Two questions:

Two questions:

Two questions:

1. Why do so many people put a price on their homebrewed material? Classes like the Medic and Kobald seem cool but putting a price on it just seems like a waste. Your homebrews are not in high enough demand that you can charge people for downloads.

2. Does anybody know how to make use the class template using only an iPad?

Thanks and regards in advance.

38 thoughts on “Two questions:”

  1. It’s an hobby ok but… how much time do you need to create and test and edit and illustrare something small… maybe a dungeon word starter. 2-3 days of work? Do you sell it for… maybe 0.9$ and you get 0.3$ from the selling service. How many copies? 100 if you are really lucky. Are 2-3 days of work worth 30$ ? Does the money help you finding the time to create more? If you know how to made it by yourself do it… if not pay who is able. 🙂

  2. Well, other than the fact that currently my Kobold playbook is PWYW. I am totally in favor of people charging for the work that they do. I personally have bought at least 15 playbooks and supplements. I hope people keep making and charging for them because thats what keeps the community going. Also its a little insulting that you think none of the supplements are worth anything.

  3. In regard to #2, I’ve posted templates to the community in both Open Office and MS Word formats. Both of those apps are available for iPad. There is also an Inkscape template floating around and that app is available on iPad as well.

  4. People charge because they’re putting time into their homebrews. Additionally, in this community, people are eating up homebrews like no one’s business so in fact the work is in high enough demand that people can charge.

    Is all of this homebrew material worth money? Not really.

    Is some of it? Yes.

    Would I prefer that people put their fan material on the Tavern so the community can just enjoy it and not shell out cash? Sometimes, yes. 

    But, do I fault these content-makers? No. They’re putting in the effort. Good on them.

  5. Thank you all for your feedback, especially +Shadi Alhusary, +Alfred Rudzki, and +Robert Finamore. I didn’t know the Kobald playbook was switched to pwyw, thank you Robert for being the only person to answer number 2. Microsoft Word requires a subscription fee, so I think I’ll switch to Inkscape. Thank you Alfred for saying my thoughts on the matter better than I could.

  6. Jon Stewart You can make a little money off it; simone biagini made that point; but if someone were to pursuit a writing (or similar) career, you’re better off charging to get at least some recognition.

    Jay Dugger What do you mean by frivolous consumption?

  7. By “frivolous consumption” I mean consuming goods or services for reasons you’d subjectively judge without value. In this context, getting a supplement you yourself could create better or faster. 

  8. As a rule, people value and respect things that they pay for (or are asked to pay for) more than things that are shared freely. 

    From a creator’s standpoint, I think a pricetag sends a message: “I think this is good enough to ask you to pay for it.”  The creator might be wrong, but it definitely sends that message. 

  9. My two cents here is that there is also a TON of stuff completely free here, or in various forums across the net (you just gotta know where to look) Magic Item Mondays and the like are always good, as is people just throwing out random cool ideas and moves.

    That happens here every day. That’s Homebrew as I’ve understood it for 20 years.

    What goes up for sale is usually something a lot more polished. Visually: It’s got at least some layout and design work put into it aside from the game text, usually a playbook is designed to be able to be printed out and sit alongside other playbooks with little difference between them, they look like they belong together as part of the same game.

    Since PBs are supposed to be printed out, that’s actually a bigger deal to some folks than you’d think.

    For pay work is also released under the assumption that it’s been tested somewhat and isn’t going to break the game.

    I admit it seems weird at first glance, but really, stuff like these Dungeon World releases inhabit a weird spot between random homebrew and small scale professional release.

    That’s not even including stuff like Grim World and Inverse World which are full on expansions of their own.

  10. Jay Vee There’s one bit you’ve mentioned that hadn’t even crossed my mind. I can get why someone wouldn’t want to pay a single class; it gives a feeling of ‘hotfix’ or minor game patching. But even for campaigns such as Cinder Queen which have been not only polished, but have a complete production behind them, there’s no questioning the value.

  11. Then there’s also the nature of the game itself.

    In other systems, paying for a class would be hilariously dumb, but an entire campaign setting with several classes would be perfectly acceptable, with obvious value.

    with DW it’s reversed. The world and setting of any given game is largely created between GM and players at the game table itself. This makes a setting book somewhat questionable.

    However, classes are called playbooks for a reason, everything you need to play a given class should be right there in your playbook. It’s completely self-contained.

    Sure you may have 5 different flavors of mage or paladin or thief, but (they should) all have enough differences that playing one over the other is a meaningful choice on the part of a player.

    Or a meaningful choice on the part of GM via “these are the classes I’ll allow in my game”.

    So as a self-contained product, playbooks make more sense than full on setting books.and the price point of $1-3 dollars seems to be what the market will bear on that.

  12. Jeremy Strandberg I normally find that to be the case with my collection of pdfs with two exceptions: 1) Stars Without Number was free, 2) Apocalypse World playbooks are distributed freely

    Those are the two RPGs I play the most.

    Paying for content means I’m more likely to read it sooner and finish reading it, but when it comes to playing content it doesn’t matter what the price is.

  13. “Freely you have received, freely give.”

    Given that the Dungeon World SRD and Playbooks are free to download, and the PDF costs $0.025 per page, I think $1.00 for a playbook is almost always overpriced. A dollar

    is a good price for a collection of a half dozen playbooks.

    Additionally, if you used a free publishing template and benefitted from significant feedback and collaboration in developing it, then it seems wrong to me to charge for it. Dungeon World is an open content game — it is meant to be shared, and when you benefit from the community you are also supposed to give back in kind, not put your contributions behind a paywall. You’ll notice Dungeon World is not behind a paywall, and you don’t have to subscribe to this Google+ group.

    Adventures are different. They are mostly original content, are much longer, and are far more involved to write. I have less problem with charging for them. Though Dungeon Starters… no. Anything that is two pages is below my threshold of being worth paying for.

    Most playbooks I see are just dumped out there without explanation. You have to read the moves to intuit what it is supposed to even be. That is unprofessional. (The core DW playbooks are different, they are classic archetypes that don’t need explanation.) If I’m paying I expect a few pages at least. I want the playbook, as well as an explanation of what it is supposed to be, what source material you are drawing from, and maybe some designers’ notes.

  14. Just to back up Mike Harvey

    The limited edition Apocalypse Playbooks are sold for $3 – that comes out to 33 cents per playbook but also include the playbooks in two formats, several extra pages of rules for AW, and new indexes for all of the moves from the core game with all of the moves from the LE playbooks added in.

    On top of that, most other AW playbooks are distributed freely.

    Charging $1 for a single playbook in one format does seem greedy in comparison. Which, sure, content creators can charge whatever they like, but there’s nothing wrong with other people complaining about it and criticizing it.

    My solution is still: Don’t buy it, write it yourself.

  15. Mike Harvey Patrick Henry Downs  I think it’s a stretch to say that charging for a playbook is “wrong” or “greedy,” implying a moral or ethical breech. It’s not fair to require that any given creator price their work on the same scale that other creators do. Sage & Adam did an awesome thing in releasing DW under CC license, and they intentionally made the source content freely available so that folks could play it even if they couldn’t afford to buy it.  But that was their decision.   CC pretty explicitly allows (you could argue encourages) remixing for commercial use and gain.

    Yeah, it’s weird that someone might charge $1 (or even $3) for a 2-page playbook when the whole book costs $10 as a PDF.  But there’s some strange elasticity for things priced that low.  If your intent as a creator is to say “I believe this is professional calibre work and I believe it is worth paying for,” then $0.99 is about as low as it makes sense to go.  Well within impulse-purchase range.  If there were a wider market, it’d make sense to go lower, but there’s what, a potential market of maybe 10,000 people for these?

    And ultimately, it’s about whether the market will pay for their stuff. Personally, I won’t buy a playbook (or other DW supplement) unless there’s a convncing preview available or I’ve grown to trust the creator. I’d prefer more of them were offered as PWYW (and honestly, I think some creators would make more money that way).

    But there’s  nothing immoral about asking for compensation for your work. 

  16. There’s also the fact that Sage&Adam were able to pay a lot of production costs* beforehand with the successful kickstarter funds, instead of needing to recoup that cost via physical sales or pdf downloads. (not that a single playbook should have as much overhead as a full game system, but it’s more than zero)

    To be frank, even the $10 for the DW pdf that you can get now is way too low, but for the grace of that Kickstarter.

    *Not all the costs, but as I understand it, without the Kickstarter DW wouldn’t have been possible.


    The one element I do agree with above, is that new playbooks should be more than just the printable character sheet portion. It should definitely have an introduction, a “How to play this class” section, not so much telling you how to play as pointing out cool features, what the class does differently, and any cool non-obvious interactions between moves or between this class and others.

    $1-3 is a perfectly good price point, but there does need to be some more meat on the bone.

  17. Jeremy Strandberg There’s nothing inherently immoral for judging them to be greedy either.

    I was thinking about what you said before about people valuing what they pay for, and I think there’s some truth to that but I also think that we subconsciously inflate things with value based on the money we’ve spent on them.

    For example, I bought the Android boardgame which is a promising and bewilderingly complex game that everybody I have played it with pretty much hates. I paid $60 for it and so I haven’t tried to get rid of it on the cheap because I’ve only played it a handful of times and in the back of mind I am always thinking “I didn’t get my money’s worth out of it.” This isn’t a good thing because I essentially hate this game with a fiery passion that makes me not want to pay it too. (In fact, I’m going to go set up an ebay auction for it right now!)

    As a player, a content creator who charges $1 or $3 for a playbook might have their playbook actually used, but also scrutinized. But I’ve bought a few and played them and now I hate them because they were either poorly designed or written too narrowly.

    As a player I’ve decided I am simply not going to pay for this sloppy work anymore. If a person hasn’t earned their cred by maintaining a blog that expressed their ideas or their work hasn’t been playtested or commented on within forums, they are not worth my time and the price they are charging is just somebody slapping together a playbook trying to cash in on my wallet. That’s not an inherently immoral judgment, it’s a valid opinion.

    In contrast, as a designer, I’ve given away AW playbooks for free and asked people to write back on their experiences and have only heard of two people who ever actually played any of my playbooks.

    As a designer, should I feel imperiled to charge $1 for my playbooks to get people to play them and return feedback on how good/bad they are? Or should I keep them free with the possibility that I will never hear about how they are used? The content is out there, it’s available, but again, only two people that I know of have playtested my work (and one of them ignored half of the playbook so it almost doesn’t count).

  18. Just so you all know, I’m not anti-artist. The question, when read without context, might make me seem like I am.

    I know the amount of time it takes to make a playbook, and I know that it’s difficult to think of every possible move a player might want when playing your class.

    The reason I ask is because the only kind of payment you should be looking for in a homebrew is recognition. Recognition is the greatest reward for your creativity. Unfortunately when you put a monetary value on it then suddenly you cut out so much possible recognition. The people who don’t want to pay your price will never be able to recognize the masterpiece you have made. Worse yet, some people who pay your price might end up thinking that your homebrew wasn’t worth the money they put down.

  19. Also, I have a lot of homebrews I want to post. Characters that I’ve made into playbooks, and I can’t find an IPad compatible form fillable Dungeon World playbook.

    Inkscape isn’t on the App Store, either.

  20. To answer your latter point first, it seems like a form fillable playbook that works on ipads is definitely in demand, maybe you should make one? It might even sell.

    As to your former point, you may not personally be anti-artist, but your fallacious argument that people should do creative things “for exposure” is. Observe:

    And Fred Hicks from Evil Hat:

    Nobody is going to live or die because of a $1 pdf on Drivethru, no, but the attitude that people should do what is, at times, difficult work (when done right) and never expect compensation for it, is pretty offensive. If I make something, it’s MY choice whether to sell it or give it away for free.


    Do you know the names, off-hand, for the people who made Inverse World? or Mounted Combat? or Planarch Codex? IW and Planarch being two of the more popular DW things aside from DW itself. That’s a hole in your “recognition” hypothesis right there.

    I know the creator of Mounted Combat, Andri Erlingsson ,  he shared the sales figures for it compared with the OSR style race-as-class PBs he released. In terms of effort and hours put in, he made much more from his playbooks than from Mounted Combat, which he had to sell at (if I remember correctly, I might not) $15 per pdf just to break even, I don’t remember if he did a print run, I suspect not.

    Those PBs were what people actually bought, therefore those PBs are what people actually wanted. QED

    The difference between many, or even most, DTRPG playbooks and Homebrew

    Nobody is saying that you should throw all your random homebrew ideas out for sale, that’s always a bad idea. but these third party products, while small, are not simply homebrew anymore than the third party supplements for D&D3.5 under the OGL were simply homebrew. These are often playtested, edited, and released with artwork, that alone sets it above homebrew released into the wild.

    Homebrew is what forums threads and G+ posts are for. There’s no onus on you to playtest, format or even spellcheck your stuff, just offer it as-is in goodwill and best wishes to the internet. Many of us do exactly that.

  21. I apologize if I came off a little heated there.

    I’m not a mac person, but I looked into your issue:
    There’s an app called Inkpad which is a vector graphic editor just like Inkscape is.

    This should allow you to open vector files (.svg)

    Now, I can’t attest to how well this will work, all I know is desktop with inkscape, but in theory you should be able to do this.

    and I can’t find a blank svg template (pretty sure one exists somewhere, but oh well), so I’ll put together another one and upload it here for you.

  22. An AW playbook is 4-6 moves. A DW playbook is 30 moves. Suggesting that you can equate a single AW playbook to one DW playbook is pretty silly.

    For comparison, an AW playbook takes me about a day to concept and write, then 2-3 full sessions to playtest. DW playbooks take a minimum of two weeks to concept and write and 10+ sessions to playtest. A single DW playbook represents as much work as six AW playbooks to just design, and another 4-6 times as much work on top of that to playtest. 

    Want to point out that too many playbooks come without any kind of intro paragraph that sums up what the class is about or play notes (not that the core DW playbooks have those, but they’re certainly a thing you see with MH skins or AW playbooks)? Yes, do that. Start a thread and push for people to write them for playbooks they’ve written – maybe post some of your own play notes. That’s totally a valid complaint and a good way to make sure something is done to resolve it.

    Have questions about how a specific move is meant to work or feedback about a playbook you’re using? Then post about it. Don’t just play it, decide you hate it and never bring it up with the author in any way, because that doesn’t help them address your concerns/opinions. In my experience, the number of people writing playbooks who won’t take feedback is pretty slim! Also, as a playbook creator, it’s incredibly frustrating to never receive any feedback from people who’re using my playbooks.

    Finally: don’t like the fact that playbooks are being sold? Don’t buy them. No one is forcing you to spend money on playbooks. Many of them are licensed CC-BY, and quite a few people put theirs out for free on top of that. Don’t complain that people want to be compensated for putting in hours of their work into producing something, though, because that’s pretty rude.

  23. Don’t think I don’t know how hard it is to make a playbook! I love making playbooks, and my friends like to playtest them! I’m just saying that I would never charge for my own homebrews, and think that it’s silly for other people to!

    Besides, if you took a moment to look at the comments on this you’d not only know that not only what you, Alex Norris, are saying has already been said, but also that I gave up trying to explain myself.

  24. Disclosure; I’m a Dungeon World third-party writer and wrote things like the Elf/Dwarf/Halfling playbooks and the Mounted Combat book. Take the following in that light.

    The reason Dungeon World is sold for 10 dollars has very little to do with the effort put into it and a lot to do with that effort being pre-funded via Kickstarter, which allows the creators to sell the “core” of the game cheaper than they perhaps otherwise could; they already were rewarded for the effort put into it, and already made all their costs back on it, before it was even out. This creates a thriving third party market for DW simply because of the combination of open source allowing it to exist and the cheap buy-in for the consumer to get into the game (ten dollars? Easy!). The ease of buying into the game is a boon to the community and the community writers.

    However, this does tend to skew people’s perceptions as to how much add-on material should cost. Here’s the simple, economic fact; if it isn’t pre-funded via a kickstarter or similar like the core Dungeon World ruleset is, it’s going to come off as vastly more expensive simply because it represents a bigger “risk”, or investment of time, or any number of factors. If I buy artwork for a smaller book out of my own pocket, I still have to make the cost of that artwork back to make the enterprise and time worthwhile – even if I set my standard as low as “I will break even”, and even if I release my material under the exact same open license. And if I’m supposed to eat the cost and sacrifice in time solely “for the love of the game”, well, that’s a double standard; at that point only the game’s original creators are allowed to profit off their creativity, even when the point of open licensing is the exact opposite of that.

    You will see the exact same situation with games like Fate Core. Fate Core costs as little as zero dollars; Pay What You Want makes very, very little money indeed per unit. But the third party books, supplements and so on for Fate Core cost full price, and that’s not an accident. Fate Core was pre-funded and already paid for itself, and the entire point of the exercise is to get people playing the game cheaply and then doing business with optional addons – think in terms of the F2P MMO marketplace with their premium in-game stores. It’s all about building a large community with little fuss and providing product and services to the elements of that community that later want them.

    The main difference between DW and other games with third-party creator attention is that the DW products are actually small, focused and relatively cheap, or turn to kickstarter pre-funding specifically to remain cheap if they’re bigger things like setting conversions. If anything, it’s remarkable how cheap the game has remained in a marketplace endlessly chasing the dragon of 500 page full-color tomes for seventy bucks a pop. It’s all open licensed as well; if someone finds my Mounted Combat via means other than my drivethru page, it’s theirs just as much as if they’d given me support. But the realities are that I almost undervalued its price at 7.50$; people’s initial reactions are to ask “why so expensive”, but I hope I’ve highlighted the reasons why and how I tried to keep it as cheap as I could, even if it costs 75% of the amount you might have paid for the core DW PDF file.

  25. Jon Stewart: I’ve read the comments, but the points I made about providing playbook authors with feedback were not made and are worth making again! Seriously, it’s super important that people actually post about issues they have, otherwise it’s hard for us to address concerns/improve our stuff.

  26. Given a decent review-and-comment ecosystem, the market will sort this out. That does require, tho, that we’re willing to publically review and critique’s stuff put out by other members of the community, which can raise all kinds of problems.

    What does bother me a bit here is the apparent acceptance of the term “homebrew”, and the implicit juxtaposition of that with “professional” game products. I thought that in the post-Forge indie RPG world we’d seen through the fancy-art smokescreen, overthrown the gatekeepers, and declared that we’re all designers now. Quality is quality, regardless of source.

    I guess quite a few of us gamed through the 90s – we’ve seen how bad “professional” products (written by non-gaming writers working cent-per-word) can get, no?

  27. I don’t mind paying for a playbook! Even $1 is a good amount I think, if it meets a bare minimum of quality like:

    – looks decent… maybe not perfect, but clean layout

    – edited, spell-checked, playtested

    – illustrated… at least one class picture, maybe one or two small images for color if space permits

    – (maybe) some bonus content like an extra move for another class, magic item, something else

    – (maybe) plot hooks

    – (maybe) one or half a page of advice, flavor, player/DM suggestions on how to use the class

    Still, I’ve paid for DW content (classes and maybe some other stuff, I haven’t bothered to remember) and it hasn’t met the first two points (which are most important for me…)

Comments are closed.