Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Kickstarter That Makes Me Want to Weep Out of Frustration For the Hobby - The Grande Temple of Jing

+Jason Paul McCartan brought the following to my attention, and expressed his own thoughts on it over on G+ - I highly recommend you peek at what he wrote, as it is spot on.

Jason pointed out his deal breakers. Me, I see them as insults and hucksterism at it's worst. Kickstarter has always had a bit of of the "but wait, there's More!" to it that reminds me in no small part to whatever the latest infomercial making the rounds is trying to sell.

The Grande Temple of Jing is all that and more. Here, let me start to count the ways:

1 - "You've seen other megadungeons, but this is the dungeon crawl that rules them ALL." Really? Not only do I doubt that, but this statement sets up the rest of the hyperbole that will follow later.

2 - "We are proud to announce that the Grande Temple of Jing will feature several celebrity contributors starting with: Jonathan Tweet,  Monte Cook, Skip Williams - More celebrity contributors will be announced if certain stretch goals are reached." Are we that starved for celebrities in this hobby of ours? Are any of these truly "dungeon creators"?

3 - "Some backer rewards allow people to contribute a monster, treasure, or level to the Grande Temple of Jing. If you choose these rewards, we will work with you to create something unique. Your work will appear in the book, right along with the celebrity contributors we mentioned above!" Awesome, I can pay extra to have my crap published with the crap of others and put next to hopefully not so crappy stuff my "celebrities". Is Vin Diesel going to write a level?

4 - Players will be enthralled (really?) by the many wonders of the grande temple and challenged by its many clever tricks. Magical puzzles, devious riddles, and wondrous magical effects will keep them entertained for hours (can we find a heavier sales pitch?) and allow them to experience the height of dungeoncrawling fun.

Perhaps the best example of Jing's trickery is the resurrection mechanic. You see, Jing draws great amusement from the trials of his guests. So much so that if they entertain him…but die in the process…he will often resurrect them so that they can continue (awesome! they should make a 4e version and then there will be truly Zero Risk of character death) What does this mean to the average player? It means they can seek and find incredible treasures and artifacts - things that they normally only see in their dreams. And if they die in the search - but amuse Jing in the process - he just might grant them a do-over. (yes! a funhouse dungeon without risk! sounds really "old school" to me!)

5 - We LOVE trick filled dungeons, and so do our celebrity contributors. We've armed them with the tools they need to create some FANTASTIC dungeon levels, and we've set them loose in the grande temple. We've asked them to really push the limits and design something that they could never include in a "normal" megadungeon. We can't wait to see what they come up with and we're ready for anything! Are YOU? Are you ready for Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams - UNLEASHED??? (Because you CAN'T CAPITALIZE ENOUGH!!! more celebrity bullshit).

6 - And what notes we've got. Sidebars, icons, minimaps, pullouts, box text - (Pussy, pussy, pussy!
Come on in Pussy lovers! Here at the Titty Twister we’re slashing pussy in half! Give us an offer on our vast selection of pussy! This is a pussy blow out! Alright, we got white pussy, black pussy, spanish pussy, yellow pussy. We got hot pussy, cold pussy. We got wet pussy. We got smelly pussy. We got hairy pussy, bloody pussy. We got snapping pussy. We got silk pussy, velvet pussy, naugahyde pussy. We even got horse pussy, dog pussy, chicken pussy. C'mon, you want pussy, come on in Pussy Lovers! If we don’t got it, you don't want it! Come on in Pussy lovers!)

7 - The $20 reward includes "a PDF map of a random level of the adventure (don't tell you GM)". What The Fuck is this bullshit? Why the fuck would I want me players having a map of a level of the dungeon that is NOT gained through play? This is where I get REALLY fucking pissed. Is this what the hobby has come to? Is this bullshit our future?

8 - A part of the grande temple was originally published in 2000 as a thin, digest sized book, compatible with the d20 system. With your help we will update, upgrade, and MASSIVELY expand that book. (Which leads me to believe this is the current state of the project - a thin, digest sized book - soon to be a HUGE mega whimsical whatchamcallit dungeon - not!)

You want a mega dungeon? Try Rappan Athuk, Try Stonehell, Try Barrowmaze, Try Dwimmermount. You want something that seem to recall the goofy and insulting Castle Greyhawk (maybe Jin can bring some animated Gummi Bears to the dungeon) this might be it.

Shit, I feel like a spent time with a used car dealer reading this Kickstarter...


  1. My favorite part is that merchants can contribute $10 and receive the promotion kit. If I was a FLGS, I'd tell them to kiss my butt. If you want me to promote your game, give me the promo materials. Don't make me pay to promote your work. Isn't that the way Amway and Avon work?

  2. Now we got a new flavor! Apple pie pussy!

  3. And I might add... try Castle of the Mad Archmage, as well. ;-)

  4. But this kickstarter has an extra "e" in "grand.". That makes it worth it, right?

    Celebrities? If they promised Patrick Wetmore, Blair Fitzpatrick, and folks like that, I'd be tempted, but Jing just makes me yawn.

  5. Erik, its just too dumb to comment on.

  6. This kickstarter page will forever be my goto reference whenever I state that kickstarter is not inherently a preorder system but companies abuse it like that.
    If it gets funded it will also double as my goto reference for people falling for the lunatic sales pitches we've come to expect from these kickstarter pages. Who was it that said "There's a sucker born every minute"?


  7. Reading that Kickstarter made my brain hurt. IF this thing got funded I foresee a lot of delays in delivery. Just sayin'. Almost tempted to toss them a dollar just the hell of it.

  8. This is a really, really, REALLY bad pitch. Not only does it demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the old school sensibilities that go into these sorts of projects (planning the character progression neatly along the Encounter railroad from level 1 to 20, the resurrection mechanic because really "dying is unfun" etc.), AND the basic level of thinking, organization and ergonomics that go into designing an actual megadungeon, but it manages to insult its potential backers by fundamentally taking them for a bunch of retarded morons who have NO idea what they're reading and just sign on "because buzz words", "because celebrities" and "because vanity rewards". It's got to be some kind of record for the hobby. Well done, I guess?

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. There is only one truism in RPG marketing. It doesn't matter how bad one group thinks something is, there is another ready, willing and able to thrown down cash for it. This will be no different. While I agree with what you are saying here and am not likely to throw any money at this at all, it will hit its goals. Someone out there is reading this pitch and thinking "OMG How did I live before without this??" and you know what, they will enjoy it too.

    I tired of trying to figure out the people in this hobby! ;)

    1. In case it is missed there is a "smiley" at the end of that last sentence.

  11. I think this Kickstarter will attract a decent level of interest from Pathfinder players, especially when the MMO/Emerald Spire Kickstarter fails to fund. >:) It should meet its target and probably more.

    1. Nah, there is Rappan Athuk and Slumbering Tsar for Pathfinder fro Frog God Games.
      Playing Pathfinder does not equal being dumb.

    2. But The Emerald Spire uses the same 'celebrity designers' schtick.

  12. There is no question this is a bad pitch.

    I still don't understand how more gaming material is a bad thing?

    The case where the market is overflowing with crap, well, doesn't the model of kickstarter prevent that by default, meaning there has to be enough interest to fund it?

  13. Apparently Jing got released at Gencon 2015. Any chance of a followup about whether it actually delivered anything worthwhile?

  14. Flipping through the hardback copy of The Grande Temple of Jing now. It's a good looking full color book that runs close to 500 pages. I won't get a feel for the adventure itself until I get a chance to run a piece of it, but for now it looks like it's full of fun ideas. Not sure it is worthy of the amount of snark directed at it by this blog. :/


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