Tuesday, September 7, 2010

B/X Companion ???s

RE: The B/X Companion

Okay, folks, I've sold two-thirds of my print run so far...that's not bad considering the fact that I'm not advertising, I don't have an active forum presence on any of the gaming sites (Dragonsfoot, RPG.net, ENWorld, whatever...), don't have .pdfs or a box set, and have no distributor for my game besides myself and the U.S. Post Office. Heck, I haven't even had a review by Maliszewski yet (probably because he hasn't bought a copy. Am I supposed to send him a gratis book? I don't even have his address!).

Anyway, two-thirds gone...and I'm not bragging about that 'cause it was only a small print run and I'm not trying to make a living off the thing like Raggi, this is just enough to cover my costs and do a couple more print runs. BUT...I HAVE had reviews (in print and YouTube)...generally pretty good ones...and there's one thing I've completely NOT heard word one about.

The new magic items.

Excuse me - I have heard "there are new magic items." But while folks have talked with interest and excitement regarding the monsters, the high level class options (especially for thieves), the mass combat system, and some of the new spells...no one's mentioned that I added a whole new category of magic item to the game!

I suppose this is somewhat my own fault. I kept a few things "under wraps" as purposeful surprises (for example, the "new Bard class" in Part 8 - though this was picked up and mentioned in reviews)...and I suppose there are a LOT of new magic items for folks just thumbing through the book (six pages of text descriptions...nearly 10% of the book!).

But really...no one noticed the new category?

Well, as I said, I kept some things under wraps...though I did hint at the "unrevealed category" in a couple past blog posts while writing the thing. Well, anyway, it WAS supposed to be a surprise, but now that the book's been published (and purchased!) the secret should be out. Hell, I'm just surprised it isn't already.

Magic Books.

Well, when you say it like that JB, it's kind of anticlimactic. Yeah, I guess so, but as I said, I'm not trying to brag right now. Especially when many of the magical books in the Companion (more than half, actually) are similar to magical tomes and manuals found in the 1st edition DMG. However, I wouldn't mind a little feedback on the other 10 or so...frankly, I wouldn't mind knowing what folks think of the fact that I added books at all to the game. And as their own category no less (took a few percentage points off of scrolls to make room). After all, these certainly weren't present in Basic or Expert (or Labyrinth Lord for that matter)!

So please, folks, drop me a line (or a comment) and let me know what you think. I always thought that in a game where a low intelligence score meant your character was freaking illiterate, it would be cool to take advantage of that little game mechanic by putting some genuine readable treasure in the game.

After all, that's kind of how I look at the B/X Companion itself: readable treasure.
; )


  1. Are you willing to reveal the size of the first print run?

  2. It may be a while before I have a chance to actually sit down with my copy and notice anything. ^_^ I’m glad you mentioned these, though, because I did go take a look at them. The bard looks nice. I might use that. I think pulling the books out into their own category was a good idea too.

  3. I bought a copy, but I'm waiting for the PDF to read it :)

  4. I kind of wish i had sat down and read the book a few times before I made the review.

    I like how books (and maybe a few items) seems to have snuck some phantom classes into the game.

  5. Heck, I haven't even had a review by Maliszewski yet (probably because he hasn't bought a copy. Am I supposed to send him a gratis book? I don't even have his address!).

    I haven't bought a copy only because (alas!), I am under a self-imposed purchasing embargo for the foreseeable future. I don't need any new gaming stuff, while I do need to try and save some money for silly real life responsibilities like mortgage and car payments :) When I have some spare cash, I'll certainly grab a copy -- maybe next month, after my birthday.

  6. @ Editor: Sorry to be coy, but um...no. Does it matter? I haven't run out yet. I started with copies in the "three-digits;" about all I could afford to invest in as a hobby enterprise.

    @ Robert: Thanks for taking a 2nd look! I do think there's some good stuff in it for perusal.

    @ James: What?! Is this already a collector's item?

    @ Blue: Hey, you could always do a follow-up review...I don't mind more press.
    ; )

    @ JM: Totally understand...I'll try to save a copy for you, fellow Scorp.
    : )

  7. No problem on the print run. I'm only curious about OSR print runs so I can make an informed decision when I publish some of my own stuff.

  8. @ Editor: In my (fairly inexperienced) opinion, I'd say "print what you can afford AND price such that you can make your money back without selling every last copy."

    If you can't do the latter, then you are either A) not charging enough, or B) not getting a big enough print run (because larger print runs cost less per book).

    While I didn't figure this out initially, in hindsight I seem to have done "ok." I only needed to sell a little more than a quarter of my books to cover my costs (minus the free copies than went to half a dozen folks...plus myself), but I've been pretty generous with the shipping charges (especially to our friends in Canada who DO cost extra!). I would guess that large companies try to get their prices to the point where they only need to sell 10-20% (or less), but that seems pretty unreasonable to a hobbyist like myself with only a small blog following. 25-30% is what I'd shoot for unless you're doing this as a full-time gig like LotFP (who is pretty much his own aggressive viral marketing biz! And God bless him, he has to be!).

    I did not take any business courses at university, and I don't have a business plan so please take everything I say with a grain of salt. This is what's comfortable for ME. You will need to figure out what is comfortable for YOU.

    Good luck!

  9. Thanks that's all really useful information. I get what you mean about quantity breaks. For one item I priced a print run of 250 but the printer said it would only cost about 30% more to do 1,000.

  10. @ Editor: Exactly what I'm talking about.
    : )