Friday, November 19, 2021

WHY I PUBLISHED... #3: Asterion!

'allo all!

On October 25 we made 10 new releases available from ; eight for sale, and two freebies to entice purchase.
I'm going to take a few minutes every day or five to explain why I decided to publish the items I did, and I will do so in order from what I expected to be the most generally acceptable to what I expect to be the most controversial.
Now coming in at #3... Asterion!
I was first pitched the project in August 2020. It had a basic layout, was very short. My response was, "How would you feel about expanding this concept into a proper adventure for publication?" and also had the note "would need to sophisticate up the minotaur a bit (couldn't just be SEX MONSTER, have to be something 'real' and able to be interacted with in real ways in there)."
We went back and forth for a couple weeks, then... time passed. I had honestly forgotten all about it.
So this past June, I get an email with an updated product, with a fresh, slick layout and all, with this note: "You said Asterion couldn't just be a horny man bull and I took that as a challenge to prove he could."
I admired the chutzpah of the author in defying my notes, because it actually worked. It was still a short ziney sort of thing, so my thinking was as a quick, simple concept it was OK in a way it might not have been if it was a 48 page adventure of horny man bull.
But the truth was the devil-may-care attitude in the product (in full form right there on the cover!), the atmosphere created by only using Metropolitan Museum pieces in the layout as art, and the fact that this was all intended in the spirit of naughty fun very easily won me over. I wanted to release this!
Since it was so short, it wasn't going to be a hardcover book or anything, so I wasn't going to print thousands of them and try to push it through retail. As a direct-order-only limited run? Why the fuck not.
One problem. It really is all about a horny man bull who wants to fuck you whether you want to be fucked or not. People get... testy... about that sort of thing in media in general and gaming in particular. Especially when presented in a decidedly unserious way. (I treated myself to the Boiled Angel collector's boxed set from my take of the spectacular sales last year's release cycle, so that tells you right there what my thoughts are on that matter... just imagine the finger-involved gesture I'm making right now at the frowny-faced brigade right now)
I do believe that anything that happens, or has happened, or might happen, or could be imagined happening, belongs in fiction, and anything in fiction belongs in gaming. And if this sort of thing specifically can be in novels and movies and music and GREEK FUCKING MYTHS, it can be in gaming. Other people disagree, but then that's why there are multiple people all making things according to their own philosophies and taste.
But I didn't want to hear the blah blah blah over this with all the other blah blah blah I was likely to hear with this release cycle, so I just put it front and center in the promo material. People have seen their twitch channels crash when dealing material even in the general direction of this sort of thing, and there have been controversy and all sorts of shit when people introduce this kind of material in convention games.
So that's what the promo blurb said. This is what it is, you either want it or you don't. No surprises.
Then there is the disclaimer blurb on the back cover... that comes from a copy of 120 Days of Sodom I have, produced in 2008, which contains this blurb on the copyright page: "This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race have changed before allowing them to read this classic work."
whaaaaaaaaaaat? That's what you're worried about kids taking away from that story? They're having a laugh with that, right?
But the idea of parents presenting 120 Days in Sodom to their kids to read was hilarious to me, and the idea of parents sitting down to play Asterion with their kids is similarly hilarious, so... that explains the back cover.
Fun fact: A couple days ago DriveThru informed me they will not carry Asterion. Someone remind me at the beginning of September to put together a real presentation next year for Banned Books week because we've got quite the collection of publications that have been banned from one venue or another.
#2 soon! It's not going to be getting any friendlier!