Tuesday’s Tendrils

Monday Meeting

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Like our Garou friend above, sometimes there are things that will not let go of us from week to week. Right now I have a few things that are hanging on, and I’m going to mention them here in hopes that the sharing will encourage the tentacles to drop loose finally.

First, last Saturday was Free RPG Day, which we at Onyx Path have participated in for the past two years as a show of support to all those friendly neighborhood game stores out there. Basically, RPG publishers provide free printed products that are distributed to the stores who participate. For us, participation means we need to justify the expense of returning to traditionally printing and shipping the free product, a process that we just don’t do a lot of anymore. We have to work to find ways to include retailers in the mix with our current business model- and we do, with things like our Kickstarter Retailer Reward Tiers and an evolving Retailer Discount PoD program on DTRPG. So far, I’ve thought of Free RPG Day as just one more thing we could do to help out the biz, and specifically participating stores, by giving our community a reason to go to a game store again. As far as I can tell, the number of folks coming to Onyx from game stores because of our participation last year was pretty small, but as we learned then and had confirmed this year, our community of fans will turn out and go to the stores if we include a product.

So, to me, that’s a win for the game stores.

But, (and you knew there was one) there are a bunch of game store owners out there that are pissed off that we dare to participate since we no longer put books into their stores via the traditional distribution channels. So pissed off that last year some of them threw away the free products from us, and this year, perhaps realizing they lost out on members of our fan community, some of them merely cut out the last page of the Mage 20 Quickstart that was an ad for the M20 line available through DTRPG. Of course, the M20 character sheet was on the back of that ad. I guess they did that so Onyx Path (or DriveThru) wouldn’t benefit from the gamers coming into their stores who might never have heard of White Wolf‘s games, or of Onyx Path, or of DriveThru, and would decide that this newfangled PDF and PoD thing was how they were going to get their game books from then on in. I can understand that is a risk, particularly if your business is barely hanging on and the loss of even a single customer can spell the difference between a good or disastrous month. Retail can be really ugly, so I get that.

The thing is, the single thing I heard back from our community was that once they got to the stores last Saturday, the M20 QSs were already gone. Our fans had already grabbed them because they heard it was going to be there. Some were no doubt gamers who were regular or at least semi-regular customers and as crazy as it sounds, they probably buy other companies’ games and stuff at that store. But it just stands to figure that a fair number of those customers coming in to snag an M20 QS don’t come in all that often. It was our participation in Free RPG Day that got them there. Again, we’re back to the win. To me, that sounds like an opportunity to build the store’s customer base rather than lose a customer to the electronic marketplace- but I’m not a retailer, so maybe that’s a dumb idea.

So, the tendril hanging on here is the idea that the One True Way to get RPG books must be via the same method of distribution we used in 1996. The fact is that getting books into bookstores is no longer the only or even the best method of getting our books to our fans. It is a method, and has to be considered for all its pros and cons just like any other sales venue we have the option to use. Adding a Retail Tier for stores in our Kickstarters makes sense as it gives a discount for retailers so they can have the most shiny of our books available without us losing money by overprinting expensive to manufacture books like the traditional set-up. Putting together a Retailer Discount for our PoDs makes sense as again we get actual books into stores without us sitting on inventory, and canny retailers can restock whenever they want as the PoDs can be ordered at any time. Maybe another method or process or even just an advantageous deal with a printer will come along that again means we can get books into stores in some way- it just has to make sense for Onyx‘s overall and evolving business plans. As a business, we intend to keep moving.

Welp, it looks like I rambled on about just that tendril enough to dominate the space- just room for a couple brief overall items. We’re still scrambling to get our GenCon stuff together, but things are happening and samples are coming in to Mirthful Mike, so that’s all moving well. And the W20 Book of the Wyrm Kickstarter has passed 1000 backers with just eight days to go, so that deserves a “Whoot!”

Next week, I’ll talk about another tendril or two- one of which will certainly be a bit on how I really want Onyx Path  to be a game company where we’re proud to say why something we did was awesome without feeling like we have to tear down other creators, games, or companies.

 

Here are the writhing projects in tentacle-ly progress:

– Book of the Deceived (MtC): In Editing.

– Sothis Ascends (MtC): First draft heading into redlines.

– Cursed Necropolis: Rio (MtC): First draft heading into redlines.

 Exalted 3rd Edition:  From Holden: “Final playtest-based revisions to Melee, Brawl, Thrown, Archery, Awareness, and Dodge were completed this week. Evocations are nearing completion. A number of small final changes to the combat engine based on months of feedback are being instituted this week.”

Zub’s EX3 Comic: PDF and physical copy PoD and PDF/PoD combo version on sale at DriveThruRPG: http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/128873/Exalted-Tale-of-the-Visiting-Flare. Both EX3 novels are being worked on, and notes went back on Matt Forbeck’s synopsis. The EX3 Music Suites are at a standstill right now until our composer gets through his full time job commitments.

– V20 Anarchs Unbound: It is live on DTRPG in PDF, ePub, PoD and PDF/PoD combos. http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/127247/Anarchs-Unbound Getting printer quotes finalized for Deluxe version.

– V20 Rites of the Blood: Layout is almost done for it. Discussing this with Eddy and we think we’ll get this out ASAP without further delay.

– V20 Dark Ages: Scribes are scribing 2nd Drafts and some 3rd Drafts. David Hill has delivered some art notes. Talking about the art for this continues this week, particularly the full page pieces.

– V20: Ghouls: In 2nd drafts.

– V20 Red List: In final draft stage.

– The Making of the Art of Children of the Revolution: Creating PoD files to go with PDF for sale on DTRPG.

– V20 Blood Diaries (Bloody Missive Collections) of the Clans: Writing.

– Deluxe Werewolf 20th Anniversary Edition: Mike Lee plans to deliver several new chapters this week of the W20 “Houses of the Moon” novel for Bill to review. The White Howlers Tribe Book is in layout approval, and the comic is being scripted by Bill Bridges so that John Bridges can get started on the art. W20 Wyld West: PDF and physical book PoD versions are slated to go on sale Friday the 27th.

– W20 Changing Breeds: Deluxes getting put on trucks to be sent to the fulfillment shipper. The Changing Breeds Fiction Anthology: is live on DTRPG. http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/130126/Songs-of-the-Sun-and-Moon-the-Changing-Breeds-Anthology

– W20 Book of the Wyrm- 8 Days to go and still having a lot of fun with the Pentex Board Nominees posting their schemes and campaign platforms, and have already passed several Stretch Goals including the creation of a Pentex Employee Indoctrination Manual including sections on Magadon and The RED Network, a Wyrm KS t-shirt and a Pentex t-shirt discount, and added Fallen Changing Breeds, and more on the Black Spiral Dancers to the book itself- said topics of extra text being chosen by the backers themselves. Next Stretch Goals are a section in the book on Fomori First Teams, and an added section to the Manual that transcribes the Pentex Guide to Werewolves online video series.

– W20: The Umbra: In post-second draft development.

– Mage the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition-  Satyr Phil has handed all the text off to Bill. Bill has started his “second set of eyes” developer’s pass. The Character Pack book and the “How Do You DO That?” book would be next on our agenda. Satyr made live appearances at The Dreaming bookstore, and the AFK Tavern in Seattle for Free RPG Day and had a blast! Thanks to all of you for coming out and enjoying the M20 themed drinks!

– Trinity Continuum: System Doc being assembled by Joltin’ Joe Carriker. He says system development is really hard and apologizes for the delay. The first new piece of art in YEARS has been commissioned. We’re doing some Gen Con things with that.

 Scion: Waiting on sketches for the Scion: Origins cover. New character piece came in last week. Sweet! Who is this character, Joe? He’s not tellin’ yet, but you’ll see it at Gen Con.

– Demon: The Descent: Demon Seed Collection is in post-writing development. DtD Seattle is in layout. Heirs to Hell backers’ PDF went out to KS backers last week. Demon Translation Guide is being written. The Demon Fiction Anthology + Interfaces is in post-writing development.

– DtD Players Guide: Flowers Of Hell: PDF will be available on Weds the 25th. (Late afternoon US time, don’t wear out your Refresh finger too soon).

– nWoD: Dark Eras: All but one 2nd draft is in, and Black Hat Matt expects to be able to run a focused dev pass on that to get it to editing too.

– WtF: The Idigam Chronicle: In redlines. Stew Wilson is doing a remarkably regular Friday blog that focuses on specific topics for the book- lots of good discussion happening right now: http://theonyxpath.com/category/projects/werewolftheforsaken/

– GtSE: Geist Ready Made Characters: In redlines.

Reason to Drink: To try out those funky M20 drinks.

  65 comments for “Tuesday’s Tendrils

  1. Pholtus
    June 24, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    First off I am a big gamer having 5 full size bookcases devoted to the hobby I loved, with one of those being a Classic WoD bookshelf. I have also worked retail as a manager for over a decade and I have to say I totally understand why some store owners would be grumpy about Onxy’s participation in Free RPG Day. The idea is to drive repeat business. Gamers like me and those of our generation that play more then one game or line are a dwindling demographic. A lot of the WoD fans that I know, only play WoD and turn up their noses at those that dare play Pathfinder of Mutants & Masterminds. As a store owner why would I want to take time to pimp out your free quick start when I have zero chance for an up sale that could include maybe a V20 book, or Demon the Decent, since retailers can’t reasonably carry your product when you factor in overhead, payroll ect.

    I have looked into the discount that you give retailers for the Kickstarter and honestly I don’t know why any retailer would ever participate in your kickstarters since they have such little room for mark up that they would be more trouble then they are worth to deal with, especially given how long of a turn around some of these have had, (and no not just your company, it is the nature of Kickstarter).

    Basically until the retailer program evolves to a state were is isn’t more trouble then it is worth for retailers. I would say don’t be surprised if you didn’t get more of the same negative reaction for game stores owners for your participation in the Free RPG event.

    • Unsilent Majority
      June 24, 2014 at 11:01 pm

      And as someone who frequents gaming stores all the time, I would steer the fuck away if I found out a particular store was doing something unethical in regards to Onyx Path product.

      Free RPG Day was a blast at mine, and the store owner seemed really receptive to Onyx Path in general.

      Stay positive people!

      • richt
        June 25, 2014 at 5:36 pm

        Very good to hear!

      • DantePD
        June 26, 2014 at 10:28 am

        I’ve seen one of the more unethical things. I recently went back to Birmingham, Alabama to visit my parents and took the time to stop into the shop where I used to buy all my oWoD material when I lived there. Talking to the shop owner, who has been a good friend of mine for a long time, I found out that he’s so bitter around OPP’s Print on Demand and PDF setup that when a customer comes in looking for OPP books, he tells them to bring him a thumb drive and he’ll just give them a PDF copy of whatever OPP book they’re looking for. So, he’s straight up giving away pirated copies of books out of spite.

        • richt
          June 26, 2014 at 10:49 am

          I thought about how to respond to this for a fair bit, and it keeps coming back to that store owner really just acting like a dick. Sorry. Glad some fans are getting the PDFs they might not have otherwise, though.

          • DantePD
            June 26, 2014 at 12:13 pm

            It was weird. He’s normally a super nice guy and I’d never actually seen him angry prior to this.

    • Torakhan
      June 24, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      I know that DTRPG sometimes has “10% Off” sales, or whatnot. I’m not sure if that covers PoD sales (ever), but if so, it would be interesting to see if there was some code that people could use that, instead of giving them 10% off, it instead gave your store that 10% instead. This way the store could put the advertising in their store with the code and if folks did go to DTRPG and put in the code, the store would get the profit (or, maybe it takes 5% off the price for the purchaser and gives the store 5% kick-back for the sale?)

      The other thing is that gaming shops can/do make profit off of other merchandise and sales at their location… food, drinks, TCGs, and other spontaneous purchases that might get the buyer’s interest when they are at the counter (like the impulse rack at the grocery/convenience store.) Make the shop a TTRPG-friendly location, get folks to come in and play there while purchasing food/drinks/dice/whatever too. They may not be buying the supplements there, but they can use those elsewhere-bought books and buy your other stuff. So have a day of “Bring in your games!”, regardless if they bought them there, or on Amazon.com, or DTRPG.
      Besides, I can’t tell you how many times in the past we’d go into a game store, look through the new stuff, and then order the books for 30%-off on some online retailer (even before Amazon was a big name doing discounted books.) Our local retailer wouldn’t/couldn’t match the prices, and we had tight budgets.

      Unless OPP inflated their prices just to give stores a deeper discount to match the online price and still make a profit (Who’d pay $140 for a Premium Color 600 page book, just so a retailer could make $20?), their profit margin is extremely minimal after the initial cost of the physical book printed by Lightning Source, the sale through DriveThruRPG, and possibly a percentage-cost to CCP (depending on how their license is set up) and that’s if the book’s initial cost is paid for already, leaving whatever’s left to cover regular expenses of running their business.

      Another option is for someone else to take up the business of printing/distribution of OPPs books and produce/warehouse/market/ship the product out for OPP in a way that provided them the same, if not more, profit, and also taking the risks of financial loss due to overstocking away from OPP. Right now, that doesn’t seem to be likely, but if it did, then the “original” channels of ordering and distribution could return.

      However, I do get your concern and issue, and if you’re literally just a book store that only makes profit on the books you sell, and not anything else, then putting out materials that direct players away from your store to purchase books from an online/competitor retailer obviously isn’t good business for you. I think we ALL hope that someday there will be a way to provide books to retailers with profit-availability for everyone.

    • richt
      June 25, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      I’m aware of the length of time concerns about backing KSs, and can’t argue that. It’s a really valid point. For the KS Deluxe book margins though, I do have one question. Because these are Deluxe books we’re KSing, what would stop you, a retailer, from pricing the book at whatever you think your customers would be willing to pay? What I mean is not to gouge our fans, but the Deluxes are only available via backing our KS and while there is a minimum pledge amount in order to get the Deluxe as a reward, there really isn’t a cover price. So its a total luxury item only available in your store at that point, or for hundreds on EBay.

      • Torakhan
        June 29, 2014 at 1:11 am

        Agreed. If the local market is up for a limited-edition OPP book, then there’s no reason not to price it higher than the KS sold it for to get more profit. Unfortunately, people may get butt-hurt because the “store owner is raping their customers by overcharging for books”, which is rediculous, but it’s how a lot of people think. 🙁
        Then again, unless the store owner is pre-ordering for their clients, I’m curious how many are willing to put down $120+ for one of the large Deluxe Edition books, or $60 for a DE supplemental book without knowing if they’ll sell in their stores.

  2. Symon
    June 24, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Wow, some of those retailers must like their grapes sour.

    It’s a shame as for Onyx and for the players of any of your game lines, it would be great to increase the player base.

    It would for sure be great to get some books in stores obviously so good luck with looking into the various methods. Definitely some challenges, but also bound to be good rewards for publishers, retailers and players.

    • richt
      June 25, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      I’m not convinced the the upsides of merely existing in stores outweigh the downsides of the situation as it stands. More and more, people get their entertainment, all of it, online. So if we really want to grow the player base, is getting back in stores actually going to do it. (Not an idle question, we review it all the time).

  3. Tiresias
    June 24, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I would love to spend more time (and money!) at my local gaming stores, but their websites are just so… disappointing. Kickstarters are great at building a sense of community and DriveThruRPG makes it really easy for me to find books. These days, if a store can’t be bothered to get a decent website for itself, I’m just not motivated to walk through the door.

    On a completely different topic, can we get any hints on what’s next for the New World of Darkness? Pirates: The Caribbean? Aliens: The Probing? Sasquatch: The Filming? Disaster: The Emmerich?

    • IanW
      June 24, 2014 at 11:09 pm

      As is standard, we’ll probably have more to say at Gen Con.

    • Michael R.
      June 25, 2014 at 1:43 am

      I vote for Pirates: The Caribbean. Also Explosions: The Bayhem.

      • Dawngreeter
        June 25, 2014 at 6:59 am

        Trans: The Formers?

    • richt
      June 25, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      I like Monkey: The Flinging

      • DaveB
        June 26, 2014 at 12:18 pm

        Cathayn: The Hopping. Kindred of the East needs an nWoD update!

  4. Austin Loomis
    June 24, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    “DtD Players Guide: Flowers Of Hell: PDF will be available on Weds the 25th.”

    …I just manifested the minor brand “multiple boners”.

    • Arcane
      June 24, 2014 at 10:49 pm

      I think it might be a plague, I got that too.

      • Mr. Paint
        June 24, 2014 at 11:51 pm

        Minor Brand – TAKE MY MONEY

    • Hawthron
      June 25, 2014 at 3:44 am

      Oh come on guys that’s really mature, I mean….

      (looks down)

      Son of a….

    • richt
      June 25, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      Hope you’re all…satisfied.

  5. CHILL
    June 24, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    The free RPG Day responses from some stores is a sad state of affairs.

    Its been a while since I’ve had a friendly experience in a ‘F’ LGS (quite the opposite actually). The kind of attitudes demonstrated in Rich’s examples, if prevalent, really don’t encourage any sympathy. Instead, they encourage me to actively seek out PoD from DTRPG and give what I am assuming is more margin direct to OPP.

    OPP is under no obligation whatsoever to do any outreach to stores, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Rich and crew simply shrugged and moved on – heck I would at this point.

    Sure, OPP will continue to do outreach because as they’ve demonstrated they have a soft spot for bricks-and-mortar and seem to be trying their best to be accommodating – way more than they seem to get credit for. From what I’ve seen they’ve been pretty good about that.

    Perhaps its just a bad few stores having a moan, but either way there’s no point a store wishing OPP would go back to the old distribution model or blaming them for the store not actually making enough money (or daring to have a DTRPG ad in a book, O_o).

    The problems are with those individual stores.

    Yeah, I’m thinking of a couple I visited recently leaving without making a purchase because the stores were a mess, service sucked, they were packed with irritating baying crowds of MTG players that resembled a poorly organized daycare for adults…….

    Soooo….um, Trinity art showing up at Gencon huh?

    Man I wish I was going to Gencon. OPP website update from Gencon showing art pics please? Pretty please? 😀

    • richt
      June 25, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      Well, that is also a good point. There are some amazing stores out there, that totally are engaged in customer service (I’ve heard of one that has an ice cream parlor attached to it), but like any business segment, there are some like you describe that bring down folks’ overall opinions of game stores. Which is a real shame, particularly if it’s the only one close to you.

      I’m sure we’ll share stuff we reveal at Gen Con, including art.

      • CHILL
        June 25, 2014 at 9:03 pm

        Thx for the reply on the art / Gencon. Must make a point of doing Gencon once. Maybe next year.

        On the store stuff, it could well be the handful located near(ish) me, but in my travels a really good store is less easier to find. Sure though – I’ve probably been unlucky and simply happened upon stores ranging from average through forgettable to stupefyingly bad.

        I worked RPG retail for a few years and think I have a handle on what it took for a store to work but I think that’s all changing rapidly. I think a key issue is the idea of a gaming store is less and less financially viable.

        Certainly it isn’t a business that’d be high on my list to start these days.

        None of that’ll stop me putting money down on OPP stuff though. Oh yes, eventual Trinity Kickstarter I’m looking at you….and the PoD versions…and the PDF versions….and the supplements….and….and… 😀

  6. Philip F
    June 24, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    The closest game store to me (That isn’t run by a prick) is about a 40 minute drive. I usually bought all my books from Amazon for this reason. So while I was a little peeved with the PoD option when it first appeared. At least I don’t have to deal with inane price jacking.

    • richt
      June 25, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      Not that this is your situation, but it makes me wonder how much the recognized customer behavior of checking things out in a bookstore but then buying them on Amazon impacted, or still impacts, game stores?

  7. Quinn Y
    June 24, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    I can’t wait to get the MAGE20 Quickstarter from DriveThruRPG.com

    • richt
      June 25, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      Less than a week.

  8. Torakhan
    June 25, 2014 at 12:35 am

    I was one of those people who drove an hour to a game store to pick up a M20 QuckStart. I was only going to take one, but the clerk said “Take two. We have plenty.) I plan to share the extra with an old friend who was big into M:tA back in the day and try to get him back into the fold. 🙂 While I was there I felt obliged to make a few small purchases (it’s a place that we occasionally rent a room at for LARP as well, and we get drinks/snacks when we do.) It’s not a place I’d drive to in order to check out and purchase gaming books though.
    I think everyone agrees that it would be great to see OPP books back in stores, in a way that didn’t inflate prices online, and still gives stores worthwhile profits as well. I hope that that magical combination can be found sometime soon, whether it’s with some deal with the printer, or through some other 3rd party who’s willing to take on the duties/risks of printing/warehousing/distribution for you.

    Looking forward to getting my grubby hands on my W20CBDE. 🙂
    I’m pretty happy with W20BotWDE so far. 🙂 The mixture stretch goals including shirts, included-content, and external content is nice. 🙂

    One more suggestion I do have (that I made on the KS) was the idea of finding out if OffWorld Designs (as an option, since they have such a connection with gaming cons/companies anyways) can do pre-orders. If so (and if they can work it out with you), instead of doing special, or discounted PoD shirts over a select period of time, how about doing a limited pre-order of shirts through them instead? After the pre-order, have the shirts available on RedBubble as per usual, but the pre-order would let people who want/need 4XL, or 5XL shirts, and those who want traditional screen-printed shirts to get them that way (and if it winds up being much cheaper, you can keep the price the same as RedBubble and take a bit more profit.)

  9. IgnyteZero
    June 25, 2014 at 12:43 am

    Whatever happened to the V20 Red List?

    • Shaoken
      June 25, 2014 at 2:35 am

      It gets a mention here or there. Still be worked on, but no release date available.

    • June 25, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      Making the final push on revising the overall wordcount now. I’m hoping to get some excerpts up on the blog soon. Things just got away from me with moving and trying to finish the book.

  10. Jim Groves
    June 25, 2014 at 12:57 am

    I received the Quickstart book at a local shop, but they went quickly.. though all the books went quickly. With an hour of store opening. They had a good sized crowd.

    Although, it was the sort of store that has gaming tables to play at… And at one point the store owner was showing a customer some items, and they needed to walk past an aisle where the tables were. Everyone politely and quickly moved out of their way. Yet, I overheard the shop owner murmur to the customer, “You’ll have to excuse us, it’s Free RPG Day,” he said with a slight disparaging tone, “and you know what that’s like…”

    All I could think was, “Yeah, a store full of potential customers. Oh the pain.”

    • richt
      June 25, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      Well, he might very well just mean that the place gets all filled up and it’s hard to talk. Good to hear that they had a big crowd!

  11. Cardul
    June 25, 2014 at 4:30 am

    I am still trying to convince my FLGS to participate in Free RPG Day. They are big on the Tabletop day, and free comic day, but, despite telling them about it, they think Free RPG day will cost too much. Then again, they make most of their money from 40K players, Magic, and Yu-gi-Oh. The staff and owners are friendly people, just the owner is not very tech savy, and her son is, while a gamer and great guy, very bottom-line focused(not faulting him. It is a business, and they need to make money.) and so he forgets about things while focusing on trying to keep the two stores afloat.

    That said, I wish there was an easy way to show my FLGS about the retailer discounts on PoD from Drivethru. I would GLADLY pay my FLGS more then the price of the book on Drive thur just so they could make the profit off it, but I have no way to walk either of them through the process so they can order the books. And, I feel bad about order PoD through DriveThru because I feel like I am hurting my FLGS by going that route.

    • June 25, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Have them check out the FAQ here on the OPP site. There is a form for stores to fill out if they are interested in trying out the beta.

  12. Furf
    June 25, 2014 at 4:40 am

    I noticed that despite being the most popular RPG on Kickstarter ever, you didn’t sell any retailer tiers. I’m not surprised. What small store could justify dropping $1000 on a set of books that’ll take more than a year to arrive and then be difficult to sell for a profit?

    • richt
      June 25, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      See my reply way above, but basically: yeah, the investment in capital for an extended period of time is rough- no way around that. But, pretty much a Deluxe item nobody else would be able to get after the KS was over. I think they could name their price.

  13. Jay
    June 25, 2014 at 4:47 am

    Hopefully the FLGS’s messing the Free RPG Day aren’t any from the UK. My local FLGS is somewhere I faithfully visited everyweek and I likely put many thousands of £ across their counter over the years. Now however I choose not too – PoD is superior, quicker, cheaper (My FLGS is quite, quite keen on hugely over-pricing everything including second hand stock etc).

    Certainly I avoid the place due to financial reasons, but there are other considerations as well. I think the sustainability, certainly here in the UK, of the FLGS is in question and the number of stores are in decline. There will be very few left that can justify continued existance and they’ll be general book and or gaming stores. Eventually I suspect PoD and pdf will be the default route to market for RPG companies.

    • richt
      June 25, 2014 at 6:04 pm

      If your store is all or even primarily paper RPG oriented, then they are really part of a rare breed. My first-hand anecdotal evidence of stopping in stores is that RPGs are usually a tiny section, with card/board/mini/video games or comics being bigger sections by far.

      • Jay
        June 26, 2014 at 7:47 am

        It’s shifted over the years I’ll admit – used to be predominantly RPGs with sidelines of CCGs, minis, boardgames and the like. Now I’d say it’s about 50/50 but with a large internet ordering side that obviously I can’t see which I suspect keeps the place afloat (Mostly in minis for WW2 era stuff).

        As the RPG section shrinks the prices go up (Well above PoD or other retailers such as Amazon etc). I don’t mind OP stuff isn’t in FLGS’s anymore – PoD has come on leaps and bounds and gives you guys the flexibility you need as well as removes the whole distribution kerfuffle of previous business models.

  14. Meph
    June 25, 2014 at 5:20 am

    I personally have stopped going to stores for gaming books for a simple reason. I don’t have room for books in my place, and ever since I got my ipad, it’s been a million times easier to have my collections on the tablet. Easier to store, easier to game with, easier to get a hold of- let’s face it, stores can’t carry many books at a profit.

    It’s come to the point where, if it’s not digital, I won’t get it. I will go to the stores for a TCG, or a board game, but not books.

    • richt
      June 25, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      Our evidence is that you are not alone in your digital delivery preference.

  15. ThomasM
    June 25, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Is there any chance you will share those M20 drink recipes? I’m hosting a July 4th party and would love to have some new cocktails to offer!

    • Kyle
      June 25, 2014 at 11:42 am

      I believe those were at the AFK Tavern in Everett, WA. http://www.afktavern.com/

      The people there are pretty cool and might be willing to share.

    • richt
      June 25, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      We talked about releasing the recipes to the community, and maybe including them in the M20 Cookbook. Let me see what AFK Tavern is comfortable with us doing.

  16. Jeremy
    June 25, 2014 at 9:42 am

    My local game store had them and I was glad to see them. I play multiple games there (sadly not WOD just yet) and regularly buy RPG books from other games, minis and boardgames there. If any brick and mortar store owners read this, I second what others have said : I would not frequent your stored if you damaged these books as described in this post. I think keeping a passion for Roleplaying alive is generally healthy for game stores. And I have been so floored with how cool Onyx Path is. World of Darkness has always been my favorite world to experience. Thanks for keeping it alive…so to speak ; )

    • richt
      June 25, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      Thank you so much- we appreciate it.

  17. Jonathan
    June 25, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I got the last one at my shop. I made sure to buy something while I was there as well, even though I had bought something earlier that week. The shop was pretty busy.

    • richt
      June 25, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      Good to hear- thanks for making the extra purchase!

  18. Lydia
    June 25, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    I’ll be honest, I think that the retailers that were unhappy to receive OP promotional products are justified in finding that galling. Unless they plan to carry M20 upon release, advertising for their competitors is usually a zero-sum game at best. While some may point to the retailer discounts and other attempts to include physical stores in the product chain, the truth is that most gaming specialty shops (like game makers) don’t often make a mint in profit, and the retailer discounts may not be enough to justify the expense of getting OP products on the shelves.

    • richt
      June 25, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      Have to disagree on the value of simply getting these potential customers into a store- I don’t think this is one of those things that can be described as zero-sum. Being unable to sell M20 because that’s the line the free QS is from is really missing the overall point. Without the M20 QS, those people would not have bothered to enter the place- there are opportunities there to engage a potential customer and get them buying anything- dice, or do a “if you like Mage, have you looked at…” Especially with a narrow margin situation where any new customer is good.

  19. hushnowquietnow
    June 25, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    I actually wouldn’t have even known Free RPG Day was a thing if OPP hadn’t promoted it via this very blog. Luckily the gaming shop I went to had the M20 Quickstart along with everything else.

    • richt
      June 25, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      And there you go- one of quite a few folks who learned something beneficial for them AND the stores during this- in fact, there are several people that have mentioned not even knowing a particular store was nearby until looking it up on the Free RPG Day list.

  20. Stephen
    June 25, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    In Louisiana politics there is something called a comesee: basically I’ve done something to you so that you come see me to work out a deal. Cutting the back page out of the M20 QS is a comesee, an invitation to start talking about how to get your product into their store. It seems that the response was for Onyx to publicly state that it is looking for a good bid from a printer. I wonder if anyone will take them up on that.

    • richt
      June 26, 2014 at 10:37 am

      Um, I can’t speak for those Retailers, but I find it hard to interpret the situation that way, so if that was the intention, it didn’t work. And also, I’m not casting a net for a printer deal in that comment. It was an off-hand example of a possible but unlikely scenario that might change the current plans so that folks reading understand that Onyx will evolve if a circumstance changes for the better for us.

  21. indarkestknight
    June 26, 2014 at 7:45 am

    I have to agree that while I understand the reasons behind taking time to craft Ex3 to be the best game possible, if I were a retailer, I would be extraordinary wary of signing up for a retailer reward tier for any Exalted product, perhaps even any Onyx Path product.

    Much ado has been made about how long Ex3 is taking, but goodness, it’s a really good thing that no retailer signed up for those reward tiers. To sink in all that money, and still not have a product to sell more than a year later? Frankly, right now, the retail kickstarter rewards seem like an awful investment for retailers to make, at least to me…

    • richt
      June 26, 2014 at 10:29 am

      It depends on their plans for the books and if those monies were gathered from customers before pledging. But like I said, I get the idea that waiting for the books means the retailer has just put a chunk of capital into limbo for x amount of time when it could be used on other things during that time. Kickstarter as a whole has an extended time frame issue- but with the very special exception of Exalted- Onyx is tightening those expectations and the timing with each new KS.

  22. June 26, 2014 at 11:12 am

    This may be a silly idea, but it just popped into my head. DTRPG has an affiliate program, doesn’t it? Maybe for next year’s Free RPG Day (or even just in general), you could encourage retailers to sign up as an affiliate, then leave a place in the DTRPG ad for them to put in their affiliate link. Maybe make it the size of a standard address label, so they can print a bunch and stick ’em on easily.

    I don’t know what the returns are on the DTRPG affiliate program, so it might not even be worth it from a retailer’s perspective. But I figure it’s at least a way for them to get something out of the deal if people go to buy stuff online.

  23. Erinys
    June 26, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I think it’s very sad that some store owners are behaving so childishly. I’m unhappy that my favorite publishers are 100%-digital now, but I understand that they CAN’T afford to print anymore and that it isn’t their fault. Onyx Path doesn’t have to reach out to game stores at all anymore, but you’re still trying anyway.

  24. Topher
    June 26, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    I guess I’m really part of a dying breed. Part of the enjoyment of buying a book, for me, is going to the store, giving the book a quick glance through, and walking out with it. I’m very much an instant gratification kind of person. And I just can’t stand trying to read a book on an electronic device. I absolutely loved being able to walk into a game store and get lost for hours checking out the new books and trying to decide which ones to purchase. I use to drop obscene amounts of money on books, especially WW books. I pre ordered, or was there when the store opened on release day, for every book WW put out when they rebooted the WoD. Since moving away from traditional printing, my spending has been cut back dramatically. And, honestly, that’s on me. I just don’t like waiting. I like to go when the urge hits, and buy the book. Most of my instant purchases now are for other game lines who are still putting books in stores. I know several of them are using PoD companies to print their books, as needed, for stores. Surely if it’s working for them, it could also work for OPP? I’m not innately familiar with the business, so I’m just speculating.

    As far as Free RPG Day, the store I had access to had only the five copies of the quickstart. Thankfully I was there in line early enough and got one of the copies. I know there were at least 20 people in line behind me that were chomping at the bit to get one. As a business owner myself, I would have used the success of the KS to determine how many quickstarts to include; which would have been more than five. That’s just my opinion. There was no one there offering to run the quickstart either. Which is another issue altogether.

    The loss of the sanctioned demo groups was a pretty big blow to the company. I can kind of understand why that program was dissolved, seeing as how the company moved away from putting books on shelves. Having a crew demoing games which weren’t available for immediate purchase, was really pretty pointless. However, if that program had remained in place and was kept active, I think it would have done a lot to help soothe a lot of the hurt butts. I think if it were reinstated, it could still do a lot of good for both OPP and the brick and mortar stores. It would certainly show store owners that OPP hasn’t abandoned them completely. And that’s what it really comes down to; they feel abandoned and more than a little betrayed.

    As far as the store I went to, I will probably not be returning. At their previous location, the RPG section was well over half the store. When they moved into this new location, it shrank to less than half. When I walked in last Saturday, the RPG section comprised one freestanding, double sided, rack that was 4 feet wide and 4 1/2 feet tall. I was heartbroken to see that. My only other option for instant purchases is a store that is 40 miles away. Not really that “instant”. As consumers, we have ended up in the middle of a, mostly, quiet battle and are being forced to make painful decisions regarding our buying habits. Do I like the direction the industry has taken? Nope, not at all. Do I understand why certain decisions were made leading to that change? Yes

  25. Larry Cooper
    June 28, 2014 at 1:16 am

    Did anyone notice that they changed Exalted 3rd editions completion bar back to step 2? What the hell was it just an error?

    • IanW
      June 28, 2014 at 2:27 am

      I had it at the furthest in-progress step, even if earlier steps hadn’t been completed. I decided that didn’t give an accurate view of the process, so I dialed it back.

  26. Vaguelee
    June 30, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Here is the deal.: any retailer worth their salt will use any customer in the store for ANY reason as an opportunity to make a repeat customer. The bad reactions speak to the elitism that unfortunately so unfortunately common in gaming or other hobby. That is what drives people away. And if they did the research on the product they would know about the retail discounts you have put in place. I hate to say it but if you don’t run a business like a business instead of a clubhouse for your own likes the store going under is on you.

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