Monday, June 25, 2018

The OSR Bible (re-post, number 2)

A follow-up on this.

This is just to say that it might be possible to produce the following:
- 2000 pages (40 gr. paper, which is just a little thicker than bible paper which is usually 30 gr.), black and white, no images (or just very few: space here is going to be precious)
- Serious, lay flat binding (professional work, not POD-quality)
- Larger than a 6x9, smaller than 7x10...

I need to work out the numbers about editing and layout costs (and it will take a while), and of course, even before that, I'll need some serious proof of concept of what I want to do, and I'll need a team, etc.
But... assuming there is the proper content to put into the book, the OSR Bible might be doable and I hope with a market price around 99 U$ if I do a kickstarter for at least 500 copies.

This would resolve issue no. 1 (is it economically viable?).
Doing a kickstarter would be the only option, but it would transform the project from a dream into a book. Note: I would not do a kickstarter for 500 copies at 100$ for 50,000$ total (minimum) before completing everying. What I have right now is a ton of material, unedited and unsorted.
Expect the kickstarter some time in 2025 or so. So please no warnings about not being able to produce the material. There is going to be NO kickstarter unless the entire book is ready.

Now, for the other issues:

2- build a team... fuck it, I'll just do it alone, for now. I will put together the 2,000 or 3,000 pages and make a team only afterwards, only for editing and support with the layout and perhaps to improve and edit and add... not for the project itself. This way, if I never finish it or finish it in the year 2050 when everyone is just going to play D&D edition 9-VR in cyberspace, it's just going to be my own failure.

3- find the correct material... I said I'm working on it! :-)

4-royalties: the only possible idea that I have is this:
No one is going to make a profit out of this.
Every contributor will have a 0.x% or even 0.0x% in terms of how many "words" (I am thinking about just counting words) they contributed to the project.
Alone, this would count for nothing, even on a 100% book.
So I am thinking: kickstarter to fund the printing and shipping, all remaining funds will go towards addressing problems (i.e. lost copies, damaged copies, unforseen issues etc.). What is left, and all the proportional royalties, will go to charity. How?
Each contributor will pick a charity in a short list of 5 or 10, and each contributor share will add up with all others that selected the same charity.
This way, Chartity X might actually get for example a 10% of the profit (summing up all the 0.x% of the individual contributors that picked this specific charity).

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The OSR Bible (re-post, number 1)

This was originally posted on my Gplus profile. Considering that the Google platform is going offline next year, I am putting the content again here, to keep track of how this started.
I posted this originally in June 2018, and since then a lot of things changed... But for now, let's just put this here as it was originally written.

Thinking about something.. more of an idea (a dream?) than a project at this stage.
Perhaps it's not even doable (not at a reasonable price: maybe it would be too expensive even running this through a kickstarter).
What if there was a way to print a ton of OSR material on bible paper?
(same format, same binding, same very light and thin paper)

A single (decently portable) book that would collect 2 or 3,000 pages worth of content.
I am thinking of: 1-rules, 2-GM section,

1- One or two rulesets (S&W and LL?), tons of additional rules (additional classes, backgrounds, careers, additional equipment such as firearms - LotFP? - random and quick-start equipement lists, selected house-rules for every topic, XP and levels, combat, HP, skills, actions, etc.); special attention to spells and spells' lists, with variants, integration, alternative rules, alternative spells/effects, etc. Basically you build your rules (or play the original S&W or whatever, with just one or two selected house-rules, but you have a wild but organized selection of additional rules if you want to use them).

2- A gigantic GM section with crowdsourced wisdom on how to adjudicate various topics (i.e. an alphabetical index how on to make rulings about every conceivable topic... even presenting different point of views). It should be a sort of "law" section: when in doubt, consult it to see what other GMs/other groups have done to sort things out. Pick your preferred method and build your own selection of "precedents" (as in a tribunal).

3- Random generators for what you need for your game; from a single one-shot adventure up to a campain. At least generators for: campaign concepts/maps, wilderness maps, cities, dungeons, buildings, specific locations, encounters, monsters, NPCs, etc. Everything crucial for the design of an encounter-adventure-campaign should be here, with reference to the next section for details.

4- A huge section of random tables and content, in alphabetical order, of monsters, locations, NPCs, various topics (I'm thinking 2 or 4 pages for each topic/subject)... ALL gameable material, such as the one you find on your favourite OSR blogs. It would not just be a monsters' manual; it should contain everything you need to "fill" your adventures/dungeons/whatever that you designed in section 3.

It's unrealistic but... it's like, buy this and game, litterally, forever.
(as long as you're content with OSR)

The four issues that I see here are:

1- is it economically viable? even assuming 500 or 1,000 backers, printing only 500 or 1,000 "custom" bibles would it be possible at a reasonable price? (what would be a reasonable retail price? 50 U$? 75 U$?) Would it even be possible at all, to make such a print run?

2- build a team that could work on this in a reasonable time-frame. Not too many so that it would be possible to coordinate people, but enough that it would not take 10 years to complete the project... (maybe even finding enough authors/curators interested in this would be hard... especially because they should be knowlegeable about OSR quite a lot, to be able to judge the material to include, how to tune it, how to present it)

3- find the correct material: I would love for the project to be completely based on non-copyrighted material, but it might be impossible to find enough to cover every topic and be of above-average quality... plus there is the issue of obtaining permission for example to quote blogs, social media discussions, etc. where the copyright is not explicit... Plus there is a lot, really, of published and copyrighted material (from books, but also from fanzines) that would be great if it could be included because of its quality (for example, why not to use the Veins of the Earth rules for caves and climbing etc.?)

4-royalties: regardless of going for non-copyrighted material only, or working out some acceptable deals for copyrighted materials (it could be only a % of profit; it would be impossible to pay a fixed upfront fee and buy rights for thousands of pages), I believe that all those used as "sources" for the book should receive a % of its profits. But how to deal with this if there are like 500 or 1,000 sources? Does it even make sense to offer a 0,5% of all revenues when, let's be honest here, the book would have only a niche audience?

Yes, I know I am basically talking myself out of even dreaming of this project... but it has been in the back of my head for months and it's not going away no matter how much I focus on other stuff.