A Patreon ARG?

No, this isn't an announcement... yet. So far this is just a thing I've been turning over in my brain every so often for probably a year now.

I have a Patreon, but I haven't used it in ages now. I'd initially set it up as a short-story-of-the-month club, but to be honest, it seemed like a weird way to run things; I was limiting my possible audience to only the people who already knew my work. I tried posting short stories on my site after a time delay, but that felt both like I was cheating my Patreon subscribers AND nobody was actually reading 'em. In the end, I got busy doing more lucrative things (not to mention projects where I could see immediate growth) and the Patreon fell by the wayside.

But I keep thinking about ARGs and about Patreon, and wondering if the time isn't right for a Patreon-funded game. Here's how it would work: backers would be charged monthly. If it's not a lot of backers, it would be a fairly simple thing: a few characters who are only lightly responsive, maybe one central website that gets updated once a week with story and puzzles to solve. People who went in at higher levels could get tangible ephemera; that's your postcards, letters, etc.

If the amount of funding ramped up, I'd be able to justify spending more time on more elaborate storylines and more intensive interaction. Patreon supports that model pretty well by allowing you to define specific income goals and what you'd add to an experience (or project) when you reach that level.

The story structure is the kicker here. In order to make it constantly accessible to newcomers, it would need to be absolutely episodic, with each episode playing out over the course of 4 to 8 weeks, tops, and only gradual change in characters over time. In order to keep overhead costs down, it should always be roughly the same storyworld, so I don't need to build out a whole new web presence every few weeks. And in order to keep me sane, it should probably be something rompy and fun in tone, along the lines of Lucy Smokeheart.

So what I'm thinking is... maybe... Lucy Smokeheart ARG, anyone? Is there an audience for something like that? Would you want to give me all of your moneys...? Or is there some other kind of thing you'd much rather see? I'd really, really treasure your feedback if you have any for me. I am all ears.

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