Monday, December 3, 2018

OSR Survey

Brendan S and Ben Milton are two hobbyists with a long history of participating in discussion related to the OSR and classic DnD. They have constructed a detailed survey that looks to be comprehensive.

The link to the survey.

Ben Milton (G-Plus)
Brendan S (G-Plus)

At the conclusion of the survey one can leave additional comments unfortunately I forgot to copy and paste my answer. But the following is the gist of what I wrote.


Irregardless of how people used the label OSR, think of the label OSR, or want the label OSR to represent there are several salient points.

1) There is a group of hobbyists who are interested in playing, promoting, and publishing for classic editions of DnD.

2) To ensure that no one vision or ideal stifles a hobbyist's creative vision the promotion and spread of legal open content is vital.

3) #2 pertains not just to classic DnD but to any system that hobbyists are interested in provided there is legal open content to use as a foundation for sharing.

4) Hobbyists interested in #1 are interested in other things as well. So hobbyists sharing or selling will often have a variety of works in addition to classic DnD including hybrids.


Open Content coupled with the low barriers of distribution enabled by the internet and digital technology ensures that anybody with the desire will be able to get their vision out there either commercially or just to share.

Keep in in mind that the consequences of creative freedom will be messy. Resulting in a confusing kaleidoscope of works along with conflicting visions of the source material. The key to remember irregardless of the results of the survey, that you are free to do what you think is best with the material in the form you think will work for your project. That thanks to the internet and other forms of digital technology you can't be stopped from sharing what you created.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Support OSR News


Collecting news and information about the OSR is often a thankless job. There is a ever-growing kaleidoscope of OSR publishers with new products being released every day either commercially or non-commercially on a variety of platforms and formats.

James A. Smith of Dreams of Mythic Fantasy has dedicated considerable time and effort into collecting various bits of information and news about what going on around the OSR. Now he would like your support to keep on doing this. He has established a Patreon page where you can contribute a few bucks every month to keep his OSR News continuing. I hope you will join me in supporting James.



Tuesday, November 20, 2018

PDF Piracy

Busy News day. So I logged on my publisher's page on RPGNow and found a warning from OBS about a pirate website with hundreds of RPG PDFs.

A couple of things

  • Don't lose your cool
  • See above
  • Don't use the DMCA link on that site. In the words of Admiral Ackbar. "It's a trap!"
  • Do a search for your products on Google and Bing. If a link appears to the fore mention pirate. Send them a DMCA request. I done it and it works relatively quickly. 
This is the link for the Google DMCA link
This is the link for Microsoft Bing DMCA

Understand software, video, and PDF piracy is semi-organized. The new pirate site is especially slick which is probably why OBS reacted the way it did. However it existed at least a year prior. In addition there are various underground directories floating around that are updated regularly. The links are coded so that they don't show up on the search engines text functions. So the key is to keep those links off of the first handful of pages of search results. And that is not so hard to do thanks to the above links.

It sucks but it not as bad as it could be. 



RPGNow folding into DriveThruRPG

OBS just sent a newsletter to all publishers that due to little growth RPGNow is folding into DriveThruRPG in February 2019. That RPGNow links will redirect to their DriveThruRPG equivalent.

Also metal rankings will merge which frankly is a good thing overall as the separate counts were always a pain.

The full text


Dear publisher,

Starting in February 2019, all elements of the RPGNow tool pages and storefront will redirect to similar pages on DriveThruRPG.

You most likely know this, but since RPGNow and DriveThruRPG first merged as businesses back in 2006, they have shared all the same tools and digital inventory. On the front end, they looked and behaved like two separate sites, but essentially they have just been two faces of the same site for many years. The only real differences were the color schemes and logos.

You might have some questions about the coming change, so we’ve done our best to anticipate and answer them below.

How will this affect me?

In most ways, you’ll be unaffected. Your entire catalog of titles from RPGNow is already listed on DriveThruRPG (as it always has been), and you can log in to DriveThruRPG using the same account(s) you’ve always used on RPGNow, just as you could before.

Even your old bookmarks to pages on RPGNow.com will still work: They’ll automatically be redirected to the same page on DriveThruRPG.

What about sales reporting? Will my past sales be combined?

Yes, as far as sales records and your titles’ metal rankings, we will be merging those together.

Starting in February, your sales records will show combined sales of each title across both the deprecated RPGNow site and DriveThruRPG, together. The number of unit sales will also be combined, so if you had metal rankings for titles on one or both sites, there’s a good chance you’ll find that your rankings on some titles will have increased on DriveThruRPG.

What about my Publisher Promotion Points and marketing impressions?

No worries. Your Publisher Promotion Points (PPP) are already shared across sister sites. They are compiled by publisher, not by site.

If you have used your PPP to purchase site impressions for banners or featured product messages on RPGNow, you will also be reimbursed, commensurately, for those expenditures on DriveThruRPG.

Why is this happening?

Here’s the big picture: In the 12 years since RPGNow and DriveThruRPG merged, the growth of RPGNow has tapered off constantly, while DriveThruRPG has continued to grow strongly, year over year, since it launched in 2004. We’ve reached the point where RPGNow rarely draws new customers or publishers and sells less than one-tenth the volume of titles purchased on DriveThruRPG.

To be honest, we have known this moment would come for years now. We’ve just finally decided it’s time to put the RPGNow brand out to pasture.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Blackmarsh Updated

Several years ago, I added the option of using the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license to Blackmarsh to make it easier for people to use it for RPGs that don't have open content. This was done with version 3.0. Since then Creative Commons updated to version 4.0. One of the major difference is an explicit waiver of moral rights.

In copyright over the past couple of decades there is the idea that in addition to rights to profit and control how the work is copied that there is a set of moral rights that protects the following.

1) the right of credit or association
2) the right of integrity
3) the right of anonymity or context

The grant or transfer of economic rights (i.e. the right to copy and use) is separate than a waiver of moral rights. To make it clear that my intent is for anybody to be able to use Blackmarsh for whatever purpose they see fit I updated the Creative Common license to version 4.0 which waives my moral rights in the text and maps for Blackmarsh.

In addition several publishers have introduced third party publishing programs that don't use open content licenses. Since my intent to share Blackmarsh as widely as possible and to make it easy to use for one's own work. I removed the Non-Commercial and Share-alike requirements. Now only attribution is required.

To be clear dual license means you can choose to use either license. Either as open content under the Open Game License or the Creative Commons BY Version 4.0. Use whatever one works best for your project.

You can download version 11 either from my website. Or from RPGNow if you obtained Blackmarsh there. If you bought a print copy there is no need to get a new one as the text remains the same.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Medieval Demographics Made Easy new host

In the mid 1990, S John Ross created an article about how to calculate the demographics of a medieval realms and the numbers and types of shops in a town.

The math behind the article was straight forward and didn't involve a lot of  table lookup. Although it didn't stop people like this one on the Donjon site, or this one on the d20SRD site from making automated tools using S. John Ross' math.

Medieval Demographics was hosted on S. John Ross' Blue Room for a long time. Recently he made changes to his website resulting in the original links becoming broken. As outlined in this blog post, he decided to run an experiment, to release the file to multiple hosts and let it wander on its own. He asked for volunteers and I was one of the people who stepped up.

So today I am pleased to announce that I am hosting a copy of Medieval Demographics for everybody to download. You can use the sidebar or this link.

To be clear this file is only free to download. It has not been made public domain nor has it been released under an open content license. The details are explained at the bottom of page 6 of the PDF

Fantasy Demographics
Several years ago, I dug into the data and math used by S John Ross and found the original source of the data he used to generate shops for his town portion of his article. From the that I generated my own take that fits better with the fantasy medieval setting used by various editions of DnD. You can download that file from the sidebar or from here. Note is only for the types and quantity in a town.

To see this in action look at my How to make Fantasy Sandbox articles starting at post XVIII

Accuracy
Keep in mind both Medieval Demographics and my own Fantasy Demographics are not meant to definitive treatments of historical circumstances. While neither sits on home plate, so to speak, instead they are meant to get you within the ballpark. Keep in mind the algorithm i.e. the process that S. John Ross uses is highly modifiable to fit your assumptions of medieval or fantasy life. For an example see my Fantasy Demographics article mentioned above.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Some bad news about Google Plus

Google Plus was Google's answer to facebook. It never got widespread adoption but among specific niches of internet it was heavily used compared to facebook. One of those niches is the OSR.

And now it appears the Google is shutting it down or at the least radically changing it.

Damn it. I really despise the Facebook interface and because of that I have not kept my Facebook account as clean as my Google Plus setup. I guess my wife, Kelly Anne will be happy as facebook is her primary home on social media.

Well it was good while it lasted.

The link to the annoucement