Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The future of gaming?

Is your favorite store going out of business?

In 2007, the market consists of three major categories, in order of volume & revenue: trading card games, miniatures games, and roleplaying games. In addition, the market now also has smaller, but still significant categories like “hobby” board & card games. The total size of the market is approximately $1 billion at retail. 30% of that revenue is generated through hobby game stores. That translates to a 300% increase in revenue in just over 15 years. At the same time, the number of stores has declined by about half. So the average retail store is now generating 600% more revenue in 2007 than it was in 1992.

And yet.... the retail tier is facing extinction. Their overhead costs have increased faster than their gross margins in absolute terms. Their inventory costs have skyrocketed. They face competition from e-commerce retailers who undercut their pricing power and erode their margins. The products have become vastly more complex, and the burden for product support has fallen on their shoulders, with impacts on staff costs, rent, merchandising, and the scarcest resource of all: time.

As a result, more stores continue to fail, further reducing the footprint of support available to the publishers. The largest publishers have escape routes into the mass market, into the book trade, into Europe, and elsewhere. The mid-tier publishers however have few options, and are being crippled by this slow dieoff. Small, niche publishers, who rely on catching lightning in a bottle to have a chance of success, are even worse off.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Selling loot.

Coldeven 24, 596CY. Verbobonc.

After several hours spent haggling prices at various shops in the city, you make your way over the Velverdyva Bridge and into Ryemend, to Degolar's Manse. You've emptied your bags of holding of most of the platinum and gold coins, depositing them in separate accounts at the Chapel of Zilchus in town.

Most of your day was spent at Jala's Weaponry and Smithy, the Archer's Eye, Segemm's Curios, the Silver Consortium, and a handful of other small shops and temples. For the most part, Degolar's charm was in fine form and you came out with the upper hand in many of the bargains. There was one piece which couldn't be sold, however. The longsword taken from the Marilith in the Undertemple. Jala couldn't afford to buy it right now, though she was interested. Sir Ingish's shop was still closed, and none of his neighbors knew when he would return from Highfolk. Ingish's manservant Rubrin said that he was on an expedition with a party of dwarves in somewhere in the Yatil Range.

After tallying your sales slips, you find that even without the sale of the longsword, you amassed 134203 gold, 8 silver. An even split would give each of your seven party members 19171 gold, 9 silver, 8 copper.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Crazy Wizard

I've been meaning to ask this for a while now, but I keep forgetting. Can someone tell me more about Aerin and his back story, at least as much as the party knows? I don't know as much about his character as I do the others.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The History and Coming of Chymon

A few pages recovered from the library of Thukos, the third. The passage is called the History and Coming of Chymon.

The clutch of Caran’lachnar yielded two eggs. The wyrmlings were grey and red. The grey wyrm gained prestige early, allying himself first with the far-off Iron League (a league of dwarven clans).

The red, however, had no interest in the affairs of demihumans. She was content to exploit and connive her way to great riches and power. She made her home in the heights of the Lortmils. At the time of the Battle of Emridy Meadows, Chymon was involved in some sort of intrigue on the side of the Great Kingdom (of Aerdy), which was quickly dissolving. She entered battle late in the day and set upon a column of dwarven soldiers, quickly decimating most of them. A grey dragon then winged into the fray. The grey and red battled in a spectacular aerial melee, but Chymon seemed too much of a match for the grey. Below, all of the dwarves had perished or lay dying. One still stirred, not as gravely wounded as the others. He took up his magic spear, enchanted with arcane ice from the frigid Yatil Range and hurled the spear into Chymon’s wing, tearing a hole through the thin membrane. Chymon roared in pain and rage, then broke off combat, winging southwest across the Emridy Plain. As she flew, she dove downward toward battle once more, screeching and breathing a fiery burst. She grabbed an armored knight in her wicked claws and again rose into the sky.

The dwarf, who turned out to be an emissary of Furyondy, lay exhausted on the ground, and the silver dragon stayed by his side until the close of the battle. The dragon owed a life-debt to the legate from Furyondy, but the legate would not hear of it, feeling that the dragon had saved his own life.

For many years, the emissary and the dragon lived a peaceful life of friendship, a great bond had been forged that day on the Emridy Plain. One fateful day, the legate called on the silver dragon in dire need. An evil cult had broken into the legate’s clan home in the Kron Hills. The clan had to flee, leaving their greatest treasure behind. A large gem of incalculable worth, called the Eye of Tulian. The emissary beseeched the dragon to recover the gem, or, failing that, to guard it until a Saltheart Clan dwarf came to reclaim the halls.

Chymon lived and breathed revenge. She loathed her brother, and dwarves, for driving her from combat. She sought out the enemies of these dwarves and found them in the Cult of Tharizdun. She offered her armored prisoner, (who turned out to be the Crown Prince of Furyondy, Thrommel III.) in exchange for information about these dwarves and her brother. She quickly relocated her lair to the Kron Hills, inside a dormant volcano.