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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 ;)

 

Huzzah!!!

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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?".

 

I would agree with you. Some of the monographs I have are actually better than some official products, but on the same token, some are not. But I would like to see the line improved and expanded upon just as you have said rather than scraped altogether.

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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 ;)

I am. A lot.

 

One of the original purposes for the monographs was to judge the merits of some odd book ideas, and see if they'd be worth converting into fully finished production books for the retail trade. Sadly, that idea fell by the wayside in favor of putting out books which could generate a little quick cash without a lot of Chaosium input.

 

As everyone has said above, there were some real gems in the line, and some... not gems.

 

We've been thinking a lot about the monographs over the last few weeks, and I don't have any real news for you at this point. What I can tell you is that we're giving them all careful consideration, and trying to figure out what to do with them. Some will probably be fast-tracked into full books. Others might be dissected for good bits, and compiled into "Companion"-style books. As an example, an upcoming Magic World book includes six adventures from the various monograph adventure books. Each of them was given back to the original author, who was asked to revise their scenario to fit in a specific area of the default Magic World setting. Then the author of that book gave them each a quick edit to make sure they flowed together, and with the rest of his text. So now, those six adventures will form almost half the content of that book.

 

Right now, we're not looking at reprinting the existing monogaphs in the way we have in the past. We are looking into other options to have some way to keep them around for a while, however (evaluating PoD services, etc.). Can't give you more specifics than that, however. And really just because I don't want to announce anything that might change completely tomorrow, or next week, or...

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Personally, I'm not a fan of the monographs. With a few honourable exceptions they are of poorer quality and production standards than hobbyist works that are given away for free. In my mind, they are emblematic of Chaosium's failings over the last decade or so. If some of the best remaining content can be repurposed into high quality, well produced books then that, I reckon, is the best thing for them. 

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Personally, I'm not a fan of the monographs. With a few honourable exceptions they are of poorer quality and production standards than hobbyist works that are given away for free. In my mind, they are emblematic of Chaosium's failings over the last decade or so. If some of the best remaining content can be repurposed into high quality, well produced books then that, I reckon, is the best thing for them.

As was said by others they weren't meant to be high quality but rather test beds for possible material. As is the case with any company, I've seen official books that were not worth what I paid for them and should have relegated to a monograph comparable publication. I still support monographs because they allow for more possible material at a lower cost.

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I am. A lot.

 

One of the original purposes for the monographs was to judge the merits of some odd book ideas, and see if they'd be worth converting into fully finished production books for the retail trade. Sadly, that idea fell by the wayside in favor of putting out books which could generate a little quick cash without a lot of Chaosium input.

 

As everyone has said above, there were some real gems in the line, and some... not gems.

 

We've been thinking a lot about the monographs over the last few weeks, and I don't have any real news for you at this point. What I can tell you is that we're giving them all careful consideration, and trying to figure out what to do with them. Some will probably be fast-tracked into full books. Others might be dissected for good bits, and compiled into "Companion"-style books. As an example, an upcoming Magic World book includes six adventures from the various monograph adventure books. Each of them was given back to the original author, who was asked to revise their scenario to fit in a specific area of the default Magic World setting. Then the author of that book gave them each a quick edit to make sure they flowed together, and with the rest of his text. So now, those six adventures will form almost half the content of that book.

 

Right now, we're not looking at reprinting the existing monogaphs in the way we have in the past. We are looking into other options to have some way to keep them around for a while, however (evaluating PoD services, etc.). Can't give you more specifics than that, however. And really just because I don't want to announce anything that might change completely tomorrow, or next week, or...

 

This is good to hear.  If the various monographs were reedited to have all their portions from various books stitched together (for example, everything for Rubble and Ruin or Aces High in one book rather than a monograph and then some scenarios scattered through other books), I'd be far more likely to pick them up.

 

Also, I would be far, far more likely to pick up a book that has everything in it than a book that refers back to the BGB.  I know there are a lot of tinkerers on this forum who are perfectly happy flipping between two (or more) books but I think there are probably a lot more folks like myself who if they get in a game in every few months they're lucky and who simply don't have the time to be flipping between two (or more) books to pull off the said game.  As I understand it, Magic World is complete and that makes it much more appealing than a book that refers back to the BGB. To go back to the Rubble and Ruin or Aces High examples above, I'd be very interested and would gladly pay more for Rubble and Ruin if it was complete and did not necessitate having more than that book on the table.  (I'd really like to see Rubble and Ruin go this way after the most recent Mad Max film.)

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Keep the "good" ones available, fix what's worth fixing, kill access to what gives Chaosium a bad name. Whether they continue to have a monograph "avenue" to publication, or end the program, is another matter. Personally, I like the variety of subject matter. I like adventures. I don't like rules sets that are not stand-alone books, though. I don't want to have to flip through the BGB along with whatever spiffy new book I just got, when I'm at the table.

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Some will probably be fast-tracked into full books. Others might be dissected for good bits, and compiled into "Companion"-style books.
 
Well, 'Huzzah' to that if it happens... that sounds to me like the ideal outcome of the situation (at least to me, as a customer).
A fully fleshed out Rubble & Ruin book would be grand... as would Val du Loup and Agents of the Crown (IMO)... and Aces High of course.
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Well, 'Huzzah' to that if it happens... that sounds to me like the ideal outcome of the situation. A fully fleshed out Rubble & Ruin book would be grand... as would Val du Loup and Agents of the Crown (IMO)... and Aces High of course.

 

 

I liked Agents of the Crown as well.

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This is good to hear. If the various monographs were reedited to have all their portions from various books stitched together (for example, everything for Rubble and Ruin or Aces High in one book rather than a monograph and then some scenarios scattered through other books), I'd be far more likely to pick them up.

Also, I would be far, far more likely to pick up a book that has everything in it than a book that refers back to the BGB. I know there are a lot of tinkerers on this forum who are perfectly happy flipping between two (or more) books but I think there are probably a lot more folks like myself who if they get in a game in every few months they're lucky and who simply don't have the time to be flipping between two (or more) books to pull off the said game. As I understand it, Magic World is complete and that makes it much more appealing than a book that refers back to the BGB. To go back to the Rubble and Ruin or Aces High examples above, I'd be very interested and would gladly pay more for Rubble and Ruin if it was complete and did not necessitate having more than that book on the table. (I'd really like to see Rubble and Ruin go this way after the most recent Mad Max film.)

I understand the appeal of this but practically it's not very cost effective. By that I mean each book would be $40+ and would cost more to print. I know some wouldn't mind but that doesn't really appeal to me personally.

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I understand the appeal of this but practically it's not very cost effective. By that I mean each book would be $40+ and would cost more to print. I know some wouldn't mind but that doesn't really appeal to me personally.

Cost effective versus making a product that sells to more people as it is convenient to play.  I see it as the same as why Apple beats Linux or automatic beats manual.  Maybe each of the former are superior but at the end of the day most people just want something that works without taking more of what little time they have to make it work.  I'd argue one of the reasons that D100 is niche today is that it is far more work to get going with it, which is crazy as the percentile aspect is far easier to grasp than other systems.  The old concept of Magic World, Super World, Future World was closer to the idea of one book one the table for the game tonight than the BGB and other books on the table.   Today it really should be: What are we playing tonight?  Post-apocalyptic?  Rubble and Ruin is on the table.  Western? Aces High Fantasy? Magic World 

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I'm not so hot on every setting being it's own rulebook... I'd rather that extra space be taken up with setting and bestiaries and maps and sample adventures. I'm mostly using it pre-game anyway so I'm fine with having it as a PDF on my tablet and a corebook on the table.

 

GURPS, Savage Worlds and Fate all seemed to do fine with the corebook/setting book divide.

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This is something I've been giving a lot of thought to. My opinion is that it needs to be considered on a case by case basis. Some settings are worth considering as full games, others as supplements to the BGB. I' not interested in making any sort of hard and fast rule about this at this point. But I expect in the future you'll see some full games, ala Magic World, and some supplement/setting books ala Mythic Iceland or Blood Tides.

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This is something I've been giving a lot of thought to. My opinion is that it needs to be considered on a case by case basis. Some settings are worth considering as full games, others as supplements to the BGB. I' not interested in making any sort of hard and fast rule about this at this point. But I expect in the future you'll see some full games, ala Magic World, and some supplement/setting books ala Mythic Iceland or Blood Tides.

That's interesting but I'd rather see them as supplements rather complete rulebooks.

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And the guy above you wants them as full rulebooks rather than supplements.

 

It's really a case of realizing that there's no way to make everyone happy. However, it's important to look at each product on a case-by-case basis. That being said, most of the things I've got lined up at this point are more of the supplementary model than core game model.

Please don't contact me with Chaosium questions. I'm no longer associated with the company, and have no idea what the new management is doing.

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This is something I've been giving a lot of thought to. My opinion is that it needs to be considered on a case by case basis. Some settings are worth considering as full games, others as supplements to the BGB. I' not interested in making any sort of hard and fast rule about this at this point. But I expect in the future you'll see some full games, ala Magic World, and some supplement/setting books ala Mythic Iceland or Blood Tides.

I like the case by case basis approach. That implies each decision will be given due thought and proper consideration. That will allow the line to grow and hopefully spread in popularity.

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This is something I've been giving a lot of thought to. My opinion is that it needs to be considered on a case by case basis. Some settings are worth considering as full games, others as supplements to the BGB. I' not interested in making any sort of hard and fast rule about this at this point. But I expect in the future you'll see some full games, ala Magic World, and some supplement/setting books ala Mythic Iceland or Blood Tides.

I think Ben is right. Sometimes, a setting requires enough modifications and optional rules to make it work, doing it as a sourcebook is not optimal. Other times, this kind of wrenching is not required, and a supplement is sufficient. Not having the flexibility to handle both cases is short sighted and can pigeonhole/hamstring the development and publishing of material.

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When I first bought the BGB, I thought "Great! This book covers the entire system! Now all I need are settings books and supplements."

 

I thought a settings book would look something like this:

 

1. Shows you which optional rules are best in play. (Although feel free to do what you like.)

2. Expanded professions relative to the specific genre. 

3. Expanded powers relative to the specific genre. 

4. Expanded beastiary relative to the specific genre.

5. A setting including maps, play aids, NPC's, etc. 

 

In fact, I still think that structure is great for a settings book and would like to see a settings book like that come to fruition. 

 

However, when Magic World came out it was nothing like what I was expecting. It was a complete stand-alone product that didn't need the BGB at all. Honestly, my first thought was... "There Chaosium goes again.... complete lack of direction." It seemed as if Chaosium was going to ignore the great core foundation of BRP that was the "Big Gold Book". 

 

Then I read an interview Ben gave about Magic World. The reason why MW included the system and wasn't just a settings book is that Chaosium needed an entry point for new players. And you know what? He was right. 

 

Chaosium did need an entry point for new players. An entry point that could be one book, not two, three, or four books; and also an entry point based on the most common and probably most easiest genre for new players to start with. (Fantasy)

 

That is why MW is what it is, and despite my initial reaction, I love it. It was the best direction for Chaosium to go. 

 

So all this was a really long way of saying: I agree that the best strategy would be a case-by-case basis. How much weight would the product carry as a stand-alone product? Could it succeed as its own product line? Would it serve best as a supplemet? Fiscally, which way would sell best?

 

Right now, I have a lot of confidence in the new regime at Chaosium, and trust that they will make the best decision. I'm looking forward to seeing what they do!

 

P.S. I still want a revised World of Wonders box set. 

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An example of what vagabond is talking about would be the Cubicle 7 Laundry game. Although based on BRP there are enough changes or special options that a full core book including the BRP rules is exactly what is needed. Their World War Cthulhu line which doesn't need the special options works very well as a supplement using the 6e rules for the WW2 version and 7e for the new Cold war supplement.

Nigel

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My opinion is that it needs to be considered on a case by case basis. Some settings are worth considering as full games, others as supplements to the BGB.

Yup, that makes total sense to me.

I wouldn't think that Rubble & Ruin or Aces High would need the full rulebook treatment... but a Future World rulebook covers wider territory and could be a great jump off for more precise settings.

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And the guy above you wants them as full rulebooks rather than supplements.

It's really a case of realizing that there's no way to make everyone happy. However, it's important to look at each product on a case-by-case basis. That being said, most of the things I've got lined up at this point are more of the supplementary model than core game model.

I can respect that and others seem to agree with the other view. However I don't see the point in spending money on regurgitating the same thing over and over seems like a waste of time and money both by the publisher and the consumer. What's the point in the BGB then if each generic setting will get its own rulebook?

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I can respect that and others seem to agree with the other view. However I don't see the point in spending money on regurgitating the same thing over and over seems like a waste of time and money both by the publisher and the consumer. What's the point in the BGB then if each generic setting will get its own rulebook?

The bgb is for tinkerers. Those who want to get under the hood and build their own things. However, like most things designed for tinkering, it's not an entry level product. It has nothing to entice the average, never-roleplayed-before consumer. They're looking for exciting settings with realized worlds. If they had to buy a setting book and try to parse the bgb for just the rules they need, they'd move in to something else.

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The bgb is for tinkerers. Those who want to get under the hood and build their own things. However, like most things designed for tinkering, it's not an entry level product. It has nothing to entice the average, never-roleplayed-before consumer. They're looking for exciting settings with realized worlds. If they had to buy a setting book and try to parse the bgb for just the rules they need, they'd move in to something else.

 

The BGB isn't complicated. I've read other rpg's that were a lot more complicated for beginners yet they seem to do quite well. aka 3.5. If you start introducing introductory products for generic BRP settings, you may start to find that the BRB starts to lack in sales, even more so than now. True it has a loyal following here, but a lot of gamers aren't going to spend money on some "advanced" book full of rules they probably won't use. Using the BGB as the core book and publishing setting books around it will cause the book to have more sales.

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The bgb is for tinkerers. Those who want to get under the hood and build their own things. However, like most things designed for tinkering, it's not an entry level product. It has nothing to entice the average, never-roleplayed-before consumer. They're looking for exciting settings with realized worlds. If they had to buy a setting book and try to parse the bgb for just the rules they need, they'd move in to something else.

The above, though I'd also add those of us who have returned to RPGs after years too. 

 

I did the exact thing described with Dragon Lines, which, BTW, is not a monograph written, illustrated, and edited by the author but a full-on professional publication.  Maybe when I was 16 and knew all the rules forwards and backwards, it would be great.  At 46, with more than one job and a child, flipping around the BGB and post-it-noting it felt a lot like doing taxes and not fun.  Dragon Lines is a GREAT book if you're totally comfortable with all the chapters of the BGB.  Not being that, personally, despite really wanting to play a Wuxia game, I'll never end up using it and would not buy a follow-up book despite how well done Dragon Lines is. I believe there are other people of my age that want to get back into RPGs.  The BGB does not work for that despite how easy D100 is to grasp. 

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