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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.