Wishing about a wish list

Pyramid has a wish list. A bunch of issues that give guidance as to what to write. It’s fun, and there’s often some really novel stuff on there.

But I think it would benefit from a few changes.

Line Support

GURPS has some pretty cool lines going on that people actually play. Support for that should always be encouraged. I’d suggest opening up certain topics as “you may always submit an article for . . .” issues.

What would I first throw down?

  • Dungeon Fantasy
  • Monster Hunters
  • Action!
  • Banestorm
  • Spaceships
  • Infinite Worlds
  • Transhuman Space

Now, I don’t like Infinite Worlds much, and Transhuman Space has (in my opinion) an approachability problem. But . . . they’re officially supported GURPS sub-lines, and SJG should always stand ready to accept dedicated support along that front.

The flip side of this is that some of thee concepts, such as Infinite Worlds and Transhuman Space, mightn’t sell that well. So there’d need to be some editorial pruning to account for certain things not being salable . . . but I rather strongly suspect you would fill ten issues of DF before you got to one full issue of Infinite Worlds or Transhuman Space anyway. Maybe a self-correcting problem.

Rules Support

There’s also a whole bunch of really good rules-oriented books out there that can probably always have articles thrown at them. In no particular order:

  • Martial Arts and derived works. In my own PDF library, Tactical Shooting is a martial arts book. 
  • Magic, Thaumatology, and derived works (including Ritual Path Magic)
  • Social Engineering
  • Powers, including Divine Favor, Supers, and other things that build off the powers framework
  • Alternate GURPS
Alternate GURPS – purposeful modifications to established rules – might not belong. That’s not really rules support so much as rules extension. 

Oddball Stuff

There are issues and concepts that are cool but obscure or, for whatever reason, unpopular. I think Wild West would fit here, and though I love it dearly, Gunplay and Military Sci-Fi are not directly supported by a full line (maybe Transhuman Space counts). This could also include Alternate Dungeons – which is specifically deviations from full line support in tune with the original DF mission. But to me, this is where the current Wish List shines. Identifying things GURPS can do that are out of the mainstream, but still entirely cool.

Parting Shot

GURPS is hard enough to write for – lots of material to peruse, the monster style guide – without an author having to check the wish list and note that “gee, I’d love to write a Dungeon Fantasy themed article, but it’s not on the list right now.” Dungeon Fantasy is, from what I understand, the most vibrant and best-selling individual line. You should feed success to the greatest extent possible. Monsters and foes for DF? Bring ’em on. Mini-scenarios and maps and pre-gen encounters? Booyah, love it. 

I can easily see the authorial juices being properly encouraged by “you may always submit articles for these things; we are also looking for special submission for these other things that change on a rotating basis.”

This isn’t entirely theory. I’ve heard discussions that end with “well, the Wish List doesn’t call out room for that cool idea. So you’d better shelve it and find another one.” That’s fine if you’re way off in la-la land, but if your cool idea supports very popular settings or rules, I think it’s in GURPS’ interest to have it be fair game.

35 thoughts on “Wishing about a wish list

  1. I must admit I'm feeling more constrained than inspired by the wish list these days. Back in the web-Pyramid days, it wasn't too difficult to slap a gaming gloss on whatever odd bit of history or anthropology or peculiar idea came my way. I have, to some extent, been able to spin some of those ideas for specific issue themes, but it's not getting any easier, so I've been writing rather less lately.

  2. Unfortunately, the biggest problem we've had — without a doubt — has NOT been getting articles; rather, it's been FINDING ROOM for all the good, usable articles we have. We only run about 20,000-25,0000 words a month; that's four to five meaty 5,000-word articles. I'll routinely get twice as many perfectly usable articles for EACH issue. This "problem" (in quotes, but it's real) has recently gotten worse from a few different avenues, to the point where I've considered a moratorium on outside submissions altogether, contacting trusted writers on the off chance I have an article slot I need to fill. (I probably have enough material for 6-12 issues if I went this route.) I haven't wanted to do that, but… well… to paraphrase a rapper, "I've got 99 problems, but enough articles ain't one."

    1. Steven – Interesting, and thanks for the insight. I presume the bottleneck, as always, is internal staff bandwidth? Eith so much work to check for fomatting, rules compliance, and issue suitability, there's only so much time to spend on them?

    2. I'm not 100% sure what you're thinking of in terms of "bottleneck." The trouble (at this point) is physical space in each issue; if we get 50,000 words in usable articles, and we only have slots for 10-20K… well, that's 30-40K words of perfectly good articles that we need to figure out something else to do with (either reject, toss in the slushpile, kick down the road, build an issue around it, see if it meshes with another rejected article or two to fabricate a theme, etc.).

      I think there's a mistaken notion that articles are weighed like Anubis in the afterlife, where articles that exceed a threshold of quality are automatically ushered into the halls of publishdom, and those who are found wanting are sent to the underworld. It doesn't really work like that; articles are "competing" at least as much against their own circumstances and environment as against any objective quality of good/not-so-good. Say I'm doing an issue on… oh… the "Laws of Magic." I receive a 10K article that greatly expands an existing GURPS magic system. If I include that piece, I now have a dilemma; do I try to structure the rest of the issue around that article, making it support for that GURPS magic system? Do I try to stay true to the original theme and balance it out with other articles that DON'T relate to that magic system, so that subscribers/buyers who don't use that system can hopefully find something of interest? If I go the former route, I now have a problem; I didn't solicit for that "GURPS magic system" theme originally, so I don't have a huge bench of articles in support of it. I could try to rustle some up, but that takes effort, and — honestly — there are probably only a couple of authors who know this system well enough to contribute meaningfully. If I go the latter route, then I can stick with filling the rest of the issue with articles originally solicited for that "Laws of Magic" issue… but now, instead of trying to fill 20K words with potential articles, I'm filling 10K words. That's maybe 2-3 articles, out of 10… all of which are of roughly equal quality, some of which bring more balance thematically or game-system-wise, some of which might belong to author(s) I believe can help us sell issues, etc. And once I pick those 2-3, I've got 7-8 articles I DIDN'T use… what do I do with them? "Thanks but no thanks" is pretty crappy for articles that — again — are perfectly suitable in the right environment. I CAN kick them down the road, but accumulating an extra two months' worth of quality articles every month… well, something's gotta give.

      This has been made more challenging in recent months with the availability of our staff GURPS gurus. The general speed bumps (potholes?) caused by giant-tank-related matters and other affairs means the gurus have many small chunks of time available, which are perfectly filled by writing GURPS articles. That's great for the quality of the magazine — I'd be a fool to turn down their offerings, and it's awesome for readers/subscribers — but it's bad for the general slushpile. Now, instead of looking at an issue with 20,000 available words, I've maybe got half that open… and, again, 10 times that many words that I could easily justify publishing, depending on quality, theme, idea, potential audience, etc. (And I won't even mention a certain writing-club endeavor; increasing the general baseline quality of a large number of articles to the point where they're all publication-worthy doesn't do anything to actually make more ROOM for those articles.)

    3. Well maybe Douglas idea still has use. Pyramid is often a gateway to writing supplements and I know some of the submissions I have seen I would buy as supplements.
      Douglas has a couple that I can think of off the top of my head that could be bundled into one book since they fit and I would buy it.
      The two RPM articles in last months Pyramid would also have worked out to be a good supplement in the Thaumatology line. I bet there was more material available for both of them.
      So maybe some of the larger articles or a group of related ones could be kicked over to another editor for queuing up as a supplement.

  3. 3 ideas that are probably unhelpful, unworkable and I supect uncommentable on given they probably relate to internal processes.

    1. Incease Pyramid page count slightly, probably with an acceptable price point increase. Downsides: more work for SJ Games and possibly there is some price in elasticity at $8 especially as GURPS 4E ramps up.

    2. More frequency eg ok X month is going to be DF bumper month you get 4 issues in 4 weeks as a once off.
    Downsides lots more work SJ Games, probably would be too much of a good thing (though last it might have filled a whole last year), money: can someone spend $32 on pyramid in a month.

    3. All stars books/articles that pyramid couldn't hold/ GURPS X topic

    Some articles submitted in Pyramid that could be the basis for another project get held over for a book on that topic. Im thinking here about a lot of the DF articles frex the Mystic Knight, Demolisher, Musketeer might have made it into an actual DF volume, their quality and utility is as high as things like Ninja.

    Downsides: if theres any hint people could have got these articles in Pyramid then perhaps subscribers would feel dudded, these artcles are some of the best reasons to subscribe to pyramid so why take them out?!, more work for SJ Games, puts these artcles into a different pipeline that means relative to pyramid they have a different cost and production timeline, more product on the market that depending on GURPS releases may be too much at any one time.

    Anyway I'm happy that so many good articles are coming in.

  4. Please be aware that the size and frequency of Pyramid issues aren't flexible or negotiable. SJ Games wants a monthly 'zine capped at 40 pages including the endpapers and ads. It also specifies the need for ads, so we can't take those out. What we can control is the theme . . . and I think Steven has been doing a great job with that of late.

    As for kicking long, high-quality articles over to supplements with "GURPS on the front: Sure, in principle, that would be a nice idea. In practice, our submissions process is frozen at the moment, despite my use of everything but nuclear fusion to thaw it. When it does thaw, first crack has to go to the established freelancers who've supported the game for years. Breaking in new authors from the Pyramid ranks is important to us, but it's definitely more work for editors and a bigger gamble for marketing.

    1. You pretty much hit my concerns in this post. I know there is nothing to do about it (and complaining or "Are We There Yet?" comments ain't gonna help either) – I just wish…I wish things were different. Again, I'm not complaining here and I have utmost respect for you Sean, Steven, PK, and Nikki.

    2. Rather than longer issues in general, I wonder if SJGames would be able to consider an Annual giant-sized issue (possibly at a proportionate increase in price) ? Just spit balling but it seems like something like that would get some more room in the slush without a significant change to Pyramid in general.

  5. We all wish things were different. In particular, those of us on this end of the process wish GURPS books were selling hundreds of thousands of copies (as opposed to "hundreds OR thousands"), justifying the line getting as much attention, priority, and resources as our board and card games. We're fortunate that the line is profitable and relatively popular — enough so to continue justifying new releases and a dedicated monthly zine.

    1. My original thoughts on this topic were in relation to authorial comments about "gee, nothing on the wish list is terribly inspiring or something I want to write about." Thus, having a list of open topics that support the most popular GURPS lines addresses THAT issue.

      However, and thanks to all the SJG staff for the commentary, the rate limiting step in GURPS out the door material right now is not getting good stuff. It's something else.

      That of course begs the question of what you do when your problem is "I have so much good stuff to sell I don't know what to do!" and that has pretty clear direction when discussed in my MBA type background.

    2. FWIW, this was me trying to reply to Christopher's reply to Sean, above. I don't use Blogspot and apparently clicked on the wrong Reply link.

    3. Oh, I know, wishes and fishes and all that. If I've come across as argumentative or deprecating – that was far from my intent. I just wanted to express the…I'm loathe to call it agitation, because that's not right, but close enough I guess – at the situation. I'm pretty sure no one else is happy about it either. GURPS has the seeds of popularity within it, but damn if I know how to plant and harvest them with the tools at hand. I suppose that's not even my place really. I can't change things directly, so I do what I can and hope that that's enough. Again, the sheer transparency and openness about such matters with you guys just drive home the difference between you and your competitors. I've never seen or heard of anything like it. It's one reason why I carry as bright a torch as I do for SJ Games.

    4. The seeds of popularity have always been there, but the people who have control over the game's frequency of publication, look, advertising, price, and store placement – and who have the final call on what we publish in the first place – are engaged in a balancing act that has to put Munchkin and similar hot sellers first. If there's a flaw, it's that these tasks haven't been delegated to different people who have a shorter list of responsibilities and fewer hats to wear (Nikki, PK, Steven, and me). But of course GURPS is a former flagship property with a lot of history and reputation attached, so "Just delegate already!" is easier said than done, and facetious to boot.

      You'll note that I didn't mention the text inside yet. That's because I think it's a B-list concern. People routinely play complex RPGs and wade through long books. If those things were really barriers to success, then Pathfinder, for instance, wouldn't be the powerhouse it is. Reality is that to succeed, a game needs visually appealing books in large stores, and lots of support in the form of game aids (like minis customized to the line's signature monsters) and official events. That's marketing, not rules, and not something a digital 'zine can do much to help with.

      This isn't me saying that I take no pride in the quality of the written content. In fact, I stake my self-worth on that. The past few years of slow releases – and GURPS slipping from the lists of top RPGs and SJ Games' priorities – have taken a real toll on my happiness level. But my values and mental state have no effect on market perceptions. Even among GURPS fans, I find myself answering far too many questions with, "There it is, in black and white, on p. 00." I suspect that actually reading the books hasn't been a priority for gamers in some years.

    5. Wow. That's…very candid, Sean. Thank you. I can't say I disagree with anything you said there. And like I said upthread – I'm not trying to jump on anyone's back. I know you guys have a hard time. I know this, and that's why I don't often speak about it, but when I thought, I was making Steven's job more difficult…that just made my heart plummet. He probably doesn't think anything of it, but the man took something that cost me nothing but time to create and gave me a means to avoid slipping into a dangerous metabolic state from lack of insulin (DKA). I won't forget that. I was a couple of days away from a hospital stay when he emailed me the acceptance of "Bottled Magic." So it causes me real, gut-wrenching agony to think that I made his job (or any of you, Nikki, or PKs) harder than it needed to be. I wish someone would let me volunteer my time. I'm a hugely quick study at whatever I put my hands too, again, I know that's above your pay grade, but I know the style guide backward and forward – I'm sure my time could be put to some kind of use (were it allowed anyways). If it makes you feel any better, you're one of my favorite writers of any sort of book. Top Five easily. 🙂

    6. Personally I thought the group supporting new writers to get into Pyramid and hence them promoting their work and hence GURPS was a good idea.

      Back to working on another consumer side strategy to boosting GURPS popularity.

      That is other than buying as much as we personally can afford 'cause thats an automatic.

      I've thought for a long while the key to THS was more fanfiction/ game reports just so people could see what the setting was about. Doesn't directly apply to the rest of the line though.

  6. as for Pathfinder being material heavy, it capitalizes on the existing marketing and previous efforts of DnD as a whole. Its the first game to break the cherry of many gamers and they would have allocated much of their budget and time to DnD. GURPS and many other RPGs have to work as secondary or teritiary RPG, many try to do marketing by association with various fantasy lines and GURPS have succeeded with Dungeon Fantasy just reinforces the fact that the Market landscape will have everything measured as compared to DnD (anchoring effect) regardless of the merits of other systems.
    If that opinion is acceptable then adapting a strategy that takes into consideration DnD and all the other established brands in the marketplace means asymmetric marketing and product design.
    Note that I really appreciate everything that SJgames and its writers have produced and I'm sure its more complex that I can comprehend even with the insight provided above.

  7. I do try to be truthful rather than a "yes man" or a drone. SJ Games pays me, but they don't expect me to shut up as long as what I say is respectful and doesn't give away the release schedule . . . I have a LOT of respect for that, because some bosses insist on a party line even when that's painfully obvious spin control.

    The current respectful truth is this: SJ Games wants GURPS to continue but can't spare the resources to make it a leading priority. When I say "resources," I am not referring to content creators; SJ Games has a surfeit of staff-writing and editing power, so if the problem were simply processing the written word, there would be no problem. The holdup isn't even with layout or art talent; we have fine production staff and a string of reliable freelance artists (and some staff artists as well). Rather, this is a high-level finding-the-boss-hours-to-approve-projects matter, with a dash of an equally high-level allocating-limited-marketing-time matter.

    Thus, I don't think there's much we can resolve here. We do not need volunteer hours, more or better submissions, or anything else from the writer base. I'm not even sure the popularity of the game is related to the words on the page . . . I suspect it has a lot more to do with marketing and placement. Altering how Pyramid does its thing would indeed help with that, but that isn't Steven's decision; it gets back to bosses and marketers and high-level decision-making.

    The best thing that Nikki, PK, Steven, and I can do is our job, as efficiently as possible. The best thing that Pyramid writers can do is continue to submit articles so that Steven's problem is closer to an embarrassment of riches than a drought; I'm sure he appreciates brainstorming on how to run the 'zine, but he's in no position to act on the resulting ideas. The best things that fans can do are buy our stuff and, almost more important, bring non-GURPS fans to the system. Everything else is up to the Powers That Be, who've run the company quite well for 30 years, so let's not freak out at them just because our favorite stuff isn't the current golden child.

    1. While I'm very proud to be a GURPS author, I suspect that I may have brought more people to the game by the GURPS demos I've run over the years. Pretty much every game, I get someone who says something along the lines of "oh, I expected that to be really complicated, but it wasn't". And of course I don't even meet the people who see GURPS listed as the system and shy away from the game on that basis, even though I always say "no experience needed".

    2. GURPS definitely has an image problem where being complicated is concerned – I don't deny that! I've done a fair amount of in-person polling of gamers, including quite a few people who knew who I was and straight-up said things like, "GURPS? You guys really need to learn how to design a playable game." Their views on complexity always flow from one of three roots:

      1. Too many supplements. The biggest irony is that gamers bemoan the lack of support for games . . . and then use the presence of support to justify not playing said games. As selling supplements is how we make our living, we can't do much about that.

      2. GURPS Vehicles. With apologies to David Pulver, this supplement was the origin of the "too much math" meme. Before it, GURPS was the go-to system for well-researched supplements; after it, GURPS was the go-to system for geeky number-crunching. We can't really "undo" this.

      3. Too many traits. GURPS probably does have too many advantages, skills, etc. If there's ever another edition, I would like to remedy that. I cannot address the matter right now, though, and attempts to point out how (say) wildcard skills help with it fall on deaf ears, as they aren't the primary system but a bolt-on.

      Certainly, nobody has to use all the supplements, much less specific ones (like GURPS Vehicles), or all the content of any given product. But gamers are collectors, so they want to accumulate everything and become annoyed when doing so breaks their budget. This in turn leads to them growing annoyed when they can't use every word their money buys.

      Yet complexity is really a secondary complaint. The primary one is that the game is "flavorless." This problem is endemic to generic systems, and a hard one to solve. People want stat names to sound relevant to the genre (e.g., Zanshin rather than Awareness in a Japanese martial-arts game, or Guts rather than Will in an action game). They want mechanics specific to the game, like Blood Points for vampires and Sanity for investigators of TMWNMTK. They want the examples to be in-genre. Heck, they want the fonts to be in-genre.

      Generic really didn't light many fires, and GURPS will always suffer from that. Series like GURPS Action, GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, and GURPS Monster Hunters are a step in the right direction, but they still draw on the big, generic core rulebooks. A future edition would do well not to release the generic core until after a few years have passed and a few completely self-contained and thoroughly re-skinned and genre-differentiated games have been published.

      Finally, there's the name: GURPS. It has history on its side, but I'm not sure it inspires people. I'd favor departing from it with something that suggests a common thread running through the aforementioned genre-differentiated games, rather than a promise (never quite realized) of handling all genres equally well. Something like "3-D Engine" (for 3d6) would work, though I'm sure Google would tell me it's taken.

    3. The problem that I'm having with continuing to submit articles that remain unpublished is that I don't get anything out of it. I think mainly I'd like to get into Pyramid for four reasons (in order of priority):
      1) Disseminate my good ideas in a vehicle with good circulation in it's intended audience.
      2) Get alpha geek credibility.
      3) Establish myself as a GURPS author so that larger (e23 length) projects might get written and published.
      4) Make some extra spending money (which will mostly go to subsidize GURPS purchases).

      It's very discouraging at least from my perspective, as a new unpublished GURPS author, to not get any feedback from Steven at all. No rejection letter. No request to make changes. No "This article is good, but there wasn't room in the intended issue." Next Thursday I get to find out which of my submissions weren't accepted, which has me dreading Pyramid rather than looking forward to it.

      Now I don't expect there's anything that anybody can do about this, but I wanted to express how it feels from my perspective.

    4. Having been published elsewhere, I can say: the level of feedback I've had from Steven (and Rev PK for Will to Live) is way more than I've had from any other publisher. And that includes sometimes hearing nothing from Steven for six months at a time. Seriously, one of the required attributes of the freelancer is persistence.

    5. Not sure if this is going to Kromm but ..
      That respectful and honest treatment of fans and customers is why I started with and contnue to stick with GURPS more then any other reasons.
      It is a great system but would drop it in a heartbeat (and did for over a year a few years back) if I felt SJG was not in the quality customer service game.

    6. Sure it isn't different from say writing unsolicited short fiction, except that if I submit a story to Asimov's, or whatever I am doing it mainly for the money. Anyway I am probably just having a bad week. SJGames in general and Steven in particular are awesomely professional, I don't want anyone to think that I don't think that. I am just being mopey.

    7. Sean makes a good point on Flavor in a generic game, and as he alludes, the biggest issue is the second part of GURPS name, the Universal element, and its relation to complexity.

      The more exotic and specific flavor you add to specific settings – a dozen different unique magic or technology systems, skills or traits with particular names, and so on – the more problems you have keeping the system also Universal because if you have set up a common set of rules in the first place, you cannot stop GMs from combining them together, and that result is unintended complexity on a massive scale

      GURPS loves do-it-yourself metasystems, but again its goal of Universality combined with its stated precepts of working with real-world measurements and reality checking often lead to massive rules bloat and complexity – case in point being my Vehicles
      On GURPS Vehicles, it did indeed help give GURPS a reputation for excessive complexity. Oddly enough, at the time, this was seen was a plus: my original contract for Robots/Vehicles has a requirement to "make this a complexity freak's wet dream!" written in red ink by the GURPS line editor. I believe their intent was to compete directly with similar books from competitor GDW, which had been doing well at the same time.

      The main problem was that for over a decade after Vehicles came out, there was a requirement that every vehicle design or subsystem HAD to stay compatible with it. So instead of remaining an optional super-detail system it instead infected all other elements of the system. This is something 4th edition tried to avoid by design.

      (Though, for the current edition of GURPS Vehicles, I was once again editorially requested to make it super complex,to cater to fans of the old who DID like the complexity).

    8. I and my group liked the old Vehicles, though the Spaceships line has its good points to and both are good to have.
      Make it compatible with points so we can have vehicles as allies (bioships) or Supers and some super science or cinematic switches to handle the glass cannon problem and I will be in heaven.

  8. While the commentary thread has (incredibly usefully) drifted away from Pyramid, I think the model I'd like to follow, and Sean alludes to in his comments, is the GUMSHOE one. Effectively a complete game, with the core choices on what to include and not, being released for any given genre treatment (like Discworld, if I understand it correctly). DF would be done that way, Monster Hunters, etc. Hardback releases with the proper flash and heft.

    Not that there's the staff for it, but I think that would hit the right tone. Lots of cool optional material, as is happening now, but a "big stuff" release on a periodic basis that's basically a complete game, not even requiring the Basic Set. If GURPS were to (ha ha ha) follow the SRD model, that would also be a interesting step, since it would allow fan support – one could, for examle, code the SRD rules into a VTT as a fan, and release it, as is done in Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds, and have true dedicated support for easy online play.

    1. The GUMSHOE model is great if you're looking at overall releases, but what if you actually liked playing (say) Esoterrorists as distinct from ToC or Mutant City Blues or…? Where's the ongoing support for that, now that the company's moved on to the cool new thing? As David points out, a small company can't put out enough support to carry multiple game lines.

  9. In theory, sounds good, though I suspect the end result would be that support would be channeled into one or two genres and everything else would be left to wither away, for the simple reason that no company the size of SJ Games can afford to support multiple semi-compatible game lines for long.

    The trouble with multiple sub-lines is the compartmentalization of the customer base. In theory, if all of GURPS is one line there is much more encouragement for people to buy any given product in the hopes that it will contain some material of use in their game.

    If each product line is compartmentalized, there is far less incentive to do this, especially as each line also contains overlapping material that they already own.

    This results in a temporary spike in interest as its new core book is released, but loss of overall sales as most gaming groups end up supporting only one or two core books and ignoring the rest of the line.

    What often seems to happen is that mid-sized game companies start up with the idea of individual books that are stand alone – but within 3-4 years, if they are successful, realize that this model is not sustainable due to fragmentation of their customer base. They end up either dropping sublines in favor of the one or two products that sell best for them, or alternatively, recreating a generic system. (There are exceptions to this model, of course, but it does seem to recur quite a lot.)

  10. To my mind the suggestion and the concerns are good ones but easily dealt with, at least in priniciple.
    Pick a line, say one per year to avoid overload and harm to existing projects.
    Make this new line like some of the Liscenced products have been. Dont use Powered by GURPS but make it use the GURPS rules but self sufficent.
    Action, Dungeon Fantasy and Monster Hunters all have good concepts and hit popular themes.
    Release a core book that has just the relavant stuff from the Basic Set and the material from the rest of the line that fits the desired page count.
    Call it Action Primer! Dungeon Fantasy Primer and Monster Hunter Primer!
    (or come up with a better name, not my forte)
    Make it a softcover to reduce costs and make it splashy and self contained but with an option to expand using the regular PDF system.
    You have a core product that has its own name but resembles others in the grouping enough to keep company branding. Those who read it will get references (if only ad copy) to the main GURPS line.
    Current customers may buy it for the consoladtion factor but if you do not include lots of new material they wont feel railroaded into buying what is mostly a reprint.

    Edit the website AND the new book to specify which existing products are included so no one buys something they already have unless they want to.
    Now you have a flashy new book to promote the specific line, overall GURPS recognition and did nothing to harm the current customer base. Dont push GURPS in the Primer, just mention it inside in key places. That way you dont scare people off who are intiiaded by the name or misconceptions yet once they have the book they know they can get more stuff.

    Using the existing lines you have minimal royalty issues as most – if not all – the content was done by staff, proven sales for the concepts, and lots of editing but not much new writing so lower overhead to test the idea.

    New lines if that works could be done too, or you could just pick something new and try it out.
    look at third Edition stuff that has not been converted first perhaps. Or something totally new and cool.
    A world book could work like that but would have to be a popular author for the risk.
    But for some reasons people like prebuilt settings, even if most GURPS people make thier own, the newcomers like to stat off easier.
    Since David is here too, an example of 3e to use would be something like Mecha Battles Primer! which would work on Mecha (and maybe robots too) but include enough of Basic to be playable on its own.
    The latter approaches mean existing customers buy material they already know but I doubt it has to really be more then a chapter of duplicated material.

    1. You know, during the 90's they did something more or less like this for GURPS in Portuguese (http://www.devir.com.br/rpg/mgurps.php). I think their goal was to attract new players and make something that could be used for educational purposes, given that GURPS had already proved to be a very good system for historical campaigns.

      About the wish list issue, I have an idea. It may be crazy (and probably is, for some reason I fail to see), but here we go:
      Create an official GURPS webpage (gurpsworld.com or something like that) with all the good stuff that didn't make it into Pyramid due to the limited space. Authors (newbies and pros alike) would send their articles, but the articles would be "peer-reviewed" by SJG staff (and possibly some established collaborators as well). So, if your article made it into the website, congratulations, you have just written official GURPS material.
      If an article (or collection of articles) becomes very popular, it could be turned into an actual supplement via a Kickstarter project or something like that.
      A website with free, official, but fan-made material could be a marketing tool, with a minimum of extra work for SJG staff. What do you guys think?

    2. The rate-limiting step would be the peer review by SJG staff. That's 'on-the'clock' work, and if it doesn't generate revenue for SJG, that's a no-no for a limited staff working a limited revenue product line. Now, if GURPS World were some sort of subscription service, that would at least be revenue, but then you'd be asking what Pyramid is for, since if Steven's getting more than one month of stuff for each month that goes by, almost everything will wind up on this new venue. So then you'd either raise the price of Pyramid (which will irk folks) or deal with a huge amount of material out there that's undercosted.

      I think ultimately, we're just in a tough spot cause by being in between two Kickstarters (Ogre and the promised Car Wars follow-on). Eventually, people will get a breather, and the projects will flow like the spice. And our eyes will turn blue. Until then, we probably wait and kvetch. Politely. 🙂

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