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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 49 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: How would you publish and market a "Rules Lite" system  (Read 4631 times)
Ben Lehman
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Posts: 2094

Blissed


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« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2005, 10:32:03 PM »

CS

First off, good luck with your project.

Secondly, I'm going to offer you a little bit of different advice.  I'm going to suggest that you keep your original setting and system, but that you just keep your setting material under 20 pages.  Really, few gamers read anything more than 5 pages of setting material, anyway, except for GMs, and then it just turns into "GM shoves setting down player's throat" which is no fun.

All you need to play an RPG is a feeling for how the setting, and a couple of good, juicy conflicts.  That can be accomplished in under 20 pages, easy.

I don't mean to say "buy my book" but this is what I did in Polaris and it worked wonders.

yrs--
--Ben
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CSBone
Member

Posts: 65


« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2005, 10:32:42 AM »

Chad, thank you for the breakdown! That is extremely useful to me!

Chris, I appreciate your input...it seems to mirror what the others are saying.

Hi Ben!
Quote
I'm going to suggest that you keep your original setting and system, but that you just keep your setting material under 20 pages.  Really, few gamers read anything more than 5 pages of setting material, anyway, except for GMs, and then it just turns into "GM shoves setting down player's throat" which is no fun.

All you need to play an RPG is a feeling for how the setting, and a couple of good, juicy conflicts.

If it worked for you then I think I'm going to go that way. It honestly never occured to me to go short but I've been thinking about it all week and it makes sense.

Thank you all for your input. I now have a good idea of where I need to go from here.

C. S. Bone
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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Posts: 1144

the glyphpress


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« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2005, 03:57:34 PM »

Under the Bed broke even and started paying me what it owed me in about a week from its release. At this point, I've made back my design time investment. That happened for a couple of reasons:

The format was simple to print (if a little weird looking on a shelf).

I printed out twice as many as I thought I was going to sell but didn't invest in a big print run. If your game's a PDF, you don't really have to worry about this.

It gives something for the players to grab onto: evocative tools for making a setting. It doesn't try to be all things to all men, just one thing to a disproportionate number of women.

Shock:'s initial playtest version has seen hundreds of downloads since I posted it for comment five weeks ago. It's free (and you can really taste the savings), but obviously I would have gotten a lot fewer downloads if I was selling it for a dollar. So I guess this depends on what your goals are.

What I would suggest is, do what Ben says: write a setting that will get protags in serious trouble. Support it with your rule system. Then write design notes about how to use the system for other things.

How confident are you about the quality of this system? I ask not to challenge you, but to encourage you to really work it out. Put it up for playtest. No one will pull punches here, but neither will your audience. When the revisions are done, you may find that you've got something that doesn't need to be cheap in every way; you may find you've polished it to a gem: small, elegant, and beautiful. And not cheap.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
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