This post is more of an editorial, and if it’s not your thing, no prob! It’s just a collection of observations and information from what I’ve read or observed of the recent Perfect RPG zine Kickstarter fiasco.
It’s a long and winding road, but here’s a pretty good summary thread of what happened recently with Luke Crane’s “The Perfect RPG” zine Kickstarter project – https://forum.rpg.net/index.php?threads/luke-crane-is-publishing-adam-koebels-work-as-part-of-a-zinequest-project-cw-sexual-assault.877928/
Essentially Luke Crane, who is “VP of Community” at Kickstarter used his position to get some of the biggest names in indie RPG development (along with a few first-time authors) to lend their names and legitimize the return of Adam Koebel to RPG publishing.
It appears he misled the other creators and snuck Koebel into the project right before launching “The Perfect RPG” himself on Kickstarter, and when the other creators found out, they began pulling out of the project.
Crane then cancels the Kickstarter and posts about how creators were “pressured” into withdrawing their names, although all the creators who have spoken out about the project have talked about how they were blindsided by Crane about Koebel’s inclusion, which is what caused them to withdraw.
Since then more stories about Koebel and at least one notable one about Crane ignoring problems reported by female creators about predatory male creators have come out.
It bums me out incredibly, as I’ve backed dozens of RPG Kickstarters over the years, but I had to cancel my One Ring pledge just this past weekend because I couldn’t stand giving any money to a company that houses someone like Crane.
I also think his actions are a threat to the very concept of RPG Kickstarters as a whole as he was willing to throw the reputations of numerous creators under the bus in favor of backdoor platforming Koebel once more. Kickstarters are made or broken on the backs of the reputations of the creators.
What’s more, it appears he was given tools and access to his Kickstarter on a fundamental level that other creators have been denied for years. Not only does he have an elevated voice in his position at VP of Community and former “Head of Tabletop” at the company, he also has the capacity to put his thumb on the scales and signal boost his own projects for his own personal profit over the projects of other creators.
That was more than I intended to write, but I won’t be backing another Kickstarter project until Crane is removed from the company. This was especially difficult as I am a HUGE Lord of the Rings fan and enjoyed the past edition of The One Ring, but I’ll wait until it hits retail before picking up anything for the game.
One more addition to this. Go check out the comments on the Torchbearer 2e Kickstarter to see just how much money this little prank is costing Crane in canceled and refunded pledges. I’m a long-time fan of Mouse Guard, but I’m never purchasing anything from BWHQ (Burning Wheel) ever again.