Saturday, May 22, 2010

Help me Obi-Blog Kenobi, You're My Only Hope

I think I've mentioned before that I royally suck at promotional copy. I've been struggling for the past few hours trying to come up with some decent examples for the upcoming releases. Because these will be popping up in stores, there needs to be something on the back covers to hook people a little bit... but...

Here's what I've come up with. I fear it's very terrible, especially for the full game. Suggestions and help would be appreciated.

LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing

Mystery and Imagination, Adventure and Death

LotFP: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing presents a sinister and horrific twist on traditional fantasy gaming and provides you with all the tools needed to create and run a long-lasting campaign. Simple enough for a beginner – with material intended for those that have never before played a role-playing game – yet meaty enough for the veteran, this is a complete game in one box.

Included in this box:

• Tutorial Book – To introduce the basics of this game and role-playing in general
• Rules Book – The comprehensive reference to play the game
• Magic Book – All the details on spells and magical research
• Referee Book – Advice and tools to create a campaign suited to your tastes
• 7-piece Dice Set
• Pencil
• Character Sheets
• Graph and Hex Paper
plus two bonus adventure modules:
• Tower of the Stargazer
• Weird New World
And more!

Tower of the Stargazer

Legends tell of a wizard so arrogant that he felt the entire sky was naught but a lens for him to view the stars. So great was the hubris and defiance of this man that the gods smote him with the power of storm and fire. Oh did the wizard laugh at such a pathetic gesture. He did not fear the gods, for he drew his knowledge from something greater. Something darker.

The legend of this wizard grew, first whispered by men in fear, and later in awe. The wizard, they said, attacked the gods just as they had attacked him. And his joy only grew as the land around him died.

But then there was no more news. No more talk. Something had finally brought the wizard low, for though the sky still blazed down on him and his abode, he no longer blazed back.

And now you’re going to walk right through this wizard’s front door.

Tower of the Stargazer is a specially designed introductory module with material specifically for beginning Referees, with notes detailing not only what is included in the adventure, but why.

Tower of the Stargazer
For Beginning Players, Characters, and Referees

Weird New World

Journey to the Top of the World

The coldest north is the ultimate frontier for adventure, and nature can prove just as challenging a foe as any monster.

Included in Weird New World:

• A full color map detailing a continent-sized arctic area
• Over forty encounter areas are included, many of which are suitable for expansion into full adventure scenarios in their own right
• Rules covering survival in the furthest north
• Rules for trading with both the natives and the “civilized” trading posts
• The ultimate secret of a fallen race
• An open-ended sandbox setting that you can insert seamlessly into your campaign!

Weird New World
For Character Levels 4 – 7

Hammers of the God

The Vengeful Never Forget When They Have Been Wronged

A mysterious map and a promise treasure to be won, these are all that are required to set any adventurer worth the name into the wilderness. But sometimes what is found is far more than treasure.

Many that are good and noble will kill to make sure the secrets to be found under the old mountain stay buried. Many that enter the darkness will become beguiled by the splendor of the halls in which they walk, mesmerized by the riches to be found there, never realizing that death follows their every move.

Beware the god who has been discarded.

But What Happens When the Vengeful Wrong Themselves?

Hammers of the God
For Character Levels 2 – 4

Death Frost Doom

Who Will Survive, and What Will Be Left of Their Souls?

Up on a mountain sits a house by a cemetery, haunted by the memories of atrocities past. People remember that horrible things happened up on that mountain, but not exactly what those things were. Still, they stay well away, and live long and prosperous lives for their wisdom.

But rumors of abandoned treasure and magic always bring those wishing to recover it. Brave, skilled men need not fear that which terrifies the common folk.

The cult on the mountain is long gone, yet the music of weirdling death carries on the wind.

The mountain is cold. So very cold.

And the greedy and the foolish will march bravely up the mountain for gold and glory.

Death Frost Doom
For Character Levels 1 – 6

“Death Frost Doom may be the best published adventure I have seen in recent years.” –

“Quite simply, an inspiring product” – James Maleszewski, Grognardia

"James [Raggi ] is one of the most interesting and daring writers *period*, no matter what school of gaming you like." – Mike Mearls


  1. All ready sent you some suggestions. Everything else looks fine, even if you do not quote from my review for Death Frost Doom. Not to worry, I will get over it.

  2. You caught my interest Jim so its a great start. One more paragraph pointing out the games distinctiveness would be helpful to encouaging people to choose this system over others. Weird new world excites me especially as subarctic adventuring is rare, has never been done well, and is of particular interest to me.

  3. Who's the target audience for the boxed set? That's how I figure out what to write, by analyzing the target demographic and what I need to tell them.

    If you're talking to roleplayers, and especially experienced and Internet-savvy ones, I might suggest that using some OSR-related buzz-words might be a good idea. For instance, I would myself be much more likely to give a generic-looking fantasy game a second look if it could cite some pedigree as part of some specific, unique school of rpg thought. This is because I'm bored and disappointed with the constant glut of generic fantasy games, as is probably a large fraction of the veteran roleplayer audience. For this market demographic lofty words about adventure are near invisible because we've heard it all before. What perks our attention is reference to specific technical approaches and concrete uses the game can be put to.

    As an example of a paragraph that would sell me on this product, coming to it fresh:

    "I wrote this game as a lightly modernized and stream-lined take on the sort of challengeful fantasy adventure emblematic of old, first-generation Dungeons & Dragons play. The game is intended to facilitate old-school gaming that uses dungeons, campaign sandboxes, hexcrawls, rulings instead of rules and challenges instead of drama. The box is intended to provide everything you need to learn and play fantasy adventure as it originally appeared."

    That paragraph hits all the essential points that let me as an Internet-savvy rpg consumer to know that hey, this is about that stuff I've been reading in the blogs for a while now. I guess that if I'm going to give this OSR thing a shot I might as well do it with style, getting a fresh boxed game from a proven member of the movement.

    In comparison, for a non-roleplayer audience you'll probably want to entice their imagination and emphasize the game's entry-level qualities. Good imagination-inducing prose combined with assurations of being easy to play would seem like a good choice here. This might not be a concern for your box, though - I understand that you're shooting for a limited run and no particular newbie marketing.

  4. This target market thing... well... that's complicated. There's the "wishful thinking" and then there's the reality.

    The reality is that the majority of buyers for this kind of thing don't need to have any sales pitch on the box. They'll be the people who visit this blog, or keep up on the news from the other blogs or whatever, so I might as well just put another picture on the bottom of the box.

    (and while the game engine certainly works for that really old-school play, the game as presented isn't reflective of that style.)

    This is going to be in game stores, so people who don't keep up on the online hullabaloo is going to see this... and it is that person I want to appeal to with this.

    (it would be great if it could get into mass-market stores, but that's just not very realistic at this point)

    I want to consciously avoid buzzwords and "I'm a part of this clique" in the ad campaign and simply appeal to those who are interested in fantasy and horror. "Innocent" marketing, selling the game on its own merits without any "us vs them" arguments and without inviting preconceptions associated with the "buzzwords."

    But the newbie-friendliness should be there, since so much of the material is there specifically for them.

    This box will be a limited run, but if it does well I'll certainly be doing another printing (as a hardcover book, not as a box... don't want to spend my whole life putting books and papers in a very specific order into boxes).

  5. Setting buzz-words aside, I still think that it would be good if you told more about the practical technique side of the game. Fluffy prose is all well and good, but really - all games promise me fantasy adventures, easy yet complete rules and all other good, yet vague things. What's really going to make the sale are the specific strengths of the game; I can read about those in the Internet, but obviously it wouldn't hurt if the game's box would also say something that would actually make me slow down in the store.

    I'm trying to reformat an interesting message without buzzwords, but I'm not getting a hit - too difficult to communicate anything really central and interesting in just a few words without using jargon. On the other hand, I'm not enticed by simply marketing fantasy horror; why this particular game instead of any of the other ones with equally appealing cover art? Might be that I just have too many games on my shelves, perhaps a fresher gamer will be more excited by a simple offer of a good game for fantasy adventuring.