Buying to not use

payn

Legend
I prefer materials, especially physical products, get actual use at the table…mostly because the price point is often drastically higher than non-gaming materials. If the plan is to only read, I prefer novels or cheaper non-fiction takes on the same material. Such as a paperback or hardback about the lore and world of Legend of Zelda instead of a $60-70 game book set in the LoZ universe. I don’t feel the need for bespoke and custom-designed rules for every world or setting. But I will buy products (or refuse to buy products) that I want to see more (or less) of.
I think the nature of bespoke design has changed for the better. A lot of the Free League stuff has been popular because it delivers an expected experience. In the past, many games were designed to be generic systems. For example, 10,20,30 years ago a Blade Runner RPG would likely have rules for starships, plasma rifles, and body augments. It would try and make rules for every possible thing the IP can cover. Problem is that BR themes are specific experiences in that setting, not that setting itself. So, often these first takes at bespoke missed the mark because they were too general for the target audiences.
 

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Jer

Legend
Supporter
I think the nature of bespoke design has changed for the better. A lot of the Free League stuff has been popular because it delivers an expected experience. In the past, many games were designed to be generic systems. For example, 10,20,30 years ago a Blade Runner RPG would likely have rules for starships, plasma rifles, and body augments.
You just reminded me that the original Aliens RPG back in the 90s was published by Leading Edge Games and used a "simplified" version of the system they used for Phoenix Command.

I'm now imagining what their version of a Blade Runner RPG would have looked like...
 

I am pretty discriminating these days when it comes to buying physical books. I typically only get a dead tree version if it is something I am likely to actually use. Maybe the one exception here being setting books which I tend to read cover-to-cover so prefer a physical copy.

With PDFs I am pretty liberal in picking up stuff that looks interesting. They are cheaper and don't take up space so I don't feel bad if I drop a few bucks, spend 30 min or so flipping through it, then never look at it again.
 

Rabulias

the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
I buy a lot of RPGs for their potential use, i.e. that I might use them in the future. I might not be running a desert campaign now, nor do I plan to anytime in the foreseeable future, but I might someday, and since bestiaries, compendiums of spells and items, environmental supplements, etc. all have a long bookshelf-life (see what I did there?), I figure "why not?"
I have definitely bought stuff that I have not used or read, and this goes beyond RPG material too! :confused: I am reminded of this:
Warren Zevon said:
We buy books because we believe we're buying the time to read them.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
I think the nature of bespoke design has changed for the better. A lot of the Free League stuff has been popular because it delivers an expected experience. In the past, many games were designed to be generic systems. For example, 10,20,30 years ago a Blade Runner RPG would likely have rules for starships, plasma rifles, and body augments.
I also just dredged up from the depths of my memory that West End Games towards the end of their corporate life were the kings of licensed games - which they slapped together quickly under either their MasterBook or d6 systems and shoved out the door. The same system to run Tank Girl, Necroscope, Species, Tales from the Crypt, and Indiana Jones. Wild that these were ever RPG properties in the first place, but even more wild that they were published using a system derived from the system created for Torg (of them only Indiana Jones really works as a game - and even then it's just barely).
 

Dioltach

Legend
I have tons of books and gaming material that I bought purely to read and draw inspiration from. I haven't bought much since the days of 3.X, though: I know I'm most likely never going to switch to a new system now (or get my groups to).

On the subject of Aliens: has anyone ever played the boardgame Nemesis? It's Aliens in all but name, and it has a great cinematic roleplaying feel. (The one time I managed to get it to the table my character was killed within three rounds, but the rest of the game was so compelling that I didn't feel excluded. And yes, everyone else died too.)
 

payn

Legend
On the subject of Aliens: has anyone ever played the boardgame Nemesis? It's Aliens in all but name, and it has a great cinematic roleplaying feel. (The one time I managed to get it to the table my character was killed within three rounds, but the rest of the game was so compelling that I didn't feel excluded. And yes, everyone else died too.)
Ohhh, Ill have to check that out!
 

gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
I'm certain, I'm not alone that I have made RPG purchases of products I ended up never using, most often RPG game systems due to lack of my own interest, or not being able to find willing players to try it out. However, I am not a collector of anything, other than memories, so I don't share that common activity other gamers seem to have. Because I am a long time freelance cartographer in the game industry, having served many publishers, on those rare occasions one of my past clients release a product I'm interested in, I just ask for a free download link and they comply, though I don't abuse that too often. Since I publish for Starfinder as third party, I often purchase Paizo's first party rules supplements to keep my content up to date. Most of the game material I deal with on a regular basis are projects I have published or am in development to be eventually published - I'm normally immersed in my own projects and publicatons only, or commissions for clients.
 


dragoner

solisrpg.com
I definitely have bought stuff, such as the charity bundles, to support causes with the knowledge I will never use the games. Other times, I buy stuff just to read, esp if it is popular, to see what that is about. Truly, I probably have enough game material to play for the rest of my life without needing to buy any more. Still I like to pick stuff up, even if just to use an idea for a game I am running.
 

Even if I'm not going to run something, I never know what's going to inspire me. I figure it all goes into the same hopper, and helps expand my creativity. Even if I am never going to run that weird indie RPG, those concepts are going to be floating around in my head when I am running something else. The images or lore in that ultraslick release likewise can inspire without me actually running the game.

I buy as much rpg stuff for inspiration and reading enjoyment as I do for actual use in game. For instance, I buy older edition material still; I buy a few setting and adventure books that I know I'll never use (I'm an inveterate homebrewer); heck, I buy entire games I'll never play because they look or sound interesting (Blue Rose, hello there).

And I am reminded of this in turn:

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I have definitely bought stuff that I have not used or read, and this goes beyond RPG material too! :confused: I am reminded of this:
 


Arilyn

Hero
I have far more games than I'll ever play, but I enjoy reading them and poking through them. Also, sometimes I buy a game assuming I'll use it and I don't. Other games I assumed would not get used, have been played extensively. So, I'll continue to let the rpgs pile up. There are worse ways to spend money!
 

I buy things for theoretical interest, and often because I might use them, but I know a big part of what I buy that will never be true with; the vast majority of my game purchases these days are only in digital form (I only buy physical books, and then only corebooks if I know I'm going to run or play in a game).
 


I buy tons of stuff that I know I'll never use (Alien RPG, for example). Whether or not I buy a physical copy depends on how physically (tactile and aesthetic) desirable I think it is. I'm currently waffling on whether to back Goodman Games' Dark Tower PDF ($50) vs. Physical ($100).

I backed The One Ring 2nd edition but am pretty disappointed in the changes and probably won't play it. However, I'll continue buying all the supplements because: 1) they're gorgeous, 2) they're fun to read even if I don't like the rules, and 3) to support Francesco, who I admire.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I frequently buy books I'm at least pretty sure I won't use. For me that probably means either it looked too cool not to own regardless, and that happens a fair bit, or the game in question is in-theme with something I'm running/writing and the main purpose is to mine the book for ideas and evocative bits.
 

MGibster

Legend
What about you? Do you only buy materials you intend to use at your table? Do you buy materials just to read or just to push the hobby in directions you appreciate?
Before every game purchase, I ask myself how likely it is that I'll actually put the product to use. If I deem it unlikely, I give it a pass, even if I think it's a good game. It's not that I can't afford a bunch of games, I just don't want my house cluttered with games I'll never play.
 

Voadam

Legend
RPGs are my big hobby. I am interested in a ton of stuff and give myself a monthly RPG budget that has gone up with some professional advancements. I buy almost exclusively PDFs now. For the past decade most physical books I have gotten have been gifts.

I was fine running 3e games off of the SRD. I have played many RPGs where I did not own the books at the time or ever fully figure out the rules (Warhammer FRP, Star Frontiers, GURPS, Shadowrun, Vampire the Masquerade, Rolemaster, etc.) I don't need any products to play my hobby.

However I like RPG books, settings and monsters in particular. I want a lot of them. I use a lot of rulebooks and sourcebooks and modules in my games.

I have tons of stuff now in print and PDF. More than I will ever play. More than I will ever read.

Lots of my RPG books I think of as reference material, there if I have a use for them as things come up. When my last campaign as a player wound down and I was asked to take over as DM I threw together a list of 20 adventure path campaign things I owned that I thought would be fun, each with different themes. The group coalesced fairly hard around the Iron Gods adventure path concept and off I went with conversion materials to run it in 5e D&D, and then looking up Post-Apocalyptic and Sci-Fi RPG stuff I had to go with the themes of the campaign. When two players came up with werewolf and werebear concepts for their characters I pulled out my Werewolf the Apocalypse material and we dove into those concepts in my 5e game.

I keep buying PDFs and bundles from Bundle of Holding and Humble Bundle and Itch Io. Even though I have more than I will ever read, there are more I am still interested in having. I expect more to be produced that I will have an interest in as well.

It is good to be in a position where even though I have broad interests in lots of stuff, nothing is a must have, it is all in the would be nice to have type of category.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
I buy most RPG books knowing full well I'll never play them. Mainly I get them just to read for inspiration, and/or to support a particular creator or cause.

One thing I'm really trying to avoid lately is kickstarter FOMO, etc. As pretty as so many projects are, I've become a lot more careful about if/how I'll really use such a book before buying in-- especially for projects that will eventually end up on FLGS shelves, anyway.
 

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