Archive for January 20th, 2013

20
Jan
13

when is a PDF worth $1?

Question for our three readers:

I’ve got a convention-ready B/X adventure that includes a Dungeon, a Dragon, an Evil Wizard, a Castle, some Wilderness Environs, and, I suppose, a spare monster lair or two as one-pagers, along with a party of pre-generated characters.  It runs to completion in about 3-5 hours depending on whether parties take certain shortcuts or get incinerated by dragon-fire.  If you want all the Dungeons & Dragons stuff that Frank Mentzer promised you as a child, condensed into a four hour time slot, I’ve play-tested this thing 6 times and it’s solid.

It’s written for a party around 5,000 XP (approx 3rd level), but yesterday I ran it for a single character with 300,000 XP (approx 9th level) and it proved about as challenging.

I would gladly offer this thing for free, because the OSR provides so many awesome things for free just as part of the culture.  Except that the effort to typing up an explanation, design notes, suggestions, and so on would require taking time away from other things I would rather do, such as playing games, reading comics, and doing my real job.  (For all I care, I’m fine donating the money to a colon cancer charity; I just want to feel that my effort is accomplishing more than just providing an afternoon’s distraction.)

So I would like to charge a nominal fee for this thing to explain to my girlfriend why I am working on this instead doing the dishes, but the question is: if you are going to spend $1 on something, what’s the minimum level of professional production you’d expect?  New monsters, spells, character classes?  Art by someone who cannot draw?  Art by someone who can draw?  Layout by someone who understands the difference between Tahoma and Calibri, or just a slab of text?

To avoid failure, I’m not setting a date or promising anything.  I’m just wondering what the OSR’s expectations are regarding a producer’s ethical obligations when charging a nominal fee for (to be honest) meat & potatoes content.

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