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  1.  (10049.1)
    Thanks to the vile influence of the Filthy Crotchrot Tabletop Gaming Thread I'm seriously considering getting a game setting of mine written up and published as a d20 Modern campaign setting PDF. Since Whitechapel is to blame for this (and, y'know, is full of folk with real smarts and stuff) I thought I'd ask if anyone has any experience or advice regarding the wild and wacky world of game supplement self-publishing, or PDF publishing in general.

    A good chunk of what's written up about the setting is available here and here. I'd be looking at cleaning it up, organising it, filling in the gaps, adding some pictures and trying to sell it for between $5.00 and $10.00 on something like DrivethruRPG.

    If I decide to go ahead with this wild and irresponsible scheme what sort of things should I consider, what sort of traps should I look out for and what tips and tricks can I take advantage of? And for any who've dabbled in purchasing amateur gaming supplements online, what would you consider essential (or to be avoided like the plague) in a quality product?
  2.  (10049.2)
    Well, buckaroo, you should take some time to plunge into the Game Development and Independent Publishing archives at The Forge.

    The Forge has been semi-sunset by its administrators, after being a fixture of the independent rpg dev scene for over a decade. You could also poke around the Story Games forums. Story Games was an offshoot community, and isn't quite as well organized as the Forge, but might have some information for you.

    Do you own many PDF products similar to the one you would hope to sell? Because if you don't you should probably get some and figure out what sort of layout, editing, index, appendix or other such features you want to include. DrivethruRPG, RPGNow, and IndiePressRevolution all have significant pdf offerings to peruse.

    The major problem most PDF products suffer from is a lack of playtesting. Can people you don't know get enough out of what you've written to get the sort of stuff out of your setting that you're hoping for? More importantly, are they having a good time?

    And finally, the heartbreaker question: "Is your game significantly different enough from what's already out there so as to deserve anyone's money? Are you sure?"
  3.  (10049.3)
    Thanks Ben, The Forge looks like exactly the kind of resource I'm looking for.

    I'm in the process of collecting together a bunch of similar PDFs to raid for ideas and features (presentation and organisation-wise obviously). DrivethruRPG has been my source to date, but I'll be scouring the others you suggest.

    The setting has been through a fair bit of playtesting, and I'll run it through more before launch. I also have the advantage of a friend with a mind like... it's too early in the morning for me to think of any clever similes so "a team of highly proficient statistical analysts on caffeine and speed" will have to do. I also have the advantage of a friend with a mind like a team of highly proficient statistical analysts on caffeine and speed who can look over rulesets and instantly spot any contradictions, loopholes or other problems, and he'll be doing a bunch of heavy lifting on the proofreading (even if he doesn't realise it yet - hey, he'll work for beer).

    As for the heartbreaker? I think it's different enough to make taking a shot worthwhile. The setting has been in my head for near on a decade and wants out, and organising it into a neat, shiny PDF will at the least be satisfying on a personal level. If the market happens to agree and it sells, fantastic. If not, it'll be valuable experience for the next crazy idea I come up with :)
    • CommentTimeJul 18th 2011
    A friend and I have been building an RPG from scratch over the past 2 years or so, just the two of us. It's a zombie RPG that gives you different scenarios to choose from. So if you're into say Evil Dead, you can fight those kind of zombies, and if you're more old school, you can play Night of the Living Dead, or "classic" style, and so on. The "fiction" parts are all written, and most of the rules are figured out, but still need to be written down. We're 2 years in, and probably a year away from completion. Once the the book is put together and no more writing needs to be done, we'll need to commission some artists (best believe Whitechapel will be hearing from me then!) to flesh it out.

    As far as publishing goes, we weren't planning on making any money on this, so we thought we'd use something like to print it, making the cost of printing the cost of the book, and maybe giving away the PDF for free.
    • CommentTimeJul 18th 2011
    Oh, and playtesting? One of the most exciting (and proudest) moments of my life was having a handful of players play through a simplified version of our game. And they enjoyed it!
  4.  (10049.6)
    If a close relative wasn't an acclaimed local artist (who happens to owes me some favours) I'd be coming to Whitechapel for illustrations too. Actually commissioning a cover from someone here might be an idea - the aforementioned relative is fantastic in detailed black and white line drawings, but something full coloured and dynamic would be better to pull the punters in.

    Lulu sounds like it could work for hard copy distribution (which I haven't even thought about). I probably wouldn't give my full PDF out for free, but a chopped down promotional version might be a good idea.

    Let us know when you get your Zombie game up, I wouldn't mind a look at it.