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  1. #1
    Senior Member Beruin's Avatar
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    Purchase policy or how do you handle the d20 flood?

    Recently, after spending quite some money on ebay for RPG products (way too much, if you ask my significant other) I started reflecting on my shopping behaviour and thought I would really like to know how other people handle their purchases.
    In the distant 2E past, I had a quite clearly defined purchase policy: BR products were a must (and this I`ll never regret), then came Core rule expansions and FR products if I had money left over. Other product lines I would ignore.

    With d20 and especially my discovery of ebay my gaming library exploded. Suddenly there were many more products I found interesting and ebay made more of them affordable.

    I also noted that the wealth of material does not always make things easier for the DM. In 2E times I usually had (at best) one set of rules for any given situation. I would read these rules, tweak them as needed and was ready to go. Now, for instance, I have at least five different sets of d20 naval rules. With reading and comparing them and more often than not still tweaking or synthesizing them, my preparation time is considerably longer than it used to be. In addition, adapting new material, prestige classes etc. I would like to use to a world as clearly defined as BR (in contrast to the Forgotten realms where you easily find a place for everything - at the cost of the believabilty of the setting) can be quite a lot of work, though I still add content rather haphazardly to my campaign.

    Well, I guess I could just stop buying products and would still have more material than I could use in a lifetime or two of DMing, but I`m too much of a completist (read: addict) for this.
    This sounds a bit like a luxury problem, but I would really like to hear some views on this subject, like:

    - How do you decide what to buy and what to pass? Do you have a certain budget, do you use reviews, do you buy from certain publishers only etc.

    - And how do use new material in your campaign? Do you have a screening process or use it at whim and how much of the material you own do you really use?

    Thanks for the input,

    Christoph

  2. #2
    Senior Member ploesch's Avatar
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    I set myself a budget. I try to make it to a game store or sites weekly, and check out what's new, then spend my alloted funds, noting anything interestig that I didn't buy for maybe next week/moth when there isn't enough I find interesting.

    I took a hiatus from gaming, so I am behind.

    On part two, about the rules. I take a common sense approach, and so rules come naturally to me. If a rule doesn't make sense, or is too cumbersome I throw it out.

    For me, the main point is having fun, that comes first, so I prefer quick rules/no charts. The BR warcard system fits this for me, so that's what I use. If I found a better system, I'd use that, but by better, I don't mean more realistic, I mean quicker and more realistic with few/no charts to use. Once you say pull out a chart, I start to get annoyed. I can accept a chart on a randomly drawn card, because it doesn't need to be looked up, and is easy to keep around.
    When you play the game of thrones you win or you die.
    George R. R. Martin - A song of Ice and Fire

  3. #3
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    The addition of pdf's means its now possible to buy nifty materials at the cost per suppliment I haven't paid since the early 80's. I have about 75 pdf's including whole settings like Legends of Excalibur to small adventure seeds. This just increases the problem Beruin describes. Even if only a fraction of my spending goes to pdf's instead of books, I can end up with a huge amount of material to consider.

    But I have also found that at least in certain catagories, there is a natural fix. For me, once I have two good quality books (either print or digital) on a subject, something has to be really, really good to tempt me.

    The weakness in the system is that material for stuff I don't have (Celtic setting, Viking setting, good Frankish setting, think of the green 2e books called campaign sorcebooks) or am looking for mechanics for, basically are must purchase situations, and there are plenty of those.

    I can't really see getting to 5 different sets of naval rules, though. If I was into naval rules, and some nautical supliments came out before settings included any, I can see getting there, maybe. After all its likely that someone who is interested in nautical gaming will buy settings like AEG's Swashbuckling Adventures setting. It is, as you say, a problem of plentitude.

  4. #4
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    ...um... I bought the core books - DMG and PHB. That's it. No other d20 supplement was necessary.

    Everything else is either created completely on my own, or converted from 2e.

    Heck, my arms had to be twisted to buy 3e - I only got it because if I wanted to play, or get new players introduced to my campaigns, it was the only option.

    So, for me, buying hasn't been a big deal. Oh, sure, there have been a few books that have caught my eye. Even bought a book from AEG for D20.

    That was it. I guess the whole OGL thing just never really caught on for me - once you have one good system, who needs anything else? Just house rule it if you need to, then build a system around it afterwards.

  5. #5
    Well, aside from the core books, I try and keep mostly to the 'official' books. There are, according to my DM, some books in the Swords and Sorcery line that're not that bad. In my opinion, though, a lot of the stuff that's there to use with DnD D20 is just bad. Rehashes of PHBs with different names or classes and things that look so obviously self-inserted and overpowered it's not funny anymore.

    And for what to buy in the DnD world, I use word-of-mouth in general. I know a lot of people who buy a lot of the stuff because it's available, and then I can check it out if I want it.

  6. #6
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    In a message dated 9/26/06 7:35:31 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
    tiemach@UNI-MUENSTER.DE writes:

    << - How do you decide what to buy and what to pass? Do you have a certain
    budget, do you use reviews, do you buy from certain publishers only etc. >>

    For me, all of the above. I have a budget for games (which for me
    includes "monster" $100+ wargames), magazines, club memberships, CD/DVD/books, and
    anything else "fun." In general, I`ve been avoiding a lot of d20, since a)
    that budget only goes so far, and b) my friends generally stick to "core" D&D: I
    run BR, most others stick to Greyhawk. My sci-fi game friends swear by GURPS
    and won`t touch d20 with a 10` pole.

    << - And how do use new material in your campaign? Do you have a screening
    process or use it at whim and how much of the material you own do you really
    use? >>
    I try to limit it as much as possible, especially the more fantastic
    bits. Nearly all of the last few Monster Manuals I ignore, for instance, and it
    will take some lobbying from a player to get me to include something outside
    the core books. Usually, I make them read deep into the background stuff I find
    relevant, and come up with a mutual agreement how or why this or that will be
    used.

    Speaking directly to the ships and naval warfare, I hear you. I bought
    the 2nd ed. "Ships & Sea," 3e "Broadsides" and "Pirates!" from ??? and most
    recently "Stormwrack." In general, I`m using "Stormwrack" and making up some
    more ship types as I need them.

    Lee.

  7. #7
    In the 2e days, I worked at a hobby shop, and got a huge discount. These days, I don't actually spend much on books, and am really selective. I have the core books, a handful of WotC hardback supplements, a decent amount of Kalamar material, and a few things I picked up at the half-price bookstore (Nyambe setting springs to mind). I have bought maybe a dozen or so general .pdfs, and have filled out the gaps in my original-print BR stuff using this method.

    When it comes to hardbacks, I try to spend a couple hours at Barnes & Noble perusing before I buy. I got the DMGII; I decided the PHBII was essentially useless for me, and passed on it. When it comes to .pdfs, RPGNow usually has a page or two demo to let me check out the table of contents or at least the production values of the product.

    Though it makes matters a little tighter, budget-wise, I also run/play Mutants and Masterminds, BESM, et al. I look for bargains when I can, on eBay or Amazon Marketplace, but sometimes I just hope for birthdays or the holidays to fill in things I want that I can't really afford.

    As far as using material, I generally only buy supplements with material I'm looking for already, with rules to the ideas I'd like to implement in any case. I try then to introduce things into the game logically, either in an encounter with a previously unmet culture or rumored npc, or as a quest reward, or something of that nature. I probably use 20-60% of the total material I've purchased in the last year or so, and maybe 10-40% of the material I've owned for time out of mind, excepting BR stuff, of course. Of that, I'm using maybe 80%.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Not sure if this is on topic or not, but in addition to d20 products
    there are a host of indie RPGs available for sale online that would be
    invaluable to many players on this list/board. You may want to check
    them out, too. Anyone interested in specific recommendations, feel
    free to email me lordrahvin@gmail.com.


    On 9/28/06, celtibear <brnetboard@birthright.net> wrote:
    > This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
    > You can view the entire thread at:
    > http://www.birthright.net/showthread.php?goto=newpost&t=3129
    >
    > celtibear wrote:
    > In the 2e days, I worked at a hobby shop, and got a huge discount. These days, I don`t actually spend much on books, and am really selective. I have the core books, a handful of WotC hardback supplements, a decent amount of Kalamar material, and a few things I picked up at the half-price bookstore (Nyambe setting springs to mind). I have bought maybe a dozen or so general .pdfs, and have filled out the gaps in my original-print BR stuff using this method.
    >
    >
    >
    > When it comes to hardbacks, I try to spend a couple hours at Barnes & Noble perusing before I buy. I got the DMGII; I decided the PHBII was essentially useless for me, and passed on it. When it comes to .pdfs, RPGNow usually has a page or two demo to let me check out the table of contents or at least the production values of the product.
    >
    >
    >
    > Though it makes matters a little tighter, budget-wise, I also run/play Mutants and Masterminds, BESM, et al. I look for bargains when I can, on eBay or Amazon Marketplace, but sometimes I just hope for birthdays or the holidays to fill in things I want that I can`t really afford.
    >
    >
    >
    > As far as using material, I generally only buy supplements with material I`m looking for already, with rules to the ideas I`d like to implement in any case. I try then to introduce things into the game logically, either in an encounter with a previously unmet culture or rumored npc, or as a quest reward, or something of that nature. I probably use 20-60% of the total material I`ve purchased in the last year or so, and maybe 10-40% of the material I`ve owned for time out of mind, excepting BR stuff, of course. Of that, I`m using maybe 80%.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >


    --
    ROLL THE DICE: Dedicated to the exploration of ideas and concepts in
    Game Design and Theory.
    http://lordrahvin.wordpress.com

  9. #9

    I usually just fudge the rules....

    Yeah, I think I spend a lot more money on just BOOKS: Narnia, Harry Potter, historical (Love Rome), Davinci Code, even Agatha Christie. I think I have a trove of old D&D, and AD&D 2E material from way back (including Birthright), but I've alwas DM-ed loosely: using the rules for illumination and support (what are the chances the PCs get Gail Force winds on their sea trip back home?), not really as an exact science... So for naval warefare, well, just a lot of DM "fiat":

    "Half your fleet is gone, the other half in bad shape: but you managed to sink all but one ship of the pirate armada: you see it now fleeing hastily with the evil red-beard and the captive princess on board!"

  10. #10
    Senior Member Beruin's Avatar
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    First off, thanks for the input. I feel a bit guilty that I didn`t respond earlier, as I started this thread, but my time to post is limited, as I`m trying to raise a new roleplayer for nine months now. My son has first priority of course, so please don`t take it as a sign that I lost interest if I`m just lurking for a longer amount of time.
    BTW, the first book he managed to draw from my shelves was the DMG, so I guess he has a bright future ahead of him. O.K., enough fatherly pride, back to the topic.

    Well, I`m guess I`m more into naval rules than I realized, but I just used them as an example. The same holds true for mass combat rules as well. Heck, I even have two rules systems for `social combat`, i.e. debates or verbal duels, one from Dragon Magazine (don`t know the issue right now) and AEG`s excellent "Dynasties&Demagogues".
    With regard to "Stormwrack " (naval again) and also "Heroes of Battle", even though I liked them in general, I was quite annoyed that both books advice the DM to break down large battles into standard D&D encounters. Seemed to me besides the point, like Cthulhu rules advising the players to stay in their mundane jobs as they can`t handle the Old Ones.

    As to purchases, I believe after reading your posts that some of my difficulties may simply have to do with location. Here in `Old Europe` (Germany) the number of roleplayers is quite limited and the availability of material suffers as a result. There are two game stores in my city (although one sadly is on the brink of closing down), one is mainly carrying board games, the other caters mainly to miniatures players, both with a smattering of rpg products thrown in.
    This means that I buy most of my rpg stuff on ebay without the possibility to peruse it first. Word of mouth is also no option for me, as usualIy I`m the one who introduces new games/rules/options to my players and friends and most of the other gamers I know play different rpgs (Shadowrun is quite popular here as is White Wolf`s WoD - both not my type of games - and there are also two German Fantasy RPGs but I don`t really like their mechanics).
    I usually try to find reviews on enworld or elswhere prior to buying, but reviews only go so far (and you usually find more positive than negative reviews of a given product). This also means that I do not always find what I`m really looking for and have to take second best. For example, "Fields of Blood" sounded really good after reading a comparison with "Cry Havoc" on this list, but I couldn`t find it yet. I then purchased the "Cry Havoc" on ebay, which is not bad, but will probably still buy "Fields of Blood" should I come across it.

    PDFs might be a good solution for me, but so far I shied away from them. I`m a bit distrustful of online transactions (call me old-fashioned if you like) and also don`t own a credit card. PayPal might work, but, speaking of word of mouth, I heard that it has some serious security issues. However, I would be interested to know whether any of the European guys here have bought PDFs online and how the transactions worked out.

    Christoph Tiemann

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