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A magnificent weekend, and I noticed something unexpected.

But firstly, thank you to everyone who came to visit us!  From veteran comic creators to familiar readers and new faces, everyone was kind and engaging and made the weekend incredible.  

Also thanks to Geo for manning the table with us, helping promote his Wayward Astronomer novel.  Our table sold out of every copy we brought.

I thought raising commission prices would slow things down on that front, but NOPE.  I had a pile of fun ideas to work on, and just wrapped up our take-homes yesterday.

We also sold through every Plush Whip that we brought to the table, Prelude Collections, Vivid Sketchbooks- and that brings me to the new phenomenon I noticed.

New stoppers.  

Readers who are into comics typically stop and check out our table- which is why we've grown.  But we were getting new stoppers this Anthrocon.

Some people aren't initially into comics as much.  They would be strolling past- but their gaze would freeze on the Dreamkeepers Wayward Astronomer novel, and they'd dial in.  Or they'd look past the novel, past the comics- but notice the Skirmish prototype game box, and be pulled in.  

Speaking of which, some of the veteran readers & mods demoed Skirmish in the game room, and I hear it attracted a great deal of interest.

So my overall realization was that Dreamkeepers really is growing into something greater than the sum of its parts.  What began as a simple webcomic is emerging as a fully fledged franchise, with a concept robust enough to viably expand to new mediums.  And that expansion is having a snowball effect.

I'm looking forward to mailing Skirmish to our backers later this month, looking forward to continuing Volume 5 work, and looking forward to seeing where Vivid takes us all next!
Chat 'n Sketch coming tomorrow, 3pm EST on our Picarto channel. And we have the results in for the Caption Contest!

Thank you to everyone who created entries. It was fun reading them: dreamkeepers-fans.deviantart.c…

We narrowed it down to ten finalists, and the Discord moderator team selected the grand prize winner. Winners, send us an e-mail! (Dreamkeeperscomic(at)gmail.com)

We need your mailing info- every finalist receives a button pack, and the grand prize winner receives the original pencil lineart for the page displayed.



Grand Prize Winner:




Finalists:












Finalists and winner, send your mailing info by the end of June to make sure we don't run out of button packs.

Thanks again for entering, I hope the contest was fun for everyone!
Milestone achieved!  

Huge thanks to the Patreon backers for another record month- and welcome to all our new backers!  
These elite readers are bestowing weekly Prelude for everyone during the month of June.

Another unlocked feature of 'Full Time' is a Chat 'n Sketch this month- scheduled for June 23rd, 3pm EST on our Picarto channel.

Also this month, our final Skirmish boxed-game prototype arrived.  And, WOW!  It's like opening a pile of treasure.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RaVm4…

Just waiting on freighting, and we'll start delivering to backers of the campaign.  After that's done, we'll announce when games are available for public purchase.

And speaking of games- Faction War is rumbling again.  The test game this spring gave me a lot to chew on, and I finally got around to overhauling the mechanics.  Now there will be ryuu-nekos that boost Awareness, Manekales for mounted riding, and more.

Needs a bit more testing, but we're stepping closer to a public release for the first official Dreamkeepers roleplay system.

Also nailing some commissions this month, keeping up with weekly Prelude and Volume 5 updates, Boneitis and me may be on the Thoughtcops podcast soon, and we're prepping for Anthrocon in July.  

Thanks for enjoying the award-winning Undisputed Gateway Furry Saga, looking forward to bringin' you more.
We're using a fresh never-before-seen Volume 5 page.  What are Nainso and Tia actually saying?  

dreamkeepers.deviantart.com/ar…

Patreon backers will find out later.  For now, YOU are in command.

Fill the word balloons with any dialogue you like, and submit the image here:  

dreamkeepers-fans.deviantart.c…

Deadline is Monday, June 18th at noon EST.  You can submit as many entries as you like.

Liz & I will choose ten finalists, probably based on what makes us laugh the hardest- and then the DK Moderator team will vote on the finalists until one wins.  

(DK Moderators may enter the contest, but cannot vote for their own entry.)

All ten finalists win a Dreamkeepers button pack.  FINALLY.

The Ultimate Master of Funny, the Caption Contest winner will also score the original pencil lineart that goes with this page.  

As for rules:  If you're allowed to post it on Deviantart, go nuts!  Put your caption text right in the image- it's more fun to read that way.

Thanks to the backers for hitting the Production Milestone and unlocking this contest.  Have fun, and enjoy everyone's entries.  
Thank you to my friends for their help in shaping and improving the thoughts below.

*     *     *     *     *

   Prior to posting my 'Nazi Prevention' article, I made a prediction:

That Dogpatch Press editorial staff would maliciously poison the well, and that their readership would be rabidly unreasonable.  
I've seen several good things occur post-article, and the one which makes me happiest is being proven wrong about the Dogpatch readership. True that a handful resorted to party-line insults, but a plethora of reasonable people came forward, to agree and disagree, in good faith. Most of them only felt comfortable doing so through private channels. This is a fact which stands out in my mind.
The best public response I could find was by Darkend, a talented editor at Sofawolf press. Rather than resorting to ad-hominem, he focused on well-reasoned disagreement directed at the ideas we presented. He was considerate enough to post his thoughts as a journal, and I would encourage everyone to read it. (links at the bottom.)
The community is currently riven with fear and loathing. I'm hopeful that placing emphasis on thoughtful good-will interactions can improve things. So to that end, please express appreciation to Darkend for being willing to speak, and I hope he'll be open to reading if I clarify some of my positions.
Brevity was among my primary concerns in the initial article, which led to me excluding... Well, everything in existence outside of those 2,000 words. That has opened the door to some misinterpretations, which I'd be pleased to address.  One interesting, and one troubling.

Interesting:

Darkend believes that the article "fetishizes" free speech, to the exclusion of all other values, considerations, and consequences.  
I think he's entirely correct that elevating one value above all others, and using that abstraction to subordinate everything, is a bad idea. In fact, such thinking often constitutes the very worst ideas, manifesting as totalitarian ideologies.  
Conceptual systems like these can be identified by their tendency to have one utopian solution for every problem. For Nazis, the solution was ethnic homogeneity. For Stalinists, forced equality of economic outcomes. Others enshrine the idea of free markets, or individual responsibility, or diversity. When totalizing systems are imposed fully scaled and uncompromised upon reality, they degenerate quickly into hellish suffering.
Simple solutions are tempting in a complicated world- in fact, they are necessary.  None of us are capable of fully comprehending the complexity.  Abstractions are an a-priori requirement for making value judgments and decisions.
On an individual level, I think it's healthy to have a handful of different lenses, and more so on a macroscopic social level.
For whatever harm a misguided individual may inflict with their totalitarian obsessions, an entire society can magnify it. And virtually everyone wants to avoid that. In fact, I think we have a common desire:

The minimization of unnecessary human suffering.

So far, it appears that individual rights and freedoms have served that end better than any previous system of concepts. Partially because free speech helps uncover and defuse bad ideas early. Which is why the next perception of Darkend's was troubling to me.
His perception of free speech entailed no philosophically inherent limitations, up to and including stabbing a political opponent in the throat (or punching them in the face.) Blurring the line between speech and murder is dangerous, and for that reason I think it's worthwhile to briefly reiterate what I think most people mean when they are talking about free speech:

Free speech is a mechanism by which the interaction of a diversity of ideas is facilitated.

Information is exchanged, reasoning examined, and suppositions assessed. Using open inquiry to identify bad ideas provides intellectual immunizations that can be shared with those who may be susceptible. Good ideas can be identified and likewise shared.
Conceptualizing free speech in this manner introduces immediate and obvious inherent limitations. Murder and physical violence are used to suppress ideas, not engage with them. Though it may be expressive, throat-stabbing a political opponent is clearly not covered under this definition of free speech. Neither is shouting down a lecturer with obscenities, destroying Berkeley with a riot, pulling fire alarms during speeches, or bringing airhorns into the classroom. Violence, aggression, mislabeling, and bad-faith tactics all obstruct the beneficial mechanics of free speech.
Because this definition provides explicit boundaries and substance to the idea of free speech, I find it more useful, and it's generally what I have in mind. That's why I agree with Darkend when he points out,

"The purpose of some forms of speech, specifically harassment and intimidation, are designed to suppress the speech of others. It's a way to say, 'If you speak up, you'll be next.'"

I spoke up with my article. Subsequently I received a small but implacable contingent of furries mislabeling me as a Nazi, Nazi sympathizer, and advocating for my ostracization, as publicly as they possibly could.
Observers might class such behavior as harassment and intimidation.  Those same observers do not want to be next.
I believe that is why the majority of thoughtful responses to my article are being shared with me in private. People are afraid.
And I'm not talking about white supremacists. Pro-LGBT conservatives, libertarians, egalitarians, liberals- they are afraid to speak up, because they know what will happen. They might just get called a Nazi and be banned forever.
Is there persecution being conducted along party lines?
I don't know.  Politics has gotten so ugly it seems defined now by deception. False flags and misinformation are the norm.

But I do know a few facts.

I have been accused, publicly and repeatedly, of being a Nazi and a Nazi sympathizer. These accusations are categorically false, and often attached to coy ultimatums, hints that obedience might end the abuse.
I have clarified my position calmly, publicly, and truthfully. Such clarifications are rejected out of hand. It is made clear that only capitulation will suffice.  
I also know for a fact that I am not the only person who has been falsely and maliciously labeled a Nazi or sympathizer. These labels are used by a small and unhappy group within the community as moral justification to act on their feelings of hatred and to exercise social power. Which brings us to another good point that was shared by Darkend.  

"Loosely defined laws restricting speech are almost always turned into tools to oppress minorities."

I believe he meant 'minorities' here to refer to the birth characteristics of an individual, but his point holds true even for literal numeric minorities of people. Even for subdued majorities.
My personal experiences above lead me to assess similar anecdotes with credence. And while I'm grateful that I can simply shrug off the lies and social pressure, those who are less established are often not so fortunate.
Darkend touched on some additional points that merit brief mention.

"
1) FA isn't the government and as such is largely free to choose who they do and do not wish to host. This isn't anyone's free speech issue.
2) "Exluding (sic) the speech of people will only turn them into nazis" is the abuser's "Look what you made me do!"
"

He's correct on point one- private platforms are free to make their own rules, and fair moderation is necessary to maintain a healthy functioning atmosphere.  But it is possible for corporations to infringe on individual rights, and by some accounts, that appears to be happening.  
The second point, I'm not sure how Darkend equates a cause-effect observation to an assignment of guilt. Acknowledging incentives and results doesn't inherently require a scapegoat.
However, seeing this objection appear repeatedly on twitter makes it appear salient. It is being used as a justification for the moral rectitude of social purges, and indicates preoccupation with blame.  
Perhaps it means that people feel guilt, and are eager to redirect it.

What's the truth, and what's spin?  I don't know for sure.
I'm not advocating for or against AltFurry. I'm not particularly keyed in to the politics of the furry community, and I'm not certain what any of these groups actually stand for, so any endorsement- or denouncement- would be hollow. I tend to be quite detached, scribbling away at drawings rather than reading furry news or tuning in to the latest gossip. But when that gossip is resulting in mass expulsions predicated on group affiliation... Well, when an oblivious chap like me can see that things are getting bad, they must be very bad indeed.
I'm hoping that examination and consideration might help us start fixing things together. I would like to thank Darkend for sharing his thoughts, and hope that he finds my response agreeable.

Readers may be interested in digesting more points of view. Below is the original Dogpatch Article I submitted, with the thoughts and feelings of their editorial staff. In the following days QuQu-media posted an article, and 2-Gryphon posted a video which deal with the same subject matter. Also below is a link to redacted screencaps of some of the private notes we received and Darkend's journal.


*     *     *     *     *


Initial Dogpatch Press article and Staff Commentary "The Milo Story, Nazi Prevention, and A Simple Hope" dogpatch.press/2018/05/21/the-…

Darkend’s Journal response: www.furaffinity.net/journal/87…

QuQu-Media "Why political extremism within the furry fandom should deeply concern you." ququ-media.com/2018/05/23/why-…

2-Gryphon "Bird Bawks- Altfurry"  www.youtube.com/watch?v=44B_Gp…

Redacted private commentary:  steemit.com/dreamkeepers/@drea…
28 Is it possible, how ever unlikely, that a nightmare could by sympathetic or benevolent towards dreamkeepers or life in general?

Yes.  It's rare- Nightmares are birthed into the world for a specific purpose, and their natural temperaments orient them towards vicious aggression.  But though their ostensible purpose is to destroy life, to do so effectively they need to take on the aspects of living beings.  Bodies need food, so they will feel hunger.  And to sustain itself, a life form needs to do more than eat, so they have a range of feelings, including emotions.  To be effectively autonomous beings, it's inherently necessary that they can process their own thoughts and make decisions.

So though nightmares generally exist to kill Dreamkeepers and the vast majority of them conform to that task, it is possible for some to disagree and formulate their own objectives.

But a disobedient Nightmare is not dealt with kindly when their compatriots gain access to them.   And once they die, their spirit will return to the Nightmare realm before being reborn, so there's ultimately no escape from their peers.


23 Who are your personal favorite dreamkeepers and why?

David:  Mine would have to be Whip.  I just like how he's a bit of a detached observer, a touch sardonic, yet very keyed in to his own desires.  Liz's favorite Dreamkeeper has yet to appear in the series.

23 Probably super plot vaulty but here i go: Can a dreamkeeper ascend into a nightmare or a spirit and how do they do it?

To be honest I'm not sure what this question is asking.  I'll just ramble a bit and hopefully answer it.   In Dreamkeepers lore, characters have souls, and they can also have a body to run around in.  Dreamkeepers have a body and share the same soul with their human counterpart.   Nightmares (when they manifest one in the Dreamworld) have a body.  In Volume 4 we discover an unconfirmed possibility that Spirits can be summoned into and trapped within a body.  So if that turns out to be what really happened, then it'd be canon that souls can be implanted into bodies that were not originally theirs.

21 During Volume 4 when Mace asked the group to take a break, did he ask because he realized Bast was limping or because he was actually tired?

Mace did notice Bast was limping, and that's why he called for a break. I think he realized that bringing attention to Bast's injury would be counterproductive, considering how prickly Bast can be- he might deny it and refuse to stop.  I figured in light of Bast's insane escape from the Neons in Volume 3, a delayed-action injury would be a necessary bare minimum consequence to depict.

16 How big can Ryuu Nekos get and is there any sort of special qualities they acquire at their full sizes?

Full grown ryuu-nekos commonly grow to become a hundred to two hundred feet long.  If they are bred and fed for that purpose, they can get to that size within 10-20 years, but normally it'll take about a century for a wild neko to attain that size.

They tend to eat less and less frequently as they grow, so when they reach a hundred feet or so, they may stop eating altogether save the occasional big meal.  That means that their growth ceases, which is why this tends to be their maximum size.  

Nekos are said to grow more intelligent as they age, so large ones tend to be very perceptive.

There are legends that one neko of each type continued to grow, becoming a thousand foot behemoth, and that they rest hidden- underneath rivers, winding below mountain ranges, buried beneath rambling jungles.
As of the time I checked the survey, here are the top five questions.   Let's get some answers rolling!


45 votes- Do powers get more powerful with time as a dreamkeeper uses it more?


Usually, yes!  I answered a similar question via e-mail recently, so I can paste it here as it's the perfect place.  I use weightlifting as an analogy for dreamkeepers power training:

When inexperienced Dreamkeepers use their power, they sometimes fuel it with their own personal energy- and almost immediately faint.   But most soon learn to fuel their power by 'channeling' it.  Energy interacting with a Dreamkeeper and fueling their ability is signified by the halo effect.  Learning to 'channel' power is like learning to ride a bike- it rapidly becomes intuitive. 

'Channeling' a power doesn't involve physical musculature at all, something closer to mental focus and sustained willpower.  But, though qualitatively different, it's similar to weightlifting in the following ways.

Someone who has practiced more, and has more experience, can increase their capacity to lift weights.  Not everyone can attain equal strength.  Almost everyone can get stronger with training, but there are limits.   Stand around lifting weights for too long, and a person will exhaust their muscles, be unable to continue until they allow themselves to rest and recover.   And lifting heavier weights will exhaust their strength faster.  And in fact, lift something that's simply too heavy, too fast, and they can actually injure their muscles, and put themselves out of commission for weeks or longer.   It's possible for a power-active Dreamkeeper to 'sprain' their power in this manner, and require recovery. 

Once a Dreamkeeper has exhausted their 'power strength' or capability, then they can only continue using their power by fueling it with their body's physical stamina, which doesn't last for long.  

So, weightlifting is a good metaphor:  Some people are stronger than others, even when just beginning.  But everyone can increase their capabilities up to a point, with training.  Some can develop exceptional capabilities.  But even someone in peak form can only lift so much before their muscles will be exhausted and require rest.  The more they lift, the more rest will be required to restore their strength. 





40 votes- Can typical powers manifest under conditions other than imminent bodily harm? Such as intense focus towards a job or hobby?

Yes, definitely.  Danger is a rather effective means of causing intense focus and desire- but not the only way.  Intense focus, paired with genuine desire, is how 99% of Dreamkeepers discover their power.

33 votes- How old are Vanth, Evzen and the orphans from Grunn's Orphanage / how old are all of the characters in GNS?

I'll try to list at least the main characters:

Mace-14
Whip-14
Lilith-15
Namah-14
Bast-16
Vanth-16
Jeneviv-15
Kalei-15
Evzen- 15

Igrath-47
Scinter-46
Nainso-56
Vi-21
Karo-23
Bobby-22
Grunn-42

Nabonidus-Plot Vault
Ravat-35
Tinsel-34




30 votes- If you guys could would you go back and change anything about the previous comics and / or lore?

Short answer, no.  Early on we fixed some consistency goofs in Volume 1, but just enough to keep it working properly.
If I had the power to go redo stuff, I wouldn't.  Gotta move forward as we improve, instead of letting the improvement drag us back to square one.

But a similar question- is there anything that we could have done better?  I can think of one scene that probably would have been better with a different twist.

In Volume 3, a farmer gives Lilith a data-scroll out of the blue, which proves to be a useful item.   It was a placeholder scene that I couldn't improve on at the time- we injected a bit of humor, and moved forward with getting the book created.   But looking back, I'd have Mace or Bast steal (or compete to steal) the scroll, because that's a little more in line with their character and less random.  

I try to use hindsight revelations like this to sharpen up my storytelling skills, and apply it to make our subsequent work better than ever.  



24- What's the species behind Vi's design? People say she's a rabbit or a skunk but i think i read she actually is a civet.

Our original thought was sort of a rabbit skunk combo- but civet works too.  Dreamkeepers are so cartoony, the original animal inspiration is essentially irrelevant most of the time.    I don't even know what Whip is supposed to be.    A cold kangaroo rat?  A cuddly sky-shark?    I don't think anyone knows.


We faced off against peerless competition- Boneitis, Lackadaisy, Always Gray in Winter, Teagan Gavet-

But when the Vivid readership goes on the warpath, they can move mountains. You've brought this campaign to overwhelming victory.

Thank you, and well done.

The Dreamkeepers series is officially an Ursa Major Award winner in not just one, but THREE categories:

Best Graphic Story (Graphic novel saga)

Best  Novel (The Wayward Astronomer)

and Best Published Illustration (Wayward Astronomer cover art)
ursamajorawards.org/

Thank you again to the elite corps of readers who executed this campaign, and thank you to our honorable competition for allowing us to compete with truly great work.

This year is off to an exciting start.   Volume 5 unleashed on Patreon, a salvo of Award winning- and soon, Skirmish games will be comin' in hot.

More victories and more fun to come.
First up:  Brace yourselves.  

MILESTONE STATUS

Patreon was strong last month, but not quite strong enough to hit that Full Time Milestone goal for May.  That means Prelude will update every *other* week, and there's no Chat 'n Sketch this month.  

Maybe next month- spread the Good Word to the heathens, that for a buck a month they can transform themselves from lowly freeloaders to glorified backers, masters of fate, and enjoy the weekly Volume 5 pages with dignity.  www.patreon.com/Dreamkeepers

>end scene<

SKIRMISH

On the manufacturing front, Skirmish is now in full production.   We received glimmering hard-copy proofs, a redesign of the box layout, and the gave the green-light to everything.   Pre-Orders are now CLOSED.  I have to ensure we have enough games to deliver to our backers before I sell any more- we don't have many extras!  www.kickstarter.com/projects/2…

The printer says it's one of the most complex manufacturing jobs they've ever attempted for a game- their estimate is 1.5 months to completion.  I'm guessing two- either way, we're in the home stretch!    If you're excited, check out the official rulebook online:  dreamkeeperscomic.com/Emergenc…

COMMISSIONS

All backer commissions from last month are done.  Posting to Patreon soon.   And we're knocking out our Big Commission Queue like clockwork, one per month- Slot #53, e-mail comin' your way today!

FIREBRAT

Coloring continues to illuminate the true horror of Santa Clause.   So far it looks like we're on track for October delivery.  www.kickstarter.com/projects/2…

FACTION WAR

The Test Run has been completed!   A Story Arc transpired with bloodshed, intrigue, and battle- and a whole lot of learning for me.   I'm doing a redesign of Faction War now- test players!   I'll share when it's done.

Instead of opening Faction War to the public all at once, we're going to phase new players in by invitation only.   That way a flood of noobs doesn't crash the system with too much chaos- veterans can teach a handful of new players the ropes throughout a Story Arc, and invite new players as the system solidifies and the story gains momentum.

SHENANIGANS

I went on a ride-along with the ThoughtCops in their podcast, Episode 64:  thoughtcops.net/  I had a blast and there was much crude humor enjoyed by all.  
Although not everyone enjoys crude humor- one comedian, Asterios, is currently being sued.  But not if we have anything to say about it.

Boneitis and I are teaming up to save Asterios from his legal fees with a dakimakura body pillow that can only be described as "DEPRAVED."

I don't know how this is going to play out, everyone even adjacent to this lawsuit seems to get targeted in it, but I don't think we can be held liable for outrageous daki drawings.  I'll keep you posted.  


FALSE START

Speaking of Boneitis- his first graphic novel, False Start, has been picked up by Vivid Publishing.  He's prepping for a Kickstarter this spring / summer, so plan accordingly, and welcome the newest member of the Vivid coalition.   twitter.com/Boneitis

COUCHCON

We're still planning on launching CouchCon!  Date to be announced.   It'll offer all the goodies we provide at normal conventions, but to everyone.   CouchCon will line up with the launch of False Start.

CAPTION CONTEST

We hit the Full Time milestone a month back, so we're going to launch a new Dreamkeepers Caption Contest.   Stay tuned for details.

BIG GEEKY COUCH

Speaking of that whole comedian lawsuit situation above- one of the people involved made a comic, and we reviewed it for Big Geeky Couch.  Posting soon.  Check out the youtube channel for more comic reviews and shenanigans on the couch.    twitter.com/big_geeky

VIDEO GAME

It's under the hood, but progress is still moving forward on the Dreamkeepers sidescroller game.  The level editor is building features that will allow for easier adjustment of lighting conditions in the levels, and other stuff that I don't understand.  But it's looking like a pile of fun.   I'm hoping this summer it will be ready to start building test modules for the greyboxed sketch-characters that we have ready.

E-MAILS

OHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

I hope to catch up soon, but want to get just a few more pages colored first...

CONVENTIONS

We have a dealer's table at Anthrocon!   Boneitis has a table, as do Skidd and Phuufy of UberQuest, and many more- if you can make it out, come see us!   We're attending Midwest Furfest also, but I don't know if we can get a dealer's table there yet.   Fingers crossed.

So that's our rundown for May!  Thanks for enjoying our content- more on the way.  

Warm regards,
-Dave & Liz
Thursday night chats are getting out of control, so we're taming it by shifting Q&A to a weekly top-5 vote.

Better answers, for the questions readers actually want to know.  Plus I can blog and log 'em for easier reference.  Here's the first round of questions voted for by our backers:





How are you doing Dave and Liz?

Good.  

THAT'S ALL YOU GET.

Well it's an official question, so I'll elaborate a bit.   Highly pleased that warm weather finally showed up, excited that we got to crash the Thoughtcops podcast, looking forward to False Start Chapter Zero, and happy that Volume 5 updates are off to a good start.   Also relieved that Skirmish is finally in the manufacturing stage- I can hardly wait to get our shipment of games and start shipping them.  Liz is tearing it up with figurines and Firebrat coloring.  


Been looking for a opportunity to ask. what is fallguard and how is it played?

Fallguard is Anduruna's most mainstream sport.  We haven't nailed down specific league rules, but the general idea is as follows.

There's one field with two teams.  Each team has an endzone, like in football.  Any time a player enters the endzone of the opposing team, they score a point.  

Players have massive blocky boxing gloves- and they use them to fight opposing team members.   No grabbing or holding is allowed- and the gloves are like huge rectangles, so it's pretty much impossible to hold someone even if you wanted to.  

The field is cris-crossed by padded trenches.  They're like ten feet deep.  If you fall into a trench, you have to run to the sidelines, and you climb back onto the field into your home area.  

It's a long-shot to try jumping the trenches.  And there are a handful of choke points near center field, that serve as bridges, so they gain massive tactical importance.   If a team can control those choke points, they have a good shot at blocking enemies from coming across and scoring.  

So the game plays out in several rounds, where players try to karate each other into trenches and rack up scores by penetrating enemy territory.  Big strong players that can fight well provide certain advantages, while agile, nimble players provide other advantages.    

And that's Fallguard.



With regard to springers, how do they compare to our guns in terms of energy/velocity of the bullets, recoil, and noise generated by the

Patreon only allows so many characters in poll questions, so for future reference, gotta be concise!  The full question was intended to be:  

"With regard to springers, how do they compare to our guns in terms of energy/velocity of the bullets, recoil, and noise generated by the shots?"  For future Q&As we'll have to keep it limited to whatever fits into the Patreon poll question area, I can't respond to five essays a week.

I would say offhand, it probably depends on the firearm in question, and the springer gun in question.   I don't know that much about guns, so I don't even have a good handle on the range of muzzle velocities or impact energy.    But noise I can answer- springers are not as loud as guns.   Every gun I've fired has been way too loud, you have to wear earmuffs.  I feel like I'm Princess Leia going on a killing spree.  

Springers would still be loud- but not loud enough to damage hearing.  Think of a sharp slapping crack as the cartridge casing snaps, then a bursting metallic whang as the spring bursts open and propels the round.   Followed by a fun sproingy springy after-sound when the spring ejects and wobbles to the ground.  

The springs are a special kind of metal, to allow for the compression, storage, and kinetic effect in the story- Placeholder name, "Cartoonium."   But that's not canon, just a placeholder.

I'd imagine springer rounds travel slower than most bullets- but a lot of them look larger and heavier than bullets too, so the impact would still be something to avoid.


It's made clear that the Viscount and family live near the top if Sabbaton Towers, how is the rest of Sabbaton arranged in terms of social (hierarchy)

I don't think I can give a full-blown essay on exactly how the Sabbaton Towers are organized and what's on every level, because I haven't made everything up yet.  Mainly we pull things into focus when they become relevant to story events.  

But the Big Library is near the top, with that cool view of the stars across the ceiling.  The Viscount level is high up, above the clouds, but not the very top level.  

Lower levels include living situations:  Some levels are for diplomats, bureaucrats, and other functionaries.  Some are for private professionals and are rented out like condos.   So some levels are private residencies, but some are public access.   There's a mall level, a hospital level, the very bottom is the Foundation.   And underground- between the foundation and the surface- are some prison levels, which are the most high-security prison facilities in the entire city.  


That's it for this week!  If you'd like your question to be in the running for next week's Top Five, become (or finagle) a Commanding Vote backer to do it on Patreon.
Thursday night chats have been off the hook lately!   More questions than I can possibly keep up with, and flinging by too fast for me to provide adequate answers.

Plus the same questions can recur week after week, and I waste precious precious seconds making up the same answer twice in one lifetime.

NO MORE!

With so many questions, I want to give priority to the ones that interest more than one reader.  Time for- you guessed it:

DEMOCRACY!

No, this decision will not be put to a vote.

Starting this Thursday, I'll ask backers for questions, and let backers vote on their top five.  Then I'll answer five questions a week.  Only, like, really good.  

A side bonus- I can type the answers in advance and make blog posts, so the Children Of The Future can check on which questions have already been asked, and use their Highest Wisdom in submitting new ones.

So, we're starting now!  I'm not sure how many options I can add to these polls, so we'll start by opening question submissions for Commanding Vote backers.  

Add your idea here: www.patreon.com/posts/18521280

And tomorrow I'll put them to a vote for all backers.   Talk to you on Thursday.  

-David
Kicking off at 4pm EST, right here:  picarto.tv/dreamkeepers

I'll be drawing backer requests- as many as I can get through, while a host of stunning physically beautiful guests come through to chat.   Some Vivid favorites, as well as the intrepid test players of Faction War, here to recount their harrowing experience.

Swing by for the chattin' and the sketchin'.

Also!  Quick news hit-list.

The Skirmish hard-copy proofs have shipped!  They're finally on the way.

Figurines are being cast.

We're slated to be guests on the THOUGHTCOPS podcast soon.

CouchCon is still on- date to be announced, but it'll coincide with the stunning worldwide release of False Start.

Speaking of stunning, I'm breaking my embargo on outrageous dong drawings, and embarking on a tag-team project with Boneitis himself, to ultimately destroy the reputation of comedian Asterios with his request for a "DEPRAVED" daki body pillow.

Dick drawings, online conventions, serious business manufacturing stuff, and a day of sketching.  Shaping up to be a fun spring!
I've never seen Patreon growth like this before- it's soaring.  What's going on?

Record numbers of backers joined the Dreamkeepers phalanx this month, and attained the Full Time production milestone.

Thank you!  This will have a massive impact for Dreamkeepers.

We've managed our best in the past-  there have been times where I'd be running 2 miles to and from work in the sleet, to make ends meet.  I could regale you with tales of woe, misfortune, and occasional privation, but those things don't matter.  I'd rather share comics- suffice to say that scarcity and its management has been the fabric of my experience since I was young, and I know it's the same for many of us.

Going from having too little to having enough is a humbling relief.  Now instead of focusing on managing scarcity, I can focus on creating more and better work.

Everyone thank a backer!  With their support weekly Prelude updates are secured for all of April, plus a Chat 'n Sketch stream.  (Date to be announced. )

For new recruits and veterans alike, welcome to the core of the readership.  I'm excited to start sharing Volume 5 pages with you on April 4th.

Thank you for your support in taking Dreamkeepers to new heights.  We're going to see some incredible things together.

Best regards,
-David

( PS- read this post with a pretty illustration on Patreon- www.patreon.com/posts/recordbr… )
First the bad:  

Prelude will shift to an update schedule of every other week.

Technically we should have done this a year ago.  

Weekly Prelude was a reward promised for the "Full Time" production milestone on Patreon, which hasn't been unlocked.  We made weekly updates because we loved the story so much, and we could pull it off.

But Skirmish manufacturing costs are exceeding my estimates, so we can't maintain weekly Prelude until it's actually funded by Patreon.  

If you value good original content every week, and you're not a backer, consider joining the best readers on earth and tossing us a buck.  

Especially in light of the good news:

"Dreamkeepers Volume 5: Assassin's Flaw" is coming.

Online updates begin next month.

I'm bursting with excitement to start showing what happens next.

The release date for the first page of "Chapter 13- Fault Lines," is April 4th, exclusively for backers.  

Mark your calendar!  In addition to daily art and other content, backers will be getting Volume 5, Chapter 13 updates starting April 4th.  

If you're not a backer yet, all it takes is a single dollar bill every month.  If that's a bit too much, you may find a 12 year old cousin somewhere willing to spot you.

www.patreon.com/Dreamkeepers
www.makersupport.com/Dreamkeep…

The Undisputed Gateway Furry Saga is about to depict things we've never been before.  Thanks to the backers for making it possible.  I'll be sharing all of Chapter 13 with the backers in advance of the Volume 5 hard copy release date.

When the entire book is done (Chapters 13, 14, 15), there will be a Kickstarter to produce hardcovers.

Quick news roundup while I'm posting a journal:

CouchCon 2018 is still coming!  It will line up with the False Start Kickstarter debut, dates TBA.
Faction War testing is yielding massive improvements to the roleplay system- the test is wrapping up soon, bringing us closer to a public release.
Skirmish is on the verge of manufacturing- I just need those darn box art templates!  Then production will be underway.  And though expensive, the game is looking sharp as hell.
Firebrat colors are coming along swimmingly.
Wayward Astronomer and a host of other Dreamkeepers content has been nominated for the Ursa Major Awards- you can only vote during March.
We'll be at Motor City Furry Con this year, as well as Anthrocon.

And because I need to relax occasionally,

new Big Geeky Couch episodes are coming.

Thanks for reading, let's aim for Full Time production so we can all read more.

-Dave & Liz
Milestone announcement- Chapter 13 lineart is done! Through page 51, whew.

If you're a backer, catch this update with some sneak peek art included:
www.patreon.com/posts/16676869
www.makersupport.com/post/5a6f…

Time to shade. I'm going to finish the colors for Chapter 13 next- and once I have enough of a backlog, backers will start getting insider updates.

Probably within the next two months- And we'll have some other fun in the meanwhile.

In other news:

SKIRMISH foil vs metallic ink is in the works, and on the verge of production.

The Faction War test game continues, now with an upgraded inventory system.

CouchCon 2018 will arrive this spring, with Boneitis as the Guest of Honor.

Star Wars releases new merch, and Prelude updates every week.
It's Award season- and Geo is leading the charge!  www.kickstarter.com/projects/k…    

Join the campaign to nominate your favorite fiction, and help demonstrate the validity of the Ursa Major Awards.
On Christmas night when the snow was turning blue outside, I finished the last SKIRMISH illustration- Miri, crouching with a pistol in glittering Starfall drifts.

Then I did something I've been craving for a long time:

V5 Namah Sample by Dreamkeepers



I finished the lineart on page 43 of Volume 5.   Next up- page 44.

It feels fitting that our final SKIRMISH game art was a Wayward Astronomer character.   The illustrated novel and the battle game are what kept me from focusing exclusively on Volume 5.  

Investing my time in those Dreamkeepers assets was a calculated, but real, risk.  

Amidst the endless fire-hose of internet content and cheap updates, most readerships would falter and wander towards the nearest set of jingling keys.

But Vivid readers are not ordinary readers- believe it.

You decide for yourselves what's good, where the potential is, and what you want to build.

In fact, during our Year of Risk, Dreamkeepers readership grew stronger.   Book sales boomed online and at conventions, Patreon grew like never before, and e-mails from enthused new readers continue to fly in.

I think veterans and new recruits alike can see what we're building towards- and it's exciting.

This year we broke new ground on multiple fronts:

*Wayward Astronomer fulfillment completed to backers- and the first standalone Dreamkeepers novel came to be, with 5-star Amazon ratings.   (Great work Geo!)

*Plush Whip was our first mass-produced toy product, and we completed delivery to backers.

*Dreamkeepers SKIRMISH, a brand new original game battle system, was developed with EPF and crowdfunded for production- triggering a glittering avalanche of new art.

*Vivid helped boost the Kickstarter for UberQuest Volume 2, and hardcovers hit the market at Midwest Furfest, history's largest furry convention.

*I publicly pointed out the strange dual-market reality in comics- a burgeoning crowdfunding scene of new talent, alongside the tanking Diamond monopoly death zone, where even the ultimate insider Marvel has been forced to begin mass-cancellation of their series.  (See:  Marvel Cancellation Bloodbath on Bleeding Cool)

*Vivid adopted and crowdfunded FIREBRAT- which surprised even me by it's out-of-nowhere success.

Every gamble scored.   Now my hands are free to double down on Volume 5 production- and it's all thanks to our backers.

That's why, for the first time in history, we're going to change up our book release system.  

Chapter 13 of Volume 5 will be released early online to all our Patreon and MakerSupport backers.

The surge in support from you guys this year has been astonishing- thank you!   It's due to your support that we've been able to maintain weekly Prelude updates while nailing these projects, and it's thanks to your support that we'll now be unleashed on Volume 5 production.   So it only stands to reason that you, our backers, should get a special thanks in the form of early access to the first chapter of the story.

www.patreon.com/Dreamkeepers
www.makersupport.com/Dreamkeep…

Every backer at the $1 level or higher will have access to the Volume 5 updates when they release- likely sometime this spring.  

I have 8 more pages to draw in Chapter 13, then I can switch gears and start shading the pages for you.

Meanwhile, I'll be managing the manufacture and fulfillment of SKIRMISH, Liz is coloring Firebrat pages and sculpting-

And we have more in store for 2018.

First off, FACTION WARS.  We're launching a light, fun public and free Dreamkeepers roleplay game.  I'm serving as the GM for one test game.   Then I'll post videos about how it works, step out, and let you guys manage and play to your heart's content while I continue scribbling Volume 5.

Next up- I'm planning an Online Convention for sometime this spring.   If you've ever wanted signed books or other Dreamkeepers merchandise, but can't make it to our rare convention appearances, then this is for you.  

We have a stash of awesome stuff that I don't sell online, because I don't want to be interrupted with mailing chores.   But if I can consolidate all the mailing into one week, that works- and plus we can host some online panels in the form of streams.

The online convention will likely line up with the next Vivid Publishing book campaign- we have a verbal agreement with rising star Boneitis to publish False Start.

So strap in- Vivid Publishing is going to flex again.

And, with the success of this year, I can declare with great accuracy our official slogan:

Dreamkeepers:  The Undisputed Gateway Furry Saga.
We're streaming a Chat-n-Sketch this Saturday December 9th:  picarto.tv/dreamkeepers

Should kick off around 3:00pm Eastern time.  

This Chat-n-Sketch is a bit different- instead of taking sketch requests, I'll be shading the epic playmat art for SKIRMISH.  And we don't have a guest itinerary this time- I've been too busy to assemble one, so we're going to let the Discord moderators handle guests on the fly.

I'm especially hopeful Mike Rosen of the just-funded Firebrat Kickstarter can make it, so we can hear his perspective on the book.    Also invited are any of our usual suspects, people who've been on the stream before, or anyone the mods deem interesting.

So we'll see how it goes!  This Chat 'n Sketch could be a bit more relaxed and laid back- or maybe it will erupt into chaos.  Either way, art will be unfolding throughout, and we hope to entertain.  
The campaign continues!   You glorious folks have brought us past 4K- nearly 90% to the goal.  The final showdown lies before us.

To ensure victory, we're officially announcing Vivid Publishing's Good List.

www.kickstarter.com/projects/2…

Anyone backing Firebrat at Tier 6 ($45) or higher gets not just the glorious Tier 6 rewards- they also go on Vivid's Good List.

Members of the Good List will be mailed a free signed and numbered Limited Edition copy of Dreamkeepers Volume 4 as soon as the campaign successfully closes.  Only 500 are in existence- and Good List members will receive one.   (Not sure if they'll arrive before Christmas, but we'll ship them right away.)

Plus we'll hook up Backerkit to make all Dreamkeepers titles available as optional add-on purchases, signed by the authors Dave & Liz.    So if you can't make it out to one of the few conventions we attend, this is your chance to snag some signed Dreamkeepers graphic novels.

And one last announcement to fuel the final stretch of our battle against Santa:

Liz has made a declaration.  

All these colored page samples put her over the edge.   Full-color interior pages were a stretch goal- but no more.

Liz has declared that she will singlehandedly color the interior of the book herself, for free.  Because nobody can stop a Liz bent on creativity.  

So without the need to procure freelancers or raise money, Firebrat will now be printed in glorious full color, inside and out- once the campaign is successful.

So if you want a gorgeous first-edition full-color book of viciously sarcastic Christmas fun, not to mention the perks of being on Vivid's Good List, head on over.   www.kickstarter.com/projects/2…

And DON'T TRUST SANTA.
DontTrustSanta by Dreamkeepers
Vanth Flapper commission by Dreamkeepers


We're back from Midwest Furfest- now officially the largest furry con in history, clocking in at over 8,000 attendees.   Next year will it break Vegeta's scouter?

It was a fantastic time meeting with awesome people- Boneitis (aka the World's Greatest Furry Artist) crashed the Dick Show with a furry invasion, although I hear only Reagent was bold enough to flash his tail.  Tracy Butler and Eric premiered the brand new Lackadaisy card game, Vivid authors Skidd and Phuufy debuted Volume 2 of their UberQuest series, we caught up with Kay Fedewa of the Blackblood Alliance, along with Michael of EPF games, the developer of SKIRMISH, Luke of Promcolco (our plush & wallscrolls specialist), and Karen, Izabela, plus more friends and readers than I can feasibly list.   Thank you to everyone who stopped by to say hi and spend some time with us, you made the weekend spectacular.  8 )

And thanks to our amaznig readers for a solid weekend of sales- nearly everything we brought sold out at the table, Volume 2, 3, 4, Wayward Astronomer, and Prelude Collections.

I put myself even further behind in my posting queue- a big batch of convention commissions was nailed.  Maybe Liz can start loading these up in the Daily Artifact Patreon postings.  www.patreon.com/Dreamkeepers

Now that we're back, I can attack the final SKIRMISH art needed for production- expansion decks.   It'll be quiet online while I draw, then expect a spurt of streaming- plus a new Chat n Sketch coming up this weekend, featuring Mike Rosen.

And we'll be gearing up for the fateful final week of FIREBRAT- the one-of-a-kind Christmas graphic novel Kickstarter.  www.kickstarter.com/projects/2…  It could go either way- but we've got some special offers in mind for the fence-sitters, so stay tuned.  

-David