Friday, September 2, 2016

Taking a hard look at the Dungeon Fantasy RPG

So the Dungeon Fantasy Kickstarter is now live. And yes I pledged.

I also quickly joined in the choir asking "Where are the PDFs?". True to form SJ Games responded by incorporating PDFs as an option for pledging. Although there will confusion because apparently Kickstarter allow pledge levels descriptions to change after the campaign started.

It a bit gratifying to see this project because I been advocating this for a long time. I have to admit my tone got more critical over the years as GURPS market presence dwindled over the last decade. Probably annoying the SJ Games staff . In the end I was hammering on the fact if the OSR can revive older games on a shoestring budget what is SJ Games excuse? Even with the OSR success, market wise we are at the SAME level as GURPS and other 2nd tier RPG publishers. And that is only if you pool what everybody does in the OSR together. SJ Games and GURPS alway has the fanbase, they need to give them the product.

And boy they really went all in on this with a boxed and physical components. And it looks like they really took the lesson learned from the Ogre Kickstarter to heart and are proceeding very modestly in what the kickstarter will be offering. The prices of $50+shipping is not too bad for a boxed set that includes token and maps.

Some will wonder at the $100,000 goal, you have to remember that SJ Game bread and butter are Munchkin, board games, and then GURPS a very distant third. In the stakeholder report you can see how Munchkin just grew and grew and grew, knocking GURPS down on the company's priorities. So in order for them justify the labor spent they have to get a return equal to at least to the other board games they released. Steve Jackson and their staff love GURPS but that has to bend in light of the fact that there is a company that needs to be run.

Looking through my forum posts I found this from 2008.

In it said a Complete GURPS Dungeons Fantasy RPG needs to have.

  • Introduction - check since is a given that they will have some type of intro.
  • Character Creation - check
  • Combat, Basic - Looks like it will be tweaked condensed version of the core book combat rules which is fine because even the core book combat rules have options to vary the complexity and detail. As long as they keep the defense roll (there is an opposed roll option), I will give this a check. Also it points out a flaw with my original idea in that they accounted for everything else and lumping it all together as Exploits.
  • Combat, Advanced - going to to rely on the core books and the DF PDF line for this. That OK especially in light that this project is going to a lead-in to the GURPS product line.
  • Magic - check, right in the kickstarter description one of the books will be about spells.
  • Monsters - check, again in the kickstarter description there is a book called Monsters
  • Treasure - check, covered in the Exploits book.
  • Starting Setting, - They are including a 24 page adventure with a inn where they start out at. I will give this a partial check. Plus I am going to be pessimistic about this because SJ Games is not really known for having good adventures for GURPS. Fortunately one of the few good adventures was made for the DF Line.  Mirror of the Fire Demon.
Last I said 
Do this in 256 pages. Sell it along side the other GURPS Books. Have three 32 to 64 pages adventures available as well. This is not a replacement but rather the entry point to the larger GURPS line.
The total of all five books comes 408 pages. Frankly 256 pages is a wild ass guess. What important that you got the basic list covered in spells, monsters, magic items, and other stuff. If that takes 408 pages with the rules then so be it. DnD 5e has 1,002 pages scattered across three book so I give this a check. As for the adventures, obviously those will only come if the line is a success so that one is pushed to the future. Finally, yes it is indeed being marketed as a intro to the GURPS line, the physical component should make it that much more attractive, so a definite check there.

So with all these checks, yeah I pledged.


Douglas Cole said...

I can't really link to it, because it's posting on my phone right now, but it is very clear that the quantity 1000, 1500, and 2000 is very important because that is where at least in book publishing the price break start to get very large. So 2000 games X $50 per game gets you to $100,000 pretty quick. If they are anticipating a larger one than that, so that they can ship to distribution, that hundred thousand dollars gets Justified pretty quick yes

Douglas Cole said...

Honestly, for a full run of a game, $100,000 seems almost the minimum. I'm going to need about that much to do everything that I want to do with dragon heresy as well.

Sean said...

408 pages is a big product. Bigger in some ways then I'd like to see. But I think it's packaged to be accessible.

I can give a player the 128 page Adventurers book and say "Pick a template, read up on that, and ignore the rest. Now read, or at least skim, the 112 page Exploits book. We can learn that one over time as we play. The rest you can leave to me (unless you want to play a spellcaster - always a challenge in any system)."

That's a lot more manageable then GURPS has been in years. It may faze some players, but veterans of Pathfinder or Shadowrun shouldn't even blink.

Dan said...

It's about time! They should have done this years ago!