On the High Cost of Living

Are Role-Playing Game materials good?

I live in America, and there are problems here. (Note that you can replace the word America with any country during any time in history.)

In spite of turning and turning in the widening gyre, the second coming is not occurring.

When the Roman empire 'fell'; men in Europe woke, and committed to their daily tasks. "This too, shall pass."

So the real question, the moneymaker, is what do you think is best

This has an awful lot to do with who you are. If you are Hasbro, well, 20 million dollars profit from the Dungeons & Dragons brand, just isn't enough. Core brands have to make 50 million in profit, on a path to turning 100 million in profit in a year.

Clearly, something that makes 49 million dollars is an abject failure.

What do you think is best?

Me? I personally would rather have 10 RPG products available for purchase, rather than 2. I would rather have 50 than 10. I would rather have 100 than 50.

Did you know that RPG products exist today that would otherwise not exist, if it wasn't for Kickstarter?

What's the problem? I'll tell you what the problem might be. A market flooded with trash. The difference is, for our little corner of the world, is that we, as consumers for the first time in history are the ones who are deciding what makes it to market and what doesn't!

What does that mean? In a free market (like kickstarter), you as a consumer have more responsibility because that market isn't regulated. This, if you've been paying attention at home, is a very very good thing. The cost is, if you are stupid and don't pay attention, you can experience consequences for making poor decisions.

See? This really is a post about role playing!

Having more creative input in the field is a good thing. Having more people being creative is a good and exciting thing. Is it pricey? Sometimes, yes. The costs of everything have risen 10%-50% in the country where I live in the last year. But I still have and use the vast majority of RPG books I've ever bought. They are a niche product and their creation is a labor of love. They maintain their utility years and years after creation. And, being that you're an empowered consumer in a free market, if they don't have that value to you, you can choose not to purchase them and you lose nothing!

Enjoy our present, it is much richer then it might have ever been.


  1. The DIY mentality of the Indie RPG scene and the OSR, plus the power of crowd-sourcing has made these RPG times the BEST they have ever been. These large corporate entities (and their wanna-bees) need to get out of their heads the whole mentality of, "it's not successful unless it makes millions of millions." For one, it's not sustainable. If the employees of a small publisher, and their free-lancers and consultants, can live comfortably with the modest sales of their product, it should be "good enough". Hasbro, wanting to make MILLIONS AND MILLIONS off the D&D Brand, is exactly what is killing the brand, as is diluting it with hastily produced toys and games that compete with its derivatives (if pathfinder is selling more than official D&D, you have a problem.) But I'm over them. DIY is where it's at for me, personally. And Kickstarters of indie games, like Fate Core, show that not only do players want more agency in their games, but gamers in general want more agency in the games that are produced.

  2. I also dislike the way the D&D brand is managed.
    Like Dak mentioned, I'm afraid they're killing the brand.

    As for your other point, more choice in RPGs is better.
    But I prefer quality over quantity.
    I mean that I prefer RPGs with a good design, fun gameplay, large communities, good adventures, open license, etc.
    At this point kickstarters may beat established brands.
    What consumers need is enough quality information to choose RPGs.

  3. Ah, but ask fifty people what they want to see in a game and they'll give you seventy answers. One person's trash is another person's Friday night game. I may not like playing your way, but that doesn't mean the games you like don't make the gaming ecosystem better.

    You may not like what WotC puts out. But if they weren't there, you'd never have the kid who see a book in Walmart and decided to look into this hobby. A small game company can never get that kind of exposure.

    Looking at the D&DNext playtest, I don't think it's my style of game. I also have my doubts that they'll accomplish their goal of being able to accomodate old-school and new-school styles. But there have been some interesting design decisions. Nothing revolutionary, but I could see their choices influenceing other designers that may adapt things in games more my style.

  4. The Brand != The Market. Which is really the point of your post as I understand it. Yes, I started playing in the 'Golden Age' and my group enjoyed having options. We had an extensive 1e campaign that lasted until we were out of college; but we also played Chivalry & Sorcery and Traveller extensively, along with the occasional SPI board game, or in one instance recreating the Battle of Jutland on a ballroom floor.
    Even if D&D were to be 'killed' by Hasbro, the name itself is an asset that another company can, and probably would, purchase in order to resurrect it. This is exactly what happened with Atari in the video game market.
    In any case, more game systems to try, and mash together the good bits into what we like.

  5. What if more people play D&D?

    Really, I find no value in the brand or anything about it really. Not to be negative (HINT: IT'S CODE FOR BEING NEGATIVE) It's sucked in a variety of ways for 30 years now.

    What I do care about is the market, which is rich, rich rich RICH with wealth right now!


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