Sunday, May 31, 2015

Adventure Modules and Kickstarter

SYSTEM: Any

Over in the Mutants & Masterminds G+ group, I noticed this post from Joe Pearce, trying to Kickstart an adventure module.

I want more adventure modules, so I want to support it (and this is not going to happen, because of unemployment and poverty), but there were a couple of things in his Kickstarter that made me pause. Are these things that should or should not apply to Kickstarters? In some cases, I can certainly imagine them as good practice for something like The Dracula Dossier, but for a single adventure module? I dunno.

(And perhaps this doesn't need to be said, but please: I'm not knocking Joe or his attempt. I'd support it, if I could. What I'm thinking about is stuff that can be in the appeal that will encourage more people to support a Kickstarter.)

These things concerned me:
  • The stretch goals don't actually include the conversions to other games, such as ICONS or Supers Revised or BASH or any of the other supers games. "Easy to convert" — well, yes, it is, for the rules-light supers games, but it wouldn't be if you were converting to, oh, Hero.
  • Supporting the Kickstarter doesn't get you early access to the text, which may or may not be important: in a small-ish release like this, maybe getting the text makes you want to run the adventure early.
  • It's been played by his group and no one else.  Given the ways in which various powers can subvert an adventure (man, did Telepathy do in an adventure idea I had: a character stunted Telepathy while we were playing, and it left me with a much more convoluted set-up, created on the fly), I wonder what lacunae there are.
  • The adventure promo says, "for 4-6 novice characters." What does "novice" mean in this context? If Mutants & Masterminds, does it refer to a particular point cost or power level? PL10 characters at the beginning of their careers can be pretty darn powerful. Would it play with PL8 characters? PL12? Is there going to be a guide on how to adapt it for other power levels?
(Side note: As an inducement, the stickers don't compel me as much as, say, the Villain Cards do. Maybe we play with a different style.)

I'll address my own points with what I'd like to see in an adventure module crowdfunding appeal.
  • It would be nice if the stretch goals contained conversions. He could, for example, line up people to possibly do the conversions, and then if the funding gets that far, he can enlist them. Or he could say, "Backers can enter a poll to see which other games we're going to convert to, and by the end of the Kickstarting period, we'll know, but there will be a conversion for each 200 dollars" or something.
  • I don't want people to flush away the urge to run it by receiving text early, but I do want them to get something to show that the adventure text exists. I'm not sure what that might be...a fragment, perhaps, or some useful character write-ups, maybe of non-villain NPCs.
  • I really want to see something like, "This adventure has been played by three different groups using characters the players brought in, not just a demo set of pre-gens." Or even, "There is a note about which powers will totally derail your adventure. In which case, you still have this bit of world-building."
  • I'd want some clarification on what "novice" means. I can understand that it might be used to get around the problems of zero-to-hero systems, except that  Mutants & Masterminds isn't one of those.
So what do you think? What should be in a Kickstarter for an adventure?