Cheaper than Beer

A thought has been running through my head the last couple of weeks, and I would like to get a little feedback from my loyal audience.

Although I’m known for my mega-dungeon work, I have an idea for a line of “one night adventures”. They’d be very generic both in terms of system (although they would be usable with Adventures Dark and Deep, OSRIC, AD&D, Labyrinth Lord, S&W, etc. etc.) and in terms of setting, to allow them to be plunked down into any campaign with a minimum of fuss. One could, of course, get ’em all and run a campaign using nothing but them, but they wouldn’t be self-consciously so designed.

Each would be only 4 pages or so long, including text and maps. Art minimal if present at all. Just enough to last a typical group of adventurers for a single evening. Hence the “one night adventure” tag.

The kicker would be that they would be released as pdfs for $2 each. Hence the “cheaper than beer” title of this post; that would be the marketing slogan.

The question is, would you buy these sorts of modules? A series of one-shots, deliberately kept small in scope, at a price about as low as you can go without giving it away.

One night adventures, cheaper than beer. Would you buy a round?

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

15 thoughts on “Cheaper than Beer

  1. It's an appealing model. The questions are would you trying to sell something that's already available for free on the internet — like one page dungeons and other roleplaying blogs — and how would you add that $2 value to your modules?dded value in your modules?

  2. I'm open-minded & open-wallet-ed enough to go for it.

    You get what you pay for so, considering the stuff you've done for free, I'd be interested.

  3. For what it's worth, the "Buried Secrets" Stonehell supplement has been doing better than expected. That's a 20 pp. PDF for $2.99 with three locations and no art other than maps.

    There will undoubtedly be those who balk at a $2.00 PDF containing 4 pp. of adventure and very little else, but maybe those willing to pay for such a package will outweigh those who won't.

  4. I'm rather fond of writing my own, but even so I'd probably snag the occasional one here and there when my muse directs me to planning something that's four months away, rather than actually planning what I need for the next game.

    Would they sell? Personally, I believe they would. Then again, I have to then wonder how many people would subsequently turn around and drama-whore that you've brought death and capitalism to the OSR, thus killing it forever, etc, etc.

  5. I think I would be mroe likely to drop $2 on this kind of thing that I might actually use than more money on something bigger that I probbaly wouldn't.

    So int he end, it would come down to quality: if these were just cracking-good adventures, and more importantly if they were really user-friendly, I could see myself getting hooked.

  6. I must admit $2 for a 4 page PDF seems a little small. 8 pages of material would feel a bit better at that price point.

    For example, Super Genius Games has some "One Night Stand" adventures at a similar price point with 30 pages. Most of those pages are battle mat style maps of the location or paper cut out minis however.

  7. I'm probably not going to bite at $2.00 for 4 pages. I'm already prejudiced against pdfs since printing 'em out usually means there goes whatever money I would have saved in ink cartridges. Then I have to contrast that with the fact that I already have a ton of material, including pdfs, that I have owned for years and have yet to read.
    I don't know if I'm in the minority on this.
    Probably the best way to find out is to make a couple and see how they do.

  8. I would check them out, if they had a proper dose of creativity and weirdness to throw at my players. But, if it's like a 4-room tomb with pit traps, some crappy treasure and some orcs you fight along the way, I'll pass.

    @Limpey – Get a laser printer. Cost per page of printing is astoundingly cheap compared to an inkjet. I got one for $70 and it has been a great investment in this PDF age.

  9. I'd probably buy one or two just to check them out. There would have to be some novelty or re-usable content to make it worthwhile for people who mostly write their own adventures. In fact, the format might work well as a showcase to present one experimental idea per publication.

  10. @paul – actually, when I first saw it I was struck with the idea that it'd be great to have a "Tucker's Kobolds" 4-pager. The theme idea is, at least for me, part of designing a dungeon/adventure well. To turn it into a showcase could very well work for a many themes. I'd hit that with a toonie!

  11. I would be alot more interested if they were set up more like actual modules, like keep on the borderlands. Rather then just and adventure.

    I like having tables to roll on and info on things like local taxes.

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