Monday, June 20, 2016

The Principles of d20 Supplements

Recently an Office Depot near my home went out of business. I don't wish ill on anyone or their business, but it did give me the opportunity to pick up a cheap portable hard drive and finally put my RPG ebook collection into some kind of order.

Most of that collection has come from bundles of various kinds; probably a few hundred dollars a year worth of deep-discounted collections of just raw stuff.  This is one sort of marketing (among many) in our consumerist world and hobby that I'm especially susceptible to.

I also receive a lot of RPG ebooks through my role as a rpgnow Feature Reviewer.  We get tons of material to review.  The ones that end up on this hard drive were interesting enough for me to download, though the overwhelming majority of them didn't give me anything particularly remarkable to talk about and I didn't feel like a three-star "yeah, seems to do what the blurb says it does" review would be very valuable to anyone.  (The most boring I delete; I only save the ones that perhaps I want to give a second look to someday, or as part of a potential overview post...uh, I guess this is one of them.)  The kind publishers of drivethrurpg keep me around despite me turning in relatively rare but extremely long and overly detailed "reviews".  Actually I am not sure I produce "reviews" at all, now that I type it out.  Perhaps that's a blog post for another time.  Whatever I do at drivethrurpg, "reviews" or something else entirely, you can read them all here.

However, this position means that I have something of a unique perspective on an incredibly wide array of game supplements, and a generalization has slowly emerged over the many years I've been curating and thinking about them:
me when I try to determine the purpose of a RPG suppplement
author solely from the text they produced.

I don't understand what the creators of many of these supplements think their audience should do with them.