Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Big Swords & Wizardry News

According to a post here, Mythmere Games will be "merging" with Frog God Games.
August 24, 2010 - Poulsbo WA

Frog God Games, the successor to Necromancer Games, is pleased to announce that effective immediately, Mythmere Games, headed by award-winning author Matt Finch, will be joining up with the Frog God Publishing team to produce even more of the true old-school gaming resources that Necromancer Games and Frog God Games have always been known for.

Matt explained one of the reasons for the agreement as “"There is a large and active community of gamers playing various out-of-print editions of fantasy role-playing games. This alliance is going to be a big leap forward in terms of providing new resources and adventures to those of us who prefer an older-school type of game. It doesn't matter if you're an old-school grognard, a brand-new player, or an experienced gamer trying out this whole 'old-school' thing the internet keeps talking about. You're going to like this".

As a result of this merger, Frog God Games will be publishing the Complete version of the old school, ENnie Award-winning Swords & Wizardry™ fantasy role-playing game, which will be released in November.

“This merger is very much in line with my philosophy on game design, I play an old school game at my table, and have always written and produced books of that genre”, said Bill Webb, CEO of Frog God Games. Frog God Games and its predecessor, Necromancer Games both are known for producing d20 and Pathfinder adventures and sourcebooks with a distinctive “old school” feel. Necromancer, where Bill was partnered with Clark Peterson, produced over 50 books between 1999 and 2007, including Wilderlands of High Fantasy™ (under license to Judges Guild), Gary Gygax’s Necropolis™ and Rappan Athuk, Dungeon of Graves™.

Frog God Games is currently producing adventures to support the Pathfinder™ role-playing system. According to Bill, “This brings together the best of both worlds for me; our material is distinctly old school feel, regardless of the game system. By supporting both formats, I see an opportunity to provide high quality and exciting material to a larger audience. It’s a win for the gaming community.”

Frog God Games will now produce game supplements for both the Swords and Wizardry™ game and for the Pathfinder Game™ (published by Paizo Publishing of Bellevue WA).Swords & Wizardry builds and supports free-form role-playing games.That is to say, games where “light” rules create a framework instead of trying to cover every detail, every rule, and every situation. Over 30 books are currently in production for release in 2010 and 2011.

Matt explained , “There are a lot of gamers out there who are using out-of-print rules quite happily, or who have a vague feeling that they lost some of the game's spirit over the years and don't know how it happened. And then there's the thriving community of old-school gamers on the internet, who have been powering forward for years. I think this new development is going to take us to critical mass. With an old-school game like Swords & Wizardry breaking into the mainstream, with all the power of Frog God Games behind it, I believe that all these three gamer-communities are about to connect. This is when the thunder starts to roll.”.

The Swords & Wizardry game “clones” the original rules of the fantasy role-playing game that started it all back in 1974, when it was published by Gary Gygax and DaveArneson. Part of the reason for the merger was to expand distribution and enhance production quality by involvement of a larger company. Matt described this as, “a step that has been developing for years, as the old-school community has grown larger and larger, supported by more and more gamers, and, increasingly, even by publishers. And this is the point where it all reaches critical mass, I think. Frog God Games has the resources and the high profile to introduce this particular style of gaming back into the mainstream."
This is certainly big news, although I'll admit to not knowing just what this will mean in the final analysis beyond the appearance of yet another version of Swords & Wizardry by yet another publisher. Even so, I can hardly complain about this and hope it means great things for both S&W and the old school renaissance.

34 comments:

  1. Excellent news, the Frog God modules that are coming out are an awesome read. Much in the old vein of Rappan Atthuk. If this means more 1E content like in the D20/PF ruleset kick ass.

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  2. Sounds cool. How might this affect the Whitebox that Brave Halfling publishes? (If at all)

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  3. Jay,

    Based on clarifications in the linked thread, it appears that the White Box published by BHP will be unaffected, while Black Blade will no longer be publishing the Core Rules, which will go over to Frog God, along with the new "Complete version" referenced in the press release.

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  4. Sounds good to me. I'm more of a Labyrinth Lord guy myself, but S&W is pretty compatible. I'm excited to hear that Dennis Sustare is writing modules, too. I suppose it's crazy to wish for new Swordbearer material...

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  5. Sounds good to me. I'm more of a Labyrinth Lord guy myself, but S&W is pretty compatible. I'm excited to hear that Dennis Sustare is writing modules, too. I suppose it's crazy to wish for new Swordbearer material...

    I'm glad to hear this news too, though, like you, I'm more of LL guy these days. Having Dennis Sustare on board is simply awesome. As for Swordbearer, I think someone would have to get it back from FGU first, which isn't impossible, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

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  6. If only Necromancer games had done something like this two years ago, they might still be in business. They chose... unwisely. ;)

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  7. If only Necromancer games had done something like this two years ago, they might still be in business. They chose... unwisely. ;)

    I get the impression that Clark's heart simply wasn't in it anymore, especially after the fiasco that was the GSL. Bill Webb, on the other hand, seems just as enthusiastic as ever, so, in a sense, Necromancer Games is still around, albeit under a new name.

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  8. I wonder if the whole shall be greater than the sum of its parts. Or if something will be lost trying to manage the disparate product lines.

    I sometimes wish there was a giant wiki somewhere, that would start with a stripped down, base rule system like L&L or S&W, and then would list out every possible variation of rules. Allow people to edit it like a wiki, and keep it under a free public domain type license.

    I suppose its just the completionist in me. I want all the quirky, crazy, diversity of the grass roots rpg community, but still have it managed under one great entity.

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  9. Mundi,

    That's something I've imagined as well. I think one the greatest strengths of old school D&D is how easily you can add to it or subtract from it in order to produce a game that caters to one's tastes while at the same time being quite simple.

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  10. Dennis Sustare is a great guy. When I first met him, he came up to me and pointed at my Swords & Wizardry t-shirt, and said, "I think you're doing a great thing with this." He has been putting together a S&W game of his own in Austin.

    Having a S&W module written by Dennis with cover art by Paul Jaquays is ... just inconceivably cool. It's a great module, too.

    One of the fun things, too, is that Dennis has EXACTLY the same taste for bad puns that I do. Every word in the module title "Ursined, Sealed, and Delivered" is a pun.

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  11. I knew I recognized Dennis Sustare's name! Swordbearer was a favorite game I never had a chance to run. Dwarven Halls (or whatever the supplement was called, it's packed away at the moment) was yoked by me for D&D long ago.

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  12. Great, just what I need: ANOTHER version of a clone to stir up my GM ADD!

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  13. That's pretty cool. Maybe they need a sandbox setting for their modules ...

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  14. Great news for the old school community. A nice "in your face" for those who have only negative things to say about the scene.

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  15. This is a good thing. However, I just have one question; does this still leve the door open for fan pulications?

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  16. I'm assuming this won't affect individuals who wish to publish their own S&W supplements?

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  17. Sounds good, I use either OSRIC or LL but this Frog God stuff should work with either.

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  18. Does anyone know if this means that the GM Deskbook series (or whatever it is called) will be moving to Frog God as well, or will that stay Black Blade?

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  19. @Aaron

    From what I read on the S&W forum, all the materials that Black Blade published will move to the new company. Including Knockspell.

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  20. From the Frog God Games site: "Most previously existing products created by Mythmere Games, including Knockspell Magazine™ will continue to be produced and distributed by Black Blade Publishing"

    TB

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  21. Josh, the plan is to have some sort of "compatibility statement" open license on the Complete Rules as well as the Core Rules, but I haven't written it yet. The licenses for the Core Rules still stands, and the Core Rules are all open game content. I anticipate that the Complete Rules will be as well, although I haven't specifically talked to Bill about OGC.

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  22. The Bane - That sentence about Black Blade publishing Knockspell is not correct any more. That part of the plan was changed at the last minute, after Bill had actually posted the press release.

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  23. Matt - Thanks for clearing that up. I really didn't want to add additional confusion to what I think might be a major turning point in Old School gaming.

    I can't wait to see what products they come out with. Personally, I would love to see a setting myself.

    TB

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  24. Congrats to Matt and the Frog God folks. This is super cool for all involved.

    Do we have any idea what will differentiate the S&W Complete rules from the Core rules?

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  25. Do we have any idea what will differentiate the S&W Complete rules from the Core rules?

    The main differentiation between the Complete and Core is the inclusion of the character classes (druid, etc.). A couple of new options are included (the Holmes Basic Set order of combat is described as an option, for example). There are a few "new" rules mainly involving the attribute scores, such as letting strength affect what you can carry (that's from Supplement 1), and adding a bit more variation to what bonuses stats can give you instead of the flat +1 that Core uses.

    It's not hugely different - but many, many people wanted to see the additional classes. One thing it does do very well - it allows the use of 1e modules more easily than Core.

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  26. Clarification - when I say "new" rules, I mean 0e rules that didn't show up in the Core.

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  27. My understanding is that FGU is theoretically more than willing to sell off the rights to pretty much any of their games, but that their asking price is prohibitively high.

    The sole Swordbearer supplement, Dwarven Halls, is an excellent sandbox scenario (beautifully illustrated by Liz Danforth) easily adaptable to pretty much any fantasy RPG. It's available pretty easily - I highly recommend checking it out.

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  28. Congrats to Matt, can't wait to see some of the stuff coming out of Frog God!

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  29. I don't mean to be a negative nancy...but I am rapidly approaching the point where I completely tune out anyone using the phrase "old-school" as part of a marketing slogan or other consumerist rhetoric.

    According to Bill, “This brings together the best of both worlds for me; our material is distinctly old school feel, regardless of the game system."

    This sounds suspiciously vacuous to me.

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  30. Maybe they need a sandbox setting for their modules ...

    It'd be awesome if they produced one, but I suspect they're more in the adventure business, since that's always been their strength.

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  31. My understanding is that FGU is theoretically more than willing to sell off the rights to pretty much any of their games, but that their asking price is prohibitively high.

    This is true from what I understand as well.

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  32. I don't mean to be a negative nancy...but I am rapidly approaching the point where I completely tune out anyone using the phrase "old-school" as part of a marketing slogan or other consumerist rhetoric.

    Sadly, "old school" has indeed become a buzzword. On the plus side, that it's reached the point where lots of people feel the need to use it suggests that the OSR is making headway outside our little echo chamber.

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  33. I asked for "Old School Renaissance" stuff at Leisure Games (Finchley, London UK) on Monday, and they knew what I meant! :) They didn't have very much - an S&W module, Labyrinth Lord and LL-Advanced Edition Characters, and especially LoTFP which they tried to sell me. In the end I picked up a couple half price 3e modules for possible conversion to OSRIC.

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  34. Even the German mail order service "Sphärenmeister Spiele", the most prolific source for Indie and Story Games in Germany, has an "Old School" category in his web shop (including Raggi's weird stuff, Mythmere's stuff, Dragon Warriors, and more).

    Speaking of weird...
    Did someone else experience ever before that the browser auto-completed the word verification???

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