Behind every crowdfunding campaign is a person with a story. Ultimately, we connect to these people and their projects on a crowdfunding platform but before they go live, a lot of behind the scenes work takes place. CrowdView, a new series, where we will interview epic crowdfunders and tell their stories. With the goal of providing insight and tips to fellow crowdfunders.
To kick off CrowdView, we interviewed the beloved Dom Perry. Dom was once a stranger to us, but now he feels just like family, he’s kind, insightful, and has an undying love for creating amazing tabletop role-playing games. Best yet, he’s currently crowdfunding on our platform, of which you can check out at https://dreams.build/projects/honour-rpg-2nd-edition/. We picked his brain about crowdfunding and why he picked it, as well as any tips he could provide for up and coming crowdfunders. Let’s get into it:
I’m Dom Parry and I like to play. I’ll play pretty much anything. Luckily both my jobs, teacher of 5-7-year-olds, and role-playing game designer let me do a lot of playing! Besides that I love music and I sing in a local “pub band” here in Hong Kong, I love footy (soccer to any North Americans) and follow my hometown team, Liverpool, despite evidence that this is increasingly a masochistic act and, I guess like all gamers, I love reading, love comics, love movies and love TV. Love is a thing for me.
I also happen to be a husband to the wonderful Jane and father to Emily, Kate, Tom and Grace. I love them!
Right now we (Nine Dragons RPG) are crowdfunding the second edition of Honour RPG. Honour is our RPG set in contemporary, but mystical, Asia. The game has been described as “Big Trouble in Little China” the RPG – and that’s not a bad analogy. It allows the player to enter the amazing world of modern Asia (although you can play a game based anywhere with a little imagination) and encounter the legendary gods, demons, and monsters of Eastern mythology.
If people want to check out the campaign they can go to https://dreams.build/projects/honour-rpg-2nd-edition/ or visit our own website at www.ninedra9onsrpg.com where they can see our product and find out more about the game. We also have a very active Twitter account, find us @NineDragonsPub, https://twitter.com/NineDragonsPub , and we are on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ninedragonsrpg/ , Google+ https://plus.google.com/+NineDragonsPublications, and even Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ninedragonspublications/?hl=en .
We try to use Crowdfunding for our large projects, such as the first and second editions of Honour RPG and fund smaller projects from our income. The first platform we used was Indiegogo as that was one of the few that allowed you to operate from Hong Kong and reach a global audience.
Our first campaign was a resounding and undeniable failure! It was terrible and I feel very uncomfortable thinking about it now. I set it up whilst sitting in a fast food joint waiting to meet a guy about warehousing! I had no idea what I was doing and certainly didn’t realize the high levels of professionalism achieved by even small, indie operations.
After that, which taught us a lot, we ran another Indiegogo campaign which was successful and raised enough to cover the production of Honour.
Whilst the Indiegogo experience was valuable it just didn’t seem to fit with the Nine Dragons vibe, Indiegogo is super slick, super hip, super tech and somehow not very tabletop-rpgish.
So we decided to try something new for the 2nd Edition campaign and that decision coincided with stumbling across the BETA test of Dreams.Build. I can’t even remember how we found it, but we signed up and played and watched and thought, “Hello, something a bit different here.” What was appealing was that Dreams.Build seemed to want to do more than just aggregate funds for developers, it wanted to create community and support causes. This felt far more like Nine Dragons. We agreed that if we liked what someone else was trying to do, we’d try to support that action, and so we signed on for our first Dreams.Build campaign.
Honour is let’s pretend for those of us who never grow up. It’s a role-playing game similar to those well-known versions of the genre, Dungeons, and Dragons, Shadowrun, Call of Cthulhu or Pathfinder.
Whilst the majority of RPGs set players up to take on mythical roles based in fantasy or science fiction, Honour uses modern Hong Kong and China as its backdrop.
Honour uses a simple, one system solves all dice mechanic. Unlike many games, including D&D, players and GMs only need to understand our Honour system and any task or conflict can be quickly resolved. This is a major difference between the two games. Other differences include the setting, D&D has the classic, almost archetypical fantasy setting whilst Honour is set in a world we can all recognize, that of the bustling mega-cities and wild rainforest jungle of contemporary Asia. In Honour, the player can take their characters into the thronging streets of Mong Kok where Hong Kong’s real red light district and crime lords are found. In Honour, characters might find themselves tracking a Xiangliu through the dense and oppressive jungle of central Taiwan. In another game, it could be the Ginza district of Edo or the mountain shrines of Nihon which have drawn the characters together as they try to save a lost Kappa from the Hunter party that is tracking it.
One thing that player won’t find (yet) are dwarves, elves, orcs, and taverns (although Dragons, swords, sorcery and nightclubs are not uncommon)!
Interestingly, like many RPGers of my generation, it was D&D (Red Box, Frank Mentzer) which brought me into the amazing fun that is role-playing, and it is very dear to me even now. I like to think that Honour shares some similarities with the mother of all RPGS in that it is fun, it lets you be a kid again, it asks you to use your imagination and it takes you on adventures that stay with you for a long time after they are over.
I wanted to write and publish an RPG. I wanted to run my own business. I wanted to reclaim the joy of role-playing. I wanted to set a game in Hong Kong and have it published in Hong Kong at the same time! Put all that together and you get Honour. Sounds simple.
Hmm . . . There are a few elements that are tough, trying to please everybody (more images/fewer images, video is too long, it’s too short, you aren’t even in the video, how can people get to know you/you’re in your own video, how vain) is impossible and can be frustrating. Promoting the campaign is difficult and time-consuming. You spend hours on various social media being VERY ENTHUSIASTIC about your game when what you really want to be doing is actually working on the game! Most difficult though is when the money doesn’t come in, not just because you want the cash to take the project forward, but because you can look at this lack of funding as a comment on your game and even on you, and that way lies madness.
Getting to interact with new people, to have conversations about the project, learning tricks and tactics from more experienced campaigners . . . Most of all though, getting the money that means you can go forwards. This industry (indie RPG) is made possible by people who make great sacrifices and work very hard to produce games for people to enjoy. Small companies like us are competing directly with huge outfits such as Hasbro, yet customers expect the same production value and levels of professionalism from us as they do from them. They also want to pay US$19.99 for a game because that’s what Wizards of the Coast charge, but they forget that Wizards are running off 50000 copies of their books, probably at about US$3 a copy, we are running off 500 (a good six years of stock) at US$13 a copy. We really need the funds we get from these campaigns.
If you mean starting out in RPG design/publication I’d say allow yourself the time to develop and test and redesign and iterate your idea before you even think about spending any money on it. Also, stay away from the “we can bring you traffic” offers that you will see once you enter the crowdfunding roundabout, they are a load of bollocks!
Most important though, get a good team around you, people as daft as you are, who care about this ridiculous hobby more than they should and want to make things work. You can’t underestimate how important those people are and how your dreams will live and die based on the relationships that you cultivate with them. They are your game family. Love them!
Nine Dragons have a mission, a vision, we want to make the world a better place through play. It is good to have a vision.
That’s it for this CrowdView, we’d love to get your thoughts on the series as well as Dom and his tabletop RPG in our community hub (where you can read this again). You can back Dom and Honour in the next 19 days at https://dreams.build/projects/honour-rpg-2nd-edition/.