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klecser

Stygian Fox Kickstarters

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I think it is important for people here to understand what the current situation is with Stygian Fox Kickstarters. They've had a rocky last seven months, and things didn't really get any better today.

The good news is that New Tales of The Miskatonic Valley 2nd Ed. is out in PDF.

The bad news is that, in the most recent update (#53), Stephanie admitted that Stygian Fox does not have the funds to pay for physical books to send out to Backers for this Kickstarter, and that they will be using revenue from releasing the PDF on Drivethru and from Bundles of Holding to ship the books a month from now. I'm not going to post the text of the Update here because I don't want to violate Kickstarter's practice of updates being Backer-unlocked. This confirms what a lot of us have suspected for a long time, and what Stephanie has repeatedly denied, despite the fact that many of us weren't born yesterday. Stygian Fox is not using money gained through projects to fund and finish those projects.  

So, this leaves me wondering where it all ends. Will the Wild Hunt and Occam's Razor require new influxes of funds to complete? Why did Stephanie lie this whole time when she just could have come clean and not alienated so many community members? We may never know, but I personally feel like Stygian Fox is engaging in unsustainable business practices that do not create trust in Backers. I can't tell anyone here what to do, but it is pretty evident at this stage that this behavior is going to continue until we vote with our wallets. Stygian Fox has turned out some high quality products. But I would rather receive fewer Call of Cthulhu products in a year if it means that I'm not swindled. Other people will feel differently. Enabling business practices like this is what allows them to be sustained.

 

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This thread on Yog-Sothoth reveals Stygian Fox are doing a Bundle of Holding to help get funds to finish the New Tales of The Miskatonic Valley 2nd Ed and Wild Hunt Kickstarters ( obviously the physical books parts ).

It's sad that it's come to this but I am going to participate in the Bundle of Holding with a hope that Stygian Fox can get back on track and close out all their remaining projects.

The products are top-notch so if they can just get liquid again I hope they can then move forward on a more careful course and create more great stuff.

The Bundle of Holding offer is here:

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/StygianFox

Edited by groovyclam

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Note that a sort of third party (Credit Manager) is holding those funds (he's also part of SF which seems to imply that there might have been some suggestions/complaints of co-mingling of funds from different KS projects as SF have struggled to both get stuff out on time (down to illness and poor project management) and ship printed versions. I got my Contemporary Magical Places last week after SF sent the files to DTRPG about 2 months back.

New Tales is being offered through DTRPG but the notice says expect printed copies being dispatched late Feb/March by SF after they've sold enough through DTRPG to pay for printing and shipping to backers.

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31 minutes ago, nclarke said:

New Tales is being offered through DTRPG

I've also just bought the PDF of this at DriveThruRPG.com - it's a fantastic 2nd Edition. Lovely artwork and maps of the Lovecraft towns and a bonus new scenario set in Innsmouth added to the 1st Edition. Each town has a wonderful 2 page spread piece of artwork at the beginning of its section of adventures.

Worth the dosh I think.

Edited by groovyclam

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What I've learned over the last 24 hours is that there is a difference of assumption between some Backers (myself included) and Stephanie.  Stephanie has used funds from Kickstarters to fund operational costs for her business. We now know that for certain. Backers have been under the assumption that when you Back a project, that money will be used for THAT project exclusively, to make sure it gets done. No where in any of the SF Kickstarters does it say "funds will be used to keep SF going," and had we known that in advance, some of us never would have Backed. That is where some of us perceive the dishonesty: a difference in assumptions of what Kickstarter is for. And I believe that it is not crazy to believe that funds paid into a Kickstarter should be used for that Kickstarter.

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Well, everyone do not have the same priorities. Sometimes, s**t happens and you have to deal with it.
For my side, I prefer a late quality product, and delivered, to a non existant product because of too strict rules.

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5 hours ago, klecser said:

Backers have been under the assumption that when you Back a project, that money will be used for THAT project exclusively, to make sure it gets done.

No, that should not have happened but, like 7Tigers said, "s**t happens" and I'd rather help Stygian Fox out with some cash for product ( The Bundle of Holding and the PDF of New Tales 2nd Edition ) if it means a chance of finishing some of those poorly managed Kickstarters.

The more some of those outstanding Kickstarters are finished the more chance of income from extra sales from them might bring home some of the other outstanding projects ( etc. etc. ). Hopefully everything will get finished and Stygian Fox can be more considered and more accurately costed moving forward.

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5 hours ago, klecser said:

What I've learned over the last 24 hours is that there is a difference of assumption between some Backers (myself included) and Stephanie.  Stephanie has used funds from Kickstarters to fund operational costs for her business. We now know that for certain. Backers have been under the assumption that when you Back a project, that money will be used for THAT project exclusively, to make sure it gets done. No where in any of the SF Kickstarters does it say "funds will be used to keep SF going," and had we known that in advance, some of us never would have Backed. That is where some of us perceive the dishonesty: a difference in assumptions of what Kickstarter is for. And I believe that it is not crazy to believe that funds paid into a Kickstarter should be used for that Kickstarter.

There's going to be various overheads that are external to the project itself.  People need to eat, pay for living expenses, etc.  People aren't free resources, with 100% of the funds available to pay printers, shippers, etc etc etc.

I presume KS funds pay for the  time  of the people who work on the projects... if some bit of the project is estimated to take 80 hours, I'd expect about $1500 - $2K to fund that bit of the project (depending on what the "bit" is; maybe 3K or 4K or even more, if the producer is doing higher-level work, using expensive professional tools, etc).  Once that bit of the project is completed, then the $2K is theirs to spend on whatever (including propping up another project, celebrating with cocaine & call-girls, or buying rare copies of Perry Rhodan).

That said, relying on KS's -- which often don't fund, netting $0 -- for daily/weekly/monthly/etc expenses seems like an unsustainable model.

 

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3 hours ago, g33k said:

That said, relying on KS's -- which often don't fund, netting $0 -- for daily/weekly/monthly/etc expenses seems like an unsustainable model.

Both you and groovyclam have made some good points. I'm not saying that people shouldn't be paid. My impression has been that when gamers start a supplement Kickstarter, they often factor in labor and physical material cost to the price of the book. Regardless, I think there are problems when someone says that they don't have the capital to produce the physical copies of a book that a Kickstarter supposedly paid for.

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12 minutes ago, klecser said:

Regardless, I think there are problems when someone says that they don't have the capital to produce the physical copies of a book that a Kickstarter supposedly paid for.

I suspect it's a case of just not costing out the projects adequately and learning from your accounting mistakes as you go.

A lot of people Kickstarting RPG products are not financial professionals - they are just keen RPG hobbyists hoping to publish something professionally. It's not surprising the accounting falls short some of the time. I wouldn't know how to cost the creation of a CoC scenario PDF ( never mind the costs of hardcopies ).

Didn't the UK Brexit referendum result also cause a crash of sterling which would have had a nasty impact on Stygian Fox's purchasing power if they were paying for any services outside of the UK.

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17 minutes ago, groovyclam said:

Didn't the UK Brexit referendum result also cause a crash of sterling which would have had a nasty impact on Stygian Fox's purchasing power if they were paying for any services outside of the UK.

I'm not a Brexit expert, but I recall UK Backers refuting this claim when it was made. Of course, opinions will vary on hot button issues.

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2 minutes ago, klecser said:

I'm not a Brexit expert, but I recall UK Backers refuting this claim when it was made

It would all depend on when Kickstarter.com actually releases cash to the Kickstarter creator vs. at what point the pound started falling.

It's hard to dispute that the pound has slowly and continually been falling ever since the referendum so all UK businesses ( Stygian Fox included ) have had their banked sterling money devalued if it is purchasing anything in dollars/euros. 

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2 hours ago, klecser said:

... there are problems when someone says that they don't have the capital to produce the physical copies of a book that a Kickstarter supposedly paid for.

This is pretty inarguable.

SF needs to get their house accounting & project-management in order.

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