Tavis, Alex and James
I just wanted to take a minute and comment on the Kickstarter Update Tavis sent out and put some personal twist to it. I want to explain my feelings and impressions, and while this will likely lay a bit of a burden on you it’s meant (from my perspective) to both help explain and help guide you guys as you continue to work.
Over the last couple of months, we’ve started to see WotC talk up D&D Next. That’s great, but underlying (and sometimes unspoken in that discussion) is the incredible sense of disappointment so many of us felt in both the letdown of 4E, the (pulling from another recent blog posting) craptastic nature of so many of their products and the course they seem to be on. Sure, there’s a sense of Mea Culpa in their blog posts and videos – but, you know – sometimes it’s just too late. Taking a sidebar for a moment, I was a big fan of the “dungeon-a-day” thing Monte Cook was doing… but he abandoned it. Why should I now trust him to create a new edition of D&D that “embraces all that’s great” in all of the editions?
And to me, this gets to the heart of the issue. This is about trust.
Alex, you and I have been talking over the last couple of weeks and you’ve been invaluable in letting me have access to information to help guide my campaign where I want it to go. In a place where your ego (and profit motive) clearly could have gotten in the way, it didn’t. Not one bit.
James, several years ago – when Thousand Suns first got published, you and I were talking about it via email. One day, you asked me for my address and just sent me a copy of it. Out of the frigging blue. I think maybe I had bought the PDF or something, but didn’t have any expectations of anything more and you did this.
Tavis, when I posted about wanting to help out on DoW, you came back within just a few hours and explained that you would be putting up a small version and would help get me involved in a bit more playtesting of it.
While I’m personally grateful to the generosity each of you has demonstrated, it’s said a lot to me about your characters. You’re good guys trying to do something fun with your hobby and willing to bring a good sized group of us along for the ride. Moreover, what you’ve really done is build trust. I trust you guys to do something great. I also have a feeling (and a hope) that when this particular thing hasn’t got any more steam in it, you’ll be able to step back and let it fade (because everything changes and everything ends) – and know that it’s okay. With that in mind, of course I (and I suspect others) will donate to help you reach your dreams. Because we trust you.
My best to each of you,
Tavis, Alex and James
Brennan, this post means a lot to me. Would you consider posting it as a comment to that update so that it can be more widely read (maybe unpacking the acronyms a little for outsiders)?
When you talk about letting this fade when it’s out of steam, I think you mean not treating Dwimmermount as an IP to be exploited. James was explicit that he didn’t want this to be a product line to be run into the ground until it loses the thing that makes it special - its relationship to his original campaign and the process of discovery every Grognardia reader shared as we saw how his session summaries related to the course of his musings on roleplaying’s past, present, and future. I’m with you 100%, and one of the things that’s great about partnering with Grognardia Games is that James’ prolific and thoughtful posts mean it’s usually easy to know his thoughts on the issues that matter to OSR fans because they shaped my own.
On the product line front, what would you think about doing one or two follow-up projects to Dwimmermount, the City-State of Adamas and the Book of Worlds? These are linked to, but in no way necessary to play, the local setting of Dwimmermount and the Fortress of Muntsburg that’s being Kickstarted now. At one point we thought about making these bonus goals, but the experience of Domains at War taught us that if a product can be released separately it should be. Your trust is an asset and not at all a burden when it embraces trusting us to be honest about, and learn from, our mistakes; we need to make ‘em in order to explore the new territory we’re in.
Oh and there’s also the Dwimmermount Codices already in the hopper, which I for one am eager to see! Despite James’ stated intent, which I always want to honor, maybe this is starting to look like a product line. But one nice thing about crowdfunding is that it lets us float a project and see if others are interested in it before committing. At the point where we put up a Kickstarter and, instead of pledging, people are like “no way, Sharkjumpers & Horsecorpsefloggers of Dwimmermount 2 was one too many” it may have prevented the creation of a terrible gaming product as well as funding some great ones.
Having been trained as a scientist, I like to look for testable assertions; anyone want to go through this NSFW blog of execrable Kickstarter projects and see how many of them erroneously told the creator it was a good idea to go ahead? (Don’t be fooled by the inclusion of Everything is Dolphins, that’s some kind of double-fakeout.)