I Do Not Want to Write a Fan Supplement

There's alot of fan supplements out there on the internet for roleplaying games.  Mage converted to BESM!  Fading Suns converted to 7th Sea!  Mage converted to GURPS!  (I've seen all three!)  Bigger and better robots for Exalted!  Near-infinite D&D spells, feats, and prestige classes!

I do not want to write a fan supplement.  I do not want to work on your game on my own time.  I want to be working on my own game, which I can publish, with my own name on it, funded by my own creative efforts, and putting a couple of bucks into my own pocket.  If I'm going to be spending dozens, or even hundreds of hours on something, I had better be the one reaping the rewards, not you.

So I do not want to augment your Already Published and Famous Role Playing Game.  I want to write my own from the ground up.


3 thoughts on “I Do Not Want to Write a Fan Supplement

  1. Alex says:

    A lot of it comes down to whether you want to see your game published or played. With the success of internet publishing for games anyone can afford to publish their own material. That’s the problem: anyone can, and often does, publish their own material. Thus when someone is looking for a game you have to convince them not only why they should play your game but why they shouldn’t be spending that time playing one of the hundreds of other games out there.

    Conversely, a d20 supplement can be dropped into nearly any d20 game out there. A GURPS supplement can be used in just about any GURPS game. It’s the process I refer to as the generification of gaming.

    This was an intentional part of WotC’s strategy when they created the OGL. The concept was that they could focus on the big supplements that were basically core books in disguise (i.e. Forgotten Realms campaign setting, Psionic’s Handbook, etc.), small companies would create the niche products (i.e. Elemental magic systems, guidebooks for horses and cavalry, etc.), and fans or very small indie publishers would create the really niche products (i.e. Malls and Morons, E.N. Arsenal). When White Wolf re-evaluated their business strategy on the heels of finishing of OWoD they followed the same model but, because they don’t have an open license anything that couldn’t really be sold as a “not” core was pushed into the realm of fan supplements. Other games seem to be following that trend (i.e. AEG with their two supplements a year strategy for l5r).

    So what’s the end result of this? If you write a fan supplement for an existing game people will read it and, in all likelihood, play it. On the other hand if you do your own material it usually won’t go beyond your own friends and maybe a few convention games. Given the ridiculously low rate of pay on even a successful product most writers would rather have non-fiscal success of people enjoying their material. Though to be honest those numbers aren’t a whole lot better.

    If you really want money and/or recognition: write for Dragon.

  2. Willow says:

    If I write a fan supplement that’s of high enough quality that lots of people will play it, then I should be capable of freelancing or independent production. The aim isn’t to do this as a job, since I have a job that allows me to write at work, but to get due compensation for my work.

    I don’t see anything wrong with d20 or GURPS supplements. That’s fan work done right. Look at Kingdoms of Kalamar as a textbook case of what to do. I had the old generic setting box set. Then they upgraded it to a d20 setting, a d20 rules supplement, and a whole line of supplement books.

    If someone wants to put a D&D Prestige Class or a L5R School on the web, more power to them. But there’s alot of projects out there that seem like a poor use of the author’s time and creative talent.

  3. Willow says:

    Another thing to keep in mind: in the last several years, Print on Demand publishing has increased to the level where it is possible for a small-press (i.e Roleplaying) publisher to publish and sell a book with greatly reduced start-up costs. There’s really no reason you can’t make your work available in a purchasable form.

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