Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Someone Didn't Like Death Frost Doom!

RPG Diehard explains here.

This is why I try to have different atmospheres for my adventures and not be a one-trick pony. Most seem to like the atmospheric nature of this one. This guy didn't. Hopefully he'd enjoy one of my others a bit better then.


  1. To be fair to RPG Diehard, he did say it was a fine dungeon and very atmospheric. However, it seems that it just didn't work with his group. He was kind enough to point out its many merits and also to explain his lack of excitement whilst running it.

    Be not downhearted, James.

  2. Hi James, it was my review. Don't get me wrong - we had a good time and the dungeon was indeed "fine." But it just didn't hum for us. From reading your blog, I get the feeling that the dungeon is tailored to emphasize your strengths as a DM, and it takes a certain evil charisma to do it right. That's just not me.

    This all makes me wonder, though, about the extent to which adventures should be scaleable, or effective in lots of different contexts with lots of different players and GMs. It seems like many adventures are scaleable, but it's only because they're so bland - they can be dropped into any campaign and modified fairly easily, often even in tone. Like you say above, your adventure really does one thing, and it does so emphatically.

    Anyway, I do appreciate all the work and thinking you've been doing.

  3. James, a couple of thoughts:

    1. DFD is a quality product but it is not necessarily going to connect with everyone. That is true for any product (unless you are simply giving away money--then people will be unhappy that you are not giving enough away). Example: I don't drink coffee as I cannot stand the taste. I can appreciate that there are very high quality coffees, but even my wife has not converted me to those. So the issue is not quality, it is preference.

    2. If you plan on doing this as a business, be prepared for unhappy people, people who have other preferences, or people who have a axe to grind (I don't grind my axe often, which is why it is rusty).

    3. Use negative comments and reviews as a springboard for product improvement. On the one hand, you have to be true to your creative vision. On the other hand, smart people can disagree on a product and sometimes that disagreement may have merit. I run a nonprofit organization with 60 employees and 1500 clients, plus two Boards, funding organizations, etc. Not big, but big enough to get the occasional question or comment. My first reaction (in my head) is often, "You're an idiot." But some of my best work has come about in response to a differing opinion or thought.

    Just my thoughts. You are free to disagree, but then you'd be an idiot (ha ha ha).

  4. It's hard to respond to things like this.

    There were no factual errors or misreading of the text that I saw, so talking about anything said in the review might be seen as arguing with a paying customer who has played the thing. How dumb would that be?

    Whether it's marvelously written or not is irrelevant - the point of the thing is to give an awesome actual play experience, and in this case it failed.

    But I do think it's important to put negative and neutral reviews right next to the positive ones, so it gets posted like any other review/play report.

    But I'm not upset or anything. I've gotten death threats because of my writing before, 10 or so years back, so all this does is make me doublecheck that my advertising isn't misleading as to the nature of the adventure. I do wish everyone would love all my work and heap universal praise and thousands of euros upon me, but I'm not quite so disconnected from reality as to expect that. ;)