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Stafford & Petersen Return to Chaosium


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Well, OK, so maybe they'll make Lovecraft and the associated classics (CAS etc) available under their own imprint, although it's all available already. But for me, at least, if I feel like buying some fiction, I buy based on authors I like. So it seems unlikely that I'd ever go to Chaosium to buy the latest book by, say, CJ Cherryh. And not interested in trying new authors that, say, Sandy happens to like, just because Sandy likes them.

 

I wouldn't want to see Chaosium get into more financial diffiiculties by trying to sell reprints of old stuff, or new stuff by people I've never heard of. For instance, I would absolutely never buy Cthulhu Mythos fiction that wasn't written by Lovecraft (or CAS). If they went and commissioned a bunch of writers to create books of short Cthulhu stories, well, that would seem to me to be a bad business decision. And I already own all of the Mythos fiction that I'll ever want.

 

Anyway, hope they make very careful business decisions, and stick around for a long, long time.

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I suspect that it does as it's one line they feel is worthy of immediate selection by comparison with monographs.

 

The monograph idea was interesting and it did allow a way of getting non-Cthulhu content out there when the company was really struggling, but it dragged on too long.

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The monograph idea was interesting and it did allow a way of getting non-Cthulhu content out there when the company was really struggling, but it dragged on too long.

 

I disagree, I love the monograph idea. True, they may not be as top quality as the regular books, but they are some real gems in it for instance Basic Fantasy. It allows emerging writers to get work out there with very little work for Chaosium and allows for an almost unlimited idea stream for the games and the company to work with.

 

I hope they continue this idea.

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I've hear a few complaints about it taking far too long to get monographs publushed though. Thats got to put potential authors off. Pretty much why I do everything for free. (that AND my works not as pretty)

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I've hear a few complaints about it taking far too long to get monographs publushed though. Thats got to put potential authors off. Pretty much why I do everything for free. (that AND my works not as pretty)

True but we don't know what will happen with the change in leadership. Things might get done sooner. I just don't think they should abandon the monogrsphs altogether.

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I always thought that monographs should be handled similar to Apple's App Store.

Anyone can submit a monograph to the site and set the price for it. It goes through a quick-glance review just to make sure it is what it claims to be. If approved, it sells on the store with a 70/30% split between the author and Chaosium.

There is already a rating system built in so users can regulate the market. Author is in charge of the product including layout and design.

There could be even be an "SDK" full of clip art and royalty free artwork and fonts to use for the design of things.

Edit: Author sets the price for pdf. Chaosium would have to set the price for POD with author getting 30% after printing costs.

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I always thought that monographs should be handled similar to Apple's App Store.

Anyone can submit a monograph to the site and set the price for it. It goes through a quick-glance review just to make sure it is what it claims to be. If approved, it sells on the store with a 70/30% split between the author and Chaosium.

There is already a rating system built in so users can regulate the market. Author is in charge of the product including layout and design.

There could be even be an "SDK" full of clip art and royalty free artwork and fonts to use for the design of things.

 

Chaosium couldn't even give you an accurate number of how  many they sold if you called and asked, so any sort of profit sharing plan means the creator will never get paid.

 

I have a feeling that monographs will be considered part of the ancien regime, and something the new management will try to get away from. While there were occasional gems, most weren't worth the money. Those gems can be handled through the standard submission process.

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I think it'd be a shame if the whole concept were discontinued. As I've said before I think some of the most interesting stuff I've bought from Chaosium in the last few years has been monographs, especially on the BRP side of things. Also as I've said before if you remove the BRP monographs that's the vast bulk of the BRP line gone, apart from Magic World what have you got ?

 

Magic world is ok but coming from an RQ background it doesn't  quite tick all the boxes for me. By contrast however both Swords of Cydoria and The Green were both in my opinion excellent ( The Green in particular ) and I'd have happily bought additional supplements for both. I think part of the problem  was that due to Chaosiums glacially slow production schedule the monographs became the bulk of what Chaosium had to offer. When 3rd party semi pro product is the majority of what you've got to sell then there's something severely wrong. I know the quality  of them was variable but they had a kind of quirky charm that I rather liked. Because they were  people's pet projects there  was an enthusiasm and sense of excitement to them that was missing from much of the official Chaosium  material.

 

Perhaps a good compromise solution would be to allow them to continue but as PDF and POD  products only ?

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It's kind of weird that I'd ever complain about any of the monographs being weak because I LOVE all the various 'zines for OSR games people are gobbling together in their garages... near zero production value but great energy and fun ideas.

I guess the BRP/CoC monographs are stuck in a netherzone between DIY and 'Professional' that can lead to bloated expectations.

 

Swords of Cydoria and Witchcraft are two of my favorites... and Agents of the Crown (?)

One of my favorite Monographs is the Dread Empire of the Tsan Chan for CoC... it's such a hellish setting that I'm not sure what I'd ever do with it except for a brief nightmare visit... but it is a fun/scary read.

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Perhaps a good compromise solution would be to allow them to continue but as PDF and POD  products only ?

 

This is pretty much what I was thinking as well. Don't stop them from coming in, but let people buy them as they want them, that way there's very little to do but hopefully pay the contributor. Again, that can be difficult at times, I understand that, but DTRPG records how many of each item you've ever sold, so if they stick by the $250/500 unit pay rate, they could easily keep track of how many of each are sold.

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This is pretty much what I was thinking as well. Don't stop them from coming in, but let people buy them as they want them, that way there's very little to do but hopefully pay the contributor. Again, that can be difficult at times, I understand that, but DTRPG records how many of each item you've ever sold, so if they stick by the $250/500 unit pay rate, they could easily keep track of how many of each are sold.

It wasn't a matter of the software keeping track or not, it was a matter of them not wanting/caring to give out that info.

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Hi All, 

 

My two cents on the subjects of BRP support and monographs.

 

I don't think the new management will sideline BRP. Sandy Petersen mentioned it in the interview saying that it has been the "red headed stepchild" of Chaosium without a line editor and that they are going to change this. He also mentioned "Magic World". What I expect is that they will give more thematic focus to the BRP line.

 

If they scrap the monographs I'm not going to cry. Contentwise some of them where great (for instance Val-du-Loup, Basic Fantasy, Gods of Law, Old Hrolmar), but as a publishing product they were just sad. In an age of freely available professionally laid-out publications by fans you had a publisher charging for horribly laid out stuff with horrid covers. So, I hope to say goodbye to monographs and welcome to professionally laid-out POD products.

 

Smiorgan

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It wasn't a matter of the software keeping track or not, it was a matter of them not wanting/caring to give out that info.

 

Alright, that makes more sense. I can understand them not wanting to give out that information especially if it isn't favourable. For instance, saying that a product is selling well (if it is) is fine, but saying that a product isn't selling at all wouldn't be the best strategy. I personally wouldn't spend the energy saying how poorly an item is selling to just some random person who is calling, but would rather use my business skills to upsell that product instead.

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Alright, that makes more sense. I can understand them not wanting to give out that information especially if it isn't favourable. For instance, saying that a product is selling well (if it is) is fine, but saying that a product isn't selling at all wouldn't be the best strategy. I personally wouldn't spend the energy saying how poorly an item is selling to just some random person who is calling, but would rather use my business skills to upsell that product instead.

The person calling in many cases was the author.

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The person calling in many cases was the author.

If that was you, I get that can be frustrating. I've personally had to deal with that from another company that will remain unnamed. However I don't see that as a reason not to do the monographs. All small staff companies have issues with tracking stock, some even losing track of unthinkable amounts of monies worth.

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I think it'd be a shame if the whole concept were discontinued. As I've said before I think some of the most interesting stuff I've bought from Chaosium in the last few years has been monographs, especially on the BRP side of things. Also as I've said before if you remove the BRP monographs that's the vast bulk of the BRP line gone, apart from Magic World what have you got ?

 

I agree, but this tells me more about the dysfunction which formerly reigned at Chaosium than about the continuing validity of the monograph publishing model.

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I thnk Ben Monroe is currently thinking about this subject. Very carefully. I doubt they have made a decision yet. And when they make it, it will be based more on an organic strategy about quality standards than on fan input. Yet I doubt that what you write here will be thoroughly disregarded, so a little more "Huzza for the monographs" will do no harm ;)

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Though they vary, quite a few of the monographs I have are better in content and art than the few Chaosium-produced BRP products of the last half a dozen years.

 

The question should not be "do we get rid of the monographs?", but "how can we produce Chaosium BRP products that are actually professional?".

129/420

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