EDIT: So, it looks like Bill Webb showed up in the comments at Chgowiz's blog and attempted to set things straight/explain/what-have-you. Thanks to him for taking the time to do so. I'll let you read it as well, to see where he's coming from. I imagine this isn't the last we've heard of Frog God or this new edition. -ZH
A hat tip to Chgowiz and Bite The Bulette on this one.
So, Swords & Wizardry gets a new edition, by the folks at Frog God Games. All well and good. Swords & Wizardry, at least for me, is one of the most enjoyable products to surface from the resurgence of interest in classic-style RPGs, simulacra, and retro-clone rules.
So what do the new Frog God folks (and spinoff of Necromancer Games) give us, by way of an introduction to their company?
“We are not the guys who are going to offer bargain basement junk for a quick buck. We won't sell you hand drawn maps and clip art laid out by amateurs and posted up on Lulu.com as a cheap book that you look at and discard”.
Eh? So you want to slag on pretty much half of the 400 people interested in your product? Because, by trashing those “amateurs”, that’s what you did. It reads as a hit against every fan magazine, every bare-bones supplement, and every weekend and late night spent creating something to celebrate and contribute to play in our hobby.
The Do It Yourself (DIY) ethic is a core part of not just this corner of the hobby, it’s been a boon to those of us who wanted to create something for the games we loved, but weren’t quite sure how. We saw our peers do it, and said, “hey, maybe I can take a crack at something like that, too!” Many products—good products, that I have used the hell out of for gaming—were from lulu.com, and I can spot more than a few hand-drawn maps and bits of clip art.
High production values are fine. Creating something from the heart to share at cost (or even at a loss), is a much more personal, engaging, and earnest transaction, to my mind.
Hey, it’s the internet. We all say dumb stuff. I get about one to two angry emails a week because I am a) an insensitive turd, apparently, and b) write something much more offensive than it sounded in my head, and I’m no James Raggi or RPG Pundit. So I know how these things can come out. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to call you on it.
I’ve got nothing but good wishes and respect for Matt Finch and Swords & Wizardry. I just hope Frog God doesn’t forget how that product started, and the manner in which we as a community choose to support it. Yes, you can have a high-value neo-classical gaming product that’s a work of love (LotFP's Boxed Set, anyone?). But you don’t have to piss on anyone to do it.