bag is a huge plus.

I hired Shawn Gaston. I think we can all agree on that, yeah? I honestly had no clue who I was going to get to illustrate the book. I knew I wanted a distinct and gritty illustrative style—nothing photorealistic, nothing epic—to convey the characters and areas of Bedlam. I knew I wanted the illustrations to use key characters that I would build up throughout the book and the supplements. Beyond that, I was at a loss. The two artists I thought of first were both too busy (one with a new day job; one with personal stuff), leaving me clueless. And then Shawn sent that fateful tweet back in December and away we went.

What I’d Do Differently

I would pad the delivery date. The April date was realistic, y’know, if I lived in a world where I had no distractions, no sudden health problems, no amazing day job opportunities crop up, no sudden out-of-state move. But I did have all those things and each one pushed Streets of Bedlam further and further out. As of this posting, over half the folks who pledged should have everything coming to them, and the rest should have the bulk of what’s due to them within a couple weeks. But that’s ten months-plus out from when the Kickstarter ended back in mid-January. You all have been amazingly gracious—but you shouldn’t have had to be. To that end:

I would have the writing done beforehand. I didn’t feel I could do that back in November last year as I was considering my project for 2012. I was working as a full-time freelancer and any time not spent writing for other people was spent on short, immediate-sale projects (such as the Campfire Tales for Little Fears Nightmare Edition). Launching a new line would require setting aside a large chunk of time that was unpaid. At the very least, I decided, I couldn’t launch SoB in the red. That meant I needed to have the art and publishing costs covered even if my own time wasn’t. The initial goal on the Bedlam Kickstarter, $3000, was to cover those two things. Once that goal was hit, the game would launch in the black. The extra money went towards the stretch goals and covering my contribution to the household budget. This time though, I’m not dependent on freelancing to cover my bills. If I did launch a second Kickstarter, and I’d like to, I would have the writing done. That way, it would only be a matter of accounting for art, editing, and layout time.

In Sum

That’s the list I have, off the top of my head, so now I’m looking to you. What are your thoughts? Where did I fall short? Where did I succeed? Do you regret backing the Kickstarter? If so, why? I’d love to hear your thoughts, warts and all, so that I can learn for next time—and maybe some folks launching new projects can learn from these lessons as well.

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Sounds of Bedlam “Side A” Out to Backers

GeneralJason L Blair31 July 2012

“Side A” of Sounds of Bedlam is done! Lemme tell ya, Ed has worked some magic here, folks. These five tracks are sizzling. I can’t stop listening to them. Ed and I are currently working out the schedule to get the remainder of the tracks done, and I’ll let you all know when I have a target date for those.

If you are a Kickstarter backer who pledged $45 or more, you should have received instructions on how to download your own copies of these tracks last night. If you didn’t, please email me immediately and let me know.

Once “Side B” is done, I’ll update the product on DriveThruRPG and open it up for general sale. I’ll be looking into other sales venues as well to get this as wide a distribution as I can. If you have a favored site, let me know.

Anyway, to those who have them, I hope you enjoy the tracks. Ed and I both would love to hear what you think.

(By the way, if you downloaded copies last night that were watermarked, downloading new copies should fix that.)

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Fillable Sheet + Release Trailer

GeneralJason L Blair13 June 2012

First off, a huge shout-out to James Schrecengost who converted the PDF character sheet I uploaded earlier this week into a fillable version. So you can grab the sheet, fill it out on your computer, print it if you want, and then be ready to play. Great work, James. Thank you.

Second, to kick off the release of Streets of Bedlam, I put together a release trailer featuring art by Shawn Gaston and an excerpt from the Sounds of Bedlam track “Walk with Me (Bedlam Mix)” courtesy of Ed Lima.

Thank you all again for the support. Early response to the game has been very good. I hope you all get a chance to play.

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State of the Streets (part 5)

GeneralJason L Blair02 May 2012

Work continues! The big bad beast of May 16th looms in the distance like a dragon coming to roost but I vow to slay it. Worst case, I throw Shawn Gaston toward it and run. (Kidding, Shawn.)

So, real quick because I gotta get back to work, here’s where things are at.

The Book
Writing, editing, layout, and more illustrations. It’s coming together, and initial feedback has been really good. I’m excited for you folks to see this.

Sounds of Bedlam
I’m getting updates and revisions from Ed and, wow, is this thing coming together. I’ll be putting together another teaser for you all soon.

Five-Story Drop
I’ll be pulling back the curtain on the five scenarios that will be included in the game’s first supplement next week.

Also there’s this:

If you backed the Kickstarter at $60 or higher, you were promised dice. And this is what you’re getting! A full set of dice (d4, d6, d8, percentile d10s, d12, d20) that you can use for Savage Worlds—or any game you please. As a special thank you, and for use as your go-to Wild Die, this set will include a second custom d6 featuring Vincent’s bandaged hand coming straight at ya, based on Shawn’s artwork (which the book uses to note Wild Card characters).

The dice will be available for individual sale after the pre-order as well, so don’t fret.

The Pre-Order
The pre-order has two weeks to go, and I’d love your help in letting folks know about it. People can save some serious cash and…

ALL PRE-ORDERS OF STREETS OF BEDLAM WILL INCLUDE A SIX-PACK OF CHARACTERS, so your group can get up and playing right away.

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Sounds of Bedlam Track List

PreviewJason L Blair13 April 2012

Work continues on Streets of Bedlam, Sounds of Bedlam, and Five-Story Drop. The more things come together, the more excited I am. I’ve provided some glimpses into the book already so this time I’m peeling back the skin on the soundtrack. I’ll have a final release date for Sounds of Bedlam soon. In the mean time, take a look at the track list and enjoy the sample linked below. I can’t wait for you guys to hear the rest of this. I’ve been writing to it all week, and it’s really got the juices flowing.

Sounds of Bedlam

1. A Tale of Two Cities
2. Take a Look
3. Let’s Take It From the Top
4. Step On It
5. One In the Head
6. Bricktown Bordello Blues
7. River of Artifice
8. Two in the Chest
9. Watch Your Rep, Kid
10. Walk With Me (Bedlam Remix)

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State of the Streets (Part 2)

GeneralJason L Blair10 April 2012

For those of you who may have missed it, last week was a bit of a crazy one for me. The first half anyway. While resuming the hunt for full-time employment ate some more of my time after, I did manage some work on Streets at the tail end. This week, though, I’m all about the Streets of Bedlam and should have a much more impressive “done” list next week. My goal right now is to get the PDF out by month’s end.

My focus has been on characters: PCs, Major NPCs, and Minor NPCs. My thanks goes out to everyone who has submitted their Kickstarter questionnaire. Using your bases to add variety and personality to Bedlam has been a treat. I should be through them all by week’s end. That’ll be a big load off my plate and should put us in the home stretch.

Sounds of Bedlam
Ed sent over some tracks this past week and, lemme tell ya, they are so good. I’ll be sharing some samples later this week along with the final track list.

Five-Story Drop
I’m in talks to bring another writer into the mix for the scenarios. Nothing finalized yet but I’ll let you know how that goes.

In Sum
Not nearly as much as I hoped but I’ll be pushing along hard this week. Speaking of which, today is a full-day workday for me so I best get back to it. Talk to you later this week!

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State of the Streets (Part 1)

General, PreviewJason L Blair02 April 2012

The initial plan, as listed on the Streets of Bedlam Kickstarter, was to release the corebook in April. As it is now the first weekday of that month, let’s take a look at where things stand.

Text
The text is going well. As of today, the parts of the book are in the following state:

Introduction (Premise and Basics): Written, Edited, Laid Out—COMPLETE
Chapter One (Setting): Written, Edited, Laid Out—COMPLETE
Chapter Two (Characters): 75% Written, Initial Stages of Layout (To give some context, this is a BIG chapter. It covers all the Archetypes.)
Chapter Three (Setting Rules): 50% Written
Chapter Four (NPCs): 20% Written (Still compiling backer data, speaking with high-level backers to get more info. This will go smoothly once I put my back into it.)
Chapter Five (Plot Point and Orphan Stories): 0% Written (But the backbone is there.)

Art
Shawn continues to crank out images. They look great. Being the only artist on a book carries a heavy burden but Shawn’s taking it in stride. All the character archetypes are in, along with most of the chapter intro images, about a dozen interiors, and a handful of “filler” pieces (standalone images for end-of-chapter white space).

In sum
That’s the state of the book. If the unfinished parts look scary to you, please don’t be alarmed. I’ll have a lot of time the next two weeks to focus on this book. I plan to finish both the writing and layout for Chapter Two and Three this week (I tend to do those stages in tandem) and get them over to the editor. I’ll knock out Chapter Four in a weekend, which will leave me with Chapter Five. That should take another week or so.

I wish I was farther along but some medical issues (including a broken elbow/sprained left wrist/bruised right hand following a fall and an outpatient surgery slated for tomorrow) and a sudden influx of job opportunities (one of which I accepted) pushed me well off-track. I’m not offering these as excuses, just a look at what’s happening behind the scenes.

Once the PDF is up, I want to give folks a week or so to find all the typos and errors that escaped our attention and make the corrections to the corebook. The corebook will take about a week and a half to get to me in print. I’ll ship them out immediately. I’ll keep everyone abreast of that process as well.

Soundtrack
The tracklist and intent/mood/tone of all the pieces have been finalized. We’ve gone over the broad strokes so now it’s on Ed. He is currently working his magic and I hope to have some preview tracks up this month.

Five-Story Drop
The first supplement is slated for June but I will try to pull it forward, if at all possible, so that I can get it out before my impending move (see “accepting a job” above). I will begin that immediately after finishing the corebook. If that experiences any hiccups, I will let you all know immediately.

Next Update
I will update again next Monday to let you all know how things are going. I like to be transparent and honest with folks so nobody’s wondering or making bad assumptions. I’ll keep updating as the book wraps up so everybody knows their money isn’t vanishing into thin air. In the mean time, if you have any questions, please get a hold of me at jasonlblair@gmail.com.

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