Friday, October 17, 2014

Delving Deeper Week, Day Five: Third-Party Like It's 1999 ... or 1974. Your Choice.

Hey, it's Friday! That apparently means something to some people! For me, it means that it's Day Five of Delving Deeper Week and time to ask +Simon Bull about where third parties fit into his plans for DD.

Do you plan on offering any sort of support for third-party publishers interested in publishing for DD?


This is something I really do want to do to help DD along; I have a few ideas but I'm open to suggestions too. 
Last year I ran a "short dungeon" writing contest to try to stimulate some interest in DD, but -- despite offering an OD&D whitebox set as a prize -- I only got a handful of entries (fewer than the minimum ten I need to giveaway my whitebox).
From this I realised that I need to make it easier, so I really want bto prepare a nice dungeon "template" for folks to put together DD dungeons in a more or less "standard" DD format.
However, a dungeon template is really just one part of a broader DD resources package that I'd like to offer. This would include bunch of DD resources that fans could re-use "as is", or else hack into other forms, and would include all of the DD text and tables in open formats, the DD title text graphic, and of course the OGL license. All this is still "work to do" but I'll get there eventually.
And, supposing the DD community was creating stuff, I'd always be happy to host and/or link to their creations from the Immersive Ink file share, so there'd be a simple mechanism for free distribution/visibility for the authors, and a relatively complete "go to" place for a list of DD resources for the players.

Simon's answer here is pretty short and sweet. He doesn't really say anything about licensing, so whether he'd be open to allowing folks to use the Delving Deeper logo/trade dress on their products isn't a done deal. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. Simon seems focused more on providing resources to fans than publishers, which at this stage makes sense; Immersive Ink itself hasn't published anything in print other than the DD Reference Compendium. Shouldn't Simon work to extend the line of Immersive Ink published materials before he starts thinking too hard about other folks publishing stuff for Delving Deeper?

That having been said, I think that it's a good thing if Mr. Bull and Immersive Ink look forward to the possibility of someone wanting to publish things for DD under license and what sort of circumstances that will be kosher under. For example, Labyrinth Lord offers a really solid and simple publishing license that many folks use to publish adventures and supplements for LL. Goodman Games offers something similar for DCC (although the Goodman DCC license does require a signed form and pre-publishing approval from Joe Goodman). What I'd like to see from Delving Deeper is a third party license that maximizes the published work's visible compatibility across the OD&D platform to other OD&D retroclones like Swords & Wizardry. Were I to publish a thing for DD, I'd like to also claim that it was compatible with S&W (because it pretty much would be), OD&D and other stuff like that without it infringing upon my license to use the DD name & logo.

You said you're open to third party publishers getting support from you & Immersive Ink. What sort of third-party project would get you really excited? 


That a good one. It's ironic that providing an 0e publishing platform is one of the central goals of the DD project, yet I've hardly had a moment to think about what other folks might already be publishing with it!  Recently I've seen a few discussions of personal DD projects, and a few folks have contacted me seeking advice, so it's happening. It's a real buzz to know that all the hard work has brought about a game that people are actually playing, and not only playing, but building on. So yeah, with DD still embryonic in terms of supporting products, I'm pretty excited to hear about any kind of supplements from folks out there.   
What would be the biggest hit? That's really hard to to say since so much depends on the delivery and perception.  I think, in general terms, DD could really benefit from a few broadly applicable, drop-in-campaign-part style supplements; something with a few punchy dungeon levels attached to a village, town, or stretch of wilderness could go a real long way for a lot of people. So that kind of material would be most welcome, for sure. 
By completely selfishly, what would I like to see?  Already having a shelf full of "standard" medieval/fantasy material, I think I'm just about ready for something a bit different. Maybe something Sword & Planet, or Zepplin World,-esque that builds on the aerial combat rules, or something Atlantis-y or Pirate-y that builds on the sea-faring/underwater rules? Or perhaps someone will come up with something wholly inspired right out of left field? Anything creative and well put together would be a huge boon to DD and also the 0e family of games. Bring it on folks.


And so, ahead of any sort of license for such a thing, I'd like to announce that the Kickassistan Ministry of Tourism's next zine will be an OD&D-compatible zine called Hyperbarbaria, modeled at least in part after my Hyperbarbaria/Quasquetherion campaign. Inspired by Blackmoor & Carcosa, Thundarr the Barbarian & Korgoth of Barbaria, Twin Peaks & Cities of the Red Night, Metal Hurlant & EPIC, Barsoom & Venus, Hyperborea & hyperbole, Hyperbarbaria lies near the top of the world, far from shining Ur-Hadad, in the lands that buffer civilization from the corrupting, violating influences of the Mountain That Fell. A land that has been the grave for millennia of heroes and conquerors, Hyperbarbaria is a land cursed to repeat the same cycles of mindless violence and heedless pursuit of power that have doomed it to ruin and decay. A hard-scrabble, mirthless borderland, Hyperbarbaria yet contains enough secrets and hidden wealth to draw adventurers still to this day, each eager to claw enough lucre out of the forgotten tombs and lost temples of generations past to enjoy what little remains of their lives. The few flint-hearted nobles desperate enough to claim domains here gather treasures they may from the itinerant looters, hoping that they will have enough warning before the next disaster -- cults, rampaging beast men, barbarians from the bleak North or even a nigh-apocalyptic return of the Skalls -- strikes. Less of a campaign setting and more of a toolbox to make Hyperbarbaric adventures, I intend this zine to represent the DIY attitude that makes OD&D and her clones truly great.


With that announcement, I'll also state that I'm happy to accept submissions for Hyperbarbaria, particularly house rules, art and adventures. Interested parties should email me at adam@kickassistan.net with some ideas.


Also, since I'll be out of town for the weekend, days Six & Seven of Delving Deeper Week might actually be delayed until Monday & Tuesday.