Category Archives: cool things

The Final Kickstarter Post

As I type this, the Pairs Kickstarter stands at about $250K which means all 12 decks have been unlocked, and there’s been a lot of cool extras added.

Also, the kickstarter will be ending in about 33 hours. And after the kickstarter ends, there will be no adjusting your bid. (More details about this below, when I talk about the cool new stuff that’s been added.)

First, I want to show off some art. Like the Princess and Mr. Whiffle deck.

Princess Deck

These characters should be familiar to those of you who have read The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle. As you can see above, the cards range from the noble Sir Whiffle down to the contemptible Black Duke of Banebridge.

We’ve got the core deck for the Four Corners, too: NotW Deck

The order of these cards goes from high to low social ranking. The Amyr are pretty high up there. The troupers? They’re the 10, as we all know there are none lower than the filthy, thieving Ruh.

The Modegan deck has some of that social hierarchy too. But it’s not as simple as that, as Modeg is not a simple place:

empty-god-finalv1

This card is called The Hollow Gods. You should probably click it to see an embiggened version of the image. For reasons.

We’ve got the Faen deck too. You’ve seen shirtless bast in a previous blog. Here’s an early sketch of the White Riders….

4-SitheYou may have heard of them:

“Rode they horses white as snow.
Silver blade and white horn bow.
Wore they fresh and supple boughs,
Red and green upon their brows.”

There non-Rothfuss decks too, each awesome in their own right. There are Professors and Pirates:

Professor and Pirate Decks

Barmaids and Baby Cthulhu.

LilCthulu and Barmaids Decks

 

Goblins and Fruit (Pairs = Pears. Get it?)

Goblin and Fruit Decks

And the deck I’ve rooting for ever since it was set at our 200K stretch goal: the muses from one of my favorite comics of all time: Girl Genius. (I’m a super geeky fan of Phil and Kaja Foglio’s work.)

musepreview

In addition to the decks themselves, we’ve unlocked a lot of stretch goals too.

I’m not going to go into all of them. You can go browse the Kickstarter itself for that. I’m just going to hit some of the big ones:

  • Three sevens – More Calamities, Mendicants, and Mortal Guests:

Early on in the kickstarter, people asked if the seven card in the main deck would be the Chandrian. It’s a sensible question. Chaen does mean seven after all….

That said, the answer is a resounding “no.” These are decks of cards *from* the four corners. A deck of cards like that simply wouldn’t exist. If it ever did exist, it would have been burnt down to the waterline long, long ago.

But this suggestion gave me an idea. So I had many secret talks with Shane and James. The end result is the Calamities.

Each of the sevens has a different picture revealing a different calamity. And James worked out a few simple (though optional) rules that makes drawing a seven worse that drawing a ten. (In Pairs, high-numbered cards are bad.)

Fast forward to about a week ago, when Hank Green and Veronica Belmont agreed to lend their likenesses to a couple cards in the Faen Deck:

Faen Deck

(Early sketches of Hank’s Alabaster Buttocks and Veronica’s wanton cavorting with faerie boys.)

And I started to think, wouldn’t it be cool to have more Mortal Guests?

Like maybe some character from the books? Like maybe Kvothe? and Elodin? And Auri?

So we’re doing that. Nate has agreed to do five more pieces of art. There will be a few surprise guests too….

Lastly, we’re adding something similar to the Modegan Deck as well. The seven in that deck is Mendicants, and now each card will show a different type of traveler coming into town. There will be Tinkers, trade caravans, wandering Amari, and, of course, the dreaded Edema Ruh.

  • Unseen rewards: 

As you can see right on the kickstarter page, if you order at the 42 dollar level (or higher) you get freebies in addition to any four decks of your choice. (The limited edition Pairs coin and sticker.)

But there are a few other cool free add-ons that aren’t listed so clearly on the front page, because they were unlocked later.

For example, since we’ve hit 250K, everyone who comes in at the $50 level or higher gets a rule book that…

…will be a collection of all the Pairs variants, like Calamities and Pieces of Eight, and alternate games, like Blackstone and Hawthorn. It will also contain some Pairs history (both real and fictional) and artwork from the game.

One of the other unseen goals is for the people who come in at the $80 level and above. It’s a limited-edition bookplate, drawn by Shane and signed by me.

bookplate-sketch2[3]

Plus you get the decks themselves, and since your pledge includes shipping, you’re actually getting them cheaper than they’re going to be selling for in the stores.

  • Finally, a warning.

If you’re like me, and moderately addicted to kickstarter, you’re probably used to being able to go in during the final confirmation process and add a few things to your pledge.

You won’t be able to do that with this kickstarter.

That’s because James isn’t doing add-ons. So we’re not using a third-party service like Backerkit or Pledge Manager.

The good thing about this is that it *really* streamlines the ordering and shipping process. That means we’ll be able to get you your order more quickly and cleanly than most kickstarters.

The downside is that if you’re used to waiting until after the kickstarter closes and adding a few extra items at the end, you’re going to end up being a sad panda.

*     *     *

That’s all I’ve got, folks. Thanks for being awesome and supporting this project. And by extension, supporting me and Worldbuilders. (I’m giving the charity a piece of my royalty money.)

And I’d like to say thanks on behalf of James and Shane and Nate, too. I love the games and art these guys create, and I love that y’all are helping them make a living doing it.

One last time: The Link to the Kickstarter.

pat

Also posted in cool news, gaming | By Pat33 Responses

Update, FAQ, and Bast With His Shirt Off

Okay, there’s been a lot happening with the kickstarter in the last couple days, so today sharing some news. That will be the first part of the blog.

People have also been asking a lot of kickstarter question, so I’m going to answer a bunch of those. That will be the second part of the blog.

I will also be sharing art, making jokes, and engaging in my usual verbosic circumlocutions. But those will just be mixed through the entirety of the blog, as opposed to being in one particular place.

As I’m writing this, the Pairs Kickstarter has just passed 150K. So….

  • The Faen Deck Is Now Available

This is actually kinda old news by this point, as it unlocked at 130K.

Still, some celebration is in order, so here’s a picture of Bast with his shirt off.

3-Bast_v2-4

(Because I love you.)

  • Now Starring Veronica Belmont and Hank Green’s Butt

After I posted my last blog I started to think about the different cards in the Faen deck. Among the most interesting of these, for me, is The Mortal Guest.

Because what sort of Fae revel would it be without a mortal guest?

Then the question becomes, who would that mortal be? A farmer? A milkmaid? A tanner? And what would those guests be doing? Dancing? Singing? Cavorting?

It occurred to me that it would be a lot more fun to have several *different* mortal guests, each behaving according to their own desire.

So I gave Veronica Belmont a call, because a while back we’d talked about her lending her likeness to a different project. She thought being a Mortal Guest in the deck sounded like fun.

What would she like to be doing at the Faerie Revel, I asked. Singing? Dancing? Cavorting with…

Cavorting, she said. Cavorting with hunky faerie boys.

I’m not sure at what point I decided to call Hank Green, but it was an easy mental step for me to take. In my opinion, someone willing to film himself seducing a tree belongs at a faerie revel.

Hank was delighted to be invited. When, in the interest of full disclosure, I explained to him that there would be some mild cavorting going on, he said he’d happily allow his mortal likeness to be seduced by faerie women, if it was required for the artistic integrity of the deck, that is.

I also explained that… well… there was going to be some gentle nudity in the deck too. Felurian would be naked, because….

At that point, Hank burst out with something along the lines of, “You can totally show my bare ass!”

In that moment, my heart grew three sizes. And I realized I wanted nothing so much in the world as to show Hank Green’s naked ass in this deck of cards.

Those were the 140K stretch goal, and the 150K goal, respectively. Nate’s preliminary sketches are *amazing.*

If any of this bothers you, you probably want to check out the FAQ below, specifically the part titled: “How Sexy is the Faen Deck Going To Be?”

  • Party at PAX

Those of you who have done a few kickstarters know there are typically some high-end donation levels up past 1000 dollars.  I’ve heard them referred to as “Patron Levels” and not only do they offer up some cool perks, but they give people a chance to throw money at a project if they *really* want to show their support.

People were asking if we were going to add a level like that, so we did. It’s for a Pairs release party during PAX in Seattle.

At that level, you get twelve decks, the coin, the bookplate…

bookplate-sketch2[3]

…and all the other goodies included in the 120 dollar level. In addition to all that, you get a swag bag full of additional swag, too.

PLUS you get two tickets to the Pairs release party with James Ernest, Shane Tyree, Paul Peterson, myself, and whatever other cool geeks we manage to round up. And, given that it’s going to be PAX weekend, there will be some awesome geeks in town.

Personally, I’m hoping Phil Foglio will be there.

We’ll eat good food, hang out, and play games. If Catan is available, I will systematically play and destroy all who dare oppose me. Maybe we’ll be playtesting tak by that point. Or corners.

If only a few tickets sell, it will be a cosy affair. If more tickets sell, we’ll upgrade to full shindig level with a bigger venue where everything will be extra fancy and we’ll have some kind of hot cheese.

So now you know.

  • FAQ:

 

Can I order internationally?

Yes, the shipping just costs a little more. Details are right on the kickstarter page.

What decks are there again? What’s been unlocked?

There’s a new graphic showing this on the Kickstarter, but let me steal it and post it up here so everyone can see without having to click through:

Card display

(Click to Embiggen)

Why don’t you have a color Modegan card yet?

Well…. that’s my fault. I picked the hardest card in the Modegan deck to work on first, The High King. There’s a lot of iconography and detail work to get right, especially as this is the first glimpse of Modeg any of you are going to have. I spent hours on it with Shane… then realized it was all wrong and we had to start over.

Shane is a saint, really. He puts up with me being a real freak.

But the result ends up being some *beautiful* art:

Cards

Rest assured you’ll be seeing a couple cool examples of the Modegan Deck before too long though.

Are we going to hit 200K and unlock the Girl Genius Phil Foglio deck?

Absolutely. The last days for a kickstarter always end up huge. We’ll hit $200K easy.

 

Why did you bring in Hank and Veronica?

Short version? I thought it would be fun.

Long answer is the same as when I brought in Neil Gaiman and Felicia Day in the NOTW deck.

Some of these decks are going to be limited edition?

Yeah. The plan is for some of the decks to be re-printed indefinitely, showing up in game stores and conventions. Odds are they’ll retail for 10-12 dollars.

Other decks won’t be re-printed. They might only be sold in a few places after the kickstarter. And when they’re gone, they’re gone.

I think it’s fairly safe to say that the core deck will stay in print. Probably the Modegan deck too. Maybe… Pirates and Barmaids too?

Honestly, I’m just guessing right now. The best thing to do right now is if you want a deck, buy it now. If you want to have a spare deck, or one to give away as a gift, you might want to buy that now too….

So… just how sexy is this Faen deck going to be?

Apparently a non-zero number of people are concerned about how risque the Faen deck is going to be.

Unfortunately, there’s no solid metric that I can give you. I can’t say something like “It’ll be PG-13″ because that means different things to different people.

Instead, I’m going to tell you why you shouldn’t buy the Faen deck:

  • If the thought of seeing Felurian’s naked ass on a playing card will give you apoplexy, don’t buy the Faen deck.
  • If the thought of seeing Bast dance naked around a fire horrifies you, don’t buy the Faen deck.
  • If the sight of a bare breast will ruin your day, don’t buy the Faen deck.
  • If the thought of faeries seducing some mortal makes you uncomfortable, don’t buy the Faen deck.
  • If seeing a picture of two hunky elf dudes kissing will terribly offend you, don’t buy the Faen deck.
  • If Hank Green’s nude butt is going to freak you out, don’t buy the Faen deck.

On the other hand, if you like the thought of a deck of cards where consenting fictional characters cavort around playfully, some of them in moderate undress… well… then this deck might be for you.

Now is the deck going to be all full of nymph coochie and big wangly elf dong? No. I hope you know me better than that. (I’m saving that for my urban fantasy series.)

The Mortal Guest cards will be kinda naughty. Felurian will be naked, seen from behind. Remmen is currently wearing a loincloth and his cloak of autumn leaves. There will be hunky Fae boys with no shirts on. And that’s about it. Nobody’s going to be fucking a horse or anything. I’m not looking to do the Faerie version of Caligula here….

In brief, if you think this deck isn’t for you? It probably isn’t for you. The solution is to not buy it. That would be the right choice.

The *wrong* choice would be to buy it, unwrap it, look at it, get a magnifying class so you can see every tiny detail on the Faerie Revel card, become so angry you vomit molten bile, then have a stroke and die.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you.

I’m kinda confused about how I buy the decks I want…

Here’s how it works.

Let’s say you sign up at the 16 dollar level. You get one deck. After the kickstarter is finished, you get to pick your one deck from all the ones that have been unlocked.

If you sign up at the 42 dollar level, after the kickstarter is over you can pick out four decks. So you could grab 1 core deck, 1 princess deck, 1 Phil Foglio deck, and 1 copy of Falling, because you like the thought of playing a game where the object is to be the person who’s hitting the ground last.

Or you could buy 2 Princess decks and 2 Modegan decks.

Or you could buy 4 copies of the Faen deck, because you’re dirty.

 

But here’s the thing, once the kickstarter is over, it’s *over.* You won’t be able to add more decks after the kickstarter is closed.

Fair warning.

pat

Also posted in Dionysian force, Nathan Taylor Art, sexy, side projects | By Pat53 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 calling on the legions | By Pat89 Responses

Stretch Goals, The Kindness of Geeks, and Two Extra Days

As I write this, Worldbuilders has raised $617,000, crushing last year’s total.

ScreenCap1

Because of this maelstrom of support from the geek community, we blew through every stretch goal we had posted.

So yesterday I spent some time on the phone to see who else might be willing to help out. Brian Brushwood offered to teach me to eat fire. (Which is going to make for a great video not matter how it works out.) John Kovalic offered to make a mockery of me in his comic. Nate Taylor was willing to help me develop a new, more detailed map of the Four Corners world.

We posted up those new stretch goals… and passed them almost immediately.

So today we’re doing three things:

  1. We’re showing off the stretch goals we’ve already passed.
  2. We’re posting up a few new stretch goals.
  3. We’re extending the fundraiser a couple days.

This last one shouldn’t come as a *huge* surprise for those of you who have followed our fundraiser in the past. Over the last couple years, it’s become kind of a tradition. In 2012 we extended things a week. In 2011, we extended things *two* weeks.

The difference is, in previous years we needed the extra time because… well… because I was trying to do everything myself, and I suck at organization. This year I was smarter. I’ve let the Worldbuilders team handle more and more. As a result, the fundraiser has been running smoothly and raising a ton of money….

And, because of *that* we’ve been getting media coverage over the last couple days. Which means folk are finding out about us just how and jumping onboard. We’re raising, on average, about $1,500 dollars an hour. Stopping our fundraiser right now, just as so many folks are hearing about it, seems a little silly.

So we’re extending it two days. Worldbuilders now ends the night of Feb 4th, midnight.

Just long enough for disorganized people like me to make last-minute donations.

Long enough to show you our newly unlocked stretch goals…

When Trey told us he’d take a selfie for his stretch goal, we thought it was a brilliant idea. After all, he’s a world-famous photographer. Seven million people follow him on Google+ to look at his pictures.

Then we saw what he did, and it was so much better than what we’d imagined.

Trey Ratcliff - Bathroom Selfie

(Click to enbiggen. Seriously.)

He also shot a video about his adventures setting up the shot. It’s a fabulous story that involves, among other things, the taxidermied sheep you see in the photo.

 

Scott and Elizabeth did not hold back on their true feelings on the second Hobbit film. As you can tell from the fact that their rage-filled video is well over an hour long.

If you needed another reason to love John Scalzi, here it is….

I swear, Hank came up with this on his own.

When Mary come up to Stevens Point to film this, I hadn’t yet read the erotic fanfic she’d written for our 175K stretch goal.

That’s right, I read it cold. So if I’m blushing there, you know why.

The truly amazing thing is how much she *nailed* my writing style.

  • $400,000 Sandeep Parikh drinks a Capri Sun while doing a handstand.

This is the most dramatic thing I’ve seen in… maybe ever.

Brad filmed himself reading the riddle scene from The Hobbit out in the snow… in shorts and a t-shirt. Now, I’m a Wisconsinite… but honestly, even I probably would have worn pants for this.

Probably.

In keeping with our Hobbit theme, Molly did an amazing cover of The Greatest Adventure.

It also got this song stuck in my head. For days.

It’s still there. But in all honesty, I don’t really mind.

  • $475,000 Pat Rothfuss and Amber Benson write urban fantasy erotica.

This is a stretch goal Amber and I dared each other into during an interview.

We hit it, so now Amber and I will write the story of Deuteronomy Jones a “transsexual, plucky, red-headed vampire hunter.” And Lance Franklin. “Rogue warlock-in-hiding. Half-succubus. (On his mother’s side.) And also, a Calvin Klein model.”

I’ll be writing the female character. Amber’s doing the male.

Yeah. It’s going to be a thing….

The title here tells you everything you need to know….

*     *     *

If these acts of whimsy have amused you, you can help spread the word about Worldbuilders by sharing them around to your friends.

2013 Book Wall 02

Feel free to let people know that every ten bucks they donate on the Worldbuilders Team Page, makes the world a better place AND gives you the chance to win a truly staggering number of rare, signed, or otherwise valuable books.

You can see *all* of our stretch goals here, including our new unlocked ones…..

So there you go.

Now, when you head into work tomorrow, and everyone is having the same boring conversation about Superbowl commercials, you can let your geek flag fly by saying, “That’s nothing, I saw Hank Green seduce a tree.” Or “Have you watched the video of Neil Gaiman reading Green Eggs and ham?”

Thanks for everything, folks. You’re all amazing.

pat

Also posted in geeking out, Nathan Taylor Art, videos, Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat53 Responses

Coinage from Game of Thrones and Wheel of Time

In the last four days, Worldbuilders has raised more than $45,000 for Heifer International.

That’s enough to give 150 communities the equipment and training they need to start farming fish.

Tanzania2

Heifer trains folks how to engage in sustainable fish farming, which gives families lean, healthy protein to eat. It also creates jobs and income for those who learn to farm the fish.

Best of all this knowledge is easily transferable, allowing farmers to pass on the gift to other communities quickly, spreading the wealth far and wide.

Tanzania4

Thanks for helping us make this happen.

*     *     *

Today we’ve got something near and dear to my heart: fantasy coinage.

Specifically, we’ve got some beautifully made coins from The Wheel of Time and Game of  Thrones.

These are donated by the inestimable Tom Maringer. And I have to say, folks. He does beautiful work. If you’re a bit of a coin geek like me, just looking at the stuff he does over at the Shire Post Mint will make your fingers itch.

How much do I like his stuff? I like it enough that we’re working together to make some of the currency from *my* world, and you know how much of an obsessive perfectionist I am….

Since I’m well aware that some people (some sad, misguided people) aren’t into coinage, we’re not putting these in the lottery. We’ve got them up for sale in The Tinker’s Packs, instead.

As always, all proceeds from The Tinker’s Packs go Worldbuilders.

Here’s He’s donated some Wheel of Time coins:

  • The Tar Valon Mark

Tar Valon Mark Front

These are officially licensed coins based on The Wheel of Time, and this one features the face of Deane Aryman, holding a flame on her open palm, flanked by seven stars and wearing the stole of the Amyrlin Seat, striped with seven colors.

Tar Valon Mark Back

The reverse side features the ancient symbol of the Ouroboros, the snake eating it’s own tail, used to symbolize eternity. In the center is the Flame of Tar Valon, official symbol of the White Tower and the Amyrlin Seat.

We have these available on The Tinker’s Packs individually over here.

  • Manetheren Golden Crown of Ellisande

Manetheren5

Here is a coin hailing from the town of Manetheren. The front features a bust of Eldrene ay Ellan ay Carlan, also known as Ellisande, Queen of Manetheren, who was pivotal in the Trolloc Wars.

Manetheren4

On the reverse we find a rendition of the Red Eagle and the inscription. CARAI AN CALDAZAR. The ancient warcry of Manetheren and its last king, whose queen, Eldrene, was called Rose of the Sun.

If you want this one, it’s available right here.

Or if you’d like both Wheel of time Coins, you can buy them at a bit of a discount over here.

Next, we have something cool from Game of Thrones

  • Daemon Blackfyre Dragons

daemon blackfyre1

In the past of Westeros, Daemon Targaryen believed himself a king so deeply, he used his charisma to bring in followers to aid him in a rebellion against his scholarly brother, Daeron II.

During this rebellion, Daemon had the forethought to start producing his own coins, to mark his future ascension to the throne.

daemon blackfyre2

If you want to get your hands on these beautiful coins, we have them available over here.

If you buy two, you save $5, and if you buy three, you save $10, so they’re a steal.

So there you go.  Hopefully something tickles your fancy, but if it doesn’t, you can always go kick ten bucks into the Team Page for a chance to win one of the thousands of books up for grabs in the lottery, as well.

Thanks for being amazing and making the world a better place with us.

 

Also posted in The Tinker's Packs, Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat14 Responses

A Cold Day, A Warm Fuzzy, and a Familiar Book….

Well folks, as many of you know, we’re having a bit of a cold snap here in Wisconsin.

It’s not the coldest weather I’ve ever seen. But it is cold. -20 something Fahrenheit. Or, if you’re part of the logistically consistent world, -30 degrees Celsius.

If you count the windchill, we’re closer to -40. Which, interestingly enough, is that magical place where both Celsius and Fahrenheit shake hands and agree on a number.

We’re no strangers to the cold here in Wisconsin, but this is enough to catch even our jaded attention. It’s cold enough that we’re having to make some concessions. For one thing, I actually put on gloves earlier this evening, and I buttoned up my coat.

The other thing I’ve done is to give everyone at Worldbuilders the day off. Some of them have to commute to work, and not to sound all sissy, but this *is* the sort of cold that can kill you pretty easily if your car quits on some back road.

You see, while I may be a tyrannical dictator of a boss, I like to think of myself as a benevolent tyrannical dictator. The sort that stops just short of risking my employees’ lives.

Lastly, something in the cold brings out the storyteller in me. So I’m going to tell you a story. A story about a book. Some of you might have heard it before, but it bears repeating.

And there’s a new chapter this year. Read on, my friend.

*     *     *

If you’ve been following Worldbuilders for the last couple years, you probably know about our now-mythical Stardust ARC. It’s a book that has been with the fundraiser since the beginning, since 2008….

2008: A Gift from Gaiman.

In 2008 I was still a newbie author, barely published for a year. On a whim, I decided to try raising money for Heifer International on my blog. As you can guess, things quickly spiraled out of control as other authors pitched in, helping spread the word and donating books for us to give away.

The pinnacle of the coolness/madness came when Neil Gaiman mentioned us to his vast legion of readers. He also donated a rare ARC of Stardust to the cause. Unfortunately, mail was delayed because of the holidays, so we couldn’t use the book until….

2009: Stardust for the People.

So we had this book. This beautiful book. This beautiful, *rare* book. And I was having a hard time deciding how best to use it. I knew we could auction it off and raise at least a thousand dollars, maybe a couple thousand, but that didn’t seem right somehow.

So I decided to put it into the lottery, where anyone who donated to Heifer International on our team page would have a chance at winning it. That seemed fair to me, more egalitarian.

But then something strange happened. At the end of the fundraiser the person who won the book gave it back to us. Their one stipulation is that we auction it off next year, so it will bring in more money for Heifer. So….

2010: Stardust on the Auction Block.

During year three of Worldbuilders, we auctioned off all manner of things. And, as the previous winner requested, we put Gaiman’s Stardust ARC up on eBay too.

After some fierce bidding it sold for over $2500 to a lovely guy named Dan. There were many high-fives in Worldbuilders central. We were sad to see the book go, but $2500 bucks buys a lot of goats.

But when I e-mailed Dan to arrange shipping, he said he wanted to donate the book back to Worldbuilders.

I asked Dan if he was sure. He said he was sure. I asked Dan how he got to be so cool, and he said he was inspired by the story of how last year’s winner re-donated the book.

But most of the credit, he said, should go to his mom. She always made a point of donating to charity even though she never had a lot of money. Not only that, but she was a dyed-in-the-wool geek like the rest of us: she read fantasy and sci-fi, she played Infocom games…

From everything I’ve heard, she sounds like my kind of lady.

Dan told me she had passed away recently, and that most of the money he inherited from her went into buying this book. He thinks she would be proud and happy to know that the money will go to helping as many people as possible through Heifer.

Dan also said that he was a big Gaiman fan, and that he hoped that this whole exchange didn’t give Gaiman a complex because nobody would keep his book….

His only stipulation was that we put the book back into the lottery next year, so anyone can win it….

2011: Stardust Full Circle.

We put the ARC back into the lottery with much cheering. After picking the prizes, I called the winner, Maayan, to set up shipping (because you don’t want something like this to be a surprise on a doorstep).

Maayan tells me no.  She wants it back in the fundraiser. It’s sort of a thing now.

I send her a box of books as a “Thanks for being cool” present.

And Stardust goes back on the shelf…

2012: Stardust as Statistical Anomaly.

In 2012, we put Stardust back in the lottery again. Mostly because I like the idea of this amazingly cool prize being something anyone can win.

At the end of the fundraiser, we run our numbers. We cross-reference our list of prizes with our list of winners.

Amanda ran through the house yelling, after she checked it three times.

When I’m told, I look at the assistant holding the handful of papers with grim, fatherly disapproval, telling them in the gentlest of terms that they’ve fucked up and are obviously using last year’s spreadsheets.

But no. The truth is, Maayan won it *again*. For the second year in row.

This is bizarre math, people. This is like Heart-of-Gold level improbability.

I called her. She was shocked, amused, and flustered. So we sent her the book.

And she sent us back a picture.

IMGP0664

Here’s what she had to say:

I was really extremely surprised to win the Stardust ARC two years ago, because I don’t think I’ve ever won any kind of online contest before. I was actually sitting in a hot tub on a ski trip to Colorado when Pat called, and my friends got to watch me make the craziest faces while on the phone. A few weeks later, Neil Gaiman sent me a little card with a picture he had drawn in it, which was so nice of him.

When Pat called me this year to say that I had won again, I’m pretty sure my first words were, “No, I did not!” Surprised doesn’t begin to describe it. If I win again this year, I’m going to start to be suspicious of your randomization algorithm.

Worldbuilders is such a great fundraiser, and Heifer International is an outstanding organization. I’m thrilled to take part. Thank you to Pat Rothfuss for putting it together, and thank you to all of the authors and artists who donate the prizes! I’ve enjoyed reading the fruits of your generosity.

That’s right, Maayan sent it back to us again.

Thanks so much, Maayan. We’re glad you at least got to touch the book that seems so desperate to meet you.

And without further ado, we’re putting it back in the lottery.

  • A numbered, limited edition ARC of Stardust in its own slipcase. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

Stardust (6)

Not much remains to be said here. It’s a beautiful book with its own slipcase. Numbered 28 out of 250. Signed by Gaiman.

If you donate to Heifer International on our team page, you have a chance of winning not only this book, but hundreds upon hundreds of other books donated by other authors, publishers, collectors and fans.

If you’d like to see some of the auctions we’re running, you can head over to our eBay page.

If you’d like more details about Worldbuilders itself, you can hit our Website, or read my blog.

You can also see all the items in the lottery here.

Stay warm everyone,

pat

Also posted in Neil Gaiman, Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat61 Responses

The Harry Potter Alliance

When I was at ConQuest in Kansas City this year, I met up with the head of the Harry Potter Alliance, Paul DeGeorge.

What’s the Harry Potter Alliance? Well funny you should ask. The HPA is a charitable organization created by Harry Potter fans.  They take an outside-of-the-box approach to civic engagement by using parallels from the Harry Potter books to educate and mobilize people across the world. They focus on issues like literacy, equality, and human rights.

While it might have started in the Harry Potter fandom, these days people from all different corners of the geek world work with them on their projects. Most notably the Nerdfighters, fans of the Vlogbrothers channel on YouTube. (As some of you might remember, Amanda is a Nerdfighter).

What do they do specifically? Well, this last year alone, they:

  • Made over 3,000 calls for marriage equality in Maine last November, and it passed.
  • Collected over 30,000 books from fans and donated them to various literacy charities during their Accio Books campaign.
  • Debuted an Apparating Library at LeakyCon London – something of a pop-up convention library where if you donate a book, you can “check one out” at the end of the convention.
  • Launched the Superman Is An Immigrant campaign to collect and share immigration stories, and helped pass the Maryland DREAM Act this summer.
  • Ran a campaign that led over 200,000 Harry Potter fans to ask Warner Bros. about the sourcing of cocoa used in their chocolate frogs.

It turns out that Paul is a fan of my books, so when they started the Apparating Library the first book included was the Name of the Wind.

apparating3

Here’s the thing: they’ve been doing a lot of cool things, but enthusiasm can only get you so far. Eventually you need money to keep the wheels turning for a charity.

That means every year, the HPA runs an annual IndieGoGo where they give away cool perks in return for donations.

So when they asked me if I’d like to help this year, I threw this into the ring.

HPA Cover Final

(My house on an average day.)

We gathered together a bunch of my previous writings into one place. Ancient blogs and columns that I wrote for the local paper back in the day. I tweaked and edited them. The fabulous Brett Hiorns did a bunch of new illustrations for it. And I added a bunch of footnotes to give historical context or make snarky comments about my past self’s writing style.

Topics include writing advice, the nature of love, and jokes about methadone and monkeys. Plus, you could read a story about a time I was nearly arrested.  Who doesn’t want to do that?

It’s at the $20 tier, and all of that money will go to charity, since it’ll be a digital download that won’t cost them anything to ship out.

[Edit: Over on the donation page it says the booklet is 20 pages long, but I've added a bunch of stuff to it since then, so now it's closer to 30 pages.]

If you’re interested, and you want to help make the world a better place for everyone, feel free to head over to the campaign and contribute.  It’s only running for 5 more days, and the perk won’t be available anywhere else anytime soon, so be sure to go grab yours.

Caffeinatedly yours,

pat

Also posted in BJ Hiorns Art | By Pat42 Responses
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