The Alexandrian

Archive for the ‘Site News’ category

Over the past couple weeks you may have noticed that I’ve been going back and finishing a couple of old essay series that had been left incomplete. These are actually a lot more time-consuming to accomplish than you might think because the first thing I have to do is go back and re-read the original essays in order to get back into the flow of the thoughts that were left unfinished. The reason the series ended up unfinished in the first place is because I would get distracted by projects of a higher priority. The reason they stayed unfinished is because it was hard to justify the large chunk of time required just to review the existing material. (In a couple of cases I actually started reviewing the material multiple times, only to once again get distracted more pressing demands.)

The reason they’re getting finished now is because of my Patreon. My patrons allow me to push less interesting projects to the side so that I can devote the time and effort necessary to continue creating material here at the Alexandrian.

As I write this, my Patreon is at $47.50 per post. The reality is a little bit more complicated backstage because a lot of my patrons have set maximum contributions. So by the end of month my posts are actually only earning at little over $20. (Which is totally cool. The fact that people can very precisely control their spending is one of the really great things about Patreon.)

What I’d really like to do is convince enough of you to become my patrons to push my total up above $50 for the month of March. To encourage you to do that, let me share with you a couple of things about the way my Patreon works.

First, the Alexandrian updates on a schedule of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. In general, that means 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. Is the content you find here worth that much to you? (If not, that’s OK.)

Second, the reason I do a per post contribution instead of a monthly contribution is because the Alexandrian hasn’t always updated on 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 really prefer to make a monthly contribution, fortunately, Patreon offers the best of both worlds: Set your contribution level to the amount you want to contribute and set your maximum contribution to the same amount. As long as I post something each month, you’ll make the monthly contribution you want to.

Third, what you’re not paying for is all the other content that gets scheduled around that Monday-Wednesday-Friday content. This is the Thought of the Day, Check This Out, Shakespeare Sunday, the RPGNet archive reviews. All that stuff is just “bonus”.

Fourth, if you back $1 or more per post you get Early Access. Which is kinda cool. But what makes it really cool is that you receive the early access updates in the form of a PDF. So if you’ve ever wanted content from the Alexandrian in an easy-to-save / easy-to-print format, this is a super easy way to get it.

For example, a couple days ago I sent all my Early Access patrons a PDF package containing the full, 12-part Hexcrawl series, the DM worksheet, and the two hexcrawl cheat sheets that will be appearing on the site tomorrow.

$0.10? $0.25? $1.00?

Patreon for the Alexandrian

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

Site Update – The End of Ads

February 3rd, 2015

The second milestone goal from my Patreon has been completed: No More Ads!

Although the affiliate links and the links to my own books in the left sidebar remain, all of the garish Amazon and Google banner ads have been banished. I’ve coupled this with a utility-and-aesthetic upgrade to the right sidebar, which will hopefully make it easier for you to find all the cool stuff that’s tucked into the corners of the Alexandrian.

This also completes my first full month with Patreon. The day is young, but it’s proven to be a fabulous experience: I was finally able to prioritize finishing Thinking About Urbancrawls, which I feel has been a fabulous success. I’m also well on my way to lining up a full slate of posts for February (which patrons with early access have already begun to receive). Tomorrow night I’ll be hosting a Google Hangout with the Hangout Club, which (truth be told) I’m a little nervous about.

With some Patreon experience under my belt, though, I’m also a little more cognizant of exactly how things balance out on the back end. That means our next milestone goal — So You Want to Be a Dungeon Master? — is now scheduled for $60. We’re just $12.50 away from that and I’m very excited by the fact that we could every easily achieve that goal by the end of February.

Thank you to all of my patrons, who are helping to make these amazing things possible for all of us.

$0.10? $0.25? $1.00?

Patreon for the Alexandrian

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

Yesterday I posted Don’t Prep Plots: The Principles of RPG Villainy. It was the first article here at the Alexandrian that was made possible entirely through the support of my patrons. I want to take a moment to call attention to the Patrons of the Alexandrian page I’ve created to thank them and recognize the contribution they’re making to the site.

This is the last post I’ll be making about my Patreon for awhile, but there’s a lot of nifty content coming down the pipe that will only exist because of the Patreon. Everyone reading this is going to have the opportunity to enjoy all that niftiness because of my patrons and I really can’t express my appreciation for that enough. It’s amazing to me that we’re basically only $7 away from the So You Want To Be a Dungeon Master? milestone goal. If just 30 people interested in seeing a step-by-step practical guide to GMing from me were willing to pledge $0.25 per post, I’d be able to start tackling that truly monumental project.

It’s so cool.

$0.10? $0.25? $1.00?

Patreon for the Alexandrian

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

Patreon – On the Road to Nifty

December 30th, 2014

When I launched my Patreon campaign a couple days ago, I was overjoyed when it took less than three hours to hit our first milestone goal of $10 per blog post. I immediately sat down and started work on an article discussing what I refer to as the Principles of RPG Villainy. I said that $10 per post was the point where I could start dedicating more time to the Alexandrian and it was an absolute truth.

By the time I finished writing that essay, we were just $0.50 away from hitting our second milestone goal and banishing advertising from the Alexandrian forever.

I really can’t tell you how excited I am about what this means for the Alexandrian. We are on the road to nifty, and everybody reading this will benefit from that whether you can afford to become my patron or not.

Patrons pledging $1 or more per post already have early access to the Principles of RPG Villainy. The rest of you will see it on January 5th following the conclusion of the Human Concordat series.

$0.10? $0.25? $1.00?

Patreon for the Alexandrian

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

Patreon for the Alexandrian

December 28th, 2014

Adventurers at Rest - Alex Drummond

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

As I stare into the dusk of 2014, however, I’ve come to the realization that due to changes in my professional life over the past year my ability to commit time to creating this kind of niftiness has dwindled away. I’ve tried to keep the Alexandrian active with a combination of reviews and archival material and briefer posts that I refer to as “Thoughts of the Day”, but it’s not quite the same.

The absence of the nifty has also not gone unremarked. I’ve received a lot of e-mails and comments from people wondering why they’re not seeing the longer, more insightful articles on the Alexandrian. The answer, unfortunately, boils down to time as a resource: I work as a freelance writer and editor and, over the past couple of years, I’ve had to scrabble a lot harder to find that work.

Some of the stuff I’d like to have the time to show you:

  • Thinking About Urbancrawls
  • Art of Rulings 2
  • The Railroading Manifesto
  • Factions in the Dungeon
  • So You Want to Be a Dungeon Master?

But I’ve been working on “Thinking About Urbancrawls” since the beginning of 2013 and I’m still not sure when I’ll be able to finish it under my current model.

Which is why I’m asking for your patronage on Patreon: With your support, I’m hoping to be able to spend less time scrabbling and more time bringing the nifty back to the Alexandrian.


For those of you unfamiliar with Patreon, the way it works is that individuals pledge small, micro-payments to support creators. Individually these pledges may not represent a lot of cash: Maybe you’re only contributing $0.25 per blog post here at the Alexandrian. Collectively, however, this support can make a big difference: If, say, 100 people all donate $0.25 each, then I’m making $25 per blog post and for a 1,200 word post I’m suddenly making enough that I don’t have to make a decision between editing another magazine article or writing something awesome for the Alexandrian. I can do the awesome thing every single time.

As a creator at Patreon, you can also set Milestone Goals that show what you can do with certain levels support. Remember, these are collective levels of support: Even a tiny contribution from you can add to a pile that makes a huge difference for everybody. Here are the goals I’ve currently set:

THE BARE MINIMUM ($10 per post): It may not seem like a lot, but this is the point where I would be able to focus a lot more of my creative time on the Alexandrian. It’s the point where we all get a lot more nifty stuff each month!

NO MORE ADS! ($25 per post): I would dearly love to de-clutter the Alexandrian. If we can hit this goal, I’ll remove all of the Amazon and Google ads from the site. The only ads that will remain are the ones advertising my own books.

SO YOU WANT TO BE A DUNGEON MASTER? ($50 per post): This extensive series would consolidate a lot of the GMing advice I’ve written over the years and add to it. The result would be a step-by-step practical guide that focuses not on world-building or character creation or any of that ancillary stuff that often gets discussed in GM how-to guides. It would be all about the core skills of being a Game Master. To do it properly, though, there are some literal expenses (like maps for the tutorial adventures). At $50 per post, I’ll be able to pay for the maps and other graphics that will make this series a reality.

ALEXANDRIAN RPG SCENARIOS ($100 per post): At this level, I’ll be able to spend more time developing full-fledged RPG scenarios and posting them to the Alexandrian. (These wouldn’t be fully-polished professional products. It would be stuff like The Egyptian Incursion and The Ruined Temple of Illhan: Fully developed adventures presented in a more casual style.)


The other thing I can do at Patreon, however, is offer specific rewards for people pledging certain amounts: As I say, every little bit counts… but nobody can deny that larger bits are even better.

PLEDGE $0.25 (THANKS!): You are amazing! Thank you! With your permission, your name will be added to the Patron page at the Alexandrian.

PLEDGE $1.00 (EARLY ACCESS): Not only do you have my enduring thanks, but you’ll get early access to everything posted at the Alexandrian. How early? A full month or as soon as I finish writing it, whichever comes later. (It will probably end up being the latter more often than not.)

PLEDGE $2.00 (CURIOUS ITEM CLUB): Thanks + Early Access and you become part of the Curious Item Club. I’ll send everyone in the club the description of a custom magic item, cypher, artifact of the ancients, or other curiosity each month.

PLEDGE $3.00 (HANGOUT CLUB): Thanks + Early Access + Curious Item Club and you’re part of the Hangout Club. Once each month, I’ll hold a Q&A session via Google Hangouts (at a time of my choosing). What will we talk about? I have no idea. You’re the ones asking the questions! (The session will last 1 hour or until it gets awkward, which ever comes first.)

PLEDGE $5.00 (ARTICLE REQUEST): Thanks + Early Access + Curious Item Club + Hangout Club and I’ll write an article or review about a specific topic or subject you choose. (Subject to approval.)

PLEDGE $10.00 (WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY A GAME?): Thanks + Early Access + Curious Item Club + Hangout Club + Article Request and I’ll run a 4-hour RPG adventure in my current open table campaign for you after your first 3 months of sponsorship and once per year thereafter. (Expect groups of 3-6 made up of other players at this sponsorship level. Games will be played via Google Hangouts. If you set a monthly maximum, the frequency of this reward will be prorated accordingly. Reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate your schedule.)

PLEDGE $25.00 (MONTHLY GAMES): Thanks + Early Access + Curious Item Club + Hangout Club + Article Request and I’ll run a 4-hour RPG adventure in my current open table campaign for you every single month. (Expect groups of 3-6 made up of other players at this sponsorship level. Games will be played via Google Hangouts. If you set a monthly maximum, the frequency of this reward will be prorated accordingly. Reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate your schedule.)

As a final note for those unfamiliar with Patreon: In addition to setting your contribution level, you can also set a monthly maximum. You’ll never be charged more than that monthly maximum.


Is stuff like the Three Clue Rule and Node-Based Scenario Design worth $0.10 to you? $0.25? $1.00? Even the smallest of pledges can add up to a patronage that will allow for the creation of wondrous things.


The appreciation I feel for the belief and support you have in my work is beyond my ability to express. Thank you.

Justin Alexander at Patreon

(And to quickly allay some fears: Features like “Thoughts of the Day”, “Check This Out”, and the like aren’t going to be disappearing from the Alexandrian. 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. But that kind of interstitial content won’t be paid content at Patreon: What our patrons will be supporting are the long-form essays, the in-depth reviews, and the awesome game resources.)



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