Should I Patreon?


Product Discussion


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A couple of months ago my wife tried to convince me to start a patreon for fantasy art. I don't think I'm very good so I didn't. She also suggested that I make one in regards to reviewing third party Pathfinder products. I don't think my reviews are 'bad' but so far I mostly write feelings based on what I find important rather than go on a point-by-point analysis going over each subsection of a pdf. In the end I put it off in favor of making a blog specifically about reviews and 3pp musings.

But recent events have me a bit more optimistic about reviewing more and being less shy about my content. College is ending for me soon and by 2017 I'll be dealing with livestock on a much larger scale. Despite the hard labor livestock takes up less time than homework so I'll have more free time on my hands. I've also been offered money for GMing Pathfinder games twice so far recently so that free time seems to be going to Pathfinder anyway.

If I were to start a Patreon, since I'm not exactly broke, the money would likely go to setting up a secondary gaming group(third weekly gaming group) for third party material. This means giving them pizzas, drinks, and minis, and would also supply the group with third party materials for me to write about. If I get a lot of support this means more home made dishes I like to make, like home made pizza, peanut curry, stuffed mushrooms, and meat tarts, and I can set up more kids groups at the local game store I work at. Depending on the support I can probably afford to record and post audio of the sessions so people can see (figuratively) firsthand how some 3pp material plays out. I'd also be able to afford reviewing and articles a daily thing. This means that I'd be posting a review a day along with an article about a random 3pp subject. I'd also post free use fantasy art depending on the level of support for it on the patreon. If you want to judge how worthwhile that would be, here is my old deviantart page. I don't scan my recent work because its much bigger than the scanner, but my general quality hasn't changed much.

This is something that won't happen until after Christmas if it does happen.

So TL;DR: I'm thinking of making a patreon for my Pathfinder blog. I'm a bit gun shy about it so I'm asking for opinions to figure out if this is a worthwhile venture. To make this a bit easier, here is a straw poll.

Sovereign Court

How is your blog setup for views? I'm not monetizing my blog, but I sure do have a hard time getting exposure.


Lorathorn wrote:
How is your blog setup for views? I'm not monetizing my blog, but I sure do have a hard time getting exposure.

I link it to my comments whenever I post a review and I expect to see more views when I post more of my reviews on d20pfsrd.com and DriveThruRPG.com. Currently, according to my dashboard on blogger, my traffic looks like 1659 views total with over 1100 of that being from the last month since I started on November 2nd.

Oddly enough my biggest page counts were not reviews with the exception of Mega Feats Revisited. Ive been getting a lot of vies from threads in this forum when I post something I'm excited about and I get trickles from Facebook (not my own facebook page since I have no links to it there)and some google app. I have gotten a few pings from google searches.

I'm not sure how many people look at the main page instead of individual articles, but right now I'm looking at about 1000 page views for my first month which I assume will grow since I expect to be moving a a steadier pace this month. I have a buffer of several articles and reviews so I expect to post something each day for a while.


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It's odd how a blog (people writing their opinion) seems like a strange thing for a Patreon, but a podcast or a vlog (people speaking their opinion) seems like a perfectly reasonable thing. I'm not a person who thinks there is a "right" point to start trying to get subsidized, so I don't see anything wrong with starting a Patreon with so few viewers (yes ~1000 is small in the vastness of the internet).

Though before you commit to asking people for money, I'd make sure that you'd be able to actually continually support the blog after you exit college. Life changes in weird ways. It's Patreon, and you wouldn't be charging a subscription, but charging/accepting payments for content does imply a standard of quality.


Malwing wrote:
Depending on the support I can probably afford to record and post audio of the sessions so people can see (figuratively) firsthand how some 3pp material plays out.

I'd love to hear this... I'm amazed (disappointed) Paizo does not have some initiate like this, recording at least audio of their staff playing or something.


The Ragi wrote:
Malwing wrote:
Depending on the support I can probably afford to record and post audio of the sessions so people can see (figuratively) firsthand how some 3pp material plays out.
I'd love to hear this... I'm amazed (disappointed) Paizo does not have some initiate like this, recording at least audio of their staff playing or something.

Its something that came up recently because I was talking to my wife about how video sessions that I've seen so far took a long time to get into the game and that I didn't enjoy watching very much. I thought about how game sessions would be pretty interesting as a purely audio thing because you'd be forced to narrate what's going on so the audience knows what's happening. From there the conversation escalated to being more animated with NPC voices and describing combat and making it feel like an actual narrative. One thing surprising that came up was the prospect of treating it like a reality game and scripting it so that the players have interesting interactions. From a creative standpoint it's an open space that I don't see played around with.


Malwing wrote:
Its something that came up recently because I was talking to my wife about how video sessions that I've seen so far took a long time to get into the game and that I didn't enjoy watching very much. I thought about how game sessions would be pretty interesting as a purely audio thing because you'd be forced to narrate what's going on so the audience knows what's happening. From there the conversation escalated to being more animated with NPC voices and describing combat and making it feel like an actual narrative. One thing surprising that came up was the prospect of treating it like a reality game and scripting it so that the players have interesting interactions. From a creative standpoint it's an open space that I don't see played around with.

Planning an adventure to sound better due to audio recording is a good idea, but I wonder if scripting the whole thing wouldn't demand too much of your players. Would they still have fun while worrying about their delivery?

On past experiences, I didn't find many pathfinder podcasts and the few one I listened were way too influenced by the Penny Arcade ones, recorded by Wizards of the Coast. Although very funny, they probably work so well because those guys are professionally entertaining - they make a living of it.

Regular people trying to be funny all the time? Doesn't work quite well. And it usually ends up with players and GMs making fun of the game itself - don't mock the product you are trying to sell. Not all the time, at least.


I think the biggest problems with an audio play approach:

1. We don't really have any idea how much we talk over each other, stumble on each other's turn in conversation, and otherwise make an audial mess. We rely on facial cues and body language to help us interpret who is saying what, when. In a podcast of a game I imagine it might quickly become confusing to listen to.

2. Like it or not, Pathfinder is a visual game. We rely on miniatures to tell us what is going on. Without sight of the board, it might get more confusing unless everyone clearly narrates their actions for benefit of the audience.

Grand Lodge

On the other hand I love listening to audio games and spend quite a bit of time on rpgmp3.com, beerandbattle.com and a few other places I occasionally stumble on for my fix. If you haven't visited these sites I recommend them both.

Audio isn't a bad medium at all once you are aware of its limitations. Sometimes you will need to clean it up some removing long arguments about rules or a weird discussion that is off on some tangent that goes nowhere before putting it up. Sometimes those tangents are solid gold as well and well worth a laugh.

One thing you need to factor for is people downloading your podcasts/game play recordings - it can chew a gawd awful amount of memory and trash your modest little hosting plan if it gets popular.


I think my biggest obstacle for a reality game is that I'd have to actually produce it which means I'd have to spend a !lot of money. I have some friends that gather voice actors for indie games they develop and its a pain in the butt even though they recruit each other and friends. Also that group of friends while they are avid rpg camera are more into indie games including one I absolutely hate that they develop games for soi don't really game with them anymore, So I'd be starting from scratch with half the equipment is need, hire players based on their voice and acting chops, write a script, hire an editor, play the game for real so I have something to write a script about, it just starts becoming a huge mess of of expense and effort.

Sovereign Court

Ok Malwing, I think that you convinced me. I think I may end up somehow converting my blog into a reviewing platform. Do you have any advice on the matter? Anything unexpected that you came across when starting or managing your blog?


Lorathorn wrote:
Ok Malwing, I think that you convinced me. I think I may end up somehow converting my blog into a reviewing platform. Do you have any advice on the matter? Anything unexpected that you came across when starting or managing your blog?

Nothing really. I'm flying by the seat of my pants too. Even the blog itself is kind of a work in progress as I figure out how to make it look nice in a test blog. I am trying to take hints from my wife's blog and her parent's website (free educational software), mostly to be active, share and pay attention to where traffic goes. Their sites have a lot of age and publisher activity which is insanely valuable so right now I'm dedicating to consistently posting until it ages a bit before getting too outlandish with it. It looks like 1000 views for my first month which is tiny but I'm optimistic because it's my first month.


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Clearly the answer is for you two to fuse together and become one single super-blogger

Sovereign Court

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This sounds like some setup to a Dragon Ball Z movie. "Dragon Ball Z: March of Endzeitgeist"

I would be Vegeta.


Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Clearly the answer is for you two to fuse together and become one single super-blogger

I can't say I wouldn't mind guest writing. One thing that seems to be happening is that I have to think long and hard for interesting topics that revolve around third party Pathfinder products and my Topic of the Day and company overview posts have on average more views.

It is a good sign though. I made the blog because I find myself having opinions about third party products that are broader than reviewing a single pdf. Also I typically skim over Endzeitgeist reviews covering things that I don't typically pick up but pay special attention to Kickstarter updates and essentials because it lumps recommendations into a neat list. Sometimes I revisit the page frequently to sort out my wishlist.


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Malwing wrote:
Lorathorn wrote:
Ok Malwing, I think that you convinced me. I think I may end up somehow converting my blog into a reviewing platform. Do you have any advice on the matter? Anything unexpected that you came across when starting or managing your blog?
Nothing really. I'm flying by the seat of my pants too. Even the blog itself is kind of a work in progress as I figure out how to make it look nice in a test blog. I am trying to take hints from my wife's blog and her parent's website (free educational software), mostly to be active, share and pay attention to where traffic goes. Their sites have a lot of age and publisher activity which is insanely valuable so right now I'm dedicating to consistently posting until it ages a bit before getting too outlandish with it. It looks like 1000 views for my first month which is tiny but I'm optimistic because it's my first month.

Have you two considered teaming up?


JGray wrote:
Malwing wrote:
Lorathorn wrote:
Ok Malwing, I think that you convinced me. I think I may end up somehow converting my blog into a reviewing platform. Do you have any advice on the matter? Anything unexpected that you came across when starting or managing your blog?
Nothing really. I'm flying by the seat of my pants too. Even the blog itself is kind of a work in progress as I figure out how to make it look nice in a test blog. I am trying to take hints from my wife's blog and her parent's website (free educational software), mostly to be active, share and pay attention to where traffic goes. Their sites have a lot of age and publisher activity which is insanely valuable so right now I'm dedicating to consistently posting until it ages a bit before getting too outlandish with it. It looks like 1000 views for my first month which is tiny but I'm optimistic because it's my first month.
Have you two considered teaming up?

Honestly it wasn't a thing until Squirrel_Dude said something. I don't even know if that's on the table or even our goals coincide.


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I was mostly joking, but collaborations can be helpful when you're trying to grow an audience because you'll be drawing from one that most likely has an interest in what you do because they've already sought out similar content.


It seems like maybe your wife wants you to find a way to turn your hobbies into money. If you can get somebody to pay you for this stuff that's great. I probably wouldn't pony up, but I guess you never know how things will go until you try?

I find it interesting that there's so much 3pp material out there and wonder how well it "monetizes" for its authors. I toyed around with the idea of publishing some 3pp material with some friends. So far we've all been too lazy to actually produce anything though.

None of the groups I play with tend to use 3rd party crunch. Some would at least be open to 3rd party settings, and plenty might enjoy standalone adventures like the ones which used to be featured in Dungeon. As for the crunchier rules stuff, I think there's a general fear that 3pp material might not be well balanced, so considering game balance and potential rules problems in reviews of it might be helpful.


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When I originally began writing RPG magazine articles in the 1990s, my pie-in-the-sky long-term goal was to make enough money to afford a subscription to Dragon Magazine.

Things have snowballed from there.

While my salary as a Paizo developer is currently the biggest slice of my income pie (and the one that includes benefits, like insurance and vacation), my 3pp income from rogue Genius is far from insignificant. And my work as a developer for Green Ronin adds a definitely non-negligible amount.

At this point, my typical freelance writing income is only a tiny fraction of my total budget.

But ALL of that came from deciding, 20 years ago, to try to make some money from my hobby.

I also work to maintain my visibility with constant Facebook posts, an active blog, less-active Twitter, a Kickstarter, and now I am experimenting with videos.

The videos came about as I began working on a video for a Patreon campaign.

Especially for things you want to do anyway, for fun, or for practice, or to give back to your community, or just to build visibility as a personal brand, I think a Patreon makes all the sense in the world.

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

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I would absolutely suggest you set up a Patreon campaign. Patreon has been a tremendously positive force for Raging Swan Press--our campaign transformed the way I get to do business. For something like a blog is offers a great way to generate relatively stable, predictable income. I've blogged a couple of times about Patreon, and you can find the links to those posts here. I hope they help!


I'd say go for it. But clearly define what you will do and think about a few benefits for higher tiers. Look at Endzeitgeists Patreon for an example. I guess you will get a few bucks with reviews alone as some publishers will happily put a little something in the tip jar for more publicity.


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Malwing wrote:
She also suggested that I make one in regards to reviewing third party Pathfinder products.

You made a number of other comments, and a number of people have chimed in etc.

I am ever more coming to the opinion that Patreon is a excellent resource for our "industry" especially the 3rd Party Publisher portion.

And while I am... mad? upset? disappointed? <not sure of the term to use -- annoyed maybe> ... that a Patreon may be the only way to get additional, high-quality reviews of 3PP products en masse... I know I'd support yours like I do Endzeitgeist's. It wouldn't be for much, but

I think Owen struck on something that's really important -- monetizing this "thing" for yourself, and thus elevating it from the realm of 'just a hobby' to 'something more' is a totally rational space to move into.

RE: video podcast/art/etc. -- I'd likely back you for a $1 regardless of what you produced in aggregate as long as "reviews of 3PP Pathfinder materials" continued to be part of it, but in a merely personal level I'm against video/audio-only options. I can read a review late at night as I'm lying down in bed, or as my kid is sleeping, and I can scan a review for the good bits quickly if its written out. IF you give a RPG Product a audio/visual review, it could be great for greater depth, but then I need to sit through your whole video/podcast just to hear the good/bad/etc. and I'll need to type it all out if I want to grab quotes, share bits with my fellow freelancers, etc.

Also, as a person that follows/backs a number of YouTube producers, you may not realize the time needed to make your video watchable and enjoyable and to do the editing etc. A lot of Patreon goals for YouTubers is "get better equipment" which is good, but also has a level of counter-productivity if you hope to "profit" from your efforts.


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"Just do it! Don't let your dreams be dreams"

Anyway, yeah, do it. I have a podcast I do every other week or so on patreon about RPGs and other stuff i want to talk about. Although in my case I have no patrons at all, so, grain of salt and all that.

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