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Tuesday 10 May 2016

Incompetent Game Writers Demanding We Pay Them More for the Games They Can't Earn a Living on

What a complete crock of shit this link is. Someone made the same argument before, years ago, and I refuted it already in a previous blog post. Entitled game designers do not get to set Price Controls, Helton, just so that they can get the rock-star lifestyle they think their imagined genius entitles them to.

Why is it that semi-competent assholes in the gaming industry always end up hiding in one of two demands: either that everyone start paying more for their products, or that we somehow reduce the number of people writing competing products?

People have the right to work at a job that pays a living wage, they don't have the right to work at a job they LIKE and make a living wage. It's bullshit to suggest that because I did a bunch of research and writing, I am "owed" something by those fucking ungrateful peasant gamers who don't appreciate my grandeur, or some crap like that. The truth is that if you don't cut it as a game designer, no one owes you anything. You certainly don't have a 'right' or deserve to get to follow your 'dream job' if you suck at it. What you deserve is to be stuck at a minimum-wage job for the rest of your life because you majored in Feminist Literature instead of something useful, and have no discernible talent, ingenuity or skills.

I know that I wrote Dark Albion because I WANTED to. Free choice. People bought it because they wanted to. Free Markets. It made me a lot of money, more than any other RPG I've written so far, more than what I was paid for 5e, and it got a ton of great reviews and made a ton of gamers who bought it really happy. 
By the way, you can get Dark Albion, the hardcover, for a very reasonable $30 on Lulu. Rather than the sixty that people like Helton or Chris Pramas think you unwashed masses should be forced to fork over to them.
You make the choice: $60 for the entitled assholes who think you deserve to work a shit job and then pay them more so they don't have to; or $30 to the guy who loves RPGs, his books, and you as a valued customer?

If you won't be satisfied with the RPG writing you're doing unless you make a minimum amount of money, you shouldn't be in the RPG-writing business. Though if you're good, you'll make good money.

Again, it's mostly mediocre assholes like Helton or delusional self-styled 'industry professionals' like Pramas who complain about how the hoi-poloi should be forced to give them more money because they think they're so special.

Currently Smoking: Masonic Meerschaum + Image Virginia


  1. I consider myself lucky to be able to spend maybe 150/200 bucks a month on RPG stuff. That total isn't going to change, regardless of the pricing of RPG books. I have kids, a car, a mortgage and so on.
    Should the pricing increase, it will only mean I'll be able to by fewer books, so supporting fewer publishers/designers.

  2. I bought Maze of the Blue Medusa for $5, which is £3.46 in the UK. That would buy me a pint in local city bar. I could pay around $28, or £20 for Hoard of the Dragon Queen, which is by all accounts a much, much worse piece of work. Quality creators are creating amazing stuff at a cheaper price point than some of the big publishers, so I'm more inclined to invest my money in supporting more third party publishers because bigger ones are essentially pricing themselves out of the market.

    Not sure I have a point here, but I could use a pint.

  3. $30 is a bargain. I may buy it even with no plans to use it anytime soon just because it looks so damn good and has such universally good reviews.

    If we all got to choose how much we were paid, no one would have a job except those with extremely low self-esteem or incredible realists. I'd be getting at least twice what I am now. What a fantasy. If he doesn't like the money, he can always quit. At least in a free society.

  4. Chris is actually a very good game writer. Mutants & Masterminds is my favorite supers game, however, my issue was he used the OGL to publish this games, but did not make his gaming materials open so other publishers could use his game materials and maps for their games.

    So he used OGL to publish M&M, but the way he did it, I can't publish OGL map updates and adventures for the M&M game world (Freedom City). That is lame to the extreme, and has held me back from buying any new GR stuff the last five or six years or so.

    1. Well technically Stephen Kenson wrote most of M&M. And a lot of the game is still open. You just can't use Freedom City. That is a pretty common practice really.

    2. And either way M&M is so poorly written and edited that my group gave up trying to play it and went back to the usual super hero game.

  5. When I was 22, I would have LOVED to pull down $50K with health insurance just for designing games. Really. But understand, I was newly married to my beautiful wife of 26 years and couldn't just demand that the universe meet me on my own terms...

    This is just the responsible thing to do. So I joined the Air Force, because my family was more important to me than having them go without basic needs so I could pursue a dream.

    I worked really hard, became a military weather forecaster and, eventually, earned two degrees, got a commission, and became an Air Force weather officer. I also deployed to Iraq with the Army and sustained a disabling combat injury in 2003.

    I'm medically retired now with a spinal cord injury. I walk with a cane and visit the emergency room on a semi-regular basis...

    But I'm drawing disability retirement and rated 100% by the VA, which is a good thing, since my working days are behind me, and I'd have a hard time putting in a 4-hour workday.

    However, I CAN self-publish RPG rules, since I set my own hours and can take two weeks off at a time. Robyn's just terrific, and I really couldn't have done any of this without her. We aren't paying the rent with game design, but we ARE getting steady enough royalties to be treat when they hit the mail, and we owe it all to our fans, who AREN'T cheapskates. And we appreciate THEM.