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Patrick Zoch
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A question suggested by

Michael Lawing
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Have you purchased 3rd party source books? What are the deciding factors?


Do you have a question you want asked as QOTD? Post here!

And if you want to find an old QOTD: The big QOTD Summary and Subscription Thread Volume 3
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Allen Park
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I have a lot of third party books for some systems. Usually I buy them when they offer solutions to problems that I don't think the official stuff adequately covers.

My weakness though is character development and options. I love spells, feats, traits, etc. I also fall for additional equipment often. I'm not quite as likely to chase books of just weapons, but I still sometimes do.

The truth is I'm a third-party publisher's dream; I even buy most things in print if they're offered that way.
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Lev
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Have I: Yes.

Why: My insatiable curiosity.
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Azukail Games
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Many, many, many Pathfinder supplements. I'm a sucker for big bundles.
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Sam K
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I got in on Matt Coleville's Strongholds and Streaming kickstarter. My reasoning was that I liked his YouTube videos and approach to things, and the idea of a set of rules for assorted castles/ships/other places owned by PCs was appealing to me.
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Mark Wilson
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Yes. Because I was an idiot who allowed FOMO to control my more rational faculties.

There are good 3rd-party supplements. Lots of them in fact. I'd wager, though, that an incredibly small percentage of those purchases are from people who had a burning need for that particular kind of content. Seriously, past a certain point of aptitude, we can create our own unique creatures, or items, or bases, settings, etc. The supplements may save us time. But if we're being honest, it's usually just some variation of FOMO (i.e. "maybe this is amazing!" or "It's raised $1.5 million already!")

I'll still buy them these days, but I have to identify a gap in my gaming first that it fills. If it just seems neat, and I'm rationalizing its use at my table after that moment instead of before, I'm probably not going to use it enough to justify the cost.

On my Youtube channel, I have a vid coming out in a few weeks covering just this, with two books (purchased in the same KS) as case studies. One where I had the need beforehand and sought it out, the other bc it just seemed like a cool add-on in a KS bundle. Guess which one I've used a bunch, and which I've never touched?

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Chuck Dee
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Yes.

Bundles, Humble Bundles, Bundles of Holding are the primary reasons, but sometimes, a good one just comes along, that I can either mine for ideas, or make use of wholesale. And some are even better than the 1p sourcebooks.
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Mark Wilson
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Even with my customary disdain for needless purchasing, I will say that some of those Humble Bundles are pretty unreal. I suppose you need to be cool with digital versions of things. But I got 100's of dollars worth of Numenera stuff for I think $15 not long ago. Even if I only use a fraction of it, I'll consider it worth it.
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Geoffrey Burrell
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A member of my gaming group bought GURPS (4th Edition) as a replacement to the Shadowrun rules. Some of us liked it better than the original rules but others didn't.
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Kerry B.
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Oh, all the time! I'm a sucker for Kickstarters (dozens and dozens so far, and only an actual sucker once--screw you, Sky's the Limit board game!) and will go in on PDF bundles all the time (especially if there's a coupon for physical books).

Part of it is just to be supportive of people putting themselves out there creatively, part of it is the (wildly mistaken) belief that I might be able to use the book sometime before 2089.

I'll support publishers I know do consistently good work, or take chances if I think the idea is novel enough; there are waaaay too many books that are just "Fantasy, but in this one the elves AREN'T jerks! And there's some Greek mythology stuff!" or whatever.
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Art Gorski
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Traveller (Classic) had tons of 3rd party items, and if you're like me and collecting it all, you picked them up. But I especially like anything that was done by the Keith brothers.
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Chris Abbott
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Yes.

Judge’s Guild, FASA, and Paranoia Press for Classic Traveller.

Judge’s Guild for AD&D. Our little company was once told by TSR not to produce any more supplements for AD&D. Wish I’d thought to make a copy of the letter.

Frog God Games and Kobold Press for D&D 5e. Part of a Bundle of Holding or a Humble Bundle.

The quality and suitability can be all over the map, but it’s often the true fans who really dig the games who are worth tapping in to.

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john Whyte
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Yes, Pathfinder and 5e. Oh and OSR but then there isn't really an official publisher there any longer. Oh and 3.5.

The 5e stuff is mostly because it came part of a humble bundle. Usually what I wanted in there is the adventure.

For a sourcebook that I want to purchase I'm looking for some of hte following:
1) Monsters, I love monsters.
2) Good editing. I either need to trust the publisher, or have heard good reviews.
3) A reason for the book to exist. (I like monsters because their reasons are usually obvious). I'm not a big fan of player options unless they are well targeted and and well polished. I like evocative settings that are something different.

My big issue is that I am aware that once a 3PP source book is gone, it's not coming back. And I like print. So I do make purchases of 'it may not be here next time' because I have missed out on a few books that I wanted but which sold out before i purchased them.
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Brian M
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Pretty sure I've never purchased a 3rd party source book, though I've got some that were giveaways or prizes or things like that.

Big reason why I don't buy them being I don't know of any 3rd party sourcebooks for the games I might buy them for.
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Paul Dale
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Yes, way too many. Sadly, intriguing cover art has a part to play in my purchase decisions.....
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Club Squirrel
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A couple of D&D3 ones. Nothing really of note.
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William Hostman
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Yes, I have. With a few exceptions, it's been a bad choice.

For d20:
bought the Scarred Lands bestiary... disappointing.
Avalanche Press: never got any of the other setting books to play... but used I, Mordred: The Fall and Rise of Camelot with Pendragon (ignoring the mechanics). Noble Steeds is well worth the read, too. All their settings were excellent, even if the art was bordering between lurid and porn...

Only found one d20 system conversion worth a damn: T20 The Traveller's Handbook.
I hated what they did with Fading Suns, Didn't have Swashbuckling Adventures until last year, but still haven't read it, D20 Rokugan and OA were, at best, clunky; the several smaller ones I've read make those all look like award-winners.

For Ars Magica - they ceased being third party - Atlas wound up owning the core as well...

For Traveller, specifically MegaTraveller and Classic Traveller, there was a lot of good 3rd party. The best was Digest Group Productions: DGP did so well that GDW hired them to write MT. Gamelords was essentially a group of people who played with Marc Miller. Paranoia Press was so-so. Judges Guild was surprisingly good here. The Adjutant was uninspired. FASA was prolific, but always felt off-the-mark from CT. GW (UK) did some Traveller supps; their tone was darker than GDW's.

Mongoose Traveller is a 3rd party corebook... and while decent as a game, it's not consistent in methodology with other Traveller editions, and the product suffers for it. I've found two of the 3PP's worthwhile: Spica Press Limited and Gypsy Knight Games. GKG jumped ship to the much better mechanically Cepheus Engine (which is closer in tone and mechanics to CT than Mongoose was). Note that Marc Miller considers CE to be part of Traveller as a whole - in the good way, not the sue the pants off the author way - and GKG has been going hog wild with it. Omer Golan has been writing good stuff for years... but most of what I've seen coming out from 3PP's is either "merely for saving a few minutes" or "money grab" level dross.

Edge of Night for CP2020 was well enough written, but was more of a genre mash-up than I like.

Going back to D&D/AD&D (pre-3E)...
Judges Guild: Lousy Production values, decent writing.
Mayfair: that it was a rich man's hobby, not a real business, showed through.
random other 3pp's: always regretted it. without fail. Not that TSR's modules didn't run from "wow" down to "I'd prefer used kitty litter to this..." but none of the 3pp modules I got rose even to "Interesting enough to use"

Even Adventures in Middle Earth (AIME), a 3PP 5E setting, felt like dross to me. I was genuinely shocked at the low writing clarity, especialy given C7's other lines.
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Clark Timmins
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Yes, quite a few. Price is always the factor. Most of the ones I've got have been convention purchases from the discounted bins. I've ended up with quite a bit of stuff at a buck-a-book. Some of it's been worth about a buck. A lot of it's been worth full-price.
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Jamie Hardy
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Outside of a few Judge's Guild items for AD&D, I do not think I own any 3rd party sourcebooks. While I see a few mentions for non WotC products, for the most part, the books I am aware of are the OGL/D20 variety which I stay away from.

There are some resources for WEG Star Wars that have been produced after WEG lost the license that I sometimes use as reference or ideas. I suppose those might count.
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Michael Lawing
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I asked this question after one of my DM's shared Theorems & Thaumaturgy and (my favorite) Wonder & Wickedness with our group. We've dropped some of the spells and flavor from these OSR spellbooks into our 5e game with great results.

These were the first paid third-party books I've used. I guess word of mouth and price would be the biggest things to get me over the edge and pulling out my wallet. I'm a sucker for sick art and evil spells though.

I'd like to try my hand at something like this now. Now that I've seen 3rd party material that's REALLY good.
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Peter Robben
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Sure. Often. My criterium is mostly: "Shiny! Want!"
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Michael Ink
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Yes! Mostly because I love a $5 price point and bringing something odd to a standard game. I also really like many of them because for a $1 or $5 you can get a LOT of good ideas or even a story framework that is not to stifling.
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Brian M
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Now that I'm thinking about it, I guess I might tend to shy away from 3rd party sourcebooks even when they are available. Even 1st party products tend to put out poor stuff, but at least they (presumably) know how they intend their rules to work.

My experiences with 3rd party custom scenarios/rules/etc. for non-RPG stuff is pretty poor.
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Caroline Berg
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I... actually have no idea if anything I have would be considered 3rd party...

Perhaps Black Goat of New Orleans? I didn't purchase it though, it was a thank you gift to my husband from one of his coworkers. And it was worth getting for free... but I can't say it was worth the cost if we had bought it.
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