Bucking Conventional Wisdom: System-Neutral Books Don’t Sell

When we started writing Eureka, a massive, system-neutral tome usable with nearly any RPG, the design team knew that we were up against some longstanding RPG industry conventional wisdom:

System-neutral books don’t sell

We respectfully disagree.

Based on our collective experience as GMing bloggers, there’s an appetite among gamers — and in particular, among GMs — for system-neutral material. My first GMing blog, Treasure Tables, was successful, and so is the design team’s current GMing blog, Gnome Stew — and both are completely dedicated to system-neutral material for GMs.

Even if you set aside free-to-read blogs, there are lots of examples in print, as well: Robin’s Laws of Good Game Mastering is a system-neutral classic, and many GURPS sourcebooks, while they include some mechanics, are treasure troves for any RPG. And that’s not even taking into account the system-neutral sections of RPG core books like Spirit of the Century, which features fantastic GMing advice you can use whether or not you’re running FATE, or old-school staples like Palladium’s Compendium of Weapons, Armour & Castles, a well-worn copy of which remains one of my all-time favorite gaming books.

We love system-neutral books (sometimes called “generic” products, which I think is an incredibly unsexy term), and we think many, many other gamers love them as well. They’re incredibly useful, and often tend to be “evergreen” books: It doesn’t matter what edition D&D is currently in, a good fantasy adventure is a good fantasy adventure.

We wrote Eureka because we love it, because we think other GMs will love it, too, and because system-neutral books rock, GMs need them, and we wish there were more of them out there.

Could we be totally wrong about there being a market for a book like Eureka? Absolutely — we know we’re taking gamble here, and we kind of like that. I hope that come July, when preorders open for Eureka, we can take a chip out of that conventional wisdom!

 

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