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Sorry for the click-bait title, folks, but title is 100% accurate.
Around February of this year, after I had finished designing Age of Electrotech for Radiance House, I sat down to begin work on Pact Magic Unbound, Vol 3. Ever since I started Pact Magic Unbound, I had wanted one thing: to have one spirit, per constellation, per spirit level. That means 13 1st-level spirits, 13 2nd-level spirits, and so on. Completionism is VERY important to me.
Now, as I sat down to work on Volume 3, my brain-meat was working overtime and I came up with some great ideas. Like a new "constellation" that really wasn't a constellation at all, or the reintroduction of spirit alignment. Other bits were qualify of life improvements, such as saving space on spirits by breaking the Tome of Magic mold and allowing them to grant spell-like abilities to binders. But of course, as innovation kept on rolling I looked back at my old work (especially Volume 1) and signed. Pact Magic Unbound, Vol 1 was my first professional product. I've come a LONG way as a designer since then. I've gotten a LOT better. And honestly, I was sort of embarrassed of Volume 1 as though I was a teenager who had to sit and watch his mother show pictures of him as a toddler sitting naked in the bathtub to his girlfriend. Its not a good feeling.
That's when I decided to cancel Pact Magic Unbound, Vol 3.
In short, I cancelled it so I could design a better product instead.
The working name is "Pact Magic Unleashed," although that's not set in stone. Basically, I went back through all of my Vol 1 & 2 notes and fine-tuned everything. Abilities were streamlined. Alignment was added. Abilities were simplified. Balance between Pact Magic archetypes was improved. And the occultist was cleaned up so it truly is the master of pact magic.
I've been working on this clean-up project since about March now, and I'm happy to say that I've just about finished my initial draft of the product. This behemoth currently clocks in at 300 pages. It is everything from Volume 1, everything from Volume 2, and about 120 pages more, what *could* have been Volume 3. Includes are ten new archetypes for the Advanced Class Guide classes, about a dozen new binder secrets, the starless "constellation," alignments for all spirits, the inclusion of options for paladins and the game's alternate classes, and more. If we started on post production today, we could probably have this product out by December, January at the latest. But I want better for all of you.
First, Dario and I are looking to do some in-house playtesting. About the same level of quality control that we did for Age of Electrotech (which was fairly extensive thanks to my paranoia). Second, the art. While I love our Volume 1 and 2 art, most of it is almost a decade old at this point. I want new stuff. Sadly, art is VERY expensive, and with the amount of space I've budgeted into the book Dario would probably have to sell his apartment to pay for it all. So we're going to do a Kickstarter for this book, as literally dozens of people have begged me to do. Finally, Dario and I are planning on doing this as a hardcover, color-print book.
I don't have specifics so far, but here's what I can share:
1) Before we do the Kickstarter, we're going to be teaming up with a playtesting company that I know and respect to playtest the product with us. I'm hoping to get two, solid months of playtesting done through this company.
2) After the playtesting is done, I would like to run our Kickstarter. If I had my way, we would do this early 2015, but not only do I need to be comfortable, but the timing needs to work for Dario as well. I'm currently gobbling up all Kickstarter-related information that I can in order to prepare for this, because of the next part.
3) Our Kickstarter will not determine if the book gets made. Even if we fail to fund, we'll still make the book. We have the means to. Rather, the Kickstarter will determine if we can afford to have new artwork (and new legends; see below) made for our product. Whatever our minimum goal is, that'll be the amount of money that we need to commission artwork to fill all of the blank spaces that are currently in the product.
4) You'll get a good deal on the book if you "buy it" through the Kickstarter.
5) Pact Magic is supposed to be something that, once you discover, you get swept away in. I'd like to emphasize this by making our higher-value stretch goals VERY customer-interactive. A popular reward is going to be a limited "design a character for a piece of artwork" tier. So, for example, if you're someone who's played an occultist, you could increase your pledge value to the point where we'll take a character description from you and we'll put your binder in the book being awesome. Don't play an occultist? That's fine, give us a description and we'll place you at the receiving end of some occult-based pain. For example, those of you who follow me on Guidance and Everyman Gaming know that I love to sneak my kitsune cavalier into as many products as I can. If our project funds, then there will be a picture of my treasured PC reeling from the after effects of an alter age spell.
Just to throw out some random numbers that are in no way official, let's say that the the highest-level pledge that gets you a hard cover copy of the book, plus a PDF copy is $75. Then the next pledge level above that might be $100 - $125 to supply a description and have your character appear in a piece of artwork in the book. A pledge level above that would allow you to pick a description that I provide you and work with the artist and myself to design that character from start to finish. A pledge level above that might allow you to choose a spirit to have its full-page level written and included in the book. The highest-level pledge that I have planned so far will allow you to design what our iconic occultist looks like.
6) One of the unlockables that Dario and I want to provide is what we're calling "celebrity legends." I'm in the process of contacting some well-known people in the Pathfinder community to take part in this stretch goal. I won't name names of the people that I've talked to (there honestly hasn't been very many), but I've gotten a few people who've implied interest that I'm REALLY excited to work with.
7) More content. This is what you've been waiting to hear about, isn't it? Currently the book sits at about 300 pages, give or take a page or five. Dario and I are willing to bring this total up to a maximum of 500 pages, meaning that there will be about 200 pages of stretch goals available, including new levels, new races, updates to class Secrets of Pact Magic systems, prestige classes, and the thing that EVERYONE has been asking me for ... Mythic Pact Magic.
I will have a LOT more to say about this in the next few months, but in the meantime, I have several things to ask of you, fans of Pact Magic Unbound.
1 — Tell people that we're coming. The more people who are looking for our Kickstarter when it happens the better.
2 — Talk about it here. Tell me what you want to see and what you don't want to see? What did other RPG Kickstarters do that you like and what did they do that you didn't like? What would make or break our Kickstarter for you?
3 — Figure out who your favorite Pathfinder RPG authors are and ask them to check out this page. I would like a diverse roster of writers to call upon for stretch goals. Better chance that I get someone you've heard of and/or like.
4 — I've been hunting down useful tips for running a successful Kickstarters. I read about it almost every day. If you find some good information, leave it here. I will probably check it out in a day or two. I've never ran a Kickstarter before and it would DESTROY me if something as cool as Pact Magic didn't get funded. I need my picture of 8-year old Kyr'shin tripping over his adult arms and armor, darn it! ;-P