Vow of Honor Bookmark Glitch Fix

So shortly after the download went live for Vow of Honor, I received a kind comment and screenshot showing how the bookmarks on certain non-Adobe readers (especially those using iOS or OS X) were showing the bookmarks in an ugly, garbled soup like: id.j031jdfsnq. Yeah, yuck.

I got a hold of Phillip and he was very fast in providing a fix. I did a quick test and it seems to work, but I’m not 100% positive it’ll solve all issues with certain ereaders and tablets out there. I went ahead and updated the file on the download page.

If you’ve already downloaded the file and you’re happy with it – that’s fine, you don’t need to do anything. However, if you went through the download process, your receipt email link no longer worksBecause of the way file uploads on my server works, I essentially had to create a new file – which invalidates all of the old links.

So, if you are trying to download the game for a second time or you haven’t gotten a chance to actually download it from your email yet, all you need to do is go through the download process (the same code will work fine) and you’ll be able to get a fresh link and email.

Terribly sorry about the inconvenience. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns at support@bendutter.com. Thanks!

Nearing the final draft

Quick update: the Vow of Honor final draft is nigh. Phillip let me know that he thinks he can get it to me maybe as soon as today or tomorrow (3/24 – 25). Once I do receive it, I’ll go over everything with a fine-tooth comb and make sure there are no typos or other glitches in there that need polishing.

All of the iterations that I’ve seen thus far just keep getting better and better, so I’m stoked to say the least. After that is done, all that remains is the epub / mobi conversions, and then we’ll be ready to send out the delivery emails.

I signed up for a MailChimp account, and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to use and set up email campaigns, customer lists, and pull in dynamic content. It made the whole process of unique download codes for each customer through my download interface a snap.

I’ve got about 99% survey completion, so I’m feeling quite good about that. Once it goes live, I have a few other plans to get everything squared away on DriveThru RPG, and then try to push for some exposure and sales over there. We’ll see how that goes.

Stay tuned!

Vow of Honor Editing Completed

Quick status report on Vow of Honor RPG – Josh and I completed the editing and rewriting process and sent it off to Phillip for layout. In a few days we should have a better picture of how long the layout process will take, but we’re shooting for about five weeks – that should put us right on schedule for a late April or early May release.

Barring any major issues or technical hiccups, that means that the product will be delivered early (of my conservative estimate, to be fair). Everything has gone so smoothly up to this point, I’m growing a bit paranoid that some major disaster will happen. But, I’ve prepared for every contingency and I’m very confident that we’ll have nothing but buttery smooth sailing until then.

Thanks for staying tuned, I’ll be sure to update this with some screenshots of the laid out pages once Phillip shoots me a preview.

Vow of Honor Editing Begins

Editing for the final manuscript of Vow of Honor began this week. I sent the files over to Josh who informed me we should be getting a first-pass look by early February. Once the first pass is done, and we’ve decided on any major rewrites or not (of which I sincerely hope we will avoid), Josh will start going over every chapter with a fine-tooth comb. Once he’s done with a section, it’ll be off to Phillip for layout.

In the mean time, Stephen started on his next piece, a charitable banquet hosted by the Arbiters in which anyone is welcome to come and eat. I’m eagerly awaiting his preliminary sketches, as this is one of the ones I’m most excited about. Seeing the Arbiters’ daily lives, and how they better their communities, is one of the stronger themes I wanted to explore with Vow of Honor. I’m confident Stephen will meet (or exceed, like usual) my expectations and give us a glimpse of a little bit more of what it means to be a member of the Order.

Markus sent me some very early preliminary sketches for the cover piece – and even this early in the design process I’m blown away by how cool it is going to be. I can’t express how excited I am (and how excited you should be.) It really will be a defining piece of art.

This week marks the first deadline I set for Kickstarter-contributor submissions, and those are finally starting to roll in with some abundance. Winston has started the first character sketches which are turning out great. The first will be a solitary, wandering Arbiter known for his unique weaponry and unusually heavy armor – even just the fast sketch looks awesome! It has been a pleasure reading and seeing all of the submissions come through, and I’ve begun editing and re-writing them to get them into the same style as the rest of the book.

Stay tuned.

Vow of Honor’s Writing Complete

After seven months of codifying my ideas on Vow of Honor – the final “pre-editing” draft is complete. It currently stands at just shy of 40,000 words, and includes the complete game, setting, and a host of examples, adventure seeds, and random tables to make playing Vow of Honor as easy as possible.

I’m incredibly pleased with the game, and proud of the work that I’ve put into it. I had never experienced that strike of inspiration so strongly as I did while creating Vow of Honor – and I think it clearly shows.

In the next few days, the funds from the successful Kickstarter will clear the payment process, and I’ll be able to pay out all of the fine folks that are patiently waiting to get started working.

Joshua Yearsley, my highly esteemed editor, will begin work right away. Stephen Rusk is already busy completing several more environments and atmospheric pieces for me, and I’m hammering out the details of the cover piece with Markus Lovadina.

Winston Lew, who will be responsible for the bulk of the new artwork, will begin illustrating the Character Portrait pledge-submissions.

Once a reasonable amount of art and editing has been completed, Phillip Gessert will take the manuscript and start putting it through layout. I’m really excited to see the final version start to come to life.

Future Projects

As many of you know, I have a bit of an obsession with starting multiple projects. While I revert from content creator to project manager for Vow of Honor, my mind wanders to new and future projects that I’d like to work on.

Forge of Valor still continues to be a primary focus, as getting that completed and in the hands of its dedicated fans has been a long-time passion of mine. Unfortunately the book is so large (120k words), and gone through so many iterations (v4.3 now) that it is a daunting task.

More simply, I have been quickly whipping together a game I’m calling Hunt the Wicked, which will be a space-opera hack of Vow of Honor’s system. Characters will play as bounty hunters chasing down dangerous marks in a portion of the galaxy ruled over by a god-machine called the Archon.

Happy Holidays everyone, and I’ll keep you all updated.

Vow of Honor Playtest

I will be hosting an open Vow of Honor playtest day at Great Escape Games, in Sacramento, California on September 14, between 1:00pm and 5:00pm.

If you live in the Sacramento area or are interested in getting your hands on some Vow of Honor action, I encourage you to come by and check it out. I’ll have some pregenerated characters and a quick adventure for you to put the system through its paces.

I’m currently ramping up artwork production, with Lee finishing one piece and working on two more. I also discovered the very talented Stephen Garret Rusk who I’ll more than likely be commissioning some environment pieces for me.

The current goal is to get all of the artwork, layout preview, and graphical elements of the Kickstarter completed in October, with launch prior to November. I’m not sure how optimistic that is in comparison to reality, but I’m much more ready and confident now than I was with Forge of Valor at a similar time frame.

I’m very excited to gauge the interest and feedback from the folks at GEG this weekend. Hope to see you there.

Vow of Honor Progress

In the wake of Forge of Valor’s failed Kickstarter, I immediately shifted focus to Vow of Honor. I’d been kicking around ideas for a fresh take on narrative games, that is to say roleplaying games that focus primarily on story-making rather than physical mechanics, but hadn’t been satisfied with anything for quite some time.

While working on FoV I had developed the Motivation mechanic, in which a character’s vices and virtues guided them based on rewarding XP for failing (a means to progress one’s skills) and earning XP when certain milestones were reached. This worked out pretty well for the mechanically crunchy game, but I thought that perhaps I could drill down into that aspect and really get to the heart of the issue.

I’ve always liked elements of resource management, especially when they’re appropriately tied to the setting and the in-game fiction (such as Force Points from various Star Wars games.) So I set off with that idea in mind- how to create a core mechanic that forced the player to use some elements of resource management while paying homage to a character’s internal motivation and sense of purpose.

Since I had already been in love with the idea of Honor being a semi-tangible construct (sort of in the sense of Karma or the Force) I took off running, and in a few days I wrote the preliminary draft that would become Vow of Honor.

That was back in May, and in only three short months I’ve written over 30k words on Vow of Honor, playtested it with multiple groups, and have it publicly posted all over the place (reddit, twitter, tumblr, story games, rpg.net, etc.)

I’m extremely happy with it, its narrow focus, and how it actually gels together in gameplay.

What’s Left

All that’s left to do is the polishing act of the final leg before Kickstarter. That’s mainly art, networking, and playtesting and tweaking the document. I found a great artist that is very affordable and I’m eagerly waiting for his first finished piece. On the Vow of Honor G+ page I’ve been posting periodic updates of his rough sketches, you should check it out if you haven’t already.

I’m thinking that if I can get 10-15 pieces of good artwork by the end of October, I can launch the Kickstarter this year, and the product delivered by Spring 2015. I’m very excited (and much more optimistic than VoH’s success than FoV.)