Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One Step Closer to Print, and Regarding the Future...

At last! I got approvals for Monstrous Mayhem this morning and have ordered the proof copy to review.  I'm not sure why MM was approved faster than the S&S Core Book, but can only imagine it's because MM is much shorter.  Perhaps softcover gets approved more quickly as well?  Who knows.  In any case, one of the two is approved, which is definitely a step in the right direction, assuming that the proof looks good.

I won't be putting MM up before the core book; it seems disingenuous to put the supplement up for print sale before the core rules go up.  I will, however, now begin working on the design of the Basic Set for print--no, of course it won't be free--but it should be pretty low-priced.  I'll keep the margin low as I can.

Meanwhile, my friends, we need YOU to spread the word!  Tell people about Elf Lair Games, and about Spellcraft & Swordplay!  The more copies I sell, the closer I am to getting my head above water, and giving you all the kind of games and production values you really deserve!  I'd love to finish Twelve Parsecs and Wasted Lands: The Dreaming Age, but I'm not going to release them without proper layout and artwork--Spellcraft & Swordplay has a certain charm with its public domain art, and the production has actually been surprisingly well-received, with people saying that the medieval woodcut-style art really suits the game, but for my future works I want to step it up a notch.

Now, speaking of that, I've seen people gripe about companies releasing core games that reprint the rules within.  My plan is to do just that--as I release books in the future, they will contain the full rules to play.  I don't believe in making people buy multiple books to play a game--people only interested in The Wasted Lands shouldn't be forced to buy S&S.  

That being said, I also intend to tweak the rules as needed for each new game.  "Powered by O.R.C.S." will mean a certain recognizable core that is easily translatable between games, but Twelve Parsecs will have rules for guns, energy swords, dogfighting and starships, etc.  The Wasted Lands will feature a tweaked magic system to represent Howardian sorcery.  You get the idea.

Now, I can include a fully detailed rules section like one sees in Book Two of S&S, or I can do something like what AEG has done with their Legend of the Burning Sands game: give you a streamlined set of core rules, likely lifted from the Basic Set, enough to play the game, but lead you to S&S for more detailed rules.  There's benefits to both.  The latter approach is a sort of happy medium; allows me to release a game without the requirement for two books, but offering the second if more detail is desired.  The first gives the full core rules to those who buy any game, but inevitably will cause grumbling amongst those who somehow feel I'm cheating them by selling them the rules twice.  Not true, incidentally; whether I include the full rules or not isn't going to affect the amount of other game content in the book, and from what I've seen so far, even an extra 50 pages isn't going to be a huge price bump, assuming I stick with black and white interiors.  Glossy color books are expensive to produce, period. You wouldn't believe what they cost publishers to have printed--it's a pretty high end scam the printers have going on there.

I say "scam" in jest, of course.  I'm sure the cost of nice, glossy paper stock and full color offset printing is FAR from cheap for printers to produce.

Anyway, what do you all think?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Print Progress Update

Okay, folks.  I think (I hope) I got this worked out.  I have now uploaded print files for both the Spellcraft & Swordplay core rulebook and Monstrous Mayhem.  Assuming everything works out, we will hopefully have them available within a couple weeks--they should (fingers crossed) be available for me to proof within a week, after which they'll need to ship me the proofing copy.  Once I OK it, I can immediately make the books available.

As always I'll keep you all posted, but keep your fingers crossed for me!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Becoming a print publisher is rough!!!

So I've been trying to get my S&S books into print on DriveThruRPG.  The process has been frustrating, to say the least.  On Lulu, there is a very simple, user-friendly, step-by-step process to upload your files, which Lulu then converts to print ready format--they have an online template that you can use to do layout for cover files.  I had hoped that I could simply transfer my print files from Lulu to DriveThru and be done with it.

Alas, no such luck.  DriveThru uses Lightning Source, which is a more traditional printer.  This means they have very specific guidelines for layout when it comes to creating interior and cover files.  While my print-ready interiors seemed to upload fine, Lightning Source has rejected my first three efforts at cover files. It's a very exacting, fiddly, and detailed process that I don't quite grok just yet. Alas, I don't have the funding to hire a freelancer to do my covers for me.  On the up side, I think I've finally got it worked out, but I have to wait for my latest rejection to come back--seems I accidentally submitted while in the middle of updating files last night.

Please note I'm not lambasting DriveThru or Lightning Source.  I'm just frustrated with the learning curve--I'm learning to be a graphic designer, now, on top of a writer, editor, and publisher.  But in the end, this will benefit both me in the realm of developing new skills, and Elf Lair, as DriveThru is certainly a better and more visible source to support our games.

So, with any luck, we'll be in print on DriveThru within the next week or two.  Fingers crossed!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The God in the Dark

I spent the day today working on what will likely be the first adventure module for Spellcraft & Swordplay, entitled "The God in the Dark."  Not only will this be our first adventure module, it will serve as a preview for the forthcoming Wasted Lands: The Dreaming Age RPG, which will, of course, be powered by O.R.C.S.!

We didn't announce "The God in the Dark," as, like S&S itself, this one came about kind of by accident.  It served as a scenario I ran for my Age of Conan OD&D group, and I had the notes laying about.  It's a damn good module, if I do say so myself, so I thought that I'd flesh it out and release it as a teaser of things to come.  The manuscript is coming along nicely, and I've spoken to a few artists who may be in my budget to provide some illustration for it. 

In any case, for those in doubt, Elf Lair Games is indeed back in business. We have a lot of ground to regain--a few blog postings of late have shown me that a lot of folks forgot all about S&S during our down time.  We need our fans to step up to the plate and remind folks that we're out there!  Spread the word that the New Class of Old School is still here!

Elf Lair Games Website Live!

Elf Lair Games now has a website, which can be found at http://www.elflair.com/

And don't forget to stop by our store at DriveThruRPG.com!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Elf Lair Games joins DriveThruRPG!

That's right, folks, we are back, and proud to be joining the DriveThruRPG family.  Spellcraft & Swordplay, Monstrous Mayhem, and the S&S Basic Game are now all available at DTRPG in PDF format.  Soon we hope to offer print versions from there as well.  You can find S&S at the following link:

The Lulu store will remain active, but changes are coming--soon Lulu will house only the "old school" versions of S&S, and moving forward DTRPG and RPGNow will carry all of our new product.

This new product includes some exciting releases that have been long-promised and hopefully will soon be moving ahead full steam.  Products like The Vampire Queen's Revenge and The Hand of Nergal, our first S&S modules, as well as Eldritch Witchery, the second sourcebook for S&S, written by Timothy Brannan.  In addition, work has re-commenced on the long awaited Twelve Parsecs science fantasy / space opera RPG.

We are not presenting definitive release dates for these products as yet--we don't want to be one of "those" publishers--but rest assured we're planning to kick back into full production.  Late 2011 and 2012 should be a great year for Elf Lair, assuming we can keep up the pace we'd like to keep up.  Exciting things are ahead--stay tuned!

Here is our publisher page: http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/index.php?filters=0_0_0_0&manufacturers_id=3869&src=CommunityForum1

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