What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
After Winter Dark Campaign Setting

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Support and C&C Fandom

Josh over at Tartarus Press posed an interesting question.. you can his post HERE. In essence, he asks what happened and is there any way to turn it around.

Big questions and he covers some of the issues quite nicely. Also thanks for the compliment with regards to the material we produced for C&C -- I do pride myself with the fine work I put in to those adventures and I always tried to improve upon the last product I did. But to the question at hand.

I don't think it was one particular incident that led to dwindling fan supported material. I think it was a combination of factors. The biggest problem with the C&C Society was that very few shouldered the burden of keeping it going. Fewer were willing to tackle the responsibilities of providing direction but this was largely a problem of having spare time. At the time, when some members stepped down from leading rolls, I even offered to take on some of the responsibilities. Unfortunately, I was never given the opportunity. The material for the last issue of the Domesday zine was passed on to someone else and TLG was to push on with some of its own initiatives for the Society. One of the things TLG believed in (for the Society) was to use it as a vehicle to spread 'C&C' by members doing demos and in-store sessions of the game. They supplied members willing to do this with materials (known as the Harbinger box set) to facilitate this. It was (and still is) a great idea. Sadly, the society putting together material for the sake of putting out material ceased to be and those member who were most prolific have gone on to do other things.

When all of this came down, TLG and their product line was in a bit of flux and actually has been for the past couple of years. In 2009, they released the fourth printing of the PHB which was a bit expanded and featured a couple of key revisions. 2009 was a decent year with a few big releases -- very important with the loss of the Trigee license at the end of 2008. However, 2010 saw fewer key releases with the most significant book being the "Monsters & Treasure of Aihrde". While there were other cool releases in 2010 such as "Fields of Battle" or "Harvesters", 2011 had even less although the one product of note last year was the long-awaited "Castle Keeper's Guide". Sure, there were a bunch of other adventure modules over the past couple of years as well but nothing to really support the core game. I'm not necessarily thinking this is entirely bad though ... all you have to do is to take a look at the multitudes of books for Pathfinder or 3rd Edition D&D. People just won't keep re-purchasing the core books once they have them so these models require constant supporting material for the game. Adventure modules also only sell so well since that is the one thing that enterprising GM's don't mind developing themselves. In any case, less big titles coming out for C&C means a reduced interest in some cases simply because it isn't in the forefront anymore.

Arcana Creations and Brave Halfling Publishing also noticed a steady drop in sales for our C&C related material. The biggest seller was the first C&C release but each subsequent C&C related release has fewer sales interestingly enough. And this was before Arcana Creations fell off the radar in 2010 and 2011. I had always planned to do more and I still am actually but I also have to weigh general interest as far as numbers are concerned -- especially if I have to concern myself with an art and production budget.

Now all of this isn't just doom and gloom. I really think TLG is trying to turn this around. The stuff is selling and not just through direct sales -- it's just not Pathfinder or D&D. Last year's release of the CKG did give it a good bump and TLG has three big projects lined up to be released in the first two quarters of this year (one of which I recently reviewed). Arcana Creations will be putting out at least two modules this year for the game and pretty much all the material which will be included in the "Ballista Rules Companion" can be used with C&C.

TLG just needs to keep focused in order to remain relevant and hopefully it will be enough to bring committed fans back to the fold and they can do their own thing and just play the game. And, while I remain hopeful, Arcana Creations will diversify in case C&C continues to falter amongst the fans as they more on to explore other gaming options.



  1. Sad to see these posts, but yeah, sad because they ring true.
    Let's get the band back together! Let's see this as a call to action, people!

    We can start here:
    Can we get several of us to commit to making this happen? Can we agree to a (totally arbitrary) challenge deadline of Free RPG day, that being June 16th? (Only because without a public deadline, there's no real hard external motivation (It makes this a SMART Goal) (don't ask)).

    "Arcana Creations will be putting out at least two modules this year for the game."

    Do tell us more, Pat. :-)

    Aside: I'm reading A Princess of Mars also. I'm about 2/3 of the way through. It's my first reading and I totally dig it. I'm bummed I didn't discover the John Carter of Mars books in Junior High School or High School. Better late than never, though. They're a great read (well, this one is).

  2. Meh...I don't think C&C is dying at all. Things ebb and flow, long time posters get tired, new dudes come in to the game. I actually think C&C is probably getting more exposure now with the comparisons of it to D&D Next.

    As far as Arcana Creations and Brave Halfling, you've posted yourself that AC had some challenges with staffing. And John over at BHP had real world events and delays impact his publishing schedule. There just hasn't been any mention of new product for C&C from either of you. If we have the stuff for C&C already and no buzz is being made about the previous or upcoming stuff, people won't know to buy.

    I for one dig AC stuff so I'm with "Will you eat meatloaf?" - Tell me more about these upcoming Modules!!!!!

    As far as fan made stuff and the community. People are out there doing stuff. I read the cross post from Tartarus press, and I think I agree with Piper's comment that people doing all the work for a fanzine are looking for financial compensation. But at the same time, there is plenty of free stuff out there that is very good - just look at the stuff posted about Angels and Devils by Clavis123 over at TLG Forums. And there is the Crusader Companion that's out which is all fan made stuff and I've seen Davis talk about it over at the big purple. Both of those are are pretty solid. I'm sure there is plenty of other fan stuff out there as well either waiting to be published or just posted.

    The C&C Glass is more Half-Full and I for one propose a Toast! To C&C, AC/BHP and Bright Future!

  3. Thanks for your well wishes 'TheMetal1' !!

    Perhaps I should clarify that I don't think the game itself is dying ... Sales seem to be on the rise from what I understand but fan supported material seems to be running contrary to the growth-trend.

    I read Piper's comment and a lot of what he says has merit. However the numbers of people joining the Ning site shouldn't be an indicator of growth. Then again, maybe those hot women who also joined the society genuinely *WANT* to get to know me. ;)

    The main point in the Tartarus Press post was that there seemed to be less fan supported material being done compared to a few years ago. Being heavily involved with the Society since 2006, I believe this to be true and Piper agrees.

    The thing about people wanting compensation and better recognition? Certainly. I brought that point up many times in the past from before Arcana Creations came to be. Actually, the existence of AC confirms some of what Piper had to say.

    It is none-the-less an interesting question and maybe it is just an ebb and flow thing.

    Read my next comment about the release.

  4. Ok... What C&C products does AC have up it's sleeve?

    With an absolute certainty, 'Hide In Plain Site' should be released sometime in the second quarter of this year. I've been sitting on this for a couple years now actually and Bill (the author) has been very patient and supportive of AC. I will make an official announcement regarding this release later this month once some of the Ballista playtesting starts.

    Secondly, I have some material by another author, which I am eying for publication in the fourth quarter. I am not naming the title as of yet since I need to confirm details with the author.

    Depending on some feedback, I may have a third C&C project lined up based on an offer I put forth earlier today. If it's a go, we may see something further -- an adventure compilation of sorts.

    All this will be detailed a bit more and the only thing I have to add to this is that my decision to diversify with Ballista will not affect my ideas for C&C.


  5. I want to echo a couple things that I mentioned in the comments on my post. First, I always have had the desire to place the majority of my work out there for free. The biggest reason being is that many gamers (like myself) have very little money to keep up with the hobby. My wish is to provide them, and others with quality work for little to no cost. While I may later on sell hard copy compilations of my work the PDF's and raw material will always be free.

    Second, my intent was not a commentary on the health of C&C as a whole. Rather it was pointed at a dead or dying fan community. The lack of an independent community and third-part support for the game is disturbing especially, when you look at where it began.

    Ultimately, what I would like to see is an independent group of publishers, free or otherwise, making material for the game. The OGL has opened the door for this and we should pursue it.

    I will venture a guess that the lack of an official SRD for the game has something to do with this. There is an unofficial one in the works but it is some time off. Perhaps the release of this SRD will help things.