Wednesday, 12 May 2021
Doing It For a Living
There are people out there who make a living writing OSR stuff. There aren't many, but they are out there.
Back of the envelope calculations suggest to me that if I quit my job tomorrow I would need to produce a Yoon-Suin about every two months to allow me to live in something approaching "the manner to which I have become accustomed". Admittedly, I deliberately priced Yoon-Suin cheaply, didn't kickstart it, and I think back then the market was also a decent amount smaller than it currently is. Maybe it would be more like every three or four months. But even if I quit my job and just spent all my time doing this, could I make, say, three or four Yoon-Suins a year?
I doubt it.
The important point to be made, though, is that this OSR/DIY D&D/whatever train that we're on seems like it is going to keep chugging along. It has its own momentum now, and I don't really see that stopping. It will never be able to sustain an industry even as big as truly marginal pursuits such as, say, airfix models, poetry, or historical re-enactment. But it has gone on for far too long now to be a flash in the pan. Indeed, it seems now to be entrenched in what you might call a "mature phase", bigger than the personalities involved - too big, as a matter of fact, to realistically keep track of everything that is happening (I gave up years ago), too big for gossip to be serious issue, too big for anybody's opinions in particular to really matter, and too big to just sink without trace.
This has made it actually feasible for somebody to give up a career and make OSR stuff, relatively secure in the knowledge that there will still be people there willing to buy things in 10, 20, even 30 years' time. A lot can change in 30 years, admittedly. But it's already been 13 years since I started blogging. And it's been over 40 years since people have been playing D&D. Maybe in 30 years' time we'll all be being wheeled around in pods drinking 7-Up like in WALL-E. But we'll still be complaining about the UI of roll20 as we do so.
The world is probably objectively worse now than it was in the 1990s. But one thing that's better is that there is now a realistic career path towards "Making Stuff Up for Role Playing Games" that has a fighting chance at having a long-term future.
Posted by noisms at 04:08