WTF Is Happening With Vampire, You Slack Bastard?

Open Development, Vampire: The Masquerade

My desk is at the bottom of a well at the end of a staircase with a thousand steps. And there are vampires down here, too.

It’s ben a while since I’ve blogged about what’s happening with Vampire, you know. Sorry about that. So, in an attempt to rectify the information flow as we’re just under a month outside Atlanta by Night, here’s where some things stand.

V20 Companion

After many long months, people are receiving their prestige print copies of the V20 Companion. There’s been some positive feedback and some negative feedback. On the plus side, people are very happy with the look and feel and quality of the book, which is great to hear. In the minus column, especially as they receive the physical copies, people want more substantial books — that is, more page count. We’re fully aware of this and, going forward, every book has both a greater word count and page count than the Companion. The V20 Companion was 40,000 words in length: just a bit longer than the word count of the original clanbooks. The subsequent books in current approval and development (Children of the Revolution and Hunters Hunted 2) are 75,000 words in length, and we still have yet to nail down on the details for Anarchs Unbound (but I can’t imagine AU being shorter than 75,000 words, can you?).

The single greatest expense on the V20 Companion was the printing cost, as you might expect, with its full-color printing, gilt-edged pages, and leather cover. Each of those books cost $41 to print. So, if you ponied up $50 for your copy of the Companion, as per the Kickstarter, $41 of that went to the printer. Another $2-$5 went to shipping. Some amount of the rest rolled into logistics (KS and the pay service, Amazon Payments, takes a cumulative chop of about 7-10 percent of the total amount Kickstarter funding) and other things, like getting me to Atlanta to do the book signings. So there’s some transparency about how that whole process came together. We discuss this a little more in the roundtable call from a while back, if you’d like to have a listen to that.

Children of the Revolution

All of the art for CotR has been approved by CCP, Rich has done the initial layout, and I’ve proofed that first layout. Hereafter, a final, printer-ready proof is coming together, which CCP will approve and we’ll fire off to the printer. That should be the version available to the Kickstarter backers of the prestige print run. It’s come together really well, a spiritual relative of Children of the Inquisition and Kindred Most Wanted, with a full-color layout that’s really sharp. I think it’d be awesome to have these PDFs in your hands… er, inboxes… um, tablets… whatever by Atlanta by Night, but that relies on the pipeline between Rich and CCP. Keep an eye on the Kickstarter updates for the status of that. The Red List update is also in the works, with all of its art complete, I believe, so that extra add-on is shaping up nicely. Here’s an excerpt — check out the background texture, the full-color art, and the bold layout. (Remember also that this is from the first proof, and is subject to change on the graphic design end.)

Click to embiggify.

Hunters Hunted 2

I should complete redlining the outstanding draft over the course of this holiday weekend, as only the Numina chapter remains to be marked up on my end and sent back to the writer. I have many of the other drafts in their final form and ready for development, including the intro, high-concept and setting chapter, tactics chapter, and characters chapter. Final drafts should be a quick cleanup (you can see the shared redline markup of the tactics chapter here) and then off to Rich for art direction. I’m a little behind on putting together the video script for the Kickstarter project, which I should complete soon, and Rich and I will see what sort of prestige offering we can make that enhances the value for the players, since the prestige print runs come at a very high of expense to perceived value ratio. That is, we’ll talk about doing another leather-bound prestige print run, but we’ll also discuss other options that make for a prestige print run that might yield greater satisfaction to cost on the player end. Me, I suggest printing the entire print run on shotgun shell wadding and sending the “prestige print run” as a box of shotgun shells with the book printed inside them. Rich… well, he’s not as supportive of this idea. FINE, IT’S IMPRACTICAL, I GET IT.

Anarchs Unbound

I haven’t yet outlined or contracted AU, but I have writers in mind for it. What I’d like to do is sit down at Atlanta by Night in a panel or conference room and nail this down in a real-time feedback session with players and attendees. That is, we’d block out an hour of programming, I’d peck at my laptop and anyone who wanted to could offer real-time input to the outline as we create it and project it onto the conference-room screen. I don’t yet know if this will happen like this (I have a phone conversation scheduled with Ric tomorrow to discuss show details), but I think this would be a great opportunity to work hand-in-hand with players so that they have some proverbial skin in the game. Thereafter, we’d put that outline doc on the internet to solicit wider feedback, like we did with HH2, and then turn the writers loose on it.

So there, in a nutshell, is where Vampire development currently stands. It’s slower than I’d like it to have been, but I have to balance all of this freelance development with my full-time day job, in which I have one project in production and another in pre-production. I’m aiming to have everything back on its original proposed schedule after AU, at which point, we’ll head into our next round of approved proposals, but we’ll talk about those in the future.

  15 comments for “WTF Is Happening With Vampire, You Slack Bastard?

  1. September 2, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Fantastic update. 🙂

    V20 was a bit of a learning experience for everyone, I think… from developers used to certain aspects of content, development, and creation/delivery, to purchasers/fans who have (until now) simply gotten books and accepted what they had in their hands before making a purchase decision, and now being given concepts and making judgments on products yet-to-be-developed/finished and building up something that doesn’t meet the reality they had envisioned… I really hope that we all can find great ways of finding a way of getting us all on the same level of understanding what to expect from one another. 🙂 Much has been learned, much will be learned… I just hope the growing pains of this aren’t too extreme for either group going forward. 🙂

    I really hope that the explanation (again) of the expenses of V20 Companion’s Prestige edition can at least give folks a place to link back to to help others understand just where that money went to (without the bonus pledges would it have lost money? $41 (cost of book) + 5 (KS/Amazon fees) + 5 (s/h)=$51, etc.)

    The idea of a “live outlining” of a AU at Atlanta by Night sounds pretty epic… and logistically/potentially scary too. You might need an MC, and someone to take those notes and put them on on a projector while you speak, take questions, and give feedback. If it goes well, it could really take the “Open Development” idea to another level. I hope it gets a lot of great interest and input.

    I’m pretty stoked for HH2 (not only because of my $250 pledge coming to fruition in it), but because HH was such a great supplement that showed just how (usually) normal folks in the World of Darkness try to fight back to take control of the world from the other (mostly Vampires) denizens of the WoD. I always preferred this over the “Hunter: the Reckoning” methodology, and while HH really focused on Vampires, I hope that either it, or an upcoming supplement might expand on normal folks who hunt/protect against the other groups of the WoD through more mundane, lesser-powered means. But that tirade is for another location, I’m sure (probably the HH2 development blogs. 😉 )

    Thank you for the updates and really trying to push the idea of Open Development so that it’s less of a “here’s what we’re doing” and more of the “here’s what we’re looking at… what do you think?” and then actually responding back. 🙂

    • jachilli
      September 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Yes, we’d definitely have to do some kind of organizing to keep the group outlining from being a free-for-all. But we’ll figure it out.

  2. Phil
    September 2, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Man. So I didn’t spring for the leatherbound of Children of the Revolution ’cause I was poor, but I’d love to have that red list printed. That page is gorgeous. Shame to only have it as a PDF. I might have to do PoD.

    Of all of these I’m really looking forward to Anarchs Unbound. I assume that if you were to do a panel it would be available after the show and we’d be able to weigh in? I’m especially interested in seeing an expansion of the discussion on Anarchs and technology that was taken up in the companion. Particularly the hacktivism stuff is interesting – but one of the things that I think would be interesting would be to harken back to the Nosferatu blackhats that were actually featured in Vampire: Bloodlines.

    Anyway, stoked about all of this. I loved the companion and am unconcerned about the price. The idea of 50 dollar shipping is way scarier than a 50 dollar book (given that the books have turned out to be art in their own way). I’m completely satisfied with the money I’ve spent.

    • September 2, 2012 at 10:53 pm

      I think the mention was that $50 shipping was for books/packages over 5 lbs.

      • Phil
        September 3, 2012 at 9:51 am

        Yeah, I know. My point was just that I chafe at the cost of expensive shipping, but if my desire is to have an expensive book (which it is) then I’m willing to pay for that expensive book. 🙂

  3. kennef max brooks
    September 2, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Once, there was a comic book (I forget what it was, couldn’t have been great), that challenged the early 90s shiny cover gimmick phase by randomly selecting one copy out of every 10, shooting it with a rifle, and packing the spent casing in with the holed up copy. Your prestige offer should be a name in a hat for a drawing to win a copy of Hunters Hunted 2 with THAT done to it.

    • jachilli
      September 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      We did something similar with Werewolf: The Wild West, with each book drilled so that it appeared to have been shot. It wasn’t one-in-ten, but the intent was there 😉

      • richt
        September 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm

        To Justin’s recollection about WWtWW- the reason we drilled the holes was that we originally wanted to shoot them to make the holes but during a trial experiment Aaron fired into a stack of books and while the entry holes were clean (and deadly accurate as is Aaron’s wont), the exit holes were bigger than wanted and ripped out a lot of room that we’d want to have pictures and text in. So yeah, we busted a cap in some books. Take that, Scarlett Letter!

    • September 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      I remember that some of the books for Werewolf 2nd Ed and the corebook for Wild West had a lot of creativity put into their design (the claw mark and bullet hole are an awesome idea).

      perhaps something like that could be done?

  4. September 3, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I like the shell casings idea but I thnk I might just have a bit of problems getying them across the border.

    I imagine the same for all the people from abroad who would have to explain to customs why they’re receiving shotgun shells, even if they’re empty.

    • richt
      September 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm

      Good point.

  5. Derek
    September 5, 2012 at 2:44 am

    How compatible with Werewolf 20 will Hunters Hunted 2 be?

    • jachilli
      September 9, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      HH2 focuses mostly on hunting Vampires, but there’s a small amount of supplementary material on the other supernatural types. I don’t think you’ll have to worry about any compatibility issues, but you’ll definitely have to extrapolate some amount of how hunters interact with the other night-beasties.

  6. Adam
    September 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Great to see the progress you all are making!

    I look forward to giving you all my money 🙂

    Also, if you ever looking for book ideas, I would absolutely kill for a Sabbat Inquisition book. Sadly during revised it never got made, and much like the black hand (ala Caine’s Chosen), the Sabbat Inquisition could use its own book to really help flesh them out. The brief section in Montreal by Night and the In character section of Archons and Templars I feel wasn’t enough.

    Just a thought! Also I would love you guys even more, and has nothing to do with how helpful that would be as a guy who helps coordinate sabbat for an entire larp org <..>

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