An e-mail from Asparagus Jumpsuit detailing the state of their business.
This is officially the last message from Asparagus Jumpsuit. We will cease to exist as a business entity at midnight on 31 December, 2015. During our run we garnered a lot of 5-star reviews, and had Electrum, Silver, and Copper Best Sellers at DriveThruRPG. We created 3 full roleplaying games under the Powered By Fate banner, and published a ton of game aids for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
A lot of things have changed since the company began. I started Asparagus Jumpsuit while in business school as a learning lab, so I could put some principles and concepts to the test and gather data for projects and papers. It helped me to learn more about the industry, and gave my an understanding not only about what works and what doesn’t, but why those things function the way they do. The company contributed greatly to my academic success, and helped me to graduate magna cum laude.
There are limits to being a third party publisher working with other peoples’ games under an open game license, though. People will always see you as being derivative, and while creative restraint can lead to interesting places, the limitations can also be frustrating. On the business side, you’re not only in direct competition with every other publisher creating material under the same license, you’re competing with the 800 pound gorilla that is the original publisher. You might create the greatest Fate material ever published — I’m not claiming I did, to be clear — but you’re still playing on Evil Hat’s playground. You could theoretically create the greatest Pathfinder sourcebook ever conceived of in the history of man, but you will always be in Paizo’s shadow.
That’s not meant to be a dig at the intellectual property owners who so very generously allow other people to tinker with their creations and make money doing it. It’s certainly not meant to disparage all of the wonderful third party publishers who do absolutely amazing things with licensed properties. It’s just not for me. It’s kept me from what I really want to do creatively, and it limits what I’d like to accomplish as a publisher. So, it’s time to move on.
On 1 January 2016 Asparagus Jumpsuit will be replaced by a new company, with a new outlook and a new mission. Dancing Lights Press, which you can find by running those words together and adding “.com” at the end, will be publishing a house game system, upon which I’ll be hanging original settings. There will be system-agnostic material, aimed at players and gamemasters rather than specific rules sets, genres, or worlds. There will also be creative tools for genre writers, crossing that narrow bridge between tabletop games and fiction. The mission is to help you to nurture your creativity, regardless of the form it takes.
I’d like to thank everyone who has helped to make Asparagus Jumpsuit a success, and I hope you’ll come along with me on the next leg of this ongoing journey.