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Author Topic: [Adept Press] Explaining and updating mini-supplements  (Read 858 times)
Ron Edwards
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« on: August 25, 2004, 06:20:36 AM »

Hello,

This topic is split off from Open licenses and indie games.

Historical point first: when I started the mini-supplement program for Sorcerer in 1998 or maybe early 1999, the OGL was not yet released - somewhere between a gleam in Ryan Dancey's eye and the on-line publication that came out just before D&D3.0 did.

The original deal was that the product was to be a PDF (the whole game, core and supplements, were PDFs), maximum price $5 (as the game and supplements were all $10), and sold only from my website. It also had to be approved by me. Pretty restrictive by modern OGL standards.

Today, although the website text hasn't really caught up to this, things are different. I now am happy with the author selling it from anywhere, as long as the Sorcerer website includes a buy button too and the on-line stuff for the author includes a link to the site. I'm also happy with any medium, PDF or print or whatever. And the price is the author's to set, not mine.

So all that I've retained from the original deal is approval (still not OGL, I know) and the buy-button thing at my site. Consider these the "price of doing business" for the benefit of using Sorcerer material for publication.

The main person to congratulate for these changes to the policy is Jared Sorensen, mainly because he ignored all the strictures I've now abandoned from the get-go anyway (cue Jared doing the "just gotta be me" dance).

The main person to suffer from them is Scott Knipe, who really should have been selling Charnel Gods for a lot more money all this time, whenever and however he wanted. I've tried to make up for that recently.

Anyway, now that a number of people seem to be interested in emulating this little program, I thought I should make it clear just how it works. But I do want to point out that it's more restrictive than the OGL or the similar licenses that Tav is explaining to us currently, and that those might be a better deal depending on your business model.

Best,
Ron
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ADGBoss
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2004, 08:08:38 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

<snip>
Anyway, now that a number of people seem to be interested in emulating this little program, I thought I should make it clear just how it works. But I do want to point out that it's more restrictive than the OGL or the similar licenses that Tav is explaining to us currently, and that those might be a better deal depending on your business model.

Best,
Ron


On the other hand I can think of 2 benefits for doing supplements for for a small / Indie / whatever game like Sorcerer (and many of the others here.)

1) You are more likely to have a better working relationship with and thus a better understanding of the game and or system you are using if you work with a smaller license.

2) It is easier for quality to stand out in a smaller crowd.  This can be an important issue in terms of critical and / or financial success. At least I think it can be.  

Although I personally see working with others on their games or writing RPGA mods as an apprenticeship of sorts, learning skills that will be of use for my own projects, I would not necassarily think it would be easier to "break into" the business with a smaller license then with a big one, mainly because of #1 above.  The creator of thr original material is right there going "hmmmmm"


Sean
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Keith Senkowski
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2004, 08:17:42 AM »

Hey,

I myself decided to emulate your program Ron and posted such info on my website.  However the logic behind it wasn't so much to create a general OGL liscense but to encourage my friends, who are very creative, to take the plunge.  Looking back, I think maybe I should have written a supplement for Sorcerer to give me an idea what it was I was getting into when I wrote Conspiracy of Shadows.

I think that is the most valuable aspect of a program like these.  It is a learning experience without getting hit with a huge financial burden.  It also creates a sort of mentor/student relationship which I wish I had as I stumbled through the creation of my book.

Keith
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Conspiracy of Shadows: Revised Edition
Everything about the game, from the mechanics, to the artwork, to the layout just screams creepy, creepy, creepy at me. I love it.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2004, 10:43:50 AM »

Hello,

Since what I'm doing pre-dates the OGL (outside of WotC inner-circles), can anyone who's really license-savvy help me re-phrase the mini-supplement program in a way that's (a) more generic, so others can adopt it; and (b) more correctly phrased in the language that people are now familiar with (i.e. OGL/d20)?

Best,
Ron
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Tav_Behemoth
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2004, 01:37:24 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
But I do want to point out that it's more restrictive than the OGL or the similar licenses that Tav is explaining to us currently, and that those might be a better deal depending on your business model.


I'm glad to theorize about and advocate open licenses of all kinds, but when it comes to explaining, I'm only really qualified to talk about the OGL, which I would not recommend to anyone unless they're working with D&D- or d20-derived material (or they expect their creations to be picked up and used in those circles).

Clinton is better suited to explain the Creative Commons licenses that I would recommend to anyone, as he has first-hand experience. He's also more knowledgable about indies in general, as witness the fact that he knew about the Sorceror open development program and I didn't. Thanks for the lowdown, Ron, and I'd be interested to hear more about other antecedents of the OGL!
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jrs
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2004, 02:30:38 PM »

If Ron still wants to maintain the power to approve a Sorcerer mini-supplement, then a Creative Commons license will not be appropriate.  None of the CC licenses contain an approval element.  The closest one would be a combined attribution, share-alike license.  There is a nice summary of the CC licenses at the http://creativecommons.org/learn/licenses/">Creative Commons Licences Explained page.  That page also has links to their explanations in comic book format.

Julie
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