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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Old School is getting commercialized

Not that I blame the authors, they should get what cash they can. But only a couple years ago, all the games had free pdfs and doc files for people to fiddle with. Now, most have no doc file, some have limited pdfs (usually no artwork), and at least one even charges for the pdf. Not to mention the S&W Complete hardback, which is limited edition and probably won't get used at anyone's table for real gaming because of that. I figured this would happen eventually, but it is mildly depressing.


Greg Christopher said...

Money always defeats passion. That is what makes it the source of all evil.

My game is about to be released as a free public beta. And it will remain free forever. Always. No charge ever.

Did I mention it is free?

And it has a full color art and layout BECAUSE it is free. I can get art donated to me so long as I stay free. Because artists respect the passion.

Matt said...

Money is the reason any of us have ever heard of role-playing games - Gygax and Arneson weren't giving them away for free, you know. There are still plenty of free games out there, but bear in mind that the people making them are devoting significant resources to do so, and often only charge to pay for the art. I devote hours upon hours of my time producing NOD and PARS FORTUNA, keep my prices as low as possible, put tons of material on my blog for free, have a free version of the PARS rules out there, one (soon to be two) free PDFs of NOD, and despite making a few bucks selling PDFs and POD can guarantee that I still only do it for the passion, because the profits are minimal.

Anonymous said...

Love of money is the root of all evil is the quote.

Love of Math is the square root of all Evil.

JimLotFP said...

I'd say that going commercial is the cause, not the result, of the big growth of OSR related activity.

Anonymous said...

The OSR has been collector-driven for a while. I think the rise of boxsets and limited editions is both an expression of that and a marketing tool aimed square at collectors (rather than merely the nostalgia market or new players).

Having to pay for something raises expectations of the quality of writing, artwork and lack of errata.

Also - due to the investment by the customer - the paid-for RPG is more likely to be played. Games that are played are more likely to be supported by further design.

Al said...

I had similar concerns a few months ago, but when it comes down to it, all the major retros still have free versions, and printed costs are still roughly the same ($20 for the S&W Complete softcover, which includes a free .pdf), save a bit more for what I like to call "vanity" items.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with collector items. Some of them are done because the publisher hasn't got the financial muscle to do a regular "evergreen" print edition - both the LotFP Box and S&W Complete HC are examples of that.

I feel that they should give back to community because they built their games on material that has come before, but usually they do, and art-less PDFs are perfect for that. (Art costs money, and while OSR designers pour their time into their work they are not obliged to sink their money as well.)

From where I sit, all is well.

Dan said...

I agree that popularity has gone up with price, and that we are in a collector-driven market. It bugs me, since I know the majority of the products sold will likely never be used in a game.

I don't blame the authors at all, though. They are extremely lucky to be able to make money doing this.

Clovis Cithog said...

As longshoreman-philosopher Eric Hoffer observed,

“every great movement begins as a cause,
eventually becomes a business,
then degenerates into a racket.”