Category Archives: calling on the legions

The Upcoming Festivities….

Not to let the cat out of the bag early here, but I figured I’d share what we having coming up on July 7th with those of you who make a habit of reading the blog.

Maybe this is a little silly, but I think of y’all… I don’t know really. I don’t want to say something like “core readership” because if you start using phrases like “core readership” then odds are you’re not far from using the word “utilize” instead of “use.” After that you’re only a few steps from enthusiastically using the term ‘synergy’ in regular conversation. And once that happens… well… it’s just a ever-tightening spiral until the end.

So while I don’t know what to call y’all exactly, I do think of the people who read this blog as the readers I know best, as I do make an effort to read the comments you write here. I also think of you guys as the folks that know *me* best, as you take the time to read through my great rambling bloggings.

By the way, have I mentioned that Cutie Snoo has just started to crawl? He’s wobbly as a youtube kitten. But when he sees something he wants to grab and stick in his gob, no amount of tipping over or face-planting will deter him. Seriously, the raw determination he possesses is really astounding.

In other cute-kid news, tonight I was feeling a little down. So I asked Oot if he would like to cuddle. He did, so we curled up on the couch. Then, while telling me a story he thrashed around dramatically and kicked me right in the nuts.

It was one of those good, sharp kicks. Where you’re given a moment of pain-free grace in which to think: I’m pretty sure he got me. But it doesn’t actually *hurt.* Maybe he just grazed them. Maybe….

And then, just when you start to really hope, the pain slowly blossoms. Like a lump of raw nausea forged from dull red iron.

I didn’t freak out on him. He didn’t mean to do it. He was just being a kid, and it was an accident.

Besides, years ago I worked out how to deal with these situations: Every time he kicks me in the nuts, I just make a note of it. Then, when he turns 16, gets his license, and asks to borrow the car, I’m going to say “no.” I’m going to say “no” once for every time he’s kicked me in the nuts.

At this point, he won’t be able to borrow the car until he’s 35.

20140604_061332

Sleep tight you innocent little fucker. Someday you’ll have kids, and they’ll kick you square in the junk and I will laugh and laugh and laugh.

Anyway, back to business. The upcoming festivities.

On the 7th we’re doing something new with Worldbuilders.  An experiment of sorts.

As most of you know, we tend to run a big fundraiser at the end of the year. We raise money for Heifer International by running a big lottery, some auctions, and occasionally selling things in the Tinker’s Packs.

This year, we’re trying something a little different. Instead of waiting a whole year, we’re going to do another smaller fundraiser here in July. Instead of having it last for a month, it’s only going to be one week long. Instead of having a big lottery and auctions, we’re going to be running it as an IndiGogo Campaign. So if you see something and think it’s awesome, you can just buy it. (As opposed to hoping you win it in the lottery, or bidding on it in an auction.)

The Worldbuilders Team has been putting this together for a couple months now, and we’re going to have some cool stuff in there: Book Bundles, a new T-shirt,  a Princess and Mr. Whiffle coloring book. AND we’re launching the 2015 calendar. Probably my favorite calendar we’ve done so far….

We’ve got cool stuff. Scads of it.

But, as always happens when you’re trying something for the first time, I’m getting a little nervous.

For one thing, we don’t really have a good name for it yet. The Worldbuilders Mid-Year Indigogo Geektastic Fundraiser doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

The other thing I’m a little nervous about is whether or not we’re going to be able to effectively spread the word about the fundraiser in this time frame. The entire thing is only going to be a week long….

Do you guys have any good ideas about what we might be able to call this? (And yes, I’m aware of the irony involved in my asking for help in giving something a name.)

Also, do y’all have any bright ideas about how we might be able to spread the word?

Ideas welcome in the comments below. Or, if you’d like to offer a particular type of help, you can contact us on the Worldbuilders page.

Stay hoopy fellow froods,

pat

Also posted in Cutie Snoo, Oot, Worldbuilders | By Pat199 Responses

Good News, Amazing Art, and Three Conversations About a Kickstarter

First off, good news.

Since I first posted about the new Kickstarter Project I’m doing with Cheapass Games a couple weeks ago, my previous kickstarter from last year has started shipping out.

By now, thousands of you have already received your cards in the mail:

(Monique’s decks and one of the limited edition bookplates.)

So far, the reactions have been great. And while I’m happy for y’all, this also fills me with a certain amount of envy, because I’m one of the thousands of you that *haven’t* gotten my package in the mail yet.

Let me say this: be strong my brothers and sisters. Know that you are not alone, and know that the folks at Albino Dragon have been furiously shipping stuff out. It’s just that there are, quite literally, thousands of packages to send, and many of them have *lots* of individual items that have to be picked and packed. It takes time.

But rest assured, they’re on their way.

*    *     *

The current kickstarter is clipping along nicely. As I type this, we’ve crested over 106,000 dollars. Which means that we’ve just unlocked the 105K stretch goal: adding another limited edition bookplate to the project.

bookplate-sketch2[3]

(Lanre, drawn by Shane Tyree.)

We’ll only be doing a single, limited run of these, exclusively for this Kickstarter. They’ll be individually numbered adhesive bookplates printed on high-quality archival paper.

Right now, anyone who pitches into the kickstarter at the $80 level or higher gets everything listed in that level, *plus* one of these bookplates.

I’ll be signing it too, of course.

*     *     *

Right now there are there are two decks set in my world. The core deck (from the commonwealth) and the Modegan deck. (From, y’know, Modeg.) The art for both of these is being done by Shane Tyree, who did the art for the NOTW cards.

KilvinDeochStancheon2

(So you *know* they’re going to be beautiful.)

There’s also other decks that we’ve unlocked in the kickstarter as well: a goblin deck, a pirate deck, and a barmaid deck all by different, lovely artists.

There’s also the Falling deck, which is actually an entire playable game by itself.

At $115,000, we’re unlocking another one of my decks, one based on The Princess and Mr. Whiffle.

9-Tibbet

This one’s drawn by Nate Taylor of course.

And at $130K, we’re hitting my fourth deck, the Faen Deck….

This one’s also by Nate, and you’ll be getting a sneak peek at the Twilight court. So Bast will be showing up there.

bast-1

That’s right ladies. I’m going to put the kickstarter link right here, just in case you’re feeling a sudden, irresistible urge to click something.

Felurian will be showing up too. Which leads into the first of three recent conversations I’ve had with James Ernest that I’d like to share with you today.

*     *     *

I e-mailed James about a week ago. I’m paraphrasing a bit here, but this was the gist of our exchange….

Pat: Spent some time talking with Nate today about the Faen deck, which cards we’re going to include. What secrets we can hint at. He knows my world really well, so it’s easy. 

James: Glad to hear it.

Pat: So…. Can I show a bare ass in the Faen Deck? In my opinion, there’s hardly any point in doing a Faen deck at all if I can’t show Felurian’s ass and some tasteful side boob…

James: I’m okay with bare ass and tasteful side boob. Heck, we could go with bare boob if you want.

It will require me to figure out how to label it properly for retail, but I expect the Faen deck will be limited edition anyway. So that’s not a huge concern.

Let’s make sure the NSFW isn’t limited to just one card, though. That seems like a wasted opportunity. :)

Pat: I love you.

Two things resulted from this exchange.

1. I emailed Nate and told him to take Bast’s shirt off.

2. I realized the Faen deck isn’t reflecting a strict social hierarchy like the Commonwealth and Modegan decks. (Nobility on the top, Ruh at the bottom in the Commonwealth, for example.) This deck is almost telling a story instead.

3. I immediately cut some of the weaker cards and added better ones like: “The Mortal Guest” “The Sithe” and “The Faerie Revel.”

It’s going to be so much cooler than I’d originally thought….

*     *     *

A few days after that, I had another e-mail chat with James:

Pat: Hey there. I just had a couple of ideas for things we could add to the kickstarter. [Pat launches into a 500-word bullet pointed list proposing about 8 different things.]

James: Those are some good ideas. I especially like [secret thing we might announce Friday]. That would be fun. I’ll need to talk to a few people to see if we can make that work.

Pat: What about [six previously mentioned things]? Also, I just had two new ideas! [Details.]

Pat: Oh, and I forgot. Here’s one more idea. [Idea.]

Pat: [Two minutes later.] I’ve kinda had a bunch of caffeine today.

James: Well, they’re good ideas. But they’d also be a lot of work…

Pat: I wouldn’t say a *lot* of work.

James: That’s probably because you’re really caffeinated right now.

Pat: That’s… possible.

James: Besides, I’d rather focus on the core of the kickstarter: the decks themselves. I want them to be as good as possible.

Also, some of the things you’re suggesting would make more work for the artists or complicate our shipping process. Or both. If that happens, it might delay the kickstarter itself, and I really want it to ship on time.

Pat: Wow. Yeah. You’re right. Let’s focus on the key stuff.

James: No problem. Not my first rodeo.

*     *     *

So by this time, you should see part of the reason why I’ve really loved working with James so far. He’s not just a great game designer, he’s a good businessman and a good communicator too.

But as they say, third time pays for all.

Pat: At the risk of sounding like the idiot I am, I have to ask a question. Looking at your math from the previous e-mail, it seems like you’re cutting me in for a percentage of the entire kickstarter. Is that the case?

James: Yup.

Pat: Because I assumed I was only getting a percentage of the me-related stuff. My decks.

James: Nope. Our deal is that you get a percentage off the top. The core deck is based on your world. The other decks are, too. You’re making this something bigger and cooler, and I want to respect and reward that.

Pat: Are you sure about that?

James: Yup. Besides, your readers are remarkably cool and supportive of your projects. That’s a rare thing. You’re bringing the noise here, You get the big numbers.

Pat: Well. That’s terribly decent of you. Not just in the initial offering, but also in not slyly sliding it off the table right now when I was obviously clueless about it.

James: Well, thanks for giving me the chance to feel magnanimous in giving you what you already had.

So… yeah. James has pretty much won me over forever at this point.

What’s more, since I’m now making more money off this project than I’d anticipated, I’ve decided to give a piece of that to Worldbuilders.

So if you were looking for one more reason to jump in and play a little game with us, you just got one.

I’ll just leave a link here at the end of the post. Just in case any of you might happen to want it.

Goodnight Nobody,

pat

Also posted in cool things | By Pat89 Responses

A Pair of Kickstarters, and Kickstarting Pairs

Hey there everybody,

I’ve got some cool news today. Something that I’m really seriously geeked about.

But before I share that with you, I have to take care of some business. And that means sharing a little bit of bad news.

  • The (kinda) Bad News:

Luckily, this news shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s already involved. If you backed the NOTW Kickstarter last year, and you’ve been reading your e-mail, you already know the Kickstarter isn’t shipping on time.

I’m sorry as hell about that. But I’m afraid there’s not much I can do on my end. At this point, all the production, logistics, and shipping is being handled by Albino Dragon. There were over 11,000 orders, and it’s taken longer than all of us would like.

Rest assured that the parts of the kickstarter I do have direct control over are being taken care of as quickly as possible. Those of you who were lucky enough to get into the tiers that included a the prototype jot should have already received it, as I personally mailed all of those out before Christmas.

The only part that’s still up to me is signing the bookplates.

bookplate crop

So. Many. Bookplates.

You know what the best part of signing 4500 bookplates is? Nothing.

Okay, that’s not really true. They actually turned out really nice, and I know they’re going to make y’all happy when you get them. But you honestly have no idea how numbing it is signing several thousand of them.

I got these toward the end of January, and I’ve been signing them ever since.

At first I had a vague fantasy of signing all of them in one long 18 hour marathon. Unfortunately, I discovered signing my name 300 times in a row without a break caused a blinding pain to shoot up my arm, making me want to die.

And here’s the thing, I use that arm for a lot of things. Important things.

So, rather than flirt with carpal tunnel and potentially destroy my ability to type, I’ve been doing them in small batches over the last couple weeks.

As of last week, I’d sent about 2300 of them back to Albino Dragon so they could start shipping packages as soon as the other items end up at the warehouse.

(Edit! Only 20 minutes or so after posting this blog, I had a few people on facebook tell me they *just* got shipping notifications from Albino Dragon. So it looks like packages are moving toward backers at this very moment. Huzzah!)

As bad news goes, it’s not that bad. Everything’s still moving forward. The cards are going to look great, the poker chips will be cool, and the bookplates are beautiful.

But it does make my good news today a little awkward….

  • The Awkward News:

Any of you who have spent some time on kickstarter know that a project shipping late isn’t that uncommon. Especially when the overall kickstarter ended up being about six times bigger than any of us expected.

Here’s the problem. Months and months ago, game designer James Ernest dropped me a line. He’d created a new card game, he explained, and asked if I’d have any interest in incorporating it into my world.

For those of you that don’t know, James is the owner and head game designer for Cheapass Games. I’ve been playing his games for over 15 years.

Though a monumental effort of will, I kept my cool. I told James I was flattered, but I needed to play the game first to make sure it was a good fit for my world.

He sent me the rules, and I played it with a few friends. It was brilliant. Easy to learn, but with some good strategy. You can bet on it. You can play for drinks (or Sounten.) In 30 minutes everyone was mocking each other, cursing our own bad luck, and talking shit.

It’s exactly the sort of game you’d see people playing in the Eolian.

I told James I thought it was a great fit. “My people will love it,” I said. “But I can’t feel good about launching this project until my other Kickstarter ships though.”

“How about February?” James asked.

“Perfect,” I said.

But things didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped. And by the time I knew the NOTW kickstarter was going to be shipping late, James had already brought other people onboard and scheduled his launch. There was no good way to move things around.

  • The Good News:

Despite my Midwestern guilt and the awkwardness of having these kickstarters overlap, I’m still really excited.

Not only is the game designed by James Ernest, but the art is going to be done by Shane Tyree. He did the NOTW deck with Albino dragon. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to working with him again:

Bandit

The previous kickstarter was a deck of cards *about* The Name of the Wind. But this is something different. This is a deck of cards *from* the Four Corners. It’s the deck of cards that Kvothe and Wil and Sim would sit down and play with at Ankers.

A few details:

  • This isn’t a standard deck of 52 cards. It’s a pyramid deck with 55.
  • It’s got ten tens, nine nines, eight eights, and so on.
  • The point of the game is to avoid pairs. To simplify this all the cards of each number have the same picture. (So there’s one Tinker, two Amyr, three nobles, etc etc, all the way down to 8 Bandits, 9 Beggars, and 10 Ruh.)

ruh

  • The one exception is the sevens. We hit one of our early stretch goals, so the sevens (Calamities) are each going to be unique. I’m sure the savvy among you can figure out why.
  • Folks were clamoring for an Adem mercenary in the deck, so we’re going to put that in. It’s probably going to replace the courtesan.

Honestly, there’s a lot more I could tell you about the decks, but I think I’ll save that for a later blog.

For now, I’ll just keep it to two things:

1. We’d like to do some other decks from my world, too. A Modegan deck. A University deck. A Faen deck….

James is hoping to bring in decks from other worlds, too. Like a Girl Genius deck done by Phil Foglio. I would love to see that.

But those need to happen as stretch goals. That way James can cover printing costs and afford to pay the artists.

That means the more people jump onto the kickstarter early, the more decks we’ll all have to choose from.

2. For those of you who like awesome things: Here’s the link.

Later Space Cowboys,

pat

P.S. Okay. One final thing. When I was talking with James last night, he mentioned that as a game designer, the thought of designing a game like Tak was really interesting to him.

What would you guys think about us making that a stretch goal in this kickstarter? Is that something you’d like to see?

Also posted in cool news, gaming | By Pat70 Responses

Three Threes or Who Wants to Be A Beta Reader?

Hey there folks,

We’re coming up on the end of the fundraiser. As I type this, we’re at $417,000 and we’re closing in fast on last year’s total of 433,000 dollars.

Traditionally, this is the time of year where I kick something into the fundraiser that’s a little… unique. Something to give a little extra incentive for people to donate here at the end of things.

This year, I have three items that might be extra-appealing to readers of my books….

ALL THE COINS 2

Here are the three things I’m putting into the lottery today:

1. Prototype sets of Cealdish currency

2. Faerie stones

3. The chance to be one of my beta readers

I’m putting three of each of these into the lottery. Hence the title of today’s blog. Three threes.

Now, if you’re interested in winning these things, I need you to read carefully, because there’s a potential problem:

Back in the day, Worldbuilders used to mostly be fans of my books. But it’s grown over the years, and now we are strong with the collected might of many different geek clans.

And that’s a good thing. A *great* thing.

The problem is this: the things I’m putting into the lottery today are a little…. specialized. They’re the sorts of things some of you are going to geek out about. But other people aren’t going to care about them at all.

I’ve been trying to figure out how I give the hardcore Kingkiller geeks a chance to win these items, while keeping them out of the hands of people who aren’t interested. How can the Worldbuilders team pull some folks into a super-special Rothfussians-only lottery for these nine items?

So here’s what we’re going to do.

If you want to be eligible to win these items, you have to go and make a donation to Heifer International on the Worlduilders Team Page. Same rules as before: every $10 you kick in gets you another chance to win.

But if you want to be eligible to win these things, your donation should end with .33 cents.

Enough for honeybees? $30.33. Enough for a goat? $120.33. A Heifer? $500.33

You follow the pattern here?

If you donate with .33 at the end of your total, in addition to being entered in the main drawing for tens of thousands of dollars worth of books, you’ll also get entered into this smaller, side-lottery for the hardcore Rothfuss fans only….

What’s more, if you made other donations under the same name, we’ll include them in this separate lottery too.

So. Just to be clear. Let’s say you donated 60 bucks back in December. But you read this blog and want a piece of the action, so you go log onto our team heifer page and donate $33.33. That means your total donation would be $93.33. So you’d have nine entries in the main lottery, and nine entries in the Rothfuss-specific one too.

You got it? You can donate over here.

1. Three sets of prototype Cealdish currency.

Coins closeup

Here we have an iron drab, a copper jot, a silver talent, and a gold mark.

A few of you have seen the jots and drabs before, but this is the first time I’ve had a full set to show off.

I’m a bit of a geek for old coins. So I’ve been working with Tom Maringer from the Shire Post Mint to develop currency for my world. If Tom’s name sounds familiar to you, it should. Last week we showed off some of his handiwork when he donated a bunch of currency from Wheel of Time and Game of Thrones.

For the Cealdish currency in my world, we’re doing something a little different. Rather than starting with the modern coins (The coins that Kvothe would be using.) We’re actually developing the historical coins first, then evolving the currency forward in history.

This set of coins would have been from about 500-600 years ago. Back when they were only a few short steps removed from bartering tokens.

The jot is solid copper. The drab is steel with a fusion crust.

The talent is made of an alloy called billion. It’s 20% silver and 80% copper. It was commonly used for coins here in the real world. It’s normally a rosy color, not bright silver like these. You see, if you heat billion in a furnace, some of the silver naturally migrates to the surface. Then, if you hammer it, it spreads the silver out so it looks much brighter, like a solid silver coin.

That’s what they used to do before electroplating. And that’s what we’ve done here.

The gold mark actually has gold in it. Not a *ton* of gold, but a little. (Even a little gold is pricey.) The rest of it is silver and copper. It’s an odd molten red color I’ve never seen before, and it’s polished and buffed to the point where it looks like it’s been enameled.

We’re doing a limited run of these. We only made 1000 jots. And there will be fewer talents and marks. When they’re gone we’re moving on to the next batch. That set will be from 300 years in Kvothe’s past. The designs will be more developed, the alloys different, and the maker’s marks more complex.

We’ll be selling these in the store eventually, but first we have to make more of them, get packaging straightened out, develop the product descriptions, etc etc…

But I have three sets now. And you can win them if you donate.

2.  Three Faerie Stones.

Fairy Stone

For those of you whose educations have been sorely neglected: a faerie stone is a stone you find on the shore with a hole bored all the way through it. They’re supposed to protect you from the fair folk. The specifics vary from story to story, but it’s generally agreed that they help you see through glamour and guard you against their charms.

When I was in Brighton for World Fantasy last November, I went looking on the beach for faerie stones. And I found some. And I brought them home.

I gave one to Oot, who promptly used it to wish for a horse. I gave one to Sarah, because I don’t want the fae to be getting all seducy on her, or pulling any changeling shit with Cutie.

Why would I give them away? Well, here’s the thing…. Some traditions say that faerie stones are only effective if they’re given to you. A freely-given gift.

I have three of these stones left, and I’m putting them in the lottery.

3.  Three chances be my beta reader.

So ever since I talked about my writing process on the blog a couple years ago, I’ve had hundreds of people e-mail me, asking how they can get to be one of my beta readers.

Generally speaking, the simple answer is this: go back in time 15 years and get to know me back before I was published.

You see, back in the day, anyone could be my beta reader provided they were willing to slog through 250,000 words of unpublished fantasy novel.

These days, the main requirement is that I trust you.

Why? Because if an early version of Book Three gets leaked onto the internet, the results will be catastrophic for both me and my publisher.

But I *could* let someone beta my new novella about Auri….

AuriAmyWinterbreeze

(Art Courtesy of Amy on Deviantart.)

You’ll sill have to sign a truly draconian non-disclosure form. Then I’ll mail you a copy of the story with some instructions and a red pen. After you’ve had a chance to read it, and scribble some notes, I’ll give you a call, see what you thought, and pick your brain a little bit.

And maybe, *maybe* if things work out well, and I feel I can trust you, and the stars align. Then I might add you to my list of permanent beta readers….

If any of these things seem like they might be up your alley, remember, all you need to do is head over to the Worldbuilders Team Page and donate directly to Heifer International.

And don’t forget, end your donation with .33….

Good night, Nightvale.

Goodnight.

Also posted in contests, Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat177 Responses

Concerning Cake, Bilbo Baggins, and Charity

So a couple days ago I did an AMA on Reddit.

It was fun. I enjoy goofing off, interacting with my readers, and answering questions. So this sort of thing is a good fit for me.

Kvothe pants

The day after the AMA, I went back in to see if I’d missed any particularly important/interesting/clever questions.

And I found one. A really good question.

I started to answer it. Then I kept answering it. Then I realized I’d written about 400 words and stopped myself from going any further.…

So rather than post my answer there, buried deep in a thread at the bottom of a dead AMA. I’m answering it here with the author’s permission.

*     *     *

This is going to sound pretty awful, but why all the charity work?

I’ve always been… well, financially challenged (at young Kvothe-like levels at times), and from what I’ve read, you were in a similar state for a long time. I can’t imagine doing so much for strangers even if that changed, and sometimes…

Well, it kind of bugs me. There are loads of things that you do that I would love to give you money for, but when you do them for charity, I feel like I wouldn’t be supporting you, my favorite writer, by supporting those charities.

This sounds intensely selfish, I know, but it comes from ignorance, not malice.

Thanks for being honest here Jason. This is an interesting question for me to see. And I think it’s an important question to answer.

The simple truth is, Jason, at this point in my life, I have enough money to live comfortably. And in my opinion, if you have enough money to live comfortably and you keep trying to get more and more and more money… well… it’s kind of an asshole thing to do.

It’s like this: if you have one piece of cake, and you eat it, that’s fine.

If you have two pieces of cake, you should probably share some with a friend. But maybe not. Occasionally we could all use two pieces of cake.

But if you have a whole cake, and you eat *all* of it, that’s not very cool. It’s not just selfish, it’s kinda sick and unhealthy.

portal(No lie.)

And if you have *two* cakes, and you keep trying to get more cakes so you can eat ALL the cake? Well… that’s really fucking mental. And awful. And about as close to real evil as actually exists in the world.

Right now, I have… well… probably somewhere between 2-4 cakes, financially speaking.

But some people out there don’t have any cake at all. Some people don’t even have dinner, let alone desert.

That’s why I run Worldbuilders. Because some people out there have no cake at all. There are kids out there that are hungry all the time. There are kids out there with no books at all to read. There are kids out there with no beds to sleep in. No homes to come home to. No safe places. No sweet dreams.

That’s why I do all the charity work. Because the world isn’t as good as I want it to be.

We all feel this way sometimes. Because honestly, the world is a fucking mess. It’s full of dragons, and none of us are as powerful or cool as we’d like to be. And that sucks.

But when you’re confronted with that fact, you can either crawl into a hole and quit, or you can get out there, take off your shoes, and Bilbo it up.

Rankin and Bass Bilbo it up(So What’s It Going to Be?)

The work I do with various charities is my attempt to Bilbo the fuck up.

Now it’s true that I could just devote myself to making a ton of money, then donate however much I liked to charity. A lot of people have suggested this to me. Smart people. People who care about me.

And y’know. It’s not terrible advice. That’s what Carnegie did…

But honestly, that’s not for me. I don’t like the thought of spending my whole life being utterly rapacious, getting *all* the cake it is humanly possible to acquire. And then, ten years before I die, giving a chunk of it back to the world.

One reason I don’t like this philosophy is that it means you have an excuse to act like a total bastard until you’re 60 years old. And y’know, Carnegie did a lot of ethically dubious things back in the day. There’s a reason they called him a robber baron.

My other problem with this is that after 60 years of being a bastard, most people aren’t going to make a sudden transformation into being kind-hearted humanitarians.

But the main reason I don’t like this way of thinking is that it’s predicated on the thought that you, my readers, are selfish, self-centered individuals. Carnegie’s philosophy implies that I should take as much money off you as I possibly can. Then, eventually, I should do something good with it, preferably getting my name on a building the the process. Because *obviously* the lot of you are not smart enough to make the world a better place on your own.

I don’t believe that. My philosophy is that people are inherently good. I believe when given the chance, people will happily line up to make the world a better place.

I think this is doubly true of fantasy readers, and trebly true of my readers in particular.

As evidence, I give you Worldbuilders. Over the last five years the geek community has given over two million dollars to Heifer International.

This year, I hope to raise another half-million. (Though I wouldn’t cry if we managed more.)

The truth is, you don’t have to be a billionaire to change the world. You don’t have to build a library. The truth is, if you donate 30 bucks to Worldbuilders, it will change someone’s life. Forever.

chicken 2

And sure, when you donate you get the chance to win a bunch of cool books, too. But that’s just a perk.

I know the truth. I know why you’re all *really* here. I know why you’ve read all the way to the bottom of this post. It’s because you’re good. It’s because you want to make the world a better place.

The truth is, Jason. I don’t think you’re selfish. You want to support an author whose work you enjoy. That’s not a selfish thing.

But here’s the thing. I don’t need twenty bucks from you. That’s not the support I want. That’s not the support I need.

I need you to help me make the world a better place.

You can do that by donating to Heifer International over on the Worldbuilders team page.

If you can’t because you’re broke, that’s fine. Believe me, I’ve been there. But you could still lend your support by spreading the word about Worldbuilders on facebook or twitter. You could write a blog. You could make a video. You could tell a friend.

Thanks for helping everyone,

pat

  • 12:30 – Since posting three hours ago, we’ve raised $3,000.

That’s enough to provide 150 families with flocks of chickens.

Chickens require little space and can thrive on readily available scraps; this allows families to make money from the birds without spending much. A good hen can lay up to 200 eggs a year, so a flock of chickens provides a steady source of nutrition and income.

  • 2:30 pm - Five hours after posting, we’ve raised $6,000.

That’s enough to purchase biogas stoves for 6 villages.

“For most families in the places where Heifer International works, cooking usually means gathering firewood by hand, which often depletes the soil and robs the environment of its trees. In addition, smoke inhalation in poorly ventilated homes often leads to chronic lung and eye diseases.

A biogas stove is a better option. It runs off methane gas captured from animal waste, and burns cleanly, reliably and efficiently. This is not only better for the environment, it is more sustainable and healthier for families feeding their children.”

  • 7:30 pm – $10,000. 

That’s enough to train and equip 50 Community Animal Health Workers.

In many countries, access to veterinary care is limited. So Heifer International trains Animal Health Workers. Participants receive training in animal health, husbandry, breeding, and nutrition as well as tools such as thermometers, stethoscopes, hoof trimmers, gloves, disinfectants, medicine for animals, and more.

This training and equipment gives someone the ability to support themselves in a lifelong career. What’s more, the presence of an animal health worker improves an entire community with healthier animals, more successful farms, and better education about sanitation and disease.

  • 6:30 am – $15,000. 

That’s enough to supply clean water to 50 communities.

In many communities where Heifer works, most homes lack running water, and some families do not even have a well nearby. Instead, they spend a huge portion of each day fetching water. This is often a chore left to children — especially girls — leaving them no time for school. Without a good education, those children have little hope for good jobs in the future.

Heifer helps families and communities install irrigation pumps, usually muscle-powered treadle pumps that are easy to maintain and repair. Heifer also provides education in terms of water conservation and sanitation, improving community health and making local farms and gardens more productive.

  • 24 hours after making this post… 

…lovely people have donated an additional 18K to Worldbuilders, bringing our total at this moment to more than 317,000 dollars.

That’s enough to start 850 small businesses.

Enough for 2600 goats and the training to care for them.

Enough for 10,000 hives of honeybees that will improve crop yields.

Enough for 17,000 trees that give fruit, provide income, and prevent soil erosion.

I won’t be updating our total on this blog any more. Instead I’m going to put in our donation thermometer so you can watch it climb yourself.

If you want to be a part of this, it’s easy. Click here to make it happen.

(P.S. For every $10 you kick in, you get a chance to win books.)

ShelfJanuary

 (A LOT of books.)

Also posted in FAQ, musings, Worldbuilders | By Pat140 Responses

Name of the Wind Kickstarter: Final Days and the Coolest. News. Ever.

Honestly folks, I don’t even know where to begin today. I’ve got a lot of cool news to share about the Kickstarter.

And this is legitimately cool news. Not bullshit cool news that I just made up so I could pimp the project one last time before it closes in less than two days.

devi-colored

(Click to Embiggen Devi)

Because it *is* over in less than two days. Be warned.

Note: Please stay tuned to the end. Or skip directly down there. We have stunning news at the end of the blog.

  • We Crushed Everything

In the last blog I wrote about this project, I mentioned that if our Kickstarter hit 160K we would be the highest funded card-based Kickstarter ever.

The next day y’all stomped in to the tune of about 70,000 dollars, blowing past that goal and every other stretch goal we’d planned out.

In celebration, Shane drew a picture of me as a sort of great Krakken-bearded beast.

8bfc4f37d96d96c6fbd507a7959386a2_large

Because everyone loved it so much, we made the art available as magnet and t-shirt add-ons.

We currently stand at 440,000 dollars. Almost three times the previous record. The video of me singing will be forthcoming.

  • More Jots

I added 100 more jots to the kickstarter, doubling the previous levels.

I mention this early in the blog so those you can hopefully go and grab some before they’re all gone again.

Jot-ty1-02

Here’s a picture of the finished product, complete with the maker’s mark. Rest assured, more jots will be available in the future. Both in the Tinker’s Packs, and as a Worldbuilders fundraiser toward the end of the year.

  • Better Gaff Cards

Here’s the thing: all poker decks come with 2 gaff cards. They’re pretty useless. They usually have the rules for poker or some advertizement.

Shane and I came up with the idea of replacing them with something cool. We set stretch goals, then burned right through them….

So now we’re having:

1. A Lorren Gaff card that people can use as a bookmark. (Image forthcoming.)

2. A Willem Gaff card that you can use as a replacement card in your deck in case one of the cards is damaged.

All the Limited and Unlimited decks will have these Gaff cards included free.

We do this because we love you.

  • Signed Lorren Bookplates

Using the Lorren card art, Shane is going to make me a bookplate. My very first bookplate ever.

There’s only two ways of getting this bookplate.

1. You can add one to your order for five bucks. (Up to three.)

2. You get one for free if your order is $135 or more.

That’s it. Those are the only two ways to get them.

Would I love to include these bookplates with every order? Yes. But as it is, please understand that I’m going to be signing, like, 3000 of them. If I gave one away with every order, I’d be signing them for *days.*

That said, we have a stretch goal set at 450K. If we hit that, I’ll give one to everyone who buys in for 100 bucks or more.

  • Marked Cards

Or, as I like to think of it, the Taborlin deck.

I’ve always wanted a deck of marked cards. So I asked Shane if we could do one. And he said yes. And so we are…

You can add a marked deck to any Kickstarter pledge for 15 bucks. And they have a different back from the others.

tabback[3]

(I love the imagery here.)

Now here’s the thing: am I creating a deck of cards for cheaters?

No. I’m making a marked deck of cards. Because I think it’s cool.

Now you could use this deck of cards for evil if you wanted. But that’s your choice. You can use a screwdriver to kill someone if you wanted. That’s not necessarily what a screwdriver is for.

I like to think of this as the Taborlin deck because it will be *awesome* for card tricks.

Also, I’d get together with my friends and have a night of poker where everyone *tries* to cheat. Where it is effectively, *fair* to cheat. We would also probably drink whiskey and pretend to be cowboys of some sort.

Because I am seven years old inside, apparently.

In this deck, the gaff cards won’t be Wil and Lorren. They’ll contain the details of the marked-card cypher.

  • International shipping on the poker sets

Because several of you asked for this in the comments, we’ve added that as a special donation tier. (The rest of you can add the box sets as a simple add-on.)

541d706d0a2f5bc9a1ca85a7d8946817_large

The international shipping is expensive, but that’s because those high-quality clay chips are *heavy* and we’re going to be packaging them very, very carefully.

  • Guest appearances by Neil Gaiman and Felicia Day

Neil and Felicia graciously allowed us to use their likenesses for our two jokers: Elodin and Auri.

We listed these as stretch goals and met them less than a day later.

Reactions were divided. Some people made a vast ululating *squee* noise. Others said something along the lines of, “Boo! I want to see the *real* Auri and Elodin!”

So I just want to clarify things. We aren’t just going to draw Gaiman as Elodin, as if he were doing some sort of cosplay. That would be lame.

(Actually, that would be kinda awesome….)

But no. That’s not what’s going on here at all.

First off, the main reason Shane and I thought of Neil and Felicia is because they both possess certain characteristics we feel are very appropriate to Elodin and Auri.

Hell, I did an interview with Felicia on my blog back in 2008. Back before she was FELICIA DAY. While we were chatting, I asked which part she’d pick if she could play anyone in The Name of the Wind movie. She said, “My dream role would be Auri. I like playing damaged goods….”

And I thought, Yeah. I could totally see that. She has a whimsy about her that would be perfect….

Does that mean Auri is going to have red hair like Felicia? No. Obviously not. Auri will have Auri’s hair. But her expression and face will be influenced by Felicia’s because it works for the character.

It’s the same way we brought Jim Butcher in as everyone’s favorite Jackass:

amsam1

(God. I want to slap him so much….)

It doesn’t really look too much like Jim, but if you know it’s there, you can spot it.

Gaiman is a similar good fit for Elodin. Trust me about this. Neil and Felicia are perfect for my two wise fools.

  • Superhero Team-Up

Almost exactly 24 hours ago, I did a video conference with Shane and Erik, the folks behind Albino Dragon. We were going to plan our strategies for the final days of the kickstarter. Plan stretch goals. Talk strategy.

But before we could get into that, Shane said, “We’d like to give 5% of Albino Dragon to Worldbuilders.”

“Sorry?” I said.

“We’d like to give 5% of Albino Dragon to Worldbuilders.”

And then I just kinda sat there. I knew what he’d said, but I didn’t quite believe he’d said it.

So I asked. “Do you mean you’d like to give Worldbuilders a piece of the profit from this project? More than we already negotiated?”

No, he said. Then he explained again.

“Are you serious?” I asked.

Shane and Erik have built this company themselves with their time and energy, with their blood and sweat and money.

And they want to give a piece of it to Worldbuilders.

We couldn’t mention it on the kickstarter itself, of course. Because kickstarter projects can’t be directly associated with charities.

But yes, they were serious.

“And if we hit 500,000 before the end of the kickstarter,” Erik said. “We’d like to give you another 5%.”

It’s not often that I’m caught completely flat-footed and at a loss for words. But I was, I honestly was.

Eventually I kinda pulled myself together. “That’s really amazingly generous of you guys,” I said. “It’s amazingly kind of you. I’m so flattered, and I’m floored, and I’m stupefied. It’s one of the most ridiculously generous things anyone has ever offered me, and I don’t know how to respond.”

Then I paused and took a deep breath. “But maybe you want to think this over. Chat about it. Make sure it’s something you really want to do. We can talk about it some more tomorrow.”

And they kinda laughed at me. They explained that they’d already thought it over and talked about it. Which is why they were making me the offer now.

I nodded for a while kinda absentmindedly, getting my head together.

“If you let me tell this story on my blog,” I said. “Me and my people will blow the fucking roof off the last two days of this kickstarter. We will bring thunder and fury to your very door. We will shake the earth.”

They said they were okay with that.

So. Here is our 500K stretch goal.

500k

Now. Let’s be honest here. Are Shane and Erik being generous? Absolutely.

Are they being perfect, saintlike altruists? No. They’re clever folks. Really amazingly clever. Because with a single piece of outside-the-box thinking and startling generosity, they’ve brought me onto their team. I’m going to *so* many projects with them in the future. So many.

And you know what? I’m fine with that. Because they do awesome work.

This is the best sort of cleverness. The sort of cleverness where everyone is awesome, and everyone wins.

Now I’m not asking y’all to rush over and join the kickstarter. If you’ve already signed up, I’m not asking you to run over and increase your order.

But if you were thinking of picking up some of the new add-ons anyway…. Well, you can make that purchase knowing that an even larger portion of the money is going to a good cause.

And if you have a friend that loves NOTW, and you wanted to buy them an deck of cards as early Christmas present…. Well, you can rest assured that not only will that deck be as awesome as I can make it, but that the money is going directly to the artists. To the company they themselves own.

And if you wanted to twitter about this. Or talk about it on your blog. Or drop a link to this blog on facebook….

Well, I’d take that as a kindness. Because we have less than two days left.

And I’d really like to show Shane and Erik that they’ve made a good choice here.

Later space cowboys,

pat

P.S. If you have any questions about the kickstarter. You can ask them in the comments here. I’ll answer the ones I can. But tomorrow’s a busy day, and I’m flying out to Ohio for a convention.

So if some of the more kickstarter-savvy among you can help out with some answers too, I’d really appreciate it.

Also posted in being awesome, cool news, Felicia Day, Jim Butcher, Neil Gaiman | By Pat135 Responses

My First Kickstarter – Name of the Wind Playing Cards

Okay, I’ve wanted to write about this for a while now, but I’ve just been too busy.

Ready? Name of the Wind Playing Cards.

NOTW Box ArtOkay. Hopefully I have your attention.

A while back, I fell in love with the work of Shane Tyree when he was doing a kickstarter for a deck of Cthulhu playing cards. I boosted their signal on facebook, they donated to Worldbuilders, and we bought some cards to sell in the Tinker’s Packs. It was the start of a beautiful friendship.

Later, I was delighted to find out that Shane had read my books. More than that, he was a big soppy geek for my books.

Which was a happy coincidence, as I was a big soppy geek for his art.

So we decided to join forces, forming a giant robot that fights crime. In our off time, we thought we’d make a deck of playing cards based on The Name of the Wind.

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce Kilvin, the King of Diamonds.

Kilvin Color

(You’re going to want to embiggen this….)

As those of you on my facebook fan page have probably already seen, Shane and I have been working together on these cards, doing public google hangouts so  people hear me say things like, “could that face be a little bit less face?” then try to dig up pictures on the internet that show what the hell I’m talking about.

I cannot describe how fun this has been for me. I cannot draw, so art is magic to me. Getting to make art collaboratively with someone like this makes me feel like Gandalf the Grey, Merlin, and Harry Dresden all rolled up into one. Normally when I try to draw something, I feel more like Schmendrick the Magician (in the first half of the book.)

For those of you who haven’t seen them yet, the hangouts we’ve already done are available to watch on their YouTube channel. We’ll be doing more of them over the next nine days or so.

Why only for the next nine days? Well…. because that’s when the the Name of the Wind playing card Kickstarter ends.

Yeah. I’m bad. I should have posted a blog about this *weeks* ago. But I didn’t have any of the art to show off yet.

Like this:

stan-deo

Here’s the initial line art for the King of Hearts. One side is Stancheon, while the obverse is Deoch.

Not to geek out over my own project here, but they turned out So. Cool.

Okay. I’m not going to spend the whole time gushing here. There’s some specific news I have to give you.

  • These are high-quality cards.

These cards are printed by the same folks that make Bicycle brand cards. They’re not shitty flimsy things. I wouldn’t do that to you.

  • It’s not *just* cards.

You can get a bunch of stuff in the kickstarter other than a deck. You can get art prints based on the cards. Magnets. Dice.

You can get poker chips too. And not crappy poker chips either. You can get *nice* poker chips. Those cool clay ones you use in casinos.

Even better, our chips come with kingkiller iconography that I’ve helped Shane design. The red chips have the Amyr’s broken tower. The white chips are the talent pipes. The blue chips have…

Well. If you go over there and look you’ll see what they have on them.

You want a beautiful velvet-lined box to put those chips in, so everybody knows you’re bursting with extra savoir faire? They’ve got those too…

  • We have cool stretch goals.

887d73797f1ce2a32fe7a8dbe150309c_large

Jim has agreed to lend his likeness to the Ambrose card. Because he’s awesome.

a54016a051b87ad84ef01cf3cc869dc5_largeThis one needs a little explaining.

If we hit 160,000 dollars for this kickstarter, it will be the highest funded card kickstarter ever.

That means I’ll have played a part in two of the #1 funded kickstarters ever. (This one, and Torment.)

To celebrate that, I will make a video of myself singing one of my favorite songs. “I Crush Everything” by Jonathan Coulton.

I asked Jon if that was cool with him, and he says he’s okay with it.

More stretch goals will follow after we’ve smashed through these.

Sorry, *crushed* these.

  • It’s for a good cause.

Kickstarter won’t allow funding for charity projects. It’s one of their rules.

But I *can* help run a Kickstarter and then use the money I get from it to support Worldbuilders.

So that’s what we’re doing. Albino Dragon (the studio in charge of this project) was a Worldbuilders sponsor this last year.

So if you head over and decide to buy some stuff, you’re not just buying some cool swag. You’re not just helping support independent artists create something awesome. You’re also making the world a better place, too.

  • Supplies are limited.

Some of the stuff that’s up for grabs only has limited quantities.

For example, they’re doing two editions of the cards.

backs

There will be two printings of the cards. The green back will be a limited edition. We’re printing them once, and when they’re sold out, there simply won’t be any more….

The burgundy back is the unlimited edition. We’re going to be printing those for as long as I have any say in the matter.

And here’s another thing. Something that’s *very* limited.

DSCN1167

This, my friends, is a jot. A copper jot.

I’ve been working with a gentleman numismatist named Tom Maringer to develop the coinage in my world. Because I am a complete geek for coins.

This is one of our prototype jots. It’s not the sort of jot Kvothe would use though. Not quite. This is a jot that would have existed in the Four Corners several hundred years ago.

Tom and I are going to do several limited batches of jots, refining the design until it’s the same counterfeit-proof coin that exists in Kvothe’s world.

We’re only going to make 1000 of this version of the jot, and Tom has graciously agreed to let me add 100 of them to the card Kickstarter. So right now you can be one of the first folks to get one. But only if you jump onboard and before they sell out.

We just added these jots to the Kickstarter tonight, so y’all have a decent chance of heading over and grabbing some. But they *are* going to sell out fast.

I’m sorry for that. Rest assured you will be able to buy these jots later. But probably not online for at least another couple months….

*     *     *

That’s all I’ve got for now, folks. I’ll probably post up one more blog about this before the kickstarter’s over. But honestly, the best way to stay clued-in to what’s happening is to head over there and buy in, even if it’s just for one deck. That way you’ll get all the notifications they send out about new stretch goals,  add-ons they’re making available, and cool art.

Like this, for example,

3a8eb3a02dfcfa93a0733438dcfcf381_large

Later,

pat

P.S. Auri and Elodin are the jokers. If that doesn’t bring you in. I’m guessing nothing will.

Also posted in cool things | By Pat84 Responses
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