This may be a stretch -- a great big stretch -- but it's a "what if" that I'd like to explore: What if the a game company offered custom content for your campaign? What if this content includes all the usual features of standard RPG game supplements? What if it was awesome. Better than anything you could get from WotC, Paizo, or dare I say White Wolf... just for you. What it be worth to you?
RPG companies follow a model where a group of people sit around who are "experts" and think of really cool ideas and then put then into action. They create what they want, or what they believe will sell well (read: what their customers want) - generally - and they may get feedback from the community, tweak things a bit, and eventually publish their product(s). The end result is that you, as a gamer, are faced with either taking what they produce and ADAPTING IT to fit your own home brew or variant campaign; or buy nothing at all.
More often than not the adapting part happens just about every time. Even with new campaigns. This has happened to me countless times: I buy some cool book; try to plug it into my game and then.. ding; I end up tweaking things to make it work. Endlessly. Not that I hate this part that much... sometimes this can be the most fun of a campaign build, but...
Do I have the same amount of time for campaign development as I did when I was 20? or even 30?
What if the tables were turned and you, the gamer, could go to an RPG company and ask them to produce something for you? Custom content is created all the time in other industries for very small venues. Heck, even in my industry (biotech), companies thrive on being one stop shops for nothing but custom solutions for their customers.
Imagine for a moment the following scenarios:
Scenario 1 - The Store Bought Campaign Became Your Home Brew Campaign
Mike & Jan co-DM a campaign that has been running for several years. It started out as a Forgotten Realms campaign, but over time it morphed into their own thing. Sure, the world map is the same and there are lots of things that stayed true to the FRCS canon, but there's also tons of new, custom content that makes it their own. Now, Mike and Jan are busy people. In college they had tons of time, but now with Real Life knocking on the door - time is short, but they still want to game. They have tried shoehorning store bought adventures - but they really don't fit well. Plus, who has time to slog through the hundreds of published adventures out there?
Scenario 2 - The Genre MashUp
Bill has a campaign he's recently started with some friends that mashes up Cthulu with SciFi and Western genres. Nothing, barely, is available to purchase anywhere that fits this bill. Time is short, and adapting store bought material to this unique setting takes time. What can he do?
Scenario 3 - Your World vs. Your Player's World
You've built a great new campaign setting from scratch. You've mapped it out, designed a few cities, jotted notes about a few important groups or factions, set up various story lines, plot hooks or HEX nooks (more about those another day). You're ready to play, and play you do.. and then your players head in the opposite direction you were hoping.
OMG... your rigid campaign has suddenly turned all sandboxy on you!
Fast on your feet, you adapt your world to meet the needs of the game. Your players don't know the difference, but between game sessions you're spending hours pushing out the envelope and rolling out the campaign carpet so that no matter where they go.. there you are. Isn't this exhausting though? What if you could phone or send an email to a team of game developers and say "Hey... I need your help! I've got this game going great, but I need an adventure for next week's session and I don't have the time to put it together!"? Would you?
I know this all sounds ridiculous... but with today's super-social-networked-crazy-crowd-sourcing-meta-mind it should be possible. Right? Why hasn't any company TRIED this?
SUPER GAMES, Inc.We outsource your needs to build the campaign you want for the game system you want.
How valuable would a custom RPG gaming product be for your game? How much time do you spend prepping for gaming each week? What if you could reduce that time to ... oh... and hour? Less?
I'm not asking 'how much would you pay' -- that's a different question. This is not about price.. because this is a ridiculous idea anyway.. it's about VALUE. What would a service like this be worth to you?
OK. You have a number in your head. Let me know in the comments.
Of course... you could also always take this approach, which I'm sure is what we are all basically doing now anyway.