Friday, July 30, 2010

Adventures in Staying At Home

This certainly has been an exciting week. Wish I was there.

Last weekend was the San Diego Comic Con (congratulations on those two Eisners, Eric!) as well as Winkie Con. This upcoming weekend is GenCon, one of the first (and certainly the biggest) RPG conventions out there. And during this week, it is Read an RPG Book In Public Week.

The only thing I've been able to participate in was Read an RPG in Public Week. But then, this is something I do anyway. My Facebook Friends and Fans have seen my photo of me reading AiO at the local Starbucks. The funny thing is, that was pretty much a publicity stunt. Sure, I read the book on my own (it's full of good stuff), but later that day, I wound up taking my D&D Dungeon Master's Guide to work with me so I could do some research for my current game.

I would have loved to attend any of the events going on right now, but traveling is a rather expensive proposition for me. DunDraCon is largely paid for by my tax return (I have to e-file to make sure that I get it in time). Hopefully, next year I will have some extra income from sales of the game, which should help me get out a bit more and drum up more sales of the game.

So remember, if you want to see me at Winkie next year, buy my stuff!

On a related note, the layout for the PDF version of the game is nearing completion and I'm hoping it will be done by next month. Even if it's ready sooner, I'm tempted to delay release until August 20th (Princess Ozma's birthday). This is mostly because I missed that date last year with the game.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Defining Success

This entry is not about success in roleplaying games, but in the RPG industry. How do you know when you've "made it" as an RPG publisher?

So I've done some thinking and come up with a couple of milestones to guide me along the way to success.

1st) "I'm free!": 81 sales. This is the amount of sales I need to have everyone paid off that I currently owe. Publishing something as lovely as AiO is an expensive proposition and I still owe people money for helping me put it together.

2nd) Schmuck: 100 sales. There's a bit of "common knowledge" that says "Any schmuck can sell 100 of anything."

3rd) "Don't laugh, it's paid for": 237 sales. This is about the point where I have actually earned back all of the money I spent on getting the game produced. Now I can talk about getting the money back from all the marketing expenses (which I'm trying to keep low, anyway).

4th) "Made it": 300 sales. This is the point where I can declare myself a survivor of the rat race that is self-publishing. It's not a record, but a badge of honor for my experience.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Crimes of Dr. Pipt

Dr. Pipt is a character who showed up in The Patchwork Girl of Oz and is the creator of the titular heroine. He is also known as the Crooked Magician because his body is rather crooked and he practices magic in defiance of the laws of Oz.

As I was reading the story as research for AiO, it felt a little jarring to have Dr. Pipt's magic stripped from him at the end of the story. He's not a villainous character, nor is he unsympathetic, and yet Ozma treats him much like a criminal in the climax of the story. So what did he do that was so terrible?

1) Improper storage of magical liquids. This is what creates the main thrust of the story, as the Liquid of Petrifaction is spilled on Unc Nunkie and Margolotte which requires Ojo to undertake his journey in the first place. But it's not his only crime. Read on.

2) Improper use of magic to solve a mundane problem. Bungle the Glass Cat was originally created to catch mice around the Pipt home. To drive home this particular lesson, it backfired on him. Bungle has no stomach with which to digest mice and her other features are notable enough that she's rather pay attention to those. (Baum repeats this theme in a conversation between Dorothy and Ozma in Glinda of Oz)

3) Animation with intent to enslave. Probably a strong term there, but it's accurate. Scraps was intended to be a servant. Her original batch of magical brains was intended to make her competent and complacent in her role as maid. It was Ojo's additions that made her a unique and independent character.

4) Animation and abandonment. This is poor Vic, the living phonograph. He was brought to life when Scraps knocked the Powder of Life from Dr. Pipt's hand. He likes to do what he has been built for, which is to play the record on his turntable, but it's a horrible record and so he is cast out by Dr. Pipt.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Why Go Beyond The Deadly Desert?

As I still have a plan to put together "Adventures in Oz: Beyond the Deadly Desert", I must pose the question: Why did L. Frank Baum go beyond the Deadly Desert in his Oz stories? Why didn't he just set all of his action there?

I think the answer is: Because it wouldn't have been realistic. Part of the charm of Baum's writing is that there is a level of realism (or more accurately, verisimilitude) along with the fantasy. And despite the Oz fandom's love of tornadoes as plot devices, notice that Baum only used it once. Because to use it more than once would be to stretch credulity just a little too much. Do it three times and you've completely battered any suspension of disbelief into the ground.

In fact, Baum's first Oz sequel, The Land of Oz, doesn't even include Dorothy. This is probably because he thought that bringing Dorothy back to Oz would have been hard to do believably. And when he did bring her back in Ozma of Oz, she doesn't return to Oz, but finds herself in the neighboring land of Ev. Because he had already established that Oz is surrounded by desert and to use a shipwreck to bring Dorothy directly to Oz would have been a cheat.

Then, in The Road to Oz, Baum introduces his Oz readers to a number of characters from his other stories, functionally tying those non-Oz stories into Oz lore. This process becomes complete with Scarecrow of Oz bringing Trot and Cap'n Bill to Oz. So now we've got lots of interconnected material to draw from that happens outside the borders of Oz itself.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Oz Character of the Month: Shaggy Man

A couple of announcements first: Another round of complimentary copies of the game went out today, mostly to thank people who helped me out with the game (you know who you are) but a couple of them went to the good folks at Indie Press Revolution, a consignment distributor of independent games. These copies will not be for sale, but for review. IPR is unique in requiring that products be reviewed before they are accepted for distribution. This not only helps them maintain a high standard of quality for their products, but it also means that the people selling the game have actually read it and have a better idea of how to sell it.

Also, I have recently obtained the domain and am in the process of migrating my old site there. A lot easier to remember than the old URL.

Now, without further ado, I present our Oz Character of the Month for July, The Shaggy Man.

Name: Shaggy Man
First Appearance: The Road to Oz
Template: Wanderer
Size: 3

Athletics: 3 (baseball)
Awareness: 2
Brains: 2
Sneaking: 2
Presence: 3
Wits: 2

Traits: Magic Item (The Love Magnet [AiO rulebook p 41]), Poet (2 points)

Friends List

Johnny Dooit
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...