Why the LotFP Grand Adventure Campaign Matters

Yesterday I talked about how Charlatan, Ryan Browning, and I were going be part of the insane, ambitious Lamentations of the Flame Princess effort to crowd-fund nineteen different adventures at once, and why that didn’t happen. Here’s why I think the effort is admirable and well worthy of your close attention.

  1. Diversity. I mentioned how some of the creators James Raggi has gathered together into a nineteen-headed hydra are considered by some to be ideological enemies of the OSR, including one of the leading inheritors of the Forge’s legacy and some of the key figures in WotC-era D&D and the Paizo adventure path. Mule readers are no doubt much too cool to be down with this particular divisiveness; certainly I feel no shame in proclaiming myself a fan of Vincent, Monte, and Richard. What’s really remarkable is that Raggi has brought together worlds that I hardly even knew were into RPGs; you’ll find here adventures from GWAR’s lead singer and the drummer for the doom/death metal band Eminent Remains, plus some eminent representatives from a Nordic scene that I’m really excited to have been learning about recently. You could say that the fact that all these different folks are interested in writing an adventure for LotFP means the OSR has won. You could also say it’s a sign the OSR is no more; I think a key indicator of a dead subculture is that it no longer has efficient cell walls with which to exclude “outsiders”. Let’s say instead that it’s a remarkable tribute to the inclusiveness and far-reaching appeal of LotFP’s version of the old-school aesthetic, and the boldness and energy with which Raggi has communicated that vision to so many corners of the world.
  2. Innovation. Crowd-funding is so new that there is still no consensus on the best way to handle lots of fundamental things. One of the more important is how to combine orders into a package for the mutual benefit of the backers and publisher. The Grand Adventures campaign is an ambitious new approach to that problem, which has the extra benefits of breath-taking scope and attention-getting audacity.
  3. Visibility. The professional field of role-playing games is hindered by the fact that business data is so hard to get (outside of exemplary cases like Evil Hat). One great thing about crowd-funding is that it creates transparency for some of the key things you’d want to know. This is wonderfully leveraged by the insane ambition of Raggi’s grand scheme. Is there an audience for an old-school adventure by a designer from (just about any background you can think of)? Does it help or hurt to run 19 crowd-funding efforts simultaneously? Instead of just wondering, we can look at the IndieGoGo pages and find out.

In the above, I’ve been talking from the perspective of a scene-watcher and OSR theorist. I assume that is of at least some interest to you, gentle Mule reader (or else that you tl;dr past many of our posts). More importantly, though, you and I are also gamers and lovers of fine gaming products. I’m confident that some great ones will result from the Grand Adventures campaign. Which you’ll be attracted to is a matter of taste.

For my part, I’m particularly interested in ones where the artist is also the illustrator, which I suspect is part of the genius of Jaquays’ work. I’m going to back Strange and Sinister Shores because I was intrigued by Jonathan Bingham’s illustrations for ACKS and want to see the stories he has behind them. I’ll pledge to that one because I especially want to see it succeed, but I’ll choose the Faithful reward level so I get a copy of every one that does make it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go figure out how to register at IndieGoGo.

9 Responses to “Why the LotFP Grand Adventure Campaign Matters”

  1. 1 Alan
    July 7, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    I can not help but think that nearly all of these modules will fail to be funded (with the exception of Jeff Rient’s module, which has seemed to hit a sweet spot so far).

    By offering 19 simultaneous options for people to select from, and knowing that most people will support 1 or 2 of them at most, you have fragmented your offerings to such an extent that the average support for an individual module has been diluted to 5- 10% of your target audience.

    From a customer’s point of view, none of these offerings appear to have any stretch goals. I would have much rather seen something along the lines of the Appendix N adventure offering from Brave Halfling, which offered a guaranteed adventure plus the prospect of more bonus adventures if stretch goals were met.

    I hope I am completely wrong, and that a majority of these will be funded. However, my guy feeling says that this will not happen.

  2. July 7, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Yeah, I am also going to rain on the parade and say that I think this is a bit too many at a time. When you only have so much money to spend, you spend it on a few names. I for one can’t afford to support all!

    That being said, James is great. He goes all the way and the set of ideas and peoples are amazing. I’d like to see some stretch goals as well. I know I’d probably spend some more that way. Anyway, I hope all gets funded because they are probably worth it…

  3. July 7, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    If it fails, that’d be bad for the creators and the fans who want their stuff, but still good for the hobby because we could all learn from the example of a publicly-conducted experiment. Mr. Raggi is [talking about it a little at this link].

  4. 4 David Macauley
    July 8, 2012 at 12:13 am

    I must confess until I’d read this post that I had thought it was necessary to pledge on the whole package, which was something I couldn’t afford to do. I didn’t realise that it was possible to pledge on individual projects. Either I’ve been a slack reader or that message hasn’t been clear.

  5. July 8, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Really? David, I think your reading have been sloppy. For me that was obvious from the start. It is kind of bad news for LotFP though, since it means more people could have gotten that impression.

    Damn, I think I will have to go a chip in my cents on the projects I like, now when I have talked about the problems, I might have to make sure I help the good stuff happening. :)

  6. July 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I pledged on a couple of the adventures.

    I’ll join the rainmakers, though definitely credit is due to Raggi for experimenting. Nonetheless, I’ve found all of his campaigns so far kind of weird, both in the pricing and in what was being produced.

    And if celebrating diversity is the goal, producing a single adventure compendium with all of these various authors would have made a lot more sense, IMO.

  7. July 10, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Tavis, Thanks for the support. I think it is an ambitious goal, but at the same time it does elevate the awareness of the hobbysit gaming community by bringing in folks from outside the traditional hobbyist gaming sphere. Is the goal daunting? Yeah, but then again, I think if it could be pulled off, it would bring some interesting diversity to the gaming community and some interesting ideas for sure. I mean the lead singer from Gwar? Yeah, I want to see what kinda stuff he’s going to come up with ;).

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July 2012

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