Cease this madness at once

Rawle Nyanzi has written a beautiful and important piece about indie games, indie books and indie publishing. In a nutshell, he points out that every criticism, positive or negative, about big brand rpgs, games and books does nothing to change the current situation: Big brand media utilize psychological targetting methods to inflame “critics” – this increases both the volume and frequency of mentions. Bad news are good news. 

The bigger the piece of the cake for big name media, the smaller the pieces get for indie authors and games. Big media doesn’t even like us – it’s the money they’re after, and that’s the reason you won’t find any kind of golden thread in their publication policy. If there’s money to be made with, let’s say, transgender-heavy dungeon crawls, that’s what they’re going to publish, even if all their old modules are about heroic beefcakes rescuing long-legged blonde cheesecakes from rotten towers of old ugly male bearded wizards.

Big media franchises don’t have morale. They don’t have a code of conduct. Big media corporations are unethical. Their only concern is money, so they have to be very flexible, morally. Big media companies don’t care about you.

The future of roleplaying and, I believe, book publishing, is independent. Indie publishing. Indie games. Indie authors. Indie designers. Look at the breathtaking rpg products the OSR has generated so far. Look at the new wave of sword&sorcery and scifi writers who are all published by indie companies. Indie is the place of innovation, of real change. 

Indie is the future of our hobby, not the soulless products churned out by big media.

So what’s the solution? Let me quote Rawle:

  • From this day forward, I will not mention any major media franchise on this blog, and I will erase such talk if I see it in the comments. Also, I will not like, share, or reply to any social media post that discusses a major media franchise. This does not only apply to woke brands. All major brands, including anime, will not be mentioned here. No big brand requires my help in getting the word out, so I won’t do it for them.
  • If it is mentioned on any mainstream geek site (Bleeding Cool, IGN, Comic Book Resources, Anime News Network, etc.), it is a major brand. Those sites get a lot of traffic from interested parties, so they don’t need you to talk up whatever they’re talking up. Meanwhile, great content languishes in obscurity because everyone would rather complain to a company that deliberately antagonizes them, thinking they’ll change with the 17,863,485,736th email.
  • Spare me your talk of circlejerks. Non-mainstream content has to be talked up, no matter the source. The only way to create actual competition is to treat non-mainstream work with the same obsessiveness as a franchise that spits on its fans. No million-dollar executive is going to have a change of heart because you whined like a baby on Youtube, so stop it and be part of the solution instead.

This is what I’ll do from now on, here on Darkworm Colt and in my private life.
We are the future.

From OSR to The Indie Hack: an experiment

I’m writing several games at the moment – which, of course, results in snail-like pace in terms of progression. But that’s how I’m wired, and that’s that.

What I’d like to try today is to convert a character class I wrote for one of my games (Darkworm Colt, an rpg based on Into the Odd) to Slade Stolar’s brilliant “The Indie Hack“. Let’s see how this goes.

First, the character class in its natural format:

Elven Berzerker
Feared in all the lands.
Faithful only to their savage gods.

You get: Elven Darkblade (1d8), Runes of Rage, Talking Skull of your Ancestor
Sample Names: Khorzak, Yonkath, Urhuuz, Gorgo, Rilukk, Bolar

What do you know about yourself?

Rage is the gods‘ gift, so when you fight, there are no survivors. Ever. Make WIL save to stop the slaughter when there are still beings left. Failure doubles the damage you inflict.
Cold smile. Successful WIL test with Advantage to intimidate.
That tattoo on your forehead might be a demon.
Blood is life, so drink it from the skulls of your enemies. Regain d4 hp.
If anyone ever knows your true name, they gain the power to give you one order – once. 
You fight better with blades. Roll with Advantage for damage.

How would this look like in The Indie Hack?

Like so:

The Elven Berzerker 

You are feared in all the lands. The only ones you are faithful to are your savage gods.

Questions (answer 2): What is it your gods demand? What have you done to be feared? Who was the mightiest opponent you have ever sent to the Cold Realm?

Class Attributes: Tough [+1], Precise [0], Clever [-1]

Natural Aptitudes (choose 1): Intimidate, Endurance

Positive Details:
– Master of Blades (you can fight with any kind of blade) 
– Blood Drinker (Spell: drink some of the blood of a slain enemy and remove one hard detail) 
– Rage (Skill: Roll Clever challenge to stop fighting when there are still living beings near you; if you fail this challenge, you have to continue fighting, and you inflict double negative details till there is nobody left) 

 You start with: Elven Darkblade (Lifeless /5), Talking Skull of your Ancestor (Mute /3)