For Love of the Game

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A few people have asked us, why do we do what we do? Why do we create big hardcover game books as a small publisher? We, unlike some other really awesome folks, don’t see Kickstarter campaigns that bring in tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. What are these smaller publishers after? Is it worth our time?

Wow, what a question! The answer is really quite simple, but why settle for a short answer with a long-winded essay will suffice?

What was the first D&D module you played? Picture that moment. The weird thrill of the funny shaped dice, the densely packed character sheet full of arcane looking stats and terms. For me, the module was “Wild Dragon Den”, one of three in a beginner’s set that include beautiful battle maps and card stock standees for the monsters. I have never heard anyone list this module in their top ten except me, and I’ll admit I’m not impartial. The designer, Ken Rolston, achieved great things in the field in both pen and paper (Paranoia) and in video games (lead designer of Morrowind and Oblivion).

Wild Dragon Den had a tribe of strange lizardfolk (lizard men at the time), crocodiles, giant leeches, giant snakes, gelatinous cubes, shadows, green slimes, otterkin, and at the end of it all a black dragon and her brood.

Sure crocodiles, big snakes, leeches, I understood those. But humanoid lizards? Woah! Shadow monsters? Living cubes of clear acidic jell-o with treasure inside? A big dragon that spits acid? Holy Cow this game was AMAZING!

I have never been more excited about facing down monsters in D&D than I was in those days, playing in a game with my neighborhood friends DM’ed by my father. We should all be so lucky as to have such a positive experience to hook us on the hobby.

So, back to the point, why do we do what we do? Because of Wild Dragon Den. Because of AD&D First Quest (Derek’s intro to the hobby). Because somebody out there cut their gaming teeth on Legacy’s Wake. Our monsters are somebody’s favorite. Our artifacts are ones somebody will talk about ten years from now when they are geeking out about the glory days of their earliest characters. Maybe somewhere right now a kid is reading a MithrilPunk book and dreaming of grand adventures. That is why we write. That is why we do what we do and plug away creating content. We love this game.

It is that love that drove us to think up Bespoke Bestiary. What if we made a monster book full of brand new monsters? Monster designed to surprise and delight players the way Wild Dragon Den delighted me? OK that is cool.

What if we didn’t just make a monster book, but we let our backers guide the book, with votes, to really make this a community project? To share the feeling of creating the future of the hobby? Even cooler.

What if, to cap it off, we offered people the ability to sponsor their own monster and enter that monster into the shared fabric of game? What if we priced it so low that it actually just cost what it cost to include it? Yep, that is an awesome plan.

So, why does Mithrilpunk Press make ambitious hardcover books as a small publisher, knowing we aren’t likely to go viral and have huge funding levels? Because we love this game.

Why are we currently working on a monster book (that just funded by the way!) that is all about letting the backers decide on the content? Because you love this game.

If you think Bespoke Bestiary is cool, if you want to bring monsters to life with us that future generations will look back on fondly, you are invited to join us.

We live in a great time for gaming; there are a ton of great creators making great content. You can support them by playing their games, talking about them, sharing their crowdfunding, retweeting them, supporting them when their projects succeed and even more so when they fail. Indie publishers aren’t faceless corporations, they are the ladies and gentlemen you game with, the nerds you bump into at conventions, they are gamers first and foremost. They like you do what they do, because the love the game.