I have been looking at the way that other games publishers deal with community content recently and at the same time at the way that they put adventures together.
7th Sea is the most Rolemaster-esque when it comes to community content. Although there is a community content programme, free art and templates available, there is little or no company support for content creators. There are not enough staff at John Wick Presents and I suspect that the community content programme doesn’t earn enough money to warrant the investment in time.
The net effect is that there are not that many titles and they are of rather patchy quality.
Grim & Perilous Studios is right at the other end of the spectrum. They have a new CCP and are actively courting creators. Everything is fresh, new and exciting. G&PS is not keen on forums, preferring their Discord server but on the server content creators are given special status and a role title so you can spot them a mile off. Creators also have a dedicated channel.
The content creators, known as Librarians after the Grim & Perilous Library, actively discuss what they are working on and even have shared project management software, trello, to manage titles and collaborate to create supplements a bit like the Guild Adventurers (not to be confused with the Guild Companion).
G&PS also provides stock art and document templates for creators but also uses their social media accounts to promote new releases. That is a virtually free way of advertising these supplements and generating sales. It presumably will make the Library financially profitable sooner because of the advertising.
Schwalb Entertainment is another Discord advocate. They to have a dedicated channel for 3rd party publishers. The level of support is not as proactive as G&PS but the creators are actively discussing and assisting each other.
The interesting thing about Schwalb adventures is there structure. As with most community things in life people try to fit in. The ‘official’ supplements have an accepted structure. They cost $8 and for your money you get a 30 to 50 page booklet that details the background material and then six to ten adventures. Each adventure rarely extends beyond a couple of pages, a couple of NPC descriptions and a floor plan if you are lucky. It is more about explaining the ‘how and why’ of the protagonists and then letting the GM run the adventure in the best way for their group.
Each $8 booklet is an entire campaign in a book. I think that has a lot of merit. If most of the supporting material is already in C&T/C&M then just point people to the book. I have also seen caveats that says exactly what books are required. So if the book uses something from a companion that is listed as required.
There is nothing to stop anyone copying the Schwalb Entertainment model. It explicitly avoids using copyright material by pointing GMs at the core books and companions. The text dense, art light format is kind on the independent developer who doesn’t have access to an entire art department.
Somehow, I cannot see some of the big names on the forums going for the collaboration model but for us small fry it has worked well in the past.
I just wished that the RMu rules were finalised so we knew what rules we were writing against.