Why so much?

Why so much?

Why is your game so expensive? This is far and away the most common non-content related question I get from others in the OSR. Sometimes they question is asked politely, sometimes harshly (usually the venomous ones are on dragonsfoot.org) but its a legitimate question. They are right, the Whisper & Venom box set was expensive.   My short answer is that it is expensive to make. This is true in every respect though the follow-ups will be less expensive to make and higher quality thanks to an improving skill set and economies of scale. I don’t expect the price point to change much though.   The longer answer is because I wanted it to get played.   I thought highly of the Whisper & Venom draft and looked at many options on how I might release it. After looking at them I almost decided not to bother. A big difference between the old days and now is the quality of options. An adventures price point has not changed much but what you get for that price point has changed substantially.   As I stated earlier my goal was to see it played. For that to happen it needed to be noticed by game masters. Game masters who are in their heart creators- good ones as well or they likely would not still be doing it. That is the biggest challenge I think everyone who wants to sell something in the OSR faces. Your audience is a built in competitor.   The explosion of publishing options along with the professional tools to publish anything is becoming more  available and more affordable cheaper  which is making a dragon’s hoard of adventures available to us all. I know because I own so many, both good and not so good. With most available as PDFs exclusively the prices are approaching free except for well established companies. Competing on price is hard (ask anyone who competes against WalMart or Amazon, though it is not the same thing, the result is similar). In the OSR competing on price making adventures is hard as well.   Even if an author is willing to compete in a pool of sub $5 PDF releases the obstacle to overcome is awareness. Attention is the new capital when it comes to creative business environments. Getting noticed can take a great deal of time and effort, time and effort that does...

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Bundle of Joy!

Bundle of Joy!

Just in time for the Holidays. Get Whisper & Venom with all the little extras. Maps, monster cards and more!

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Under the hood…

Under the hood…

I get asked about our writing/production process sometimes at conventions or online. I never have a good answer so I usually make one up; preferably a funny one. However, a friend of mine wrote a post last  night that got me thinking about it enough to give a better answer. It can be...

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Musing on muses.

Musing on muses.

I get asked about our writing/production process sometimes at conventions or online. I never have a good answer so I usually make one up; preferably a funny one. However, a friend of mine wrote a post last  night that got me thinking about it enough to give a better answer. Lloyd Metcalf, the friend in question and artist of huge talent, posted about conceptualizing and outlining adventures on Facebook. Many real designers commented with the methods they used to form the heart of their projects. These ranged from starting with a piece of art, a map or even project management software outlines. I don’t do that. In fact I was almost embarrassed to comment on how I start after reading everyone’s techniques in the comments under his post but I will say it anyway. I always start with a title. I keep a list of them and occasionally cross off or add a few. After awhile one will click when I visualize a place or event tangentially related to the title in question. In both Whisper & Venom and Death & Taxes that place/scene/character did not make it into the published story, but it was the start. Once I have a scene in my mind I will spend time settling on a premise- a long time. I find it difficult to pick an interesting one that either  A) has not been done to death or B) foes not make me look like a pretentious douchebag. I worry about B more than A. Once satisfied I am neither of the above I do an outline in OneNote. It is here where I finally make a rough map; I use a chessex erasable mondo mat. It helps me with get a scale useful in game and its less tedious to completely tework than PhotoShop. It is also harder to lose (at 5′ x 9′ or whatever obscene dimension it is) than graph paper scraps. From there I write in marathon sessions about a week apart; usually typing about 4k words per session. In between I am constantly thinking about words I like, consistency, and believability; each thought I write, again, in OneNote. Then I cut over half of it and solicit an opinion from (usually) Edwin. I would guess of an original 20k word draft about 10% wind up in the final. The rest are changed, expanded or discarded. These are...

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Free Creature Catalog

Free Creature Catalog

Get all the monster descriptions from all our released products in PDF! Get your copy at www.lesser.gnome.com/download...

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So it begins…

So it begins…

Those boxes in the picture need filling and I am in the home stretch. The major components for the last phase before shipping are either in my hands or verifiably a few weeks away. In honor of the huge amount of work ahead of me I woke up early and did some work.  What follows is a short aimless rant about workflow mapping and me. I don’t blame you for stopping your read right here. All my time since sunrise has been prepping/planning the soon to be RAM busting InDesign document for the Death & Taxes Layout(s). I learned the hard way in 2013 what happens when you just start layout, as opposed to doing a modicum of research and testing. Last time I did not plan the page settings, master pages, master page inheritance, base styles, nested styles, object states, hyperlinks, bookmarks, indexing, TOC Headings and calming pill acquisition. For the first time in my life I did a workflow plan without having somebody force it on me. It was less entertaining than you would expect but I am glad I did it. While going over steps of the workflow I tested some of the more advanced tools for large documents and books. Most I was only remotely aware of 6 weeks ago. In the process I re-created the already finished but not released PDF for The First Sentinel. It is much nicer than the one I did last month. I can’t stand to look at the old one now, thus I am either getting better or more delusional. What the files for Whisper & Venom would look like to me now is stomach churning. Death & Taxes will be much better looking than Whisper & Venom plus it will not take 5-6 weeks (of 12-20 hour days to complete). If it does I will blame Adobe. They add options and tweaks faster than I can be bothered to know about them. They probably just do it to drive traffic to their online tutorials for a sinister purpose.What that that purpose might be I haven’t a clue. I am certain it involves evil laughter around a smoking conference room counting their (formerly my) money. Enough rambling. I opened and named the InDesign just before I hit post. So here I...

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