Piracy, the Trove and how they affect the Hobby

Best Selling RPGs - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

Nobby-W

Pretty sure I'm not Larry Ellison
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
5,898
Reaction score
11,547
Administrative Note:

The Pub does not support piracy in any way, shape or form and we do not allow links to specific sites on this forum. This thread is for the discussion of piracy and its effects on the roleplaying game hobby and not as a means to promote the act of piracy itself.


I wonder what the Trove getting shut down will do to prices of out-of-print RPG materials.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Gabriel

Legendary Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Messages
2,100
Reaction score
5,145
I wonder what the Trove getting shut down will do to prices of out-of-print RPG materials.
I thought about starting a Trove topic, but decided against it.

I don't think the fate of The Trove will impact ebay sales of older materials. The people who buy the copies on ebay are either low information purchasers or collectors who insist on the physical article. If anyone wonders, I consider myself somewhere in between those two categories.
 

Voros

Doomed Investigator
Joined
Sep 23, 2017
Messages
11,497
Reaction score
21,230
I think the circulation of OOP material in pdf probably does lower the price of a lot of rpg material but I'm not sure by how much.

POD I think has an even bigger impact though, at its peak the Rules Cylopedia was selling for as much as $300 but once it became available POD those prices came way down.
 

Baulderstone

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
May 13, 2017
Messages
7,366
Reaction score
19,752
Even with the Trove gone, it isn't hard to find pdfs of most old out of print stuff.
Yes, The Trove isn't the only site of its kind out there, and even if it was, it's not like destroying the Trove destroyed all the PDFs people downloaded it. People are going to find other ways to exchange them. Pirates sites tend to go through cycles of being taken down and popping up elsewhere.

The Wayback Machine still exists anyway.
 

chuckdee

Legendary Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
2,413
Reaction score
4,377
Is the Trove truly gone? I thought it was just down.
 

chuckdee

Legendary Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
2,413
Reaction score
4,377
All I know is that Daniel Fox claims to have taken it down. While I suspect that he is inflating his role, I am fine with him getting all the "gratitude" that is coming his way from the gaming community.

I hate his terrible piece in relation to that. Sure, you want to take your stuff down- then do that. There's a DMCA for that. But don't speak for everyone. I know several publishers who just didn't care. I know my stuff was up there, but I didn't care either. And there was stuff up there that was CC licensed and other free licenses that suffer also. Fuck that guy.
 

Teotwawki

Active Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2021
Messages
28
Reaction score
84
All I know is that Daniel Fox claims to have taken it down. While I suspect that he is inflating his role, I am fine with him getting all the "gratitude" that is coming his way from the gaming community.

The Trove was a cancer that shouldn't be missed even by pirates of the industry, but Daniel is hardly a model of ethics, integrity, nor honesty.
 

Acmegamer

Legendary Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
2,544
Daniel Fox? Not ringing any bells.

Edit: Can't stand not knowing something. Some Google searches later and since I assume he's got something to do with gaming, you all must be talking about Zweihander rpg guy. Damn I'm bad at names. Now I understand the above post. Lol
 
Last edited:

Endless Flight

Owns A Few Brain Cells
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
10,530
Reaction score
26,118
Daniel Fox? Not ringing any bells.

Edit: Can't stand not knowing something. Some Google searches later and since I assume he's got something to do with gaming, you all must be talking about Zweihander rpg guy. Damn I'm bad at names. Now I understand the above post. Lol

I thought your post was funny because it sounded more like “is that someone I should know? Hmmm?”
 

Bunch

E-Rocker is a goose.
Joined
Aug 16, 2017
Messages
11,074
Reaction score
20,304
The Trove was a cancer that shouldn't be missed even by pirates of the industry, but Daniel is hardly a model of ethics, integrity, nor honesty.
Why would pirates miss it? I mean I can understand certain publishers disliking it but why would a pirate?
 

CRKrueger

Eläytyminatör
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
6,299
Reaction score
12,199
Why would pirates miss it? I mean I can understand certain publishers disliking it but why would a pirate?
It’s all about attention. It’s like being an ant. The smaller you are, the larger a community you can have before coming under notice by the powers. The pirates didn’t need the Trove, it was for the casuals.
 
Last edited:

Jenx

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2019
Messages
263
Reaction score
855
I think the main attraction is to get hold of games that are no longer in print and there are no digital editions of said game. Sure there's DnD and pretty much everything on there from a broad range of games but I've bought the vast majority of what I want from Drivethru. When a PDF is cheap and easily accessible and I want to use it, I buy it.

It's the games that are unavailable except by ebay/forums with the inflated prices and are in legal limbo or just plain dead for whatever reason that attract me. With regards ebay sellers, why not inflate the price if someone is willing to pay it and you know when you sell it you will have to search high and low for a replacement and probably pay over the odds too? I don't blame anyone for wanting the best buck they can get but I won't pay for a book beyond a certain price point. It does mean that I don't really buy from ebay much these days and my purchases are either new (rare) or on impulse if it's cheap.

I'd love to pay for a clean well scanned professional looking PDF of the entire DC Heroes RPG line. It's my most played, favourite game system. As it is it took the fans to scan their stuff with variable quality and put it out there for people to grab that keeps the game alive and even then mostly for us old farts that bought it first time round (85 I think) up to 3rd Edition in 1993 that keep the memory of the game alive. At some point we'll not be around and the game will be gone. That's a crying shame to my mind. Marvel Saga (damn that needs a better scan) is another. There's a set on ebay for £63 that's sat there forever, one of four sold by the same buyer. Good luck to him but I'll stick to the set I bought for £20 and maybe hope there's a decent scan out there some day to keep it alive. Look what Print on Demand prices did to Rules Cyclopedias. They were getting stupid then POD came out and prices fell sharply. Come on RPGs production companies, print your back catalogues on demand. Please?

Fuzzy scans have been around for a long time with wonky pages and text that hurts your eyes to read and quality of scanning has gotten better but nothing competes with made from the digital ground up of stuff of course.

I'm not defending the sharing of stuff you can buy from Drive Thru or the game producers website. I'm happy to support them and spend more money than I should at Drive Thru/Kickstarter seeing as I've barely if ever used any of the stuff I buy.

The Zweihander guy has a reasonable argument to make from my mind. He worked hard to get his book out there and doesn't want to give it away for free because he has bills to pay. On the other hand it's a bit rich coming from him as he basically ripped off Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1st edition for his own game and most likely hasn't given a dime to them.

Kevin Crawford/Sine Nomine takes a different approach and gives away a free version of his stuff. He's very successful and probably the best shining example of small press/indie publisher there has ever been in our hobby for his work ethic and ability to deliver on time or early every time without fail or have a damn good reason why. I've never played any of the games he's made but backed practically all of them in PDF. I have no qualms at all to support such a designer because I supports the way he does business.

The Zweihander guy will never get a penny from me and I will not play his game. I'd rather play Warhammer 1e which is sat on my shelf from when I bought it when it came out. Or 2nd, I have a couple copies of that. I don't know if his game is better, just the guy's attitude ("You're pirating a game I ripped off? how dare you!" or whatever) that rubs me up the wrong way. Similar to the Shipman guy and Tunnels and Trolls.

That's just my opinion, you may disagree but each to their own.
 

Ralph Dula

Fighter of Fungi, Mortal Foe of 5E, Possibly a Cat
Joined
Nov 28, 2020
Messages
1,484
Reaction score
4,172
Why would pirates miss it? I mean I can understand certain publishers disliking it but why would a pirate?

Not quite what you were asking, but in a true “No honor among thieves” moment a few years ago a German website linked to the files of a prior iteration of The Trove, put them up for download, then began asking for donations to help them “preserve” the books they had up. They then made nasty posts about people being “ungrateful” for all they were doing.
 

Bunch

E-Rocker is a goose.
Joined
Aug 16, 2017
Messages
11,074
Reaction score
20,304
I agree about the OOP stuff but I doubt that made up the majority of the Trove's traffic, one need only look at what they feature on their front page (almost all 5e) to see that.
Hard to tell on that. WotC made an interesting choice to not make PDFs available without using some odd digital 3rd party app and at a same price as the physical book. So how does one legitimately get a pdf of a book they have in hand? Either have a book scanner like myself or go get an illegal copy from someone who doesn't. Seems weird to me that my pdf is legal because I scanned it myself and someone else who has the book but no scanner is a criminal if they have a pdf.
 

Baulderstone

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
May 13, 2017
Messages
7,366
Reaction score
19,752
The Zweihander guy has a reasonable argument to make from my mind. He worked hard to get his book out there and doesn't want to give it away for free because he has bills to pay. On the other hand it's a bit rich coming from him as he basically ripped off Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1st edition for his own game and most likely hasn't given a dime to them.
I'm generally fine with retro-clones made by fans, but it feels different when the head of the games department for a large publisher takes someone else's system and uses it as the house engine for their game line, especially as he was disparaging WFRP designers in the process.
 

CRKrueger

Eläytyminatör
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
6,299
Reaction score
12,199
I'm generally fine with retro-clones made by fans, but it feels different when the head of the games department for a large publisher takes someone else's system and uses it as the house engine for their game line, especially as he was disparaging WFRP designers in the process.
Yeah, and trying to get his game into all Warhammer discussion, and everything else, that’s caused him to be banned everywhere. That said, I’ve got Zweihander, Dark Astral, and Main Gauche in hardback and pdf. The system is a pretty good WFRP 2.5. I’ve given praise and criticism elsewhere. At this point, though, I doubt I’ll buy anything else or even pirate it to check out.
 

Ladybird

TRAHR
Joined
Aug 13, 2017
Messages
3,612
Reaction score
8,913
I'm generally fine with retro-clones made by fans, but it feels different when the head of the games department for a large publisher takes someone else's system and uses it as the house engine for their game line, especially as he was disparaging WFRP designers in the process.
In fairness, that's not the order it went; he published Zweihander before taking his current role, by which point the system was already established and became their house system
 

Bunch

E-Rocker is a goose.
Joined
Aug 16, 2017
Messages
11,074
Reaction score
20,304
I think Rules Cyclopedia prices were getting to the £50-£75 range at one point which is a big no no for me. The ones I have I bought cheap (single figures in some cases) in the knowledge they were used copies to use not collect and treasure forever in a glass case in mom's basement aka Deathlords Sanctum of Adventurecraft. I bought multiple copies because I've killed two Rules Cyclopedias over the years and there was no legal way to get hold of the PDF so it was used/battered dead tree or pirated fuzzyscan™.

I see a lot of pictures of 'Shelfies' with complete run lines of this or that and with a supposed dollar value in the thousands for stuff that's hard to get. I just shake my head. I mean, who has the money to spend thousands of pounds/dollars on a few books? Sure there's the comic thing with Amazing Fantasy #15 and Action Comics #38 selling for piles of cash but I never thought RPGs would go that way. I always bought because it was/I am cheap and I wanted to play or at least read the book at some point. Then you get wrapped up in scouring ebay for cheap stuff and before you know it you have 10 parcels turning up on the same day and my wife (now my ex) is giving me a hard time (despite me paying for everything and squirrelling away a tiny bit of cash for myself and wanting to be able to spend it how I like. Apparently marriages don't work that way. Who knew?).

I can only assume the people who are willing to pay £200 for the first Dune game or £1000+ for the woodgrain box D&D 0e etc have nothing else to spend their money on and loads of time on their hands to scour ebay and snipe. That also leads me to suspect they live on their own/in moms basement (aka Deathlords Sanctum of Adventurecraft) and don't spend their money on other stuff like a social life or deodorant.

Mind you I do live on my own and haven't been out much lately. I can confirm my personal hygiene standards are high though. Phew. Thought I was describing myself as some sad middle aged game collector then.
Men get a bad rap for hygiene.
As a stay at home dad I can confirm that the stay at home hygiene of men and women is really lax. That horde of gals you see dropping off kids wearing leggings and pony tails I can confirm at least 60%+ have not showered yet and may not at all that day.
I had much better hygiene as a single rpg collector than I do now.
And I had more money. And no one complained about my spending. WTFH?!?
 

Jenx

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2019
Messages
263
Reaction score
855
I'm not sure if I'm on drugs for thinking the out of print Dune RPG could be or even should be bought for £200 (it should not) or for this guy for thinking he'd get eight grand for it.

drugs.jpg


To be fair he does list a 'Make Offer' on there. I wonder how he'd feel about £30, posted. A fair offer I think. :thumbsup:

He's on drugs
 

Endless Flight

Owns A Few Brain Cells
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
10,530
Reaction score
26,118
Men get a bad rap for hygiene.
As a stay at home dad I can confirm that the stay at home hygiene of men and women is really lax. That horde of gals you see dropping off kids wearing leggings and pony tails I can confirm at least 60%+ have not showered yet and may not at all that day.
I had much better hygiene as a single rpg collector than I do now.
And I had more money. And no one complained about my spending. WTFH?!?
A quality product every man should use...
44F3EDEA-BC84-4C99-9219-E7A7337EEE5A.jpeg
 

Gringnr

F-IN' JOKES, HOW DO THEY WORK?
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
3,718
Reaction score
7,301
Comparing Daniel Fox to James Shipman is a BIG stretch. Shipman was repeatedly told by T&T's creator and by its publisher that what he was doing was illegal, unwelcome and immoral, and asked to stop. Shipman repeatedly stole from multiple people, gleefully mocking them as he did so. Fox paid for his art, and wrote his own text. No rights holders have accused him of theft, or voiced disapproval over what he has done, that I am aware of.

I fail to see how what Fox has done with Zweihander is significantly different from OSRIC, or any number of clones out there, except in that it's successful beyond what they are.

Fox has acknowledged WFRP's role in Zweihander's creation. That RPGPundit, who used T&T mechanics without acknowledgment for his first game (claiming they came to him in a dream) has the temerity to accuse Fox of "ripping off" anything is laughable.

I get it. A lot of people dislike Fox. But whether or not you like what he has done with his game, it's legal, and he's hardly the only one doing it. He spent a lot of time working on Zweihander, a process he documented as he was doing it, and he has done the work to market his game and himself. And when Zweihander appeared on the scene, it was largely for the same reason that retro-clones flourished in the time of D&D 4e: dissatisfaction with the current edition. Besides, the near-700-page Zweihander core book usually costs less than what the comparatively anemic WFRP 2e book does on the secondary market. Hell, it even dwarfs WFRP 4e, and is often the same price. Not to mention Zweihander has been made available FREE in PDF quite often, and is given away to veterans, etc.

Sure, Fox made some missteps, he admits as much. And if some people feel that he has been dishonest or unethical, fine. But let's not get carried away. What Fox has done is far from thievery, and is a widely accepted method of game design in this day and age. And it's not like his game is strictly WFRP 2e or 4e compatible, as OSRIC is with D&D. You'd need to do some conversion to use Zweihander stuff with either. Admittedly minor in the case of the former, but still.
 

Jenx

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2019
Messages
263
Reaction score
855
You're right. Fox isn't on the same page or book as Shipman, not even in the same library and I'll retract any suggestion I made that he is similar.

Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in internet forum chatter (for the most part from other places) and pick up stuff without seeing the whole story.
 

Bunch

E-Rocker is a goose.
Joined
Aug 16, 2017
Messages
11,074
Reaction score
20,304
You're right. Fox isn't on the same page or book as Shipman, not even in the same library and I'll retract any suggestion I made that he is similar.

Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in internet forum chatter (for the most part from other places) and pick up stuff without seeing the whole story.
Fox is wierd. When he's listening he can be great but so often with him he's just not capable of listening or reading a room until the room is on fire and everyone's yelling at him to put down the flamethrower.

He offered a ton of valuable information of how to work the DTRPG system to maximize your marketing effectiveness.

And in learning that he was booted from at least two major RPG websites for just being and overbearing shill and never listening to where and when to stop pushing. He's still doing that now only it's not just about his products but his beliefs. That got him booted here I believe.
 

Acmegamer

Legendary Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
2,544
Fox is wierd. When he's listening he can be great but so often with him he's just not capable of listening or reading a room until the room is on fire and everyone's yelling at him to put down the flamethrower.

He offered a ton of valuable information of how to work the DTRPG system to maximize your marketing effectiveness.

And in learning that he was booted from at least two major RPG websites for just being and overbearing shill and never listening to where and when to stop pushing. He's still doing that now only it's not just about his products but his beliefs. That got him booted here I believe.
Basically in the vein of John Wick at times, an insufferable ass that you just want to walk away from.
 

Gringnr

F-IN' JOKES, HOW DO THEY WORK?
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
3,718
Reaction score
7,301
You're right. Fox isn't on the same page or book as Shipman, not even in the same library and I'll retract any suggestion I made that he is similar.

Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in internet forum chatter (for the most part from other places) and pick up stuff without seeing the whole story.
I'm not busting your balls. That's why I didn't quote you. And, believe me, I understand getting caught up in internet chatter. Not gonna lie, I love me some internet drama.

I also get why Daniel rubs people the wrong way. I like the guy, but I get why others don't. Hell, he gets it.

As far as the Trove, I'm not gonna throw stones from my glass house. But I also don't feel like I'm entitled to free shit. One of my best friends for decades used to have this beastly stereotypical long-haired guy red Camaro. He didn't have an alarm on it, but he used The Club (tm), as well as a steering column lock. He called it "a dicking", because nothng makes your car really theft-proof, but if you dick the thieves over enough, they'll just move on to another car. That's how I view PDFs. You can't really make them theft proof. I think in Fox's case (and I'm just guessing here), being a marketing guy, he even wants his "free" copies running through a trackable, quantifiable service like dtrpg because he wants the most accurate info. How much is selling, how much is going for free, what consumers are also viewing and/or buying, that kind of shit. Anyway, it's not like it's hard to get a free legitimate PDF of Zweihander, dude gives them away all the time.

Argue all you like with Daniel's methods, you can't argue with the results. Dude is straight crushin' it.

As far as any creators being mad because they didn't care if their shit was on pirate sites, fine. Make it PWYW or just plain free, then. The proliferation of such sites, whether you care or not, allows for the victimization of creators who do care. It's that simple. You say Daniel doesn't speak for everyone, fine, but neither do you. As many small creators still have "day jobs", families, etc., they may lack the time and energy to deal with rampant IP theft. There are plenty of ways to give your product away that don't encourage that, if that's what you're trying to do..

Like I said, glass house, but all of the justifications for pirating stuff are bogus, as far as I'm concerned. A lot of previously unavailable stuff (some of which I bought, scanned and shared myself) has become available. More will become available. And, as for the products in licensing Limbo, that is perhaps the most "justifiable" type of piracy in my book. A gray area at least. But then again, we got a Star Wars reprint. Lastly, if you don't want to support someone, why you using their shit? Like, I've always kind of wanted to check out Lords of Olympus, since I have all the Amber and LoGaS stuff. And I've heard good things about it. But for me, Pundit is a no-buy. I won't even use his shit, pirated or no, at my table because I don't wanna give him any views. I mean, if your morals and ethics dictate that you won't financially support someone, why support them indirectly, either, by word of mouth? That's just me, though.

As far as secondary market prices, eBay especially, you gotta be patient. A better deal will usually come around.
 

Spellslinging Sellsword

Legendary Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2018
Messages
560
Reaction score
1,560
Regarding online piracy of books I look at it as an extension of the library. If people really want the product, they'll pay for it even if they've already read it for free. If something being freely available meant nobody would pay for it, then there would be no books sold for out of copyright material like Shakespeare, Robin Hood, etc. Certainly some sales don't happen due to online piracy, but I doubt it's a major loss of income. But I imagine a lot of gamers are like people on this site who have bought and own way more rpg material than they will ever actually use. Just look at shelfies and threads where we've put up how many PDFs we have from Humble Bundle, Bundle of Holding, etc. I mean, I have a lot of print books, but my bundles and drivethru files dwarf my print books. Currently purchased digital rpg files are: 28,877 Files, 772 Folders
 

chuckdee

Legendary Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
2,413
Reaction score
4,377
The Zweihander guy has a reasonable argument to make from my mind. He worked hard to get his book out there and doesn't want to give it away for free because he has bills to pay. On the other hand it's a bit rich coming from him as he basically ripped off Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1st edition for his own game and most likely hasn't given a dime to them.
My thing is- did he submit a DMCA and they ignored it? There's a path to get to where he wants. If they ignored it, all well and good. But he can't speak for everyone.
 

chuckdee

Legendary Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
2,413
Reaction score
4,377
Hard to tell on that. WotC made an interesting choice to not make PDFs available without using some odd digital 3rd party app and at a same price as the physical book. So how does one legitimately get a pdf of a book they have in hand? Either have a book scanner like myself or go get an illegal copy from someone who doesn't. Seems weird to me that my pdf is legal because I scanned it myself and someone else who has the book but no scanner is a criminal if they have a pdf.
I think it's because of barrier of entry. How many people are going to scan the PDF? They don't want PDFs of their products- the courts just made it so people could do it.
 

chuckdee

Legendary Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
2,413
Reaction score
4,377
I'm not sure if I'm on drugs for thinking the out of print Dune RPG could be or even should be bought for £200 (it should not) or for this guy for thinking he'd get eight grand for it.

drugs.jpg


To be fair he does list a 'Make Offer' on there. I wonder how he'd feel about £30, posted. A fair offer I think. :thumbsup:

He's on drugs
I love my copy, but I'd sell in a heartbeat for that price if someone was stupid enough willing to pay such a ridiculous reasonable price.
 
Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com
Top