So, this month we launched a big new project on the Ctrl+Alt+Del Patreon that I’m pretty excited about. Since starting the Patreon four years ago, we’ve had a very limited (four spots), top tier where people could pledge to become characters in a comic strip. Originally, I assumed people would pledge for a month or two, see themselves in some comics, and then vacate the spot, and we’d have a lot of turnover. To facilitate this, the characters and stories were silly and random and designed to be changed or altered at short notice to account for people dropping in and out.
Buuut… that’s not how it happened. The people who nabbed these spots held onto them. For years (in fact, one of my current top-tier Patrons has held his spot since day 1). It was amazing, but it also meant I ended up telling four years worth of story with these crazy characters (a food hitman, a super hero with chinese knock-off versions of super powers, etc) that had only been designed for short term gags.
Anyway, now knowing that people are apt to hold on to their top-tier Patreon spots for a long time, I set out to retool the pledge tier into not only something more substantial and more enjoyable for all my Patrons, but also something people could actually take part in. So in June, after many, many months of planning, I brought that comic series to a close in order to launch a new, really ambitious series in its place.
Doomfall, which just started this month on Patreon, is dungeon-diving fantasy comic series that is a mashup of my storytelling, a tabletop RPG, and a choose your own adventure story. Using a slightly modified version of the Cypher RPG system as the foundation, the four top-tier Patrons have worked with me to create characters for which they will make decisions each month. Because we have an RPG system in the background, not only will they decide which paths to take and what to do, but they will roll dice to determine outcomes, take and heal damage and even potentially die. I will then take these small “play sessions” and translate them into pages of the ongoing comic story for all Patrons to read each month.
But it was important to me that it was not only the top-tier Patrons that got to participate, so throughout the course of the series, all of my other Patrons will have opportunities to vote on things, like which doors are trapped, and what those traps might be, or what sort of monsters lie in the room the heroes are about to enter, etc. I may even hold drawings to select people to be featured as a minor NPC or villain. In this way, Doomfall becomes a story that everyone particpates in crafting, no matter the pledge tier.
Like I said, we just launched the first pages this month, and I’m incredibly excited (and nervous) to see how it goes. This is bigger and more complex than anything I’ve done, but also stands to be something really unique and fun. Doomfall is available for all Patrons to read, regardless of pledge tier, so if it sounds like something you’d enjoy you can support it for as little as $1 a month.
never underestimate Ethan’s power of denial XD
You misspelled “Understand”…
Gotta give Ethan some credit though. He does deal with powered persons a lot, probably he occasionally confuses his daily life with his secret life.
Doomfall sounds great. Reminds me of Drowtales Path to Power where hundred(s) of people formed a Clan creating their place in Chel. In the end we got crushed by Barbarians from the Black Sun and got a nice epilogue on the surface where we created a functioning and growing Drow Colony. It was sometimes really unnerving but also fun.
Why do I get the feeling she’s been kidnapped by the guy Ethan dropped.
Which characters are based on people? If you don’t mind me asking?
At this point? None.
Follow-up to Jacob’s question:
Were any characters previously/originally based on people, before they took on a life of their own, as characters so often do?
Follow-up to my follow-up to Jacob’s question:
Are there past/discontinued characters that are not a part of the current continuity that were/remained mostly based-on or a caricature actual people?
There’s a certain penguin I’m thinking about…
Also, insert here all applicable standard etiquette qualifiers/disclaimers to my questions (Suchas “I know I’m prying, but goshdarnit I’m curious”, “only answer what you’re comfortable with, as-if-you’d-do-otherwise”, and any others I’m forgetting)
When I first started, Ethan and Lucas’ appearance was based off of me and my best friend. That is the only time I used real life people as a basis for the main cast.
That makes sense. Thanks for the reply!
* delivery man returns to the post office *
“He knows, Emily. He knows.”
She’s vindictive, and he’s a moron……….
She could be sick or is on leave due a relative’s funeral for all we know, dude.
Possible, but the context points to her continuing to lash out
Limiting contact with someone is hardly lashing out.
Perhaps she’s refusing contact because she’s still angry, not because it’s what’s best? Continued resentment resolves nothing.
Or, Occam’s Razor, this new delivery guy just happens to be the guy running deliveries for the store this time.
Sounds fun. Not a big fan of the Cypher system, but as a lowly 1$ patron I think I will be quite content voting for traps, secrets doors and monsters and watch these characters plod through (or die horribly :)).
As a game, whatever. But as a system conducive to storytelling and exploration that would provide a simple backbone against which to roll dice, it was the perfect choice for this project. DND and Pathfinder etc are fine GAMES, but they’re too complex and “rulesy” for this.
No disagreements on D&D/PF complexity (even though D&D5 is a bit better). I personally mostly run PbtA games, but you pick whatever works best for you.
Man oh man. I started with pledging to starcaster, but this whole new system seems like a really fun thing to be a part of. I may just need to get on the regular patreon too….
Tim, I am constantly amazed and impressed by your ability (and determination) to constantly add more work to your plate all in the name of your excellent story crafting. Kudos!
As an aside, is there somewhere on this site for me to register and be logged in, rather than commenting as a guest all the time?
Nevermind, I’m a dummy. I just found it.
Wait, are the Starcaster Chronicles paywalled now? I’ve been waiting so long for the next chapter…
Production of issues is being funded through Patreon. After issues are finished, they will still be released here for free. The Starcaster Patreon is $2/month and is currently producing 4 pages of Starcaster a month for its Patrons.
$2 a month AND I get more starcaster than I ever would have in a year, which is totally worth it, because that story rapidly became my favourite out of all the various arcs in this ctrl-alt-del universe.
Yes for those who can afford them. We poor folk have to sit on are asses and wait. Just how it works in this world .
Thanks for the quick response, Tim.
I understand that you need to make decisions on how best to monetize your work, and for that I pass no judgments upon your choices in this regard.
Any chance you could give us plebs a hint at when we might see a new issue appear on the main site?
4 pages a month and an Issue having like 30-4X pages, around 10-12 months or so would be my best guess.
An average comic book issue is 24 pages. So the Starcaster Patreon is currently producing the equivalent of two issues a year. I will release the issues here on the site some time after they are completed, depending on what works best for my schedule and what else I have going on re: current stories on the site. I do not earn any income from the Starcaster Patreon. All of the money is used to pay the flatter, inker and colorist that work on the series with me. So when an issue is finished, and I put it out to… Read more »
Where’s the patreon for Starcaster? I couldn’t find it on there.
I’m currently a “The Super Hero Sidekick”.
Oh No, now I have to log in to patreon more than once a year … =)
The Twist? It’s actually Emily.
“Well-played, Ethan. Well. Played.”
More your content blocked to those who can afford to see them. Why don’t you just turn into a paid membership site . Be easier than all this Patreon bs.
None of the stuff I do for Patreon is content I would otherwise be doing for this website. I still put out three comics a week here, every week, just as I’ve done for the past seventeen years.
I don’t know why this concept of Patreon for additional content continues to baffle some people. Like, would literally any of you go into work on your day off, and do EXTRA work if you weren’t going to get paid for it? Why do you think it’s acceptable to ask me to do that?
Money to those who have little of or none at all or use on items they need, and still barely get buy. What about them. We still want to enjoy your extra content . Whatever you’ll let us see them when the moon turns gold .
As someone who’s spent most of my life in the “barely getting by” category this whole “I’m entitled to free stuff because life is hard” ideology is downright maddening. First off, by reading online comics at all, you’re essentially getting what amounts to a luxury item (comics) for free. If you’re struggling, I have to imagine you’re not making any purchases through ads or making other purchases that fund the author, but for sites like this to keep going, someone clearly is. So, you are already getting something for nothing – and your strategy is to complain that’s not good… Read more »
You’re well-spoken, but all those things, food, roofs, jobs, are also paid for by somebody else, either directly, or by their own labor. Hell, even self-employed, I have to do a good job so my clients will pay me. We aren’t entitled to anything but life itself, and it’s up to us to keep it. We’re lucky to live in a system (capitalism) that allows the creative to make money from things that aren’t essential, like comics. So yeah… be glad that people who put the effort in are willing to give you ANY content for free. (As someone who… Read more »
Dude, you’re complaining about $2, to a guy who already works his butt off to give you free content, when he already said he’ll show you anyways after a little bit.
This isn’t something you need. It’s not a kidney or a blood transfusion. It’s a comic strip. Entertainment. And it costs less than a ham sandwich.
You can’t pay, you sit and wait and be grateful that he’s supported by enough people that he CAN give away his content for free, and that he cares enough about cheapskates like you or me to still bring it out later.
You can just give $1 a month. I can’t comprehend why it’s such a big deal to pay someone $1 a month for cool stuff like this.
If you can’t pay $1 a month for extra stuff, stay on the same free website you have been for all these years with 3 comics a week, but don’t complain about it.
Or just be patient, and scrounge up an Andrew Jackson to buy the books when they come out. Everything goes into the books eventually, whether its comics from here or Patreon.
But there are no more dungeon diver slots would you open that up? better to do that sooner than later so you don’t have to explain midway through that a wormhole opened up and spit out a new character
We have four spots, which is the maximum number of characters I feel comfortable handling. Any more than that and it becomes a struggle to give each of them their “moment” each month.
50$ slots for familiars?
And can’t post a comment on here like you want or it be censored . What happened to freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech applies to public speech. It does not apply to privately hosted forums — you’re bound by the owner’s rules at that point. You’re free to go shout in the street or create your own website with your opinion though.
Surprised by the backlash on the Patreon, I am considering upping (I mostly use Patreon to get battle maps for my D&D campaign), but I see no problem with the model you are following.
It’s already really incredible that we’ve so consistently gotten three pages a week for so many years. Why do people think he should be giving access to everything for free? Personally, I’m thrilled that things like Patreon exist and allow content creators to earn a viable living while creating the things they want to share. I spent many years financially unable to support anyone and thus locked out of exclusive content and of course that was sad to miss but I never once begrudged them the platform that let them support their families. Thank you for sharing so many of… Read more »
Ok, this is something Ethan and by proxy all the rest of you should learn from this. NEVER DATE IN THE WORKPLACE! IT ALWAYS ENDS BADLY! Sorry for the all caps I just want to be sure its understood. Trust me, my first job was in a cafeteria. I dated someone I worked with closely there. Then she asked me to call her my daughter. I had to get out of that quick because she was getting crazy and around HUGE knives. I didn’t want to be the sloppy Joe’s the next day. What? I’m not kidding. Moral of the… Read more »
Hiya Tim, I get that you want to do something specific for Patreons, and it sounds cool… but how do I decide if i want to pledge to be in this story, if i’m never able to see or read it? and how cool is it to be in a story that only patreons ever get to read? … shouldn’t this comic just be open to the public? with say a month’s delay.
I dunno, shell out $1 at some point to check it out for a month? I mean let’s be honest here… if you’re not interested in supporting my comic at $1 a month, I doubt you’re really all that anxious to grab a top tier spot at $100/month to be IN the comic, right?
Concerning your anal bomb tweet: Yes, skin/armor has the same properties on all sides, but forceful expansion from within a shape is far more detrimental to it than anything could do on the outside. If it’s realistic for his skin to remain intact, then the remaining force of the explosion should be rocketing out of his ass and sending him into the sky, leaving a trail of his liquid insides along the way. But if such exhaust isn’t enough, even the most durable material in the world would be blown open because nothing gets in the way of energy expansion.
Regarding UPS drivers and routes. The way drivers get delivery routes at my large city UPS, is through a bidding system. Veteran drivers have their pick, and as seniority decreases your less likely to get what you want but still able to avoid the worst routes. Route quality is largely subjective, based on volume of delivery & distance sure, but often more importantly the people & neighborhood you travel through.
Just FYI, hopefully helps.
That made my day😂
Keep up the awesome work tim👍