RJK's Bottle City updates
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Post Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:57 am 
 

grodog wrote:
Also understandable.  I would like to hope that Rob can re-earn your trust, Mike, at some point in the future.  What would that take?


BC arriving soon would be a nice start. However, at this point there is really nothing that PPP or Rob could do, because unfortuntately in the last few days I learned more than I really wanted to know about how Rob runs PPP, and that has pretty much turned me off buying their products....as nice as they are, it would take a complete overhaul of PPP business practices which I just don't feel a person in Rob's position (or health) is capable of.  I feel like the the guy who looks behind the scenes at a restaurant and discovers WAY more than he needs to about what goes on in the kitchen.  I honestly don't know how Rob is going to be able to sell a pre order of anything short of the original Castle Greyhawk with artwork by Erol Otus after this debacle.

 If asked my opinion, I think that like any one man operation there is far too much responsibility on Rob and the limits of that have been shown in the last year. I have several suggestions that I hope Rob would think about implementing...something as simple as volunteers to assist him with taking orders or shipping would be at the top of the list.  I know for a fact there are several people here or on Dragonsfoot that would be quite excited to work with Rob in any capacity, paid or not.  For Rob not to avail himself of this resource is detrimental to his bottom line and I think that will show in the months ahead.  

One of my first jobs was with a real estate development corporation that skirted the line of illegal activity (I was a delivery driver there so I had nothing to do with it). Basically, when it came time to pay the contractors, the corporation refused to pay, and told the contractors they would have to go to court to get paid....OR take a quarter on the dollar for their work and sign a form saying they wouldn't sue. It worked fine for awhile...many projects brought in way under budget..but eventually, nobody will work with that sort of person.....and the corporation went bankrupt.  I think Rob is going down that road if he isn't careful. But I will say I do hope he manages to turn it around, at least for the sake of his many customers.

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Post Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 8:32 am 
 

PPP website is back up and there was a posting on the 29th by Grodog that adds more information.

http://p085.ezboard.com/Robs-health--up ... =433.topic


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Post Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:26 pm 
 

Deadlord39 wrote:How much were the presale copies?


The collector limited editions were $150 a piece.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:31 pm 
 

beyerun wrote:
The collector limited editions were $150 a piece.


I just found that out too...ouch. I know a few people that ordered multiple copies.

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Post Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 1:20 pm 
 

Looking at this situation as purely an outsider, Mr. Kuntz' unwillingness to share any information about his personal status with his fans or his customer base is a huge smack in the face.

This strikes me as a situation where someone either a) doesn't have the money to ship the item or b) someone who has a vested interest in stringing things out as long as they can.

I am sorry, there is NO ACCEPTABLE REASON why someone who is sick would not accept assistance in fulfilling those obligations, short of being financially unable to see them through. Period. Regardless of anyone's defense of Rob - including the defense from longtime Acaeum members - STOP! I am so glad I ordered nothing from PPP (I actually considered ordering Cairn and Blood)...and after seeing how business is handled, there is no way I would order ANYTHING.

Sure mistakes happen...and had this been handled differently, I might not be so hard nosed. But given the fact that someone feels he owes no accounting other than "I am sick, please be patient".....it's crap, folks.

Sincere best wishes to Rob for a speedy recovery. And once he's better, perhaps he can work on his level of honesty, too. That would be an even bigger plus, at least for those who support his products.


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Post Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 2:16 pm 
 

beyerun wrote:
The collector limited editions were $150 a piece.


Well, they definitely turned out to be limited.
I wonder if the initial delay has caused the entire thing to be dropped. Cuntz may have figured that since he already did so much damage to PPP, there is no reason to finish up the job.
What is sad is that at this juncture, he only needs to pay the shipping costs for the modules, I assume. Maybe he doesn't have the money. Maybe it was spent on medical bills.
To me, the worst part is to see a great guy like Allan caught in the middle. Allan, I hope you realize no one here is pointing any fingers at you. Shit, if it wasn't for you, we'd all have to assume Rob was rotting away in a recliner waiting to be discovered.
All the guy needs to do is log in and post................


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Post Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 3:20 pm 
 

Center_Stage_Hobbies wrote:Looking at this situation as purely an outsider, Mr. Kuntz' unwillingness to share any information about his personal status with his fans or his customer base is a huge smack in the face.

This strikes me as a situation where someone either a) doesn't have the money to ship the item or b) someone who has a vested interest in stringing things out as long as they can.

I am sorry, there is NO ACCEPTABLE REASON why someone who is sick would not accept assistance in fulfilling those obligations, short of being financially unable to see them through. Period. Regardless of anyone's defense of Rob - including the defense from longtime Acaeum members - STOP! I am so glad I ordered nothing from PPP (I actually considered ordering Cairn and Blood)...and after seeing how business is handled, there is no way I would order ANYTHING.

Sure mistakes happen...and had this been handled differently, I might not be so hard nosed. But given the fact that someone feels he owes no accounting other than "I am sick, please be patient".....it's crap, folks.

Sincere best wishes to Rob for a speedy recovery. And once he's better, perhaps he can work on his level of honesty, too. That would be an even bigger plus, at least for those who support his products.


Personally, I don't think Rob needs to say a damn thing about his health problems!! That's none of our business.

But, I agree that he should have given everyone a heads up on the overall situation. That much should have been done! He also should have had a better mailing situation, no question about that either.

I still think that his intention was not to piss everyone off - even though it has. It's obvious that things haven't been good for him this year and I hope him the best in 2008.


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Post Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 3:33 pm 
 

Center_Stage_Hobbies wrote:I am sorry, there is NO ACCEPTABLE REASON why someone who is sick would not accept assistance in fulfilling those obligations, short of being financially unable to see them through. Period.


I think everyone can read between the lines here. I didn't want to start this line of posting as a "bash Rob" get together.  But it just seems had things been handled better at the beginning of October, a full three months ago, things would have never advanced to this point.  

Deogolf wrote:
Personally, I don't think Rob needs to say a damn thing about his health problems!! That's none of our business.

But, I agree that he should have given everyone a heads up on the overall situation.


I think at this point one has become the other.  

At this point his health problems have (seemingly) seriously impacted his ability to do business. What does this say about future products?  Would you pre-order a product being written by a man who has shaky health at best (not directly referring to Rob, but to anyone running a business) knowing there is a very good chance you might not see your purchase?  I would definitely want to be aware of the situation before I committed money to the project.

Because PPP is basically a one man company, that one man's health issues are actually very important to the future of the business.

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Post Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 3:38 pm 
 

Personally, I don't think Rob needs to say a damn thing about his health problems!! That's none of our business


Well, Deo, if he took my money and didn't give me anything for it xxx months later, every damn thing about him would become my business until I got either

a) my money back or
b) the product I was promised.

I still think that his intention was not to piss everyone off - even though it has. It's obvious that things haven't been good for him this year and I hope him the best in 2008.


And while nobody in their right mind wants to see ANYONE suffer health problems, I wish everybody would stop walking on eggs about this guy or trying to kiss his butt! Yes, he made great FRP products. But yes, he is also human and as indicated by this fiasco has the same propensity as the rest of humanity to be a jerk.

So there. Rob, hope you feel better. But more importantly than that, I hope you give people the stuff and/or refunds to which they are entitled.


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Post Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 5:03 pm 
 

I can see someone who spent $150 each on multiple special edition copies getting upset at the prospect of not getting the modules.

I still plan to order one of the $20 modules once someone has gotten a copy in the mail...and assuming they are available.

I wonder if the special collector's edition is not ultimately destructive to a pre-order game company.  After all, customers who paid $300 or more are going to be a lot less patient.  Also, the existence of special editions tends to devalue the status of regular editions.

We can only hope that Rob recovers personally and financially.

I find it interesting that some people thought Pied Piper Publishing was an actual company, with employees.  That is not the nature of any business selling 500 or fewer copies of game publications roughly once a year.  It was always a garage business...and many game companies still operate that way.  In essence, all gaming companies are garage businesses...either working to get out of the garage or headed back there soon.

Since all of you have cut Rob one year of slack already, why not hold comment for one more month?

Mark  8)


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Post Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 5:03 pm 
 

I can see someone who spent $150 each on multiple special edition copies getting upset at the prospect of not getting the modules.

I still plan to order one of the $20 modules once someone has gotten a copy in the mail...and assuming they are available.

I wonder if the special collector's edition is not ultimately destructive to a pre-order game company.  After all, customers who paid $300 or more are going to be a lot less patient.  Also, the existence of special editions tends to devalue the status of regular editions.

We can only hope that Rob recovers personally and financially.

I find it interesting that some people thought Pied Piper Publishing was an actual company, with employees.  That is not the nature of any business selling 500 or fewer copies of game publications roughly once a year.  It was always a garage business...and many game companies still operate that way.  In essence, all gaming companies are garage businesses...either working to get out of the garage or headed back there soon.

Since all of you have cut Rob one year of slack already, why not hold comment for one more month?

Mark  8)


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Post Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 5:28 pm 
 

Yeah, he hasn't had enough slack cut already...............


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Post Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 6:02 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:Since all of you have cut Rob one year of slack already, why not hold comment for one more month?

Mark  8)


I don't even think the issue is as much about cutting Rob some slack (seeing as preorders were taken early in 2007, and the item in question has been finishd since September....well, that's already a lot of slack in my book) as disclosure.  James Mishler is dealing right now with a delayed project that was prepayed; when questions were asked, he stood up and posted to the Judge's Guild forum.  The lack of any sort of contact...and the appearance that Rob would rather deal with his subscribers through intermediaries and cryptic 2nd hand postings....is what is causing the most displeasure at this juncture.

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Post Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 6:38 pm 
 

It sounds like Rob's health problem could be serious.

He has my sympathy.  As do his customers.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 6:41 am 
 

From the very beginning, which included some correspondence with Rob and Allan about how great it would be to see Bottle City produced as a limited edition collectible, I looked at this thing as an investment.  Some investments pay off, and some don't.  Even though I expected the former, I was prepared for the latter, mainly because of caution and skepticism expressed by Rob himself through emails before this project even got started.  My profession is primarily grant-driven.  The process of securing grants is one of pitching an idea, and outlining the expected outcomes.  If you have good ideas, a solid background of delivering, and ask for a reasonable amount of money, you might get funded.  In the event that you do, it's understood that grants are grants, and not contracts.  Sometimes they pay off, and sometimes they don't.  Grantors are acknowledged when a project succeeds, but they never get their money back if it doesn't.  That's understood from the outset.  

I don't expect anyone to share my point of view, but it doesn't really matter to me whether I get the copies I ordered.  The way I look at it is that I encouraged, argued for, and eventually supported a project I was hoping would succeed.  It apparently did succeed, to the extent that Bottle City was produced as a limited edition collectible.  Actually receiving the module would be great (and will be great), but jeez, walk a mile in another guy's shoes...Who knows what another person's situation ever really is, especially someone as private as Rob apparently is?  I'm not trying to urge anyone to cut him slack, but I'm willing to.  There are at least three people on this website for whom I've bought and delivered goods with the promise of eventual repayment in cash or goods who are still outstanding in their repayment (others I've just forgotten about by now).  I cut them slack, too.


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Post Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:01 am 
 

Well said, bombadil. I will just wait and hope - even though it looks like this one will be Pied Piper's last product. Which is too bad, because the Bottle City reproduction was precisely the kind of game supplement I was looking for.

Hope Rob gets his health together - at least that.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:13 am 
 

bombadil wrote:From the very beginning, which included some correspondence with Rob and Allan about how great it would be to see Bottle City produced as a limited edition collectible, I looked at this thing as an investment.  Some investments pay off, and some don't.  Even though I expected the former, I was prepared for the latter, mainly because of caution and skepticism expressed by Rob himself through emails before this project even got started.  My profession is primarily grant-driven.  The process of securing grants is one of pitching an idea, and outlining the expected outcomes.  If you have good ideas, a solid background of delivering, and ask for a reasonable amount of money, you might get funded.  In the event that you do, it's understood that grants are grants, and not contracts.  Sometimes they pay off, and sometimes they don't.  Grantors are acknowledged when a project succeeds, but they never get their money back if it doesn't.  That's understood from the outset.  

I don't expect anyone to share my point of view, but it doesn't really matter to me whether I get the copies I ordered.  The way I look at it is that I encouraged, argued for, and eventually supported a project I was hoping would succeed.  It apparently did succeed, to the extent that Bottle City was produced as a limited edition collectible.  Actually receiving the module would be great (and will be great), but jeez, walk a mile in another guy's shoes...Who knows what another person's situation ever really is, especially someone as private as Rob apparently is?  I'm not trying to urge anyone to cut him slack, but I'm willing to.  There are at least three people on this website for whom I've bought and delivered goods with the promise of eventual repayment in cash or goods who are still outstanding in their repayment (others I've just forgotten about by now).  I cut them slack, too.


I understand why you feel the way you do, Bom, and I respect your opinion on a good many subjects. But we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one, 100%.  Rob was offering a PRODUCT, not a concept, and we have been told this product is completed and awaiting shipment. Except it has never shipped.  The subscribers were willing to fund the production and it appears we have been rewarded....the project is finished. I realize only one step stands between the project's completion...actual mailing of the items...so it's puzzling to me why what could be seen as the simplest part of the entire process hasn't been taken care of yet.  I understand illness may have played a part...but Rob has been offered assistance and refused it.

Bom, even in your line of work, I assume the people who issue the grants require some sort of results, or regular updates or reports, or eventually your source of funding it going to dry up. I realize where you are coming from, but I'm a businessman, and if I take money and then don't ship items, there are consequences.  The minute Rob formed a company, put up a website and began soliciting orders he was also a business and bound under these rules. I know you say you don't care if you ever see the project, and you often operate on spec....apologies to you, but I would be unable to put food in my family's mouths and a roof over their head if I operated like that.  The real world requires payment for items received and services rendered, otherwise bills don't get paid, etc.   In other words consequences for actions.  Being a famous celebrity or game designer doesn't give you a free pass.  I know I'm a capitalist pig but I hold people who solicit money from me to a much higher standard.

Rob has said the items will ship out the end of January.  I'll take him at his word and wait until then before speculating further.

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:41 am 
 

I have been watching/reading this thread over the last few days with interest and I have two observations:

1)  It seem like the people who are doing the most bitching about this are the ones who are on the hook for the least amount of money, that's if they are on the hook for any money at all in this. :?

2)  Although I am bit mystified at the fact that  that he has refused any help from others, the fact remains that Rob has remained in contact with others outside is a very good sign.  I admit to also being slightly annoyed that Rob has now stated on two seperate occasions that these modules would be shipping only to find out later on that they did not, but the fact remains that despite what some people are trying to say, this is not a dead deal and all has not been lost.  

Could this have been handled better?  Yep.  Should this have been handled better?  Absoultely.  

Despite that, the fact that several outside people are still involved in this process(people that have an excellent reputation and have never screwed anyone, i.e. Grodog) and also the fact that these items have in fact been printed(confirmed through someone other than Rob himself) leaves me supremely confident that this item will see its way into my hands.  It would make absolutely no sense for Rob to have this product printed and then never ship them out, as if he had truely wanted to pork everyone, he would have never gone through the hassle of having them printed in the first place. He would have taken the money and dropped of the face of the earth.  That in conjuction with that fact that others who I also trust are still involved in the project, again leaves me very confident that this situation will see its way to a satisfactory conclusion for most of us.


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Post Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:21 am 
 

1)  It seem like the people who are doing the most bitching about this are the ones who are on the hook for the least amount of money, that's if they are on the hook for any money at all in this.  


Whatever, chief. Just pointing out that people are cutting one person an awful lot of slack while willing to hang others with little or no explanation.

You're on ScketreWhisp's case all the time, and all he does is sell things in a manner in which you disagree; this guy makes off with people's money, and you have the nerve to say things like you quoted above?

Brian, I don't have a problem with you, and I too wish Rob the best. But since when does being a "popular game designer" get someone off the hook for taking money with truly little or no explanation?

I feel sorry for Grodog; while I have never met or discussed anything with him, it appears to me Rob has people like Allan holding the proverbial ball for him and running his interference, a situation I would not envy at all.

I personally don't give a rat's ass if Bottle City is published or not; it won't affect me. But for those people on the Acaeum who have invested their time and money, I hope the product pans out to its fullest.


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Post Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:22 am 
 

One should not have to pay for the right to speak openly or to criticize.

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