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Friday, August 2, 2013

Raggi Pitches the LotFP Referee Book's Upcoming Crowdfunding



I like James. Really, I do. I really like his earlier adventures and I think some of the best parts of LotFP's Weird Fantasy ruleset are the Referee Rules. There is some great advice within (even if, as James admits in this video, he doesn't follow them himself). As far as production quality goes, James is second to none.

James has been hit fairly hard by his crowdsources projects - they've run late as sin, they seem to run over cost and postal rate increases slam him on top of that.

So, to summarize 10 minutes of video (that are fairly entertaining even if they are overlong and really shouldn't have been more than 2) - James needs to put out a Referee Book to match the recent Rules & Magic Book for Weird Fantasy (3rd incarnation of the rules for those counting at home). Funds are tied up in previous Kickstarters that are overdue and still to be released. Therefore, there will be a new crowdfunding campaign for the Ref Book. But you don't get the Ref Book for supporting the campaign, you get credit at James's store to buy the Ref Book when it is completed (or any other product at the store, you are not locked in). You pay shipping (which saves James from postal increases, but not you, the supporter).

The stretch goals are to return Tower of the Stargazer and Death Frost Doom to print. If the stretch goals are hit, your LotFP Store Credit will include the value to buy the reprints too - so you will potentially get more value from your money if the stretch goals are met.

The Ref Book as a stand alone product is damn cool, as I think it's one of James' better pieces of work, even if he doesn't follow it himself (and I suspect never has). If I were to reprint two of James' prior work, I'd got with Tower of the Stargazer and The Grinding Gear myself, but Death Frost Doom isn't a horrible choice either.

So why is it that I feel we're taking a cash advance from one credit card to pay off another with this latest crowdfunding campaign?

22 comments:

  1. I don't get it, if the other kickstarters are behind, why not finish them off first, then focus on this other book?

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    1. The old edition (Grindhouse Edition) of LotFP:WFRP is out of print. Only half (Rules & Magic hardcover) of the new edition is in print. So it's a priority for his business to get the other half (Referee) out in print.

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    2. I agree with you, but, if it was such a priority, you would think you would get both books out before you undertake expending capital on other projects.

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    3. My impression is that it's a combination of what Wayne said. Also, perhaps Better than Any Man created interest from distributors that James can't meet. I've backed two LotFP projects, and both came through just fine. A little late, but let's face it that is the norm.

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  2. Step 1: Steal all the underwear
    Step 2: --
    Step 3: Profit.

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    1. Step 1: Copy Labyrinth Lord.
      Step 2: Remove the monsters and magic items and replace them with excuses for why they weren't needed anyway.
      Step 3: Rename the crippleware Lamentations of the Flame Princess.
      Step 4: Profit.

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    2. So a game is "crippleware" if it doesn't repeat the list of orcs and bags of holding that I already have dozens of times over?

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    3. "So a game is crippleware if it doesn't repeat the list of orcs and bags of holding that I already have dozens of times over?"

      By that argument, why does the game repeat the same abilities, classes (essentially), spells (for the most part), and equipment that you already have dozens of times over? What exactly does LOTFP offer that's new, besides a lot of Raggi's rambling "advice"? The art and a handful of spells aside, what's even theoretically "weird" about the game?

      And no, the game didn't have to have the same orcs and bags of holding. But it did need SOME monsters and SOME magic items. "You can make up your own" is all well and good, but by that reasoning I can make up a whole game of my own and not pay forty bucks for a well-illustrated half of a game.

      Or I could just use B/X or Labyrinth Lord. Behind all the smoke and mirrors and trumped-up controversy, that's all LOTFP really is.

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    4. I would say that James probably should have provided a dozen examples of unique monsters and magic items, but that's just me.

      I have all of the OSR rules, so I dont NEED a monster or magic item book.

      If LotFP WF was all I owned, I'd feel there was something missing.

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    5. @TheShadow

      I don't think there is a huge difference between LL, S&W, and LotFP. Let's face it, they are *all* essentially copies of DnD. Personally, I like the writing style of S&W more than LL, and the "go big or go home" attitude of Raggi's modules is also something that I appreciate. But I recognize that these ("attitude" and "style") are purely subjective dimensions. Objectively, Raggi has been one of the most consistently productive of the OSR "oldies." More power to him.

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    6. In all fairness I will say that, even though I wasn't a satisfied customer of the Grindhouse boxed set, I do have six of the adventures Raggi wrote and I like them all. I also believe him to be relatively honest, so I doubt he's trying to scam anyone. Good luck to him.

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  3. Yep, you're not wrong about this. I'm getting a little bit of a bad feeling about the whole idea. I've supported all of Raggi's other kickstarters and am still waiting for that stuff. This new scheme might have worked in a pre-Nystul world, but I don't think I'm likely to support this new one.

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  4. I really think he's good for it, though. I mean he has an amazing track record of realized projects, most of them with a little extra on the side because it was late or he felt like doing so. There are at least 4 of his products on RPGNow with a "pay what you want", the core rules without art were always free and what he did for the hobby (and the Free RPG Day) with Better Than Any Man could just deserve a bit good will, I guess.

    I'd vote for a reprint of Vornheim (didn't get it the first time around...).

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    1. Same here.

      As far as I can tell, the reason his IGG campaigns have run so late is he's over-delivering on part of them. Seclusium turning out to be vastly larger than he anticipated is a great example of this. In this case, there's not a lot of work that isn't already done: he's trying to get books to print, not funding writing them... so there shouldn't be much room for things to balloon to 4 times their expected size.

      (The other holdup seems to be folks writing for him not delivering on time: this is problematic, but also shouldn't be a problem with a campaign about getting stuff back in print.)

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  5. Pre-Nystul world, good one.
    LotFP was one of the OSR games I missed the boat on. I've been caught up in all the shininess of crowdfunded games for a while. Some have delivered, some not remotely close. I think I'll continue to sit this one out and wait for actual product to hit the shelves.

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  6. Crowdfunding this would make me a form of investor, but I don't think I'd be willing to invest in Raggi's publishing enterprise when it pops out stuff with titles like F--- for Satan. There's nothing wrong with him wanting to aim for that market (or use that marketing) if he wants, but doing so will automatically exclude me from his demographic (and yes I did buy the original LotfP, and yes he's been cutting me out of his target audience ever since I saw the art in the Grindhouse edition, so I guess nothing to see here, move along).

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  7. Just to clarify my own view, I absolutely think that Raggi is good for it. He says he's going to put out the book, and I believe him. It may be late, but it will eventually exist and it will look good. I have total faith in his ability to (eventually) produce outstanding work, and obviously his work in the OSR has bought him plenty of good will from me. This new arrangement just strikes me as robbing Peter to pay Paul, and I'd rather not get involved in that. But I wish him all the best and want this to succeed.

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  8. Now that I've watched the video, I don't think it sounds too unreasonable.

    He's collecting money to get the book funded, so he's not using money for A to pay for B, which is laudable. That's how you avoid a Nystul-style meltdown.

    Even though shipping was included in pledges for his earlier campaigns: it wasn't free; it was included in those levels. So, not including shipping at all strikes me as perfectly reasonable. It's not like he's double-charging people for shipping.

    Using coupons for the store? It makes sense with the approach to shipping fees with this campaign, and if he reprints something you already have/don't need/don't want: you can, presumably, use it for something else. (Maybe you can use it for shipping?)

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  9. I love the Referee book from the Grindhouse edition and I look forward to getting a hold of the revised edition. That said, I fail to see the urgency in publishing it. The Rules and Magic book is not 1/2 of a complete system. It is the complete rule set. The original Referee book did not include the stuff typically in GM resources and is basically just advice on how to run a game in the LotFP spirit. It's a great read for any GM, but it's not essential.

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    1. Yep, Rules & Magic IS the Weird Fantasy ruleset (especially as no monster book exists)

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  10. What a load of bullshit. Call it like I see it.

    But if J'Raggi can get people to dish out money to him, he's only fulfilling his side of PT Barnum's prophecy...

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  11. I appreciate Jim's honesty in this video, and look forward to backing this one.

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