There is a paradoxical story about the chicken and the egg. Oh, you’ve heard it? Despite your familiarity with that age old story, gather round, young ones about content, IP and game rules.
First, let’s be clear: Terry Amthor is a creative genius and perhaps one of the most under appreciated forefathers of “golden/silver age” authors. I think part of that is due to his modest nature–did you know he wrote/designed other early rpg products under other names? Did you know he authored the sole AD&D adventure module “Thief Challenge? Read blogs. Peruse Grognardia for OSR recollections. The Golden Age of ME products–they were amazing!!! I know, I collected/bought out failing game store inventory (shrinkwrapped!!!) for their inventory at $.10 on the dollar and resold or 50x that once Jackson LOTR was announced. (email me for that story!!)
Ok, this is a drinking rant! Allow me to confuse this blog further and vaguely connect to my opening paragraph. What comes first; rules or settings/adventures? Are they simultaneous? Why do I have the “Longstreet” SW novel as my top graphic? No idea. None whatsoever-this is a drunken rant.
I have a boatload of SW adventure content–all of it falls within the various RM Forum uploads and my own non-canon material..but…I am ever cognizant of SW flavor, theme and timeline, Everything I write is based on whether it fits SW or Terry will approve. Of course I’m not the writer or creator that Terry is, but I want to add to the milieu. So my choices now are to publish setting agnostic material here or wait for Terry to catch up to accepted, submitted material.
While yes I crave Terry’s imprimatur, I am also closing in on 50 years old and would like 4-10 products published within the next 10. Should I create a agnostic product using my own version of skill focused, no-profession ruleset?
In the end, I’m and RM loyalist, a SW supplicant, but a frustrated author. I’ve posted over 200 file uploads in the last year + on the RM forums. The bulk of them are Spell Law files but a significant number are SW files. I have a 300 page+ modified SW Master Atlas, a 100 page plus MA creatures, a 97 page module on Ulya Shek for levels 5-25, 77 pages on Nontataku, 7 pages of outline on the Raven Queen and Chycalla War Machines and now a solid outline on the Pillar City! I’m working on my final SWARM doc (Shadow World Alteranate RoleMaster), and am close to uploading an expanded version of the Pales including environmental conditions, game play and expanded creature encounters.
I’m happy to upload any or all of this free of charge. I’m not looking for a payday–I’m guessing RPG publishing isn’t lucrative in any event. My formatting and layouts are poor (not for gameplay use for certainly for publishing). I’m thinking of putting this all up on the Forums or here on the RMBlog. OTOH, even getting one SW product published with the official “stamp of approval” is worth it. Thoughts?
And to finish the drinking rant, tonight’s was provided by Corsair Distillery (an apropos MERP /RM reference)
I will now go read a story from my favorite anthology: Dragon Tales.
7 thoughts on “Drinking rant. RM Gaming Content: What’s the deal?”
As you may know, I’ve published a bunch of stuff for generic and Pathfinder – and I really enjoy it. It’s perhaps not the most productive use of my time (although it perhaps pays more than you might expect, as long as you are willing to bet on the long run), but it’s one of the more enjoyable uses (it’s not too difficult cleaning stuff up for publication either). I would like to add something to Shadow World but getting something official out is tricky. Even with a Rolemaster license (and I don’t know how they cost/work!) that still doesn’t mean it can be published for Shadow World.
It would be nice if the PDF series for Shadow World did kick off; I think a bunch of small, approved articles are far easier to get published than one big supplement, and much of what you do is ideal, as I’ve mentioned before. Nicholas seemed interested, but I don’t know if this has progressed at all.
I don’t think publishing RPG material is a way to get rich but it is quite fun.
Learning how to do the page layout for print is interesting and fun in its own right.
If you wanted to self publish something that was generic enough that you were not breaking other people’s IP then I would happily add links to it on here. I have done the same for my own 3d6 game (3Deep) above.
My stepson used to be in a band. They were going to give away their music for free just to get it heard. I told them then that if you do not value your music then no one else will. They ended up selling both physical CDs and digital downloads. By putting a price on it it made their efforts more valuable.
I would give you the same advice. If you just give your content away then it will drop into an ocean of free content. If it is good enough to share then it is good enough for you to put a value on.
There’s always Pay What You Want on the OneBookShelf sites as well if you’re uncertain. I make a few releases like that. If nothing else it adds to my mailing list and people sometimes pay far more than you expect – my donations range from 1 cent to two dollars.
My house rules for profession-less and level-less RM is Pay Want You Want and I have had payments of 10cents to three dollars and I have had nearly 100 downloads of it.
SW material is off limits without Terry and Nicholas. I like the suggestions and will ponder putting up m own levelless and optional rules in a single product. Much of it is scattered in various RM forum threads and here.
Whats everyone’s thoughts on my Spell Law revision? Publishable as a generic product?
I’m not sure. Although I believe that rule systems are not in and of themselves considered IP, it might be borderline. That would probably require a more knowledgeable opinion than my own. A rather different version of it designed to be a plug and play addition to RM – or other systems – should work. That is, after all, what RM started out as. The various spell names might be considered to be IP, even though they tend to the generically boring.
I think egdcltd is probably right. One of the simple tests is “Is it entirely your own work?” if it is and you are not using any of ICE/AA/GCP material then you should be OK. If the users of your publication would also NEED to buy the existing Spell Law for example to use it. In that case it is an entirely add-on product.