Thursday, April 21, 2011

What's going on out there?

Is it just me or is there a palpable air of decline in the tabletop rpg world lately? Even though the stock market crash that led to our current global recession hit back in October, 2008, it didn't seem as though the economy had all that much of a chilling effect on the gaming business over the last couple of years. However, I sense that the recession is finally beginning to bite just at the time when the global economy seems to be bouncing back. I'm sure much of the apparent malaise comes from the recent announcements from Wizards of the Coast about cancelled product lines and reduced publication schedules. When the biggest player in the market is producing less product, it no doubt trickles down through the whole industry. Still, it seems the effect is percolating throughout the tabletop rpg community, even to corners which should be largely insulated from goings-on in Renton, such as the OSR. A lot of fairly prolific rpg bloggers seem to be posting less often. Also, many small publishers seem to releasing fewer products, or at least fewer products that attract my attention. I don't mind the extra money in my pocket, but I do miss trotting over to the FLGS to lay down my sheckels on the new hotness.

There are, of course, bright spots in the gloom. Paizo is still going strong and Ultimate Magic is due for release next month. Also, Chaosium seems to be enjoying a bit of a revival thanks to the success of Cthulhu Invictus and The Chronicles of Future Earth. They have a new hardback version of BRP due for release very soon and a massive new Viking-oriented BRP setting called Mythic Iceland is in the pipeline. Likewise, something or other is always going on at Cubicle 7, although I'm not much for FATE, so I'm only dimly aware of their activities. Hopefully, the current lull is only temporary and we will have more to talk about and gush over in the months ahead. While I shudder to think about it, D&D 5e might be just what we need to kickstart things. Just don't expect me to buy it.

-Rognar-

8 comments:

A Paladin In Citadel said...

I've picked up Invictus and Chronicles and found them quite inspirational.

I hadn't noticed a slowdown, if anything, there seem to be more OSR bloggers, more blog content and more new OSR products than ever before.

I have noticed a few long-timer bloggers reducing their OSR output, but it I chalk that up to projects in the works.

Rognar said...

Could be, I only read a few of the more prominent OSR blogs.

I haven't picked up Invictus, not sure if I will. For some reason, the Roman era doesn't really hold much appeal for me. Still, any success for Chaosium is good news. I doubt they will ever return to the good times of the 80s, but I think the d100 system has a lot to offer, especially for people who are tired of class-and-level mechanics.

Gratuitous Saxon Violence said...

The hardback BRP is out; I saw it a week ago in my FLGS.

Rognar said...

Still waiting up here in the frozen north.

Andreas Davour said...

The only problem with the Yellow Tome, is that it makes me want to start a dozen different campaign. As if Stormbringer, CoC and RQ wasn't enough! :)

...to say nothing of all the other non BRP coolness out there.

Rognar said...

Hi Andreas - I have the same problem. I decided to poll my group to find out what kind of BRP campaign would interest them. There is a particular interest in WWII right now, so that's what gave life to my Weird War II project.

Andreas Davour said...

I have no regular group any longer, so for me it's all fantasizing about what I could do. But, I have some interested parties for CoC, and who can refuse The Call?

Neal5x5 said...

I'm a buyer for a publisher as well as an RPG guy and I can see there's definetely been a slowdown on the release of products. Most printed products take six months to a year or more and what we're seeing now is the result of decisions made in late 2009 and 2010 when it became apparent that there wasn't going to be a quick end to the recession. We're also seeing that ebooks and PDFs are taking a bite out of industry and books sales as a whole are way down.