Monday, March 5, 2012

Blood & Treasure: An Idea and a Problem

Before I begin this post ... The NOD 13 E-Book is back up for sale. I had forgotten to credit an artist, so I needed to bring it down until I could fix the PDF this morning. So - back up for sale, $3.50. Buy it HERE if you've a mind to.

Now back to our regularly scheduled post ...

How many readers do yard work or putter around in the garden? If not, I highly suggest it, because it gives you time to think and create.

B&T Ranger by Jon Kaufman
Today I was putting in a veggie garden and while I toiled a thought popped into my head. I want Blood & Treasure to be inclusive of all the editions that fed into the SRD - but that means a Referee who wants to run the game without some material from one or another edition has to put together a list for his players of what material is forbidden. That's a pain in the butt.

So, working off of ideas I've seen floated around by Zak Smith and Jeff Rients and possibly others, I thought I might help those Referees out. Obviously, if a Referee is exluding material based on the theme of his or her campaign, I can't read their minds and help with that. But, if they want to exclude things based on the edition it showed up in, that I can handle.

The idea is simple. I'm using three categories of material:

Classic: For me, this is the material that showed up in the three original books and material from the "basic" game written by Holmes and expanded by Moldvay, Cook and Mentzer. So, the four basic classes (yes, of course you don't have to use the thief), the human, elf, dwarf and halfling, the old stand-by spells and the old stand-by monsters.

Advanced: This is the stuff from the original supplements as well as the first edition of AD&D. Material (i.e. classes, races, spells and monsters) that is "advanced" will be marked with a little black diamond next to the name.

Expanded: This is the stuff that showed up in the 2nd and 3rd editions of the game, from feats to sorcerers to tieflings to grey renders. Expanded material will be marked with a little black circle.

So, if a Referee just wants to run a "classic" campaign, he can tell the players to avoid any race, class or spell marked with a diamond or circle.  Likewise, those who want an "advanced" campaign can caution players not to attempt to use materials marked with a circle. Simple and, I think, not too intrusive. Let me know what you think ...

Inclusivity is nice, but it poses some problems. For all intents and purposes, I am finished writing Blood & Treasure and it looks like it's coming in around 300 big fat pages. That's a sizable book, and not to some peoples' taste. So ...

How about I produce three books?

One will be a 300 page monster with everything in it. This should run in the $30 range.

The other two will be divided into a Player's Guide with the classes, races, spells and basic rules (combat, skills, saving throws, etc.) and a Referee's Guide with monsters, treasure and info on creating and running adventures and campaign worlds. These would probably sell in the $15 range.

My only worry here is that somebody could accidentally buy all three and waste some of their hard earned money.

Again, let me know what you think.


  1. If you're worried about people mistakenly buying all three, name the 300 pg book with a word like "complete", "combined", or "omnibus edition" in the title. Also, put a sentence on the cover like, "This edition includes all material from BOTH the players and gms books." If anyone accidentally buys all three then, they're just being unobservant.

  2. Why bother with the big book if the price of the two player's book and referees book together come to the same price? Those that want it all (like GMs) can buy both books and players can just pick up the player's book.

  3. Do two books, and sell them individually and as a bundle. Given the choice, I'd buy the two and not the 300-page doorstop.

  4. Good points. I don't think, using Lulu, I can technically sell things as a bundle, but the two books would be there just the same. I am now thinking I might not bother with the 300-pager after all. Thanks folks!

  5. Okay - funny thing. The comments here are leading toward "just do the two books", while the comments on G+ lean toward "Do all three". I think I'll probably just do all three, since ultimately that pleases everyone and it lets me design a cover for the Referee Guide and, well, I like picking out cover images.

  6. And you do pick awesome covers! I look forward to picking up the two player and referee books!

  7. You might get some people who are willing to go in for the $15 price point even though they know they aren't getting all the rules. They might be interested in your DM rules or Player rules specifically. And once they read it, they decide to buy the other one.

    You might have some DMs who want the players to have the Player rules but not the DM rules. It might also be cheaper for them to buy a few Player books and one DM book because not everyone needs all those rules.

    It's also less daunting to find out that you have two 150-page rulebooks than a single 300-page book to read and understand. It's easier to flip through and find the information you need if you know which book it's in. By the way, you might want to have a combined index in both volumes with page numbers in bold for one and regular for the other.

  8. I like the idea of the index, assuming I can pull it off.


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