Since we launched our Patreon, I've had a bunch of community members asking all sorts of questions. The most common question boils down to this: why?
Let me talk for a moment about the nature of being a small RPG publisher and our relationship with you all, our community members. We've been blessed with an amazing and passionate community since streamlining our social media last year and embarking on Suzerain Legends, our exciting journey to a new edition of the Suzerain universe. I've engaged with many of my fellow Suzerainians (yes, I'm a member of the community too) and we've talked about all sorts of things. Some of them have been about the development of Suzerain products, other discussions have been about the lore or rules, or just shooting the breeze about roleplaying in general.
So why change that dynamic?
There are a couple of reasons, but let me start by reassuring you all: things aren't changing very much. You'll all get the same support as part of the Legends Awaken shared universe, helping you set up and run your games, answering your rules and lore questions, and so on. Your session reports can still lead to your heroes and stories becoming canon lore in future books. I'll still be on Discord and Facebook, just like before, as will Howard.
The main difference in having a Patreon, where you can give a little each month to support what we're doing, is that we're offering the patrons behind the scenes access and the "ear of the developer" when it comes to designing future content. Does this mean your suggestions will be ignored if you aren't a patron? No, but patrons help keep the dream alive with their contributions so their suggestions get priority. That's only fair.
Now that the community has grown a bit, the simple truth is that it takes a lot of hours for me to engage in that level of detail with everyone. Looking back at the last few months I realized that I could have released all seven JumpStarts by now if that level of detailed communication were limited to a smaller group. I'll never abandon the public community (I love it way too much) but I have to start being sensible about this. I have to focus and do what's expected - getting our books out. I know a lot of you have been waiting patiently for months for things that should have been finished in weeks. That's on me.
The other factor is economic. As much as I dream of living in a world where there's no cost to creating great roleplay experiences for Suzerain fans, we don't live in that world. There are development costs for every page we release but also monthly bills, overheads like web hosting costs which happen with the same certainty as the government collecting taxes. The dollars you put into the tip jar each month help cover those overheads, and it's needed.
I've had a few people ask about the campaigns I run each week. Those players clearly get access to all the perks without having to be patrons, so how can that be fair? Well, I run one game for people who are patrons or who volunteer significant time-in-lieu, helping make products happen. They're a part of the development team, and as we test new content you'll surely agree they've earned their right to those benefits.
The other games I run are for old friends, my home group. Just like any other GM in the community, I hope no one would be upset with me having a private game for my buds each week. They also have to put up with beta testing rules, and they submit amazing session reports to free me up from doing a GM report (again, that's time I can put into creating more neat Suzerain content).
That said, I have decided to combine the two sessions I run for my friends into one weekly game, freeing up one of my GMing slots for games that are available to the whole community. Anyone will be able to join through Discord. This way, you can all have table time with the developers.
By opening up about our reasons for doing things, my aim is to keep the development of Suzerain an open process, one shared with the community much more than most RPG publishers ever do. In fact I've had a couple of other industry professionals mention in private that they think I'm insane, spending the hours I do with my fellow Suzerainians. The Patreon is a part of that ever-developing relationship because, you know what, I don't intend to shut the office door and tell you kids to be quiet while I do that important book-creation thing. Not now, not ever.
Publisher, Savage Mojo
Please ask us questions and make comments. We have a Facebook group and Discord server. We love to hear your thoughts, about Savage Mojo, about Suzerain, or about anything gaming-related in fact! We also have a Patreon account, our "tip jar with benefits".