Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Moving things around a bit.

I have started moving my posts over to my website. They can/ will be found on the navbar at the top under "Wasted The Game".



Monday, May 25, 2015

One Thing: The Tower of Nicanor

"The Tower of Nicanor: The King of Lambs" by Francisco Javier Barrera

One thing I love about this OPD is that it serves to ignite the imagination. Listen, I get that this is pretty spartan as far as one page dungeons go. This is often the case with submissions that lean heavily on an illustration or isometric cartography. Barrera did a great job suggesting a lot with the illustration of the tower and the use of simple labels. This was a very popular submission for a reason.

Get it here.


Mini Boss: Winged Lizard

You might expect the Winged Lizard to have a bunch of health points and a high target number, but really it is a trap. A trap with a 50/50 chance for survival.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

One Thing: Church of the Wicked Generation

"Church of the Wicked Generation" by Eric Potter

One thing I love about this OPD is it is all about "shades of gray". The "evil cleric" and his child minions looted and pillaged a countryside already ravaged by a plague. The surrounding hamlets retaliated by boarding up the church and burning everyone inside alive hoping to loot the treasury once the embers cooled. The player characters enter the ruins of the church presumably looking to discover and loot the lost treasury for themselves. Despite all the moral ambiguity surrounding the set up, the main villain proves to be quite the bastard, and any party could feel good about putting him to the sword, or the axe, or the lightning bolt spell...

Get it here.


Kevlar Cadaver

The Kevlar Cadaver (man I want to spell cadaver with a "K") doesn't quite live up to his potential. He has a very slow fire rate with his pistol. Thankfully he doesn't know about the M16 on his back with full auto capabilities.

The Cadaver is immune to Insta-Kills due to its heavy body armor. Don't get excited though, because by the time you are through killing him it will be worthless.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Boss: Ravager Warlord

The Ravager Warlord is one of four "Boss" opponents. The Warlord is moderately weak to fire, but otherwise difficult to hit. He has three health points, making him difficult to beat in single combat. If you do manage to defeat the Warlord, you will gain a "relic".

Relics are unique Salvage items that can be stored next to your character card, and do not take up "hand" space. The Warlord's sawed off shotgun might just be worth the trouble.  using it (discarding it instead of rolling to attack) gives you a four in six chance to Insta-Kill an opponent (even other bosses unless otherwise stated).


One Thing: The Burden

Get It Here
"The Burden" by Eran Aviram

One thing I love about this OPD is the premise. The titan, who lives "off camera", wanders a predictable route through difficult and dangerous terrain. The dungeon on his back has been repurposed by many over the years, often used as a means of transportation, or to transport trade goods across realms. This OPD stands on its own, but could also be used as a link between distant locations within your own campaign setting, and an enterprising party of adventurers would likely repurpose it to suit their own desires. This one was a solo effort by +Eran Aviram, who has entered with Aviv Or in the past, and even without her signature style, this dungeon stands out. Nice work Aviram!

Friday, May 22, 2015

One Thing: Little Devils

"Little Devils" by Edward Lockhart

One thing I love about this OPD is the source for all the "punk devils" that are terrorizing the local community: a statue of an hand that is "flipping a bird" after several of the fingers have been broken off.
I am not going to lie, this one made me think of the movie "Gremlins", and that is alright with me. Despite the fact that the devils will attempt to kill the characters, this one is pretty light hearted at its core and could lead to a hilarious night of gaming.

Get it here.


Salvage:Head Gear

Another "special" salvage item that allows you to avoid being instantly killed. This particular helmet is a typical representation of Ravager "high fashion". As with all Salvage cards, once this one is discarded, it goes back into circulation to be found again.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

One Thing: Conspiracies and Capers

"Conspiracies and Capers" by Dustin Andrews

One thing I love about this, um OPD?, is that it serves as an all in one resource for tracking down a mastermind or villain, and linking them to a series of crimes. While this is technically not a One Page Dungeon, it is certainly a one page resource that can come in handy across genres. I think it could be used as is, or even piecemeal to suit the needs of your campaign, and it is obvious Andrews put a lot of thought into this system.

Get it here.


Pot Shotter

Pot Shotters dwell in high places, and rely on their aim and superior position to defeat opponents. The Pot Shotter is a "Mook +" card. He is easy to beat, but gets three free attacks before you can get to him. This is not quite as bad as it sounds, as these attacks have a negative two penalty to the dice total.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

One Thing: The Scepter of Yolacha

"The Scepter of Yolacha" by David Dudka

One thing I love about this OPD is the amount of new content Dudka created in the process of making it. I count four new "statted out" monsters (saber worms, clawtail rats, trogers, and guwls) as well as "Dimmer" (a +2 shortsword that grants a +3 bonus to hide in shadows) and the Scepter itself.

This is a ready to play adventure that I would use as written. Good stuff Dudka!

Get it here


Special Salvage: Riot Shield

The riot shield is one of four special "salvage" cards that can be discarded from your hand to negate an Insta-Kill when an opponent rolls double sixes. Cards such as this reside in the player's hand (as opposed to being equipped in the fantasy variant).

There are other cards that provide protection against dreaded Insta-Kills, such as the Fallen Deader.

Finishing this card brings the game to roughly 71% complete!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mongrel Captain

Mongrels are fearsome opponents. They have been bred for war, and if there is no war to be fought they will start one. These beasts can often be found raiding dungeons as part of their training exercises. The Mongrel Captain is a difficult opponent to beat. With two health points and a defense score of ten, not to mention the +2 to attack rolls, you should probably run. Then again, he does have two loot...

-Messing around with pencil shading as a way to further differentiate the fantasy cards from the "aftermath" cards.


One Thing: The Mad Gnome and the Earthquake Machine

Get It Here
"The Mad Gnome and the Earthquake Machine" by David Dolph

One thing I love about this OPD, aside from the puzzles and tile clues to help at the very end, is the premise itself. I really dig the idea of an insane architect whose creations were secretly death traps that would reveal their horrible nature over time.  Dolph did a great job creating a villain we can love to hate, but do nothing about it directly to him, aside from foil his final revenge plot. From a few lines of text, I was able to flesh this NPC out almost instantly. I imagined him creating the switches to deactivate the earthquake machine not only as a means to exact revenge after his demise, but also as a way to feel like the most powerful figure the city while he was alive, able to save or destroy the citizens on a whim.


Monday, May 18, 2015

The "Not So Furious" Road To 100

I have been working on cards with a general sense of how they will all come together. Today I plotted them out on a "hundred grid" to see where I was, and how far I have to go. Ten of these will be easy (bullets and first aid) as I already have images I can repurpose. That leaves 26 that will be a bit more time consuming, and of course getting the rules onto four cards (which I think is doable)

I want to add a fifth faction so that if a player's character dies, they will have another character option when starting over. I am hopeful I can "pay" for this by reducing the number of rules cards to three (that's six card sides).


One Thing: Slave Hold of the Ogre Mage

"Slave Hold of the Ogre Mage" by Dave Zajac

One thing I love about this OPD is the clean, classic look. The cartography is slick, simple, and well placed. The three column layout feels professional. I guess I like everything about this adventure except room #8.  This is the controversial room that features a graphic depiction of sexual assault on a female NPC. I remember reading about this in a post on DaddyRolleda1, but didn't know offhand which submission they were referring to.

Because the One Page Dungeons are licensed under creative commons, I was able to make a "derivative" of the original under the same license.  I tried my best to preserve the look and feel, and to cut and replace the bare minimum number of words needed to change room #8.

To do this,I "placed" the One Page Dungeon in a blank Indesign document, and added some white blocks over the aforementioned text.  I then used the same font and made the smallest changes I could to eliminate the references that I feel hurt an otherwise solid OPDC submission. I burned a PDF, and threw it up on a google drive.  If you want the original, then head over to the One Page Dungeon site and grab it.

If you want a version that is nearly identical to the original, but does not include rape, then click below to grab a copy.

Get the edited version here.

Ratling Scout

The Ratling Scouts scour the wasted city looking for useful salvage and easy prey. The ratlings are aware that they are easily outmatched by the "hardened" characters, and employ hit and run tactics to slowly whittle them down and loot their corpses.

While fairly weak, the Ratlings do have one advantage they exploit to the fullest. If they survive the first round of combat, they are able to automatically escape, taking away the player's ability to draw a salvage card after the fight.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

One Page Dungeon Contest/ One Thing: Weekly Roundup

I have been having an issue with my posts being labeled as spam in this(One Page Dungeon Contest) community, and Alex has been approving each of them manually. In an effort to work around the problem, I have stopped sharing the posts when I publish them, and will simply share one post with links to this community, as suggested by Claytonian JP. Click below each image to go to the original post.


View Post

Sunday, 17MAY15
One Thing: Beneath Castle Blackhawk: Nice, classic red box feel to this One Page Dungeon.

View Post
Saturday, 16MAY15
One Thing: The Witch of the Well
There is no spoon...

View Post

Friday, 15MAY15
One Thing: The Tower of the Fox
Catch a fox by the tail, if you can...

View Post
Thursday, 14MAY15
One Thing: The Book of True Names
The whole dungeon is a puzzle.

View Post

Wednesday, 13MAY15
One Thing: The Wizard Returns
Crash landing on a game table (hopefully yours) near you!

View Post

Tuesday, 12MAY15
One Thing: The Devil's Teapot
Better stock up on climbing gear before this one.

View Post
Monday, 11MAY15
One Thing: Den of the Dreamers
a bunch of people chain smoking in a casino? That sounds about right. Nice location!

One Thing: Beneath Castle Blackhawk

"Beneath Castle Blackhawk" by Darcy Perry

One thing I love about this OPD is that it instantly elicits nostalgia. Reading this takes me back to middle school, and that is not meant as a slight! This is the sort of adventure that filled my younger self with awe and drew me into role playing in the first place, and this is a good thing. There is a ton of value in nostalgia, and some would argue this a key component of the much debated definition of "OSR".  The layout, which seems to be done by hand, easily rivals submissions created with expensive software.  Perry did a great job, and I feel like this One Page Dungeon should come in a very thin red box!

Get it here.


Fallen Deader

The Deaders are, in fact, not dead. They aren't even undead. But their leader is. They follow an infected WarMaiden who has retained more of her human nature than most. Unfortunately, in life, she was something of a a terror and could have done with the clean slate that "undeath" often brings.

The Fallen Deader has failed to measure up in some way, or has displeased "Her Undying Grace" in some manner and has been cast out to fend for himself. Few survive for long, and fewer still manage the complete the journey to the ruined city.

The Fallen Deader will drop before the infected character, and become a devoted follower. This is represented "in game" by adding the encounter card to the "Infected" player's hand and then discarding to gain a boost in combat, or to absorb an Insta-Kill (when an opponent rolls double sixes against a player). If the Infected player does not have hand space due to wounds, or chooses not take this card, the Deader is added to the encounter card discard pile. This is an example of cards that are designed to benefit a particular "character faction".


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Loot Item: Falcon Helm

Yeah! I was finally able to recycle an old picture I made that sat unused on my hard drive. The Falcon Helm is an example of a "loot" item in the fantasy variant of my game. Items such as the helm are unique in that they may be placed next to the character card and "equipped", freeing up vital "hand" space. There are other cards that have similar qualities, but they reside in the player's hand. Loot items, referred to as "salvage" in the "aftermath" version of the game are more utilitarian and simple by design.  Click here to see an example.


One Thing: The Witch of the Well

Nice Layout, O'Donnell!
"The Witch of the Well" by Daniel O'Donnell

One thing I love about this OPD is the look of the thing. O'Donnell did a great job with illustrating the setting, and took full advantage of the limited space afforded by this format with text and illustrations that flow well together. I particularly like the skull spoons illo's on the top left, no doubt found hanging in the spoon tree.  This is another "creepy/ horror" one page dungeon, and I am noticing a strong trend towards this theme in the submissions I have looked over for the 2014 contest.
Get it here.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Long Tooth

The frightful visage of the Long Tooth resulted in their near extinction in heavily populated areas. Fleeing civilization, Long Teeth dwell in dark and forgotten places. Do not burden yourself with compassion for these beasts, as they view other humanoids as little more than a food source.

While not a terribly difficult opponent, a Long Tooth that survives long enough to strike a character will have its health doubled.


One Thing: Tower of the Fox

Get It Here
"Tower of the Fox" by Daniel Dean

One thing I love about this OPD is the large array of tapestries within the tower. Each of the tapestries represents a "pocket dimension" or small game world that can be entered in pursuit of a fleeing fox. There are twenty tapestries the fox can choose from ( as determined by a die roll and a chart). The party must complete a strange "side quest" in order to emerge from the tapestry. These range from slaughtering an innocent "in the service of a strange god" to caring for a sick child who, it seems, is some manner of doppleganger.  It is possible that the party may have to enter more than one of these, depending on the situation and the game master I suppose.  The setup reminds me a bit of a "deck of wondrous things".


Thursday, May 14, 2015

BloodHawk (aftermath)

The night sky is thick with starving bloodhawks in the ruins of the world. While the bloodhawks are one of the weaker opponent types you will face, they can attach themselves to you and take up valuable space in your "hand" without a fight (roughly 17% of the time).

Once attached, they are treated in the same manner as a wound card, and valuable medical salvage must be discarded to remove them.

This is the "aftermath" version of a fantasy "BloodHawke" found here


One Thing: The Book of True Names

Get It Here
"The Book of True Names" by Christian Hollnbuchner

One thing I love about this OPD is that the dungeon itself is a puzzle that must be solved in order to reach the final reward, or even to escape as the entry portal disappears once the party enters the dungeon. At the risk of sounding like an idiot, I tried to figure out navigating this dungeon, using the keys, and had a devil of a time figuring out how it could be done. I forgot that a party could split up in order to activate or deactivate certain portals to allow travel from platform to platform. Still, it could be tricky having to get all the characters together again at the exit. I don't have the mental stamina to figure it out right now, but I am going to come back to it later. The "reward" is interesting, and a creative game master could drop this dungeon into their campaign to help the players deal with a powerful adversary (or gain a powerful ally).


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Blood Hawke (fantasy)

Blood Hawkes are usually found in swamps or marshes, but they are quite found of damp ruins and dungeons as well. Being patient hunters, the Hawkes will cling to a ceiling or vertical surface and lie in wait. Blood Hawkes are stealthy, and large targets seldom realize they have been attacked. Against humanoid targets, the Hawke's proboscis can prove quite deadly. Overall, the Blood Hawke is a weak opponent, but a successful sneak attack can spell doom for your character.

This is the fantasy version of the "aftermath" Blood Hawk found here.


One Thing: The Wizard Returns

"The Wizard Returns" by Chris Salmon

One thing I love about this OPD is the premise. A wizard has transformed his tower into a rocket, presumably navigating to the unknown successfully. The return trip was not so smooth, as the "rocket tower" has crashed nose down into the earth. This makes sense considering it wasn't really the Wizard trying to pilot the thing after all.  Honestly there is a lot to love about this one page dungeon. In particular I really like the events that occur once the players gain access to area #5 (the cockpit).  I could summarize it, but you really should read it for yourself.

Get it here.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Rat Chain Puller

The Rat Chain Puller has proven its worth at dozens of lesser tasks and has been entrusted with this sacred duty. At the first sign of trouble, the Puller will release a giant rat that is sure to terrorize adventurers.

The Puller is a weak specimen, and can be easily dispatched. Just don't miss. The Giant Rat is considerably more difficult to beat, with two health, an increased defense score, and a bonus of +2 on attack rolls. 


One Thing: The Devil's Teapot

"The Devil's Teapot" by Chris Coski

One thing I love about this OPD is the thought that Coski put into making this playable across multiple game systems. The author was able to do this by including one simple paragraph that explained the universal terminology associated with the dungeon. I really liked the use of "Roll' as a stand in for whatever check a game master would require specific to their system. I think this saves a lot of space in the long run across the page, and was a very smart choice. I also think that knowing what roll, or what level of damage a hazard poses would be a simple, and almost reflexive affair for a game master.

Get it here.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Dark Cultist

The Dark Cultists are tethered to an otherworldly being they refer to as the "All Mother". They scavenge ruins and dungeons looking for lost artifacts that may one day be used to prepare this world for her arrival. Of course it is just as likely they are being manipulated by a cabal of necromancers or some other nefarious organization.

Whatever the dark truth is, there is strength in their devotion. Each combat turn they survive renews their fanaticism and increases their attack rolls by +1.


One Thing: Den of the Dreamers

"Den of the Dreamers" by bygrinstow

One thing I love about this OPD is that it creates a great location for any number of adventures. Add to this that the "Den" in linked to bygrinstow's OPDC submission from the previous year and you get a lot of setting "bang" for your buck, or in this case, for free.  By design, this setting is something of a ticking time bomb and once the players eventually "sandbox" the hell out of the casino, they will disrupt the Psykons lurking beneath. While this is definitely a "fantasy" setting, reading it reminded me of playing Shadowrun in "the old days". Great stuff, and I look forward to bygrinstow's 2015 entry.

Get it here.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Skeletal Swordmaster

In life, the Skeletal Swordmaster met no equal with a blade. Even in death, he has retained much of his renowned skill. If the Swordmaster turns your blade, he will gain a quick strike that does not count as his official attack.

This makes the Swordmaster a tricky foe, and amplifies the severity of a poor attack roll. Considering he has two life points, it may be wise to discard a "Sacred" loot card to gain an edge in the fight.


SpearHead Drake

The SpearHead Drake relies on instinct, and targets body locations that seem to contain delicious organs. The head of the Drake has been known to puncture plate armor, and all in all it is a thing to be feared.

The Drake's mouth is located on the top of its head, allowing it to feast on unprotected organs once its prey is skewered. When a character has been hit by the Drake, escape is no longer an option, and a true fight to the death has begun.

With two life points and a defense of 9, the Spearhead Drake is a
formidable foe. Throw in "No Escape" and "Auto-Hit" and it becomes a dreadful opponent.


One Thing: Baphomet's Basement

Get It Here
"Baphomet's Basement" by Brad Black

One thing I love about this One Page Dungeon is the attention to detail that is given to both the harpy and the coffer corpse. While getting a lot of detail into a OPD is a challenging affair, Black added just a few lines that I felt helped flesh these two opponents out. The harpy wields an enchanted warhammer, which seems an unlikely choice. Within the harpy's nest the remains of a fallen dwarf can be discovered, and the origin of the weapon becomes apparent. While this is really a small and simple detail, it adds a layer of depth and backstory to the monster.  Black offers a bit of strategy when describing the coffer corpse. Although it can only be harmed by magic weapons, it will feign death if it sustains enough "damage" from normal weapons, and then launch a surprise attack on the unsuspecting party.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

One Thing: The Lair of Cruxis the Cryomancer

"The Lair of Cruxis the Cryomancer" by Bob Brinkman

One thing I loved about this One Page Dungeon is (are) the chairs in room #6. They are constructed or carved from a light blue ice, and yet are given an organic appearance by the inclusion of a white ice to replicate a wood grain. This was just a small, well thought out, detail that was included in the description of the room. While technically another thing I loved, but in keeping with the theme of well thought out details, I also really liked the healing potions that can be salvaged from room #11 which cause wounds to "freeze over' and then "thaw" to reveal restored tissue.

Get it here


Parallel Development

I have been working on a card game that takes place in ruined city in the aftermath of world destruction. A lot of the ideas I come up with are too rooted in fantasy to use.  My plan has been to make a fantasy variant of the game, but I decided it makes sense to work on both at the same time.  This card is a rough, and the final style will probably differ a little more from the apocalypse themed game.


New Monster?

Disclaimer: In real life, yogibo's are awesome. We love our yogibo. I received a tweet from the company that simply said "Whoa". This made me feel a little guilty, because one or more of us are on the thing every day. The following is "just for fun" and is in no way a product review, or meant to be disparaging towards yogibo's (or meat boys) in the real world. 

Super Yogi-Boy
We got a "yogibo" for my wife over the holidays, and after months of use, I think I am qualified to share the dark secret all yogibo owners know, but few reveal. What at first seemed like a fluffy, wondrous treasure chest is' in fact, closer to some manner of "undead mimic".

Some come to this realization early on, even after one use.  It took me a while to discern the dark nature of this glorified bean bag chair. It's all in the "micro beads" of styrofoam that instantly rearrange themselves to conform to your body no matter the position you choose. It's a bed, its a couch, stand it up and it's an awkward bar stool.  Sounds amazing right? Wrong. Just try to get up after ten minutes or so. You have just experienced "level drain".

Wondrous Bed Roll SZ M; MV 2'; Atk Special;
HD 3+1; HP 14; INT low; AL CE; LV 3; XP 140

Usually found in large treasure hordes, these exotic bedrolls appear to be the "travel pillows" of royalty. Resting on one for even a short time heals 1d4 points of damage. The bedroll now has a taste for the life essence of the character, and the next time they rest, the monster's true nature will be revealed.  The character will find they have been level drained, and will refuse to get up. If the character is not forcibly "helped" off of the bed roll, they will be wholly absorbed in one day's time. If attacked, the bedroll will attempt to control its intended victim, compelling them to come to its aid.

Friday, May 8, 2015

"Crap" Ganger

The "crap" ganger lives up to his name. with a target # of 4 to hit on 2d6 this guy is a push over for sure. Of course the downside to that is he is so inept at survival it is a wonder he has lived long enough to attempt to menace you, and has no salvage to speak of.  Even without salvage, encountering the crap ganger is something of a lucky break, and will likely keep you alive and in the game for one more turn...


One Thing: Ctrl+Paint.com

I submitted this post a year ago on another blog, but I wanted to repost it as Matt Kohr has released a new starter kit that looks really great.  

One thing I love about Ctrl+Paint.com is Matt Kohr. Matt may be the most likeable person I have never met in person. Check out some of his free videos and see what I mean.

I discovered Ctrl+Paint.com about a year ago or so, (two years ago or so now) and I am excited to share this great resource with you.
While the site is focused on digital art using Photoshop, the same principals and many of the techniques that are shown can be used with other software programs or with traditional art methods.

I took an entrepreneurship course last summer, and one of our assignments was to interview an entrepreneur that we respected. My thoughts immediately went to Matt Kohr of Ctrl.paint.com. Matt provides a ton of resources for both aspiring and working artists on his site. He has an extensive library of mostly free digital art tutorials ranging from composition to rendering. I was so impressed with his videos that I was moved to purchase some from the premium series. These videos are ten bucks each, and they are a really great value at that price. Matt also maintains a blog on his website full of useful and insightful information not generally covered in his videos.

There are lots of resources to be found on the web when it comes to digital art. Youtube is great resource for finding a solution to a design or art problem. If you want to take your craft further than quick fixes and slapping textures all over everything, then Ctrl+Paint is a great place to do it.

The quality of the videos is outstanding. Each video is a lesson with a clear objective. The lessons feel "backwards planned" from the objective, and leave you feeling both informed and capable.

The voice over work and audio quality is great too. Matt is a talented speaker and teaching seems to come naturally to him. Moreover he is just sounds like a really great guy. I have only corresponded with Matt via email a couple of times, but after spending so much time with his videos, he feels like an old friend.

As I mentioned earlier, I approached Matt via email about providing an interview about his business for my entrepreneurship class. The questions themselves were provided to me as part of the course assignment.If you are an entrepreneur yourself, or aspire to be (that should just about cover all of us), then I feel you will find Matt's responses insightful and informative.

BDGR: What is your business? What good, service or idea do you provide?
Matt Kohr from Scribblesinstitute.com article
Matt: My business is called Ctrl+Paint.com, and it's a website that teaches digital painting techniques to beginners. It's a large collection of free, streaming, videos supported by a small selection of $10 downloadable videos.  

BDGR: How long have you been in business?
Matt: This is Ctrl+Paint's third year.

BDGR: Is this the first business you have started? If no, what were the previous businesses?
Matt: Yes, though I have done contract illustration work which means I have been self employed before.  

BDGR: How many hours do you work in a typical week?
Matt: It's hard to quantify since I'm playing all of the different roles.  If I'm making new premium content, it's extremely time consuming.  Other weeks, though, I might only be managing the community, answering emails, and creating blog posts -- leading to a less intense schedule.   

BDGR: Discuss two of your greatest challenges. How did you overcome them?
Matt: The first major challenge was to figuring out the general visual style of the site.  This took a few months of design work and research.  The most important aspect of this challenge was to convey the right atmosphere with the colors and layout.  Many revisions later, with help and review from my peers, and it the visual style was complete.  

The second large challenge was figuring out the proper structure for the website.  Over the first two years I had three different major revisions, each transforming the flow of the videos.  Much of this iteration was possible due to a tight communication loop with my viewers.  Based on community feedback, version 3.0 manages to deliver a much more clear path through the learning content.  

BDGR: What factors have made you successful? Do you have a competitive advantage?
Matt: It's hard to know for sure, but I think being clear and concise has been my most successful advantage.  All of my competitors seem to deliver learning in long-form videos (multiple hours) or are low quality instruction (youtube).  Since my videos are short and information rich, they are much more inviting to watch.  Also, they're mostly free.  "Free" has been a great selling point for my content, and viewers seem to recommend it to their friends.  

BDGR: How much research did you do before you opened your business?
Matt: Just personal research.  I needed to know the competition, and to separate myself from them.  Since it's a pretty small niche, there wasn't all that much research that needed to be done. The technical part (building the site, hosting the videos) was a different matter, but that was not too challenging either.  

BDGR: Did you ever apply for a business loan? 
Matt: No.

BDGR: Do you have a mission statement? Are your employees aware of it?

Matt: I don't have a specific statement (and have no employees), but I have a general creed: Clear, concise, and (mostly) free.

BDGR: What do you know now that you wish you knew before you started?

Matt: That planning ahead would have been a good idea.  Much of my revision process on the website layout could have been avoided if I did a bit more planning before launch.  In my case the free videos are a lot like school curriculum, yet I made them in an arbitrary order.  A year later, this became a jumbled mess and I spent months re-working a problem which could have been easily avoided.  

BDGR: In your opinion what are at least two advantages to having your own business?

Matt: Insulation.  My customers are the ones that pay me, so there is no opportunity to be fired or downsized without warning.  Running the site gives me a very different outlook on financial stability, since I have an international audience the risk is distributed quite well.  Short term fluctuations happen, but it's reassuring to know the audience is so broad.

Secondly, I like the geographic freedom that an internet company affords me.  I just moved across the country, and many of my customers will never know the difference.  This is an extremely valuable asset, and often overlooked.  

BDGR: What is your form of ownership – sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or LLC?
Matt: Sole proprietor.  

BDGR:  If you had to do it over again, would you have started your own business?

Matt: Yes.  It's certainly scary sometimes, but it's rewarding every day.  There's nothing quite like being able to make every decision your business faces - and not having a boss to report to!

Many thanks to Matt for taking the time to answer these questions, and for allowing me to use the interview on the blog.


One Thing: The Vaults of Hunger

Get It Here

"The Vaults of Hunger" by J.T. Suesoff
The adventure seems to be centered around a relic of some sort called a "fleshstick" that can create "meat orbs" that may or may not be sentient. The author did a fantastic job creating a vile environment for demons to dwell, and the descrpitions are so visceral it has made me think twice about my next hamburger. Just reading this One Page Dungeon makes my skin crawl, and that is a testament to the great and evocative writing that went into this thing.  Of course I realize that my characters are not real, but I don't know how I would feel about them wading through the bowels of the hell that Seusoff has created. I sure as hell would enjoy running your characters through it though!  


Thursday, May 7, 2015

One Thing: Haunted Treehouse

Get It Here
"Haunted Treehouse" by Barry E. Pace

This is the third scary One Page Dungeon in a row that I have read through. I am going to need a bigger night light, or a cleric...

One Thing I love about this One Page Dungeon is that it takes what feels like a modern story or urban legend, and weaves it into a fantasy setting in a way that I found convincing. I felt pity for the child as I read through this, and I think the players would too (unless your players are a bunch of sandboxing hooligans that would simply set the treehouse on fire while screaming "Don't you try to railroad me, man!")

While the players can affect some sense of resolution in this adventure, there are a lot of unanswered questions. I think this is a good thing, given the format (OPD and all) and I feel that Mr. Pace has crafted a story that will make the players want to find those answers.