I have of late been looking at RPGNow a fair amount. I have bought a couple of things that I can't get here, and I have been quite pleased. What it has lead me to think is as follows:
• RPGNow sells more than d20 material, and at some reasonable prices.
• The Harn Regional module could be offered either at low cost or for free at RPGNow - although the map would be only at reduced scale.
• The link between RPGNow and RPGShop means that gamers in remote areas have access to both electronic and print versions, thus the Harn Module could also be sold on the RPGShop - that way players would get a good quality map.
• The Harn OOP Kingdom modules could then be compiled into decent PDFs on an individual basis - Kanday, Tharda etc. - and sold only as PDFs; similarly the HQ's.
Why does this benefit CGI?
• They don't have to host the PDFs, saving space
• They access a broad customer base
• They hard part - writing - is done. The formatting would not take long.
• They could link RPGNow from the CGI site, as many other small games companies do.
• They would not face as much criticism over looseleaf as the electronic books fit this format and could be printed in the local paper size!
I know the scanning would not take too long as I did a test case with a different game. It took me 2 weeks to scan in, OCR, edit and add grapics of a 70 page rule book. I also edited in my own rules and corrected the OCR and original typos
Would all this be a benefit?
Well, the company that produce the "Magical Mediaeval Kingdom" book - 145 pages of excellent material (A book I heartily recommend) - produced a version 1.0 on RPGNow. They then added a revised version 1.5 with some errata cleared up - this also had the effect of keeping the module current. They then made enough to announce that the book will be produced in print later this year. They are not the only small games company to do this. The guys who produce the "Blood & ..." series put pdf versions on RPGNow to generate enough revenue to produce print version (sold through RPGShop and bricks and mortar shops) although those would have to be print versions properly bound.
The whole process could broaden the appeal of Harn - supporting CGI - and lead to a larger Harn customer base. This can benefit GamePlan and lead to sales of the Wargames too. It would also benefit us as the Gamers as CGI could then stop fretting about OOP material and concentrate on the development of new material.
Now, those who would say that the attempt to broaden the appeal of Harn, or say that the game is niche etc. are, at least IMO, killing off Harn. If the customer base does not grow, then it will not cope with those who stop gaming.
Let me go back to one point - the properly bound print versions - and explain why?
• I did a further test - I bought Blood & Space both as a pdf and printed version. The pdf version takes up about 2.5 times as much shelf space (which I don't have spare, so I did a lot of experimenting to get best fit). I don't deny that the looseleaf format looks neat in the plastic page protectors, but it is the print version that stays on my shelf (I'm not a convert, but I am far more tolerant of looseleaf when I can print it in A4, and that is a direct result of the discussions here on the Forum!)
• those ordering the print version will be expecting somethin more for their money. The Blood and Space print version is perfect bound and the cover is high quality - though amusingly the pages are b&w when you can print the pdf pages in colour.
• As I understand it, the "Magical Mediaeval Kingdom" will be hardcover, and I would be tempted to buy a print copy to reduce space on my shelf - plus I like hardcover
Declarations of Independence aside, CGI would reap the benefts of a wider audience, and we as the Harn Gamers would see Harn get a stronger support base on which to thrive. There may even be a market for glossing up the D20 Harn guide!