Tuesday, 27 August 2013

A Statement from Alyssa Faden

There seems to be a bit of confusion surrounding the Cairn Bicycle Kickstarter and the Cairn RPG. Some people have emailed me privately to ask if I owned the intellectual property, or received permission, or was ripping Mike Nystul off. One person assumed I was fronting for Mike. There seems to be some anger bubbling in certain areas about another Cairn-related Kickstarter.... My friend and partner, Alyssa Faden, wrote a response and I want to include it here. She says it much better than me. 

Hey guys and gals, my name is Alyssa and I'm part of the SoulJAR team. Together with jim pinto and Jack Cull, we have banded together under the SoulJAR name to help Ross make this game - and other games - a reality.
We are huge believers in utter transparency and honesty and have been updating our own FB pages, the Cairn page, SoulJAR Facebook and our SoulJAR Blog with regular - if not daily - updates. We are also completely open to being PMed and emailed, and - believe me - are here to help, answer questions, and attempt to alleviate some of the frustration that has built up around the Cairn name.
I am also a Cairn backer (hence me able to post here :) ). I backed at a fairly high level so I could also get all of the miniatures. I get where you are all coming from, so please consider me empathic to your thoughts and feelings around this title.
The gathering of the team (and why), and the playing cards (and why) were announced here: http://souljar-games.blogspot.com/2013/08/souljar-grows.html
But allow me to put this into my own words:
We love Cairn. We truly believe in the title, the subject matter, the setting and the sheer possibilities that lie within. We want to see this book go live, because - quite frankly - too much hard work and your money has gone into it.
So Ross offered to take this off Mike's hands and help finish the writing, the proofreading and layout, get it printed and distributed. The IP transferred to Ross for the book, NO MONEY WAS EXCHANGED. This is important, because Ross and SoulJAR want to ensure that you get a copy of Cairn, but it will be at SoulJAR's expense. I know you spent money - I spent money as well - but none of that went to Ross, none of it went to SoulJAR, so for SoulJar to get you your copy of the book we're effectively got to eat the cost. That's not your problem, but it is a reality.
We therefore started the Cairn Bicycle Cards to help offset these costs (the rest will come out of our pockets). There are several strong pluses here as it has enabled us to - 

Neither of these would have been possible otherwise, and - please note - both are also out of SoulJAR pocket.
With patience already exhausted and communication over the last year probably not what you wanted it to be, it's a tad cheeky of me to ask "please bear with us while we bring Cairn together." But I do ask for your understanding: We did not run the Cairn Kickstarter, nor have we been running the communication since it funded to now; so we cannot be responsible for what was said, promised or otherwise inferred. We are however cognizant and sympathetic to everything that has occured, and intend to show a slightly different face and method of communication moving forward.
If you have any questions - or simply wish to vent - please find us:
and my own personal wall: 


See why I adore her? She's super-wonderful. 

Allow me to echo some of what Alyssa said. I did not pay money for the intellectual property known as Cairn. The rights were transferred to me so long as I promised to fulfill the promise to provide the RPG to the backers. (As a side note, I even looked into the possibility of producing the miniatures and providing those as well before I signed the contract. That was one of the reasons for the delay in transferring the rights -- I was doing due diligence to find out everything I could about the original Kickstarter and it's costs. Sadly, I cannot afford to produce miniatures at this time. The costs run upward of $10,000 and I simply can't afford that. So part of the negotiations also covered just exactly what I was agreeing to do). What Mike Nystul did was find a way to at least fulfill the basic offering -- the RPG. 

Nor did I receive any money from the original Cairn Kickstarter. This is important, too. That money is gone, I know not where. We want to draw a line in the sand between the past and the present (and future!), and let you know you are dealing with SoulJAR Games -- Jack Cull, jim pinto, Alyssa Faden, and Ross A. Isaacs. We're four people who are passionate about games, and Cairn. We're a new team. The past is the past, and it should stay there. We want to look forward. 

That said, you would not believe the cost of printing 1,000 copies of this game. A thousand copies is the minimum at which we can print a book and keep the unit cost reasonable. We're then giving away 40 percent of the print run for free to the backers. That means the remaining copies have to essentially cover the costs of the entire print run. I doubt this book will break even. And despite this, we still believed in Cairn enough to want to do it. 

We LOVE Cairn

In order to help offset the costs of printing, we are running the Cairn Bicycle Playing Card Kickstarter. We will make up the difference out of our own pockets, so the game will be coming out no matter what. The current Kickstarter has already allowed us to color the card art (so now we're looking at adding color plates to the RPG!). However our resources are not unlimited (or very large). Offsetting the costs in this way helps us to do other things -- like start working on other games, and devote even more resources to the Cairn RPG. We could use a little help to kick start things, and get from where we are to where we want to be.  

Finally, we wanted to be able to share the wonderful artwork in a new way, to a new group of people. Jeff Laubenstein has been drawing away and sending us new artwork. Let me tell you, it's amazing. I can't wait until we share it with you. 

We are certainly cognizant of the ill will that surrounds the Cairn RPG, and we're sensitive to it. We're here to answer questions and listen to you. We're all about dialog. I want to thank all of you for your patience and support. Overall, the response to the transfer of the rights, the playing cards, and SoulJar Games as been positive. Without you guys, we'd be nothing. We're aware of how important you are, as well. 

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