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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Kickstarter - Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook 3rd Printing


Frog God Games has kicked off the 3rd printing of the Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook. Now, if you are a regular reader of The Tavern, you know my love of all things Swords & Wizardry. If I have a bias, it is solidly here. I still have my softcover 1st printing and multiple copies of the 2nd printing in HC. Heck ,The Tavern has distributed over 5,000 copies of S&W Complete 2nd printing in PDF. That should give an indication of my love of S&W.

The 3rd printing follows the 2nd printing fairly closely. New cover art, new interior art and the sample of play has undergone some editing, but everything else is as Matt Finch wrote it. It may have new art and a new layout, but the words are still Matt's.

After a few hours being live it's over halfway funded. Not too shabby.

It's $35 plus shipping for the HC. The PDF will be available as PWYW.

Disclaimer: I am a huge fan of Swords & Wizardry and Frog God Games. I've worked on the condensed rules (coming shortly, hopefully) known as Swords & Wizardry Light. Its no secret that Stacey D, the Project Manager on the 3rd Printing of S&W Complete and I have little affection for each other. The interior art and layout were done by a team she assembled, which includes well respected OSR artists such as Gennifer Bone. I think the interior art choices were superb.




51 comments:

  1. Love the interior art. Hate the cover.

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    1. My take as well which is why the previous cover plus the new PDF plus LuLu is the proper path forward for me.

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    2. That interior art is gorgeous.

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  2. Same here: the cover alone is enough to get me to pass...sadly.

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  3. yeah. Not a fan of the cover art either.

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  4. I really dislike the art, I'll be passing on this.

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  5. Cover aside (which sucks), if they haven't addressed it already they need to correct the glitch whereby mid to high level Magic Users advance in levels faster than Fighters.

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  6. Some of the mission statement doesn't make sense to me. How is this supposed to appeal to younger gamers? I just feel that cover is so off putting to me is it a popular style that I'm just too old to appreciate?

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    1. The cover itself has absolutely nothing to do with the mission statement. Per Stacy's quote on G+ which is speaking of a discussion with Zak S.:

      "Zak is actually responsible for one of the seminal moments in my art direction on this when it went from being 'something I'm making for the OSR' to 'something I'm making because I like it'. We've had some wonderfully long talks about art and the OSR and the direction it's all going in and doing what you love and not what you think other people will love."

      It is abstract piece of art she likes that has nothing to do with appealing to younger gamers.

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    2. I think that if you're going to do a project, at some point you gotta be you. If the "Stacy D art remix" succeeds, then we know there's a market. If not, at least it's not based on speculation, but a real attempt to get it out in the world.

      It's not a KS for me, but best of luck anyway.

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    3. This is a third printing because the second sold out isn't it? So we still won't know if it was the art or just its being back in print because there certainly is a market for it. I think the real key will be the people who buy the book. That will determine if investing in new art was a gamble that paid off.

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    4. I don't know that there's any reliable way to measure success in this case, given the stated goal is bringing younger folks and more women into the game. A small company like FGG likely is not compiling any real demographic/consumer data. So unless there is an influx in large enough numbers to be noticeable to the naked eye how will we know if it succeeded? And even if there is such an influx, how will we know whether it's because FGG added new art and thereby made the book more appealing to these demographics as opposed to the fact that the company is explicitly courting and welcoming these folks? Which is more important: that packaging or the signaling? (Just selling the new book doesn't seem like a good measure of anything unless we have some clue as to who is buying the book and why.)

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    5. It looks more like an abstract piece of art that reflects the desire to convince people to not buy it. Especially women and children - Can women and children possibly be the target customers for ugly covers?

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    6. It looks more like an abstract piece of art that reflects the desire to convince people to not buy it. Especially women and children - Can women and children possibly be the target customers for ugly covers?

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  7. I didn't like the cover initially.

    Now it has grown on me and if it can be printed with some shimmer to it, I think it will be gorgeous.

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    1. I agree with you sir,its hard to follow an Otis piece but I have grown to like this illustration as well.

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    2. I agree with you sir,its hard to follow an Otis piece but I have grown to like this illustration as well.

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  8. If I didn't already know what S&W was, this new cover tells me nothing about the game. So no sale here.

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  9. The cover is damned weird, and looks like something I just found eating my goldfish in their tank. But after a bit I was thinking, "This would make a fine 13th Age Cover" and as I realized that, it dawned on me that it is probably the right direction for the mission statement....even with all that, the cover is definitely cool art, I just had a hard time seeing it as being cool RPG cover art for an OSR game....but that's the whole point, to break from that tradition. The interior art is all cool, and manages to give the new printing its own feel and also break away from the over-used art from the prior book. All told, worth my getting, and honestly I think this cover will oddly be an easier sell to my local group than the old Otus cover, which has been a major "turn off" to my non OSR buddies who nonetheless love OSR if I can sneak it up on them (i.e. White Star, Beyond the Wall, and such).

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  10. Some thoughts.
    288 backers; at least 5 of them are women; looking through the backers its a lot of familiar names; predominantly not "young" white guys (like me).
    So who really is the audience (those providing the $$$)? Is this pandering to an imaginary untapped fan base? Is an all "group x" an appropriate way of doing things?
    Someone posted on the KS that the cover looks like ovaries to them, abstract art does the funniest things.
    I would be dumb to turn my back on Bone art.
    I will be supporting this in some capacity, even though it scratches me somewhat.

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    1. Nearly 90 are in at a buck. That's where I sit.

      I may up for add ons, but I dont need a third copy (fourth maybe) of S&W Complete

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    2. Im in the same place.
      I am troubled that this edition is becoming polarizing.
      I want the OSR, and by extension S&W, to grow but I'm not sure this route will deliver us from evil.

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    3. Thinking further...
      Perhaps we should look at the level of excitement that DCC 4th print generated.
      I would propose that FGG offer a premium cover, as that seems the source of discontent, done by Bone or Jaquays or Sheppard. Much like the Mullen DCC variant, perhaps revealing how much demand is generated by the cover, if it is the alienating factor.
      Or is it that Dellorfano has rubbed more than a few folks the wrong way?
      The more i think about the more that it may be the following that is stuck in my craw, "if the appearance and presentation make the game look like it’s purely a throwback and not a modern tool for good gaming, then there’s a real obstacle to the game’s push into the mainstream gaming community".
      That statement creates an F.Y. response in me...

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    4. I'll be blogging from this perspective later today...

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  11. So I guess I'm alone in preferring the new cover to the Otus cover.

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  12. Not alone. The new cover evokes for me something strange, beautiful, maybe dangerous. I think it captures elements of both faerie mystery and cthonic dread.

    I like that the new cover emphasizes those things. It's fresh and different, and I think it does offer a chance to entice a few new players to give the game a shot who would not otherwise.

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  13. The new cover isn't bad as a piece in its own right. I think it would have been a better supplement or module cover though. I would have liked to have seen some adventuring going on with the cover art.

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    1. It's a good piece, but not a great cover piece for composition reasons. You don't want to have any active elements where title text is gonna go, especially if it's a similar color. Making the title a bright red instead of transparent yellow and the subtitle a solid yellow would do wonders towards improving the look of the cover.

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  14. "This project came out of a discussion largely about how to get more women interested in OSR games, and evolved into a request to create a product that would appeal to all genders and challenge the idea of what an OSR game should look like."

    Yeeeeeeeeeah, no... I'm backing this at $1 to get the PDF and later print it out at a local shop, using something sensible for the cover.

    If you are trying to attract new people to the hobby using slightly misleading cover art, you may be pushing in the wrong direction.

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  15. I love what they have done with the interior art and page layout (well except for the title fonts, but I get the inspiration). The cover does nothing for me as a digital render, but if you look at the actual finished art piece on the page it actually looks pretty good reminds me a bit of the Lusus Naturae art, which was sufficiently weird it grew on me.

    A matt finish for the cover, I think would look pretty damn good. One of the other reasons I initially didnt like it, is its not a scene of some action in the game (where are my PC's having at some mythic foe or getting sprung) like most other retro-clones, now actually appeals to me, the cover is different (bit like some of the DCC foil covers standout from the standard printing) and will make a nice contrast to the Errol Otus HC I have. Having said that, the shipping costs to Europe are prohibitive for virtually all the Frogs stuff (already been burned twice, why cant they ask Goodman games how they get reasonable fulfilment costs to Europe?) SO I will probably just get the PDF and try and find somewhere to get a matt cover printed.

    Keep an open mind on the art people, it may well grow on you, like it has on me.

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  16. Has anyone, y'know, ASKED the artist what the hell that's an image of? There seems to be waaaaaay too many "What the hell is this supposed to be?" questions. I, for one, would love to hear from the cover artist's explanation of intent: "This image represents yadda yadda, and as you can see I've illustrated yadda yadda which I feel best presents a feeling of yadda yadda." Instead, this seems to be some kind of Rorschach test. "What does the S&W cover mean to YOU?"

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    1. SO its not a monster you recognise, in my games that sows seeds of uncertainty, its a good thing. I have no idea what the hell the monster is on the Errol Otus HC and to be honest I dont need to, it was menacing. This one as I mentioned above lacks the PCs responses, so is more open to interpretation.

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    2. It turns out the image is deliberately abstract and was chosen because it DOESN'T represent anything. Here where Stacy explains her choice to use this art:
      https://plus.google.com/+StacyDellorfano/posts/YtVkEMe1iva

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    3. Looks like a feverling. Nothing against the piece itself, which is kinda neat in the way that Fire on the Velvet Horizon is kinda neat, this sure as heck does not look like it's going to "appeal to younger or female gamers", which is the whole point of a new edition, right?

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  17. I like the cover, but I am admittedly a sucker for abstract and psychedelic art.

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    1. I'd put it on my wall, but it doesn't sell me on the book.

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  18. Not a huge fan of the cover as a piece of art but on the other hand it doesn't turn me off. However for some reason I find the Swords & Wizardry logo really dissonant against it. I think if they had re-drafted the logo it would have made the cover less clangy.

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  19. The untapped reservoir of new OSR players, young boys or women of all ages, is a myth. OSR rulesets appeal to some DM and to them only. If they convince their kids, girlfriends, lapsed gamers or anyone to go the S&W way, fine. But the natural choice for the "Modern Family" crowd wanting to try that "RPG" thing already exists : it's new, it's shiny and full-colour and inclusively worded, it's slightly old school, it has got the brand recognition, it's D&D.

    That whole "request to create a product that would appeal to all genders" crap is virtue signaling and nothing else.

    I would agree that the new cover is better than the blood & semen one for Metallica's "Load", but not much.

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    1. Having read the mission statement more carefully I'll retract my rant in some mesure.

      It is indeed the exact same S&W, just with woman-made layout and art. It's still gimmicky as hell, but I like the examples of interior art very much, so except for the cover (why not sensibly-clothed fighting-woman, dwarf lady and sorceress taking on a dragon ?) it will probably be a very good product.

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  20. Love the new cover, it evokes a sense of mystery, which I like in my games. I didn't care for the old one at all.

    If you feel the opposite that's cool but I get the impression that this is only polarising to those who feel challenged that their tastes aren't being pandered to 100%.

    If the owners of the IP want to attempt to appeal to a different demographic it's their choice and their right to do so. If you think it won't work then, a) chances are the changes probably aren't aimed at you anyway and b) they're taking the risk not you, so what are you getting upset about?

    FWIW I don't think it'll be massively successful in achieving it's stated aims but it won't harm trying, and it'll give S&W a publicity boost.

    If it's not for you, exercise your right as a consumer and don't buy it - 2e is still available.

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    1. Its not a new edition, just a new printing. The words and content are the same - art and layout has changed.

      And yes, S&W Complete 2nd printing is still available.

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    2. Sorry Erik, used wrong terminology there!

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  21. I'd love to know how this product appeals to women and people under 40 in ways the 2nd edition doesn't. I'm 34 is it a 20 something appeal I'm missing? I showed the cover to my wife and she didn't find it appealing just weird. To be fair the 2nd edition cover wasn't appealing to her either its just not weird.

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  22. To summarize my point over on my own blog - I liked the old cover but it was a symbolic tie (through Otus and the B/X covers) to the old TSR. I think it can help Swords & Wizardry, which has been serving as a "little brother" to Pathfinder for a lot of Frog God releases, to develop its own aesthetic and identity.

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  23. Andy, I think most of what you are saying is beside the point. Sure IP owners can do what they want, and potential customers can vote with their wallet. Who is disputing this? No one, I think. But potential customers can also review and pan or praise the product; that sort of marketplace criticism is ordinary and common. I think there is a lot more going on here than just potential customers being angry that "their tastes aren't being pandered to 100%." But ignoring your loaded phrasing, why would that be grounds for criticism even if it were true? Catering to customer preferences is what people in the business of selling things do, and we all avoid merchants who don't do that well enough (based on whatever our individual criteria happen to be).

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  24. To me it's reminiscent of a Cathy de Monchaux piece.
    https://g.co/kgs/JB8WIW

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  25. I like the cover art, though it doesn't seem to fit S&W (more LoFP). The design and art of the interior seems very well done.

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  26. Yeah, the cover just isn't my cup of tea, so I think I'll pass this time.

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  27. All this talk about the cover is exactly why I released 3 different covers for my White Box update. Hopefully at least one of them will appeal to the buyer.

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