Thursday, April 8, 2010

Useful Stuff for DFRPG

So, I want to thank everyone for the kind comments yesterday, and I want to underscore that as much as the piracy thing bothered me, it's a very small thing in the grand scheme. Dresden looks great and is rolling out on time, I'm writing for another game I'm in love with, and I love in a day and age where I can turn my love of these games into something. All in all, I'm WAY ahead on points.

So with that in mind, let me turn the light on a few positive and interesting things about the DFRPG on the off chance they've escaped notice.

First, if you have not read Fred's post on Sausage and the DFRPG, it's absolutely worth a look if you have any interest at all in the business side of RPGs. He drills down into our costs, sales and all sorts of other very concrete and very specific information. While it's an incidental benefit that this also makes our pricing transparent, the reason for putting this out there is simpler than that. Fred has taken steps at every turn to keep our numbers transparent, posting quarterly sales numbers and delving into pricing with details whenever possible. Why? Because this information is a pain in the ass to get. The hobby has no real commercial trade publications or standards, so the only concrete information you're going to get is what people release. When we started out, we could find barely any data to go on, and that was incredibly frustrating. We made a number of mistakes as we stumbled in the dark, and while none of them were fatal, they could have been easily avoided with a little more information. So we do what we do in order to help the next guy, and thankfully, more and more small press folks have been more and more transparent over the past few years. It's a good thing.

Second, if the $90 price tag for both DFRPG books is too much to stomach, consider getting just one. We handled the divide pretty clearly so that if you're just interested in the next iteration of Fate, then you can buy the "Your Story" book and be satisfied.[1] If you're purely in it for the Dresden side of things, "Our World" can scratch that itch - it's like a fan guide with stats. Yes, you'll miss out on free shipping, but you can avoid that by preordering through your local store.

And that's the third thing: The local stores. We love game stores. Love love love them. But we do a lot of business on the internet, and that can create problems. For example, when we offer a free PDF with the purchase of one of our games online, that's easy to do because the infrastructure's in place. But that's kind of harsh on the store owner, who only has the print product to sell - at the same price, his product is worth less because it doesn't come with the free bonus.

But as I said, we love game stores, so we offer the Evil Hat free PDF Guarantee. If you buy a copy of one of our game in a brick and mortar store, then have the store mail us (or otherwise provide proof of purchase) and we'll send you a PDF. Simple as that. Unfortunately, this is a pretty manual process - we have to get the emails, check them out, then set up the freebie on a case by case basis. That's ok for the volume of our current product, but for the Dresden pre-order it's untenable. It would require store owners to mail us every time someone preordered (which is inconvenient for them) and require us to set up distribution (which is inconvenient in many ways), so Fred hit upon a brilliantly crude (in the William Gibson sense) solution: we make the pdf available to store owners and let them burn CDs for folks who preorder. Simple as that. It wouldn't have worked even a few years ago, but CD burning is so trivial these days that this works out ok. Net result, people get games, game stores get business, everyone wins.

But if the books are still too much, then heres #4: rest assured the PDFs will be available for purchase, once the book goes on sale (late June: Origins is the target launch). I have no idea how much they'll cost, but we're not big fans of egregiously overcharging for PDFs, so rest assured the price will be reasonable.

And if that's still to much, then consider #5: it's still open content. Admittedly, it's muddled in the books because we can't (and wouldn't) open up Jim's content, so we can't just put up the text as an SRD as we did for Spirit of the Century, but the rules are under the OGL from day one, and will eventually be in an easier to absorb format (maybe an SRD, maybe in FATE 3 - hard to say right now). That is, I admit, a priority that is going to wait until the book is actually out the door.

So, I hope at least some of that was useful or informative. Me, I'm chomping at the bit to get my hands on a physical copy of the books. Or at least an ipad to read the PDF.

1 - With the one caveat that the "our world" has a ton of sample monster powers, so you'd miss out on those.


  1. As I mentioned to Fred, the only reason I'm not snapping up both books now is because I'm in the process of moving to a new house and strapped for cash. However, I think $90 is fine for two high-quality licensed books, personally.

  2. No SRD is forthcoming on Dresden, actually. Fate Core is where any of it is going to show up, whenever that is. I got into the details of this over here:

  3. Dude, consider our fans. I will not be shocked if an SRD manifests from the ether. Something to keep an eye out for at the very least.

  4. I am considering them, but there's this pesky "everything in this product is product identity" thing quoted at the above link.

  5. I get that, but that doesn't mean a well intentioned enthusiast couldn't rephrase and re-present chunks of the underlying rules. It'd be a messy muddle, but it'd also be a good yardstick for demand.

    But yes, point taken that Fate 3 is the intended direction.

    -Rob D.

  6. @Eddy Webb
    I can sympathize with you. I am unemployed right now, have been for a while, have to dip into the retirement funds to pay the rent. When they first posted the price point for the books I realized that it wasn't going to happen anytime soon. But when they posted the pre-order, with instant PDF gratification, I neeeded the books so bad. I may have to cancel my TV service to pay for it but I am happy

    @Rob and Fred
    I was hoping for a different type of sausage. If I have one disappointment about the books, it's that it tied too closely to Jim's canon. Nevermore is good but it is only a small chapter. Our Story is good but all the characters have gaps and caveats about speculation in areas where Jim has not yet shined the light of his genius.

    The kind of sausage I would like, hopped, to see would be development stuff. I am sure that some of the play testers must have come up with characters, spells, rotes, enchanted item, items of powers and potions that took the rules to places of awesomeness that you and Jim had never considered.

  7. @Biff, the correct place for that sausage to go is in peoples' games, not in our book. The fans have already started up two wikis to share that stuff, too: and

  8. @Fred

    Already watching both those sites but thanks any way. Not to harp on the matter but I would have preferred to see Our Story split into Two sections, Baltimore and Chicago.

    I like the Dresdenverse stuff there, but there are a lot of holes in it; because you couldn't go sticking your own stuff into Jim's IP, I get that. And the back story stuff isn't really necessary if people have read the books.

    Some of the examples in Your Story for evocation, thamaturgy and enchanted items are a bit vague. Sometimes they don't state which version of Harry's stats they are using and it takes some effort to figure out how things got calculated - there are some examples that I think may just be wrong. I hoped to see more examples in Our Story.

    But none of the restrictions above would have affected Nevermore. No back story beyond the character creation stuff. Fully fleshed out characters. Ideas for evocation, thamaturgy and crafting that we have not already seen in the books.

    Eventually the fans will produce these fruit from the seeds you guys have planted. Thanks for all your efforts.

  9. For the time being I'll take it as a good sign that the game leaves you hungry for more. :)

  10. It's been a long, long, long wait for this. In that time my expectations may have grown beyond the ability of pure mortals to satisfy. Perhaps if some of you guys had take a few supernatural stunts, or a pact maybe... 8)


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