Sunday, 23 April 2017

DriveThruRPG analytics I wish existed

The OneBookshelf platform is a huge boon to creators like myself, but as someone who markets things professionally I find their sales analytics to be, erm, real bad. So I wanted to talk about the tools that I wish DriveThruRPG and RPGNow would add to help us sell our products more effectively.

Audience segmentation
Proper audience demographics are immensely important in marketing. Sure, because roleplaying is a niche hobby you might think that this data will be largely the same, but it's not the case. Even knowing your audience's age and gender is important, especially if you know this per game.

DriveThruRPG does have what amounts to brand affinity, showing the top publishers you share sales with, which isn't amazing but it's a start.

Converting keywords
Want to be discovered through organic search? You better have your pages optimised for keywords people are searching for. It would be useful to know exactly what keywords people are both finding your sales pages with and also converting with (selling). If people are converting through 'solo roleplaying' and 'rpg with skeletons' then you know these terms are important to people and you should be optimizing relevant content for these terms.

Email CTR
Since DriveThruRPG offers the ability to send out emails to your customers, I would have expected some email analytics. Sure, you get a page on where traffic is coming from, but this is mostly pointless. Simply by knowing the CTR (click through rate) of customers who come through your emails and convert you will be know how to better optimise that email for the future. Throw in some time of day data and this could be an indispensable marketing tool. Finding more of your newsletters with above the fold images, subheads and a few paragraphs are having a higher CTR? You know to shape your future emails this way.

Bounce rates
If your new product page isn't laid out correctly, doesn't have an effective call to action and doesn't contain the right information your potential customers might be bouncing. Simply put, this means they're visiting your page and leaving before converting. Knowing the percentage bounce rate is crucial to knowing how effective your product page is in the customer journey.

Get rid of useless analytics
For some reason the platform decides that you need to know a bunch of superfluous information that I would deem as vanity analytics. Knowing you're in the top 15% of publishers actually isn't useful unless you know how to increase that ranking. Page visit averages are also entirely devoid of meaning. I would rather know my actual daily visits and conversions for a certain product. Sure, you can get a daily sales report, but this only lists conversions.

Also, just do away with the 'top customers per month's in the ranking and trends report. It's a waste of space because it contains no useful data.

The above are some of the smaller analytics that would do sellers a world of good and I appreciate implementing analytics can tough. If anything, I'd suggest they charge a small percentage for access to higher analytics toolkit if they were worried about recouping their losses.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Tequendria D&D conversion

I'm really happy with how Tequendria has been received​. However, I do understand that some people might want to use the Dunsanian setting in their current D&D game.

Luckily for those people the ever wonderful and supportive Kyrinn S Eis has created a genius conversation document for using USR with D&D (and vice versa).

You can view the document here.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Tequendria: running Gibbelins

Perhaps the most famous creatures Dunsany created were the flesh-devouring Gibbelins. These squat creatures hoard great treasures as a way to trap naive adventurers, murdering the poor soul before he could retrieve the gold and glory.

In Tequendria Gibbelins are good encounters for low-level characters, with their +1 attack and d6-1 bite damage. Clearly a single Gibbelin isn't going to be much of a problem - but these are not solitary creatures - they live with many others. It's more likely that adventurers will come upon a horde of the blighters, which can offer them advantages. Having three or more ganging up on a character will give them a bonus +1 attack each. This is even better if they get the high ground (make use of wide stairs) as they will get another +1. This means your swarm of Gibbelins could get a +3 attack total, which is not insignificant.

It's unlikely that Gibbelins will be the only occupiers of an abandoned fortress. They may have struck up a deal with other humanoids to help them lure adventurers in exchange for some trinkets. Teaming up with a single Grey Giant would offer them some protection from stronger monsters and potentially help to feed the giant. Some Gibbelins may even begin to revere such a creature. Of course, bringing a Grey Giant into the mix increases the difficulty of an encounter, as their club can pack a wallop.

You can download a copy of Tequendria from Drivethrurpg.

Tequendria is here

Tequendria has arrived. Pay what you want for Dunsanian fantasy roleplaying.

TEQUENDRIA is a fantastical roleplaying game inspired by the works of Lord Dunsany, the grandfather of modern fantasy. In this game you may become a grim Gravekeeper of Zum, a soul-weilding Icur sorceror or even an artificial Doomgaunt. Travel the wilds of Yann where the winter will bite as fiercly as the wolves, or delve in to the ancient Pits of Snood and face the demons within. Magic coarses through the veins of Tequendria, meaning every creature is somewhat capable of casting spells. Above the clouds of the world adventurers can take to their aether in mighty vessels, visiting strange alien worlds like Dim Carcosa and the Snurk Pits of the Bounds of Leng. 
  • Play as 20 different weird and wonderful archetypes (roll them randomly if you like)
  • Everyone can cast spells 
  • Setting information for the world of Tequendria
  • A bestiary of deadly creatures
  • A selection of fiction by Lord Dunsany
TEQUENDRIA uses the Unbelievably Simple Roleplaying system, whose mechanics are streamlined and beginner-friendly, but a

Download today and have fun.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Why it's a good idea to create a style guide for your game

So my players aren't super enjoying the current 5e campaign. I'm running Storm King's Thunder, the first time I've run a full pre-written campaign and my group has made it clear that they're not getting a tonne out of it.

My first reaction was to be downbeat about it. I'm my own worst critic and I just felt deflated. Was I not being a good DM? Should I have already known my group wasn't enjoying it? Mopey Scott came out to play.

Eventually I got over it and reasoned that they missed my homebrew campaigns, so actually this wasn't a big a deal as I was making out. Plus, I could see where they were coming from. I hadn't really stopped to consider what kinds of games the group likes. I'm aware of how each of them likes to play in a game (one is a big roleplay fan while another much prefers problem solving and combat). But I didn't think that they would be against a sandbox game - it's just simply out of their comfort zone.

This brings me to the style guide. One of my players suggested it and it's a great idea. We have a Google Doc that we've all fed into that goes through the kinds of games, campaigns, encounters and pacing we all like. It's a live document that we can all refer to when running a game and I know it's going to be super helpful. Now I know my players don't want to have to roleplay travelling, and they love meaningful quests tied to their characters. This is all good stuff to know when I'm prepping, so I'd highly recommend you and your group creates your own style guide.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Tequendria update

Oh god, I'm tired. But we must press on for the work we love. Tequendria is nearly complete and it's turning out to be the biggest book I've created so far.

I wanted to share some further details about the game as I edge closer to the finish line.

Tequendria started off as Halberd Second edition. I've never really been happy with Halberd and there was a lot I wanted to change with a new edition. But as I was creating it I found that the game I was writing was entirely different. At the beginning I had some light Dunsanian elements, but that evolved into a pretty Dunsany-heavy game.

I didn't want to have the standard archetypes that Halberd had so I borrowed from Troika! - having a list of 20 that players can just roll randomly if they choose. So rather than having human, elf, dwarf etc, you can be a construct created from the bones of a god, a desert- dwelling griot, a warrior born of the moon and plenty more. It's fantastical, the way Dunsany liked his worlds, but with my own stamp on it.

The USR combat system has been overhauled. I had a comment saying that this might remove the 'USR-ness' of the system, but I don't think that's the case. What the updated system brings is balance and gives the GM an easier job of making encounters. What I was finding is that a high level warrior with weapon specialisms and someone who essentially could barely hold a club could be at the same level. This didn't sit well with me and made balancing a nightmare. After all, a big bad monster tough enough to challenge a high level warrior would make mincemeat out of someone with a lower Action and no weapon specialisms at the same level. I didn't think that was fun, so a slight tweak has meant that even if you're not a combat orientated character you can still hold your own.

There's setting material also in the book. Actually, everything is setting material really. There are 25 locations detailed (though fairly briefly - with enough information to fire the imagination). All of this has been taken from Dunsany in some way. There is a city that is actually alive and in mourning, another that is constantly besieged by centaurs, and one full or greedy oligarchs who are under the threat of a god emerging from the sea and destroying it. Gibbelins make their home in desolate places, the Tower Unvanquishable is in there, and there's a city full of 8ft tall wizards. I wanted to spread flavour throughout the book, through archetypes, magic items, monsters and locations.

One thing that has remained from Halberd and might seem a little weird to traditionalists is that everyone can cast spells. Some are better at it than others, of course, but because this is a fantastical game I wanted magic to run through everything. Magic is also a risk. Generally, of you're not a particularly intelligent character you're more likely to screw up and also less able to cast harder spells in general, so some characters will dabble in some spells but it's less likely they will focus on it. But if times get desperate a magic novice could pull it out of the bag.

I'm hoping to get everything completed for mid April. I'm excited about the project and it's taken over everything else I've been working on. I hope you like it.