Monday, January 16, 2023

Done shot themselves in the marketing.

 Wow it's been a rather interesting week or so in TTRPG. I'm sure almost anyone who'd read this is aware of the "breaking" news in regard to WoTC and TTRPG publishers. WoTC got too greedy too openly, they could have kept the OGL in place and retained their walled off garden and filled it with micro-transactions (and likely still will) leaving the largest competitors working for crumbs and still supporting their business but they have lost a whole lot of brand loyalty and lit a fire under publishers to move on.  

Some people chalk this up to the usual crankiness and resistance whenever a brand announces forthcoming changes and while there may indeed be some of that this is far more worse than anything I have seen before. Third party publishers are not standing around and waiting for what WoTC is doing next, it's already reached down to tiny contributors like me: I've already approved a publisher re-releasing content I wrote that they had published under the OGL so they may release it under a newer license. We are all seeing changes that would have taken months maybe a year or more happening at a pace a large business is unlikely structured to deal well with at all. 

Wizards of the Coast does indeed own the trademark and the specific IP but they have no real capacity to change how we play the games we like, how we talk about the games we like, and where we play the games we like. About the only think WoTC can really do is make sure we don't provide them with funds to purchase what they wish to sell. At this point DND is forever regardless of who owns the trademark, and it's future will be decided by the fan-base that has allowed business to build what it has.

Thursday, January 12, 2023


 News from Paizo Today:

You likely heard about it before coming here, looks like ORC is coming to the marketplace and OSR community.

Watch it.

 Ryan Dancey talking about the OGL.

First Level Eldritch Spell List [Draft Shared Game Content]

No descriptions yet but you likely get the idea.

 1st Level Eldritch Spells

1. Charm Minion

2. Decipher Script

3. Eldritch Missile

4. Eldritch Translation

5. Glow

6. Hovering Platform

7. Phantom Shield

8. Seal Portal

9. Sense Magic

10.Sudden Slumber

11.Wandering Lanterns

12.Ward vs Evil

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

People Need to See This.

 Please take a look. This clip explains part of what is wrong with the new OGL recently leaked and how it's a slap in the face to D&D fandom and people who have boosted the games profile for decades.

Monday, January 9, 2023

Target Class [draft proposed shared game content]

 Target Class (draft proposed shared game content).

Target Class:   This is a rating with two values that expresses the effectiveness of armor in combat. The first is how difficult a character/npc/monster is to hit in combat. The higher the number the less likely one is to connect with a successful attack in combat. The second number is how much damage armor worn blocks even on successful hits this may be noted in rules elsewhere as DB. 

Example Target Classes for a Fantasy Medieval Campaign

TC Description

----- ------------------

11/0 Unarmored

12/1 Leather Armor

12/2 Padded Armor

13/2 Scale

13/3 Chainmail

13/4 Lamellar

14/0 Shield

15/1 Leather and Shield

16/3 Chainmail and Shield

17/5 Platemail

18/5 Platemail and Shield

18/6 Fullplate and Shield

Note: on the chart above I favor the shield as it held more than a minor incremental benefit to defense in medieval combat but as Plate Armor technology improved it was often discarded in favor of two-handed weapons. Shields do not increase the Damage Blocked of other armor worn but if a game include magical shields that may alter the Target number and the Damage Blocked.

Some campaigns may not make used of Damage Blocked and when doing so simply note Target Class as a single value without a slash.

--- Licensing (really a suggestion on licensing) ---

The above is a simple introductory draft example proposed for shared game content. You are free to use it or a derived form of it however you wish as long as you do not limit others from doing so as well or prohibit them from using your derived version. You are required to tell people where you derived the rule from but if multiple rules are from the same source you need only state that multiple rules were from the same source. This is subject to change but any future changes made can not limit your use of this specific version.

Example :

"Target Class, from Target Class [draft proposed shared game content] by James D. Jarvis published1/9/23 on  his blog Aeons & Augauries"

If there were two rules here something along these lines is fine:

"Some combat rules  by James D. Jarvis published 1/9/23 on  his blog Aeons & Augauries"

Not ONE Penny

 Over the past week WOTC has managed to outrage a whole lot of people. While I do understand why a company would try to increase the monetization of their product the means by which they now seem to be approaching to do this is to destroy the communities that have allowed their game to be what it is today. 

WOTC has transformed the next release from One-D&D into the NOT ONE PENNY FROM ME edition. 

They had a tough sale in me anyway. I have more gaming material than I can possibly use in remainder of my life and now that I have seen them go from greedy to beyond greedy I can't possibly be bothered to spend any money on their wares regardless of how amazing the digital platform they have yet to deliver actually is.  You do not get to threaten my friends, their co-workers, and their employers and to challenge their livelihood and get my money. I hope anyone reading this joins me and goes on to enjoying RPGS for decades to come without buying into the NOT ONE PENNY FROM ME edition.

There are other RPGS out there...

 This may come a surprise to certain people but there are RPGs out there that are not Dungeons and Dragons. Should a publisher of one game become so bothersome other people find it troublesome to publish materials for that game there are many options out there and if the publisher of Dungeons and Dragons makes producing materials for D&D or D&D compatible rules so troublesome there is no market advantage there are a lot of places to go.

If you like games where you and your friends pretend to be brave warriors, uncanny elves and wise wizards grubbing for gold coins in mazes of tunnels... there are hundreds upon hundreds that aren't Dungeons and Dragons. 

Do you know there are RPGs out there that aren't about playing in a pseudo-medieval setting and kicking in doors to fight monsters and steal their stuff at all? Thousands of those are out there. The internet is full of them. 

You don't have to play the currently marketed version of D&D, you don't have to play a medievalesque-fantasy dungeon-crawler. You don't even have to play a game that is in print as long as you can get a copy to create adventures to share with your friends.

There are a lot of options out there and no publisher has the ability to keep you from giving them a try but they do have the ability to make people stop playing the current version of their own game.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

On The Nature of Orcs

The following brief text outlines the nature of Orcs within a fantasy role-playing campaign.  It is not inconsistent with the root source of orcs or as known in classical fantasy gaming. The identity of Leviathan can be that of any nemesis spirit or god that seeks triumph and domination of creation even if that selfishly results in the destruction of that creation. Feel free to use any part of this you like in your campaigns as I consider this text to be open and in the public domain.

 On The Nature of Orcs.

Orcs are the mortal embodiment of twisted souls forced to serve Leviathan. Orcs toil and war at the whim of their overlords and Leviathan itself, they resent this compulsion, and this serves to drive their cruelty for they are stuck in an eternity as slave and soldier only able to gain relief in brief pleasures they can rip from the world while otherwise serving to spread their industry of war for Leviathan.

Orcs and Half-orcs a result of their selfish cruelty and the breeding programs of their wicked masters. Love is meaningless in an existence where all one can do is serve cruel masters so one can be rewarded with higher privelege within that servitude. The lot of orc-brides is unpleasant as those unable to produce vital offspring that can serve will be forced into lower servitude or the larder to feed the host of Leviathan. 

To march to war for Leviathan is Orc. To toil in the service of Leviathan is Orc. To feast on the spoils of war and the output of industry is Orc. All will be consumed by the host of Leviathan and that host is Orc.

The lot of orcs is to serve Leviathan. The industry of orcs is to enable the service of Leviathan. Orcs that do not toil or march to war are consumed to feed the host of Leviathan. Each orc's lot in life is to serve and die. Orcs will prevail as the world is consumed in service to Leviathan. All that is Orc will be known by The Last Orc who will strike down his brother and feed on every last morsel once the host of Levithan has consumed the remainder of creation. The reward for Orc will be the chance for revenege on a corpulent bloated Leviathan swollen on the dripping fat and blood of creation. Orc will feed on Leviathan and be all that ever was. Orc will be Orc. All Will be Orc.


Some ask on the nature of Orc souls and their place in the afterlife, those asking forget orcs already exist within an afterlife having been consigned to their lot in service of Leviathan due to the nature of their souls. 

Some say Orcs war endlessly in Hell to be flung back to the mortal world to war here, others say their goal is to turn all of creation into that part of Hell. None can deny that those found unworthy by the host of Leviathan are consumed and this surely happens on the battlefields of Hell as it does here in the mortal world. The soul of each Orc once thrust back into the world is in service to Leviathan for they are Orcs and that is the nature of the body and soul of Orc.

The Horrible Truth About The RPG Publishing Business

 A whole lot of noise and attention about monetization and future licensing plans in the RPG world the past few weeks. Everyone forgets the horrible truth of the RPG Business from the business angle: you have to publish things people want to buy because the customers have no reason to buy anything else once they have the rules. If you bought any version of an RPG over the past 50 or so years that includes the rules for foes and treasure, creating and developing player characters,  the core rules of the game and how a game master can establish and run a campaign you have no reason at all to buy anything else from that publisher you and a whole room full of people can play for the rest of your lives using just that initial investment. 

A publisher must continue to produce new materials to keep selling to the same customers; they have to bring something new to market or be content to market only to new customers. Licensing can't make people buy something new from you.  

Absent one heck of a new platform a certain publisher is going to do nothing but alienate a whole lot of customers and fellow businesses that have been responsible for the bulk of their success unless they are certain they can deliver on that new platform in a sufficient matter to retain some old customers and many more new customers.  

If you have the rules you get to keep playing without paying anyone any extra money.