Someone recently asked me why I was planning on releasing Fantasci for free when it was done. He basically wanted to know what folks who contributed and helped make the book happen "got" that folks who just downloaded the free PDF didn't "get".
First, let me say that it never occurred to me not to release it.
But after being asked, I thought about whether or not it made sense, beyond just my impulse that it's the "right thing to do".
First, I think being the right thing is a great reason.
But I also happen to think, if you're someone who wants to see this game made and see it flourish, that it's the smart thing.
First, if you wanted to run a game, you're going to end up sending copies of the rules to folks anyway. So having it up for free on RPGNow means you can use their bandwidth rather than your own.
Not a "make or break" reason but it is more convenient.
But most importantly, I think having the game out there makes it much more likely to flourish. Someone you've never met might download the game and run a play-by-post that you could then play in.
Supplements and adventures for the game also become much more viable as well, since I could release an adventure and then say "want to see the rules this was written for? they're here and they're free!"
So I guess I can see the appeal of having something that only you have, like that unknown van Gogh in a vault somewhere, but I think it's better, all around, for things like this (that depend on social networks if I can go all Ryan Dancey on you) have a better chance to take root and thrive, the more exposure they get.
End philosophical blathering