Monday, March 26, 2012

Words of Wisdom

I was happily reminded that this week Goodman Games' Dungeon Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game is going to press, with the book expected to appear on store shelves late next month. Electronic copies of the game will be made available to those who have pre-ordered sometime after April 1. I'm among those who pre-ordered a copy, in large part because, after some initial nitpicking about certain design choices in the DCC RPG, I came to a conclusion that Joseph Goodman neatly summarizes in an interview he gave earlier this month. In that interview, Goodman is asked, "What is your target audience for the upcoming DCC roleplaying game?" His reply is a terrific one:
Joseph Goodman is my target audience. I have said this before and I’ll say this again: I’m writing this game for me. It’s the game I’ve always wanted to play. Hopefully a few other folks will like it as well.
That's not something I hear very often, or at least that I don't hear often enough. I think, ultimately, that the best games (not to mention books, movies, etc.) are those created to please their creators, not anyone else. Naturally, of course, creators like it when others share their enthusiasm for their creation, but that's not really the point -- or, at least, it shouldn't be.

21 comments:

  1. Sounds almost verbatim what I've been saying when asked the same question about Adventures Dark and Deep. Great Joe's think alike! ;-)

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  2. I pre-ordered it in the minute I got enough money to do so. Joseph did a great job in making the pre-order really tempting and accessible. I get a free adventure module, a free pdf of the book, and the shipping costs only $4 to Europe instead of $20? Best deal of my life.

    I also got a free poster a few months ago, and it looks both funny (the bell bottom on the warrior made me chuckle a bit) and really cool.

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    1. Same here. Lots of other companies could learn a lot from Goodman Games (including Kenzer, who is "offering" the Hackmaster 4e PHB pdf at $40, but is "free" if you buy the hardback at $69. Yeah right.)

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    2. It's 5e, it's $59.99, and the pdf is only free because of the pre-order (there's going to be a pdf+print bundle, I suppose it's going to be $79.99). Kenzer & Co stuff is usually expensive, but damn, they make a 400 pages long full colour PHB with leatherette cover and full of awesome stuff! And like DCC RPG, the writers love their game.

      Goodman Games has good offers and cool products. Kenzer & Co has high quality stuff and cool products. I like them both. :)

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  3. Yes. A hundred thousand million times yes

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  4. This is why WotC will never make a good role playing game. A labour of love will always trump a labour of profit.

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  5. Guess I'm the weird one as I think 3rd ed had some great bits as did 4e

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  6. I'm looking forward to it too. The focus group should never be used with a creative endeavor like making a role playing game and I'm glad he gets that. The results are bland and ineffectual.

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    1. Sure, but a playtest group should be.

      Goodman's comments remind me of the mid-1980s heyday of professional RPGs. So often I got the idea that not only did the professional writers not playtest the adventures that they had written, I got the distinct impression that they didn't actually play - if they did play - using the game system that they were writing for.

      If there's only one thing to be said for the 'deprofessionalisation' of RPGs, its that there is very little incentive for people to put out hack work.

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    2. When I say, 'Goodman's comments remind me...', I mean that the fact that he is doing this for the love and enjoyment of playing marks him out as being driven by motivations than those that have driven some professional writers.

      I'm not saying that he is similar to those writers who, when interviewed much later, have said, 'oh, I never really had time to actually play when writing for RPG X', or, 'when I was writing adventures A and B we didn't actually play using RPG X'.

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    3. I didn't saying anything about play testing, I said focus groups. Wizards did a ridiculous amount of market research before 4e was even in a play testable form and that was the main problem in my opinion. Moving on...

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    4. I agree with you. Half of my comment was wondering where the line is between play testing that ensures the creative goals of the author are refined, and market research that demands that the vision of the creator is diluted.

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  7. As one of the lucky few who's read it already I can say with confidence, if you like Poul Anderson, Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, H. P. Lovercraft, or Michael Moorcock, you'll find something you like in this game. Jeff Easley, Jim Holloway, and Erol Otue don't hurt either.

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  8. Is this game another retro clone or something different altogether?

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  9. It's not a retroclone, but a reimagination of D&D, based on the d20 system and every idea Goodman wanted to take from Appendix N literature. It has a really simple core (d20 without all the garbage, like feats, skill ranks), seven classes (including demi-humans), and cool stuff like critical charts, fumble charts, spell duels, spell mishaps, wizard patrons, variable spell effects based on casting roll, luck stat with neat side effects and so on. It also uses Zocchi dice and has a lot of great art. Plus the forthcoming DCC modules will support this system. You can check out the early beta from last summer here: http://www.goodman-games.com/dccrpg.html

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  10. Luck stat... that takes me back to the Bards Tale computer game from the 80s, which was based on AD&D, and it's Luck stat. The Bards Tale had the hardest dungeons in any game I've ever played.

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  12. I'm quite grateful that Goodman provided a fairly detailed Beta for the game when he did. Goodman might be making the game he wants to play, and that's fine. And there might be lots of other folks who would like it to. But I'm not one of them, I don't think, and so I'm glad for the "try before I buy" opportunity. Instead, I'm pretty happy with Labyrinth Lord and ACKS, and I doubt I need to buy another one.

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  13. Hi! great thanx for linking the interview.

    @retroclone / something other: I think the DCC RPG is the first Sword & Sorcery DnD-like RPG with weird ideas not only in the background. Of course there are Barbarians of Lemuria (A great game, but not a classic RPG) ot Lamentations of the flame princess (also a great game, but the S&S-parts are in the background, not in the rules).

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