So Dan the RPG Man has put in a request to talk about Minotaur Games supplements.
Now then while I have not picked up anything by Minotaur I have picked up what I call mini-supplements from several other companies. For myself a mini supp is an add on to a game that ranges from one to twenty pages that either gives a more detailed look at a single element of a game, adds a new feature, or adds several small things that all fit into a single theme (like feats or monsters or items).
So, what is the big deal with mini supps? Well the fact that with the adoption of the Open Gaming License by many publishers… what… you dont… ok so this is going to be a bigger discussion than I thought.
The Open Gaming License (OGL) was first published by Wizards of the Coast for Dungeons and Dragons Third Edition. To summarize, it is a document that allowed anyone and everyone to publish material for a game engine as long as you followed certain requirements. As other companies adopted it you can see that the requirements change a little publisher to publisher. What this means for gamers at large is that now, all of those house rules, custom creatures, and unique items to your campaigns can now be published and sold by you, as long as you follow the requirements… well and assuming you are working with material where the publisher has adopted the OGL. One of the few down sides is that if a publisher chooses to rescind the OGL for their product then no further material can be published.
Ok so back to what this means for mini supps. If there is an OGL for a product and you can create a PDF and get a business registration, you can sell game supplements for your favorite OGL games online. It is not all that expensive, and there are a ton of small game companies that have jumped into this market. Making a two to five page PDF and selling it online for 99 cents, or more…
Some of the companies I have picked up stuff from include LPJ Design – they mix mini supps and full world level tomes for things like Pathfinder, Max Gaming Technologies – d20 and d6 game engine items, Rouge Genius Games – more Pathfinder, and Silver Gryphon Games to name a few. Now then one of the fun things is to try and catch some of the bigger game companies spinning off a small subsidiary to do mini supps to help drive up interest in the games online… and no I wont give you any more clues than that… you need to look on your own.
While most of the mini supp field is taken up by small companies that just want to bring some of their wild ideas to the rest of the world, some publishers like Piazo will occasionally publish mini supps of their own. Most of the time this is going to be in support of an upcoming project or for play test. Sometimes though it is just for fun.
No like with any form of publishing you cannot assume because on book by a company is good that all of them will be just as good. I can give my overall opinion of a few of the companies that I mentioned though. LPJ – min maxing experts and a couple of good artists, their full world books usually have so much more than any of the mini supps it makes it hard to go after the minis, save to say the mini supps usually seem to have better editing. Rouge Genius – an odd mix of cool new ideas and some of the worst editing and proofing of PDFs that I have ever encountered. Max Gaming – 100% crunch 5% fluff, yeah thats 105%, suck it up and read between the lines… heh. Now then if anyone from those companies happen to be reading my blog and want to dispute my claims, reach out to me and let me know. Some of the downloads I have are years old and you may have updated and improved them from when I first got them.
So the question for the average reader is, are they worth it?
If you have read through a bit of my blog you may be expecting this answer. You need to figure that out for yourself. Personally, I like some of them. Especially the ones that add new classes, races, items, pantheons, and any number of other things. When someone just tries to go more into detail about something I am already using or not using I would really like to get something like the old Van Richten or Volo guides that TSR published back in the way back where we could get dissection level insights to the creatures and places in the games. Dont just give me hints and suggestions, give me a full background and what all the known variations can do so that I have a lot of material to play with and pervert to my own twisted ends. Or just leave it alone and let me twist it to my own perverted ends… hmmm maybe I should re phrase that… nahhhhh.
Anyway… yeah once again this is me refusing to tell you what to do… heh
So thats it from me for now… so gimme the dice, I need to try out this new d10,000 random encounter table I down loaded…
Keep the games running folks.