Codename: Morningstar (A cloud-based application designed to enhance your tabletop RPG adventuring and storytelling.)


Product Discussion


Hi Everybody,

I'm the producer for a new (and awesome) cloud-based toolset designed for Web and iOS/Android tablets. It's a very robust and clean solution that makes gaming at the table fun and easy.

We're using the PRD to start–and we've taken a slightly different approach than other toolsets in the field. Here are some highlights:

- Create and publish your adventures/campaign settings for your friends or the world at large.
- End-to-end support for tabletop gaming via tablet. GM adventures, manage character sheets, share information, save a logbook, and create/edit content.
- An unprecedented attention to design aesthetic in tabletop tools.

Check us out here.

I'm happy to answer any other questions here!


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I wish you luck, but I seriously doubt that you're going to be able to raise $425,000 on Kickstarter for something like this. What are you going to do if it doesn't reach your funding goal?


pickin_grinnin wrote:
I wish you luck, but I seriously doubt that you're going to be able to raise $425,000 on Kickstarter for something like this. What are you going to do if it doesn't reach your funding goal?

Well, we'll go back to doing enterprise publishing. It's a swing for the fences, for sure, but to be clear, we're creating a consumer publishing and distribution platform with an integrated ruleset. Not trivial :).


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Newtonian wrote:
pickin_grinnin wrote:
I wish you luck, but I seriously doubt that you're going to be able to raise $425,000 on Kickstarter for something like this. What are you going to do if it doesn't reach your funding goal?
Well, we'll go back to doing enterprise publishing. It's a swing for the fences, for sure, but to be clear, we're creating a consumer publishing and distribution platform with an integrated ruleset. Not trivial :).

I feel like this is an episode of Shark Tank: "Great idea, but the valuation is all wrong. I'm out."


I wish you guys luck and hope the project doesn't die if the kickstarter fails to fully fund.

My hope is if you need to scale back is that you would drop the player parts and focus on the publishing of adventures and the Forge on the iOS.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Morningstar!

I've seen what happens when you take on the Throne, and I want no part of it!


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Here's a little UI overview to give you guys a quick look at some of the functions of the app.

Youtube.


In some ways it sounds similar to what Lone Wolf is doing with their Realm Works product. They managed to pull together a little over $170,000, but are really struggling to fulfill all their promises and get the marketplace going. It doesn't integrate well with their Hero Lab product, either. They are first out of the gate, though, and have some pre-existing relationships with various game companies.

One issue with Realm Works is that there is no good way to get your content back out of the application. Will Morningstar have data export options?

How much do you anticipate the full product to cost?

How much will the monthly subscription be?

Are you going to cover the full range of tablet operating systems?

Can it be used on a desktop or laptop computer?

How much of the coding is already done?

Why didn't this end up for D&D 5th ed, as originally planned?


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LMPjr007 wrote:
I feel like this is an episode of Shark Tank: "Great idea, but the valuation is all wrong. I'm out."

Yeah, I was thinking exactly the same thing.

I think a lot of people are going to see that $425,000 goal, decide that it will never get funded, and then move on. That's really, really high for an rpg support product.


Trapdoor has said WOtC cancelled the project because they didn't have the same "vision" as Trapdoor. Trapdoor says WotC primarily wanted a character builder, and Trapdoor wanted a content management system. WotC has not commented. This explanation baffles me, because I can't understand how two parties could enter into a contract if what the product was actually going TO DO was not 100% clear before signing said contract.

-HM


Yeah, I wouldn't even think about signing a contract unless all that had been spelled out.


pickin_grinnin wrote:
One issue with Realm Works is that there is no good way to get your content back out of the application. Will Morningstar have data export options?

Yep. Morningstar will have both sharing and export features. You can export to an epub or pdf file, and print as you like. The reason this works so well with Morningstar is that we show all content through a digital book format. It's as easy as hitting "Print." or "Save."

pickin_grinnin wrote:
How much do you anticipate the full product to cost?

We're working out pricing, but the product will be free to download. The cost will come from downloading content for use in the app or purchasing the fully featured content creation suite (which will be how you publish your content.)

pickin_grinnin wrote:
How much will the monthly subscription be?

I can say it will be very cheap. We're doing both a subscription or a buyout option.

pickin_grinnin wrote:
Are you going to cover the full range of tablet operating systems?

We're going for iOS, Android, and Web right now...but we've had requests for Kindle and MS Surface too. So, yes, if there's enough demand :).

pickin_grinnin wrote:
Can it be used on a desktop or laptop computer?

Yes, through a web browser right now. But we are looking at native support as well.

pickin_grinnin wrote:
How much of the coding is already done?

The app was built for D&D 5E purely as a way to distribute WotC's content. So the platform is essentially finished for that purpose (on the iOS side). The Kickstarter is for rebuilding the publishing engine to be a consumer platform, as well as ripping out all the 5e rules and putting in the PRD.

pickin_grinnin wrote:
Why didn't this end up for D&D 5th ed, as originally planned?

Well, I can't go into extreme detail, but Trapdoor is a digital publishing company. Our goal has always been to make information easy to use and accessible in a way that is intuitive for people used to physical books. We split with WotC based on differences in vision for the product. There really was no foul play in terms of missing deadlines or quality issues.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Hollow Man wrote:

Trapdoor has said WOtC cancelled the project because they didn't have the same "vision" as Trapdoor. Trapdoor says WotC primarily wanted a character builder, and Trapdoor wanted a content management system. WotC has not commented. This explanation baffles me, because I can't understand how two parties could enter into a contract if what the product was actually going TO DO was not 100% clear before signing said contract.

-HM

It happens all the time. Quaker Oats almost destroyed the Snapple brand when they bought it because of the corporate culture clash.


Newtonian wrote:
The app was built for D&D 5E purely as a way to distribute WotC's content. So the platform is essentially finished for that purpose (on the iOS side). The Kickstarter is for rebuilding the publishing engine to be a consumer platform, as well as ripping out all the 5e rules and putting in the PRD.

That's $425,000 worth of labor between now and July 2015?

That's the main thing I wonder about. If you aren't building this from scratch, why so high? Are you trying to recover the cost of the time you put into building the original product for WotC?


I watched the video.

I did software development full-time for over a decade, and have done it part-time for the past five years. Given the functionality for this project that you have indicated so far, I could build it as an individual programmer (or with a small team) for 1/4 or less of your KickStarter goal. I have worked on teams that built MUCH more complex corporate systems for $100,000 or less.

Something just doesn't ring true about your pricing. By your own admission, you already have the major components built (including your storybook system). Marrying those disparate pieces and porting the software to a couple of different platforms shouldn't cost anywhere near that much money.


I watched the video and it looks really cool and I wish yall the best of luck.

I do have a question, if I was to buy a 3pp pdf and wanted it incorporated in my game, how would Morningstar handle the custom rules?

Again, it looks very cool and good luck.


I also have a question about the pricing. I've seen several kickstarters where if a certain stretch goal was met, the product would be offered for free. Wouldn't Morningstar pay for itself after 400,000? What am I missing? The work of keeping it up-to-date with new releases, maybe?


Kevin Webb GRC Team wrote:

I watched the video and it looks really cool and I wish yall the best of luck.

I do have a question, if I was to buy a 3pp pdf and wanted it incorporated in my game, how would Morningstar handle the custom rules?

Again, it looks very cool and good luck.

Thanks!

Well, so we are striving for a system that will help provide information. If you have a 3pp set of rules and you want to incorporate them in, you could conceivably tweak the homebrew settings for mechanics changes. Right away, we won't have support for every possible Pathfinder ruleset or 3pp supplement right away. It's going to take some time to get there.

In the meantime though, you will be able to easily manage your advantures as a GM. For GM's, it is an invaluable resource for prepping and managing games, saving them where you leave off, and being able to share/sync/message your players.


Guang wrote:
I also have a question about the pricing. I've seen several kickstarters where if a certain stretch goal was met, the product would be offered for free. Wouldn't Morningstar pay for itself after 400,000? What am I missing? The work of keeping it up-to-date with new releases, maybe?

Morningstar is essentially being offered for free to backers who buy in at different Tiers :). But to answer your question, yes. We are treating Morningstar as a store and live service that will improve ongoingly as time continues.

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