Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ripping People Off

Was out with my buddy Steve tonight (singing karaoke, etc.) and ended up giving him the whole low-down on the OSR, what I'm doing. and the state of RPGs in the 21st century - it's been many years since he and I sat down to a game of Ars Magica, and even more years since he played D&D, 2nd edition may I add (not with me he didn't!).

Anyway, he's of the opinion that I need to publish my own retro-clone version of B/X to work with my B/X Companion. To which I of course stated "why reinvent the f'ing wheel?!" Even so, he didn't think I should simply rely on folks with copies of B/X or LL as a target market.

Crap...I don't even have 40 people who have answered my poll in the affirmative. Why would I want to spend time working B/X into a new retro-clone? Steve is clearly ridiculous. Labyrinth Lord is just fine.

Watched Barb Wire today because it was On Demand, I've never seen it, and I'm a big post-apocalyptic fan. What I got was Casablanca with gender roles reversed. What a rip-off. I love Casablanca; I did not dig Barb quite as much. However, I'm wondering about its setting for a post-apocalyptic RPG. Later, later.

All right, time to hit the hay. Busy day tomorrow folks.


  1. I think what Steve is referring to is that you're building a “business” that depends entirely on an out of print product, or on a product that is not under your control. That doesn't make a sound business. But then again, you're not out to earn a living, right? And in addition to that, the OGL gives you the freedom to produce something like Labyrinth Lord should it ever disappear from the 'Net. You should be fine. :)

  2. I think the problem with Barb Wire wasn't so much that it was a Casablanca retread, as that it sucked.

    Fist Full of Dollars is a ripped-off of Yojimbo (without gender changes) and its cool. Ditto Road to Perdition (with its ripping off of Lone Wolf and Cub).

    But to your main dilemma...I think it depends on your goal. My collaborator on various comic projects and I run into this same question all the time. I say: f you're doing it because you enjoy doing it and everything else is just gravy, then go for whichever pleases you the most. If a certain degree of monetary compensation is required, then the calculus is different.

  3. Yeah, Labyrinth Lord or, at a push, Swords and Wizardry are out there, and always will be, most likely, so I don't think you need to worry abut providing your own version of the basic game. Just point people to where they can get it.

  4. Counter points to not having "control" of what you're building your business on.

    Do you want to fragment niche further with your own rules or go with established market leaders (are they?)? Do you want to have to refine, promote, advertise and maintain those rules or let someone else do that why you focus on your core competency?

  5. I'm looking forward to your B/X companion, and would recommend eating the elephant one bite at a time...

  6. Right on, folks...all of your comments are helpful (especially, Pal's...eating a small elephant is still an elephant!).

    @ Norm: man, I honestly never thought of this until you brought it up...I wonder if I WOULD be fragmenting a niche market. I don't think so...I'm just providing rules for higher level play based on B/X...and that's something that could be added on to the original LBBs (that B/X is based on, sans supplements), OR LL & S&W (with slight modification).

    But ya' know, I ain't going to be fragmenting ANYTHING if I don't even publish the thing, so let me get back to work!
    : )