2011-06-09 Delays


As I was idly wasting time online, I wondered about my Slumbering Tsar subscription. I went to the Necromancer Games messages board and found the Release schedule for ST thread.

However, the conversion schedule is about to hit a snag. First let me reassure that all of ST including the big book at the end will be coming out, it is done, it is NOT vaporware, but we may not be able to meet our one-a-month guesstimate that we made last summer. I know I said we were still shooting for this a week ago, but the limited FGG resources are getting retasked for the moment...for a good thing, but admittedly not likely to make our loyal ST subscribers happy. For this I apologize. – Greg A. Vaughan [1]

I still remember the Razor Coast delays. (I got a refund.) Having ordered both The Complete Tome of Horrors and Slumbering Tsar, I don’t feel too good. The sad thing is that the lesson I should be learning here is that I should not pre-order. Unfortunately the reality appears to be that small companies are unable to take financial risks and therefore are unwilling to bet on their products, relying on pre-orders instead.

June 1 is when the pre-ordering for the Swords & Wizardry Tome of Horrors will be ending, and it’s a somewhat important deadline because not very many additional books are going to get printed. – Matt Finch [2]

In addition to that, I find myself unwilling to spend a lot of money for role-playing game products as I realize how little material I actually read and use – even though I play around ten times every month.

I really need to find a way to disconnect from the market: Not read press releases, not read blog posts eagerly awaiting this product or that, not read forum threads where all the excitement is building.

Strange, that. I used to be proud of myself for having disconnected my television from the networks. No more ads, no more endless zapping, no more longing for useless  stuff. And now I find that the web is exhibiting similar properties, except it’s all hidden in social media. Excitement building on Twitter and the blogs, product information reaching me via forums and Facebook, endless zapping on my feed reader, the regular shopping experience in bookstores and malls has been replaced an endless stream of subscriptions, fanzines, eBay purchases, Amazon buys and small-press preorders coming in at an indigestible rate.

Stuff I pre-ordered and now I feel like I should not have done it because I have the D&D 3.5 Monster Manuals I–V and I don’t think I’m going to run Pathfinder or an adventure path any time soon:

Stuff I am subscribed to even though I feel I should cancel:

I’m falling behind in reading the books and I’m not running a Pathfinder game and I have difficulty imagining a way of integrating the adventures into my D&D 3.5 or Labyrinth Lord sandbox – and currently I feel that running a Sandbox is my preferred mode of play.

Stuff I managed to cancel reluctantly because I figured that sticking to Fight On ought to be magazine enough:

Stuff I bought even though I wasn’t sure I needed it since I’m not running a Pathfinder game:

Stuff I managed to avoid even though I was tempted:

Stuff I managed to avoid even though I am still tempted:

I guess writing this list and linking all the stuff was a bit of a penance. Now I feel bad for tempting you, gentle reader.



Your observation about the web becoming more like tv in terms of advertising is spot on. There have been several stories [1] [2] about the ever growing importance of online and social media to advertisers. Just a heads up, you may want to disconnect your phone next. I don’t know if you have a smartphone or no, but as phones have become more interactive and web accessible, guess where the advertisers are looking next?

The picture of your book collection brings back memories. I too had a bookcase and a half of rpg stuff until I sold most of it Ebay a few years ago. It was way more than I could use or possibly need. Now, everytime I hear about something from Frog God, Paizo, Legendary, or one of the other companies whose stuff I like, I have to rein myself in and not purchase....one...more...cool...supplement.

One closing item, Tsar is starting back up again. ST9 should be releasing either the end of this month or early July. If you continue looking in the Necro thread you pointed folks to, later on, Greg Vaughan comments about finishing what was started. FGG is aware that there is a lot of ill will out there due to some subscription projects from other companies that were not finished, and they are trying to insure that ST is finished by the end of the year. In ST’s case, it was the marketing driven need to get a big product (ToH Complete) out at GenCon that caused the delay.

TheBax 2011-06-16 14:21 UTC

Thank you for those links. Regarding smartphones: I own an Apple iPhone and definitely see the business model of selling an application, and offering the same application for free, with ads. Should it be possible to measure the pain of advertising in dollars by comparing the ratio of free+ads to paid users? There are probably other considerations (reduced functionality, loyalty to developers), but generally speaking it seems to me that this should work: if 1% of the free+ads app buy the real app for $1, then the pain is worth one cent?

I definitely look forward to seeing the huge Slumbering Tsar hardcover. I wonder whether Frog God Games will continue making this sort of book? In a way it is similar to Ptolus: a big book, a big price, the entire pre-ordering process basically makes it a custom book for a small circle of enthusiastic customers.

AlexSchroeder 2011-06-16 16:48 UTC

The short term answer to your question for 2011 and early 12 is yes. Check out the Northlands Saga and Splinters of Faith if you haven’t already. I am really looking forward to how the Northlands Saga develops. Vikings, a bit of Cthulhu, and a touch of the 13th Warrior would seem to be excellent ingredients for a strong series of adventures. Long term though, I have my doubts. It seems unlikely that Vaughan or anyone else will be writing any more 500,000 word mega-adventures anytime soon. Given the relatively small base of buyers (dm’s that like PFRPG or are willing to do the heavy lifting of conversion), the costs and financial risks seem too great. Then again, Bill is supposed to be announcing Black Monastery at GenCon or sometime after, so while it probably won’t be ST in length, I’m looking forward to another big, deadly, oldschool FGG adventure.

By the way, how is ST9? I know subscribers already have it, I’m waiting for Bill to put the pdf up on the website for sale.

TheBax 2011-07-20 20:22 UTC

I have been filing the PDFs away for later use. I don’t think I can read adventures in PDF form. And I also prefer reading stuff if and only if I’m actually going to run it.

AlexSchroeder 2011-07-21 19:26 UTC

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