L4 to be published by Dragonsfoot..
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:23 pm 
 

bbarsh wrote:Mike,
I can't believe I am saying this, but I will do it unless someone else has a strong desire.

I would need a few people to help out.

1) Somebody needs to convert that pdf into a word document.

2) Somebody to help with the maps.

3) A shitload of proofreaders and possible playtesters.

I will take care of the rewrite and redesign. In my opinion, it needs a complete redesign so it can be in ready to play format.

I will also work on getting some illustrators on board.

All that and we can turn this puppy around in short order.




I can produce some new Artwork, as I'm slightly embarrassed of the old stuff I did 3 years ago. (actually the first artwork I had attempted in 15 years).
So I can definately expand and Improve! :D


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:18 pm 
 

Just a suggestion, but don't you guys think you owe Len enough respect to run your proposal by him first, get his buy-in and then allow him to sign-off on the final product?

You all seem worried about protecting his legacy, but did you ever think that maybe he has some of his own views on how he wants his material presented for future generations?

His biggest fear from Day 1 was that some editor would take L4 completely out of his hands and redo it (as was tried with L1 and as happened with L3).  If an Acaeum version or joint DF/Acaeum version is where you end up, don't you think it would be more credible if Len endorsed it?

Do you really want to host something that Len disclaims like L3?


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:56 pm 
 

ashmire13 wrote:FWIW, I've converted L4 and the Companion to Word and run a spell & grammar check through it, which took around 90 minutes.
I've read sections that just don't flow correctly, but haven't started re-working sentence structure as such. If anyone wants a Word doc copy to play with, just PM me with your email.

Hold off on the Companion please.

I already have the pre-layout Word file for the Companion (since I did the layout for it), and I already started a formal edit of the Companion material. This includes, but is not limited to, the grammar & spelling checking built into Word; by themselves, Word's tools are wildly insufficient for realistic editing purposes.

I'm just about half-way finished.

I'm not doing adhering to my highest standards (don't get me started on inconsistent numbering language in the manuscript), but the result should be on par with dragonsfoot's best editing results.

When I'm finished, I'm going to do a re-layout and hand it over to Gnarley again.

I only have the Companion files, though, so I can't really help with L4 itself.


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:12 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:Egg, I respect the helloutta you, but this:
 
Egg of Coot wrote:At one point, there was essentially no one left on the DF Production Team.


simply drives me nuts.  Where was the general call to arms when everyone dropped out?  Did you guys post at different venues (like here) for help?  Wouldn't that have been preferable to the months and years that did crawl by with NOTHING being done?  You couldn't approach a SINGLE  publsher in the OSR field and see if they would work pro bono?  Not make a single post over here asking for help?  Enworld? Knights and Knaves? Tome of Treasures? Trolllords? Pied Piper? Who lets a project languish for months upon years without updates, or asking for help?

You guys absolutely dropped the ball, sorry. Maybe I'm totally off base and if so I apologize, but it sounds like egos got more important than actually putting out a product you guys could be proud of.


Well, considering that I had nothing to do with the the production of L4, I'm not the one you should be asking.

Badmike wrote:
Egg of Coot wrote:It's one of the main reasons I've come to to really despise the hobby these days.


If you despise the hobby I really feel sorry for you, Egg, and I mean that sincerely.  Maybe that's not the best person to have a hand in producing things for DF, and I also mean that sincerely.


At the end of the day my likes and dislikes are my business.  And, once again, I'm not producing anything for DF.

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Last edited by Egg of Coot on Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:32 pm 
 

Fid wrote:Just a suggestion, but don't you guys think you owe Len enough respect to run your proposal by him first, get his buy-in and then allow him to sign-off on the final product?


Good point, Fid.

I don't think any of the proposals here include ignoring Mr. Lakofka, or doing something he does not wish done.

I suspect he will be happy with the fixes and additions.

His own statement about an L-4.1 version seems to invite tinkering.


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:42 pm 
 

Formcritic wrote:

His own statement about an L-4.1 version seems to invite tinkering.


Yes, but I'm not sure that extended to re-write, re-structure and reorganize - all words I believe I have seen mentioned above.  Trust me, I spent years re-assuring him that no one was going to take over his work.  Just get his buy-in.  He has a healthy fear of editors given his experiences.


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:50 pm 
 

It sounds to me like the reception for L4 might have tempered his reluctance to allow editing.

A simple reorganization of material...such as placing the adventure in a more approachable context within the background material...might do wonders for the text.  And who would really object to free quality artwork and additional maps?


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:55 pm 
 

On a second reading, however:

I'm sure that at some point there will be L4.1 correcting the little stuff

Perhaps that indicates that the author does not see all that much wrong with the existing text.  Perhaps a lighter tread really is called for.


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:05 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:On a second reading, however:

I'm sure that at some point there will be L4.1 correcting the little stuff

Perhaps that indicates that the author does not see all that much wrong with the existing text.  Perhaps a lighter tread really is called for.


Bingo!  Did it every occur to any of you folks that us poorly educated (thanks Ian) folks over at DF may have actually recognized the structure and flow issues years ago?

Lets huddle with the DF team (Gnarley, Steve and Solo) and decide on whether we want to approach Len on more than the "little stuff".  Also, imagine if you were Len and stumbled on this thread (including my side Porn adventure).  Re-read some of this stuff and tell me how you would react.


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:31 pm 
 

Egg of Coot wrote:
At the end of the day my likes and dislikes are my business.  And, once again, I'm not producing anything for DF.

The Egg


But you ARE a moderator over there. Must be a helluva masochistic endeavor, as much as you hate the hobby.

If you had nothing to do with this, why choose to speak on the behalf of those that did? I'm sure if they want to explain anything they can post here themselves. Sounds like you didn't have a horse in this race, why apologize on their behalf?

Mike B.


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Last edited by Badmike on Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:38 pm 
 

Fid wrote:Just a suggestion, but don't you guys think you owe Len enough respect to run your proposal by him first, get his buy-in and then allow him to sign-off on the final product?

You all seem worried about protecting his legacy, but did you ever think that maybe he has some of his own views on how he wants his material presented for future generations?

His biggest fear from Day 1 was that some editor would take L4 completely out of his hands and redo it (as was tried with L1 and as happened with L3).  If an Acaeum version or joint DF/Acaeum version is where you end up, don't you think it would be more credible if Len endorsed it?

Do you really want to host something that Len disclaims like L3?


Nobody is touching Len's version. Len's version is right there published. Undoubtedly his manuscript is right there in front of him also.  Nothing we are doing changes that a bit. His legacy is perfectly preserved.  This is another thing entirely.

Frankly not to be an ass, but I didn't call up EGG when I changed G1-3 to second edition.  I didn't write David Cook and ask if it was ok to completely rewrite I1 Forbidden City and do my own take on the "Lost Jungle City" riff.  I didn't know Frank at the time, but I wouldn't have called him up and asked him permission to turn the Temple of Elemental Evil into the "entry level" of my Night Below campaign (completely rewritten, of course). But we are supposed to tread lightly around Len and ask his permission, cap in hand and eyes downcast, to fix something that's out there for public consumption?

I think Len has made it pretty clear his editorial choices and how he wanted L4 to look.  I'm not interested in him signing off on another version; that might have been the problem before, I don't know.  Some of the things I really dislike about L4 might be "deal breakers" (did Len ask for the magic item descriptions as foonotes at the bottom of the page, for example?) I'm not interested in Len endorsing it. I'm not interested in Len claiming or disclaiming it (although why on earth he would care what this niche website did with his creation....). I would like, however, to be able to read it from start to finish and have it make some sort of sense.

I have tons of respect for Len.  But since this isn't in any way "official' and unlikely to be distributed except very informally (the Acaeum doesn't host anything and I wouldn't suggest they host this because of the dubious legal standing it has anyway), I honestly don't know why he would care what we do with it.

If Bill does want to work on this, and we fix it up, we can always present "our" version to Len and/or Dragonsfoot. If they want nothing to do with it, will still always have a readable and playable version for ourselves. It's a completely separate thing from the L4 Len put out and shouldn't be taken as "replacing" his vision.

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:14 pm 
 

Fid wrote:
Bingo!  Did it every occur to any of you folks that us poorly educated (thanks Ian) folks over at DF may have actually recognized the structure and flow issues years ago?

Lets huddle with the DF team (Gnarley, Steve and Solo) and decide on whether we want to approach Len on more than the "little stuff".  Also, imagine if you were Len and stumbled on this thread (including my side Porn adventure).  Re-read some of this stuff and tell me how you would react.


Aha.  I think I see now. Wow.

Basically, you guys realized Len's stuff wasn't up to snuff years ago, but rather than piss him off (and possibly lose L5-L10), you choose to ignore the sub-standard nature of the material.  

Well, no one over here not part of DF's production team is obligated to hand-hold Len through his fear of editors. If you guys want to be yes-men and rubber-stamp Len's stuff, that's cool, but don't expect everyone to go along with the plan. Besides, nothing we would do would have an effect anyway on what Len has already released.

Once again, no one is touching Len's stuff.  If we do this it's for our own personal enjoyment, as I doubt Len would approve of it or give it the "official" seal of approval, and I'm fine with that.  But I'm not putting much faith in the "huddle", as it sounds like the main purpose here is to not rock the boat so the manuscripts will keep coming.  Aside from a few minor spelling and grammar corrections I doubt we'll see much of anything changed.

A simple reorganization of material...such as placing the adventure in a more approachable context within the background material...might do wonders for the text. And who would really object to free quality artwork and additional maps?


I'm getting the impression Len WOULD object to this, which is a pity. It really does a disservice to his work to have it in a less than stellar form, given it's historical background.

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:43 pm 
 

Remember though, L4 is covered by copyright, which means that altered versions (derivative works) would *ALWAYS* subject to the approval of original copyright holder.  Whether Len still has his original manuscript doesn't change the fact that making changes to it without his permission is infringing on copyright.

Now that said, Len did say on DF that:
Always remember it's YOURS now so do the fix you feel right and go forward.
 So it's understandable that some people think that they already have the copyright holder's permission... except that he was posting this on a DF forum, and in response to a post by one of the people who helped this project see the light of day, so the use of "yours" may be ambiguous.

However...  in the same post he also says
I'm sure that at some point there will be L4.1 correcting the little stuff but that is up to Dragonsfoot.

(emphasis mine) Here, what he means by "yours" is explicitly spelled out.

The copyright notice also explicitly states that:
The material within this AD&D game resource is Copyright © 2009-2010 Lenard Lakofka and is used under
exclusive permission.
You may download, store, redistribute or generally circulate this material within this publication; but you must
keep all copyright information intact and distribute the files as is.
No modification is permitted without express written permission from Dragonsfoot UK.


I'd dare say "written permission" probably means something a little more concrete than just a posting on a public forum.  Certainly I don't think Len's remark would qualify as anything resembling express permission, especially given the fact that not two sentences later he says it is up to Dragonsfoot.

Badmike wrote:Once again, no one is touching Len's stuff. If we do this it's for our own personal enjoyment
That's fine for one's own private use, but it wouldn't be advised to distribute it without appropriate permission... otherwise it's copyright infringement.

Badmike wrote:It really does a disservice to his work to have it in a less than stellar form
In your opinion... and, I will admit, in the opinion of more than a handful of other people here... but you can't please everybody, and some people are actually quite taken with it, obvious typos and typesetting errors notwithstanding... some of which are being corrected even now and an update will be posted imminently.

So maybe L4 isn't Len's finest work in comparison to others, but does that really matter?   L4's real value isn't in its historical significance or background, how much it fulfills people's expectations, or how perfect (or imperfect) it may be as a whole, its only real value lies ultimately in whatever enjoyment that people will get from utilizing it while actually playing a game of AD&D.  If it accomplishes that, then it will have accomplished as much as any module designer could wish for their creation.

  

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:54 pm 
 

According to the copyright that you have provided, Len doesn't actually have any say in the matter at all.  The written permission must come from Dragonsfoot UK which means the owner of Dragonsfoot.org (not even the moderators).

Did Len at some point agree that Dragonsfoot would have exclusive rights to his work?

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:59 pm 
 

Mars wrote:According to the copyright that you have provided, Len doesn't actually have any say in the matter at all.  The written permission must come from Dragonsfoot UK which means the owner of Dragonsfoot.org (not even the moderators).
Well, I dare say that Len likely still has the authority to grant permission to people to make derivative works, although I can't be 100% certain of that.  Nevertheless, I was pointing it out that it could quite possibly be construed that Mr Lakofka's post was actually granting such permission.  It does not, however... even within its own context.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:43 am 
 

To clarify for Fid, my intentions at the moment are to only spend a few hours over a few evenings over a few weeks (at the absolute most), to convert to an editable doc that I can then play around with if I wish to.

I may not even get that far.

But if I do, it may involve re-structuring some sentences so that it reads in a better manner (from the small amounts I have read). All of which would be for my own personal use.

I doubt very much indeed that I need anyones permission for that. I may then supply a copy to my gaming friends who wish to use it, but it would not be 'published' anywhere, or uploaded/hosted for free anywhere either. Nor would it be in pdf form.

Neither would it have any of the credits changed or added.

Just a little project that I may play with to pass a few hours.   :)


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:45 am 
 

ashmire13 wrote:To clarify for Fid, my intentions at the moment are to only spend a few hours over a few evenings over a few weeks (at the absolute most), to convert to an editable doc that I can then play around with if I wish to.

I may not even get that far.

But if I do, it may involve re-structuring some sentences so that it reads in a better manner (from the small amounts I have read). All of which would be for my own personal use.

I doubt very much indeed that I need anyones permission for that. I may then supply a copy to my gaming friends who wish to use it, but it would not be 'published' anywhere, or uploaded/hosted for free anywhere either. Nor would it be in pdf form.

Neither would it have any of the credits changed or added.

Just a little project that I may play with to pass a few hours.   :)


I think that is the gist of what we are saying and doing.

I'm not going to contact WOTC  the next time I alter Lareth's stats from T1 for my own enjoyment, either.  :wink:

The work is on extremely dubious legal ground as it is (using and mentioning places owned by WOTC) and no one is talking about doing anything to it for anything but our own (gaming) enjoyment. We don't need Len's (or WOTC's) permission for that....

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:07 am 
 

And back to Guy, I've only converted the Companion so far, nothing else, one step at a time and all that for me  :)

bbarsh, converted (generally checked) L4 in word is yours whenever you want it :)


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:10 am 
 

Badmike wrote:I'm not going to contact WOTC  the next time I alter Lareth's stats from T1 for my own enjoyment, either.


Such is the paradox of RPGs & copyright. The text instructs the consumer to create their own derivative works, which are then to be distributed to the players. Often this takes place not only in private homes, but in public commercial venues like a convention or LGS.

All of the above privileges are usually reserved by the copyright owner. Even factoring in the OGL, the settings & characters of an RPG work remain the exclusive property of the copyright owner.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:37 am 
 

Badmike wrote:
Nobody is touching Len's version. Len's version is right there published. Undoubtedly his manuscript is right there in front of him also.  Nothing we are doing changes that a bit. His legacy is perfectly preserved.  This is another thing entirely.

Frankly not to be an ass, but I didn't call up EGG when I changed G1-3 to second edition.  I didn't write David Cook and ask if it was ok to completely rewrite I1 Forbidden City and do my own take on the "Lost Jungle City" riff.  I didn't know Frank at the time, but I wouldn't have called him up and asked him permission to turn the Temple of Elemental Evil into the "entry level" of my Night Below campaign (completely rewritten, of course). But we are supposed to tread lightly around Len and ask his permission, cap in hand and eyes downcast, to fix something that's out there for public consumption?

I think Len has made it pretty clear his editorial choices and how he wanted L4 to look.  I'm not interested in him signing off on another version; that might have been the problem before, I don't know.  Some of the things I really dislike about L4 might be "deal breakers" (did Len ask for the magic item descriptions as foonotes at the bottom of the page, for example?) I'm not interested in Len endorsing it. I'm not interested in Len claiming or disclaiming it (although why on earth he would care what this niche website did with his creation....). I would like, however, to be able to read it from start to finish and have it make some sort of sense.

I have tons of respect for Len.  But since this isn't in any way "official' and unlikely to be distributed except very informally (the Acaeum doesn't host anything and I wouldn't suggest they host this because of the dubious legal standing it has anyway), I honestly don't know why he would care what we do with it.

If Bill does want to work on this, and we fix it up, we can always present "our" version to Len and/or Dragonsfoot. If they want nothing to do with it, will still always have a readable and playable version for ourselves. It's a completely separate thing from the L4 Len put out and shouldn't be taken as "replacing" his vision.

Mike B.


Thank you for clarifying this.  Of course, you can alter it for your own use and even move the setting from Greyhawk to the Moon if you want.  I just don't think you can claim that your finished product is L4 by Len Lakofka without his blessing.  Fair use and all that.


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