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Extra Experience Points

Giving It Away For Free

Greg Chatham
January 5, 2001
 

There are no original ideas. The best ideas have already been written down. Then they were stolen and written down again.

This is as true today as it was when my creative writing professor first told me so. That was 3 years ago. I don't know if it was true before that, but judging from the pleasure he took in telling me, it must have been something he'd known for a long time.

It's also true in what Justin Achilli has referred to (in Pentex Subsidiaries) as something game designers refer to as "the Industry." And that's as true today as it was when 2nd Edition was released. (2nd Edition what? Take your pick.) Since then, role-playing materials from core rulebooks to GM screens have been based on recycled ideas, and occasionally printed on the recycled paper of The Saga of Jay No-Name, Book 1.

For example, the columns I have yet to write have already been written by other people. Women in Gaming, Asian-American Women and Their Mothers With Cross-Cultural Issues in Gaming, Sex In Gaming, Elves in GamingThese ideas have been the subject of role-playing articles since time was first divided into rounds and turns.

The subjects I have written about aren't original either. Who would have thought that Gary Gygax had already written a column about how I didn't care about Gary Gygax?

The only revolutionary ideas in gaming are stolen from other industries. Sometimes they're stolen from people like you. That's how Hunter was created. I steal mine from people no one remembers, like Sharon.

During my last raid on Sharon, I discovered several ideas new to role-playing. For the good of Justin Achilli's The Industry, I have decided to release these ideas for free under my G20 license.

Starting in June, I will release free game settings and you can hunt them for sport. Anyone can alter or adapt these settings to their rules systems and publish them. Yes, for money. All the money you can make as a game designer. I don't want any of it. I only ask that you apply a G20 logo to your product. You can even design the logo yourself. It's all part of my healthy business strategy, "I Suck at Design."

The first G20 release will be Precedent: The Game of Courtroom Drama. A complete introductory chapter for the setting will be available for free. The rest will be up to you.

Running out of "Year Of The" Games? Publish Precedent: The Colon Joke. Need another novel in your fall catalog? Give R.A. Salvatore a shot at Precedent game fiction. In a week, you'll be taking up expensive warehouse space with a backlog of The Trilogy of Courtroom Drama, Book 1: Asian-American McBeal And Her Mother vs. The Sexy Elves in Role-Playing.

The G20 license will encourage healthy competition among publishers. Precedent D20 can compete against Precedent Deadlands and Precedent BESM. Only one license will be left standing, and that company will bought out by Wizards of the Coast. And then Hasbro will sell it off.

Other releases will follow Precedent, in a time frame appropriate to Justin Achilli's The Industry. Also, look for Justin Achilli's The Industry, by Bentley Little, and my mysterious new game. It's mysterious. I won't tell you what it is. Doesn't that make you want to buy it?

I will continue to release my innovative, stolen ideas forever, because I can't go broke doing it. And since the G20 license only exists in my head, it can't be bought out. I can only sell out. And to sell out, you have to have someone people want to buy. I only have things you can't give away for free.

(I stole my conclusion from Isaac. Hopefully he didn't steal it from anybody important.) TQo0~^DҒt< ek&Ǿ$\۵ZFȃuwݝIŃU QYir2HR2.u3MFoعq]4#A`pP5(b& )b)ⰾp7(i<[-2gL#5[f g?*rVGf8*)s'+20ϟ̑F}KB<7wSL\gbvm9WiRބYŜvd y0'p2I_Fc2>#o A )VL[Qk?3`)<У[(*W.JH ?tXCt谙 X:@ \0w ~LqĤE-rFkYœj4q 5AQ6[AxG [>w|?( fХθY䝛$c=_qNĦoǸ>O_|&/_Mi7"宥CЧk0dӷLh;TmuCGU-!Ul{ h<\bQX.~"O2*yPcz!ŠGg

What do you think?

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