CREATING D & D CONTENT CAN CRUSH YOU A LITTLE BIT… IS IT WORTH IT?
A bit about me, and my D & D history.
I was an extremely imaginative kid, but, a very shy one.
I heard about Dungeons And Dragons (D & D) in the 70’s, and wanted to play soooo much.
But, I only had a couple friends, none of which played.
In the 80’s any exposure to D & D Players left me with the feeling that 80% of the time, Players would argue over rules, as opposed to playing.
This did not interest me.
It was then I came to the realization that the only way I was ever going to play, was if I ran the game myself.
I was never much of a Reader (More of a Creative Writing, Math guy), so one look at the A D & D Book, and I knew I’d never make my way through it, let alone learn it.
That’s where the D & D ‘Red’ Book came in… Basic Rules.
Then came the Expert Rules…
From there I would slowly add in A D & D Rules to add more depth to the game.
I ran a Campaign for maybe 2 or 3 years, all Homebrew stuff, and it was great.
Then in the late 90’s I was in a theatre production of Hamlet (Loved Shakespeare, but not much of an Actor, lol), and someone found out that I used to Dungeon Master (DM).
Soon two Actors & two people from my work would make up a new group of Evil/& Or Chaotic Characters, which I’d never ran, but loved.
I’m big on villains.
I had always created my own Homebrew content, and would soon create ‘The Black Orc’, a Hybrid of Orc with higher Strength, and Intelligence.
One of my Players played one in our Campaign.
We played for maybe 8 months, then that group faded.
In the 2000’s it was World of Warcraft for me…
Then in 2017, I returned to D & D with my Doragon Kishu Twitter.
The Community was awesome, and D & D had really begun to take off.
None of the other Editions of D & D had really grabbed my attention, but when I was exposed to 5e, I really liked it.
Since I hadn’t played D & D in a while, I thought I’d start out as a Player, picked up a Players Guide, and started a group up with a friend as the DM.
He didn’t have time to create Homebrew material, so I supplied him with some of the stuff I had created at some point.
Meanwhile I started a D & D Vlog (Doragons Domain) on YouTube, where I talked about DM stuff, including my Homebrew building process.
Three or four months in, I had begun creating a Module called ‘Frost Rhealm’, and even considered trying to Publish it…
I found a cool Artist, but needed a few hundred dollars for Art, and thus created a Fund Raiser.
But literally minutes after launching it, I canceled it.
I was struggling with the fear of making a passionate hobby of mine, into a job.
Would I lose something along the way?
Not long after that, life stuff came up, and I stepped away from Social Media (Twitter) for what ended up being 15 months.
During that time, I never stopped playing, or creating Homebrew content.
I also picked up the Dungeons Master Guide, and returned to Dungeon Mastering.
In fact I’ve been running a one person campaign for over a year now, and have truly explored two continents of my 6 continent world, Varamore, and Aquaonia (Forgive the bleary photos).
At some point I also brought Faerûn in (Specifically Waterdeep), as a ‘Second’ Material Realm.
In January I returned to Social Media (Twitter), and it has been awesome reconnecting with the D & D Community.
I also started creating NPC Characters, and Hybrid Creatures.
I chose DMs Guild because I didn’t want to worry about limitations on what I created (As far as Creatures Etc.).
The first Content I created was FOR THE LOVE OF ORCS
Basically I’ve created 4 Hybrid Orcs, the Red, White, Blue & Black.
The Red and Black were from back in the 90’s campaign, and the White and Blue were from my Frost Rhealm Module.
But I hadn’t created full blown stats for any of them, until now.
- Black Orc – Smartest & Strongest of the Orcs, generally used as Generals of Armies for Evil Leaders.
- Red Orc – Engineers, like the Dwarves of Orcs, they specialize in building Bridges, operating Ballistas etc.
- Blue Orc – Frost/Cold Resistant Warriors, generally in cold regions.
- White Orc – Frost/Cold Resistant Scouts, also generally in cold regions.
I didn’t try to sell this Title at first, I just wanted to pour it into the D & D World, see what people thought, and just get em out there.
I think like 178 Free ones were downloaded, but I have absolutely no idea if people actually use the Free stuff, or just download it because its free, lol
Then came BLACKMETH… My absolute favorite NPC Villain, from back in my Original Campaign in the 80’s…
He’s an ‘Alpha’ (Stronger) black werewolf who was hunting the group, until he got his head cut off by our Fighter, who teleported behind him (Sword of Teleportation), and Rolled A 20…
I had to give it to him.
The group, however, should have burned the body, as a later enemy of the groups resurrected many of their enemies, and brought them all against them!
I offered Blackmeth as ‘Pay Want You Want’, but that didn’t really work out, lol
There were like 62 downloads, which is cool, but they were all for Free, lol
Oh well, live and learn.
Then came CORANDERO (Paladin), my favorite NPC Hero, who I used to hunt my Second Campaign Group in the 90’s with, as, like I said, they were Evil/& Or Chaotic.
I actually blended two Archtypes for this guy, and made him/created a ‘Paladin Of Righteousness’.
Because I didn’t like the idea of him being called a ‘Paladin of Vengeance’, so I blended attributes of Vengeance, and Devotion.
This time I actually Charged $.50, and sold 5 of him, so I was pretty stoked.
I know that’s not a lot of money, but I really love this character, and of course it feels like a micro step in the right direction.
I then actually read the DMs Guild License Agreement (Of course, I should have initially), I knew they got 50% of my profits, which I was fine with, but I didn’t realize that anything I Published on there I couldn’t Publish anywhere else, like a Kickstarter Independent Project, etc.
This kind of upset me.
I mean I get it, it’s probably a way to protect their selves, but for me the creator, it hit me kind of hard.
The Orcs are my babies…
As are the NPC’s, but the Orcs, though I was basically giving them away for free, are something that I will likely have in any kind of World or Module Content.
So I spoke to there Customer Service, who were very nice, to verify.
And figured if I want to Self Publish through a Third Party again, I would likely use DriveThruRPG, who have two different set ups, one Exclusive, one Non-Exclusive.
The truth is, there’s a creature in my Frost Rhealm Module that I’d have to use DM’sGuild to Publish it…
I could remove the creature, and Publish it Independently, or through DriveThruRPG, but I realllly don’t want to take out this creature.
So I will have to see.
I then put all of my DMs Guild Content into one 9 NPC Set (Black Orc Gaming 9 NPC Pack), and sold it for $1.00…
Sold 4 Copies, so I was pretty pleased.
I know, I know, it’s not a lot of money, lol
But, at least I’m getting stuff out there.
After several weeks, I finally licked my wounds, and shifted over to DriveThruRPG…
Launching my First NPC Character over there yesterday, DAR’ATH (Barbarian Knight)
Dar’Ath wasn’t his original name…
I actually based this character off a character in a Blog Story Series I wrote back in 2011-12 called ‘Dark Rider’.
But because I was still paranoid from the DMs Guild thing, even though I’m using the ‘Non’ Exclusive setup on DriveThruRPG, I didn’t feel comfortable using the Dark Rider name.
I’m selling Dar’Ath for $.50, but sadly have sold none so far, lol
What really breaks my heart when my Content doesn’t sell, is I really like these Characters/Hybrids etc.
And I want people to use them.
Yes, sales are great, we all need money to survive, and it reinforces what we’re doing/gives us a sense of pride, but man, I hate that no ones using this dude, lol
I now stand on a precipice (Not sure that’s quite the right word, but I like the way it sounds, lol), trying to decide, where do I go from here?
Do I finish Frost Rhealm, and Publish it on DM’s Guild, knowing I’m giving up some rights by doing it.
Do I just keep making Single NPC’s, knowing they may not sell all that well, and will never be used.
Do I make larger groups of NPC’s like the 9 NPC Pack, and hope people will buy them that way?
As an Artist who is truly passionate about D & D (Especially Playing it), taking multiple blows with my creations has, and is tough.
It’s not all the work that I know is necessary to build the content, or get it out there…
It’s the heartache that comes when you pour your energy/heart/creativity into something, and just watch the Character sit there…
…not being used.
Thanks For Listening/Reading