The Alexandrian

Archive for the ‘Site News’ category

Site Update – We’re Back?

February 5th, 2017

Actually, I’m not 100% sure the title of this post is true: The last several times I’ve tried to work on Alexandrian-related content, I’ve instead twiddled my time away trying to resolve some site-related headache.

To whit: I was hoping to have content up starting on February 1st, but instead I’ve spent the past week disinfecting some files on the site that a WordPress security hole had compromised. Before that, the post preview images I’d set up broke (and I still haven’t figured out how to actually fix them, so you’re stuck with “A” logos for the moment). And I’ve spent this evening trying to figure out how to deal with the fact that Patreon — without actually informing anyone — has disabled pledges of less than $1. Speaking of which…

PATREON UPDATE: I have regretfully decided to cancel the Curious Item Club. This was previously a bonus for patrons pledging $0.50 per post, but sadly that’s no longer an option. Those who are current members of the Club will have legacy recognition on the Patrons of the Alexandrian page for as long as they remain patrons, but I will no longer be producing the monthly curious items.

One of the things I really liked about Patreon was the micro-payments it made possible. The Curious Item Club reward was originally rolled out as, IIRC, a $2 reward package, but I realized that (a) it wasn’t really worth that much and (b) the content was cool enough that I wanted it to be more widely shared by my patrons. Using the content as a way to encourage $0.10 patrons to bump their patronage up to $0.50 seemed to work okay (all things considered). One of the problems with the Curious Item Club, however, was that the time I spent creating content for that was time I wasn’t creating public content for the Alexandrian.  So I think letting it go at this point is the right way to go.

PATRONAGE GOING FORWARD: Although the minimum pledge is now $1, those who don’t feel they can afford that should remember that they can set a monthly maximum on their pledge.

WHAT’S NEXT: I have scenarios for Eclipse Phase and Trail of Cthulhu that I will likely be posting in the near-ish future. I’m hoping to get the archiving of my old RPGNet reviews restarted. The Art of Rulings has a number of additional installments that need to be written (on topics like the Fourfold Model, Group Checks, Social Skills, Hidden/Open Difficulty Numbers, and more). I’m also looking at a new series called The Art of Random Encounters. Also: Context Collisions for The Strange,  Running a Convention Game, and the Grok Threshold.

Patreon for the Alexandrian

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

I try to limit the number of non-content posts here at the Alexandrian, but it can be useful to occasionally take stock. And we haven’t had one of these updates in nearly a year, so you’ll have to bear with me. I’ve also been getting asked a lot of the same questions lately, and this would be a good opportunity to kind of bring people up to speed.

RATE OF UPDATES: Many of you have noticed the obvious, which is that the rate of updates at the Alexandrian has dropped again over the last six months or so. The primary reason for this is that the Infinity RPG has been chewing up a lot of my creative time. We’re hoping that the core rulebook will be getting delivered soon (although, to be honest, we’ve been hoping that for a long while now). Once that happens, things should loosen up a bit and I’ll be able to dedicate a bit more time to the Alexandrian.

(There’s also another project — this one still top secret — which I’m hoping I’ll be able to make some announcements about shortly. But that’s also been pending for awhile now, so… it’ll happen when it happens.)

You may recall that, when I launched the Patreon for the site back in December 2014, I mentioned setting up the patron options to be for a paid-per-post format for exactly this reason: The Alexandrian won’t always update regularly (although the patrons make it possible to update it a lot more than it would be otherwise), and I don’t want anybody paying for content unless that content actually exists.

As a reminder, this really offers the best of both worlds: If you’d really prefer to make a monthly contribution, 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. (When pledging without a maximum contribution level, however, remember that the ideal update schedule for the Alexandrian is Monday-Wednesday-Friday each week, plus bonus content. So if you backed for $0.10 per post, you’d be spending $1.20 or $1.30 per month to support the Alexandrian.)

GOAL LEVELS: Since my last update, you may have noticed that some of the funding levels for the Patreon goals have changed. There’s a couple of reasons for this.

First, because of people setting maximum pledges the amount of money Patreon reports me earning per post is not really accurate. For example, if it says I’m making $50 per post then that’s how much I make for the first post each month. Subsequent posts then drop if people have reached their maximum contributions. In practice, by the end of a full month of updates I’m making a little over one-third the amount per post Patreon is claiming. Goal levels were shifted up slightly to reflect the reality of what I’m getting paid (in large part because the higher funding goals were set with the expectation that I’d be able to pay for graphics, maps, and other elements which are part of them.)

Second, Patreon changed the way that they calculate the amount of money paid per post. Or, rather, they’ve changed the amount they publicly claim is being earned per post. When I first set up the Alexandrian Patreon, they reported the total amount pledged for the first post. They now run that number through some sort of weird, black box algorithm (which they don’t share with anybody as far as I can tell) and then spit out a number which is supposedly a more “accurate” reflection of how much I’m actually earning (supposedly based on how many pledges were declined when they attempted to charge credit cards in previous months, but the math on that doesn’t actually add up). When this happened, goal levels were then shifted down a bit to reflect the fact that Patreon was now routinely under-reporting how much my patrons were actually pledging.

PATRONS OF THE ALEXANDRIAN: When new patrons sign up to support the Alexandrian they receive a message asking them for specific permission to list them on the Patrons of the Alexandrian page. I would love to recognize everybody who helps to make the awesome content here possible! But some people miss the message and then later e-mail me to ask why they haven’t been added to the list. I’m guessing others miss the message and never e-mail me, so this is just a quick reminder for all my patrons: If you want to be recognized as the wonderful people that you are, please send me an e-mail and give me permission to do so!

 

$0.10? $0.25? $1.00?

Patreon for the Alexandrian

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

Places to Go, Places to Be

Places to Go, People to Be has translated two more of my essays into French. This time it’s Don’t Prep Plots and Don’t Prep Plots: The Principles of RPG Villainy.

Interesting factoid about Don’t Prep Plots: It includes the summary of a plotted adventure. After presenting that brief summary, I included this note:

(This is derived from an actual, published adventure. Names and milieu have been changed to protect the innocent. Bonus points to anyone who can correctly identify the original source.)

I actually expected that someone would quickly twig to the identity of the published adventure I was talking about and identify it. But no one ever has.

Don’t Prep Plots: The Principles of RPG Villainy, on the other hand, was the first Patreon-sponsored post here on the Alexandrian. As always, my appreciation goes out to all of the amazing Patrons of the Alexandrian, without whom this site would be a more barren place and PTGPTB would have fewer things to translate.

Previous translations from PTGPTB include Three Clue Rule and Node-Based Scenario Design.

Here’s a quick miscellanea of some Alexandrian-related material that you can find around the internet at the moment.

Martin Tegelj has posted the latest installment of the RPG campaign he’s developing based on my pitch for Doctor Who: The Temporal Masters. There are currently six adventures in the series. Although only some of them are directly related to the Temporal Masters, I recommend checking out all of them:

A Conversion Before Christmas
Something Old, Something New
Dawn of the Temporal Masters
The Riot
(Prelude: Donna)
Fugue State
Alliance of the Daleks

Bastion Rolero - Translating Three Clue Rule

Three Clue Rule in Hebrew

Hebrew is another language I am completely illiterate in, but Oded Deutch has also translated the Three Clue Rule into his native tongue as כלל שלושת הרמזים.

The Three Clue Rule has proven to be something of a “gateway drug” for better GMing, so I’m always excited to see it getting out in front of a larger audience. Thank you to Martin, Jose, and Oded for being awesome!

PTGPTB

You may remember that Places to Go, People to Be translated the Three Clue Rule into French last year. Now they’ve begun translating Node-Based Scenario Design as Création de scénario en noeuds.

Unlike the Three Clue Rule, I have nothing particularly clever to say about this translation. So here’s a semi-interesting factoid about Node-Based Scenario Design: After finishing the original set of essays, I somehow managed to lose the Photoshop file I’d used to create the various multi-colored node diagrams. (This is uncharacteristic for me: I actually have an entire directory dedicated to housing the original work files for the graphics here on the Alexandrian. The directory dates back to when the site launched in 2005 and exists for explicitly this purpose. I still have no idea how I managed to lose the PSD file.) As a result, whenever I’ve done a follow-up on the original series which requires a similar node diagram I have crudely patched it together by copying and pasting the original JPGs.

I keep telling myself that some day I should rebuild the original file. But I also keep telling myself that some day I’ll learn how to use Adobe Illustrator properly so that I stop abusing Photoshop by using it for anything even vaguely graphical.

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