Saturday, January 29, 2011

Early Morning Musing

I've been accused lately of focusing too much on art.

Focusing a lot, yes. Too much? Never!

I'm thinking about this Guns & Renaissance type supplement I seem to want to do and I have visions of a big color piece of a dragon strafing an army's supply wagons... where the powder supply is kept. They needed tons of the stuff for every cannon brought to battle, you know.


Also, people continue to give me grief telling me that the book, as a technology, is on the way out. The future is digital I'm told. However, these history books about technology I've been reading all make the same point - the absolute best examples of a technology are produced only when that technology is in decline and "obsolete" technologies share the space with emergent and newly dominant technologies.

Not that I believe books are on the way out (merely going to share a significant proportion of the space they once mightily ruled), but even if the automobile is going to revolutionize the world I'm still going to make the best buggy whips I can make, because I like buggy whips and don't really care about cars in the least.

... and people do still make buggy whips in 2011. It's not the major industry it once was, obviously, but niche markets are still markets.

And games aren't technology like all that so the analogy is crap anyway. In a world of automobiles there are still bicycles and scooters and, oh, horse-drawn carriages can still be found in most cities, can't they? Maybe the analogy isn't all that awful...

Point is, we're all going to die, so some smartass telling me that I'm the walking dead (add and you don't even know it if the speaker is extra-strength douche) doesn't much phase me. Good times are still ahead for us all.


  1. Agreed. Hell, there's still a few town criers around, aren't there?

  2. I'm with you on this. They used to boast about the "paperless office," but that still hasn't quite happened. Granted there's a lot less reliance on paper, but that just means it's not being wasted on sub-optimal tasks.

    So it's true that I appreciate a digital rpg product - it's cheaper and I can separate chapters or other relevant bundles for convenient reference when I print 'em. But a well-designed book will give me the ease of use I want and will be printed in the most useful way I could ask for, with the convenience of being already printed and bound - maximizing the advantages and minimizing the drawbacks enough that the extra weight in my budget is well worthwhile.

    Meaning that in this era, devoting deep thought to the nitty-gritty details of designing a book is the best course of action.

  3. YOUR audience likes BOOKs,

    ignore the naysayers

    as a niche becomes smaller . . . .
    you can demand a higher price for qualiity
    (a quality saddle is $3k++)
    just dont bet the farm.

    you are a family man , now
    who is blessed wiith a supportive spouse;
    she deserves to be included in longterm plans/ goals . . .

    I am glad you still ponder my musings ...

  4. 'Also, people continue to give me grief telling me that the book, as a technology, is on the way out. The future is digital I'm told.':
    Not only is this a reductive, and painfully silly argument, history doesn't support the forecast! It's just the New Literates'(sic; they don't read[view?] anything of substance online, either, ime) mocking, I wouldn't pay any attention if I were you. You got your vision, they have the Singularity, or something(sorta like the Rapture for Teknowhores...), and you can always reject their reality and replace it with your own, right? :-)

    'Good times are still ahead for us all.':
    Agreed! Thanx for the update! How's the home campaign?

  5. reading from a computer while taking a shit just isn't the same...

  6. Keep the faith on books James...I bought the Deluxe and I'll be buying Grindhouse and already have Deluxe on pdf (from the sale).

    I would point out, however, many buggy whips made today have been...repurposed shall we say.

  7. Pen and paper role-playing games are more 'obsolete' than books, so doing an RPG in digital form is like making an electric buggy whip, not like making a car.

  8. While I do enjoy books. I do also need to note that a larger and larger portion of games are played through virtual tabletops online.

    Getting people togethor on a regular basis gets harder and harder these days with modern work culture.

  9. So that's the cover for the Ref's Guide is it?

    "Saturday Morning Cartoon Hour Bird-Man perched on crashed space ship."

    I can't help feeling that an all black cover with white lettering (reading 'Referee's Guide') would have been so much better.

    Or just re-using the stellar art from the Deluxe Edition.

    Oh well, each to his own. The first Monster Manual had a dreadful cover and players loved that.

    I'm beginning to have a worrying, sinking feeling about Grindhouse. First the Architechture skill, now the comedy bird-man...

  10. Using the box cover art in multiple places inside the box always felt "cheap" to me, but it was the best I could do at the time.

    So do you not like Mullen's work in general or is it this piece?

  11. I think this piece leaves a lot to be desired as a fantasy game book cover circa 2011. It wouldn't look out of place on a copy of Analogue or maybe a really old Blackmoor module.

    It does have a hint of Otus about it but is otherwise just plain wrong.

    I'll check out Mullen's other stuff, I'm sure it's great but a space-bat-bird-man and flying ship for LotFP? No.

  12. >>I'll check out Mullen's other stuff

    You're not familiar with him? He's one of the busiest artists in "old school"... seems to be the house cover artist for EXP's Advanced Adventures these days, did the original Swords & Wizardry covers, did stuff for the OSRIC book, big spreads in the Dungeon Alphabet, plus work for Fight On!, the Spire of Iron and Crustal cover, the Urutsk cover, did the Chaotic Henchmen module's cover, the Ruins & Ronins cover, the X-Plorers cover (and his art is on the banner for Brave Halfling's site).

    Hot commodity, Mullen, today in the here and now. Not saying you have to like him (and maybe it's just this one specific piece you don't like) but his work is gracing plenty of late 00s early 10s gaming covers.

  13. I guess it's safe to say I'm not a fan of his cartoon bad-bird-man-thing and flying ship. It's your game, you know the message you want to send. For this outside looking in - it appears you're aiming for 1981 Gamma World instead of Weird Fantasy.

  14. Wait, what ship are you talking about?

    (I had Martian tripods and machines and such in the Deluxe edition art so I'm no against technology, but there isn't any in this particular picture)