In an interesting move that’s almost a political statement, the Reaper minis kickstarter that’s going crazy ($2.5M, 13,590 backers) is giving away a Swords & Wizardry PDF with the big set of rewards now.
The weird thing about that is that the Swords & Wizardry PDF is already available for free. So this is less a giveaway and more a promotion. And it’s likely to be a successful promotion; I don’t know how many people have downloaded Swords & Wizardry ever but I think another 13,500 is a very significant percentage of that number.
I think it’s interesting that a minis company would push something like that basically for no real business benefit (they are selling Pathfinder branded minis, so some giveaway there wouldn’t have been as much of a surprise – or heck, it’s 3e/4e that have pushed miniature use in general a lot more than earlier D&D did, but the financial give-back from any OSR promotion is likely to be in the “maybe it’ll buy a latte” range). I know some of it’s just personal interest, here in central/north Texas there’s a lot of OSR going on, but one can’t help but reflect during the D&D Next playtest what the implications of a lot of new blood getting their hands on the old rules might mean. Positive things I hope; Next is starting to bloat during playtest from Basic to 4e very quickly, perhaps people will get a taste of a more stripped down ruleset and realize they don’t need all those layers of rules for fun.
My verdict – ballsy, interesting, good on you guys!