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It’s been a lot of work, but Bulette Storm – my first Patreon-funded free adventure – is now available on DMs Guild.
On Friday I put up quite a lengthy article in which I discussed the issues I see with the current state of RPG publishing, and the few innovations I was hoping to bring to the table. It sparked a lot of discussion. I’m not going to respond to any of that here, because frankly I’m exhausted. Instead I’m going to briefly talk about what I’ve learned from putting the interactive version of Bulette Storm together.
The first thing to say is that without a significant improvement to my workflow for putting these things together, it isn’t really feasible to do something like this again. I wish I’d started with a much simpler site-based adventure – a basic dungeon crawl, for example. That kind of adventure would work perfectly with what I’ve attempted to do; the investigative parts of Bulette Storm presented soemthing of a challenge.
At a conservative estimate, I’d say I’ve spent about 30 hours putting the interactive version this adventure together. That doesn’t account for time spent writing the thing in the first place, or producing maps, sourcing other artwork, and laying out the A4 and Letter-formatted versions. That’s an obscene amount of time to spend on producing a 26 page adventure. I’m very confident that the next project I attempt like this won’t take anywhere near that amount of time, because I had to learn a lot about Acrobat and InDesign while I was working on Bulette Storm, and I had to lay out each page from scratch.
Now that I’ve done one project like this, I know what kinds of things will and won’t work. I still don’t have page templates set up for myself – I’m not sure that’s feasible for this kind of layout – but the next time I come to do this, I’ll be able to start thinking about page layout as I’m writing (and writing with layout in mind, too). I think one thing that will greatly speed up this process is by designing templates for types of encounters. I have some thoughts on that, but I’ll wait until I have a bit more time to experiment with them before I talk about them.
Bulette Storm is free, and I’d really like it if you’d download it and at least give it a look to see if you think this kind of formatting is of any use to you. If you don’t like it, that’s fine – the adventure is presented in a traditional format as well. Feel free to get in touch about it, either in the comments here or the discussion tab of DMs Guild (or via email), and if you feel like leaving a review I’d appreciate that, too.
Patreon funding has dropped below $100 this month, so there won’t be another free adventure until we get back up there. And honestly, that’s fine – this was an exhausting process, and I need some time to decompress from it.
Oh, and the normal Monday Map will be up either tomorrow or Thursday, depending on when I get the time to do it.