Unreleased AD&D Hardcover by Steve Marsh with Gary Gygax
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Post Posted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 2:44 pm 
 

Howdy Folks,


Finally, something to post in here!

During the running of the David C. Sutherland III auction I was contacted by a number of TSR alums. One of these was Steve Marsh.

Steve as you know did a number of projects for TSR but never headed anyone in particular. That is until he discovered that Jim Ward was receiving some $50,000 a month in Royalties for the Deities and Demigods hardcover!

After numerous communcations with Gary Gygax, Steve and he developed a strong working relationship. Ultimately, their focus became the next hardcover rulebook for the AD&D game. The book would be a treatise on the planes of existence and several modules were to be produced.

Hints of this appear in Dragon Magazine including the model they developed to represent the planes. This appears in Gary's Sorcerer's Scroll column.

The project was bubbling along with success until 1986 when Gary was pushed out of the picture. TSR suddenly became hostile to all Gygax-related projects and Steve was out in the cold. Nearly 6-years worth of collaborative effort between he and Gary had come to naught.

Seeing the success of the Sutherland auction, Steve asked if I would be interested in handling the auctioning of his collection. Of course, I jumped at the chance.

Yesterday, I received his collection in the mail. A few items such as Dragon 1-6 and a few copies of the Strategic Review are all of the published materials. Also included are his notes and typewritten material that went into Eldritch Wizardry, Different Worlds articles, Alarums and Excursion articles, and material/notes submitted for the 1980 Basic and Expert Sets.

The rest of the collection is dozens of letters between Steve and TSR. Letters from Tom Moldvay, David Cook, Lawrence Schick, and many, many, from Gary Gygax. All dealt with the upcoming hardcover and associated adventures. Probably some 1500 pages of typwritten material, monster descriptions, a few of the modules, new character classes, maps, etc. One letter in particular describes the scope of various planes, defining just what a para-, demi-, semi-, extra- plane is. Amazing!

Among the material, are two bound drafts one for the Elemental Plane of Air chapter and one for the Elemental Plane of Fire. These drafts were distributed to the design staff at TSR.

There are more details to come, there is a HUGE amount of material I need to sort. I don't know that anyone has ever auctioned so much personal correspondence or such a large work in progress.

I came here to find out your thoughts on the whole matter. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing? I'm thinking of auctioning the material off piece by piece, instead of one lot. However, it is all part of one larger story so I'm not so sure it is responsible to break up the collection.

Please share your opinions but let's restrict them to the Inner Circle for now. Thanks!


Futures Bright,

Paul


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Post Posted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 9:22 pm 
 

Paul, I would argue strongly that the value of this unpublished ms. lies in keeping it together vs. being distributed out across hundred of possible lots.  If certain crucial chapters/pieces/parts are missing from the whole because they're in other lots, I think that would detract from the possible value of all of the lots collectively (from both a monetary perspective and the value of the contents for a D&D collector).

I'd catalog the contents, then consider setting a high reserve to insure that you and Steve get the value from the auction that you're looking for.

Also, after you assess the contents, if you think that they would be worth publishing, I'd be happy to discuss this with Tadashi as a DWP project.  Even if Steve sells the actual writing artifacts, he still retains his copyright, and it would be nice if this unpublished trove could be made more widely available than just to the winners of the auction, too :D


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Post Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 7:01 am 
 

I'd have to agree, keeping it together is the best thing to do, it does seem a shame to for someone to keep this in a draw and not publish it....

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Post Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 7:00 pm 
 

Howdy All,


While I agree with the part about keeping it together - I also think that it would make for some wicked bidding in an effort to keep it together. It might also make the bidding war an up front fight and not a last second snipe war.

Started reading some of the modules and manuscripts, really great stuff, classic AD&D.


Futures Bright,

Paul


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Post Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 8:15 pm 
 

stormber wrote:Howdy Folks,


Finally, something to post in here!

During the running of the David C. Sutherland III auction I was contacted by a number of TSR alums. One of these was Steve Marsh.

Steve as you know did a number of projects for TSR but never headed anyone in particular. That is until he discovered that Jim Ward was receiving some $50,000 a month in Royalties for the Deities and Demigods hardcover!

After numerous communcations with Gary Gygax, Steve and he developed a strong working relationship. Ultimately, their focus became the next hardcover rulebook for the AD&D game. The book would be a treatise on the planes of existence and several modules were to be produced.

Hints of this appear in Dragon Magazine including the model they developed to represent the planes. This appears in Gary's Sorcerer's Scroll column.

The project was bubbling along with success until 1986 when Gary was pushed out of the picture. TSR suddenly became hostile to all Gygax-related projects and Steve was out in the cold. Nearly 6-years worth of collaborative effort between he and Gary had come to naught.

Seeing the success of the Sutherland auction, Steve asked if I would be interested in handling the auctioning of his collection. Of course, I jumped at the chance.

Yesterday, I received his collection in the mail. A few items such as Dragon 1-6 and a few copies of the Strategic Review are all of the published materials. Also included are his notes and typewritten material that went into Eldritch Wizardry, Different Worlds articles, Alarums and Excursion articles, and material/notes submitted for the 1980 Basic and Expert Sets.

The rest of the collection is dozens of letters between Steve and TSR. Letters from Tom Moldvay, David Cook, Lawrence Schick, and many, many, from Gary Gygax. All dealt with the upcoming hardcover and associated adventures. Probably some 1500 pages of typwritten material, monster descriptions, a few of the modules, new character classes, maps, etc. One letter in particular describes the scope of various planes, defining just what a para-, demi-, semi-, extra- plane is. Amazing!

Among the material, are two bound drafts one for the Elemental Plane of Air chapter and one for the Elemental Plane of Fire. These drafts were distributed to the design staff at TSR.

There are more details to come, there is a HUGE amount of material I need to sort. I don't know that anyone has ever auctioned so much personal correspondence or such a large work in progress.

I came here to find out your thoughts on the whole matter. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing? I'm thinking of auctioning the material off piece by piece, instead of one lot. However, it is all part of one larger story so I'm not so sure it is responsible to break up the collection.

Please share your opinions but let's restrict them to the Inner Circle for now. Thanks!


Futures Bright,

Paul


Paul;

Interesting stuff.  I would have to think it would be too monumental a project to auction every letter, description, draft. etc, separately, not to mention that "out of context" so to speak it might not mean much to even the most dedicated collector (not to mention the mundane collector who wouldn't see the significance of such project notes).  Perhaps the best method would be to group similar projects together.  You should probably photocopy most of it also, and label the copies as such.  Much as this stuff belongs in a "History of gaming" library or somesuch, it will probably eventually go into someone's file cabinet and not be touched for the next 10-20 years, making it useless as a resource.  I know it's thinking ahead but perhaps in the next couple of decades someone will want to put out a definitive "History of Role Playing Games" book or dissertation and having more than one copy of such valuable research tools would be essential.  I seriously doubt any copies that were kept under lock and key by yourself or Steve would either bring down the value of the originals, or lead to rampant dissemination.  
    But back to the subject at hand, if you want to get value for the items and let them get into the hands of someone who will appreciate them, you probably need to start floating the word out there of what you have.  Then anticipation can build, and you can market the items properly.

Mike B.

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Post Posted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 11:34 pm 
 

Steve Marsh Collection Unpub. Ms. The Planes of Existence

Howdy Folks,


Well, Merry Christmas :D The Steve Marsh auction has begun!

eBay listings

Thanks for your input. I hope the structure of the auction is satisfactory to everyone. I believe I managed to maintain the integrity of the collection and the manuscripts/history therein.

Good luck!


Futures Bright,

Paul


The Collector's Trove The online auction house that features the collections of game designers and artists.

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Post Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:43 am 
 

Paul---

Having had the ms. in hand for awhile now, what do you think about it?  Is it worth trying to publish?  If so, is Steve at all interested in talking to a publisher? :D


Allan Grohe ([email protected])
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Editor and Project Manager, Black Blade Publishing
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