Is it Monday already? And we are ten days into the #RPGaDay2015 Challenge! Time flies..
We are hitting the really difficult questions, the ones where we have to choose favorites and it involves people you know directly or indirectly. So let’s put on the big boy pants and go for it.
Day 10 – Favorite RPG publisher
When I was younger this would have been easy to answer, for two reasons, I was a D&D fan and TSR had my undivided attention. Of course I brought other games, my shelves are a testament to that, but I always returned to D&D and ultimately TSR.
Another big change has been social media. In the long long ago before the Internet, getting to talk to a game creator only happened through correspondence or convention attendance. There days, through social media and posting in this blog, has allowed me to interact with writers and artists I admire in ways my teenage self would never think possible, so picking a favorite is a little like asking a father to pick his favorite son!
There are lots of candidates… Paizo because I loved that they gave me an option when D&D 4th edition didn’t work for me and how they kept a rule system I enjoyed going, and improved on it. Green Ronin, because they make games I love and they have some genuinely talented and friendly creators on their staff. The list goes on and on… But when I started looking at all the pieces, quality, enjoyability, how their products fire up my imagination, and the quality of people working there, the answer was not difficult. Of all the wonderful and great companies out there, I have to say Kobold Press is my favorite RPG publisher.
Their books are always top notch, from the writing, to the art, to the mechanics. Even when I don’t run their campaigns the books always have a treasure trove of ideas and mechanics I can use. If you look at the reviews I’ve done here in the blog, you can see how many I did for their products, and that’s not a coincidence, I am a HUGE fan!
So that’s my favorite, but all the other I mentioned and a few I did not, are all great companies, this is truly a great hobby, full of wonderful people.
That’s all for Day 10. What is your favorite RPG publisher? Let me know in the comments…
PS – Oh, and one last thing before I forget! After I wrote my Day 9 entry, favorite media you wish was an RPG, I read Gareth Skarka’s entry for Day 9, I just wished I would have thought about this! His pick was the old Epic Comics Alien Legion. What a series, and he’s right. Go read his post to get the details why. Thanks Gareth for reminding me of that property.
Setting aside anything about _what_ they publish, but just going with what I think of the publisher themselves? Evil Hat. I mean, yes, I also like the things they publish as well… but mainly, I like their attitudes, their accessibility, and their methods of having a symbiotic relationship with their fans via crowdfunding of their products (so that they know what their fans want, and will support … and they can act accordingly; and they turn around and make things “pay what you want” because the base cost has already been handled). I think they are the example of what the RPG industry needs to become, in how they do business.
I want to emphasize, I do like WHAT Evil Hat publishes, but the questions feels more to me like it’s about the company as people and a business entity, not about their product list; so Evil Hat was my first reaction. As for a more product list oriented answer:
For “what they publish” … Modiphius. I also like them as people… but they’re publishing all sorts of things that I want to see. Revitalized Mutant Chronicles. Thunderbirds. Mutant. Actung! Cthulhu. Mindjammer. They’re a little bit more traditional (small scale, but traditional) in their methods, compared to Evil Hat… but they do embrace the crowdfunding method. (their emphasis on licensed products probably keeps them from embracing PWYW as much as Evil Hat does) And, I just really like the things Chris is putting out there. He also seems to tolerate my sense of humor on Facebook. 🙂
These are two companies I can easily see supporting their products just on the basis of wanting to see them continue publishing products. I like who they are, how they do business, and what they’re publishing. Easy to feel good about sending them a big chunk of my gaming budget.
Because of social media and how we “get to know” the creators, and separating the two is hard. I must say I like Evil Hat, but since my players are NOT into FATE I’ve had limited contact with their fan forums, etc. Modiphius is another nice company. Since I’ve played so much Pathfinder in recent years, and to a lesser extent Mutants & masterminds and now Savage Worlds I gravitate to the companies that make these games. I did NOT mention Pinnacle and that was an oversight, they’ve treated me with great professionalism and the service has been impeccable. Thanks for the reply and for reading…
Maybe it’s because I don’t spend much time on the Paizo forums, but I know that back in the 3e and 3.5e, WOTC wasn’t as accessible. I don’t recall ever having direct conversations with the authors of those editions of D&D, even though the company had a pretty strong web-forum presence. My impression (perhaps incorrect) is that Paizo is the same.
But it’s not just company presence on mailing lists and forums and facebook. The Evil Hat staff aren’t just there to answer your questions, they’re accessible as actual people. I almost feel like they’re friends of mine (not close friends, because _I_ am a bit aloof in those media, but their presence is very much like extended friend circle, not just a vendor I deal with). Modiphius is slightly less so. But after that, I feel like there’s a vast cliff in the actual social interaction between myself and game publishers. The other ones feel much more like vendors than friends.
That said, it could be more me than them. Like I said, I can be a bit aloof when it comes to dealing with vendors on social media. Maybe the reason Kobold (or Frog God, or Troll Lord) doesn’t strike me as “my circle of friends” isn’t because they act like a vendor… maybe it’s because I treat them like a vendor. So maybe that informs my bias that I don’t think it’s just “the age of social media” that makes me feel closer to the two publishers I mentioned.
But even still, Modiphius and Evil Hat have such a strong “gamer friends” vibe that it overcame that aloofness in me. So, who knows.
(and, to be fair, I did know the core/original Evil Hat crew via the Fudge mailing list, back before they were Evil Hat and they were tinkering with their own variant of Fudge; that could influence my feeling of a closer rapport as well)