The Burden of Choice

GURPS came out in 1986 and hit its boom period by the early 1990s, with a dizzying variety of supplements for it – supplements covering specialist rules subjects like vehicles or space travel, supplements detailing genres ranging from the broad to the narrow, and supplements detailing various settings, and even a few adventures.

Over the course of that process it was inevitable that there was a certain amount of overlap between the supplements – new character generation options and new rules which, after being introduced in one supplement, turned out to be of broad enough use that other supplements ended up reproducing them (or reinventing the wheel by producing similar but very slightly different rules or options that did more or less the same thing – though by and large Steve Jackson Games seem to have done a good job of avoiding that).

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Forget It, Jack, It’s Cuddletown

I’ve never seen a campaign world that couldn’t benefit from a decent city supplement. Cities are great because they can both act as a nigh-endless source of local adventure and also be a place where player characters put down roots and develop relationships – which gives them something they want to defend. The latter is particularly important if you want to steer away from the “picaresque wandering in a search for glory” style of fantasy campaign (or the “murderhobo” style, to use a less kind name people have given it).

Blue Rose is, as the introduction to Aldis: City of the Blue Rose notes, rooted in a style of fantasy where it’s particularly important to have a home to go to and people to develop relationships with, because romantic fantasy needs people to romance, fall in love with, and seek to build lives together with – and somewhere to build that life.

Continue reading “Forget It, Jack, It’s Cuddletown”

The Realities of Self-Publishing

Self-publishing your own homebrew material is a tradition about as old as the hobby is, and thanks to the combination of DriveThruRPG’s platform, the proliferation of games issuing Open Gaming Licence-style agreements to let people produce and sell material using their system, and the DM Guild-inspired fad for publishers to create curated areas on DriveThru where people can use even more of their IP in return for giving the publisher a cut of their take, it’s never been easier to produce something cool for your favourite game and sell it yourself.

One of the features that the DriveThru platform offers is to set the price of your product as “pay what you want”, so people can get your product absolutely free if they want or give you a tip if they want to help out. Some may wonder whether this actually raises a decent amount of money or not, but few are in a position to look at overall trends across the platform to make a call on that.

Fortunately, Chaosium are in just such a position since they are in the loop on how much all the products in their Miskatonic Repository sell. (The Miskatonic Repository is their “sell your stuff through this storefront and give us a cut and we’ll let you associate our trademark with it” setup.) Their blog post on this subject is worth a read for anyone considering the “pay what you want” route, but the summary is this: most people don’t want to pay anything at all, so if you actually want to get money for your products, charge an actual price for them. Even if you just charge 99 cents – which for most interested customers will be below their mental “might as well be free” threshold – you get more than if you go full PWWW.