Sunday, May 12, 2019

Number Crunchin Time (Dollar Edition)

One of the things I wanted to do last month was release a whole bunch of product and see what stuck. I wanted to get a sense of how much interest there was in my stuff. Here's a recap since March 1 for five releases:

Stalwart Age Issue 1 (149 Downloads; $23.60 Gross Sales)
Stalwart Age Issue 2 (96 Downloads; $5.16 Gross Sales)
B1: Dungeon Denizens (181 Downloads; $8.65 Gross Sales)
C1: Trove of Treasures (114 Downloads; $4.00 Gross Sales)
D1: Against the Goblins (96 Downloads; $3.05 Gross Sales)

However, for context, there are two other important figures:

Sentinels of Echo City Deluxe Edition (9 Downloads; $78.11 Gross Sales)
A1: Tales of the Splintered Realm Core Rules (44 Downloads; $3.00 Gross Sales)

It's hard to take away anything concrete here, but there are a few general observations about these trends:

1. The primary purpose of the PWYW supplements is to drive sales of the core rules. Since the core rules for Tales of the Splintered Realm are also PWYW, that breaks the whole model. The benefit of Stalwart Age is not necessarily the sales of those supplements, but the way it drove sales of a game that is over a year old. At this rate, each PWYW release for Sentinels could be reasonably expected to generate 3-5 downloads of that game, which is nothing to scoff at. Making $20-$30 for releasing an 8-10 page supplement is a good business model from my end.

2. Stalwart Age 1 did remarkably well; earning over $20 when none of the other PWYW releases got to $10. That's maybe the first issue effect or something, since sales for 2 were in line with other PWYW releases.

3. The fact that the monster book had twice as many downloads, and over 2x the sales, of the adventure was surprising. I guess that the takeaway is to come out with more monster books than adventures; I didn't expect that, but I suppose that's already the model that D+D pretty much established; core rules sell the most, monster books and player guides second, and adventures in third place. My own small sample shows this trend to be true.

What all this means is that I better get going on Stalwart Age #3... that's in the early stages, but I hope to have it out by the end of the month (so I can still put May on the cover). I have a handful of story ideas for it, but I'm working out long-term plot stuff that will help the unify the whole thing later on a little better.


  1. Very cool, Michael! I purchased all five supplements early today, and can't wait to give them a read. On a broader note, I became aware of your stuff when one of your fans recommended Sentinels of Echo City to me a few months back. I bought the hard copy, loved it, and immediately purchased the hard cover versions of Saga of the Splintered Realm (Complete Rules) and Shards of Tomorrow. I haven't been able to play any of the games yet, but am hoping to this summer. (Like you, I teach high school, so my summers are a little more rpg friendly.)

    Anyway, I just wanted to express my admiration and appreciation. Thanks for these great games (and for continuing to support them)!

    All the best,

    Aldo Regalado

    1. Aldo,
      Thanks so much! I appreciate the kind words and the support for my games.

  2. You've got it, Michael! After writing, I realized that the hardcover book that I have isn't the current iteration of the rules, so I picked up Module A1: The Core Rules. It seems very elegant and streamlined. I'm going to try and run my daughters through Against the Goblins sometime soon. Do you have any plans for releasing new character archetypes any time soon? They aren't really needed at this point, but it's always fun to see that sort of thing. Also, do you have a system that guides you in designing character archetypes, or do you just feel them out? I'm interested in trying my hand at some new ones, especially for Shards of Tomorrow.

    1. Aldo,
      I sort of feel it out. I try to keep things balanced, so that there is not a lot of overlap between abilities. Right now, the idea is that the racial ones are hybrids: a fighter/thief, a thief/mage... They all end up being permutations of the four core human archetypes eventually.

  3. Nice to see that Aldo found the game, and your blog, Michael! I am looking at the SOEC rules right now, in fact, thinking of possibly creating a supplement myself...