L4 to be published by Dragonsfoot..
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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....

Mike B.


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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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Post Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:48 am 
 

Badmike wrote:

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.



No, we simply chose to respect the man and his legacy.  Suggestions were offered.  Some were accepted, some were not.  For example, at one point a team member pointed out that an earlier version read more like a "campaign setting" than an "adventure module".  Len saw our point and added some more encounter areas.

As for hosting L5-L10 at DF, I don't think Steve or Gnarley really cares.  There are no "market share" issues here.  Len had the opportunity to take L4 anywhere (Canonfire, his own site, etc.) during the long delay, but he decided to stick with DF.  He is also free to do what he wants with L5-L10.


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:55 am 
 

TBH, and in defence of LL, I do believe LL has a right to have the work he has produced presented in whatever way he sees fit. Now, if we want to say it's crap, or unusable, so be it, he has an absolute right to do as he wishes.

My only criticism was of the production quality of what DF put out, and by that I mean the level of mistakes made within the body of the text itself.  I do not think Len was aware of these errors in the final works, but I may be wrong. I will give him the benefit of the doubt. Whilst I do not like them maps, and the error with the Grest Maps should have been picked up, I still think if LL wanted the maps that way, so be it.

Now, you may look on DF as an editor/producer and say, "You should the balls to stand up to the author...", but that is an editorial decision, and one that is their to make. On the grounds that the product is free, I can see no reason the criticise that decision either.

My only beef was with the proofreading and a repub' will deal with that. To this end, DF are taking action.

I would welcome any third party derivitives that come from this body of work, and heartily support the idea of the reworking by another team.


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:05 am 
 

Fid wrote:
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.


Oh Lord no that wasn't the intent Fid (speaking for myself).  I wouldn't presume to have that kind of chutzpah.  I can't speak for Bill or anyone else, but I was envisioning a re-working that would be better organized, for our own use, and perhaps presented to Len as an example of what could be done with his work to make it better.

No, we simply chose to respect the man and his legacy. Suggestions were offered. Some were accepted, some were not. For example, at one point a team member pointed out that an earlier version read more like a "campaign setting" than an "adventure module". Len saw our point and added some more encounter areas.

As for hosting L5-L10 at DF, I don't think Steve or Gnarley really cares. There are no "market share" issues here. Len had the opportunity to take L4 anywhere (Canonfire, his own site, etc.) during the long delay, but he decided to stick with DF. He is also free to do what he wants with L5-L10.


Well I also think it reads more like a campaign setting myself, and if as editors someone steered Len that way, it was the right thing to do. But as Bill said above, sometimes an editors job is to be the bad guy. I can understand that due to circumstances that wasn't in the cards.  

I understand in the end you are putting Len's vision up there, and due to his fear of editors you have to tread lightly.  My point is that a 3rd party doesn't have this responsibility, and once Len's work is "out there", it's out there. It's a man's instinct to tinker.

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:32 pm 
 

Badmike wrote: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?


Primarily because you and several others were claiming that the entire DF mod team had conspired to short change the poor, poor people who did so little, and yet deserved so, so much more.  I'm fine with taking responsibility for things I've done, but not so much when it comes to taking the credit/blame/whatever for the things I didn't.

But, I'll digress now as y'all obviously know far more about everything that goes on at DF than I ever will . . .

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:24 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:TBH, and in defence of LL, I do believe LL has a right to have the work he has produced presented in whatever way he sees fit. Now, if we want to say it's crap, or unusable, so be it, he has an absolute right to do as he wishes.

My only criticism was of the production quality of what DF put out, and by that I mean the level of mistakes made within the body of the text itself.  I do not think Len was aware of these errors in the final works, but I may be wrong. I will give him the benefit of the doubt. Whilst I do not like them maps, and the error with the Grest Maps should have been picked up, I still think if LL wanted the maps that way, so be it.

Now, you may look on DF as an editor/producer and say, "You should the balls to stand up to the author...", but that is an editorial decision, and one that is their to make. On the grounds that the product is free, I can see no reason the criticise that decision either.

My only beef was with the proofreading and a repub' will deal with that. To this end, DF are taking action.

I would welcome any third party derivitives that come from this body of work, and heartily support the idea of the reworking by another team.


I think Ian and I finally agree.  No doubt that things slipped through the proofing stage.  If I recall correctly, we had three proofers who went through it.  We then added a fourth proofer to reconcile the three proofs.
I don't think GB or Solo or anyone at DF felt it was necessary at that point to proof the thing themselves.

Also, I believe Len was shown the final before release.  Knowing Len, I am sure he did not look at every page in detail.

Finally, in defense of the proofers, they were not given a nice clean document.  They had a Word file which had text in various sizes, fonts and colors with a mix of bold and italics layered in.  On top of that, it was a conversion from a WordPerfect document which added another strange mix of symbols and weird things.

So, there you have it., apologies and defense (or per Ian's edits, defence).  Just joking!


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Last edited by Fid on Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:33 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:
Well I also think it reads more like a campaign setting myself, and if as editors someone steered Len that way, it was the right thing to do. But as Bill said above, sometimes an editors job is to be the bad guy. I can understand that due to circumstances that wasn't in the cards.  

I understand in the end you are putting Len's vision up there, and due to his fear of editors you have to tread lightly.  My point is that a 3rd party doesn't have this responsibility, and once Len's work is "out there", it's out there. It's a man's instinct to tinker.

Mike B.


I think Mike and I are now in agreement too.

Only clarification is that Len's vision is more of a campaign setting and if we steered him at all, it was to nudge it more in the direction of an adventure module.

Also, in case this point was missed.  We did not step on some original manuscript or notes (like Gary's CZ).  Len did this from memory.  The original manuscripts appear to have fallen off of a moving van somewhere between Chicago and California many years ago.  They are gone.

In related news, members of a secret cabal known as the Acaeum were out in force this weekend scouring the sides of Interstate 80 across the US.  When questioned by authorities....


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:41 pm 
 

Egg of Coot wrote:
Primarily because you and several others were claiming that the entire DF mod team had conspired to short change the poor, poor people who did so little, and yet deserved so, so much more.  I'm fine with taking responsibility for things I've done, but not so much when it comes to taking the credit/blame/whatever for the things I didn't.

But, I'll digress now as y'all obviously know far more about everything that goes on at DF than I ever will . . .

The Egg


Are you through yet? Any strawmen left to burn? Sheesh.

For the record I don't think there was any "conspiracy". I don't think the DF team did anything on purpose except drop the ball, I don't feel myself or any Acaeum member is "entitled" to anything, and yeh I do have issues about the DF "team" not using every tool at their disposal to do this thing right (including turning down proofers they apparantly could have used).  I apologize if it hurt your feelings I lumped you in with the DF mods who did such a haphazard job on L4...my bad.  But keep it up, why not, at least here you won't get booted like I would should I go to DF and start up  on the L4 thread...... :roll:

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:33 pm 
 

I know I have very little love for Dragonsfoot, and I make sure those around me are aware of my dislike of the site. I have very good reasons, but it's a lot easier to claim that a poster's behavior is the cause of problems than to actually address those problems. Something I said two years ago on the Troll Lord Games forums seems to be appropriate here.

The only time I've ever pulled anything off a site was at Dragonsfoot, after site administration over there pissed me off when they banned me for a week simply because I vented at a totally different site over their obscenely heavy-handed mismanagement of their posters. <rant>They could ban me right now and I wouldn't care. I haven't been there since that time, and the only way I'll return is when the site owner passes on the site to someone who actually has a clue dealing with people.</rant>


This intolerance of criticism is what the regulars on The Acaeum are running into. Only...you're not likely to get banned for a week over it, as I did. While the ban was lifted and I can visit the site freely, I won't ever go back and participate. All because of an intolerance for criticism that starts right at the top.

What does this have to do with L4? Well, the aforementioned intolerance goes hand in hand with the apathy of DF in allowing L4 to be released in such a slipshod manner. No amount of fixing will change the fact that the ball was dropped.




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Post Posted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:20 am 
 

Well, it's one reason I didn't go and voice my opinons on DF. The firestorm of anger and hatred that would have rained down would have been ugly...better to keep it off that site and on here, where things can be relatively polite without mods inserting themselves heavy-handedly.  

It's sad though that absolutely no criticism can be leveled at the project because 1. It's free and free items are beyond critical analysis; 2. It was written by Len Lakofka and as such cannot be honestly critiqued because there is  chance Len will get upset and not publish anymore; 3. If you do find reason to harshly review the product you motives will be questioned and you affiliations will all be carefully examined because there can't be any legitimate reasons for a bad review.

Now, obviously I'm exaggerating here, and I do appreciate people like Sir Clarence and Fid coming here and giving their reasons why things are the way they are.  But certain comments from DF members here make me feel very wise I didn't do as some suggested and post my concerns in a DF forum.   :wink:

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Post Posted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:33 am 
 

As I understand it LL was not happy with L3 (was anybody?) is L4 what L3 should have been?

Shouldn't Lenard Lakofka be an active participant in rewriting his material before anything else happens?

  


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:55 am 
 

Badmike,

Ultimately, the only real thing that matters about L4 is its playability... everything else is secondary to that goal.   Now granted, some of the more serious typesetting errors in the first printing admittedly do adversely affect that purpose, but the most significant ones have already been corrected and are now available in an updated version of the PDF.

L4 doesn't feel like an adventure module proper, in my own opinion, but more like a campaign setting, which I myself find disappointing, but that doesn't mean I won't be able to find ways to utilize L4 in my own games in creative ways... which again, is really what D&D is supposed to be about, right?

  


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:51 am 
 

FWIW, there are probably also a few things that need to be noted to keep in mind with respect to L4 release.  

For one, just looking at Len's own words with respect to the project from years ago as noted here on the site, indicates a large and arduous task at hand:

http://www.acaeum.com/ddindexes/modpages/l.html

Len Lakofka (author of all three L-series modules) stated in mid 2000 that modules L4 and L5 are in an unfinished state, and it would be a "200-hour project" to bring them to production level.  He estimates a 15% chance that he will do so in the near future.


Additionally, it was noted awhile ago by Fid over on DF, that L4 had some issues in it from an adventure perspective in both scope and how it's a bit railroady:

http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewt ... devilspawn

Fid wrote:Its really an amalgam of three separate adventure areas.  The action starts in Restenford after the events of L1 through L3 and moves on to the environs of the towns of Grest, Tellar and Cobblethorp.

Its a little railroady in that events are set to occur on a timeline (like L2), so if the players dawdle - they may get left behind.  I believe Len's goal is to essentially give us his campaign for posterity.  When all the modules and the Companion/Gazateer are done (he has started L5), the DM will have a very detailed campaign setting with a timeline and a series of sequential modules of increasing difficulty.  The module will be of the most use for new campaigns starting in Restenford.  By the time a party gets through L1 through L4, L5 will probably be done.  DMs looking for a one-off adventure to drop into existing campaigns may be a little disappointed - but there are several adventure areas including a cool maze/trap that could be harvested for use elsewhere.

DM knowledge of L1 through L3 would help.  L1 and L2 are free from WoTC, but L3 is kind of scarce.  Perhaps someone would be willing to post a synopsis of L3?


Just some food for thought.


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 2:01 pm 
 

bclarkie, just fyi... your link directly to the thread on Dragonsfoot about L4 that has the remark you quoted in your post is not accessible to people who have not registered on Dragonsfoot.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:38 pm 
 

Guy Fullerton wrote: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.

Update: I finished the edits on the Companion, and threw it over the wall to Gnarley and Lenard. They blessed it, and it will get posted for download in a day or two.


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