Allow me to chime in with my thoughts, opinions and experience as the “biggest” 3rd party content creator for ICRPG. In terms of pages published, I think I’m the 2nd dude after Hank in the ICRPG scene.
I’m gonna start with the harsh truth first:
Polished end products take a lot of time, but they only pay pennies.
In other words, the amount of work that needs to be put in does not justify the return. It is nowhere near it actually. That’s why people enter the publishing scene with a fray but they disappear after a short while. This doesn’t hold for one person only: Hank. He’s the head honcho and he creates a lot of things with his social media presence. He does commissions and supports himself in many ways, in addition to publishing.
Any 3rd party publisher has none of this. So us plebs have to support ourselves with product sales only and that doesn’t work.
Personally, I’m not gonna complain because for a nobody, I shattered any self publishing barriers thanks to the amazing ICRPG community which has supported and is still supporting me. I couldn’t have dreamed of being a best seller without you guys.
I’m still here, and I expect to be here but that’s because I changed my thinking about publishing. It is now only a hobby for me, not a source of income, because it can’t be. When I started my journey 4 years ago, I was thinking maybe this could be my profession. Last year I saw that it can’t be.
The reason I haven’t been publishing in over a year is simply because I can’t afford it. I can’t afford the time and effort. My Khan’s Spells and Feats books took 3 months of full time work each. They are great books in my opinion, both in content and production but such a quality comes at a cost. I don’t have such a time anymore because I have two new jobs which I have to focus on to earn money.
My jobs are improving, but they still need a lot of time and energy on my part. This won’t be like that in the future, as in the time investment will get less and less in the coming years but I’m nowhere near there yet. So, I have to keep my publishing efforts to a minimum.
For a long time, creating adventures was in my radar. I saw the need in the community, like a couple guys are already saying in this thread. DIY systems are great but sometimes you don’t want to. You don’t have the creative energy, you don’t have the time to create something polished, so and so forth. There is a real need for content in the community.
The question is though, “how much need is there?”.
ICRPG’s “any setting is possible” approach is actually problematic from this perspective. It is great for the system because we can play any games we like with this one simple system. On the other hand, I have no way of knowing how many sales I can get for any genre, be it sci-fi, fantasy, modern etc. That’s because there is fragmentation in the user base. For 3rd party content, it is a big headache.
Long story short, there are many problems in the 3rd party publishing scene.
This isn’t why I haven’t published any adventures yet though. Like I said, I was looking at this as a hobby, and money wasn’t an issue.
The issue is time. I have only so much free time to dedicate to publishing and after playing D&D 5E for many months, I once again saw how bad that system is. Inspiration struck and I started working on my new RPG system aimed primarily at D&D players.
It is basically D&D in the form of ICRPG, but much more simplified and streamlined, with tweaks where necessary to plug the weaknesses and stupidities I see in D&D each week at my gaming table. Yet it will mostly be ICRPG combatible. I expect that any new rules I introduce can be ported to ICRPG without any problems.
Anyway, it will take a long time to finish and it takes up all my alotted publishing time for the time being. That’s why I’m not writing any adventures currently, even though that would be fun.
In a few months, my writing should slow down and I’d need to test the system at the table. Maybe then I’ll be able to write an adventure. Who knows.
As a note, any adventure I would create would be just like @JDH says and what @chamochin expects: They would work as a baseline with multiple options and you’d be able to hack them to fit your vision and your table.
As the final note, publishing needs to be supported to happen.
Cheers for reading my impenetrable wall of text.