Six Months of Patreon: My Experience

It’s been six months now since I started my Liminal RPG Patreon adventure, and I wanted to share some of the things I have learned through the process, with a bit of transparency about what I have got out of it.

Why Liminal?

Obviously, barring my own games, I suppose Liminal is the game that I am most associated with ‘professionally’ (ha!). I’ve been onboard with Dr Mitch’s most excellent UK-centric folklore powered urban fantasy from the moment he announced it. Not only was it very similar to something I had been noodling about in my head (one day, I will write about the number of games out now, which I have coincidentally designed in my head…) but it’s right up my street in terms of interests, smashing urban fantasy and British folklore together in a mouthwatering fashion.

For this reason, choosing Liminal was a no-brainer. I have loads of ideas for material and I just need a route to get it out there into the world. I could just write more official material for Liminal but that’s not under my control and I already have two whole books in the pipeline for production, so the last thing I would want to do is complicate matters for the good Dr. (Just to add here, Paul has been amazingly supportive of the patreon, giving permission to do it, and bouncing ideas off me when I think they could cause issues for the real game!)

Was it the best choice?


There’s no denying that the RPG market, and the socials around it, create tiny, wonderful communities, in the shadow of some massive players. If I was out to make money, I would have chosen a tight D&D concept and milked that market. If I wanted voracious fandoms, I could have chosen Runequest or Call of Cthulhu (I mean, can you imagine it, if I did…). I could have dipped closer to home and generated material for a hot newer game like Starforged or Fabula Ultima. However, no, I stuck with Liminal – and there’s a cost for that.

Members, Wonderful Members

I have settled at around 50 members total, 20 paid, for quite some time now. During the six months I have only lost 1 paid member, and 1 free member. I think that retention rate is pretty sexy and I am forever grateful to the people who support me. I’ve even started to get some discussion going when material is posted, which is hugely gratifying.

However, shifting that number is hard. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to be careful when adding material to the Facebook and Discord groups, as I don’t want to come across as a shill. I could do some actual professional marketing work and hunt down the other places Liminal players hide! Similarly, I could reach out to the Spanish and Japanese Liminal communities too. 

Format and Voice

One of the initial decisions I made was that I wanted the material to be a sort of roleplay in and of itself. You can read my ramblings anywhere, so something different was needed here. I settled on spinning off the character of Dr Cain Moore from the Liminal game I played with Sue Savage on James Chambers Chambers of Roleplaying Twitch channel, and using him as the ‘voice’ of the material. Snarky, aloof and professorial. I added his Research Assistant, Alex, to the mix to host the free material too. Patreons are, fictionally, members of his classes at the Cambridge University Department of Paranormal Studies.

I like the set-up, it’s cute and it allows for some silly side notes and asides in the text. It’s not just game material – it’s hopefully got a bit more character than that.

Free vs Paid Content

Originally, I was going to run a monthly post but it became apparent that I needed – and wanted – to do more. I feel that Patreon backers should never be charged more than once in a month, and I don’t think $3 for around 1500-2000 words is out of the question, but I wanted to give more.

So, I introduced another free monthly post. Rather than being deep dives into folklore by the Professor, these are deep dives into the game mechanics, by Alex, but still ‘in-character. They’re a proper challenge to write, because I have to wrap my imagination around things that are hyper-specific and then put them into a wider context. They are fun to write though and everyone I do allows me to learn something new about the game. I never even suspected that Blessings and Curses was simply that powerful until I sat down and started that article!

I think having material there for free is crucial. The more material there is, the more people are likely to play and therefore the more might just throw $3 into the jar for more. You never know…

So what have I got out of it?

Monetarily, I think I’m up to around $250 income, which is nice. It’ll keep me in games for the next year or so!

However, what I have also gotten out of it is writing discipline again. Having to research, conceptualise, write and edit something every two weeks requires a fair bit of discipline – especially as people are paying for some of it, so it has to be decent. It’s really got me back in my writing groove, something that had disappeared for a while. 

The Future?

Everything goes through a life cycle, and things like a blog about a game is no exception. I imagine there will be a day when Professor Moore will resign his seat and the patreon may close. But that’s not happening soon, and with plenty of books in the Liminal production piperline I’m confident the game is going nowhere.

I am tempted at expanding the concept to another game though. Or doing something system agnostic. I’ve always been a big fan of the Pelinore material from the old Imagine magazine in the UK, and I would love to do something like fantasy Age of Sail in a similar fashion. That might be the project, who knows?

Anyway, to conclude – Patreon continues to be challenging fun, if only slightly lucrative and if you can find your own bunch of Curious Undergraduates, I’m sure you can do it too!

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