SLA Industries 2nd Edition

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chuckdee

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I come back by engaging with his points and repeating my offer to make corrections of any errors of fact found in my review, I think I am being plenty constructive. It is possible to be simultaneously constructive and hopeful that the conversation will take a better turn and rather disappointed in how the conversation's currently proceeding.
I was talking purely about the negative tone in the response to the one use of 'trigger' as a word. It's not always said with undertones and negative connotations, so assuming it an reacting as such to that hit me in the wrong way. Take that for what you will.
 

chuckdee

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I’m sorry if the word triggered was misunderstood to mean anything other than ‘the name Tyde appears to have triggered a strong reaction in the individual in question’- that’s what I meant, that’s what I wrote. I was not aware of any stronger or different meaning, hence my use of the word does not nor should we should infer it to mean anything else. And any extension inferred by ‘ Ladybird’ is not correct.

Fair- and to also be fair, the assumption of negative intent on your part in response to an article that, while negative, seemed like the intent was anything but was also probably what set off this whole thing. Thanks for clarifying your point, though! Onward!
 

Rob Necronomicon

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I always thought Sla was a treasure trove of fantastic ideas. Still, to this day, it's one of the most original games I've ever read. But I always felt it was a tad unplayable as a concept. However, I still loved the setting even if the play was one dimensional.

I was stoked for 2e. Until I started seeing the divergence from the 1e. I've not read the finished product tbh, but from everything I've heard,and read about it I'm just going to leave it be. Shame...
 

MarkRapson

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I always thought Sla was a treasure trove of fantastic ideas. Still, to this day, it's one of the most original games I've ever read. But I always felt it was a tad unplayable as a concept. However, I still loved the setting even if the play was one dimensional.

I was stoked for 2e. Until I started seeing the divergence from the 1e. I've not read the finished product tbh, but from everything I've heard,and read about it I'm just going to leave it be. Shame...
Certainly if this thread was indicative of overall community thoughts of the 2e, I would agree with you, but the inclusion of the fan discord group and Facebook page would give you a much bigger and better sample of views. Shame indeed!
 

MarkRapson

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You can say "Anne Boylan" if you want, you've already given us enough information to identify her by process of elimination.

I dunno, man. I can understand writing out someone's character if they drop out of your home game but writing someone's contribution out of the setting once they leave feels... ungrateful. Is it a royalties thing? Either way, it seems kind of rinky-dink and unprofessional.

Right, but only one is massively confusing. It's an invented, fictional world, why deliberately build in this confusion?

But anyone who wants to use Chagrrin has a job of work ahead of them, because unless they bought Karma before the boom went down there's no currently-available means for them to get the details on that.
Regarding the creator of Senti - I was away from home, working when I responded and could not remember her name. I have never met Anne and given she left SLA behind in the mid-nineties, she is not a name I have come to know, moreso one of many that have a distant link to the franchise.
it is not once she left - nearly 30 years have past.
As said before this is Dave’s creation and his vision, given his creative thoughts and discussions with active members of the writing team since the mid-90s have never involved this character it makes sense to me she is not in 2e.

May be it’s an accent thing, but Eban and Ebon sound very different to me (just as Bon and Ban do too). With my accent Paul, pull and pool all sound the same...to great amusement of my friends and wife,

Chargrins: not something brought up in this post previously: but you are right, at present they are not playable in 2e. They are still canon and as I mentioned previously the PDF of Karma, the book they debuted in, was removed from sale last year because it’s quality was below expectation and it wasn’t worth the time sink to rescan the whole book. The print was out of print by around 2000 I believe. It is readily available on ebay( I got my copy for £7.5 when I joined NFG). If some one wants to play a chargrin, build a Malice, then increase STR by 1 and decrease KNOW by 1.
 

Rob Necronomicon

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Certainly if this thread was indicative of overall community thoughts of the 2e, I would agree with you, but the inclusion of the fan discord group and Facebook page would give you a much bigger and better sample of views. Shame indeed!
Well, I came to that conclusion way before the existence of this thread... And there's a lot of people who's opinions I trust and are big Sla fans, and they reluctantly say, 2e is a pretty damp squib. So, I'll keep my cash and spend it on summat' else - I'm sure Dave Allsop won't mind.
 

MarkRapson

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Well, I came to that conclusion way before the existence of this thread... And there's a lot of people who's opinions I trust and are big Sla fans, and they reluctantly say, 2e is a pretty damp squib. So, I'll keep my cash and spend it on summat' else - I'm sure Dave Allsop won’t mind
Time travel...impressive!
 

Warthur

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I'm going to do a goodwill gesture here and say that, in my view at least, all of the 2nd ed material - and stuff like the reprint of the 1st edition rulebook that preceded it - are very solidly constructed. I won't be holding onto my 2e book but my 1e reprint is reassuringly chunky and I don't see the binding failing unless it's subjected to truly extreme abuse (or if the glue decays rapidly, but we're some years off from being able to see whether that will be a factor).
 

Ladybird

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In fairness, even the Hogshead edition of 1e was fairly solid. It's only really the original paperback version that falls apart.
 

TristramEvans

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Having one of the game developers here is a great opportunity for people to ask questions or get insights, but for some reason the aggression level in ths thread is unusually high. Definitely doesn't reflect the Pub's usual reputation for friendlness and chill. Maybe we could tone it down a bit?

Not saying anyone's obliged to like the new game, just....sheesh, y'know?
 

Rob Necronomicon

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In fairness, even the Hogshead edition of 1e was fairly solid. It's only really the original paperback version that falls apart.

My hardback is still in good nick. But the glue in some of the really old material is very flimsy. But I bought all the pdfs a while ago! :smile:
 
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MarkRapson

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Having one of the game developers here is a great opportunity for people to ask questions or get insights, but for some reason the aggression level in ths thread is unusually high. Definitely doesn't reflect the Pub's usual reputation for friendlness and chill. Maybe we could tone it down a bit?

Not saying anyone's obliged to like the new game, just....sheesh, y'know?
Thanks. But no worries. SLA has generated a number of haters along the way (not suggesting this group is BTW), so we have dealt with a lot worst.
But I must say, this is not the most embracing forum I have been on.
 

Ladybird

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Having one of the game developers here is a great opportunity for people to ask questions or get insights, but for some reason the aggression level in ths thread is unusually high. Definitely doesn't reflect the Pub's usual reputation for friendlness and chill. Maybe we could tone it down a bit?
I don't think there's any malice intended in any of this - remember, most of us backed the kickstarter, and I'm pretty sure none of us dropped that money just so we could complain later on. Rather, we're just disappointed because it wasn't the game that we wanted it to be.

As it is, I'm very happy for all the folk who bought SLA2 and are liking it, and that Dave et al are finally getting a fair shot at their creative vision. I just wish I liked it too.
 

Malleustein

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I wasn't impressed when I read "The Truth" back in the day. But it was hardly written to be definitive, merely a request by then-publisher WotC as a writer's guide. The implementation in the years since has been better, but since I doubt Dave's ever going to just lump all that lore into one book, the piecemeal approach will likely always annoy some readers.

I, for one, have really come on board with the idea that a new universe is created in an older one, and is no less "real" because of it. Simply vulnerable to things that belong to the old universe. As Mark says, the founding figures are akin to gods.

Dave said that the Wraith Raider name stuck around longer than intended. The original concept for was more of a ghostly creature, but the name remained after the redesign for a while.

As for Brain Waster, while it's cool and it fits, it doesn't really sound like the name of a species. I still use it, or more often just 'waster, because I can't see the average joe on Mort caring what the new name is either. Brain waster or Eban, they're still aggro pricks who like blowing up your stuff.

SLA Industries ha been around a long time, it's gonna be Dave's legacy even more than his ccg art and is really personal to him. It's rare for him to come out and talk about it, but if you get the chance to talk talk to him you know instantly that it matters a lot to the man. His views on it have changed, evolved and grown over decades, meaning he's taken it in directions fans sometimes don't like. Some aspects have come along relatively recently, but a lot just didn't see print for years because there were no releases for so long.

The all-new, all-different Cannibal Sector 1 hardcover is an incredible look at the setting over all. While the rpg rules are for 1st edition, they make up a tiny part of what is likely the biggest single source of info on Mort, SLA Industries and it's many foes.
 

MarkRapson

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SLA Industries ha been around a long time, it's gonna be Dave's legacy even more than his ccg art and is really personal to him. It's rare for him to come out and talk about it, but if you get the chance to talk talk to him you know instantly that it matters a lot to the man. His views on it have changed, evolved and grown over decades, meaning he's taken it in directions fans sometimes don't like. Some aspects have come along relatively recently, but a lot just didn't see print for years because there were no releases for so long.
Thanks your entire post aboveMalleustein. I think the part I have quoted is very important for everyone to remember. SLA is Dave’s legacy, and as I said before most waking hours Dave is thinking SLA, writing SLA or arting SLA.

In the past he has been attacked personally and his creation pulled to bits by ‘fans’, to the point it affected him deeply. Many lies have been spread about him, his personality (and the same for Jared too) and his intentions.

We won’t see Dave at shows, we won’t see him on forums like this. He has been bullied and trolled to the point of no return.

I’m not asking anyone to like SLA, Dave, Nightfall or anyone associated with it. But I am going to defend my friend and his creation from undue attack and misinformation and lies presented as true.

If you like SLA, awesome come play, come talk and come see me and Jared at shows. Support the thing you like. Enjoy it!

If you don’t or no longer do, that’s sad given how much time and effort we put into it, but cool! All I ask is be kind or move on.
 

Ladybird

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Thanks your entire post aboveMalleustein. I think the part I have quoted is very important for everyone to remember. SLA is Dave’s legacy, and as I said before most waking hours Dave is thinking SLA, writing SLA or arting SLA.

In the past he has been attacked personally and his creation pulled to bits by ‘fans’, to the point it affected him deeply. Many lies have been spread about him, his personality (and the same for Jared too) and his intentions.

We won’t see Dave at shows, we won’t see him on forums like this. He has been bullied and trolled to the point of no return.

I’m not asking anyone to like SLA, Dave, Nightfall or anyone associated with it. But I am going to defend my friend and his creation from undue attack and misinformation and lies presented as true.

If you like SLA, awesome come play, come talk and come see me and Jared at shows. Support the thing you like. Enjoy it!

If you don’t or no longer do, that’s sad given how much time and effort we put into it, but cool! All I ask is be kind or move on.
I met Dave at Conpulsion the year SLA2 and the TV deal were announced. He seemed like a really nice guy!
 

chuckdee

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The all-new, all-different Cannibal Sector 1 hardcover is an incredible look at the setting over all. While the rpg rules are for 1st edition, they make up a tiny part of what is likely the biggest single source of info on Mort, SLA Industries and it's many foes.

I'll say, I got a copy of the new CS1 with a ding in the spine. It wasn't a big deal; I did post up an image on a thread on a board. They contacted me about it, and I said it's no worries as I'm overseas and I know how shipping is. They promptly let me know that they would send another, and just to ping them my address. I wanted to know about sending mine back, and they said keep it- just give it to someone that might like it. I gave it away on a site to a user that was interested, but down on his luck, and wouldn't have been able to otherwise.
 
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Warthur

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I’m not asking anyone to like SLA, Dave, Nightfall or anyone associated with it. But I am going to defend my friend and his creation from undue attack and misinformation and lies presented as true.

If you like SLA, awesome come play, come talk and come see me and Jared at shows. Support the thing you like. Enjoy it!

If you don’t or no longer do, that’s sad given how much time and effort we put into it, but cool! All I ask is be kind or move on.
See, I get this perspective, but I fundamentally disagree with "be kind or move on". I think there's 100% a place for bad reviews of a thing, even if that thing is someone's creative magnum opus. For an art form to progress there needs to be criticism and discussion of it. A self-congratulatory field in which nobody ever has critical things to say is a field which is going to stagnate, and that's as true for tabletop RPGs and SF worldbuilding as any other creative endeavour.

Again: I'm 100% happy to correct errors of fact in my ultimately unhappy review of SLA Industries. But I'm not going to refrain from giving products I don't like bad reviews. It's not just a service to potential customers who may find that the things I consider dealbreakers are also dealbreakers for then - though it 100% is that. It's also grist for the creative mill and part of the ongoing discussion in the field.

You can't put a text out there for public reception and expect to control the direction of the conversation. That's just not how the back and forth of discourse works.
 

MarkRapson

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So to comment on 'Warthur's' essay: https://refereeingandreflection.wordpress.com/2021/01/13/a-second-chance-to-sla/

The game has had a bumpy old life, with Dave Allsop and the Nightfall Games crew becoming picked up by no less than four publishers over the years, only to be dropped by them all – twice because the publishers in question simply were no longer interested in the game, twice because the publishers in question were shuttering.

Not true:
WOTC: Shut down all RPGs. it wasn't a case of 'no longer interested in the game'
Hogshead: Closed down
Cubicle 7: NFG took the licence back
Daruma: Closed down. NFG took the licence back


For this new edition, Nightfall are now putting the products out all by themselves again, after spending almost a quarter of a century trying to make variations on a “we do the development, you publish the books” arrangement work.
As is stated further down this essay: Between Cubicle 7 and Daruma, NFG published their own products and have also done so since 2018.

'It wasn’t enough to keep Daruma alive'
Daruma's failure was down to mismanagement by the managing and finance (executive) directors.

'and had a dedicated line developer (first Dave Allsop, then James Desborough)'
Neither were given a budget to do the job they were titled with, hence were not able to do their job. To be fair Cubicle 7 of now is very different to the same of yesteryear.

By my reckoning, the SLA Industries canon of official products now looks like this
  • The 2nd Edition core rulebook.
  • The 2nd Edition quickstart.
  • Cannibal Sector 1 – the one released in 2019, specifically. (Yes, there’s two totally different supplements in the game line with the same title, one canonical and one non-canonical.)
  • Hunter Sheets Issue 1.
  • Hunter Sheets Issue 2.
  • Data Packet: Klick’s End.
  • The 2nd Edition GM Screen and the booklet that comes with it.
Incorrect:

The list above should also include:
  • Progress Report 0
  • Progress Report 1
  • Progress Report 2
  • Progress Report 3
  • Karma
  • Data Packet: Momic.
  • Data Packet: Gator
  • Data Packet: Boomer
  • Data Packet: Titter
  • Data Packet: Puddle Hermit
  • Data Packet: The Dream.
  • Data Packet: Hominid.
  • Hunter Sheets: Red Alert.
  • GM Pack: 1st Edition


here is the list of products which have been declared uncanonical
  • The original Cannibal Sector 1 sourcebook from when Cubicle 7 was selling the game.
  • Karma.
  • Mort Sourcebook.
  • The Key of Delhyread.
  • The Contract Directory.
  • Data Packet: Ursa Carrien.
  • Data Packet: Momic.
  • Data Packet: The Dream.
  • Data Packet: Hominid.
  • Hunter Sheets: Red Alert.
Incorrect:

here is the list of products which have been declared non-canon:
  • CS1.
  • Mort Sourcebook.
  • The Key of Delhyread.
  • The Contract Directory.
  • Data Packet: Ursa Carrien.

In short, a clear majority of the products that have been put out for SLA Industries at this point are now uncanonical. etc.. - Full paragraph and therefore following 3 paragraphs of supposition and for that matter, most of the rest of the section.

Incorrect

Of course, they may feel that some of their older products are very significantly flawed in ways beyond simply not matching current canon
not the case:

As stated when the FIVE products we announced as non-canon: they have content that is incorrect vs the newer canon, or were no longer in keeping with current canon.
  • CS1 - superceded by Cannibal Sector 1
  • Mort Sourcebook. - large sections superseded by Cannibal Sector 1 and subsequent publications (shivers world maps etc)
  • The Key of Delhyread. - not in keeping with current product
  • The Contract Directory. - large sections superseded by Cannibal Sector 1 and subsequent publications
  • Data Packet: Ursa Carrien. - not in keeping with current canon

“This doesn’t represent our ideals” is the sort of phrasing people use when they want to say “this had really offensive implications and we don’t really stand by it any more” without directly saying that
incorrect in this case.

Regarding Desborough: We no longer work with him, in the same we don't with many other prior contributors (for a plethora of different reasons). His writing being present in a book was not the reason for deleting the product from canon.


Nightfall freelancer Tim Dedopulos
Tim was not a freelancer, he was a company director and shareholder of Nightfall Games and was tasked with 'managing director' roles

This is largely to be expected – it’s essentially the same game, designed by many of the same people (Dave Allsop and Jared Earle in particular)
Dave Allsop and Jared Earle are the only people on both 1st and 2nd Ed design team

'The Truth' vs 'the Truth document'.

the essay writer appears to have missed the difference between a 'concept' and a 'document', even though they quote this:
'The Truth was a word document guide supplied to commissioned writers back in the 1990s'.
All supposition and statements beyond and build on this error should be re-presented with this error fixed.

I am going to be frank here: given the struggles they’ve had to maintain a small, small trickle of new SLA Industries products issuing forth over the quarter century of the game’s existence, I think any approach which says “We’ll save that until the next product” represents astonishing hubris.

By the essay writers own comments higher in their essay and including documents they overlooked: NFG either directly or with partners has produced: 20 documents (books and PDFs). In total well over 1500 pages of product. The driest spell was with Cubicle 7 and in the time since Daruma there have been over 10 releases and 2 more significant books announced.

whilst the absolutely badass term “Brain Waster” has been replaced with with the drably generic “Eban”,
Incorrect: Eban is the species name, Brain Waster/Waster is the common name

some setting features have been removed as a result of this – Rust Alley,
Rust Alley is mentioned

As I mentioned previously, it is noteworthy that the essay writer took to writing such a large document, that is impressive.
I have not made comment on their personal views - the review aspect of the document if you will.
 
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Stumpydave

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Mark, as someone who hasn't kept up with the ins and outs of SLA since the early days (mid 90s), what's new?
 

Warthur

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OK, here are the amendments I made...

So to comment on 'Warthur's' essay: https://refereeingandreflection.wordpress.com/2021/01/13/a-second-chance-to-sla/

The game has had a bumpy old life, with Dave Allsop and the Nightfall Games crew becoming picked up by no less than four publishers over the years, only to be dropped by them all – twice because the publishers in question simply were no longer interested in the game, twice because the publishers in question were shuttering.

Not true:
WOTC: Shut down all RPGs. it wasn't a case of 'no longer interested in the game'
Hogshead: Closed down
Cubicle 7: NFG took the licence back
Daruma: Closed down. NFG took the licence back

I think it's still reasonable to say that WOTC were no longer interested in SLA because they were no longer interested in RPGs full stop, but I have amended it to say "no longer interested in the game (or in RPGs in general, in one case)", and to rephrase "dropped by" to "only for Nightfall Games to reclaim the licence".

I don't think it is unfair to characterise Cubicle 7 as losing interest in the game because... well, look at how long they had the licence, look at how much in the way of actual new product (rather than reprints) they got around to making. If there is information to the effect that Cubicle 7 were genuinely interested in actually pulling their finger out and stepping up support for the game, but NFG yanked the licence anyway, I'm happy to amend further.

For this new edition, Nightfall are now putting the products out all by themselves again, after spending almost a quarter of a century trying to make variations on a “we do the development, you publish the books” arrangement work.
As is stated further down this essay: Between Cubicle 7 and Daruma, NFG published their own products and have also done so since 2018.

Added clarification that some products came out between C7 and Daruma, but the general point stands that for nearly a quarter of a century up to 2018 there were repeated attempts to work with external publishers.

'It wasn’t enough to keep Daruma alive'
Daruma's failure was down to mismanagement by the managing and finance (executive) directors.
Added clarification here.
'and had a dedicated line developer (first Dave Allsop, then James Desborough)'
Neither were given a budget to do the job they were titled with, hence were not able to do their job. To be fair Cubicle 7 of now is very different to the same of yesteryear.
That's genuinely interesting! I've added this clarification but I don't think it really changes the general thrust of my point that Cubicle 7 talked a good talk about the game but didn't really put that much weight behind it - after all, if they really cared, they'd have given Dave/James a budget to actually, yaknow, do something.
By my reckoning, the SLA Industries canon of official products now looks like this
  • The 2nd Edition core rulebook.
  • The 2nd Edition quickstart.
  • Cannibal Sector 1 – the one released in 2019, specifically. (Yes, there’s two totally different supplements in the game line with the same title, one canonical and one non-canonical.)
  • Hunter Sheets Issue 1.
  • Hunter Sheets Issue 2.
  • Data Packet: Klick’s End.
  • The 2nd Edition GM Screen and the booklet that comes with it.
Incorrect:

The list above should also include:
  • Progress Report 0
  • Progress Report 1
  • Progress Report 2
  • Progress Report 3
  • Karma
  • Data Packet: Momic.
  • Data Packet: Gator
  • Data Packet: Boomer
  • Data Packet: Titter
  • Data Packet: Puddle Hermit
  • Data Packet: The Dream.
  • Data Packet: Hominid.
  • Hunter Sheets: Red Alert.
  • GM Pack: 1st Edition

OK, I see what's happened here: I assumed, when you guys yanked a ton of products from sale, that those products were no longer considered canonical, because I thought it'd be totally wild to just make chunks of your game's canon unavailable for purchase when you could just leave it up, maybe slap on a "buyer beware" warning for products where (like Karma) you believe the PDF is not particularly good (and maybe drop the price to something you consider fair for a rather crap PDF), and keep the long tail going.

I have amended to clarify that the list is "of officially-purchasable products now looks like this (excluding brief magazine-type releases like the Progress Report series and other very brief releases)", so it's not just the list of canonical products, it's the list of canonical products which can still be bought from Nightfall.

here is the list of products which have been declared uncanonical
  • The original Cannibal Sector 1 sourcebook from when Cubicle 7 was selling the game.
  • Karma.
  • Mort Sourcebook.
  • The Key of Delhyread.
  • The Contract Directory.
  • Data Packet: Ursa Carrien.
  • Data Packet: Momic.
  • Data Packet: The Dream.
  • Data Packet: Hominid.
  • Hunter Sheets: Red Alert.
Incorrect:

here is the list of products which have been declared non-canon:
  • CS1.
  • Mort Sourcebook.
  • The Key of Delhyread.
  • The Contract Directory.
  • Data Packet: Ursa Carrien.
I have likewise amended to clarify that this list consists of "products which have been declared uncanonical and/or been yanked from sale", to make it clear that some of these products have been hard-decanonised, some of them have simply been yanked from purchase (even as PDFs). I have made some other amendments elsewhere in line with that.
In short, a clear majority of the products that have been put out for SLA Industries at this point are now uncanonical. etc.. - Full paragraph and therefore following 3 paragraphs of supposition and for that matter, most of the rest of the section.

Incorrect

Of course, they may feel that some of their older products are very significantly flawed in ways beyond simply not matching current canon
not the case:

As stated when the FIVE products we announced as non-canon: they have content that is incorrect vs the newer canon, or were no longer in keeping with current canon.
  • CS1 - superceded by Cannibal Sector 1
  • Mort Sourcebook. - large sections superseded by Cannibal Sector 1 and subsequent publications (shivers world maps etc)
  • The Key of Delhyread. - not in keeping with current product
  • The Contract Directory. - large sections superseded by Cannibal Sector 1 and subsequent publications
  • Data Packet: Ursa Carrien. - not in keeping with current canon

“This doesn’t represent our ideals” is the sort of phrasing people use when they want to say “this had really offensive implications and we don’t really stand by it any more” without directly saying that
incorrect in this case.
OK, edited to reflect this statement from you.
Regarding Desborough: We no longer work with him, in the same we don't with many other prior contributors (for a plethora of different reasons). His writing being present in a book was not the reason for deleting the product from canon.

OK, edited to reflect this.

Nightfall freelancer Tim Dedopulos
Tim was not a freelancer, he was a company director and shareholder of Nightfall Games and was tasked with 'managing director' roles
I have corrected this.
This is largely to be expected – it’s essentially the same game, designed by many of the same people (Dave Allsop and Jared Earle in particular)
Dave Allsop and Jared Earle are the only people on both 1st and 2nd Ed design team
I have reworded to take this into account.
'The Truth' vs 'the Truth document'.
the essay writer appears to have missed the difference between a 'concept' and a 'document', even though they quote this:
'The Truth was a word document guide supplied to commissioned writers back in the 1990s'.
All supposition and statements beyond and build on this error should be re-presented with this error fixed.
OK, this is a stretch. I think it's completely reasonable to take the approach of using "The Truth" sometimes to refer to that document, and sometimes to refer to the general concepts outlined in that document - especially since that document was where most of the SLA fanbase encountered those concepts for the first time anyway. (Was the name "Dr. Crantham" ever used in any officially-released 1st edition product? I can't remember it if so.)

I have included a paragraph to note that I am using it in both senses but beyond that I don't really think this is a correction of fact.
I am going to be frank here: given the struggles they’ve had to maintain a small, small trickle of new SLA Industries products issuing forth over the quarter century of the game’s existence, I think any approach which says “We’ll save that until the next product” represents astonishing hubris.

By the essay writers own comments higher in their essay and including documents they overlooked: NFG either directly or with partners has produced: 20 documents (books and PDFs). In total well over 1500 pages of product. The driest spell was with Cubicle 7 and in the time since Daruma there have been over 10 releases and 2 more significant books announced.
Right, but you gotta admit a lot of those pages come out in chunks. That Cubicle 7 dry spell was a doozy, and the biggest new releases since then are the new CS1 book and the 2nd edition core book. If you add up the 2nd edition core, the new CS1, the 1st edition core, and the major Wizards-era-and-earlier supplements (Karma and Mort Directory), you're already most of the way there.

In addition, over 1500 pages of product between 20 documents might be a bunch of work... but the game debuted in 1993. If we take the 27 years from then to 2020 into account, we're looking at less than one release per year, or an average of only 56-ish pages a year. I don't think it's unfair to characterise that as a "trickle". It's been a trickle with the occasional burst of activity, sure, but it's far from a consistent pace of output.

Sorry, this just isn't a correction of fact.

whilst the absolutely badass term “Brain Waster” has been replaced with with the drably generic “Eban”,
Incorrect: Eban is the species name, Brain Waster/Waster is the common name
Clarified.
some setting features have been removed as a result of this – Rust Alley,
Rust Alley is mentioned
And mentioned as kind of no longer being a big deal. I have clarified but again, not really a correction of fact.

I have tried to implement such corrections of fact as outline above, and I've put in a link to your correction post at the end of the review so that people don't have to take my word for it.
 

Silverlion

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So how does it compare to Mutant Chronicles and Underground as gonzo big guns craziness? And how is PC creation?
 

MarkRapson

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I have amended to clarify that the list is "of officially-purchasable products now looks like this (excluding brief magazine-type releases like the Progress Report series and other very brief releases)", so it's not just the list of canonical products, it's the list of canonical products which can still be bought from Nightfall.

Its very interesting that you chose to exclude the Progress Reports from your narrative due to size of document, yet make a big thing about the removal of, for example, Key of Delhyread, Ursa Carrien and Hominid. Both Ursa Carrien and Hominid are 6 page documents and Key is 36 pages. The Progress Reports vary from 8-40 pages.

Additionally mixing de-canonised and removed from sales products in your narrative is misleading to the reader.
5 products have been de-canonised, yet your presentation mixes that with the recently removed from sale ('yanked') items - your 'in depth' discussion further down does not include Ursa Carrien, so again the reader can not define which is which.

The combination of these points suggest at best, a laziness and at worst a hatchet job - don't let the truth get in the way of a good story hay?

In short, a clear majority of the major products that have been put out for SLA Industries at this point (not counting brief little releases like Progress Report) are now either outright uncanonical, or simply not available for sale.
This statement is 100% incorrect given the above.

Here is the list of products which have been declared non-canon:
  • CS1.- PDF removed from sale 2 years ago. Book has been out of print for approx 10 years.
  • Mort Sourcebook. - PDF removed from sale 2 years ago. Book has been out of print for approx 15 years.
  • The Key of Delhyread. - PDF removed from sale 2 years ago. Book has been out of print for approx 20 years.
  • The Contract Directory. - PDF removed from sale 2 years ago. Book has been out of print for approx 20 years.
  • Data Packet: Ursa Carrien. - PDF removed from sale 2 years ago.

Here is a list of products still Canon and available as either PDF, PDF and book form or just 'actual':
  • The 1st Edition core rulebook - PDF and book
  • The 2nd Edition core rulebook - PDF and book.
  • The 2nd Edition quickstart - PDF and book.
  • Cannibal Sector 1 - PDF and book
  • Hunter Sheets Issue 1. - PDF only, book long out of print
  • Hunter Sheets Issue 2. - PDF and book
  • Data Packet: Klick’s End. - PDF only
  • The 2nd Edition GM Screen and the booklet that comes with it. - not available in PDF form
  • Progress Report 0 - PDF only
  • Progress Report 1 - PDF only
  • Progress Report 2 - PDF only
  • Progress Report 3 - PDF only
  • Cannibal Sector 1 miniatures rulebook - PDF and book
Canon and not for sale:
  • GM Pack: 1st Edition - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Data Packet: Gator - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Data Packet: Boomer - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Data Packet: Titter - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Data Packet: Puddle Hermit - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Data Packet: Croak - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Karma - as explained readily available in book form on resale sites. PDF was not of a quality we were happy with. PDF recently 'yanked' from sale. Book has been out of print for approx 20 years.
  • Data Packet: The Dream. - superseded by 2nd Ed and Collateral (June 2021). PDF recently 'yanked' from sale. Book has been out of print for approx 10 years.
  • Data Packet: Hominid. - completely superseded in 2nd Ed, PDF recently 'yanked' from sale.
  • Hunter Sheets: Red Alert. PDF recently 'yanked' from sale. Book has been out of print for approx 10 years.
  • Data Packet: Momic. PDF recently 'yanked' from sale. Book has been out of print for approx 10 years.
yanked from sale
we gave over 1 months notice

MarkRapson said:
'The Truth' vs 'the Truth document'.
the essay writer appears to have missed the difference between a 'concept' and a 'document', even though they quote this:
'The Truth was a word document guide supplied to commissioned writers back in the 1990s'.
All supposition and statements beyond and build on this error should be re-presented with this error fixed.
OK, this is a stretch. I think it's completely reasonable to take the approach of using "The Truth" sometimes to refer to that document, and sometimes to refer to the general concepts outlined in that document - especially since that document was where most of the SLA fanbase encountered those concepts for the first time anyway. (Was the name "Dr. Crantham" ever used in any officially-released 1st edition product? I can't remember it if so.)

I have included a paragraph to note that I am using it in both senses but beyond that I don't really think this is a correction of fact.


Again it seems here that even with evidence your original assumptions were wrong you choose to ignore said evidence. Again this is either pure laziness or further evidence of a hatchet job in action.

Inclusion of a paragraph noting you are using it in both senses, doesn't counter that doing so is wrong. You quote NFG saying 'The Truth was a word document guide supplied to commissioned writers back in the 1990s', yet completely ignore that fact leaving the subsequent writing in place even though that is incorrect.


ADDITIONAL:
Mort Sourcebook, the final product of the Wizards of the Coast run. Morton Smith is credited as a co-author, and Smith had been onboard from the start of the game line, but he was one of many hands contributing to that project and all the others don’t seem to have written for the line before.

Morton wrote a significant part of the 16 page Progress Report 1 and is credited as a writer in it.

A good swathe of the books that have been decanonised simply can’t be disavowed as not really reflecting the creators’ intentions – Nightfall themselves wrote and published them! Apparently, in their view the Karma book is now so broken that it isn’t worth selling to people any more – but they haven’t provided an exact explanation of why that is the case. Perhaps in the case of some material there has been a genuine falling-out between at least one of the Nightfall prime movers and former contributors, as James Desborough has hinted at, which would make it unprofessional to comment on the specific books involved in that bad feeling – but surely that isn’t the case for stuff like Karma, which was written by the exact same people who wrote the original core book.

Is 4 books and a small PDF really a good swathe of the books?
Karma is not de-canonised. I did not say it was broken...no one at NFG has said it was broken. The PDF is not of a quality we are happy to offer. - that is the explanation from us.
James is either the sole writer or a co-writer in at least 2 items that are still canon (HS2 and Gator) and two items that are not (CS1 and Ursa Carrien)
 
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MarkRapson

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So how does it compare to Mutant Chronicles and Underground as gonzo big guns craziness? And how is PC creation?
MC is certianly similiar, but also very different. I would say that SLA , Cyberpunk and MC are all equally different.
I do not know Underground

PC for SLA?
 

MarkRapson

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Mark, as someone who hasn't kept up with the ins and outs of SLA since the early days (mid 90s), what's new?
All the following have been produced in the last 4 years:
  • The 1st Edition core rulebook reprint - PDF and book
  • The 2nd Edition core rulebook - PDF and book.
  • The 2nd Edition quickstart - PDF and book.
  • Cannibal Sector 1 - PDF and book
  • Hunter Sheets Issue 2. - PDF and book
  • The 2nd Edition GM Screen and the booklet that comes with it.
  • Progress Report 0 - PDF only
  • Progress Report 1 - PDF only
  • Progress Report 2 - PDF only
  • Progress Report 3 - PDF only
  • Cannibal Sector 1 miniatures rulebook - PDF and book
And in June, the following sourcebooks:
  • Collateral
  • Shaktar and Wraithen
 

Warthur

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I have amended to clarify that the list is "of officially-purchasable products now looks like this (excluding brief magazine-type releases like the Progress Report series and other very brief releases)", so it's not just the list of canonical products, it's the list of canonical products which can still be bought from Nightfall.

Its very interesting that you chose to exclude the Progress Reports from your narrative due to size of document, yet make a big thing about the removal of, for example, Key of Delhyread, Ursa Carrien and Hominid. Both Ursa Carrien and Hominid are 6 page documents and Key is 36 pages. The Progress Reports vary from 8-40 pages.

I make a thing about them because they were explicitly mentioned as being decanonised/removed from sale but I didn't go into that much more depth on them. I didn't want to add in little details about piddly little 2 page PDF supplements I didn't notice on the RPGGeek listings when I originally did the article because who could possibly care? Apparently you, so I've amended the lists.

Additionally mixing de-canonised and removed from sales products in your narrative is misleading to the reader.
5 products have been de-canonised, yet your presentation mixes that with the recently removed from sale ('yanked') items - your 'in depth' discussion further down does not include Ursa Carrien, so again the reader can not define which is which.

OK, I have edited one more time to make it explicit which 5 are officially uncanonical.

The combination of these points suggest at best, a laziness and at worst a hatchet job - don't let the truth get in the way of a good story hay?

In short, a clear majority of the major products that have been put out for SLA Industries at this point (not counting brief little releases like Progress Report) are now either outright uncanonical, or simply not available for sale.
This statement is 100% incorrect given the above.

Here is the list of products which have been declared non-canon:
  • CS1.- PDF removed from sale 2 years ago. Book has been out of print for approx 10 years.
  • Mort Sourcebook. - PDF removed from sale 2 years ago. Book has been out of print for approx 15 years.
  • The Key of Delhyread. - PDF removed from sale 2 years ago. Book has been out of print for approx 20 years.
  • The Contract Directory. - PDF removed from sale 2 years ago. Book has been out of print for approx 20 years.
  • Data Packet: Ursa Carrien. - PDF removed from sale 2 years ago.

OK, so that's 5 products in the "outright uncanonical" category.

Here is a list of products still Canon and available as either PDF, PDF and book form or just 'actual':
  • The 1st Edition core rulebook - PDF and book
  • The 2nd Edition core rulebook - PDF and book.
  • The 2nd Edition quickstart - PDF and book.
  • Cannibal Sector 1 - PDF and book
  • Hunter Sheets Issue 1. - PDF only, book long out of print
  • Hunter Sheets Issue 2. - PDF and book
  • Data Packet: Klick’s End. - PDF only
  • The 2nd Edition GM Screen and the booklet that comes with it. - not available in PDF form
  • Progress Report 0 - PDF only
  • Progress Report 1 - PDF only
  • Progress Report 2 - PDF only
  • Progress Report 3 - PDF only
  • Cannibal Sector 1 miniatures rulebook - PDF and book
That's 13 products in the "canonical and available for sale" category.
Canon and not for sale:
  • GM Pack: 1st Edition - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Data Packet: Gator - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Data Packet: Boomer - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Data Packet: Titter - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Data Packet: Puddle Hermit - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Data Packet: Croak - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Karma - as explained readily available in book form on resale sites. PDF was not of a quality we were happy with. PDF recently 'yanked' from sale. Book has been out of print for approx 20 years.
  • Data Packet: The Dream. - superseded by 2nd Ed and Collateral (June 2021). PDF recently 'yanked' from sale. Book has been out of print for approx 10 years.
  • Data Packet: Hominid. - completely superseded in 2nd Ed, PDF recently 'yanked' from sale.
  • Hunter Sheets: Red Alert. PDF recently 'yanked' from sale. Book has been out of print for approx 10 years.
  • Data Packet: Momic. PDF recently 'yanked' from sale. Book has been out of print for approx 10 years.

That's 11 products in the "simply not available for sale" category. (I've updated the article to note that by that I mean "sale of first-hand hard copies or PDFs from Nightfall", not the second-hand market).

Now, let's count shall we?

13 products canon and officially available for sale.
5 products uncanonical.
11 products which are simply not available for sale (but still canonical).

That means our total for the category of "either outright uncanonical, or simply not available for sale" is 16.

13 is less than 16. 55% of a product line constitutes a clear majority.

Sorry buddy, but the facts are on my side on this one.

yanked from sale
we gave over 1 months notice

Pulling it from sale is still pulling it from sale if you give notice. Not a correction of fact.

OK, this is a stretch. I think it's completely reasonable to take the approach of using "The Truth" sometimes to refer to that document, and sometimes to refer to the general concepts outlined in that document - especially since that document was where most of the SLA fanbase encountered those concepts for the first time anyway. (Was the name "Dr. Crantham" ever used in any officially-released 1st edition product? I can't remember it if so.)

I have included a paragraph to note that I am using it in both senses but beyond that I don't really think this is a correction of fact.


Again it seems here that even with evidence your original assumptions were wrong you choose to ignore said evidence. Again this is either pure laziness or further evidence of a hatchet job in action.

Inclusion of a paragraph noting you are using it in both senses, doesn't counter that doing so is wrong. You quote NFG saying 'The Truth was a word document guide supplied to commissioned writers back in the 1990s', yet completely ignore that fact leaving the subsequent writing in place even though that is incorrect.
Please specifically outline the error of fact here, if you can.

Is it not true that The Truth was a word document guide issued to writers in the 1990s? If that isn't true, why did you guys say it?

Is it not true that fans generally use "the Truth" to refer to setting secrets referred to in that guide? If you don't believe it's true I consider that a difference of opinion, not fact.

Is it not true that some of those setting secrets are still central to 2nd edition? If that's the case, would you mind double-checking the intro fiction to 2nd edition and reconsidering your answer?

I can only work with the facts in front of me. If you can cite a fact which I have missed above which would massively change my general assessment, please disclose that fact. Otherwise, based on the facts I have, I don't see what the problem is and also can't quite understand what you are getting at because you are expressing yourself incredibly poorly on this point.
ADDITIONAL:
Mort Sourcebook, the final product of the Wizards of the Coast run. Morton Smith is credited as a co-author, and Smith had been onboard from the start of the game line, but he was one of many hands contributing to that project and all the others don’t seem to have written for the line before.

Morton wrote a significant part of the 16 page Progress Report 1 and is credited as a writer in it.
I don't see how that fact has any bearing on the cited text.
A good swathe of the books that have been decanonised simply can’t be disavowed as not really reflecting the creators’ intentions – Nightfall themselves wrote and published them! Apparently, in their view the Karma book is now so broken that it isn’t worth selling to people any more – but they haven’t provided an exact explanation of why that is the case. Perhaps in the case of some material there has been a genuine falling-out between at least one of the Nightfall prime movers and former contributors, as James Desborough has hinted at, which would make it unprofessional to comment on the specific books involved in that bad feeling – but surely that isn’t the case for stuff like Karma, which was written by the exact same people who wrote the original core book.

Is 4 books and a small PDF really a good swathe of the books?
Karma is not de-canonised. I did not say it was broken...no one at NFG has said it was broken. The PDF is not of a quality we are happy to offer. - that is the explanation from us.
James is either the sole writer or a co-writer in at least 2 items that are still canon (HS2 and Gator) and two items that are not (CS1 and Ursa Carrien)
Fine, tweaked.
 
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Ladybird

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MC is certianly similiar, but also very different. I would say that SLA , Cyberpunk and MC are all equally different.
I do not know Underground

PC for SLA?
PC stands for Player Character.

So how does it compare to Mutant Chronicles and Underground as gonzo big guns craziness? And how is PC creation?
SLA is much more up-close-and-personal than Underground; melee combat is encouraged because the viewers at home love it and bullets are EXPENSIVE, while many of your opposition are brutal in melee, so you can almost end up in a rocket tag situation at low levels.

Like Underground, it's kinda funny in places, but the humour is pitch black at it's lightest (And 2e is grimmer than 1e) and more bureaucratic than satirical.

Canon and not for sale:
  • GM Pack: 1st Edition - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Data Packet: Gator - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Data Packet: Boomer - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Data Packet: Titter - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Data Packet: Puddle Hermit - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Data Packet: Croak - no longer sold in any form by NFG, nor has it been for many years
  • Karma - as explained readily available in book form on resale sites. PDF was not of a quality we were happy with. PDF recently 'yanked' from sale. Book has been out of print for approx 20 years.
  • Data Packet: The Dream. - superseded by 2nd Ed and Collateral (June 2021). PDF recently 'yanked' from sale. Book has been out of print for approx 10 years.
  • Data Packet: Hominid. - completely superseded in 2nd Ed, PDF recently 'yanked' from sale.
  • Hunter Sheets: Red Alert. PDF recently 'yanked' from sale. Book has been out of print for approx 10 years.
  • Data Packet: Momic. PDF recently 'yanked' from sale. Book has been out of print for approx 10 years.
For the "no longer sold but still technically canon" books, the distinction is a very, very fine one. It doesn't matter that Karma is still available on ebay; the book is still out of print and thus no longer "officially" accessible.

If the PDF wasn't a high-enough quality, it could have been updated; I could easily see a circumstance where that wouldn't be commercially viable though, but as a customer I'd also much rather be told that or see it PWYW so you could at least still make some trickle of money from it.
 

MarkRapson

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I make a thing about them because they were explicitly mentioned as being decanonised/removed from sale but I didn't go into that much more depth on them. I didn't want to add in little details about piddly little 2 page PDF supplements I didn't notice on the RPGGeek listings when I originally did the article because who could possibly care? Apparently you, so I've amended the lists.



OK, I have edited one more time to make it explicit which 5 are officially uncanonical.



OK, so that's 5 products in the "outright uncanonical" category.


That's 13 products in the "canonical and available for sale" category.


That's 11 products in the "simply not available for sale" category. (I've updated the article to note that by that I mean "sale of first-hand hard copies or PDFs from Nightfall", not the second-hand market).

Now, let's count shall we?

13 products canon and officially available for sale.
5 products uncanonical.
11 products which are simply not available for sale (but still canonical).

That means our total for the category of "either outright uncanonical, or simply not available for sale" is 16.

13 is less than 16. 55% of a product line constitutes a clear majority.

Sorry buddy, but the facts (and literacy and numeracy) are on my side on this one.
So now you want to use the 1 pagers...love it.

This smells of a deliberate attempt to slurry NFG.
For example you list on your essay the Progress reports as 1 item, when clearly they are 4.
Of the 11 simply not available for sale. The GM pack is an actual thing, WOTC made it, they and NFG sold it. it sold out.
5 small docs (one of which you don't list), which previously you didn't want to include, you do now. They haven't been available for years, most I believe were given away free. None were 'yanked' from sale


Pulling it from sale is still pulling it from sale if you give notice. Not a correction of fact.
is yanking from sale the same as pulling from sale? It seems to me that you are using inflammatory language to incite the reader
Please specifically outline the error of fact here, if you can.

Is it not true that The Truth was a word document guide issued to writers in the 1990s?
TRUE
If that isn't true, why did you guys say it?

Is it not true that fans generally use "the Truth" to refer to setting secrets referred to in that guide? If you don't believe it's true I consider that a difference of opinion, not fact.
I believe that is generally true
Is it not true that some of those setting secrets are still central to 2nd edition? If that's the case, would you mind double-checking the intro fiction to 2nd edition and reconsidering your answer?
True.
I can only work with the facts in front of me. If you can cite a fact which I have missed above which would massively change my general assessment, please disclose that fact. Otherwise, based on the facts I have, I don't see what the problem is and also can't quite understand what you are getting at because you are expressing yourself incredibly poorly on this point.

I don't see how that fact has any bearing on the cited text.
I believe your error and confusion lies in your insistence that 'the Truth' and 'the truth document' are one and the same thing. They are not.
Take this:
So, on the basis of the above, the answer to “How important is The Truth to 2nd Edition?” should be “not at all, it isn’t canon any more and never was and much of the information in it is now incorrect”.
versus:
So, on the basis of the above, the answer to “How important is The Truth document to 2nd Edition?” should be “not at all, it isn’t canon any more and never was and much of the information in it is now incorrect”.
That one word makes a big difference to the situation and counters many of your subsequent hyperbole and is what you quote in the sentence is about.

A good swathe of the books that have been decanonised simply can’t be disavowed as not really reflecting the creators’ intentions – Nightfall themselves wrote and published them! Apparently, in their view the Karma book is now so broken that it isn’t worth selling to people any more – but they haven’t provided an exact explanation of why that is the case. (Update: Mark Rapson assures me that it’s just that the PDF was a bit crappy.)

Why is this still included?
'Good swathe' is hyperbole
'Apparently, in their view the Karma book is now so broken that it isn’t worth selling to people any more' - where is the reference? Inclusion of this is misinformation and not true
'but they haven’t provided an exact explanation of why that is the case. (Update: Mark Rapson assures me that it’s just that the PDF was a bit crappy.)' - We have. You have used quotes else where in the document why put words into my mouth? This is the quote from me ‘ The PDF is not of a quality we are happy to offer.’
 

chuckdee

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This smells of a deliberate attempt to slurry NFG.
Tristan pulled in Warthur's inflammatory language- it would seem it would be good to do the same to yours, no matter how you feel about it. This started out on the wrong foot, and sorry for your reception, and glad for your contribution and presence. But it seems that as he pulls back more and more, you go in harder.

I think it would be the best look for all to keep it to the written word and getting it corrected and promoting the product you have now. Engage if you want with Warthur in a professional manner to get the facts straight, but your own emotional responses are doing more harm than his review ever could at this point...
 
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