Wednesday, 16 January 2013

On Dwimmermount and Lateness

Things seem to have kicked off big time over Dwimmermount. (If that word means nothing to you and you are reading this blog, I would be extremely surprised, so forgive me for not going into the back story on this.) It's not my place to comment on the particulars, which I am not privy to, and it's certainly not my desire to stir shit in any sense, so I'll steer clear of making any sort of statement on the particulars.

But I will talk in generalities: I think Kickstarter is a nice idea, and I have backed some campaigns in the past, but I am highly suspicious of the legal nature of such projects and their likelihood of success. It's my view that a contribution to a Kickstarter should effectively be seen as a gamble, and contributors should only hand over as much money as they would be willing and able to part with for literally no return. A wise gambler only puts down as much money as he has to waste. The same should be true with a Kickstarter and the attitude to success should, as with gambling, be pleasant surprise, not expectation. It's my hope that the behaviour of contributors will come to reflect this.

Personally, as somebody with ambitions to create and distribute material for use in RPGs, I would never use such a campaign, for the simple fact that I know that I am rather feckless (my main character flaw - yes, I do have them, amazingly) and also often extremely busy. My ability to actually complete a project within an acceptable time frame is not high. It would therefore be irresponsible and negligent of me, to say the very least, to promise any completed product by a given deadline in return for punters' hard-earned cash.

Moreover, I am in general suspicious of quick fixes when it comes to creative endeavours. Good art (and yes, I consider game design an art) is produced because, fundamentally, the producer needs and wants to express something. It's not something that they do primarily to make a living, and it is something that they would be doing even if they were not being paid to do it, because they would enjoy it. If you were really going to be producing great stuff to use in games, you would be producing great stuff to use in games anyway, Kickstarter or not. So, then, why would you need a Kickstarter in the first place? (The only possible answer is "To finance art and layout", to which my only response would be, "Did Gygax and Arneson give a shit about art and layout?")


  1. "I am rather feckless [...] and also often extremely busy"

    Yes, you are an academic.

    1. I'm reading this on my academic work PC right now!! :p

  2. Tavis pointed me to an update and allowed me to share it on my blog earlier this afternoon.

    James has not been in communication with the Autarch folks for a few weeks it seems.

  3. I think it was Tavis who first told me something I have since heard from a number of people who have used Kickstarter to back their various projects...

    You don't do a Kickstarter campaign and then try to get your product out by a given deadline date. You all but finish a project and than endeavour to put it on Kickstarter.

  4. Completely unrelated to Dwimmermount, a few game nights ago our group got into a discussion of Kickstarter and the consensus was that it is 'venture capitalism' and should not be considered as pre-ordering or buying a product. More like tossing money at something you'd like/hope to see come about... maybe you get some product out of it, maybe you don't.
    The one project I've participated in so far was for the Mermaid Adventures RPG. I've got no interest in playing it but I felt like there should be a Mermaid adventure game available for... kids who like mermaids.

  5. does anyone knows what is happening to james m? his blog is not updated and now he is MIA.

  6. oh. that's terrible. i miss his blog. rpg community is really bitchy place ain't it?

  7. What you have is kids trying to play as professional adults, and in the case of Dwimmermount you have an epic fail. I here James scooped up $40,000.00 and he has no product to deliver? I just say wow!