What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
Castles & Crusades Players Handbook - 7th Print Edition

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Adventure Games Publishing

A few days ago, I posted about the 'Economics of Hobby Publishing' and one of the things I tried to impart was the need for the hobby to support these tiny publishers.  One of these publishers is AGP.  There is no question that James Misher is a talented fellow who is passionate about the Wilderlands setting.  Adventure Games Publishing was founded back in 2006 and was set to publish material set in the Wilderlands of High Adventure which was based on the classic Judges Guild campaign setting.  These were to be done for Castles & Crusades.

When the formation of AGP was first announced, I have to confess that I knew next to nothing about the Wilderlands.  My exposure to D&D came in the late 80s and I was living in Germany at the time which meant what I had access to was a bit more limited.  Thankfully there was a steady stream of TSR material available from a small book store which included Dragon and Dungeon magazines.  I only started looking at the Wilderlands because of the mention of a new company that was supporting the game that I was playing.  I found a copy of the "Player's Guide to the Wilderlands" which Necromancer Games put out and started with that.  I dug deeper into the setting and everything I read, I liked.

"XXXI" was AGP's first release and was limited to 310 copies and went on sale at GenCon 2007.  Within a month, AGP announced Adventure Games Journal subscription which would have been a stunning achievement had it gone as planned.  I ordered a copy of XXXI as soon as it was available and was blown away at the sheer detail of it.  I was hooked and became subscriber #26.  As I didn't have a lot of money at the time (I had just moved to Montreal and was in between jobs), I settled on a 3-issue subscription.  Each 'issue' was a copy of the journal which in turn was accompanied by a gazetteer.  Since I owned little Wilderlands, this seemed like a great way to start.

At first, there were a few delays but this was completely understandable.  Eventually, the first issue of the Journal was released and I was happy.  I was a lot more satisfied with how the Journal measured up to my expectations compared to the Crusader and I was thinking about running a campaign in the setting.

Sometimes things just don't go as planned.  I never did a Wilderlands setting and AGP suffered what could be best called a few 'setbacks'.  In the beginning of October, 2008... a second issue of the journal had yet to materialize and the first gazetteer was not completed.  Subscribers received a detailed letter/email apologizing and offering refunds or a generous amount of page credit in lieu of their subscriptions.  I was happy to stick by his side as a subscriber though and James kept on writing.

Along the way, he has put out some outstanding material.  My favorite (aside from XXXI) is his "Monsters & Treasures of the Wilderlands" book.  In late September of this year, AGP released a series of digest products.  There are 11 in all and a lot of these had been released on PDF but never in a printed format.  With the various changes and growing pains, AGP was trying a new direction.  It was one that I gladly support.

I didn't get the digests at first -- I was hoping that demand for them might have been keeping Mishler busy but I recently decided to cash in a lot of my page credit to get them.  They came in today and I've very pleased.  The covers are very simple... no fancy artwork occupy the cover and most of the booklets just have text.  They are well written but the pages themselves are nothing fancy.  Even the covers come in a variety of colors.  There's a certain 70s 'vibe' to the stuff but with a much better paper and print quality.  Frankly, it adds to the charm of the booklets and I hope to see more of them down the line.  Between these digests and the M&TW book before it, most of my credit is gone now and I'm a very satisfied customer and subscriber.

I can honestly say that James Mishler has done right by me.  If I knew then, the challenges that AGP was to face when I was considering a subscription, I still would have done it.  Mishler's material is just that good.  And despite the Wilderlands 'name' associated with the products, the majority can be used in ANY campaign setting with little to NO modification.  AGP is a perfect example of a small publisher that deserves a growing fanbase and the support that goes along with it.  If you haven't picked up any of the AGP products yet but have thought about it... pick one or two and I don't believe anyone would regret it.  If really unsure which product to pick up, consider "XXXI" which is AGP's first product.

James... if you read this, I do wish to thank you for your efforts.  I eagerly await your future endeavors.

M