Thursday, January 26, 2012

What Makes You Support an OSR Product...or Not?

I've been having a discussion with a few other OSR bloggers about the reasons why someone would support an OSR product or why they wouldn't.  Some of the factors that came up were:
  • cost of the product
  • saturation of the product
  • quality of the product
Other factors, more personal, that come into play are:
  • buyer's current financial situation
  • like or dislike of the author
  • personal interest in the product
I'm aware this is not a complete list, but base to use.  Besides I need to be to work a half hour so time is precious.

There are tons of OSR products out there and more and more folks are getting into the game.  Two of my personal favorites recently released were Weird Adventures by Trey Causey and Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz by Dylan Hartwell.  It should also come to no surprise I really like both of their blogs.  I can say that I bought Trey's because I've been getting samples of Weird Adventures on his blog for a while, I like the genre he selected and the art was fantastic, so my interest in his product was a done deal when it came out.  As for Dylan's adventure, he released his soon after he had a discussion on his blog whether to sell it or not.  I encouraged him to sell it.  Did I know much about it?  Nope.  I bought it purely because I wanted to see his style and what kind of adventure he would create.  I was not disappointed.

But there are a ton of other products which I can't list them all, but just off the top of my head, Micheal Curtis's Stonehell Dungeon and Dungeon Alphabet (Three Castles Award winner) and how could I forget Realms of Crawling Chaos.  I bought Stonehell in print because at the time I wanted to check out how a mega-dungeon was built.  Michael came at it from a fresh approach that I think is still one of the best ways to go.  The ever changing dungeon.  Dungeon Alphabet I wasn't all that interested in, but after the hype and chatter about it I got it on PDF.  I like it, but haven't used it for much.  Then the Realms Of Crawling Chaos, I bought on PDF and will buy in print in the future.  I really enjoyed this one and will definitely use it in the future.  I use Micheal's three products because most everyone knows them and the important thing, at least to the publishers, I bought all three.  I like supporting Micheal's products, because so far he is given me value for my money.  So when he releases his next product and I may not know many details, but because I have enjoyed his work in the past I'll probably get it.  The only real decision is whether get it in PDF or print.

One of my favorite OSR publishers is Expeditious Retreat.  Before I knew to much about them I bought A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe on PDF.  Than I immediately bought it in print.  Then I purchased several other items from Joseph Browning and crew, A Magical Society: Ecology and Culture in print, and one of my favorite bestiaries Malevolent and Benign which I lucked out and was able to purchase from the damaged bin with a few adventures.  Great stuff.  But his Sorcery & Super Science! has not interested me.  Again, not because I think its bad, just at this time I'm not interested in mixing genres like that for my games.  Hell when S3 came out and all the PCs were running around with laser guns I lost interest in the game.

Magazine wise we have Fight On!, the original OSR backed magazine.  Which I like, but if I only have enough for one magazine I prefer Knockspell overall.  And Christian's zine Loviatar is a favorite of mine.  But if I have money for both I usually buy both.  Because you really can't go wrong with any of them.  I know there are other magazines out there like Land of Nod and though I am a big fan of John Stater I haven't bought any of his magazines yet.  And this is due to I only have so much money to go around.  And those who saw my running total for 2011 it was long, but still I have only so much I can spend on gaming.  So for Land of Nod, which I still want, the only reason I haven't supported it was money.

Rob Conley had a great success with his Majestic Wilderlands.  I helped him out with a small portion of it.  He's been running the same campaign world forever and it shows in its depth.  I got a free copy because of my help, but also bought a couple of copies to give away to others, to help support him.  Rob and I have been friends for 20+ years and if he ever needs help with a project he knows he can always call on me and the reverse.  But, we dropped the ball on this one a bit.  Rob was giving me small segments to edit then would give me another small portion with some of the last portion that was the unedited version so our organization stank for that.  Then as time wore on I got a new job that required a ton of my time and the second half of the book shows that.  Because of this we changed our strategy, when he wrote Blackmarsh it was given to me as a complete manuscript, I did the edits and then we went over it together.  Then we sent it out to test readers to catch things both of us had missed.  Again, I bought two print copies to give away to support him.

I can't go through every product out there or the reasons why I buy or don't buy a product.  I think my two main reasons why I buy is does the product fit my interest and do I have the mula.  Why I don't buy a product, I admit that if I am not a fan of the person I am less likely to buy it.  This rarely is the case, but it does happen.  And the other reason why I don't buy a product is mainly there are so many to choose from and that you just have to pick.  Doesn't mean the others aren't fantastic, but choices need to be made.  We only have so much money and time.  And real life demands its share.  Just like now.  I have to go to work.

So if you get a chance let me know what influences you to buy or not to buy a gaming product.