Patronage markets at Kobold Quarterly


Along with getting back into playing D&D over the past year, I've started catching up on the world of 3rd party publishers. One really interesting publisher is Kobold Quarterly, which seems to have developed over the course of a year from a one-man gaming zine to a respected publication with big-name contributors like Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb, and Skip Williams.

The biggest thing KQ is doing, though, is their patronage-based Open Design adventures. KQ puts out the bare sketch of an idea, with a couple of big options left open. (The current project, Halls of the Mountain King, has 3E and 4E versions competing.) Patrons sign up via paypal; when one of the competing options hits a dollar target, it goes into development, and other options' patrons get the option to join the winner or else get a refund. The project then commissions writers, a cartographer, and artists, and the patrons are given access to private forums to discuss the project, guide its development via polls, or propose ideas to the writers and other patrons for inclusion into the project. At the end, the patrons each get copies of the project - and nobody else does. It's a limited run, private work, and it appears that the total commission is in the few thousand dollar range, though I haven't been able to find totals anywhere.

D&D 4e - thoughts so far

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As any self-respecting nerd knows, the 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons was released this summer. It's probably the most significant overhaul the game has had, at least in my almost 20 years of playing, and reactions predictably range from fawning adulation to burning in effigy. I've only played two sessions of the new edition - once this running the beginning parts of Keep on the Shadowfell, and once, just over Christmas, as a player in a play-testy mid-level dungeon crawl.

So far, I'd say there's a lot to like with the new edition, but enough bad that I don't think I'll exert any effort to migrate from 3.5. I find myself wishing there were a v3.75 as an intermediate step - though I expect such a thing will evolve eventually, thanks to teh interwebs. Some thoughts:

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