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7 hours ago, lawrence.whitaker said:

Affinity Publisher. New, and still has some issues, but its serviceable and inexpensive; and they are actively working to fix the issues, and add more features.

In addition, it  has sister apps for photos and vector drawing.

9 hours ago, SDLeary said:

Affinity Publisher. New, and still has some issues, but its serviceable and inexpensive; and they are actively working to fix the issues, and add more features.

In addition, it  has sister apps for photos and vector drawing.

Wrong thread for the topic so I will briefly say, between what you say and my past couple of hours of research, wow, hot tip!

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Rick Meints said:

* I don't necessarily see the RPG business as being or becoming a rich person's hobby. Yes, absolutely, there are a number of people who have a day job that pays the bills and they create material regardless of the bottom line. That said, between PDF and POD publishing, and Crowdfunding, I feel there is more opportunity now to make money via starting as a small independent publisher and then growing from there. In the end, great product is great product. If you want any chance at making a living, or a part of your income, from RPGs you have to create and publish things. We at Chaosium have tried to make that easier for newcomers via the Miskatonic Repository and the Jonstown Compendium platforms we get up on DTRPG. I wouldn't at all be surprised if we set up another such platform for BRP as well in the not too distant future.

I don't deny that -- in many ways -- the barriers to entry are dropping; as you say, PDF/POD/Crowdfunding, the DTRPG creator-fan projects, blogging, podcasting, etc etc etc; all make "getting your foot in the door" and/or "getting your product seen" easier than ever.  And (as you also say)... if you wanna get into the market, you've gotta make a start SOMEWHERE.  I don't think even the Big Boys in the industry ever just hire game-dev's and writers "cold" with no industry cred.  So you need some product, to make your mark, get some fan-buzz or industry-rep or whatever; something for the gamer-geek resume, to launch you toward that dream job.  (although I've got to wonder (with things like Prof. Knight's RPG-writing class over at Taylor): might someone from such a program actually be eligible/viable as a new-hire???)

I will note, however, that the old "fanzine" culture served many of the same purposes, letting newbie authors wet their feet on a low-pay / no-pay basis, giving them some exposure, letting both fans and devs/publishers see their work.  It's not like the blogging and such are actually doing something that's fundamentally NEW...  It's just that e-distribution and a global Internet make it easier to find what we each want, and connect with providers of such wanted material.

That said... the economics is not really all one way, nor all the other.  And "rich person" is clearly hyperbole on my part; apologies if it was overly provocative.  Maybe "comfortable hobbyist" is less hyperbolic -- someone who can afford to put in something like a half-time job, for years, with little to no expectations of getting any of their necessities of life from it.  On the other side of the equation are the hiring companies, who often exploit that market, whether intentionally or not.

Heading up the "F--- that S---" column, there have been (and continue to be) some really abusive actors in the industry.  Shadowrun went through a pretty dire period some years ago, of not paying (or grossly delaying payment) on freelance contracts (and it became scandalously clear that they could have paid their freelancers, they just had... "other" priorities); I know they are not alone in this, though I understand they do OK these days.

I believe Chaosium itself went through a cashflow problem (rather than a "screw you, I'm building my vacation-house" problem), where some folks didn't get paid... and YES, I am (very much) aware that The Chaosium has been actively soliciting any such previously-unpaid or un-credited contributors, and trying to fulfill any unfulfilled contracts, make every transaction right...  I cannot express how profoundly I admire you for doing this!

You yourself also acknowledge that some creators don't need to consult a "bottom line" to produce their stuff.  People who can undercut ANYONE who's trying to make a living often do so:  not by trying to cut out anyone else, just trying to get their own work in front of interested eyes.  I'm not saying they are wrong, or bad, or being evil, etc etc etc.  But if a Line-Developer has $20K for some part of a project, and one author will do the job for $500 + 1 case of comp-copies, while the other wants 10c/word = $3750 (and the L-D expects both will do equally good work)... doesn't Mr.500 get the job, so there's over $3K "bonus" budget left for art and layout and etc...?  Unless the L-D begins to add in considerations like "but 3750 guy has no other job, just writing, and really needs the income, so I'll throw the job his way even though it means less art/etc in the book." ... which is really not the L-D's job!  (and anyhow, the L-D isn't likely to know enough about every bidder to equally evaluate everyone's circumstances & offer any sort of "needs-based" consideration (and to reiterate: social-work isn't their F'ing job!)).

See this essay:   http://briebeau.com/thoughty/2019/06/we-say-fuck-you-pay-me/     Brie (the author) leans in on the disparity for "marginalized" authors, but is pretty up-front about "being underpaid in gaming" is ubiquitous (if not universal), including for the cis-white-dude "privileged" gamer (who mainly has to deal with less of the issue, not none of the issue).  The point isn't to make the industry become social workers, but for the industry-standard to be:  pay a fair wage on a published scale when hiring, as standard practice.  If they were always paying a fair wage (never accepting self-subsidized labor) the issue of the self-subsidized dilettante (and the publisher or L-D as pseudo-social-worker) wouldn't be any sort of issue.   A few telling quotations from the essay (see especially the 3rd one):

Quote

Usually I’ve been successful in negotiating up to a fair rate or better (it usually only takes one very polite but nerve-wracking email), but [redacted] has refused to even negotiate with me and/or removed me from projects when I’ve asked to be paid a living wage.

Quote

Negotiation is not really given as an option. When you’re writing for a big company with an established line there is always the assumption that you’re really doing this because you’re passionate about the line and there are a lot of people passionate about the line willing to do your job for next to free. Everyone has a screenplay in Hollywood everyone is a game designer in RPG fandom. A few people I know have managed to negotiate higher rates for projects but the one time I brought up that I’d been contributing to the company for a while and never managed to get a pay raise I was told that it was because I didn’t lean in. 

Quote

It’s not important to me per se, as this is a hobby to me and not a job. I want a fair rate for me so as not to upset the market for folks who require a fair rate to pay their rent. If I’m out there doing stuff for cheap or free, it takes opportunity away from others and incorrectly calibrates expectations of compensation. 

You say, "in the end, great product is great product."

I agree... and furthermore I find that the RPG industry is awash in great product these days; enough so that I frankly don't have enough time to play all (or even most) of it !  I called it "astounding and dismaying" quite intentionally!

I've seen Chaosium itself tasked by "fans" & critics, with how "expensive / overpriced" some of your products (supposedly) are.  Those critics are basing their criticism (at least in part) on the market being shaped by free/cheap content creators (also, of course, there are some grognards whose "feel" of the "appropriate price" was formed in the 70s/80s/whatever).  To be explicit:  I don't share those critics' POV, and think Chaosium offers excellent value for my dollars spent.

But... in general, "the market" asks:  why pay market rates / living wage for "great product" when other providers make "equally-great product" on a subsidized/hobbyist basis?  There is a LOT more product out on the market than can be accounted for by the number of folks making their living at gaming-production.  Industry-wide numbers are notoriously hard to come by, but I've seen some best-estimate numbers suggesting that the RPG industry has the gross revenues to support about 150ish full-time authors at a living wage... but that there are (IIRC) closer to 1000 RPG authors writing.  That rather boggles the mind, and I'm trying to envision other jobs (secretary? bookkeeper?  retail sales?) where "the industry" only supports about 1 worker in 7...

 

Anyhow, I'm not claiming there are easy answers, nor that The Chaosium is one of the actors sustaining the problem! 

Just saying that there is a problem... and that it's worth admitting the problem & considering the issues... and even occasionally making some effort to correct things (as noted above, I see that The Chaosium DOES take those extra efforts, for which I'm appreciative!).

As a consumer, it IS something I consider, and I DO make some effort (e.g. in what I buy, which companies I'll champion & recommend online) to address issues I care about.  Others' MMV.

 

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16 hours ago, Rick Meints said:

** I'm on the fence about the label of "nuChaosium". I don't mind having the current management team specifically called out or compared to the previous team. That said, I've also seen it used in the pejorative a bit too often to immediately see it as a positive term... I prefer people simply call us The Chaosium.

Not to put too fine a point upon it, Rick, but... that's not "on the fence!"  😁  I shall try to remember to avoid "nuChaosium" in the future; sorry to hear enough people are using it that way to leave a sour taste in your mind.   ☹️ 

I am... honestly confused that any "fan" could consider it a pejorative, though!  The products coming out -- across the board -- are absolutely great, and clearly an overall improvement.  And (as best I can tell, as an interested fan) Chaosium would not have survived without the GreatOldOne/MoonDesign intervention.  So both on the creative & business sides, it's a clear win.

 

17 hours ago, Rick Meints said:

** ...The dollars are taking care of themselves. We have professionals with decades of business experience, budgets, finance, and similar skills minding the store. We focus on getting new product out on a regular basis. Product that gamers will love. We watch the money. Nuff said on that.

Well, if you MD folks (who invested your own $$ in setting Chaosium right) are satisfied with how the financial side is working out... that's ample info to keep me satisfied, too!  TYVM, again!

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31 minutes ago, g33k said:

believe Chaosium itself went through a cashflow problem (rather than a "screw you, I'm building my vacation-house" problem), where some folks didn't get paid... and YES, I am (very much) aware that The Chaosium has been actively soliciting any such previously-unpaid or un-credited contributors, and trying to fulfill any unfulfilled contracts, make every transaction right...  I cannot express how profoundly I admire you for doing this!

Right thread this time right topic but still as brief...

Ya said a whole whack of stuff but I got to pull this out. Somewhere Rick said he had a lifelong love affair going with the Chaosium (here?) and it shows! Proud to be a chaosium hobbyist for many reasons. This is just another one.

Cheers

15 minutes ago, g33k said:

Well, if you MD folks (who invested your own $$ in setting Chaosium right) are satisfied with how the financial side is working out... that's ample info to keep me satisfied, too!  TYVM, again!

repeat as often as needed to make the point....

Cheers again

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On 12/3/2019 at 3:47 PM, Old Man Henerson said:

I assumed that it was how Chaosium and everyone else got their hands on the Cthulhu franchise.

Probably due to Lovecraft's work entering the public domain, and therefore open to use by anyone.

Now companies have lobbied for and gotten copy write duration extended several times over the years, and RPG game mechanics are not copy-writable (but the text used to present them is),  but even so a lot of older stories and setting are open for use.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

Probably due to Lovecraft's work entering the public domain, and therefore open to use by anyone.

I do not believe this is -quite- correct.  There is the 1923 copyright event-horizon, which places a bunch of HPL into the public domain, but several classic HPL pieces are after that!

And then there's the whole "Arkham House" situation.  Some say their claims are "flimsy" or even "bogus," but IANAL and cannot tell if they're right, or those claims as to bogosity are themselves are flimsy/bogus.

I don't know that anyone has ever challenged Arkham House in court (or that they have ever challenged others' use of HPL in court); or than they have not ... ?

 

And of course there's the issue of differing countries having differing laws.  I'm sure that, for any given (c)-law, there is somewhere that it's legal to break that law.

YMMV.  IANAL.

 

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2 hours ago, g33k said:

I do not believe this is -quite- correct.

No, not quite. Much of it is in public domain, apparently everything sold to Weird Science should have been  in PD a  lot sooner that it was thought to be,  but some other things are in questionable status. Plus companies have managed to get the CW laws extended well beyond their intended purpose and will probably will continue to do so again. Still, from the viewpoint of RPG a lot of it was in the PD since 2008, and I doubt Arkham House would risk their house of cards going after an RPG and possibly having their stuff all declared PD. 

 

It's not a bad idea though for someone to track down something that is definitely in public domain and based an RPG on it. At least, it if is something good.

 

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22 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Still, from the viewpoint of RPG a lot of it was in the PD since 2008, and I doubt Arkham House would risk their house of cards going after an RPG and possibly having their stuff all declared PD. 

I think a lot of the RPG material for Call of Cthulhu, although loosely based on Lovecraft's works, is very much a Chaosium IP and not in the public domain.

The stories may well be and they can be used, but i'd be careful about the creatures, Mythos and so on.

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21 minutes ago, soltakss said:

I think a lot of the RPG material for Call of Cthulhu, although loosely based on Lovecraft's works, is very much a Chaosium IP and not in the public domain.

Certainly. The original question was someone wondering how Chasoium and other companies were  all were able to produce various Cthulhu Mythos RPGs. The basic answer is that a lot of the stories  were/still are up for grabs. 

 

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