Saturday, 13 March 2021

Onwards and upwards...

Since my last post I've done a few things.

Running & Playing

Ran session two of Midnight Sub Rosa for Pelgrane Press' Trail of Cthulhu.


As someone who likes a visual reference both as a GM and a player I decided to make a "map" of sorts for one of the scenes not depicted in the adventure.  Whilst I could narrate the scene (and I did) I find it helps to have something visual to help guide that narration.


In session one there were no dice rolls, safe to say that there were dice rolls aplenty during this session. Fortunately the investigators recovered the occult text and returned it to Miskatonic University; and now must come to terms with all that they've seen.


This was the first time I'd used the AGE system that Green Ronin have published. As I understand it the version for The Expanse RPG is subtly different from how it's implemented in ModernAGE etc.  I enjoyed the game and the system and can see me returning to it in the future.


So far that's two new games I've run and I've got more games planned.

Alongside those my two D&D campaigns continue to move along nicely, plus I got to play in a game of the new Judge Dredd RPG run by Ross and playtested a new Eberron Adventurers League scenario with Rich, Shane, Ian, Iain and Pete.  All good stuff.

Writing

I've been struggling a bit with this, probably due to too many other things occupying my brain (see above) and missed my planned DMsGuild release in February. It's fine though because...

Out of the blue, thanks to a random reference by Kevin Y and John D to a certain film about immortals with swords I wrote this.

"Less Than Two" A One Page RPG about immortals who wield swords.
I woke up on Sunday morning with the game largely formed in my head. About 6 hours of effort later it was written, had artwork and I'd made it look all fancy thanks to Affinity Publisher. 
So I decided to publish it!  It's "Pay What You Want" with a suggested donation of $2.
It's available on itch.io here and on DriveThruRPG here.


I've also come up with an idea for a series of horror / mystery adventures. Will likely use Gumshoe given my familiarity with it. It's a question of whether that's a hack using the SRD or whether it's using Fear Itself and/or Esoterrorists to take advantage of the DriveThru Community Content licence.
Either way I've given myself 6 months to at least publish the first part...

First though is finish at least one of the DMsGuild products I've got loosely drafted.  Starting with one about a broken time-control clock.

Mapping

I've decided to pick up an Inkarnate license ($25 for a year).
Main reason I chose Inkarnate over other platforms is that the price includes Commercial Use and with that comes a LOT of assets.  If Dungeondraft had a larger Commercial Use asset list included by default then I may have opted for that instead.

Think I'm getting comfortable with it as an app but notice there's a real lack of tutorial videos out there for it...  So if anyone knows of any please get in touch!

Events

Ok so the main bit of news is that we've cancelled 2021's Tabletop Scotland event.  Full details are on the website here.
In short, our venue is currently a vaccination hub for Perth and there is no end date for that.  As a result the venue management team contacted all event organisers to let them know that they were cancelling all 2021 bookings.  We'll confirm 2022 dates when we can.

In the meantime, I co-organised a D&D Game Day over on the Dungeons & Dragons Scotland Discord Server on Saturday 13th March 2021 (today as I write this). Good variety of games offered up and whilst I didn't play in any of them I'm keen to see what the feedback is like on the event. Maybe we'll do another one?
At the very least I hope it enables the D&D Scotland community to embrace more conventions in general.  Not least of which is AlbaCon in October.  Proper planning for that will start soon.

Sunday, 7 February 2021

RPGs in Scotland and New Gamemaster Month

I started 2021 with a few notions in the back of my head about what I wanted to achieve this year
I referred to some of those in my end of 2020 post.

Mostly my hobby goal is to enjoy my hobby as much as I can whilst also introducing others to it

One of the things I did in 2020 was to re-launch the Dungeons & Dragons Scotland community and as referenced in that end of 2020 post it has grown significantly and continues to do so.

The Facebook Group now sits at 830 members with the Discord at 412 and both are growing almost daily.

For 2021 I want to diversify the range of RPGs I run and at the same time create a hub for that "non-D&D" community and so thanks to a few others who play a range of RPGs I created a sibling for D&D Scotland called RPG Scotland.

Currently the RPG Scotland community is split into 3 sections:

RPG Scotland Facebook Group (72 Members) - https://www.facebook.com/groups/rpgscotland/
RPG Scotland One Shots Facebook Group (122 Members) - https://www.facebook.com/groups/rpgscotlandoneshots/ 
RPG Scotland Discord (130 Members) - https://discord.gg/zMvpJP2JB6

Why 3? Well the original idea behind having separate Facebook Groups was to have a specific group purely for arranging one shot games.  The Discord is for both communities rather than having it fragmented over multiple servers.  Will see how things develop over the next month or two but I suspect a merger of the two Facebook groups might make sense.

One of the specific benefits of the RPG Scotland community that I can already see is that if I want to run a game that is more of an "idea" than a campaign, then I can get a group of players for it pretty easily.

What to run though? Well I listed several options in my previous post but also remembered early in January that New Gamemaster Month was about to start.


What is New Gamemaster Month?
Well, it happens every January and involves multiple publishers providing support for new GMs to run their games.
2021's list was - Numenera, Unknown Armies, Trail of Cthulhu, Runequest, Monster of the Week & Delta Green.

I ruled out Numenera, Unknown Armies, Runequest and Monster of the Week pretty quickly due to having ran them before or feeling the systems weren't a match for my game style. That doesn't mean I won't revisit them, more that as something I learn to run then organise a game for inside a month it needed to at least be adjacent to my GMing preferences and ideally new.

Gumshoe based RPGs have been something I've looked at in recent years, particularly with Night's Black Agents, so Trail of Cthulhu was the obvious choice.

So I bought the books (print & PDF) as well as some Night's Black Agents stuff I was missing.


Pelgrane Press provided a free adventure for this, Midnight Sub Rosa, and Roll20 offered a discount on the module so I picked it up there.


The adventure was originally designed as a convention scenario and so can be run in about 4 hours. Knowing that it can also take significantly more than that meant making some tweaks to essentially narrow the focus of the adventure.

I advertised it on the RPG Scotland Discord and quickly had 5 players (the most I tend to have for online games) and made it clear that it likely would take more than 1 session although likely no more than 2.


Telegram made using template at https://www.dholeshouse.org/

First session was last Thursday (4th Feb) and served as a reminder of the different style of play Gumshoe provides.  We played for 3ish hours (part two will be needed) and I can't recall any dice being rolled.  This was mostly down to investigative abilities being used which in Gumshoe terms means you don't roll, you simply "spend" a point to get the clue.  Dice tend to only be needed where a direct test is required e.g. in combat situations.
Fun was had and we should have the next session in a couple of weeks time.

I've currently pitched 3 other games on the RPG Scotland Discord:
Feb 25 19:30 The Expanse RPG - One shot [GM: Dave]
Mar 25 19:30 Polar Light (All Flesh Must Be Eaten) [GM: Dave]
Apr 22 19:30 Star Wars: Prison Break (In or Out?) [GM: Dave]

I've run that latter two a few times at conventions and as one shots in the past whereas The Expanse is a completely new system for me and I just need to decide which scenario to run...


Fortunately I have a few options there.

Friday, 1 January 2021

Community Content Publishing (OneBookShelf)

What, a post so soon?

It's Day 1 of 2021 but I'm not using that naming convention for these blog posts anymore.

I mentioned in my end of year post about potentially publishing content for games other than D&D.

Whilst doing some reading of the other Community Content Programmes on DriveThruRPG I thought it may be of interest to others how this works.


Before we dive in though.

I am NOT an expert on this subject but I have spent a fair bit of time reading the info on DriveThruRPGs website and doing some digging around the interwebs.  If any of this is wrong, please let me know!


If you're creating something that is not tied to an existing RPG and you want to publish it on DriveThru then you have two options:

  1. Exclusive
  2. Non-Exclusive

What's the difference?  This page explains https://www.drivethrurpg.com/joinchoice.php and here's the table for speed.

Download Exclusive

Download Non-Exclusive

Earnings on digital sales

70% of customer price you set

65% of customer price you set

Digital sales channels

Only resold through DriveThruRPG.com

Sold anywhere

Earnings on printed sales

70% of print margin*

65% of print margin*

Printed sales channels

Sold anywhere

Sold anywhere

Enhanced title rotation

Yes

No

Bonus on-site promotion

Yes

No

If you want to create something that IS tied to an existing RPG then worth looking at the Community Content Programmes on DriveThru.

Three things to consider.

1. If you're planning to create products for one of the Community Content Programmes on DriveThruRPG then first you need to decide which one. This page lists all of them - https://www.drivethrurpg.com/cc/0/default

All of them give you access to their IP and in many cases provide artwork, templates for InDesign, Word and Affinity Publisher to create content and a variety of other resources.

This is really important to consider when creating something.  If you're wanting to write for a specific RPG then it's an easier decision to make because you are actually writing for that RPG.  If you don't want to lose that 15% or 20% then you have to ensure that what you produce doesn't infringe on copyrights or at the very least uses Open Gaming content.

2. The trade off is in the Earnings %.

In the main the Royalty % is 50% although there is one exception I could find (Savage Worlds) and a few where I couldn't find the %  on the DriveThru website (those in italics).  I'd err on the side of those being 50% too though.

Community Content Programmes

Royalty

Canis Minor (Pugmire)

50% Royalty

Chronicle System Guild (Green Ronin)

??% Royalty

Cypher System Creator Program

50% Royalty

Disciples of the Demon Lord

??% Royalty

DMsGuild

50% Royalty

Free League Workshop

50% Royalty

Genesys Foundry

50% Royalty

Gumshoe Community

50% Royalty

HERO GAMES

50% Royalty

Hero Kids Creator's Guild

50% Royalty

Infiniverse (Torg)

??% Royalty

Jonstown Compendium (Runequest)

50% Royalty

Miskatonic Repository

50% Royalty

Pip Worlds ???

50% Royalty

Savage Worlds Adventurer's Guild

60% Royalty

Scriptorium Aventuris (The Dark Eye)

??% Royalty

Slarecian Vault (Scarred Lands)

50% Royalty

Storypath Nexus

50% Royalty

Storytellers Vault

50% Royalty

Stratosphere (Unknown Armies)

??% Royalty

TinyTrove (Tinyd6)

??% Royalty

Travellers' Aid Society

50% Royalty

WOIN (What's Old Is New)

50% Royalty

ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous

50% Royalty


Stuff not listed would include games / systems like Pathfinder, Powered by the Apocalypse and FATE mostly because they either don't share their IP or have no specific IP to share.  If you're using these then you're not using a Community Content Programme and if you publish for these on DriveThruRPG then you're able to take advantage of the Exclusive / Non-Exclusive options above.

3.  If you're publishing D&D 5e compatible material you have 2 options.
  1. DMsGuild
  2. 5e OGL / SRD on DriveThruRPG
The former gives you access to the D&D IP and the dedicated D&D platform for customers that is DMsGuild. Although that's with a 50% royalty.
The latter gives you access to (most of) the core of D&D 5e as a game and gives you 65%-70% royalty. Although that's with being in a marketplace (DriveThruRPG) that isn't targeted at the D&D community.

That said it is worth noting that if the OGL / SRD approach means you can publish stuff wherever you like whether that's itch.io or Kickstarter or frankly anywhere.  DMsGuild produced stuff can only be sold via DMsGuild.

Beyond that we get into the area of ownership of what is created.
It's here that I need to clearly state that I am not a lawyer.

Below is a summary from Travis Legge comparing three such offerings.  Travis also isn’t a lawyer, but he’s been involved in self-publishing for many years so certainly a good guide.

DMsGuild

The FAQ states, “Wizards does not own any of the unique IP that you create in your publications. Wizards does own the IP that they contribute, plus the DMs Guild agreement will grant Wizards and other DMs Guild authors a license to use your IP.

That said, if your work merits incorporation into canon, Wizards will contact you about purchasing your IP outright.”

What this means is that if you create a Wizard named Blinky McScuzzlefort and in an adventure you create for the Dungeon Masters Guild, you have Blinky McScuzzlefort get kidnapped by Mind Flayers (A Wizards of the Coast IP property) that you own Blinky McScuzzlefort and Wizards keeps ownership of Mind Flayers.

If Wizards wants to later use Blinky McScuzzlefort in a book they create called “Blinky McScuzzlefort’s Guide to Stuff” they have to purchase that intellectual property from you in order to do so. This seems to confuse a lot of people, but it is really that simple.

OGL

This is the part of the OGL that new creators seem to find the most challenging. When you publish under the OGL, you effectively split your content into two types, which you must clearly designate in the title or legal page of your text.

The first type of content is Open Game Content, which is game systems, rules, numbers, stat blocks, etc. This is effectively added to the SRD in terms of ability for people to draw from and use in their own publications. It becomes open source. Anyone can use it, so long as they follow the guidelines laid out in the Open Game License.

The second type of content is Product Identity. Product identity is generally Proper Nouns, setting elements, trade dress, storylines, and other non-system items, which you retain ownership and copyright over. Others using the Open Game License can reuse your Open Game Content, but they cannot use your Product Identity.

Slarecian Vault / Canis Minor

These community content programs each list specifics regarding the Product Identity you are allowed to use and the ramifications of publishing under these programs. The Slarecian Vault FAQ, available here, explicitly states that Onyx Path owns the content you create under the Slarecian Vault. This is not the place to publish ideas that you wish to retain ownership of. You won’t.

The Canis Minor FAQ, available here, makes the same stipulation. In effect, you are using their Product Identity to contribute to their Product Identity. This is something to be aware of and create accordingly.


If protecting ownership of any Community Content you create is important to you, worth reviewing the wording of these FAQs etc very carefully.