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Old 10-29-2009, 05:36 PM   #471
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Default Re: GURPS Does It The Hard Way!

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post

That's working full-time for the generous boss, remember... With a very few exceptions, most freelancers have day jobs. They freelance to see their name in print, contribute to a favorite game, and earn a little beer money.
As an old expression goes: brother, you ain't lying. I work a day job for Oregon State University, and even that barely covers the bills thanks to economic hardships. I write reviews for Amazon.com Vine and get paid in free books, many of which are proofs 'n' galleys (I got Anthony Beever's new D-Day history in a proof with an unfinished index, the cover upside down, and the pages bound right-to-left; it was still a good read).

Writing is work, but for writers it is not only also fun, but a form of procreation. I like seeing my name out there. I like knowing that even one gaming group is running a speculative fiction campaign with one of my credited rules in it. "Tech and Toys" might be forgotten a few weeks, months, or years down the road. But those who do buy or steal copies of it are propagating a piece of my mind and my labor. That's how writers make babies.

If you look at "rock star" writers, you'll notice common denominators. They all write to a market. Their work is advertised as belong to a clear genre. Their subjects tend to have the broadest possible appeal. Their prose is functional, built upon formula writing techniques. Their plots are derivative and often contain plug-and-play tropes that can be swapped in and out.

Both Stephen King and Tom Clancy, for example, write stories full of BS. I'm a Navy veteran, and I can tell you that Clancy doesn't depict us terribly accurately. He does decent with the mechanical stuff that can be looked up in Jane's Information Group books, but he makes a lot of it up and he gets the culture and the social life all wrong.

But that's okay, because Clancy was smart enough to fill in these gaps with popular ideas. His sailors and Marines are all simple, patriotic Americans who always make the right command decisions and who want to see them Soviets and terrorists get their booties beat in. Notice that his flagship characters tend to be family men with fairly conservative values. His books were aimed directly at Ronald Reagan's America, and that's why he is one of the richest and most successful novelists in American history.

The other point, though, is that Tom Clancy persisted. He kept churning them out. And he was smart enough to find unconventional publishers too, getting the Naval Institute to publish Hunt For Red October. Because even though it is full of myths and baloney about Navy service, it was a patriotic story combined with an exciting plot, that promised to be a recruiting tool for the Services.

In otherwords, bestselling authors aren't artists--they're businessmen. Committed businessmen who check out the angles and do the least work for the most profit.
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Old 10-30-2009, 12:18 AM   #472
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Default Re: GURPS Does It The Hard Way!

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You are, of course, postulating. We've never had any established freelancer in this business tell us, "I'd write adventures, only your rates stink." We're very open to frank discussion at business meetings and trade shows. People could tell us this. They don't.

The real barrier appears to be not money, but the fact that GURPS has sold itself as a tool kit RPG for 23 years, which has long since driven off people who would rather write creative content than tools and rules. That would a valid criticism, borne out by what freelancers actually tell me over drinks and coffee.
Your rates are probably fairly typical for the industry. Asking for much more would be like trying to get McDonald's to pay you $30/hour to make fries.

But, look: suppose you offered a million dollars to anyone who wrote an adventure. Who would refuse? Geez, I'd quit my day job and take up writing adventures, and I'm only somewhat qualified.

Somewhere between your rates and a million dollars is a midpoint where a writer feels sufficient incentive to spend time writing an adventure. That point may be considerably more than SJG wants to pay for something they don't expect to sell well, but saying "no one wants to write adventures, and no one's complained about the money" is oversimplifying things.

I take your point about the way GURPS selects tech writers over creative ones, but creative writers like money just as much as tech writers do. I think SJG could attract that sort of talent, if that sort of talent was wanted.
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Old 10-30-2009, 06:10 AM   #473
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Default Re: GURPS Does It The Hard Way!

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The debate here isn't that GURPS doesn't have settings and adventures; it's that GURPS doesn't follow up its entry-level content (like Action and Dungeon Fantasy) with settings and adventures that link together into ready-made campaigns.
For myself I don't think it needs to be an on-going project either. A handful of solid adventures and a small complete setting for each of the major genres (Fantasy, Space, and Horror) should wrap up what I am concerned about.

I understand that doing any of this requires writers to be interested in the project.
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Old 10-30-2009, 06:44 AM   #474
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Default Re: GURPS Does It The Hard Way!

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For myself I don't think it needs to be an on-going project either. A handful of solid adventures and a small complete setting for each of the major genres (Fantasy, Space, and Horror) should wrap up what I am concerned about.

I understand that doing any of this requires writers to be interested in the project.
Hans has already written a good set of articles for JTAS to accomplish this.

Edit: Obviously rigged for a Traveller setting....
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:06 AM   #475
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Default Re: GURPS Does It The Hard Way!

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Originally Posted by robertsconley View Post
For myself I don't think it needs to be an on-going project either. A handful of solid adventures and a small complete setting for each of the major genres (Fantasy, Space, and Horror) should wrap up what I am concerned about.

I understand that doing any of this requires writers to be interested in the project.

You know, there was an adventure called Gateway Lambs or something in pyramid back when I had a subscription. It was a great little horror adventure that really just needed to be rounded out to its full potential. That could be one of them righ there.

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Old 10-30-2009, 11:58 PM   #476
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Default Re: GURPS Does It The Hard Way!

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Sometimes I wonder is SJ is a person who has trouble understanding why people prefer the things they do as opposed to his own preferences.
Sometimes I wonder why so many people who complain that their personal preferences aren't being catered to have so much trouble understanding that their personal interests aren't necessarily even majority opinions. GURPS Rocky Horror Picture Show would not be a sure-fire best seller, no matter how big a fan one is of the film. (Which I'm not, BTW. I've seen it exactly once. I just needed to get the idea out of my system.)

For me, the licensed material SJGames has published has consistently divided pretty evenly between "Wow! I'm impressed that they landed that license" and "What? I've never heard of it". That doesn't make me begrudge them the latter.

SJGames is not WotC. SJGames is never going to be WotC, GURPS is never going to be D&D, and doesn't have to be.
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:12 AM   #477
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Default Re: GURPS Does It The Hard Way!

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And, it only takes a couple of hours, if you're really overdetailed, to make GURPS do Harry Potter. All you really need is a decent understanding of British Schoolboy genre, and a good grasp of improvised magic, basically a mechanic you can live with.
See also the "Black School Days" campaign frame in GURPS Cabal.
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:36 AM   #478
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Default Re: GURPS Does It The Hard Way!

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Originally Posted by Nymdok View Post
You know, there was an adventure called Gateway Lambs or something in pyramid back when I had a subscription. It was a great little horror adventure that really just needed to be rounded out to its full potential. That could be one of them righ there.
Re-writing someone else's copy to fit a standard format is one of the most unappealing types of writing work. No-one is going to do that without a salary.

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Old 11-01-2009, 02:24 PM   #479
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Default Re: GURPS Does It The Hard Way!

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Then it is clear what we must do.


Construct a mind control ray to force people to buy more GURPS
I'm all for that .

Where I work would benefit, also would get many more GURPS players in the process.

How are you going to do that?


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Old 11-22-2009, 08:47 AM   #480
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Default Re: GURPS Does It The Hard Way!

I did a search for ready made Gurps adventures and found 49 of them for Gurps 4th edition such as this one:

http://e23.sjgames.com/item.html?id=SJG37-1101

Gurps 3rd edition had lots of them too: Gurps Cyberpunk adventures and Stardemon come to mind.

I do realize that many RPGs can be learned by reading the adventures, many people learned how to play Classic Traveller by reading adventures such as Twilight's Peak.

Gurps is a cook book, you do choose which material to use for any given adventure but combining genres together is quite fun and one of Gurps strong points.

Also having a character generator that can make any character for any genre is a real plus too.
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