Friday, May 17, 2013

Overreaction Friday: Pre-Order Your Special Kickstarter Stretch Goal Preview Now!

Wow, seems like at least half of the blogs I visit semi-regularly are selling something directly, or via DriveThru RPG, or are pushing a Kickstarter of some kind. Sheesh. I'm all for people putting out good material but there are a lot of products being thrown out lately.

Selling stuff directly: I'm still amazed at what people will pay for a tweaked version of old D&D rules. Is it nostalgia? You could buy several decent copies of the original D&D books for what people are paying - sometimes for the price of the PDF option! Adventures I get, but core rules ... I don't know. This mostly seems to be an OSR thing but in the early days of that it was a big deal to put "your" version out there on the web for free. Now it seems to be some kind of deluxe printed box set thing. I suppose if there's enough demand for it, why not, but it seems like a reach to me.

DriveThru RPG: PDF's are everywhere and lord know I've bought plenty of them, but some of them are a little weak. I see people selling single character writeups for $1, mainly for superhero games. Do those sell? I mean, would you spend a dollar for a single character that you could make yourself in maybe 10 minutes? Especially characters for games like ICONS - the only thing I can't instantly do myself is the art, and it's not terribly difficult to find character/superhero art online, from Google to Heromachine. Again, adventures for existing games, rules for completely new games, I get all that, but a lot of the lower end stuff just baffles me.

Kickstarter: Well that got pretty popular in the last two to three years and now it's tricky to keep up with everything  that's going on. "Back this, back that" - there's something new dern near every day. Now I like KS - I like the approach, I like the concept, I like that it lets some things get created that might not otherwise. Some are great, some fail utterly. I've backed a few and I've been pretty happy with those. Others have at least been entertaining to observe. The only thing that is starting to bug me is the regular cross-promotion of another KS project in an update for another! What's supposed to be an update for KS X ends up shilling for someone else's KS Y! Not a huge thing, and I get the whole cross-promotion thing, but c'mon. Between the blogs, the company pages, and the forum and email signatures it seems inescapable.

 Not everyone is a fan
General Observation 1: A lot of the material found online used to be stuff from someone's campaign. A lot of what is coming out now seems to be written specifically for sale. There's so much material coming out that I wonder how much of it is actually playtested before it is published? Of those I wonder how many are tried by at least two different groups, with at least one of those GM's being someone besides the author? To me that seems like the minimum for actual "testing" but I doubt everyone feels the same way. As far as just writing something up and throwing it out there - why should I pay for that? Anyone with a computer can do it and ideas are cheap - polish, especially in the case of an adventure - is something worth paying for.

General Observation 2: Once someone tries to monetize this hobby, there seems to be a shockingly high number of family and personal emergencies that occur. Or maybe they happen all the time and we don't hear about them until they have a kickstarter or a preorder to fulfill. Is it the Curse of the Kickstarter?

This came up in a search for Kickstarter, so I thought I would add it to the page

So, to the point:

  • I won't be selling anything on the blog. The day job covers the income needs, and trying to sell hobby stuff turns the hobby into another job, for me anyway. With the aforementioned day job, and the family stuff taking up time, I'd rather spend my free time doing  stuff and playing games than doing more work. Plus it would turn "doing kid stuff" from a friendly Facebook update into an excuse as to why Chapter XX isn't completed yet. That doesn't sound like fun at all. Anything I put together and decide to share will be here and it will be free, simple, and completely unprofessional. I don't have a burning desire to be a gaming professional so that's what you will get.
  • I won't be putting any PDF's up on DTRPG either. I've put PDF's of a few things up here, linked to Dropbox, and that's about the extent of it. I know there are free PDFs on there, but if I'm not planning on selling anything then it seems like a waste of time to set all that up.
  • I'm not running any Kickstarters either. Really! I may be the last person who isn't, but it's true!
  • I don't work for a game company, in any capacity.
  • I won't be putting ads into the blog either. I don't like them, and if I did that to my own site then I couldn't complain about them on other sites with a clear conscience. So no ads here.
Now now it's not that bad. Yet.
Corner Cases: I actually backed off some from talking about Kickstarters on here because they're all over everything else. The most I will do is occasionally mention one that is directly tied in to a game I play AND is something I think is cool. D&D, LL, M&M, ICONS, Marvel - the usual suspects. Rest assured I have no involvement in them other than as a player of the game in question. Same with other new stuff - part 2 of Stonehell is coming some day, Emerald City for M&M is coming some day ... I'll be watching for both of those. I may review something that came from a kickstarter, but I'm not going to get into what I'm backing or what I am not at any given time- I don't think it matters that much.

What I Do ... Do: I've become a big believer in Actual Play: Theory is cheap and there's plenty of it already online. Interesting characters come from actual play. Interesting plots come from actual play. Interesting settings come from actual play. Interesting adventures come from actual play. That's the kind of thing I want to see, so that's what I will post here: From those April characters to the Random Female Bystander Generator to my one short adventure to the Extremely Expert DM Advice, it all comes from actually playing and running games. It's mainly for myself as a record of what I've been doing at any given time, but if it turns out to be useful to someone else then that's even better.

This came up in the same search - I didn't realize they had Kickstarters for bikinis, but they do. End on a high note, right?

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