Publishing a horror adventure for two systems

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Wicked Cool Games

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I'm nearly done writing and play testing a horror scenario and will publish it on DriveThru in late April/early May. I'm batting around the idea of releasing one publication with two systems - first half would be a copy of the adventure for Call of Cthulhu, Second half would be a separate copy for Old School Essentials. One following another, not one adventure with two sets of stats and such.

My thinking is that a significant number of people interested in the adventure would not be interested in converting it from one system to another.

Of course I could just release two different versions. However, I think a volume with both versions would help me get to best selling metal status earlier. Perhaps it would backfire and turn people off.

Looking for an opinion or advice. Thanks.
 
I think it's nifty and I would run this on both systems. That's part of the fun with dual/multi systems adventures.
 
I'd be tempted to split them into two products, treat it like an A/B test. If you see over time that the CoC version outsells the OSE version (or vice-versa) you know which to focus on for your next product.

This comes from someone who has never tried to sell anything on Drivethru and has no idea how the market really works.
 
Advertise it as "Dual Statted for the two greatest systems".
I would keep the stats separate in 2 pdfs, so people can open or print only the relevant files for their game. At least if you can publish a Product as multiple pdfs; it's already done for scenarios with maps, character sheets, player handouts...

But, like PolarBlues, what do I know...
 
I might do one 'full' text with all the fluff and flavor bits for one system, probably CoC, and then a second text that alters just the bits needed for OSE. You could simply include the wrapping text in both but that seems like a waste of pages. UNless, of course, you are catually changing the structure of the adventure in significant ways to accommodate the different mechanical chassis.

I would not, however, do two separate products. I'd keep your sales figures all tied to one. Work those algorithms.
 
I might do one 'full' text with all the fluff and flavor bits for one system, probably CoC, and then a second text that alters just the bits needed for OSE. You could simply include the wrapping text in both but that seems like a waste of pages. UNless, of course, you are catually changing the structure of the adventure in significant ways to accommodate the different mechanical chassis.

I would not, however, do two separate products. I'd keep your sales figures all tied to one. Work those algorithms.
If we are just taking about a PDF (and not PoD) you can make use of the technology and layer the pdf. That way you aren’t upping the page count and don’t need to duplicate any text. The other easy button is to present the adventure system free and just have the stat blocks in the back of the book. I realize some people will complain but honestly they can just open the pdf twice and have one of those on the stat blocks while running the game.

But I also am not a publisher. Maybe look at some of the products from yesteryear that were written for multiple systems and see how they did it, like Trail of the Gold Spike, it’s only $5
 
If we are just taking about a PDF (and not PoD) you can make use of the technology and layer the pdf. That way you aren’t upping the page count and don’t need to duplicate any text. The other easy button is to present the adventure system free and just have the stat blocks in the back of the book. I realize some people will complain but honestly they can just open the pdf twice and have one of those on the stat blocks while running the game.

But I also am not a publisher. Maybe look at some of the products from yesteryear that were written for multiple systems and see how they did it, like Trail of the Gold Spike, it’s only $5
If you are going to have system neutral text and dual stat blocks I would probably still put on set of stats in the right places in the adventure and the other at the end. There's no point in making everyone constantly flip back and forth. Again, assuming that there aren't going to be other descriptive/mechanical differences in the adventure for each rule set.
 
If you are going to have system neutral text and dual stat blocks I would probably still put on set of stats in the right places in the adventure and the other at the end. There's no point in making everyone constantly flip back and forth. Again, assuming that there aren't going to be other descriptive/mechanical differences in the adventure for each rule set.
Or just put them both in the side margins like a GURPS source book
 
I suggest you take a close look at how dtrpg identifies products by system. Finding a product when searching by system is a critical element of the usefulness of a storefront like dtrpg. If you sell the combined product you want the product to show up in lists of both systems!

As a reader, I would prefer separate PDFs for each system, even if both PDFs are available from a single purchase.
 
I'm batting around the idea of releasing one publication with two systems - first half would be a copy of the adventure for Call of Cthulhu, Second half would be a separate copy for Old School Essentials. One following another, not one adventure with two sets of stats and such.
If I'm understanding this correctly, you're talking about a two-part adventure where each part is for a different system?

If that's what you're saying, I'm not a fan of the idea for several reasons.

First of all, it means that a GM would have to convert the PC stats between parts one and two. Second of all, the adventure is going to have less appeal than releasing it for just one system, because a potential GM would have to be familiar with and favorable towards both systems. That's the interior sliver of the Venn diagram.

Finally, I have to question the utility of OSE for a horror-based adventure. The lack of a skill system doesn't lend itself to investigative activities, and the durability of characters (after the first level or two) could undercut the suspense that a horror-centric adventure generally requires. I'm not saying that it can't work, but just that it's like taking an off-road truck onto the F1 track, or visa versa. I recommend using the right tool (i.e. CoC) for the right job (i.e. cosmic horror).

It would be better to release the full adventure separately for both systems, or as S sharps54 recommends, breaking the stats into boxes in the (wide) margins for both systems together. And if you want to release for two systems, why CoC and OSE? Why not CoC and Mothership? What's the setting?
 
If I'm understanding this correctly, you're talking about a two-part adventure where each part is for a different system?

If that's what you're saying, I'm not a fan of the idea for several reasons.
...if that's what the Wicked Cool Games Wicked Cool Games means, I'm not a fan either:shade:!

First of all, it means that a GM would have to convert the PC stats between parts one and two. Second of all, the adventure is going to have less appeal than releasing it for just one system, because a potential GM would have to be familiar with and favorable towards both systems. That's the interior sliver of the Venn diagram.
Yes. Horror using CoC? Fine.
Adventure: "Switch to OSE for part 2!"
Me: "Have you gone out of your mind?"

Finally, I have to question the utility of OSE for a horror-based adventure. The lack of a skill system doesn't lend itself to investigative activities, and the durability of characters (after the first level or two) could undercut the suspense that a horror-centric adventure generally requires. I'm not saying that it can't work, but just that it's like taking an off-road truck onto the F1 track, or visa versa. I recommend using the right tool (i.e. CoC) for the right job (i.e. cosmic horror).
...and yes.

It would be better to release the full adventure separately for both systems, or as S sharps54 recommends, breaking the stats into boxes in the (wide) margins for both systems together. And if you want to release for two systems, why CoC and OSE? Why not CoC and Mothership? What's the setting?
That's solid recommendations all around!
 
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For me, having the book as two scenarios for two systems would be off-putting. I would prefer that each scenario would have stats/rules for both systems. I haven't played Old School Essentials (OSE), so I would need to convert the second half to Call of Cthulhu (CoC) to be able to run it. If OSE uses skills then it should be easy enough to convert to CoC on the fly. However, it looks as though it is class-based so I am not sure that it would be easy to convert.
 
Wicked Cool Games Wicked Cool Games can you clarify if you are talking two scenarios, each with a different system like some people are thinking or having two scenarios with the ability to run them with either system?
 
Advertise it as "Dual Statted for the two greatest systems".
I would keep the stats separate in 2 pdfs, so people can open or print only the relevant files for their game. At least if you can publish a Product as multiple pdfs; it's already done for scenarios with maps, character sheets, player handouts...

But, like PolarBlues, what do I know...
I like this idea a lot: "Dual Statted for the two greatest systems" and may use a variant of it. Thanks!
 
If you are going to have system neutral text and dual stat blocks I would probably still put on set of stats in the right places in the adventure and the other at the end. There's no point in making everyone constantly flip back and forth. Again, assuming that there aren't going to be other descriptive/mechanical differences in the adventure for each rule set.
Part of my RPG writing style involves concise writing. I try very hard to keep all material relevant to a scene on either one page or two facing pages. I want the GM to more easily be able to use my stuff at the table.

Handouts, pre-generated characters, etc. can go at the back, but creature stat blocks need to be in the actual encounter or next to it.
 
Or just put them both in the side margins like a GURPS source book
This is a good idea. I will take a look and see if this works for me, but I like to keep all material relevant to a scene on either one page or two facing pages so the GM can run at the table with minimal flipping.
 
I suggest you take a close look at how dtrpg identifies products by system. Finding a product when searching by system is a critical element of the usefulness of a storefront like dtrpg. If you sell the combined product you want the product to show up in lists of both systems!

As a reader, I would prefer separate PDFs for each system, even if both PDFs are available from a single purchase.
Great advice. Since I do this part time and can't hire anyone, It's tough enough getting noticed - even with an eye catching penguin mascot.
 
If I'm understanding this correctly, you're talking about a two-part adventure where each part is for a different system?

- I'm sorry I was not clear. Not a two part adventure. I want to write it with stats, skill checks etc. for two different system. Sure people could convert if it wasn't written under a system that they use, but I imagine many people would pass it right by.


Edgewise:

Finally, I have to question the utility of OSE for a horror-based adventure. The lack of a skill system doesn't lend itself to investigative activities, and the durability of characters (after the first level or two) could undercut the suspense that a horror-centric adventure generally requires. I'm not saying that it can't work, but just that it's like taking an off-road truck onto the F1 track, or visa versa. I recommend using the right tool (i.e. CoC) for the right job (i.e. cosmic horror).

- I agree that OSE isn't written for horror. However, its a system I've published for. It seems there are some variants out there - like Dark Places and Demogorgons and Modern Necessities (kickstarter). I do have to take a closer look at these.


Edgewise:

It would be better to release the full adventure separately for both systems, or as @
S​
sharps54 recommends, breaking the stats into boxes in the (wide) margins for both systems together. And if you want to release for two systems, why CoC and OSE? Why not CoC and Mothership? What's the setting?

-The setting is northern part of the Appalachian Trail ,1980s. Characters are thru-hikers. It's a one shot that likely takes 2-3 sessions. I play tested it twice, the latest at Total Con in Feb. - we finished in four hours. That play test gave me ideas to expand it. I'm running it again at Rising Phoenix in April. The working title is "Mount Katahdin's Shadow".

I used my own d20 rules light system, which I've been play testing for almost two years both as a GM and player in several different settings/genres. But this is not ready for prime time release - and the market is so flooded with that right now. I'd rather put my publishing energy into releasing adventures, side quests, and GM tools. I'll do this full time when I retire in a few years, but for now its a great hobby that pays for coffee and gas. My signature has a link.

I'm also close to releasing a Tiny Dungeon adventure that I wrote with my young son. Play tested that four times and need to finish refining it.
 
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Wicked Cool Games Wicked Cool Games can you clarify if you are talking two scenarios, each with a different system like some people are thinking or having two scenarios with the ability to run them with either system?

- I'm sorry I was not clear. Not a two part adventure. Not using one system for one part and another for a second part.

I want to write it with stats, skill checks etc. for two different systems - you pick which one to run. Sure, I could write it for one system and people could convert if it wasn't written under a system that they use, but I imagine many people would pass it right by.
 
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- I'm sorry I was not clear. Not a two part adventure. Not using one system for one part and another for a second part.

I want to write it with stats, skill checks etc. for two different systems - you pick which one to run. Sure, I could write it for one system and people could convert if it wasn't written under a system that they use, but I imagine many people would pass it right by.
Glad to hear that, and I agree this is the far better idea:thumbsup:!
 
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