feedburner
Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

feedburner count

Frog God Games and Swords & Wizardry? No Thanks, Not for Me.

Labels: , ,

Matt recently announced that Frog God Games will be producing Swords & Wizardry in the future. See this post on the Swords & Wizardry Forums: Frog God and Mythmere News!. At first I thought this was a good idea. Then Chgowiz, Bite The Bulette, and RPG Blog II pointed out a statement of Frog God's "about us" page which is very disparaging of the hobby that supports and created Swords & Wizardry....

We are not the guys who are going to offer bargain basement junk for a quick buck. We won't sell you hand drawn maps and clip art laid out by amateurs and posted up on Lulu.com as a cheap book that you look at and discard.

No thanks. I've already seen what companies who think hobbyists should be ignored in favor of "the pros" have done to the RPG hobby. I will not support another company who thinks great layout and high production values trump all. It's hobbyists who made Swords & Wizardry and hobbyists who make up most of the market for Swords & Wizardry products. Statements like the above at not the way to win friends and influence people in this market.

I sorry to say that I will not be purchasing or recommending to others anything produced by Frog God Games. They can have their apparent "we're pros and so much better than hobbyists" attitude. I want nothing to do with it as I've already seen the damage this industry attitude does to the hobby. Thank God that the Swords & Wizardry rules are OGL so anyone can change the name and produce their own version. The hobby lives, no matter how much the industry does not seem to like us (although they seem to like our dollars just fine.)

19 comments:
gravatar
Callin said...
August 25, 2010 at 3:17 PM  

It's only conceit if they can't back it up. If they can back it up then it is a truth. It's almost like you are saying that hobbyists can't put out junk, which is blatantly not true.
I fully agree that great layouts and high production values alone does not a good game make. Like wise, I believe great layouts, high production values, an excellent rule set and superior support does a good game make...indeed better than those games without all four factors.
You can be upset by their "high-mindedness", but I prefer to judge by the product, because if they can back it up, then their statements of superiority are correct.

gravatar
Al said...
August 25, 2010 at 3:27 PM  

Don't be taken in, those comments had nothing to do with the OSR (it was a Pathfinder issue) See also Matt Finch's comments on it:

"My electricity was out for about 3 hours, and then I spent another hour chainsawing a huge fallen limb apart, so I only just got back to see the explosion of concerns going on here.

Mostly this is about the "crappy, hand-drawn maps" comment. That was from before the S&W deal, and was addressed at whatever Pathfinder stuff is currently being sold on Lulu. Not a jab at anyone publishing in the old school universe, but a jab at Pathfinder quick-buck-publishers. If that material is anything like what got sold for d20, then ... wow. I can see why you'd want to get differentiated from the fast-buck crowd.

That said, given the nature of our crowd, it should have been taken down before the S&W announcement. Because to US, it has an entirely different meaning and implication. We're all about crappy hand drawn maps. Some of us don't even use map grids (Hi, Melan!). We don't need no stinkin' precise maps ... BUT PATHFINDER PLAYERS DO ... or they don't know where to put the miniatures. For that audience, given what they are no doubt being offered on Lulu, it makes a lot of sense for Bill to have been very emphatic about maps.

Another quick point - I'm not going a different direction - I'm still writing S&W modules and resources, but now I just give them to Bill to finish off. The effort of getting volunteer artists and layout and doing all the other detail-work necessary for completing a resource is very, very difficult and time-consuming. Now I can focus on the writing instead of the things I'm not so good at.

More later - I will keep reading for other concerns on the announcement thread to see what else I should comment on. But don't jump at first impressions, guys. Most of us ain't exactly smooth, ourselves."

gravatar
Al said...
August 25, 2010 at 3:28 PM  

Matt Finch - My electricity was out for about 3 hours, and then I spent another hour chainsawing a huge fallen limb apart, so I only just got back to see the explosion of concerns going on here.

Mostly this is about the "crappy, hand-drawn maps" comment. That was from before the S&W deal, and was addressed at whatever Pathfinder stuff is currently being sold on Lulu. Not a jab at anyone publishing in the old school universe, but a jab at Pathfinder quick-buck-publishers. If that material is anything like what got sold for d20, then ... wow. I can see why you'd want to get differentiated from the fast-buck crowd.

That said, given the nature of our crowd, it should have been taken down before the S&W announcement. Because to US, it has an entirely different meaning and implication. We're all about crappy hand drawn maps. Some of us don't even use map grids (Hi, Melan!). We don't need no stinkin' precise maps ... BUT PATHFINDER PLAYERS DO ... or they don't know where to put the miniatures. For that audience, given what they are no doubt being offered on Lulu, it makes a lot of sense for Bill to have been very emphatic about maps.

Another quick point - I'm not going a different direction - I'm still writing S&W modules and resources, but now I just give them to Bill to finish off. The effort of getting volunteer artists and layout and doing all the other detail-work necessary for completing a resource is very, very difficult and time-consuming. Now I can focus on the writing instead of the things I'm not so good at.

More later - I will keep reading for other concerns on the announcement thread to see what else I should comment on. But don't jump at first impressions, guys. Most of us ain't exactly smooth, ourselves.

gravatar
Al said...
August 25, 2010 at 3:29 PM  

http://www.swordsandwizardry.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=2854

gravatar
Randall said...
August 25, 2010 at 3:29 PM  

@Callin -- one of the main points of the "Old School Revival" is a return of the amateur/Do-It-Yourself attitude. A company can plug its high production values without attacking the amateurs and Do-It-Yourself people that make up the majority of the Old School market -- especially if you want to sell to those people. I simply do not support companies that choose to dump on the hobby to promote their product -- especially if they are selling OSR product.

gravatar
Al said...
August 25, 2010 at 3:31 PM  

Sorry, didn't mean that to take up three comment boxes. :(

gravatar
Randall said...
August 25, 2010 at 3:44 PM  

@Al -- I don't find Matt's explanation that helpful to my primary concern. It's not that the statement should have been taken down before the S&W announcement, it's that the statement should have never been made. It conveys (to me) an anti-amateur, anti-do-it-yourself, "leave game and adventure development to the pros" attitude that I loathe as much for WOTC editions of D&D as I do for old school editions. Gaming needs more hobbyist/amateur/do-it-yourself stuff and does not need a gaming company that cannot think of a way to promote its great production values without dumping on hobbyists.

gravatar
Matt Finch said...
August 25, 2010 at 3:48 PM  

@Randall -- I assume you're not deliberately ignoring the point, but that comment was from when FGG was only publishing Pathfinder material, so it's simply dead wrong to characterize it as "attacking the ...people who make up the majority of the Old School market."

gravatar
Matt Finch said...
August 25, 2010 at 3:49 PM  

We cross posted Randall, I was answering your earlier one.

gravatar
Matt Finch said...
August 25, 2010 at 3:54 PM  

My perspective is that he's attacking publishers who deliberately turn out a crappy product in order to take advantage of a market like Pathfinder. I'm all in favor of that.

The comment's not about what hobbyists are doing, it's about what publishers are doing. Not our old school publishers, and probably not lots of the Pathfinder publishers, either. But I imagine that Pathfinder players are wading through a lot of junk products right now, and at least Bill's got the cojones to say what he thinks about junk publishers instead of just keeping quiet.

gravatar
Randall said...
August 25, 2010 at 4:29 PM  

@Matt: I'm sorry but I just don't see it that way. Perhaps Frog God Games did not mean to attack "amateurs" and their publications, perhaps the statement really was referring to "other pro companies who production standards aren't as high as ours."

Unfortunately, the actual statement they made did not mention other pro companies just "....hand drawn maps and clip art laid out by amateurs and posted up on Lulu.com...." Their choice of words made it an attack on amateurs and do-it-yourselfers. As it would have been easy to take they high ground and promote their high quality production and layout standards without attacking amateurs selling their product on lulu as hobbyists, I see no reason to cut them any slack by assuming they did not mean what they wrote.

I've seen too much anti-amateur/anti-hobbyist stuff from the RPG industry over the years to have any tolerance for it, especially has I have always felt that this industry attitude truly harms the hobby. I don't want to see a repeat of TSR's attitude to amateur productions and the hobby from any publisher, let alone an OSR publisher. Unfortunately, Frog God Games' statement sure looks like they might be headed in that direction.

gravatar
Scott said...
August 25, 2010 at 6:24 PM  

Do DIYers really buy that many products? It's a safer financial bet to alienate people who write their own material, or cobble it together from out-of-print sources, than the people interested in glossy new pre-made settings and adventures. If you're interested in making money, it's probably best to alienate the former, not the latter.

Of course, it raises the question of whether you should be alienating *any* potential buyers. It does seem like a poor choice of words and sentiment.

gravatar
Badmike said...
August 25, 2010 at 8:09 PM  

So you're being deliberately obtuse to prove a point, or what? Doesn't sound like any explanation would have satisfied you as your mind was already made up.

Crap is crap. Some DIY stuff is great, some is junk. I don't have any problems with the way it was worded at all, as the intent seemed to be to promote a professional product over a non-professional one. Badly worded, perhaps. Indicative of a world class evil cabal intent on destroying all vestiges of hands on OSR publishing, not so much.

gravatar
Akrasia said...
August 25, 2010 at 10:59 PM  

So, despite both Al and Matt clearly explaining that the comment in question was not made towards the 'DIY crowd supporting S&W' but instead Pathfinder material, you are still 'not satisfied?!?

It is really sad the way that so many people in the OSR are not willing to give either Matt Finch or Bill Webb the benefit of the doubt -- both of whom are 'DIY-ers' themselves.

Why the enthusiasm to assume the absolute worst?

gravatar
Randall said...
August 26, 2010 at 7:16 AM  

@Akrasia: I guess I'm just not getting how saying FGG was talking about the amateurs producing stuff for 3e/Pathfinder not the amateurs producing OSR stuff is supposed to be reassuring when my problem is the attack on amateur material in general (i.e. it doesn't matter that the amateurs under discussion were producing material for a game I don't play). If I've missed a better explanation that covers this, please point me to it.

I'm not enthused to have these concerns, but I do have them -- and I can't just ignore them to act enthused when I'm not.

gravatar
ChicagoWiz said...
August 26, 2010 at 9:31 AM  

@Randall - +1 on that last comment because that's the issue I have as well. "It's not US, it's them, fuck them..." where there's an underlying attitude. I just was too emotional to state that yesterday.

I'll sit back and watch, but personally, it's left a really sour taste. Gonna take a lot of sugar to make it go away.

gravatar
Akrasia said...
August 26, 2010 at 11:40 AM  

The comments by FGG were directed at folks claiming to produce 'professional' work for d20/Pathfinder, but in fact producing amateur-quality material, not 'self-professed DIYers'.

In any case, Bill Webb has apologized for the original remarks -- even though the people taking such ridiculous offense were not in any way the ones about whom the remarks were written.

Yet still, somehow, you are bitter about this. Amazing.

gravatar
jaerdaph said...
August 26, 2010 at 7:33 PM  

I think once you start charging money for a product, you cross over the "amateur hobbyist" line and open yourself to criticism - not only of the work itself but the production values.

That said, it's one thing to make those criticisms as a consumer, another when you make them as a company.

gravatar
Randall said...
August 26, 2010 at 7:53 PM  

I see the offending statement has been removed from the Frog God Web site. That's a fair start. I'll at least consider their products, this whole thing still leaves a somewhat bad taste in my mouth. Oh well, the world will still turn.

Post a Comment

Post a Comment