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The Toolshed & Xin Ye's pin-ups & art blog are live!

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By balder Comments (47)

So it's finally time to roll out something that we've been working on for months, something that's critical to the future of Erfworld.


It's a big build out of the Toolbox (our existing subscriber program) which will work more like a Patreon page, with levels and benefits and milestone goals. It's called The Toolshed.


Many of you are subscribers to the Toolbox. If you want, you'll be able to stay with your current plan and benefits ($3/month for ad-free site, high-res archives, Toolbox access and 30 Shmuckers a month) without having to do anything at all. The previous subscription benefits correspond to Level 1 in the new pledge tier.


But new benefits are now available at higher levels. First off (and this is the biggest news), Xin Ye has got her own art blog on the site! We tried to figure out a way that she could return and draw Erfworld things, despite her very limited availability, and this is what we worked out. She'll be doing one sexy Erfworld pin-up a month, plus the art for an eventual deck of Erfworld playing cards, which we'll release a card at a time. Subscribers at Level 2 and up get access to that art. The first pin-up (April) is called "Bunny's Boudoir."


And there are more goodies at higher levels, including post cards of the pin-ups, a "perma-tweet," your Erfworld identity and caricature, and even full size graphical ad space at erfworld.com.


Maybe the most important thing about this program is that we're asking you to pledge your support not per month or per reward, but per on-time update. As long as we stick to our schedule, we'll keep collecting your pledges at the end of the month. But if there's a schedule slip, you won't pay and we won't get paid. A level 1 pledge starts at just $0.50 per update.


I want to focus on making Erfworld, instead of constantly trying to figure out how I can keep the lights on. The demands on my own time are probably the biggest thing holding us back. I'd like to be more of an author, with my head to be full of characters and plot, and less of a sleeplessly worrying small business owner with my mind on the next three bills that are coming due.


So if you make a little pledge to each update, then you're providing me the security and the help to free me up just to create. Plus, you'll be helping Xin and bringing her talents back to our strange and silly universe.


Please take a look at the program, and consider subscribing to keep the updates coming and keep us all on track here at Team Erfworld. Thanks as always for your generosity and support.





  • Red

    In my unbiased opinion, this looks very exciting.

    (Full disclosure: I am very biased.)

  • Tarvok

     This program looks awesome. It's reminiscent of something I did with another comic years ago, when I got irritated with the irregular update schedule. I've said some unkind things in the forums, and I'm glad to see that not only is the comic getting back on track, Balder is getting back to letting us pay him for the comic itself, rather than a host of unnecessary side projects.

  • No one in particular

    I won't lie, the moment I saw that Milestone 2 included "Rob will spend an hour a week adding, editing and improving articles in the wiki," I became a lot more eager to pledge!

  • dmolla

    This is amazing. As soon as I saw this post, I knew I was going to be in on the toolshed 100%.

  • Tathar

    As much as I want in on the Toolshed to support Erfworld, it is going to be hell on my budgeting software.  I'll have to figure something out about that before I can do it.  

  • ArtyD

    No offense intended but I don't like this.  Can I instead just make a subscription payment regardless of if you publish on time or not?  I'm a ruler of my own side and want to do this.  I have the smuckers just waiting to be spent and no threatening units anywhere in my lookamancer range.

    If you have an option, if nobody else can do it after the month ends, and if you can subscribe them, maybe we can join the Erf-team.

    ps. Even Charlie has trouble finding us.

  • Tathar

    Yeah, a monthly or annual thing would actually work out much better for me too.  

  • RonInDune

    I enjoy the stories told here, and am delighted to support however I can ! (Especially since I'm finally starting to earn enough for luxuries now).


    Now I just hope the 'Paypal cash' and 'Indian bank regulations' mixture doesn't bung matters up too much. Anyone here from that part of the world who can give me a clue ?

  • Knott

    For budgeting; just budget as if you get two on-time updates every week (104 total, 8-9 every month) or set it as 9 updates each month if that's where the software's limit lies. If you use the budget as a cap, then you'll likely spend less than the alloted amount, but you'll be prudent in doing so. If you can afford to support wednesdays at your level, then add all wednesdays as well.

    Though for the people with the deepest pockets, you should consider adding a checkbox that says something along the line of "Count every update as 'on time' irregardless of actual timing. And a box for the really financially faithful: "Count every month as if it has X on-time updates irregardles of actual updates" (where X is a number >=9).


    PayPal's automatic cancelling without notice might explain a thing or two...


    Well I'm leveling up then as much as I can reasonably go at this moment, but It'll eat a good chunk out of my Kickstarter fund. (So hopefully the Toolshed can support Book 3 printing and Book 4 production without resorting to KS)

  • Vorteks

    Interesting. The tiers get expensive really fast, but I'm willing to upgrade my existing Toolbox membership to "Level 2" for now. And I'll include Book 0 updates in my pledge. I'm really anxious to find out what happened to Jillian after Charlie's lobotomy. She obviously didn't become non-violent! Or at least if she did, it didn't last.

  • Woolington

    Been reading free for quite sometime, but I just made an account just to support the new program. College student here, so it's only a dollar per update. Despite that, I'm so excited about the possibility for more Book 0 that I threw that in too. Let the updates commence!

  • carrion pigeons

    Not sure why this is easier than just putting up a Patreon page?  Score another one for Rob always doing things the hard way...

  • Knott

    @C.Pigeons: Patreon has its limitations. Follow the link to the Toolshed and scroll down to the Q&A.

  • Violet

    Yay! I am happy for the launch. So shiny.

  • Pengwen

    Happy to be a part of supporting such an excellent comic!  Already upped to the second tier- having it come out over time instead of a huge yearly chunk makes it much easier to budget my giving y'all more money.  Now all I need is more items in the store to spend schmuckers on- I'm running out of things I'm interested in!

    PS- I was lucky pledger #42.

  • philomory

    I can't use PayPal, but the moment Stripe payments hit you'll have a pledge from me. Looking forward to it!

  • Yehomer

    I agree with adding optional pledges for late updates as well :) Or even a monthly minimum.

  • Brucester

    Good idea, Rob. As an 'Old School Tool', happy to convert across to the new tiers. I pay for comics via Comixology on a regular basis, and I see no reason not to contribute to Erfworld in the same manner - on a per update basis.

  • TheFreeMason

    Moved myself over to a level 1 subscription :) when I graduate from university and get a job and shit (staying optimistic) that will definitely go up! Ticked off backer stories and Book 0 as well, I just want more from this whole universe it's such an excellent world you've created. Best of luck!

  • Gaiyamato

    Definitely going to use level 6 when we release our kickstarter.

    For now level 1 is enough. :) 

  • Valhad

    Been a free reader since you were first promoted by OOTS - this is a great world you've built, and I really dig this subscription model.  I'm in - I hope you make your stretchiest goals.

  • xebtl

    It's an interesting idea, and I wish you the best of luck.


    So, how many updates were there in Book 1 or Book 2 (or Book 3 so far)?  I guess the real question is, how many on-time updates, but that will be too difficult to answer.


    Also, if you miss an update once in a while, I assume you do not need “catch up” (in the form of an extra update) before getting paid again.  If so, doesn't this create an incentive to delay late updates and make them the next on-time update?  (Rather than posting one day late, why not wait until the next scheduled day and get paid?)  I hope it is  in the Erfworld spirit to ask this :-).

  • Woolington

    @xebtl That's an interesting question. I suppose the frank answer is it would make day-late updates impractical. However, it also is a huge deterrent against going a month without updates. Before, Tools would be paying for months when nothing got done, and I feel like this new system is a lot better mostly because it feels a bit more honest since I wouldn't pay a dime any month Balder decided he wouldn't get work done. While some earlier comments would rather have the old subscription back (and maybe he should keep that a type of option, for people who want that), I would rather encourage on time updates.

    To answer your earlier question, (yay achronological order!), the breakdown is: Book 1: 150pgs(24pg epilogue), Book 2: 114pgs (28pg prologue, 25 pg epilogue), Book 3: 50 so far. Totals- Book 1: 174, Book 2: 167, Book 3: 50. Grand total: 391. If we were under this model the whole time, (I've only been a fan for around 2 years, so I'm going to assign an arbitrary 80% success rate because it's a solid B.), the lowest a tool would have to pay would be around 156 dollars to be a tool. That's 52 months, or 4 1/3years of the $3 a month subscription. (I'll also do a 60% success rate if you're less optimistic. It comes out to 235 dollars, or 6 1/2years of the previous Tool subscription.)

    I hope that this fancy answer assists you, even if I'm not the person you asked :P.

  • WurmD

    @xebtl, Yes, indeed

    Rob, it would be nice to have the extra check-mark option "Pay for updates, even not-on-time ones", some will like to check-mark it, and it would give some monetary incentive to one-day-late updates vs wait-for-the-next-monday/friday updates


  • invaderrizz

    For those interested in monthly budgeting, Paypal figured my level 2, with paying for texts and Book 0, at $19.00 a month, rather than a payment triggered when Rob posts something.  Extrapolating, that puts a level 1 at $9.50 a month for texty goodness support, and probably ~$4.00 a month for the base package.   I'm going with that as my maximum for budgeting, and hopefully for my voracious appetite for content, that'll be actual. :D