Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Dwolla Experiment



I'll be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of Credit Card companies and big banks. But the only way to accept money online is to use something like PayPal or Google Checkout. They're tied very closely to the banks and credit card companies. They both charge exactly the same, 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. And they're all notorious for censorship, withholding money and privacy concerns. At the same time I don't want to prevent someone from buying my zines. I want to make it as easy as possible, so I'll be offering checkouts through both Paypal and Google Checkout. That should cover 90% of the people out there that buy things online.

But! If you're like me, and don't like getting fleeced by the banks & CC companies and their monopolistic hold on e-commerce, I suggest you check out Dwolla [and create an account now!] I've been doing some research and I find, so far, that they're a pretty solid company. They're the closest thing I've found to using CASH online. They charge a flat-rate of $0.25 per transaction, sort of. I say "sort of" because micro-transactions less than $10 are free. See that? Free. Since my zine is going to be way less than $10 (we're currenntly looking at $3.50 in the US, shipped, each.) I'll save at least $0.33 if you use Dwolla. In fact, I want to pass a bit of that savings to you. When you pre-purchase your copy of Crawl! with Dwolla, it'll be at the reduced price of $3.25. It's my incentive to get more people on-board.

There's a catch. Well, there's a few. One, you have to create a Dwolla account, and add your banking information to transfer funds which takes a day to verify. This is no different than creating a Paypal, Amazon or Google Wallet account. But I know people are wary about such things. Two, this isn't available outside the US, which is a bummer. Finally, Dwolla is new company and they don't have the fancy click and paste features to make "Buy now" buttons either. So when you make a purchase with Dwolla, it'll take you to a special hub (this page to be exact!) So  if you're daring and willing, you can try it and pre-order your copy of Crawl! No.1 now by following these instructions after clicking the orange Pay with Dwolla button (and save a quarter!):
  • First confirm the price, $3.25 each.
  • Select Single Payment. 
  • Enter your name, snail mail, and email address in the Memo or Details window. 
  • Complete transaction.

Pay with DWOLLA

Or you can wait until next Monday, when the pre-sale officially starts.

Please leave me comments below, or contact me directly at crawl@straycouches.com if you have any questions or concerns.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pre-Sale Soon!

I just got the go-ahead to start accepting pre-orders. I still can't ship until the full game gets released, but you can expect to find your copy of Crawl! fanzine in your mailbox a little after you get your copy of the mighty tome that is the DCC RPG.

I'll be announcing the pre-sale once I figure it all out. I'll be accepting Pay-pal (booo!) and Google Checkout (ok, fine.) but I'm going to look into DWOLLA. It's the only "cash" like system that I could find. It's not as easy to make a "button" for as it is for Google and Paypal, but it's cheaper. They cut out the middle-man, basically the credit-card companies, and charge a flat $0.25 per transaction over $10. Which means it's FREE for an issue of Crawl! It's the coolest thing I could find that doesn't have big bank fingers in their pockets. We'll see, and I'm open for suggestions.

Subscriptions will be simple, and I will be offering them. They'll be per block of issues, as opposed to a "monthly" or "yearly" basis. It's the best way to make sure you don't miss an issue, and it also locks in the prices. Gas & paper isn't cheap, and their prices are only getting higher.

If you're in the LA area, I'll be contacting FLGS to see if they'll stock my zine. The MSRP will be similar to the direct order price, maybe a bit more. But you'll be supporting a game shop, so it'll be worth it.

If you're a retailer (or know someone that is), please contact me directly at crawl@straycouches.com, and we can work something out.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Word on the street...

...is that the DCC RPG is going to print in a week or so. I can't even express how excited I am for it. I've seen the final draft and it looks amazing. It's huge and it's gorgeous. I'm ordering two. A regular copy, to beat around the table, and the limited edition "Heavy Metal" edition to show off to friends.

Regardless of which version you get, you better put your order in before April 1st to take advantage of Pre-Order perks, a free PDF copy and adventure! Me thinks it's totally worth it.

This also means that I'll be able to put Crawl! fanzine no.1 on sale very soon. Subscribe to this blog to get the order info as soon as I know it.

This is exciting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Appendix N

Sorry for the slow updates, but I was out of town to see a bunch of Alt-Country, Power-pop and Metal bands in Texas.



Just thought I'd share my Appendix N collections. Go visit the goodmangames.com/forums and check out other collections. My collection is modest compared to Joseph's.

http://www.goodman-games.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=25040


Friday, March 9, 2012

Had to share...

I spent this week doing a test runs for quality and to check on prices. Oh boy. It looks better than I thought, but I am humbled by a few problems I never noticed when it was still "digital". It made me nervous, but they'll be fixed by the time the mailman comes. Anyway, check it out. Dig it. You know you want it.

I can't wait to start the pre-orders, so I can print it, and then send it ASAP. Heck, I'm already working on the 2nd issue!

Have an awesome weekend.!

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Little Teaser


Take a peek at some early art! This is from one of the players in my weekly campaign. She wants to be credited by her character's name, which is Count Spatula*. This is her first foray into D&D style art, and it's pretty amazing for a "first timer". First timer isn't actually true in any sense, since she's a professional artist and her art is a bit more mainstream and abstract. But I put out a request for some "D&D Art" for the zine, this is just one of the pieces she sent me. The others are even better! Sorry, but you have to pick up the zine to see the rest!

*No matter how serious you are when you demand no stupid names, you get them any way. I was pretty adamant about stupid names, but I still got a Count Spatula, a Jingles and Master Bater. No respect I tell you, I still love them though.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Zine, you say?

It might not be clear, but CRAWL!fanzine isn't going to be a blog. There are plenty of those to go around (and they're awesome.) Yes, this site is a blog, but it's not the zine. This is just the website for the zine. The actual zine will be a physical book--printed, folded and bound, DIY style. Then shipped to your mailbox (hopefully not destroyed by the USPS) for you to thumb through at the bus-stop, airport or wherever-hopefully used at your game table.

Let's go back in time a little bit. Around 36 years ago when this little hobby of ours got started. The first books were printed at a small local press. Then their pages and boxes were brought down into a basement, where it was folded, stapled and packaged. There were a few hundred of them the first time around. These little game books were the original Dungeons & Dragons game by Gary Gygax. Within a few years a bunch of independent and mostly underground publishers started putting out their own games, or supplements to existing games on their own. Some of these publishers became big, such as Games Designers Workshop and Judges Guild, others faded away as quickly as they sprung up. All these early products were limited in production and simply not as slick some of the things you find from major publishing houses at the time. The reason being, mainly, they were DIY (Do It Yourself.)

DIY was, and still is, part of our culture, and heart & soul of independent publishing. Role-playing games get their roots from the DIY mentality. And zines were a natural fit. One of the most widely distributed zines, Factsheet Five, was founded by a gamer, Mike Gunderloy. He got his start making SFzines and RPGzines in the late 70s. He later created Factsheet Five as a zine about zines, that today still collects and reviews zines from around the world. The zine scene also exploded around the time photocopy machines and computers started getting popular.

Personally I've been contemplating making a zine for several years. I just didn't know about what. Bikes? Beer? Anarchy? Games? Well, since most of my reading and writing deals with games, I thought it would be the best fit. The last couple years saw me getting into the OSR (Old School Renaissance, or Revival, or Revolution, Revolt...) The OSR was a direct response to what was happening to our beloved hobby--over commercialized, expensive and generic feeling games. What got me interested were all the independent zines that were being published every month, such as Fight On!, Knockspell, Footprints, Oubliette, Encounter, etc. And all the material that came in the form of blogs, some in the form of PDF and Print on Demand. All of them dedicated to OSR/Old Edition D&D. Then came Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. I immediately fell in love with the aesthetics, the tone, and the game itself. It was exactly what I liked best about D&D. As it became the core of my game the more I wanted to make things for it. I wanted to create for it. Then recently two particular publications got my attention and really motivated me, Loviatar and Zogorion. From that moment I knew, knew, what I wanted to do for DCC RPG. I was going to dedicate an old fashioned, hand printed zine to it.

So here we are. Back to the roots of a hobby I love. An independently published product of love.