The 2013 ENnies nominations have been announced and voting is now open. I recently spoke with James Edward Raggi IV about his company, Lamentations of the Flame Princess (LOTFP). Jason Rainville’s cover art of “The Magnificent Joop van Ooms” has been nominated for Best Cover Art. You can see the full piece here. Voting begins on Monday, July 22 and runs to Wednesday, July 31. The ceremony itself will be on Friday, August 16, in the Union Station Grand Hall at 8 pm with the cocktail reception beginning at 6:30 pm.
Michael Tresca (MT): Tell us about your company.
James Edward Raggi IV (JERIV): LotFP is a small publishing house out of Helsinki, Finland. We started up in July 2009 and have dozens of releases at this point. We’re part of the “Old School Renaissance” and our core game is more-or-less a retro-clone (or next-generation clone depending on how snippy you are about terminology), but then the story gets strange because we’re all about new and different approaches using the old school skeleton.
Vornheim: The Complete City Kit is a book that’s won a technology award at a video game convention, Carcosa gets purchased by people who have no interest in the contents but just collect physically impressive books, we’ve got some stuff heavily influenced by strange horror cinema and underground heavy metal, and other stuff that’s barebones hexcrawling in the classic style. It’s all about treating each project as its own thing and releasing books that stand as their own thing instead of releasing a string of books as a “product line.”
MT: Have you had any other products nominated for ENnies in the past?
JERIV: The Grinding Gear was nominated in 2010 I think it was for Best Adventure. We’ve also had a couple Honorable Mentions for Death Frost Doom and Vornheim: The Complete City Kit.
MT: Why should voters vote for your product? What sets it apart?
JERIV: The good thing about the cover art category is that it’s easy for anyone to just do a Google search and see all the entries and make a judgment. No money need be spent and no real time need be spent to make an informed vote. As to why this one should win… yes, I am biased, but look at the Ooms cover. Then look at the other covers. Then the Ooms cover. Obvious choice is obvious.
MT: How do you feel about the state of the gaming industry today?
JERIV: It’s looking OK in my small corner of the gaming world. Sales and interest have been steadily increasing since the beginning of the company. From a fan’s point of view, I don’t know how one could complain… there’s something for everyone out there.
MT: How hard is it for a game publisher in this economy?
JERIV: Depends what your goals are. Make a lot of money? Good luck! Making the money back on a cool project with sufficient production values and half a brain towards promotion? It’s not all that difficult.
MT: How has Kickstarter influenced your business model, if at all?
JERIV: Kickstarter is a wonderful tool for going into debt as you use it to release a 32 page softcover adventure but oh no the adventure that’s turned in fills 160 pages and why not make a hardcover and OH LOOK postage rates have increased twice since you set your pricing on the campaign… plus all these stretch goal trinkets that sounded like such a good idea at the time still need to be made and YES YES WE KNOW IT’S LATE what do you people want, for us to rush it at this point so you get a product that’s already late AND crappy because we’re getting yelled at to finish it?
MT: What’s next for your company?
JERIV: We have a pile of brand new releases: the new Rules & Magic hardcover (to be the new core book since we sold out of Grindhouse box sets), Kenneth Hite’s Qelong adventure setting, D. Vincent Baker’s Seclusium of Orphone, my new adventure F**k For Satan (limited to 666 hand-numbered copies…), plus a new shirt design and bookmarks and all that fun stuff.
After dealing with these mailouts, we’ve got a new Referee hardcover book to finish, plus Zak’s followup(s) to Vornheim, plus stuff by Zzarchov Kowolski and Rafael Chandler and Jeff Rients and Kelvin Green and Dave Brockie and it never ever ends…
MT: Will you be at Gen Con? Where?
JERIV: Unfortunately not. LotFP is small enough that going across an ocean to do a convention is just not financially feasible at this point. Plus, while vendors selling our stuff haven’t run into any problems yet, if we pay for trans-Atlantic flights and the booth and dressing and hotels, that’s going to be the year someone complains about content and we get shut down by the con.
MT: Where can we find out more about your company online?
We’ve also got a Facebook page and a Google + community.
MT: Anything else you’d like to share?
JERIV: Listen to Blood Ceremony, Jess and the Ancient Ones, Mercyful Fate, watch A Field in England, and read Genital Grinder by Ryan Harding. If you want to get a full-force taste of LotFP without paying a dime, you can download our 2013 Free RPG Day release, Better Than Any Man, for free here.
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