The Alexandrian

It’s been seven months since I launched a Patreon for the Alexandrian. Over the past couple months I’ve slipped on the regular Monday-Wednesday-Friday update schedule I’d been hoping to regularly maintain, but despite that I feel like it’s been a really significant success. I’ve already been able to dwarf the amount of Alexandrian material that I was able to produce in 2014, and we’re only a little over halfway through the year. So I’d like to take a moment to thank all of my patrons for helping to make the nifty stuff I’ve been able to share with all of you over the past half year a reality.

Now that the Patreon has been a reality for several months, I’ve updated the project page to reflect its success and also provide a clearer explanation of the flexibility that individual patrons can have in supporting the Alexandrian. It’s amazing how large an effect people can have when they act collectively. You might feel that something like Node-Based Scenario Design isn’t worth more than $0.05 or $0.10 per post to you. And you might feel like that nickel or that dime wouldn’t make a difference. But if we can get 20 or 30 people who are all willing to give that dime, then it can make a big difference.

So… what’s next for the Patreon? Right now we’re at a point where the Patreon is making it possible for me to push away some of the undesirable freelance projects I was previously working on, which means more time for creating material here at the Alexandrian. If we can push the Patreon up to the next level, then we reach the point where I can start investing significant resources into creating material for the Alexandrian.

THE PATREON

My name is Justin Alexander. I’m a writer of things. I make my digital home over at the Alexandrian, which serves as a repository for my thoughts, my writing, my reviews, and my gaming.

Over the years I’ve written a number of essays about roleplaying games for the Alexandrian which people seem to find nifty. These include stuff like:

As 2014 came to close, however, I realized that due to changes in my professional life the time I had previously committed to creating this kind of niftiness had dwindled away. I had been working on Thinking About Urbancrawls since the beginning of 2013 and I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to finish it while I was scrabbling for freelance work to make ends meet.

So I turned to Patreon and, with the help of my wonderfully generous patrons, I’ve been able spend less time scrabbling and more time bringing the nifty back to the Alexandrian. When I launched the campaign, I said that I’d like to be able to develop material like:

As I write this updated pitch in the summer of 2015, several of these projects have already been completed. My patrons have also made possible The Principles of RPG Villainy, original RPG scenarios like The Last Precept of the Seventh Mask, the completion of the Hexcrawl and Film Banging series, and the Alexandrian Remix of Eternal Lies.

It’s been pretty amazing!

And hopefully it’s just the beginning. With increased patronage, I’ll be able to tackle even more ambitious projects in the future!

THE WAY IT WORKS

The goal is for the Alexandrian to update on a schedule of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. In general, that means you’ll be supporting 12-13 posts per month. So if you backed for $0.10 per post, you’d be spending $1.20 or $1.30 per month to support the Alexandrian.

The reason I do a per post contribution instead of a monthly contribution is because the Alexandrian doesn’t always update reliably. I don’t want to feel guilty if there’s a month where I can’t produce as much material and I don’t want you to feel ripped off.

If you’d prefer to do a monthly contribution, however, Patreon offers the best of both worlds: Set your contribution level to the amount you want to contribute and then set your maximum monthly contribution to the same amount. As long as I post something each month, you’ll make the monthly contribution you want (and no more).

What you’ll never pay for is all the other content that gets scheduled around the the long-form essays, the in-depth reviews, and the awesome game resources that make up the Monday-Wednesday-Friday content. That includes features like Thoughts of the Day, Check This Out, Shakespeare Sunday, and the RPGNet archive reviews. All of that stuff is just a bonus: You don’t have to pay for it, but you’ll still get to hear me blather on about Star Trek’s Prime Directive or ponder the application of Three Point Plotting to RPG scenario design.

$0.10? $0.25? $1.00?

Patreon for the Alexandrian

… even the smallest of pledges can add up to wondrous things.

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11 Responses to “Site Update – Patreon @ 7 Months”

  1. Scarbrow says:

    Hi, Justin

    I am, as of now, an ex-patron of yours. I was meaning to write to you one of these days, but I kept putting it off and off… so this update provides with an interesting venue to express myself. To counteract my tendency to the verbosity, I’ll try to stick to the facts. Because of this, please forgive any perceived bluntness in my words. It is meant as constructive critique.

    I don’t really enjoy all of your work. You have good moments, and less good ones. As a patron, I never felt ripped off by the frequency of your posts (in fact, I was glad I had set up my monthly limit early, for your prolific writing added up much quicker than expected). However, you have decided to pursue certain avenues of writing that I don’t enjoy, like the remix of Eternal Lies, for too long. What was going to be “two to three weeks” became more than two months. Not only was the material not interesting to me, but I actively refrained from even glimpsing it just in case I decided I was interested later on (I hate spoilers with a passion). This material, in fact, became almost your only production. So I became, grudgingly, a patron for something I didn’t really like or wanted to support. The first time or two this happened, I manually went to Patreon to “undo” the pledge for the particular posts I didn’t like. But doing it again and again, 10-11 times a month (some articles I still liked), for two months? Too much work. So I let it be, and kept supporting you. Partly because I felt I still owed you a little bit for all the good historical content, and letting my Patreon pledge active let me give that to you, even if the support was slightly misplaced. What I wanted to say is, for me, your past credit has run dry. I don’t want to keep doing it, so I deleted my pledge. I’m no longer your patron.

    As for advice, first of all, don’t give my personal tale too much credit. I’m the first to admit I’m fickle and a little venal, not to mention inconstant in my affections. But for the value it may have, I have this advice for you: please take care to make your production a little more varied. Three to four months of “Eternal lies” would have been much more bearable, if some other thing were to be also in the works. During this time, only your “Thoughts of the day” have commanded my attention. If more of your readers are like yours truly, you may be alienating part of your readership. Or not. I don’t really know.

    Regardless, congratulations on your continued success. I hope I’ll be pledging again sometime “soon”

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sitting on the other side of the spectrum, I’m not your patron yet, but recently I’ve been considering it for both you and The Angry GM. Although the value of the dollar in my country is skyrocketing recently (making the contributions more expensive to me then they should be), I believe these contributions are very important to build the foundation and show the support for the creators I appreciate the most.

    Your posts about game structures have improved my view of the game in some points that no gamemastering book ever touched, and they are one of the most impressive things I’ve ever read. Besides being insightful, the way you dig old modules in order to study the ways of the past is almost archeological, and a very interesting read. Even your urbancrawl quest (which I have no intention on ever using) is an exciting read in search of an ideal non-existant structure!

    But these last few months, the great majority of the posts have been about Eternal Lies, which although I honestly believe was very interesting for some people, was way too focused to the exclusion of other interesting subjects, and alienated some readers (like me and Scarbrow).

    I agree when he talks about variety: Taking the Numenera Tavern as an example, I am probably not going to play that game anytime soon, since I’m really into D&D 5e currently, but it was so awesome and inspiring, that I totally plan on adapting it to a magic tavern of some sort. It was just wow!

    Anyway, as Scarbrow said, please take this criticism (and all the good intentions it came with) as a way to improve your already great site and reach even more readers with your awesome posts in the future.

    Although a little out of place here: be sure that if you ever publish a book on the subjects about gamemastering, you can count me as an insta-buyer! My best wishes, Anonymous.

  3. Yahzi says:

    That’s a tough crowd!

  4. Gamosopher says:

    The Alexandrian is simply the best RPG blog I read. Keep up the good work, and thank you so much for everything.

  5. Justin Alexander says:

    Thanks for the feedback!

    It’s absolutely true that not everything that gets produced for the Alexandrian is going to be of appeal or use to everybody. Some people think the Eternal Lies stuff is the best and most useful stuff I’ve ever done. Some people are never going to play Trail of Cthulhu and felt it was a blight upon the website. Others had little interest in the campaign material, but recognized that the 20,000 words I wrote of prefatory material discussing the decisions I made, the methodology I use for structuring campaigns, and the tools I use for effective prep were useful to them regardless.

    The same thing is true when I post Numenera content. Other people hate it (or love it) when I post a review. There’s nothing that I post here at the Alexandrian which is universally beloved. (The closest is probably the Three Clue Rule, and even that has one guy who just adamantly hates it because he believes that it means babying your players. He loved my OD&D stuff, though, so…)

    The great thing about Patreon, as Scarbrow points out, is that it gives the patrons a ton of control over how they want to back a given creator. It’s one of the things I love about the platform and, as a creator, I appreciate whatever level of support people are willing to give. I’ve got a lot of $0.10 per post backers, and I think they’re all great.

    The other great thing is that nobody needs to contribute. If you feel that what I’m producing here at the Alexandrian is worthless or if you just can’t afford to support it right now, that’s not a problem. The patrons who can support me are helping to bring the stuff I create to everyone. And that’s something that, in my opinion, my patrons should feel very proud of.

    One thing I will say, though, is that, at least for me, I don’t think parsing every single post in a Patreon (whether mine or anybody else’s) and trying to figure out if it was worth $0.25 to you is the right way to go. I recommend taking a more holistic view: How much was the Alexandrian worth to you over, say, the last year? Set your pledge accordingly.

    For example, I support Matt Jackson’s patreon for creating old school maps. Some of the maps I like. Some of them I don’t. Some of them I’ll use. Some of them I won’t. But parsing map by map to see if that specific map is worth X amount of money that I’m pledging? It seems like a hassle and feels somewhat counter to the general concept of “support the creator”.

    (On the other hand, of course, the tools are there for that kind of post-by-post assessment if that’s what you want. Like I said, the flexibility of the Patreon model for patrons is fantastic!)

  6. Jonathan Hunt says:

    I am glad to see your Patreon is going well.

    As for the Eternal Lies and other long form content, I do understand the frustration of those with no intent to use them.

    On the other hand, the suggestion of “Delay posting the content, so there is more ‘other content,” could actually mess up those of us looking to USE it. As an example, if I were going to run Eternal Lies, I would have waited until all of the content was available first. If that meant 3-4 months of waiting, rather than 1-2 then perhaps it would have caused issues.

    This is less of a problem for people reading ‘in the future’, but I’m fairly certain that Patrons are those who read posts as they appear.

    Also it makes me sad to see that you have 44 patrons on Patreon but only 13 on your page at http://thealexandrian.net/patrons ! Perhaps just because I’m on the first list and not the second 😉

  7. Justin Alexander says:

    I’m going to take that as permission to add your name to the list. 😉

    For any other patrons reading this: To honor privacy concerns, I need your permission to add your name to the list here at the Alexandrian. That’s noted in the reward levels over on the campaign and I also mention it in the welcome blurb that Patreon should e-mail or display for you when you first pledge to my campaign.

    I would love to have more of backers listed on the honor roll.

  8. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Huh, well I’ll be. I must have been so giddy with excitement at the prospect that I overlooked that in both locations!

    Keep doing what you are doing, Justin. It is appreciated.

  9. Justin Alexander says:

    You’re not the only one, I’m afraid. I’m just not sure how to make it more obvious without getting pushy about it. 😉

  10. Jon Evans says:

    I’ve been reading this site for some time and it has had some of the best reads on GMing and roleplaying in general that I had no problem becoming a Patron (do you capitalize that?) and it’d be great to have my name on the wall of Patrons. Not sure how I prove I’m a Patron though or what the process is.

  11. Justin Alexander says:

    All I need is permission, so your comment works! (And your name is now on the honor roll.)

    For anyone referencing this post in the future on this topic: Comment here. E-mail me. Message me via Patreon. Whatever works.

    Also: If you want to be credited on the honor roll under a pseudonym, just let me know!

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