Saturday, June 19, 2010

Another Self-Pity Party

So the original plan for today was as follows: get up fairly early, walk to the Wayward Coffee House for a Muad'dib Latte (the only fru-fru coffee drink I occasionally allow myself), then hit up Gary's Games for Free RPG Day, prior to going home, watching a little World Cup, making the wife some oatmeal, and going to my appointment with the massage therapist.

That's not what happened.

The beagles woke me up early (as usual). I was dead tired from another late night and after watching the tail end of the Japan game I found myself falling asleep on the I decided to go back to bed. I got up barely in time to catch a quick breakfast before getting to the therapist and, after running a few errands, didn't get down to the game shop till five o'clock or so.

At least I didn't miss it completely (as I did last year).

Here's the only swag I managed to secure:

Deathwatch: Final Sanction (Warhammer 40K Roleplay)
Under the Rose (Exalted 2nd Edition)
Legend of the Five Rings: Legacy of Disaster (4th Edition Roleplaying Game)

I don't have any idea what might have been available had I gotten to the store earlier. None of these games are anything I play or ever intend to purchase in the future...but they were free and free games are better than no games.

Anyway, I'll give my thoughts on the games themselves tomorrow (Exalted, 4th Edition, and 40K RPGs are all games I've never owned, so the books should serve as an introduction into those system as I assume they're intended). However, I'd just like to note something about their overall quality and presentation.

Excellent. All of them.

Two of the books are 32 pages, one (Deathwatch) is nearly 40. All are filled with wonderful artwork, creative banners, and great graphics. Two of the books are printed on quality, glossy paper including colored illustrations. All of them have fantastic presentation.

And they're all free. It makes me wonder, what the hell am I doing?

A 64 page Companion supplement. A couple other possible 64 page RPGs. And these guys' free intro games are 32 page, slick publications that I haven't the slightest idea how to replicate...even if I did have the resources to replicate 'em. Which I don't.


Anyway, I'm probably just tired and cranky right now. The weekend is nearly over and I need to catch up on some sleep. I'll write more later.


  1. >>A 64 page Companion supplement. A couple other possible 64 page RPGs. And these guys' free intro games are 32 page, slick publications that I haven't the slightest idea how to replicate...even if I did have the resources to replicate 'em. Which I don't.

    Do what you can do (and no less), charge an amount appropriate to that, and trust that you'll find your audience. Trying to do a price or production values comparison with Fantasy Flight or WotC is just going to end in tears for a small publisher.

  2. Slick production values and glossy pages don't mean anything when the dice hit the table. I've got shelves of RPGs and some of the best ones are black & white booklets published by "indie" companies. A good layout and appropriate art that reproduces well in your chosen format will go a long way.

  3. Oh, I know guys...besides which one has to start SOMEwhere, right? I was just feeling a bit cranky yesterday.

    I'm sure, part of the frustration came from the absolute crap being wrapped up in such pretty packages (more on this later), and those being the only products left on the table for Free RPG Day.
    ; )

  4. I've played Exalted and the crunch of that system makes 4e look like Toon. :) I'm still looking forward to your book!

  5. Well, this is why I am not in a hurry to produce anything for the OSR for a price.

    While James Raggi and I do not see eye to eye, I do hope that he makes a viable income from his game; he does bust his tail getting everything together.

    However, I just don't see the OSR as a means to any sort of real income. I was told early on that I could expect some beer money now and then and I can see that from my perspective. I have two books of my blog with art and editing done, but I am going in another direction because I would like to make some money at this and I will try another route before coming back to the books.

    Within the OSR I don't see enough revenue to be able to work into glossy and slick production values that one can afford to give away for free. Crossing over into other media, however, the sky is the limit.

    I don't wish any of us, whether I agree with them or not, any ill within the OSR, but I don't see making it big within the OSR equating to piles of cash. If Raggi can do it and prove me wrong I will be happy for him and freely admit that I was absodamnlutely wrong.

  6. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that JB's comments had to do with making a living wage off of his BX Companion. Rather, I read his post more as an expression of inferiority when he compared it with the slick big company products. If that's correct, my response is similar to the others: 1) I'm very curious to see JB's work, and 2) there will always be folks with bigger houses, nicer cars, more vacation homes, etc. But their work (if they work) is not JB's work, and JB only needs to answer to his own unique calling.

  7. @ Vaults: I think I was more incensed by the way the Big Companies have money to throw around/burn on such fancy free product...and I don't. However, I'm "over it" at this point (I was having a "bad evening" when I posted this) and the only reason I haven't posted the follow-up is my distraction with the World Cup.

    @ Mark: I'm glad that you and so many others are curious to see my book. I can almost 100% guarantee that I won't be charging $50 for it. ; )

    My friend Kris put it the most succinctly: he said, "just because it looks nice doesn't mean it's a good game." I think I've said similar things often enough here on the blog, but I just haven't lumped myself into a category for comparison before. As publication fast approaches, I go from being a theoretical or "arm chair designer" to an actual dude-with-product and brings a whole slew of new worries and self-doubts descend on my head. This whole post may just be another way of subconsciously/self-consciously "dragging my feet!"
    ; )

  8. Well, Mark, mine was more of a general statement and not meant to slam JB at all. I never said that he was trying to make a living wage off of this, but really, isn't that a goal or a dream?

    I am not spoiling for a fight, time to fly under the radar again before another controversy begins over nothing and people stomp off and get mad.