It’s been a while since I’ve talked about Mischief, Inc. around here, and I wanted to give everyone an update about what is going on with us.
The OSR is Dead?
Well, you could have fooled me!
There has been a lot of talk lately about the OSR being dead. Some say the movement has died down, and others say that with D&D® 5e embracing an old school style there is no longer a need for a separate movement. The funny thing is that it appears to me that the OSR movement is stronger than ever before. This is because the OSR at its roots is just a bunch of people playing FRPGs in a certain style. Some had never purchased products beyond the AD&D® rule books of the late 1970s and early 1980s, others were rediscovering their roots in these rules, and yet others were discovering them for the first time in the form of the many so-called retro-clones.
Ultimately I feel this has created an even larger demand for old school adventures.
What have we been up to at Mischief, Inc.?
So what has Mischief, Inc. been doing for the past year and a half since our last commercial release? Well Bob Pennington my longtime friend, and partner in Mischief, Inc. left the company to pursue unrelated endeavors. I took a brief hiatus myself, and when I returned I was able to get A Forgotten Evil ready for publication. I also decided on a change in direction toward my original vision for the company. A change to writing specifically for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons® instead of fighting the battle for any kind of OSR standard format.
When I’d asked Bob (our mechanics guy) for an OSR standard stat block for encounters, what he gave me ended up being very much like a 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons® stat block, and as a result the OSR Community roundly rejected it as not OSR. We heard your comments! It became apparent to me that there was nothing wrong with presenting the old AD&D® stat blocks and allowing individual Dungeon Masters to convert them (as they had been doing all along) to their own system of choice.
With that in mind I began a revision of our two existing products, The Tomb of Rakoss the Undying, and The Inheritance along with writing a new adventure titled Barrow of the Orc King. All of these will be presented in our new (old school) presentation.
Around the time I began writing BotOK I also decided to take on two new partners. One is our new Art Director Karen Henery, and the other our new Creative Director Matt Ray. They will be adding their talents to Mischief, Inc. to help ensure our products are of professional quality.
So What is the Plan Now?
The plan going forward is as follows…
- Get A Forgotten Evil and The Tomb of Rakoss the Undying (revised) ready for publication. (Fall 2015)
- Run a Kickstarter for the two adventure modules above.(Fall 2015/Winter 2016)
- Release the two adventure modules above in print and PDF. (Winter/Spring 2016)
- Get The Inheritance (revised) and Barrow of the Orc King ready for publication. (Fall 2015/Winter 2016)
- Run a Kickstarter for the two adventure modules above. (Spring 2016)
- Release the two adventure modules above in print and PDF. (Spring/Summer 2016)
- Use this same process for several new adventure titles, including another free offering!
Physical printing costs are easily the largest single expense we have, and as such have always been a struggle. I have always felt that having a physical presence in Local Game Shops (LGS) is very important to not only Mischief, Inc. as a brand, but also to supplying and growing the OSR Community/Movement.
We may not have distinctive incentives to offer in a Kickstarter, but what we do have is this. First printing physical copies of our free adventure modules (The Tomb of Rakoss the Undying, and Barrow of the Orc King) will only be available to Kickstarter backers – think of it as a limited, collector’s edition!. Our free adventure modules will only be available in PDF form following the Kickstarter in which they appear.
We may come up with a few other surprises before our first Kickstarter goes live, like original art, e.g., but for now this is the plan.
What’s This About Revised Adventure Modules?
Both The Tomb of Rakoss the Undying and The Inheritance were written by Bob Pennington and presented in the 3rd Edition D&D® style that was rejected by our customer base. I always felt that these adventures, though good, could be better. TToRtU was lacking in dungeon ecology in my mind, and TI was way too linear and railroady. I’d wanted to revise them both since they were released. Now with this change toward AD&D® presentation I had my chance.
The Tomb of Rakoss the Undying has been rewritten with AD&D® in mind and more tightly tying the story together with the encounters presented. Gone are apparently anomalous encounters, replaced with encounters that make more sense in the context. The story that the adventure tells, which I always thought was pretty compelling, is intact and stronger.
The Inheritance will be entirely rewritten. What can I say? I feel like the whole thing suffers from being too linear. The story is linear, the locations are mostly linear. Starting with the interesting hook, the entire thing will be redone. I envision Galversharn as playing a pivotal, but less direct role. There will be random wilderness encounters. The dungeon will be redrawn, expanded and provide a less linear landscape. It may become multiple levels. Hissiz and his plan will be foreshadowed…
The nice thing about these changes is that for owners of the PDFs gained through OneBookShelf.com, the new revised versions will be free upgrades. When the new versions are uploaded all previous customers should get notification that the new version is available for download.
It has been a long hard road since this time last year. I hope that the changes we have made (at the behest of our customers– we listened!) will be welcomed. This company from its conception has been a labor of love for me, and my only hope is that our customers will allow me to continue making adventure products for years to come.