At last! I got approvals for Monstrous Mayhem this morning and have ordered the proof copy to review. I'm not sure why MM was approved faster than the S&S Core Book, but can only imagine it's because MM is much shorter. Perhaps softcover gets approved more quickly as well? Who knows. In any case, one of the two is approved, which is definitely a step in the right direction, assuming that the proof looks good.
I won't be putting MM up before the core book; it seems disingenuous to put the supplement up for print sale before the core rules go up. I will, however, now begin working on the design of the Basic Set for print--no, of course it won't be free--but it should be pretty low-priced. I'll keep the margin low as I can.
Meanwhile, my friends, we need YOU to spread the word! Tell people about Elf Lair Games, and about Spellcraft & Swordplay! The more copies I sell, the closer I am to getting my head above water, and giving you all the kind of games and production values you really deserve! I'd love to finish Twelve Parsecs and Wasted Lands: The Dreaming Age, but I'm not going to release them without proper layout and artwork--Spellcraft & Swordplay has a certain charm with its public domain art, and the production has actually been surprisingly well-received, with people saying that the medieval woodcut-style art really suits the game, but for my future works I want to step it up a notch.
Now, speaking of that, I've seen people gripe about companies releasing core games that reprint the rules within. My plan is to do just that--as I release books in the future, they will contain the full rules to play. I don't believe in making people buy multiple books to play a game--people only interested in The Wasted Lands shouldn't be forced to buy S&S.
That being said, I also intend to tweak the rules as needed for each new game. "Powered by O.R.C.S." will mean a certain recognizable core that is easily translatable between games, but Twelve Parsecs will have rules for guns, energy swords, dogfighting and starships, etc. The Wasted Lands will feature a tweaked magic system to represent Howardian sorcery. You get the idea.
Now, I can include a fully detailed rules section like one sees in Book Two of S&S, or I can do something like what AEG has done with their Legend of the Burning Sands game: give you a streamlined set of core rules, likely lifted from the Basic Set, enough to play the game, but lead you to S&S for more detailed rules. There's benefits to both. The latter approach is a sort of happy medium; allows me to release a game without the requirement for two books, but offering the second if more detail is desired. The first gives the full core rules to those who buy any game, but inevitably will cause grumbling amongst those who somehow feel I'm cheating them by selling them the rules twice. Not true, incidentally; whether I include the full rules or not isn't going to affect the amount of other game content in the book, and from what I've seen so far, even an extra 50 pages isn't going to be a huge price bump, assuming I stick with black and white interiors. Glossy color books are expensive to produce, period. You wouldn't believe what they cost publishers to have printed--it's a pretty high end scam the printers have going on there.
I say "scam" in jest, of course. I'm sure the cost of nice, glossy paper stock and full color offset printing is FAR from cheap for printers to produce.
Anyway, what do you all think?