Sunday, September 26, 2004

Notes on Working with Open Content

posted by Bruce Baugh

1. I made $57 as my share of sales for the monstrous advanced classes in August. I expect it'll go down some for September because I just plain didn't write much at all, but will be back up in October.

2. I just sent this e-mail off to Louis Porter, Jr., of LPJ Design. I've added hyperlinks for your browsing pleasure.

I just wanted to make sure to say "Thank you!" for the way cool Prototypes series of d20 Modern advanced classes you've been publishing at RPG Now. Ron Felice and Jason J. McCuiston have done some wonderful writing there - I love that the cinematic and comic book inspirations are clear, but not constraining. Each one has room to go in some fresh direction.

I made use of the class features for several of them (Freelancer, Gun Priest, Neo Ninja, and Urban Saint) for a Man in Black writeup as part of my own Monstrous Advanced Class series. Several of them made me think "yes, that's a tidy and elegant way of doing something I already knew I wanted to do", like the Neo Ninja's constant stealth ability, and some made me think "hey, that rocks, and I didn't think about it before, but that totally fits my project as well", like the Gun Priest's maelstrom attack. Thank you very much for your generous open-content declaration; I hope you and the authors find the use to which I put the material interesting.

Looking forward to future releases! (And now I'm really motivated to check out Haven, too.)

This seems to me an example of open content working well. In some cases I used Ron's and Jason's material straight, in others I modified it. But I didn't have to reinvent the wheel in any case, and I got some ideas that simply hadn't occurred to me at all. They get credit, and insofar as anyone gets inspiration from me, their ideas remain in circulation that way as well. Likewise, if anyone finds my work a solution to their problems, they can work faster and cooler, too.

It's possible that the advantages of this are only fully obvious to people who've worked in gaming. But to get credit for your stuff, to have a better chance of it not passing into oblivion so quickly, and not to have to go about obfuscating your borrowing, it's all very pleasant indeed.