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Thread: A Crazy Idea for the Guild

  1. #1
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    Post A Crazy Idea for the Guild

    So after reading Torq's thread about Thinking Big, I've let my mind wander. I know that hosting this site costs money, and I recall reading old threads wherein Arcana was asking for donations to pay for software (I think). More recently, there have been a couple comments regarding ways to harness the collective power of the Guild, Torq's thread being the most recent.

    Why doesn't the Guild enter the fantasy publishing field--at least as a publisher of pdfs?

    I realize that the pdf market is a tricky beast, but my own experience shows (as does Terrainmonkey's) that a small pdf with some decent maps and good production value can make a small (but real) amount of money. (I'm sure that those of us who roleplay are probably aware of Enworld's Burning Sky adventure arc as an example of a similar site entering the market.)

    I propose a pdf, or series of pdfs, or several different product lines of pdfs, that use maps and other materials from members of the Guild, gathered into a coherent format, and sold on RPGNow.com or any of the other sites out there there sell pdfs. It can be structured such that there is one "project manager" and several contributing cartographers/writers. Once on sale, the PM gets a small percentage of the profits, each contributor gets a small percentage, and the Guild (whose name is plastered across the front) gets a certain percentage. The Guild (who, I guess, I really mean Arcana) uses the money to pay for the site upkeep and hosting. Another advantage is that money now exists for the Guild to expand in other ways beyond merely just the forum site that we have now.

    Success (at least at the beginning) does not mean making a lot of money (which isn't realistic anyway). Success of this venture in my mind is measured by our ability to limit out-of-pocket expenses for administrators in keeping the site alive and running (and growing) while creating products that we ourselves would buy if we weren't involved in their creation whose production values we can be proud of.

    I have a lot more to say on this subject, but I'll stop now to hear what others think.

  2. #2
      Redrobes is offline
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    Well, why not roll Torq's ThinkBig world into the mix and make pdf adventures within that world ? GamerPrinter was saying how we share this site with adventure writers and why not collaborate ? I wouldn't want the site to turn into some factory for it but right now theres no collaborative efforts going on at all and no avenue to pitch in with that. Even if it made no money at all I would think it worth looking into.

  3. #3
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    Redrobes - Couldn't agree more, but I do have one thought.

    There is a (perhaps small) market out there for maps-only products, and we (collectively) are really good at maps. I think that we should start at that level.

    Stretching the project into actual adventures removes us somewhat from our expertise and into a realm where it is (IMO) much harder to do it really well.

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    I'm still new here, but I'm going to offer my two cents anyway.

    I've wanted to get into a project similar to this for a long time. I think that while the focus should remain on the maps themselves, there is always room to flesh things out. I don't believe that fully realized adventures are necessarily the way to go, as you are then limiting yourself to a specific rules system. I do think that detailed descriptions of important places and people, including their histories and motivations, would be an inspiring source for any motivated DM.

    In short, the guild provides the fluff, and the DM supplies the crunch.

    I really hope all that made sense.

  5. #5
      ravells is offline
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    Excellent idea, Tim. Perhaps we should see how Torq's scheme goes? I don't mean to sound negative but it's just in my experience 'big' projects which are carried out by volunteers, usually start with a lot of enthusiasm and fire and then either get mired by a lot of discussion about how to do something (rather than going ahead and doing it) or people lose interest and drift away. Content high projects like these need a project manager with a really sharp vision and contributors who do not take offence if their content is edited by the PM.

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      hans_worst is offline
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    If you're planning to do this. You should start small. I've worked on several projected based in virtual communities like this. And they all end premature because some members bail out. So if you start it make sure you can finish it alone or with somebody you know really good (in real life preferably). Then when you've ended some small projects with succes you can try bigger ones. People need to see result if you want to keep them on the project.

    If you're going to do this. I can do some adventure writing. But not alone, I need to work with some native speakers.

  7. #7
      Robbie is offline
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    This very discussion (or one similar to it) has come up numerous times in the community leader discussions...And every time it comes up I start leaning towards it. There's a few problems with it though...

    A) I'm not a businessman, just a guy with a hosting plan and bandwidth
    B) I'm not a lawyer nor do I have access to one
    C) All of the above in regards to international issues since this site caters to everyone

    To do this I'd basically end up turning this into a business that will have to pay taxes more than likely, and keep records as well as ensure I have legal protection from disputes over content rights and publishing rights and monetary exchanges.

    At this point it sounds great to say hey all, lets make maps and adventures and sell them to the world to make money for the guild...and the very real problem with that is that when you say that you are saying...lets make Robbie some money...which while I am totally flattered that you'd want to do that...I'm pretty sure you wouldn't expect that to continue to be a one-way venture...eventually, if not right frm the start I'm going to have to start paying people for their work so I can publish it and make money off of it...even if the money isn't even profitting me, only helping the site stay afloat, there's still the issue of rights and pay. How long would you guys make maps for me to publish and make money off of? Not long I imagine.

    Also there's staffing issues...at this point, Its me running the website side of things...and my community leaders run the community side of things...I'd have to bring in additional site admins, possibly programmers, and of course the aforementioned lawyer, all of which are going to want a cut of the sites proceeds and all of which are going to require tax information and employee or contractee legal processing.

    ***

    Keep in mind...I'm not saying any of the above is impossible...Its just a lot more daunting and involved than saying "lets sell pdf's to help pay for the site". Your hearts are in the right place, and it honors me greatly...

    Because of that honor, I'm going to start digging into this...I'm going to start with what I consider my mentor site (CGSociety) and see if I can get in touch with their administration and find out what they had to do to get things rolling...That site basically does exactly what I'd like to do.

    Thanks go to you all...I'll keep ya posted
    Robbie Powell - Site Admin

  8. #8
      hans_worst is offline
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    If I were you I start looking at your product first. Have you ever created a map pack? or a d20 adventure? d20 is nice, because you can use the rules if you do it right. That's not terrible difficult. I can help you with that.

    I think it's a good start to see if we can do it for free. Under a Creative Commons Licence for example. see here for licences

    Then if this is succesfull, you can see if there is some money in it.

  9. #9
      Robbie is offline
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    Now that I'm all for...definitely.
    Robbie Powell - Site Admin

  10. #10
      hans_worst is offline
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    the d20 system has it's own license. If we for example make a pdf. All the d20 stuff we use for it should be in a box. Everything in the box is published under the terms of the Open Gaming License. For all other work we could use the normal copyright or a Creative Commons Licence.

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