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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Quelle horreur!

Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once. No, honestly, because it's about a Kickstarter for Le Tombeau du Vampire, "premier livre de la série Dragon d'Or", currently being run by Megara Entertainment, and I suspect not that many of this blog's readers are fluent in French.

Having said that, you might still want to check out the Kickstarter page because Leo Hartas is putting up some of his original pen-and-ink drawings for the book as one-off items you can buy - including my favourite one (possibly the first illustration Leo did for what was his and my first ever book) of the gate into the vampire's garden. And you can read that story here.


  1. I'd love to have the money spare to buy an early Leo Hartas original. For me, his art in The Elven Crystals creates an almost tangible atmosphere (there's that word again) that is a defining element of what I want from a Dragon Warriors game. Who wouldn't want to open that gate and walk under those trees? As much as I like Jon Hodgson's art in The One Ring and Lone Wolf Adventure, I would have much rather seen the original art in the Dragon Warriors reprint.

    1. When the DW licence reverts to Fabled Lands LLP, I wouldn't be too surprised if there's a reissue of those original six paperbacks ;-)

    2. There's certainly a part of me that would like to see that. Unfortunately, there's a problem and it comes back to what we were talking about not so long ago. The original books appeal most strongly to the nostalgia of the original fans... and we already have copies of the books. Change the format a bit, and some of us may pick up new copies, but they are not going to capture a new market.

      The rules need a proper revision (even you admit to not using them, which is an immediate warning sign to many gamers) and spreading them over multiple books also puts off gamers.

      I already have the original books and the Magnum Opus books, and I'll shortly be ordering Serpent King's Players book. I also have umpteen other rule-sets I could run the game with. If anyone wants me to buy the game again, I need to see new setting material and new scenarios, ideally with art that captures the feel of the setting as I recognise it (although the latter may put off others and is not a deal breaker for me).

      If you want to capture the interest of the broader RPGgamer market, you need a revised rulebook, consolidating material from all the books (including the new Players book) and some new scenarios, followed immediately by a setting sourcebook and a book of brand new scenarios. This is pretty much the minimum RPGamers expect these days.

      This then has to be followed by ever more players' options and expansions (which I personally find a bit tiresome, but then players are the largest part of an already small market).

      Unfortunately, RPGamers also seem to need new stuff churned out constantly - patience seems to be an utterly unknown concept these days.



    3. As James Wallis found, and as I suspect the Serpent King Games chaps have now discovered, there aren't enough DW players out there to justify a commercial publishing program.

      Certainly nobody should be put off the DW rules just because I don't happen to use them myself; everybody's requirements in a set of rules are different. But if I did have time to devote to the Jewelspider RPG that I've been mulling for so long, I'd rather hang it on an existing system than force players to learn a whole new bunch of rules.

      Jewelspider would be "real" Legend - well, my real Legend, that is, meaning a lot less magic and no orcs or halflings at all. But does anybody actually need a book to run that? If you have the Legend maps and DW book 6, you can pretty much wing it, I'd have thought.

  2. It's a worthwhile question: are there not enough DW players out there or are there already enough/too many fantasy RPGs out there? It will be interesting to see how well Cubicle 7's revamp of Lone Wolf does, as well as for how much longer Advanced Fighting Fantasy continues. The former is a high quality product with ambition and the latter is a revised but rather unambitious-looking product.

    You're absolutely right that people shouldn't be put off by you not using the rules yourself, but in discussions regarding the datedness of the rules it was a comment I read on several occasions.

    With regard to your final point, again you're right, many gamers could easily wing it. But... gamers like new books. One appealing feature of a new book is seeing ideas that we didn't think of ourselves, and seeing them developed into something bigger. (One of my many bugbears is lazy RPG supplements that have no novel ideas and no development.) There's also a dreadful obsession with things being 'official'. It's not a problem I have, but it seems many gamers regard home-grown rules and setting material as inherently sub-standard.

    1. I'm never really sure how useful a series of linked scenarios can be. The style of play in my own group is to go off piste pretty quickly, so although the details in the first scenario could be useful, where the player-characters end up is likely to invalidate any sequel scenarios in the book.

      I would hope that any player nurtured on DW would have no patience with "official" rules. L'auteur est mort (though not literally, I'm glad to say). And, while I suppose Jewelspider could find a following among players who are looking for a low-fantasy, faerie-tinged setting, I have no idea whether it would be a commercial proposition. Hence it's another project on my labours of love pile.