What is the Point?
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Post Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:29 pm 

Apologies for raining on anyone's parade but I am sat here with a shopping list (Brave Halfling Appendix N kickstarter, DCC RPG, Slumbering Tsar, Rappan Athuk Kickstarter (this will be the third time I have bought RA)) but I am struggling to hit the button and buy these things.  This isn't the first time I have felt this way either.

I just do not quite understand what the point of collecting these items would be.  They would go into my RPG collection along with (in no particular order) Adventurer Conqueror King, Swords & Wizardry (multiple versions), LotFP and various other recent small press modules and rulesets, but I probably wouldn't  get a chance to play with them and I am highly dubious as to their value.*

The reluctance is, I think, because these items are all variations on the fantasy heartbreaker, published by small presses which are essentially vanity presses. Yes Palace of the Vampire Queen is a small press item but it has a place because of its history, the first D&D module.  That doesn't apply to these things; who will want these items in the future? What is their value?  I'm dubious.

I don't want to denigrate the authors' creativity, as that is something I really do believe in, but ultimately aren't these items just home brew rules and modules that are worth little more published than they would be if they were on sheets of foolscap with hand drawn maps?  Isn't it just that the price of publishing and print on demand is such that these items can be produced economically rather than left in the cupboard?

That doesn't mean that the these things should be produced. Band camp allows lots of musicians to get their music heard but it doesn't mean the music should be heard. Gone is the filter of the record label and much of what is out there is of dubious quality; these bands haven't got record deals for a reason. Isn't the same true of many of these current OSR products?  A good editor or publishing company would not have produced them.

I'm sorry to be such cantankerous old bastard but I'm looking at spending several hundred dollars, money which thankfully I can afford to spend, but I just have this black thought eating away at me: 'what's the point?' Convince me that I'm wrong.

*OSRIC I sort of have some use for as it is a restatement of the game I loved, not a homage or a heartbreaker, and ironically if those products came out for OSRIC I would probably buy them in a flash.


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:05 pm 

There was a discussion on Dragonsfoot that touched on these issues, where it was asked why many of these new rulesets such as LotFP and ACKS aren't simply supplements to one of the main clones (LL/S&W/OSRIC).  The main reason given was that these publishers felt that supplements don't sell like rulesets do, and that many retailers wouldn't carry supporting materials for a game that were not also produced by that game's publisher after the d20 crater.  LotFP has its quirks in that Finland is far enough away that is makes it expensive to import stateside game materials, and so it was better for the author to create a system produced in that country to get retail support there for his other products.

I have not purchased many of the heartbreakers myself, for many of the same reasons.  I am tired of buying products that are 50% previously published material in some form.  I don't need another bestiary that contains orcs or goblins.  I have limited myself to DCC RPG, because I feel there is enough differentiation in it, such as Rolemaster was not D&D.  The only heartbreaker I have ordered is Astonishing Swordsmen and Socerors of Hyboria, because I want to see a good solid take on that style of gaming in D&D form.  But that is my limit.

As far as collecting goes, I too wonder if we are entering a beenie baby phase, where the flood of new product if it increases, will outstrip the market's ability to utilize it.  While people will always buy more than they use, for reading pleasure and other reasons, that is not inexhaustible.  At some point saturation will be reached.  The exponential increase of kickstarters after ACKS successful entry is, I think, the beginning of the true glut.  How long it will take to reach saturation I don't know.  But as long as you are buying products that you want to keep for personal use, the outside market is only marginally important.

As far as RA goes, I believe that as it remains tied to Necromancer Games, although published by Frog God Games, utilizing the OSRIC ruleset as its base is problematic.  Clark Peterson, one-half of Necromancer Games, was pretty public with statements around the release of OSRIC that he did not feel it was legally sound.  That would make it difficult going forward to then adapt Necro product to OSRIC.  S&W Complete is a very good substitute however, in that it emulates OD&D with all of its supplement books.  And there wasn't not a lot of material in AD&D that wasn't present in OD&D with all supps, that would be materially absent when producing modules.  There should be no difficulties in using modules for one with the other.


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:01 pm 

Many people have many different reasons for buying these Kickstarters.

First off, I don't know if I would classify any of the items you mention as being "small press".  Maybe "medium press" would be more descriptive.  These companies have been around for years now and are well known and produce several products and in most cases thousands of copies are produced and are basically available worldwide.

Traditionally "small press" items were only regionally available and in very low quantities (a couple hundred copies) of which most were probably lost of thrown away making them difficult to find and rare.

Someone would buy a kickstarter because:
1) they want to support a company they believe makes quality products
2) they want to support a product
3) they want to get limited edition items or items only available in the kickstarter
4) they can't wait for a regular release

Realize that with most of these kickstarters you are buying into something at a collectible price.  A RAR boxed set currently sells for around $150-$175 (one in the UK sold for $110).  But Kickstarter RA with all the extras is $250.

Most RPGs do not hold their value, once taken off the shelf and used, you won't get back what you paid for it.  Most RPGs that are 10+ years old the "value" drops off significantly and it can be difficult to find anyone to buy them for any price.  The products change and while some of us are collectors, the majority of RPGers are gamers looking at the next thing.  As an investment, RPGs are terrible but like all things some will hold their value and be collectible while the majority aren't.  Of the Kickstarters you list, I don't think any of these will be very rare or hard to find in the future.  Something like RAR had 1000 copies produced and 6 years later, there are constantly copies on Ebay and some still in shrink.


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:05 pm 

The point is (or at least should be) fun.  If it isn't bringing you pleasure to have these things, don't do it.

For me, I've kept it enjoyable by setting boundaries.  I don't purchase any of the new rulesets.  I don't purchase the adventures for the new rulesets.  I've limited myself to AD&D/OSRIC based adventures, and found only a very small number of exceptions that tempt me.  Will I miss some material that way?  Yes.  But even here, amongst some of the biggest collectors of this material, how many can/will actually get everything (kickstarter or otherwise)?  Just keeping track of it all is a challenge.  So filter all that part of it.  Buy the ones you think you will like and leave it at that.

Areas of interest/knowledge: Harn, WFRP, Ars Magica, anything BRP based such as CoC, Runequest, Pendragon and all their related games


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:15 pm 

TheHistorian wrote:The point is (or at least should be) fun.  If it isn't bringing you pleasure to have these things, don't do it.

...  Buy the ones you think you will like and leave it at that.

Pretty much sums it up. If its not something you think you'll enjoy, don't support it. If you think it is, then back it.


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:15 pm 

GreyM wrote:Pretty much sums it up. If its not something you think you'll enjoy, don't support it. If you think it is, then back it.

Ditto.  +1  It's a fair question to ask why people buy what they do, and everyone has their own reasons.  Personally, I've stopped buying most everything as I have enough to read and play for years.  Plus, my closet is now full.   :oops:   Buy what you want.   8)

Truth is worth finding and life is too short to work for money.


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Post Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:32 pm 

I'm very much in the mindset at the moment that I only want to pick up the good quality items that hold an interest for me. Namely DCC RPG & Mods and the Kickstarter RA in S&W form.

I bit the bullet last year and went for Slumbering Tsar, as it seemed like a good idea at the time, although I wouldnt go for a product again that is beyond AD&D in age (or feel) such as Pathfinder or anything like that. For that reason, I am most likely going to part with ST in the coming years, but I dont see me passing on the RA thats coming or anything else like that from these recent years.

Rolls a '3'

"Did I hit.....?"

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