L4 to be published by Dragonsfoot..
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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:10 am 
 

Badmike wrote:Shocked at the amount of typos and badly worded paragraphs here, especially since this thing has supposedly been looked at by many, many proofreaders in the last five years. I found bunches of spelling and grammar errors right off.  Some of the paragraphs are worded so badly I had to read them a couple times to get the gist.

I don't think it was proofread, or most of the bad grammer and typos would have been picked up. If it was proofread, it was done by people with very bad educations or people with English as a second language. As a freebie you can't really complain about stuff like that. But a lot of people should be embarrassed to have had their name put to that, not least of which is Len himself. DF has done him a grave injustice.
Badmike wrote:The maps aren't just bad. They are hideous.

I remember offering to both proofread and draw maps way back when this project was first started. It is amazing that they picked people who managed to produce such shite in terms of maps and written text. That has to be placed squarely at the door of the idiots who PM'd the project.
TheHistorian wrote:I hope work on L5 can be more structured.

Well, I hope to God if there is an L5 they rewrite L4 and do steer well clear of DF. Working with DF will absolutely destroy LL's reputation as a creative writer. He harped on and on about how TSR totally destroyed his L3 manuscript, and then he goes and published this?! His credibility is shot, and DF have have done a good job of hammering nails into the coffin that is his reputation.


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:13 am 
 

Badmike wrote:I enjoyed the depth of description to several of the villages and hamlets, which could be transplanted wholesale to your own campaigns. I think it plays better as a travelogue than an actual module adventure. Some of the characters are quite interesting and i could see using them as NPCs.

That would seem to be in line with L1, then.  (I haven't read L2 or L3).  As I recall, L1 was more about the set of characters in a town than an adventure plot.

Len's magic items (described in the module) are a treat.  However, his explanation of magic items, their plusses to hit and damage (either or both), is so unneccesarily complicated I can't see anyone ever using it unless you simply wanted to make your D&D game even more confusing.

Agreed completely.  There are some nice unique magic items, but the part about the terminology "+1 arrow +1", etc. is a bit too much.  

The only other criticism I have at this point is the detailed color artwork in a PDF.  It just never looks good, and it's because you scale the PDF to your screen.  If you must have art stick to vector-based b&w with clean lines, folks.

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:09 pm 
 

deimos3428 wrote:Agreed completely.  There are some nice unique magic items, but the part about the terminology "+1 arrow +1", etc. is a bit too much.  

The only other criticism I have at this point is the detailed color artwork in a PDF.  It just never looks good, and it's because you scale the PDF to your screen.  If you must have art stick to vector-based b&w with clean lines, folks.


My main complaint with the maps is that the style doesn't fit an old school product, particularly a 1st edition release.  Old Style blue/white maps would have been a much better choice. I suspect the maps were finished a long time ago, and the team that finally put out the item decided it wasn't worth waiting any longer for release just to have old school looking maps.

And I would like to say thanks for the comments here...it's one reason why I respect the hell out of most Acaeum members. No punches pulled.  I was worried most of the reviews would be fawning praise.  Anyway thanks for reinforcing what I thought, I was worried I would be on an island here as being a bit let down by this project, I was wondering if anyone would agree with me.

I think with all the independent products being released (by guys like Bill Barsh, Guy Fullerton, Matt Finch, Joe Bloch, Jon and Allan, etc) we now have a standard that is expected in the hobby, even for a "freebie" release.  I will say that one great thing about L4 finally seeing the light of day is that with all the go-getters we have in the hobby now, I wouldn't be surprised to see someone independently do a "rewrite" of the module and basically fix it up.  I liked so many of the village descriptions I'm going to essentially cut and paste them and do complete rewrites on them for myself, how long before someone does that to the entire manuscript?

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:08 pm 
 

If the errors are as bad as you say (and no, I haven't looked at it as of yet), it looks as if I'll be having to use my red pen quite a bit. Especially as it took me some three or four years to edit my homage to EGG, and that was with a party of one doing the editing (me).

I don't frequent Dragonsfoot or K&K Alehouse. I'm not welcome at either. The former because of the support by site administration of certain people there who seem to feel that dissenting opinions on certain things need to be resolved with a baseball bat to the kneecaps, and the latter because I support Castles & Crusades. That said, some of the stuff Dragonsfoot has is of good quality. Most of it is of the "take it or leave it" variety. I generally leave it.



  

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:08 pm 
 

I have only had time to skim through:

My overall impression is not so great though I am split. Having such a huge resource with its roots firmly connected to L1 is extremely cool. I will enjoy reading through the entire book. That said, I can see right now I don't think I will ever use it - at least not in its current form. I am not even sure exactly what L4 is supposed to be. Is it a module, supplement or accessory. Or maybe it is trying to be all three. In that case it can't succeed.

1.  Maps: The large geographic maps are fine. All the detail maps are horribly inconsistent. Some have maps have graphing squares and many do not. The scale is a mess.

2.  Proofing: Again, there seems to be a significant issue with grammar and overall readability. I know it is a huge project, but I saw typos on almost every page - and that was just taking a glance. Now, this is a fan project, so my expectation level regarding a professionally edited product are low. So I will not complain too much.

3.  Ease of use: I will need to read the entire thing first. But after reading the first couple pages I am practically lost - what is the mission?

4.  I like what I see in regards to the Greyhawk work. Of course, none of it is legally included. Free or not, WoTC owns all that IP. I think you can get away with a small reference without getting into too much hot water, but this module is loaded with references.

5.  I am sure I will like reviewing the encounters, NPCs and new magic items.


I really do not want to come off as wholey negative. Putting together this mamoth project took some serious work. I really do not care that it took forever to produce as I was not one of those waiting for it. I will get some enjoyment out of reading the entire text. For those of you looking for a ready to play module along the lines of L1, I think there will be severe disappointment. This module, and I use that term loosely, on a cursory examination, falls way short of that expectation. For me, I look it at as a fan project and that is all.


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:52 pm 
 

I suspect the die hard DFers will pick up on our negativity and moan and flame about this nitpicking and how "speling ins't that impotent" over on the DF board. I'd be willing to bet the contributor's managed to check if they'd got their own names right though.


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:34 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:I suspect the die hard DFers will pick up on our negativity and moan and flame about this nitpicking and how "speling ins't that impotent" over on the DF board. I'd be willing to bet the contributor's managed to check if they'd got their own names right though.

It's not just spelling, though, sadly. The L4 companion has a section entitled "Five Small Cabins" that really only has three cabins ... four if you're generous and consider the hold to be an additional small cabin.

Now this might not be a glitch; the intent might be that there are two additional empty cabins on the ship.

Either way, that's the sort of thing that ought to be caught in the editing phase, and resolved via communications with the author.


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:46 pm 
 

While this Acaeum thead is good for Acaeum members to sort out the problems with L4, Dragonsfoot is really the place to post or PM criticisms and suggestions.

[Edit:  Upon careful consideration, I withdraw the  suggestion that people post L4 criticisms at DF.  That would be foolish and counterproductive at best.]

For example, I can post "Can a revised and corrected version be released soon?  Such a version should be easy to produce now that the rough draft has been savaged" all day long at the Acaeum, but that has no real effect on Dragonsfoot.

Politely PMing GnarleyBones and others might be effective in getting some response to the concerns listed in this thread.


Last edited by JohnGaunt on Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:34 pm 
 

JohnGaunt wrote:While this Acaeum thead is good for Acaeum members to sort out the problems with L4, Dragonsfoot is really the place to post or PM criticisms and suggestions.

For example, I can post "Can a revised and corrected version be released soon?  Such a version should be easy to produce now that the rough draft has been savaged" all day long at the Acaeum, but that has no real effect on Dragonsfoot.

Politely PMing GnarleyBones and others might be effective in getting some response to the concerns listed in this thread.


JG what's the point. You'll be eaten alive by the "It was free, why are you complaining?" or "If you could do better, then why didn't you volunteer?" crowd if you post any harsh criticism.  If you PM I am going to bet you'll be politely ignored at best.  As a matter of fact I believe GB already posted that if you find editing mistakes, to keep it to yourself because he wasn't interested (having already spent a LOT of time as it was).

I am going to go out on a limb and say it will end ugly if you post too many criticisms or suggestions at DF....just a prediction. Most of the guys who worked on L4 over there are Mods...

Maybe someone with a lot of time on their hands could put it together in a usable form, ala that dude that "re-edited" The Phantom Menace to take out Jar Jar Binks and make it a leaner, darker film?

Mike B.

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Yes, by all means, please list your errata after it's posted; I can perfectly understand how the speedy production prevented the editors from making all the necessary changes.  :evil:

We're not making any changes; all editing should have been completed long ago.

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:32 am 
 

There's no way GnarleyBones or anyone has read through those offerings. The spelling and grammer are downright embarrassing. I can't believe GB is that illiterate. More like he just didn't give a F. And some of us did offer to proofread and draw maps. Maybe grade school level education should have been set as the minimum level for people working on the project, rather than the maximum.


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:54 am 
 

Being the one who made the maps, all I can say is that Len was adamant in his wish that they should be drawn with CC2 and also look this way.

Some of you might know that I much more prefer the old blue&white map style myself, and usually draw these for other DF modules as well as for Black Blade Publishing for example.  I tried to persuade Len to use maps like these, but he denied, and since he was the boss, things went on as he wanted them.  I wish it would have been different, but it shouldn't be so.  Still, it was great fun working together with Len on this.  :)

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:07 am 
 

Sir Clarence wrote:Being the one who made the maps, all I can say is that Len was adamant in his wish that they should be drawn with CC2 and also look this way.

Some of you might know that I much more prefer the old blue&white map style myself, and usually draw these for other DF modules as well as for Black Blade Publishing for example.  I tried to persuade Len to use maps like these, but he denied, and since he was the boss, things went on as he wanted them.  I wish it would have been different, but it shouldn't be so.  Still, it was great fun working together with Len on this.  :)


Thanks for giving us the insight there, SC. Ugh, can't believe Len preferred these!  Well that explains that. I think the blue/white maps would have added immensely to the "look" of the product. Were these done early in the process (i.e. a few years ago?). I would have thought more publications the last few years using the blue/white scheme might have persuaded Len otherwise.

I wouldn't put the onus of the bad editing on any one person.  After so many delays, I'm sure a mind set arose to just GET IT OUT.  And it is very hard to wrangle a project like this if you are the 2nd/5th/10th guy to come along after it's been kicked around for awhile. But yeh I was pretty shocked at the final result, especially since GB's own releases with DF are quite professional.

On a 3rd read through it strikes me how difficult the entire thing is to even make sense of....not a good thing. I don't even think you can "play" this module.....it's more like a sourcebook of locations than anything else.  

I still think someone with time on their hands could re-write this and turn out a pretty decent product.  

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:12 am 
 

Just out of interest, would that be possible as it was produced for free onto the DF site?

I might have a dabble on this, even if to do some simple editing.  :)


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:27 am 
 

Is it just me or is really very little buzz about this release. Over at DF there is surprisingly very little comment other than a few congrats to LL who added a Q/A thread.
How long have people been waiting for this thing. I know it took more than 4 years, but the rumors of additional L series mods have been around much longer than that. And when you consider this is about as close to a TSR release as you will ever see again, I am astounded by the lackluster reception. Crap, there is moe posted here about it than over at DF. I only drop in from time to time over there and pretty much stay in the classic D&D thread.


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:25 am 
 

I think maybe if you wait 4 years and then this turns up, there isn't gonna be much hoo-ha. It is shite for some 4 years of work and editing. And if it's a true representation of LL's creation and campaign, presented the way he wanted it to be, then the guy has destroyed any reputation he ever had.


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:35 am 
 

bbarsh wrote:Is it just me or is really very little buzz about this release. Over at DF there is surprisingly very little comment other than a few congrats to LL who added a Q/A thread.
How long have people been waiting for this thing. I know it took more than 4 years, but the rumors of additional L series mods have been around much longer than that. And when you consider this is about as close to a TSR release as you will ever see again, I am astounded by the lackluster reception. Crap, there is moe posted here about it than over at DF. I only drop in from time to time over there and pretty much stay in the classic D&D thread.


#1 This thing has been in the can far too long.  You know as someone who releases product on a regular basis that a long delay will kill the momentum of a project. Four years ago before Swords & Wizardry, OSRIC, Black Blade Publishing, Pacesetter, etc, the masses were starved for old school goodies. Now, in 2010, it's just another in a long line of recent old school releases...and on the level of fan-fic rather than the semi-professional stuff we've seen.

#2 People who are downloading and reading this are probably choosing the route of "Better to say nothing at all than to complain", and I can't blame them.  I'm not posting stuff over there about L4 because it wouldn't serve any purpose but to create a flame war.  People who feel like they have so support both Len and those who worked on this would feel obligated to defend them no matter their personal feelings.  Since over here we are more "neutral" on this issue and have no ties to the product, we can speak our minds.

I don't think people on DF want to talk about a project they think fell short after so much time in the works. Bill I love ya man, but if you release a POS I'll let you know.  I just don't think the same dynamic applies there about this release.

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:43 am 
 

Badmike wrote:Were these done early in the process (i.e. a few years ago?). I would have thought more publications the last few years using the blue/white scheme might have persuaded Len otherwise.


Yes, nearly all those maps were done very early on, in 2005 IIRC.  I wasn't even very proficient with the program at that time and, to be honest, if it wouldn't have delayed the whole publishing process even more and wouldn't be that much work, I would have redrawn all of them because - even for colored CC2 maps - they're truly looking out of date today.

The ones for L5 (which will probably be published later this year, although I'm very careful with these kind of prognoses after the L4 experience) are looking much better, at least IMHO.  But sadly, they will still be colored and not looking oldschool at all. :(


Badmike wrote:On a 3rd read through it strikes me how difficult the entire thing is to even make sense of....not a good thing. I don't even think you can "play" this module.....it's more like a sourcebook of locations than anything else.

It is indeed far more a sourcebook than anything else, carrying the basic idea of L1 to the extreme, in that it provides a series of different locations that DMs can use to adventure therein.  After all this correspondence with Len, I got the impression that his dream is to one day have the whole of Lendore Isle published that way.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:58 am 
 

Sir Clarence wrote:After all this correspondence with Len, I got the impression that his dream is to one day have the whole of Lendore Isle published that way.

This is something many people would welcome and in all likelihood pay good money for. But he should go to professional publishers who speek English and get a good cover price set for the project. This would bring many benefits:

1. It would be far more likly to get published to program.
2. It would be typeset by professionals who knew how to operate computers.
3. It would be illustrated and mapped by professionals with an artistic eye an appreciation of aesthetic.
4. It would be written in English and proofread by people who had been educated after highschool.
5. He would make money for his campaign world.
6. He may manage to recover some of his shattered reputation (for which I'm sure he still blames TSR/WoTC, but it seems from this debacle lies squarely on his own shoulders).

I for one would welcome a professional product from LL, but I'd only pay for stock if it came from a reputable publisher and have reputable co-authors, editors and illustrators.

This fanzine free fan fiction crap is just that. GB, LL and DF should hang their heads in shame.


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