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Old 06-13-2008, 02:26 PM   #1
Mgellis
 
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Default GURPS, 4th edition D&D, and World Books

In an earlier thread...

http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=40864

...it sounded as if one of the main reasons SJG does not produce more world books is simply that it lacks the resources--time, staff, etc.--to handle both the production of core books like Powers and High-Tech and also support additional separate lines dedicated to specific settings. Individual world books will appear through e23, but we probably should not expect a new Yrth book every few months or anything like that.

Although regrettable, this is completely understandable.

But we still want those new world books! How do we get them?

I recently read the follow commentary on 4th edition D&D...

http://jediwiker.livejournal.com/57390.html

...and what shocked me was that 39% of polled players say they will not switch to the new version. (And there's another 22% who appear to be undecided.)

So 2 out of 5 (maybe 3 out of 5) D&D players are not interested in the new version. Why? The rules may be one reason. But the lack of support for their favorite settings might be part of it, too. As I have said in some other threads, I think a lot of gamers are attracted more to a setting, mood, etc. than a set of rules. They don't game to create or tinker; they game to lose themselves in a certain kind of fictional world, exactly the way some people enjoy certain movies because those movies let them lose themselves in a particular fictional world.

A lot of D&D players will simply keep playing 3.5 (there is certainly enough material for it). But some of them may have been "shaken loose" by all the recent changes in D&D. How many of them might finally be willing to give GURPS a try if the right setting appeared and was supported?

Of course, we're back to the problem of resources. Even if people were willing to write up the new material, it still has to be edited, artwork still has to be done, etc. It's a big risk for SJG.

One solution (along with e23) might be third party publishers. SJG provides the core rules; the third party publishers coordinate with SJG to create and support specific settings. Again, I don't think these publishers are going to completely drop D&D, but imagine if even two or three of them could be convinced to support a new GURPS setting along with their other product lines.

I'm not pretending this is simple. There are a lot of issues. How can these publishers be convinced to take a chance on a GURPS line? What's involved in getting a license from SJG? And what's in it for these publishers? Not surprisingly, I don't know the answers. But I am curious.

Any thoughts on all this?

Mark

Last edited by Mgellis; 06-13-2008 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 06-13-2008, 02:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: GURPS, 4th edition D&D, and World Books

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgellis
How can these publishers be convinced to take a chance on a GURPS line? What's involved in getting a license from SJG? And what's in it for these publishers?
I am not an SJ Games employee, but my understanding is that it usually works something like this: 3rd party publisher decides they want to publish something under GURPS rules. Publisher contacts SJ to discuss licensing GURPS. Publisher and SJ work out a deal, whereby the publisher gets to use GURPS rules and SJ Games gets some money and some level of approval over the finished product. Publisher gets author(s) and editor(s) to work. Publisher hands book over to SJ Games for approval. SJ, seeing that they haven't made a hash of GURPS rules or suddenly decided to write GURPS Pornstar, gives his thumbs-up. Publisher publishes book.

The advantages to the third party publisher are the use of a reasonably well-known rules set (rather than having to make up his own) and a shot at the market of GURPS players. The potential benefit, alas, is probably small, seeing as only a small fraction of the already not-very-large number of GURPS players will buy a book for any particular setting. That, after all, is one of the reasons why SJ Games doesn't publish settings. There's also an additional cost to the publisher involved, in the license fee. SJ Games doesn't get off scott-free either, since it takes somebody's already precious time (and that's likely to include some time from fairly senior people, like Kromm, Phil Reed, or SJ hisownself).

So what does that mean? In most cases, probably that it's not worth it to either party. A publisher who doesn't have his own system can either go on the cheap and use something public domain like FUDGE or jump through some more hoops in return for something with a much larger potential customer base, like whatever Tactical Wizards of the Hasbro are publishing.
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Old 06-13-2008, 02:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: GURPS, 4th edition D&D, and World Books

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgellis
One solution (along with e23) might be third party publishers. SJG provides the core rules; the third party publishers coordinate with SJG to create and support specific settings. Again, I don't think these publishers are going to completely drop D&D, but imagine if even two or three of them could be convinced to support a new GURPS setting along with their other product lines.

I'm not pretending this is simple. There are a lot of issues. How can these publishers be convinced to take a chance on a GURPS line? What's involved in getting a license from SJG? And what's in it for these publishers? I honestly don't know the answers. But I am curious.
SJG generally has a very uncomfortable relationship with outside publishers. There have been bad experiences with a company in Brazil, but fairly good ones with one or more groups in Japan, as far as I know (not very much).

SJG seems very interested in upholding the standards of quality associated with their brand name, which makes them rather shy about licensing third parties, historically speaking. The Powered by GURPS label may help with that, though - Prime Directive was printed under it.
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Old 06-13-2008, 02:43 PM   #4
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Default Re: GURPS, 4th edition D&D, and World Books

I think a line (or multiple lines) of world books would do really well under GURPS. If a good third party publisher did come along a start making world books for GURPS (depending on setting), I buy them.

I've even thought of submitting a few pieces to start my own line of world books. Alas, like some many others, it is my hobby and my time is limited by trying to fed myself. :(
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: GURPS, 4th edition D&D, and World Books

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Originally Posted by Mgellis
...and what shocked me was that 39% of polled players say they will not switch to the new version. (And there's another 22% who appear to be undecided.)
Interesting... though I wonder how seriously the industry pros, like the good SJG people, take survey results like that. After all, it's easy for 39% of respondents to say now that they won't switch, but not so easy to continue to resist the pull of a shiny new game... I'll bet a lot of those people do end up switching! (Just a guess, of course.)
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: GURPS, 4th edition D&D, and World Books

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Originally Posted by tbone
Interesting... though I wonder how seriously the industry pros, like the good SJG people, take survey results like that. After all, it's easy for 39% of respondents to say now that they won't switch, but not so easy to continue to resist the pull of a shiny new game... I'll bet a lot of those people do end up switching! (Just a guess, of course.)
Indeed. A friend of mine pre-ordered the 4e core books – after swearing he would have nothing to do with it.
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Old 06-15-2008, 09:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: GURPS, 4th edition D&D, and World Books

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgellis

[...]

As I have said in some other threads, I think a lot of gamers are attracted more to a setting, mood, etc. than a set of rules. They don't game to create or tinker; they game to lose themselves in a certain kind of fictional world, exactly the way some people enjoy certain movies because those movies let them lose themselves in a particular fictional world.

[...]
(Emphasis mine)

You are dead on target.

I don't play Shadowrun because I liked the mechanics of the system, I play it because it's one of the coolest settings around. It has a fusion of tech and magic and extrapolation from the 'real world' that gives it a style all it's own, and with a good GM, it's a heck of a lot of fun.
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Old 06-15-2008, 10:18 PM   #8
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Default Re: GURPS, 4th edition D&D, and World Books

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone
Interesting... though I wonder how seriously the industry pros, like the good SJG people, take survey results like that. After all, it's easy for 39% of respondents to say now that they won't switch, but not so easy to continue to resist the pull of a shiny new game... I'll bet a lot of those people do end up switching! (Just a guess, of course.)
Absolutely, and I should have considered that in my initial post. I was just really surprised by the figures the author of the article had given.

To have two people out of five say, "No, not interested" before they even look at the new rules seems pretty significant. WotC doesn't seem to have gotten enough people excited about the new rules (and a lot of the people who are excited are excited because they're annoyed, something else that doesn't sound like good news for WotC).

Actually, I've played using the new rules (a friend had a demo; I think it's a download from the WotC site). They're okay. I think they streamlined the combat system a little so gameplay is a bit faster. So I suspect a lot of people who do try the rules out will eventually switch.

But if even half of those who said "No," keep saying it, then WotC has lost one fifth of its customers. Ouch.

Now, most of those people will just keep playing 3.5. But some of them, especially since settings like Greyhawk may no longer be supported (or are supported but changed significantly), might decide it's just time to try out a new game. Who will get their money? In many cases, the most interesting setting...the rules, as long as they're not stupid or too hard, will be less important than whether or not the setting looks like fun.

So maybe this is a good time to get some third party publishers interested in developing a "Powered by GURPS" setting.

Mark
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Old 06-15-2008, 10:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: GURPS, 4th edition D&D, and World Books

The reason I bought GURPS was because I was interested in combining things from one setting with other settings so what would be useful to me would be to have GURPS writers follow games that are selling well and try to adapt something similar to GURPS rules.
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: GURPS, 4th edition D&D, and World Books

I'll be honest, for me and mine it was not world setting support, but rather that we abhorred the D&D 4E rules completely, utterly and in all other ways. 3.x editions of that game had pushed us as far as we could tolerate, but we still tolerated them because of the level of support the product owns. But this last enormity is what finally allowed me to get my gaming group to try out GURPS...and things are going well.

Really, the quality of the GURPS products has what has made that easy. GURPS and attention to detail and attention to playability and most of all, attention to quality are almost synonymous in the Gaming Community. I'm not at all sure that a relaxation of those standards would do the GURPS line ANYTHING but harm.


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