I should start by apologizing to my four readers for my long absence. I hate excuses, so you're not going to get one. Just an apology.
I should also add that this blog doesn't really see the attention it deserves anymore because I have a lot of other extra-curricular activities going on and no gaming group to speak of. In addition, AEG doesn't do RPG stuff much anymore (four books a year, none of them mine). Add that all up and there's not much to say on this blog unless it's about TOMB or one of our upcoming board games.
That said, I wanted to take this time to bring a lot of things together and maybe focus the point of this blog.
So. In no particular order, here are some observations. I hope you enjoy them (or at the very least don't spit on them).
Roleplaying is a Hobby For many, many years nay-sayers have been complaining that the industry is dying. Games like Star Wars and Earthdawn used to sell 50,000 copies of a core-book or critical expansion. Now they sell less than 5,000.
Dungeons and Dragons 3.0 sold over 1,000,000 copies. The numbers on 4th edition aren't in yet, but we can assume are much smaller. Vampire and Exalted continue to sell marginally better than most of the industry, blah blah blah. The list goes on.
No one is making a million dollars in RPGs anymore. Let's just assume that sentence is correct and move on.
Let us also assume that the people who are still making 3.0, 3.5, and now 4.0 products from a third-party position, do so knowing that their margin is "good enough."
Let us now slide over to the INDIE-movement, called this because the publishers of these games are more concerned with fun than profitability. [I'm sure there's a more elegant way to say that, but I am far from elegant.]
Indie games are all part of a collective of "hobby" games. Instead of building an industry, these post-modern fugitives have built a co-op of ideas (of varrying degrees and lengths) from which we (the consumer) can cherry-pick the best games and ideas, playing anything from mormon paladins to polish teenagers defending Krakow and Warswaza from the German blitzkreig.
Looking back, I wish I'd stuck to my guns and worked on COIL right after the World's Largest Dungeon, either with AEG or independently. I think there's place for a game like this, especially in an environment where so many people are looking for something NEW.
Bringing me to my next point.
I do not game anymore. It has been five months since I last "played" anything that wasn't work related. And while my wife and I can sometimes sit down for a game of Memoir 44 or some puzzle, that's not the kind of gaming that sustained me for years. Building adventures, making up NPCs, writing plots, and developing worlds are all part of the greater geshalt of my gaming experience.
I've been recently toying with the idea of writing another massive RPG adventure book, something really EPIC, not as large as WLD (in page count), but larger in scope of complexity and earth-shattering, while pitting the PCs in an adventure that no one will help them complete.
It excites me to think about it, but I also know how daunting the workload would be, having done it once before.
We'll see what 2009 has to offer, but I'm expecting that the gaming conditions in SoCal are only going to get worse.