Thursday, September 30, 2010

Plans

The new printing of the game will not be out until the new year.

My upcoming convention schedule is listed to the left. If you're in Germany or the UK, this is your only chance to pick up the game without shipping markups, and of course I'll have all the modules with me too. Good discount for bundle buys and we don't take cards, so stop by and bring cash.

Death Ferox Doom will be coming out hopefully the same time as the second printing of the game, but resources are going towards the core product (sales for the back catalog jumped dramatically when the game was released and dropped off a cliff when it was no longer available...) so if there's any conflict the module will get pushed back. However, this is not an Insect Shrine situation, but merely a "resources and manpower limitations of a small business" situation. Take this as an indication that you get to live for awhile longer.

Hopefully any day now I'll have some huge news to report. The deal is signed.

In the middle of all my other business wheeling and dealing, I have three people who have shown interest in writing adventures for me. I do believe all three will be new names to you (unless you speak Finnish...), but no real announcements until something is in hand.

Sometime next week I'll be releasing an "odds and ends" PDF-only product through the regular e-vendors. It'll be just a few bucks and will include stand-alone bits from various projects that were started and then petered out. It'll include the Knight of Science character class, the Wand of the Weird (random effect item), alternate random magic item tables for use in regular OSR-type campaigns (using the standard magic item lists), and the Duvan'Ku magic items and spells that appeared awhile back in Fight On! This is basically a bit of fundraising for future projects more than it is a "real" product by itself, if you catch my meaning. But the content will be useful and/or interesting on its own.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are Youngsters Really Brain Dead?

Just found this link.

Are they serious? How do you look at people like that with a straight face?

I Didn't Want to Make This Post, But I Had No Choice

So I'm contacting some artists and actually using the words, "Give me something that will get me arrested for publishing it."

This is what happens when Metal: A Headbangers' Journey is on TV the night before and you get to relive shenanigans like the PMRC and the lawsuit against Judas Priest.

I have a background dealing with things that include very strong visual imagery and I haven't fully used it in terms of my RPG work. That's got to change.

And now there's cross-blog sniping to be done!

Check
this out.

For instance, a spellcaster forgetting a spell after casting makes no sense to me and still breaks my suspension of disbelief.

First of all, while I agree that Vancian magic makes no sense, that's only because all magic makes no sense. It's all fictional and made up. Magic, indeed everything supernatural, is fictional nonsense. It's not like my remarks about light sources and movement rates a few days ago which directly relate to real-world activities and situations.

That said, anyone who throws around the term "Vancian" should, I don't know,
read some Dying Earth. Which this person obviously hasn't done, or else this wouldn't be a problem. "Not what I'd choose for a magic system" may be an opinion one has after reading some Vance, but "makes no sense to me" is not.

I realize it's part of the game's name and that many D&D veterans love them, but big dungeons full of monsters around the party's level and of untouched treasure lead me to, well, call shenanigans.

As well one should. The problem isn't "dungeons," but shitty-ass poorly made dungeons.

For some new players, it's near impossible to connect with a place they've never visited[1]. For instance, I've never been to the desert so I have a hard time placing my character in a world where the sand stings her eyes as she feels the intense heat radiating off the ground. I know those things happen, but I have a harder time feeling them.

My first reaction was "This person has the imagination of a very small rock."

Obviously someone that's done a lot of camping will be able to draw from more real-life experience when an adventure is in the woods, but being taken out of the game because it's in the desert and you've never been in a desert? The issue with the dungeons comes back to good vs bad dungeons, with good dungeons establishing its own reality to the players and bad dungeons assuming that you don't care.

(this isn't a knock against the old funhouse dungeons or megadungeons or other "game element" kinds of things - these things will establish their own reality and internal logic if they're any good just as much as an ecologically correct logical dungeon would)

Being someone you're not and exploring places that you've never been to and most likely never could is in some ways the very point of RPGs, isn't it?

So I wasn't going to actually post this particular blog entry (it was written yesterday), but then this comment showed up.

A 20th level wizard in older D&D editions barely approximates the picture of a wizard from fantasy literature. If someone signed up to play this, they are SOL.

Two decades ago, I drifted away from D&D because I had to fight against the mechanics in order to approximate elements from the fiction I was reading and enjoying at the time...

It's not a good to assume that any particular game will handle simulating any particular story from its genre. Authors within a genre are not interchangeable and the more tightly bound the rules of a genre are, the better it is to explore the outliers in order to get something fresh. I'd personally not use RPGs to recreate anything but the general atmosphere of any particular piece of fiction because RPGs can't copy non-RPG source material. There will be "drift" because the players are not beholden to any plot over a period of time and the accumulation of events and the result of the dice will quickly detour a game away from what was expected.

As often seems to happen in these sorts of conversations, Vance is treated as a non-entity. His literature doesn't count, apparently. Or maybe he's just not popular enough. And, to repeat for the millionth time, because magic is all fiction anyway, using Dying Earth magic (or an adaptation thereof) is just as valid or invalid as using any other.

... but using that particular form of magic does fit in with the traditional fantasy RPG focus on resource management. Torches, money, hit points, arrows, spells. Keep track of how many you have left and achieve your goals before running out. I don't have any idea whether Gygax or Arneson or whoever put this into play did so because it fit with the overall play atmosphere perfectly or because they just thought it was obscure and therefore cool, but it was genius.

More to the point, the only meaningful mechanics in terms of player empowerment granted to the magic-user is to cast a spell once per adventure (more or less). Anything else is outside the strict scope of the mechanics provided. A DM has to stretch beyond the rules on the page in order to provide the magic-user player with opportunities to be important.

... so if there are no combats for a stretch or even a session, fighters don't do anything? If there's a thief in the party, you must provide trapped chests or a surface to climb? If there are no undead in an adventure, are you being unfair to the cleric?

I don't buy that the purpose of mechanics are there to provide opportunities for players to be empowered. Mechanics exist to provide an impartial source to resolve situations that arise in play. Nothing more. Certainly they are not there to suggest what should happen during play.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Arty Farty

So who's an artist that hasn't been in one of the LotFP releases that you'd like to see in an upcoming LotFP release?

PS. Don't need to limit this to old-school artists, but keep it realistic... not affording Giger or Vallejo anytime soon...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stop Trying to Kill Me and KILL ME

Look, fourth edition players aren't stupid, they're just playing a lame fuckin' game.

But that's their right. I'm sure the hardcore 4e players think our games are fuckin' lame.

And that's the way it's supposed to be. People have preferences, and should heed those preferences and express those preferences.

Trust my judgment, for I dwell in darkness.

Let's talk about the watering down of the play experience of the clones, or even older editions of D&D, in order to accommodate the fragile sensibilities of 4th edition players.

Look, 4th edition players are right hard and are willing to put up with a lot of shit in a game. They have to be in order to spend 5 hours doing a 1st level combat against 3 kobolds which they had to spend $250 to get the minis for because of the "surprise!" random minis business model that 4th edition uses.

And they're perfectly capable of playing another game. Do you think 4th edition players sit down to play Monopoly and argue that their Hat doesn't give them kool powerz and that it's unbalanced against that dumb shit little dog? (seriously, who plays the dog? I always want to run it over with the car. But there are no rules for that. It has a car, a dog, tons of streets, but no driving rules. Fucking broken stupid shit game.)

So when you sit these people down to play Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, or god forbid Lamentations of the Flame Princess, they will understand that game play isn't just like 4th edition. They can handle the concept, and they will adapt to your powertripping bully methods of running a game quite quickly. Ron Edwards was not correct - games different than your own do not cause brain damage and inability to grasp differences between playstyles and different atmospheres and intentions of different games.

Really!

Just point out a few things. Take LotFP/LL/S&W. Maximum hit points for fighters? 8 (unless someone cheats and gets a high ability score roll that happens to be in the Constitution slot - yeah, right). How much damage does a normal sword potentially do? 8.

Tells you something about the game, right? You think the stereotypical system mastery youngster is going to miss a detail like that?

Don't go easy on the players. They'll get it soon enough. For all the crap on the LotFP character sheet, the process of creating a character and filling out the sheet took 10 minutes, tops, last weekend. With total newbies. Not counting equipment. That's another matter. But all the mechanics and game stat junk? No time at all. (LL and S&W characters even take fractionally less time) So who cares if the front door kills somebody? It'll take less time for that player to make a new character and rejoin the game (they'll know how to make a character and how to choose equipment already) than it will for the other players to figure out how to get in the damn door.

And they'll be on notice that shit ain't there to provide cinematic adventure and thrilling victory as a default state and that death can come cheap if you aren't careful.

Tower of the Stargazer is supposed to be an introductory adventure. Fresh off the farm players playing fresh off the farm characters. The front door kills. Shit, walking to the front door may kill. Have you played through the solo adventure in the Tutorial book? If anyone survives it on the first try, I'd be inclined to say they cheated.

I don't think that the LotFP game is any deadlier or nastier than any of the other traditional games out there. Shit, I'm still surprised that people see it as any different at all.

My point is that LotFP really doesn't have any different assumptions or provides different gameplay than any of the other games in its class - not at first level, anyway - but that it doesn't hide those assumptions. It doesn't hold anybody's hand and try to hide the nastiness from any of these new school role-players running around. It introduces those assumptions as a matter-of-fact everyday part of the game. "Hi! I'm low-level character mortality! Nice to meet you!"

Look, old school or neoclassical or traditional (or whatever word we need to use to communicate that it's a normal frickin game and not some newfangled overcomplicated monstrosity of a play experience) games are different games than 4e.

Trying to smooth out the differences for 4e players because you assume they'll reject the differences is just fucking dumb.

The differences between the games should be highlighted, spotlighted, given center stage, strung up with lights, sing and dance, and shown directly to the players. "Danger, uncertainty, excitement!" over treasure parcels, balanced encounters, and default assumptions of heroism. Simple character archetypes allowing you to get straight to it instead of special snowflake individual exceptionalism.

Those differences are the whole point of using one game instead of another. If you smooth out the differences between games, what you're giving people is a watered-down play experience. Period. You can't out-4e 4e because, well, 4e is sitting right there and it's better at catering to 4e-centric tastes than what you're trying to introduce them to, no matter how you dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge around the issue. Don't snuff the candle out at both ends.

Give the whole game experience of the game you're going to play (and not the game they played before!) to them. Full-on. And let them make their own damn mind up for themselves. Some will like it and prefer it. Most don't give a fuck at all as long as they're with agreeable people and the guy running the game isn't shit at it. Some won't like it, but screw them, and find someone to replace them. But don't go all pansy-wansy like you're apologizing that the game you're offering isn't the game they've expressed a liking for.

Don't fudge a system or an adventure like you would a die roll that "doesn't come up the way it's supposed to." Have confidence in it.

That's not a suggestion.

That's an order.

LotFP 2010, Left to Right: Wallet, Brain, Face

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Darkness, Light, and Exploration

After stumbling around Suomenlinna's tunnels (just one room in) with only a lantern to guide my way for a little while tonight, I have to say that a 120'/turn exploration speed is generous. 1 in 6 chance to find secret doors in the darkness lit only by torches and lanterns? Generous. 2 in 6 chance of being surprised by creatures coming straight down the hall? Totally believable.

OK, seasoned explorers will get around a lot easier than I did, but you really can't see shit in the dark with just a piddly lantern. And mine was battery-powered - no flickering. I walked straight into a rather large puddle and never realized it was there until my foot was wet. I didn't run into any walls but that was about it.

I suspected that the darkness and can't-see-anything cinematography of the two Descent movies was close to reality, but movies always use light filters so I didn't want to use that as a guide... but really... a bunch of yahoos going underground and trying to
find things? Insane.

Darkness is bad news, man.

Rant Rant Rant

I'm actually pissy about having nothing to rant about. I need a good ranty rant. Who's been stupid lately? Nobody! And that depresses me. A peaceful environment is a complacent environment and that's the worse environment for creativity.

Bah. I'm sick after my travels to Sweden (con crud from so small a con? dammit), so my concentration sucks.

I'm fooling around with different book layouts right now. Photo shoot with Marjut later today. Waiting for Luna to get back to fighting form. Art coordination. Talking to people whose works I'm going to release. Working on the guts of Death Ferox Doom.

I'm not up to all this today (well, the waiting for Luna part, that's actually not too taxing). My head hurts. And I need to go buy a lantern. I don't think the local hardware store has the bullseye variety, damn them.

Random factoid: Not only do I always, always say "Grognardia Blarg" instead of "Grognardia Blog," I cannot get it through my skull that Bat in the Attic and RPG Blog II are run by different people. Even though I have dealings with both people running them.

Random annoyance: People that put 435346578364785 pictures of their child on Facebook. Remember when everyone was paranoid about putting kids' pictures on the internet because people thought that kidnappers just sat around waiting to find photos of kids on the internet so they could go kidnap them? I miss those days.

Big Idea of the Day: LotFP Breakfast Cereal. "Lament-Ohs" made up of little wheat Dead Signs in a variety of artificial colors mixed with rice poofballs dyed to look like eyes. The front of the box would be, in Wheaties athlete-endorsement style gone wrong, undead adventurers sporting the wounds that killed them, giving a thumbs up as they snarf down Lament-Ohs, which are part of a nutritious breakfast!

Aren't you glad you took the time to read today's blog post?

Monday, September 20, 2010

So I'm Not Selling the Boxes Anymore

Sold out.

To repeat, I am holding a few back for Essen next month and Dragonmeet after that.

And certainly many of the vendors listed over on the left still have copies.

But I'm not selling any more copies outside of those two conventions to individuals or resellers.

So I need to really start making decisions about a second printing.

I worry about talking about it because if I say, "Oh, I'm cleaning some stuff up," (as if I'm going to reprint errors, right?) then I risk stopping sales as people will just wait for the "new and improved" version. So I spend 1500€ going to Germany and don't sell any boxes while there, the vendors who are stuck with copies of the original printing won't order any of the second version, and then I'm right and well fucked.

But if I don't talk about it, then I make decisions in a bubble without considering the wishes of the buying public who every once in awhile manages to bring up an issue I never thought of and really need to consider. The final product will be inferior if completed under a veil of secrecy.

So I lose either way, so let's blab about it!

A push into retail is far and away the biggest concern. I can tear up the charts on the internet, so it's time to take that next step. Distribution matters. I'm embarking on an ambitious convention schedule to promote the game and raise awareness with RPG insiders, industry peoples, and the fans. If you're reading this, I've probably got your country penciled in sometime for the next 12 months... whether it survives my wife's "You can't go to that many conventions!" nagging is another matter, but I want to come see you.

So the first question... should the second printing use the same cover or the "censored" cover that I use as this blog's title graphic? Having no boobs on the cover will make it easier to get into retail in the US (doesn't make one flip of difference elsewhere), but if the uncompromising attitude is part of the basic appeal, will I end up screwing myself over? And there will still be nudity inside, and having a bit on the cover communicates that without needing to deface the package with a disclaimer.

And the big question: Book or Box.

If it's a book, what to do with the Tutorial? Sticking it in the front creates this big dead area that people are going to use once and probably never again. Putting it in the back as an appendix just seems odd. Of course there would be no dice, pencil, etc.

If it's a box, it has to be substantially different as the Deluxe Edition is going to remain special and exclusive. You earlier adopters are not going to be slapped in the face by seeing this same thing sold again.

The box makes a tutorial easier because it can be separated from the other content. I love the idea of a full tutorial - in fact I think that games that don't hand-hold new players are incomplete - and having dice makes it complete. RPGs that require yet don't include dice just seem wrong, like electronic gizmos that pull that "batteries not included" BS.

Yes, I just criticized the vast majority of RPGs ever published.

Books have a lower sales tax rate in most of the world. Boxes are more of a proper package for a game. A nice hardcover book is sturdier than a box and the books that would be inside, but people that actually take care of their stuff won't have any problem keeping any format in decent condition, even if it sees a lot of use.

Books are easier to ship... but boxes are just cooler.

hmmm...

(and if it is a book, it'll be a big fancy hardcover - my core product will not be a budget release)

Either way, the next printing will be the same game. There are just 2 rules changes I'm considering at the moment (plus typo correction of course) and those will be fully publicized anyway.

Anyway, right now I'm taking the red pen to the current box. The actual format isn't something that needs to be really decided until it's time for layout...

Tell me your ideas!

LotFP Products Now Available in Sweden from AlphaSpel! (plus other news)

AlphaSpel, which does mail order and has a physical shop, now carries LotFP stuff! This is the lowest price I've seen anywhere on Earth for the box set...

The Moldy Vale reviewed the Weird Fantasy Role-Playing box, Reviews from R'lyeh took on Weird New World while I was gone as well.

Stockholms Spelkonvent was quite slow. The staff was very helpful, but it was not a hard sales convention to say the least. The location was far away from anything, it rained most of the weekend...

Had extensive conversations with Tomas Arfert (has done art for Candlemass, Kult, BFRPG, etc), Andreas Davour (The Omnipotent Eye), and Rasmus Strand was at the table next to mine selling his Lost Roads of Lociam RPG (in English!).

Ran Death Frost Doom for a group. One of them had knowledge of traditional games and the others not so much. "Did anyone buy a ten foot pole?" "Why would we need that?" They learned quick. By the time they got down into the dungeon, even the new players were being careful and checking things out and scared to touch anything. In the Chapel, one of them died at the organ, the other decided that sniffing purple lotus fumes was a good idea and ended up taking a ton of damage (I ruled that her head exploded), and the other two grabbed the jeweled dagger and ruby necklace and decided to get out of Dodge. They were laughing their asses off at each death - the "new players don't enjoy failure or seeing their characters die" idea thrown around on the internet is complete horseshit in my experience - and after the first death (the oldschool veteran's character) the others immediately looted the body. As I said, they learned quick.

I think my sales pitch for the game was short-circuited by the unique nature of Swedish RPG history. "A traditional RPG" means something completely different in Sweden. The D&D that is part of the cultural RPG memory isn't Dungeons and Dragons, it's Drakar och Demoner, with a completely different set of rules and assumptions. I need to do some research before going to Germany next month...

Oh yeah, the convention did a video interview with me.

I'll be back to Sweden for GothCon in the spring.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Two Left... and Stockholms Spelkonvent This Weekend!

Is it two or three? I'm tired of recounting them. There's either two or three boxes still available for mail-order. After that, catch me at a convention or order from one of the vendors on the left. While you still can.

I'll be leaving in a few hours to go to Stockholms Spelkonvent which runs Friday through Sunday. All orders will be processed after I return on Monday, and all email I've been sitting on will continue to be ignored be answered when I return.

Essen in October, Dragonmeet in November. I am an international man of gaming!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pontification, Prosthelytizing, or Trouble-Making?

I started a discussion concerning the clones at RPG.net. The thread is here. Somehow I thought putting that over there would bear more fruitful (or enlightening, or amusing, or something) discussion than sounding off within the echo chamber.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Don't Suck

Grognardia reviews Hammers of the God here.

Reviews from R'lyeh reviewed Tower of the Stargazer here a few days back.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shaft von Blackula

Yes, someone at the in-store game today named his character this.

Luckily, he died underneath the O'Shaunnessy house.

Seems nobody in the party bought rope or a lantern at first, but there were 15 dogs accompanying the party.

Mostly younger players, and the ideas of "cooperation" and "don't split the party" haven't quite settled in.

It was that kind of night. :D

Saturday, September 11, 2010

LotFP Is #1

As I write this, LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing is #1 on the sales charts at:

Noble Knight
Troll & Toad's RPG Category
Indie Press Revolution

IPR is sold out but it's nice to have the ranking anyway, and look what my game is beating on NK and T&T's charts...

This is seven weeks after release.

(this is more positioning for later on more than current bragging, but I'll take the bragging rights for the moment as well)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Publishing RPG Material To Avoid Real Work? HAHA, SUCKER!

The good new is that both No Dignity in Death and People of Pembrooktonshire are sold out. You can still get them from the vendors... for now.

I still have a few box sets I can sell for individual orders, but none to sell wholesale to vendors. I can exaggerate a wee bit and say that my vendors are scrambling to acquire the available stock out there - IPR went from 40 available copies to zero instantly after I told someone I can't restock them. Maybe it isn't an exaggeration to call it scrambling.

Get it while you can. As mentioned, I'll have copies with me at Stockholms Spelkonvent next weekend, Spiel in Essen next month (Hall 6, booth 6-313, I'll be with the Arkkikivi people...), and at Dragonmeet in London in November if anybody from that organization bothers to return my emails.

The second edition of the game has to happen soon. It won't be a straight reprint. The Deluxe Edition will forever be retired.

I'm talking to a printer about formats. Whether it'll be another box set in a different format, or a hardcover book, or what, is still up in the air. However, with the big interest in the Deluxe Edition, I'm literally going for broke... looking to do a couple thousand of these.

Death Ferox Doom is progressing nicely. I'm talking to a couple printers about formats for this. One idea that would bring the per-book cost down is printing it as a perfectbound book with all the maps and player handouts being on perforated pages. The only issue there is that two-thirds of the book would be in this format so if you did tear all the pages out the remainder of the book would look odd. Hopefully the tax office response comes back soon and comes back sensible - offering a free PDF with each physical book sold would give further options to having the material available without ripping out most of the book. I'd also have to print more copies than usual (you need a "real" printer for this kind of thing, including the inserts for color illustrations, and that means bulk printing), but the usual module format I've used up to this point really doesn't fit this project and would make it really expensive per book. ah, such risk on a project that's almost designed to give people a jarring and brutal reading experience with art choices being made to make the book repulsive to look at. I'm either a genius or I'm an idiot. Possibly both.

There's another top secret project that's in the "negotiating the contract" phase right now. This will be a hardcover book. I probably mentioned this already, but I love repeating it: the printer I'm working with has been in business since 1890 and has never done some of the things I'm asking for as far as format goes. This won't be as expensive as it sounds from these few words but it's still going to add up on my end. It's alright to weep for me, I know you're wanting to.

I have no idea where the money is going to come from to pay for all these projects (I'd say FROM YOU, but that's not until after they are printed...), so I'm pushing the monster book to the back burner. No real work has been done on it yet, and something's got to give.

Oh, and Gaming All Over the Place has reviewed the box set here. They've also spoiled the opening disclaimer here.

... back to work!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Oh Dear God

The first part of the rather long interview that Trollsmyth and Oddysey conducted with me is now available for listening. Here.

It's nice for Google Alerts to give a "Raggi" result that isn't the porn star, the soccer player, or the judge...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pure Cosmic Terror

... so I'm writing up The Golden King and The Headless Dragon as part of Death Ferox Doom.

Haven't even put pen to paper... er, finger to keyboard on any of the cannibal stuff, since that's a lot more social and fluid. I'm writing up the dungeon/ziggurat first.

Things that were just rough notes when I ran the adventure, and frankly never triggered by my players because they know better, need to be described and in some cases statted.

... and I just detailed the bit that allows a Cleric's deity to become possessed and replaced if the PCs do something very fundamentally stupid.

You know, that sort of thing.

So open up that Crystal Door and walk right in.

(did you know that the same guy directed Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things, Porky's, and A Christmas Story? That's cosmic horror right there.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Stockholms Spelkonvent (September 17 - 19)

I will be there, both selling my merchandise (bringing along 20 Weird Fantasy Role-Playing boxes and copies of all the modules) and running an original adventure.

Convention website.

Who else will be there? :D

Sunday, September 5, 2010

People are Talking About My Game! What's Your Opinion On It?

Grognardia has put up two more parts of the LotFP box set review. III covering the Referee book is here, IV covering the Tutorial is here.

My question to you: What do you think about the Example of Play?

There's a thread on RPG.net asking "Why would one choose this game over any of the other retroclones out there, particularly the ones that exist as free PDF's? Aside from just style and production values, what makes it a better choice for those that like it?" Go answer that one here!

... by the way, 7 more boxes sold since that last announcement...

Friday, September 3, 2010

18 Boxes Left

I did an inventory check today.

I need to hold some boxes back for Stockholms Spelkonvent, Spiel, and Dragonmeet.

Not counting those, I have just 18 boxes left to sell.

North Americans can probably get them cheaper from the American vendors, but Europeans don't have as much local choice.

One more good vendor order and all 18 will be gone at once.

I haven't even decided the format for the second edition yet. I've thrown ideas around... but we're looking at November at the earliest, more likely January, for it to be ready. It certainly won't be as big and bad as the current version, that I assure you.

If you want one of these things, you should order very soon.

Any left over from the conventions will of course be made available for sale, but are you going to gamble that I'll have that many left after attending the largest gaming convention in the world?

Where Have You Seen LotFP: Weird Fantasty Role-Playing?

I'm down to less than 100 copies. I've sold 80 copies this past week.

60 of those are re-orders. I was scared as hell when putting the box together, thinking it might be too expensive and nobody would buy it. Then pre-orders went through the roof and people have been overjoyed when receiving it, and that continues to be the case. Damn well worth the price it is the message I'm getting from people who have laid their money down.

I had a good amount of initial orders from distros and I was scared as hell that all the people who were interested already bought the thing and that the copies at Noble Knight, etc, were going to rot on their shelves. Well Warpath Games, Noble Knight (and they just sold out of Death Frost Doom again last night!), Troll and Toad, and Sphärenmeisters Spiele have all re-ordered after selling out (or damn near so) their original orders. IPR just got their shipment processed and on their site over the weekend, and it's selling briskly.

(No Dignity in Death is now officially Out of Print, by the way... get it from a vendor while you still can!)

It seems to be going slower in Finland, but what can ya do, right? That just means more work to be done.

But I seem to be in a position where I'm going to have to stop selling the game soon just so I have enough copies to bring to upcoming conventions. I also have to figure out what to do about the Second Printing very soon as well. It's got to be just as cool in order to continue to sell but different enough that the people who are buying this first printing get something special that isn't going to ever be duplicated in that form.

Oh, the problems I face, right?

Thank you all.

I was just made aware that the game has made it to Australia and Milsims is stocking it. They were already on my vendor sidebar over to the left because they'd stocked a few of my previous adventures (by way of IPR's retail program) but I had no idea they got the game in. Google Alerts doesn't have an inescapable surveillance net!

So I ask you, what stores, online or off, have you seen carrying LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing (or any LotFP books) that are not on that list? I want to support the stores in any way I can by publicizing the fact that they're taking the chance on the small press and I want to make it easy for people to find my things and I want the little inner warm fuzzies from being able to show that I have an impressive distribution network.

OK, enough stalling. Back to work!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fear and Death Ferox Doom

So I'm working hard on Death Ferox Doom in between juggling art contracts and making publishing deals, and a few things are popping up.

One, the same civilization (the Duvan'Ku) is behind the dungeon and shack of Death Frost Doom and the ziggurat of Death Ferox Doom, but the relationships between the civilization and these remote outposts is completely different.

Death Frost Doom's location was considered a minor site with no real importance. One of these might have been in every town and village in the far-spanning ancient empire of death. The only thing that makes it stand out would be the Greater Tombs, and it is an insult for those dignitaries to be entombed, or perhaps more accurately exiled, in such a place. "Retake" can have different connotations. Why are they there, then? The module doesn't say. Nor should it.

Death Ferox Doom's location is a seat of power. The parallels between Fort Coronado and the Duvan'Ku ziggurat will be blindingly obvious, as both represent invaders imposing their will and pursuing their goals at the expense of the natives. The question I guess will be if the more modern form of colonialism is any different than the ancient forms? Well I know it is, and how it is. I hope the difference - and their effects upon the locals - comes across as clearly as the similarities.

Not that this is some Avatar drek either with "Noble Savage" malarkey. The settlers are at best selfish and uncaring about those they displace, at worst they are maliciously greedy and overwhelmingly bloodthirsty, but the natives are indeed savages. If the PCs aren't good guys, then there are no good guys in this adventure. Period. And if they are good guys, they will find themselves in deep, deep doo-doo if they think it's their job to solve the situation.

This is an adventure based in exploitation cinema through and through, and is not attempting to be high-minded or deep or educate about cultural integration or racism or anything. But I don't want it to be shallow, either, which is why I'm detailing all of this "fluff." You guys know my stuff, you know the drill, it's not hack and slash. It's "How did we get ourselves into this mess, how do we get out, and how can we come out ahead along the way?"

Anyway, being that this was an actual Duvan'Ku stronghold, there will be some things that are different from Death Frost Doom. One thing that is important in several locations is the level of fear that characters are feeling. Their emotional state counts.

How to measure that?

I could be lame and introduce stress or fear or sanity mechanics, but I hate those. Absolutely hate them.

So it's going to be based on the the Referee judging the players' moods. Not what the players say their characters are doing and feeling, but how antsy about the situation the players are.

This doesn't prevent them from being heroes or courageous. Bravery and courage are not the lack of fear, but simply overcoming it and doing what needs to be done in spite of it. And if a player has established that their character is a fearless maniac (or Fearless Hero), then they shouldn't get all antsy or concerned when trouble pops up anyway. They should be wearing that wicked grin without hesitation and rolling the dice with abandon.

Is the player looking rather concerned as that die rolls? Is he declaring that his character is taking a step back as a fellow adventurer does something he considers foolish? Does he take a defensive stance in the face of some bizarre creature never before seen? Checking for traps because just plain opening that door wouldn't be safe?

That's fear.

It's not necessarily panic, but it is a basic fear for one's safety. That instinctual, deep-down fear in the soul - which the player represent on behalf of the character.

ooooo, only one left!

... of No Dignity in Death: The Three Brides.

whew!