RJK's Bottle City updates
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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 2:30 pm 
 

Lance Hawvermale wrote:For the record (and because I always find myself defending people whether they deserve that defense or not), Rob paid me for Tower of Blood, so know that he hasn't left everyone turning in the wind.


Heya Lance!

You know, I have always secretly wondered if you got a square deal on ToB. I'm glad to hear that you did! You sort of dropped off the face of PPP after that, so I was fearing the worst.

As for me, I got paid my usual half upon delivery of the art, and then received a "bonus" check which was a few bucks short of the remaining amount due. I contacted Rob with my confusion, but said that I'd accept it as close enough to Paid In Full. He promised to send another "bonus" when he could. It never came. The bonus that I accepted as the completion of my payment for ToB was the last dime I ever got from PPP.


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 2:35 pm 
 

Mars wrote:it says "This printing of Tower of Blood is done under version 1.0a of the Open Gaming License."


My guess is that it's that way on all of them. 100% my fault for missing it in layout.


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:13 pm 
 

Jaybird216 wrote:My guess is that it's that way on all of them. 100% my fault for missing it in layout.


No worries, I was just checking to sort out printing info should there be another print run.

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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:15 pm 
 

There go my chances of ever being hired by them again! :(

:lol:  :twisted:  :lol:


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:16 pm 
 

Jaybird216 wrote:You know, I have always secretly wondered if you got a square deal on ToB. I'm glad to hear that you did! You sort of dropped off the face of PPP after that, so I was fearing the worst.

Though Rob asked if I'd be interested in working on certain projects in the future, I told him that I needed to take a break to (a) promote my fiction, and (b) finish my thesis.

Pre-order and shipping problems aside, I consider it a huge honor to co-write with him.  I look forward to collaborating again on future books.  Assuming there are future books. . . .



  


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:21 pm 
 

That's the same way I feel about Jim Holloway. The main reason I got involved with PPP was to work alongside Jim. Now we're conspiring on the possibility of some mutual projects.  :D

That's my silver lining.


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:27 pm 
 

Jaybird216 wrote:That's my silver lining.

The exposure probably didn't hurt either, FWIW.



  


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:43 pm 
 

True enough, Dave. I have to admit that being linked to Rob's titles probably did give me a boost as far as name-recognition among his fans. Though this wasn't my first rodeo by a long shot. I was displaying art at GenCon before Pied Piper existed, and had been published plenty of times. I've worked with a very few publishers during and after my time at PPP.

I'd actually get more effective exposure if I buckled down and hawked my wares a bit. I'm extremely passive about hunting down work because I've got a decent full-time job. Last year I made far more money on non-RPG illustration - solely from people stumbling upon my website via google -  than I made in the previous 5 years of RPG work. The "real" job beats them all hands-down... probably in a month! :lol:

It would also help if I weren't so damned lazy.

To be honest, my speaking up in this whole debacle is likely to be negative exposure for me. Publishers hate to see freelancers bash other publishers. Who's to say the freelancer won't do the same if things go south on them somewhere down the line? Why take that chance?

But, in this instance, I couldn't care less. The customers deserved an inside scoop, so I held my tongue as long as I could.

<edited to make more sense, and to not sound like too much of an ass-hat>


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 8:23 pm 
 

ExTSR wrote:
Interesting phrase, that. After I used it in August '06 ('way back here) Rob sent me a special (prescient?) autograph... subtitled "Vapor Man".  :!:

The way this has unfortunately turned out, I wonder what that autograph is worth...  8O

I do honestly hope that Rob gets his feces together. But matters do appear grim.


Frank


That said, it is not "vaporware". Modules have been shipped; abeit, not all of them. Since I was assisting Rob in getting to the post office, I have no idea what the hell is going on now. He supposedly purchased a car and thanked me for helping him out. This new silence is a bit puzzling, again...


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 9:27 pm 
 

Deogolf wrote:
This new silence is a bit puzzling, again...


Though, having read a few threads on this, not that surprising to many :roll:


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 9:42 pm 
 

The DF thread picked up some heat today(at least do in part to both John Stark and myself):

http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewt ... 8&start=30

I also wandered over to Rob's board today and surprisingly enough he hasn't posted anything there since February 25th.  :roll:   One thing I did find kind of disturbing was this little tidbit:

http://p085.ezboard.com/fpiedpiperpubli ... =100.topic

Ah, a question. For aeons have I awaited a question!" (Not quite from the Star Trek episode that I remember, but close enough.)

March 11th or 12th. There's several large announcements to take place then. I am meeting on March 10th with two folks from out of town on that day and Grodog is flying in to attend this meeting. That is all I will say.

The direction of the company a well as my involvement within it will be drastically changing. That's all I will say on that.

A new publishing schedule will be posted and we are looking to update the website in conjunction with that (David and I will be speaking upon that, soon).

I am drafting several announcements for that time.

Six products have been envsioned, some of them as already noted. Some will be anounced then. A couple will come as a welcome surprise to many.

We are soliciting private individuals right now, including new editors and writers.

We will be concentrating efforts on both fiction and games.

But, to answer your question, right now we are closed for submissions until we start this new cycle in the company's future.


I really hope that whoever is considering getting involved with PPP really does thier homework beforehand and realizes what they could be dealing with.


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:13 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote:I really hope that whoever is considering getting involved with PPP really does thier homework beforehand and realizes what they could be dealing with.

if problem is prepayment easy to fix
have not seen people even cougar complain with lousy quality mods before for first two cotsk-tob not even ppl disgusted enough to buy as investment or sell spares for $40-$100 profit. if i were rob would want to give up to stop the whining even if justified

how many people wait + set money aside long time or years for woodgrain or other valuable item?? no one has 'stolen' money yet even if very very frustrating :? :?
+thx for those worked with rob and tried not to complain

  

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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:28 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote:

I really hope that whoever is considering getting involved with PPP really does thier homework beforehand and realizes what they could be dealing with.


It actually sounds like good news to me.

Rob might be getting some money men to come in with an infusion of cash to buy/run PPP, and regulate himself to an "idea" man only. I don't see how future products and a publishing schedule could fly otherwise...

This could work...Rob's major faults seem to be managing a business, not actually writing the adventures. My only worry is that he's never been able to hold to an agreement before....but perhaps in return for bail out money assurances (and contracts signed) will occur.

I think the presence of Grodog in this endeavor bodes well....sounds like he might be a "middleman" between Rob and the boss types. I guess it could work. If the first order of business is to ship out all the outstanding orders (including Bottle City LEs) then I'm all for it.  

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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:36 pm 
 

better spoken than me badmike thx

  


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:40 pm 
 

Badmike wrote: My only worry is that he's never been able to hold to an agreement before....but perhaps in return for bail out money assurances (and contracts signed) will occur..


That's exactly my point though.   He hasn't held up to his end of the bargain so many times now, why exactly is he going to start doing it now?  In addition to the absolute beating his rep has taken yet again, who the hell is going to buy whats being put out?  I know alot of people have said they will forever stay away.  Count me amongst that group.


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Last edited by bclarkie on Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:44 pm 
 

Over on the DF thread, Jason wrote:

Jaybird216 wrote:Naturally, grodog and I are the only two who can back that up, and he's staying out of this mess.


I'm trying to stay out of this, and finding it hard to do so.  Not because I want to defend Rob's business practices, but because I can see over the hump of this issue into six months down the road, where things look really really good.  I hope.  At this point, how rosy that picture is or isn't depends on what Rob can do to make emends with the fans, if anything.  

Suggestions along those lines would be very appreciated:  what could Rob do to make things right (beyond the obvious of "apologize and the get the books in everyone's hands")?


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:48 pm 
 

I am glad that I'm 3/3 for ordering and receiving items from PPP.

Once folks have received payments / merchandise, I would certainly buy from again.

Cheers!

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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:06 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:
This could work...Rob's major faults seem to be managing a business, not actually writing the adventures.

Mike B.


Hmmm??? I think the guys at Necromancer, Kenzer, and Troll Lords would disagree and say it is the exact opposite.   He didn't have to run a business in those cases.  All he had to do was write and deliver the manuscripts and he couldn't do it.

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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:21 pm 
 

islestrike wrote:
Hmmm??? I think the guys at Necromancer, Kenzer, and Troll Lords would disagree and say it is the exact opposite.   He didn't have to run a business in those cases.  All he had to do was write and deliver the manuscripts and he couldn't do it.

Cheers!


In conjuction with no less than 4 different proclamations of, "The items are on the way!!11!!one!!1!!eleven!1!":

http://p085.ezboard.com/Note-on-Outstan ... =169.topic

http://p085.ezboard.com/Bottle-City-Fia ... =167.topic

http://p085.ezboard.com/fpiedpiperpubli ... 41&stop=58

http://p085.ezboard.com/fpiedpiperpubli ... 1&stop=100

http://p085.ezboard.com/fpiedpiperpubli ... 41&stop=48

Yet, guess what? A substanitally large protion of those orders still haven't been shipped yet including those who spent the most on it.   To make matters even worse, Noble Knight Games got a shit load of copies and sold and delivered them to their customers in some cases weeks before folks who bought directly from the source have recieved thiers.   You know outside of just disappearing completely off the map never to be seen or heard from again, I am not sure how it could have been much worse than it has been done.   :?   And again, this is coming from me who preached patience several months ago.


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:38 pm 
 

grodog wrote:
I'm trying to stay out of this, and finding it hard to do so.  Not because I want to defend Rob's business practices, but because I can see over the hump of this issue into six months down the road, where things look really really good.  I hope.  At this point, how rosy that picture is or isn't depends on what Rob can do to make emends with the fans, if anything.  

Suggestions along those lines would be very appreciated:  what could Rob do to make things right (beyond the obvious of "apologize and the get the books in everyone's hands")?


Allan;

Since you asked on the open forum instead of Pming you I'll lay it out for everyone to see:

1. An open apology from Rob to his fans that mistakes were made. No more excuses about illnesses, not being able to reach the post office, car theft, too much snow, etc. I'm not saying these did or didn't have an effect on the mailing of the items, but there comes a time when you just need to admit "I screwed up" and move on without falling back on excuses, applicable or not.  I know this sounds obvious, as you said, but up until now the lack of communication has been probably THE main reason PPP is in danger of never being a viable company again. Rob could have headed this off MONTHS ago with a public apology.  It's amazing what kind of slack people will cut you when you admit you messed up.  Reading between the lines to me it seems rather obvious what REALLY happened to prevent the Bottle City mailings...I would urge someone to fess up and basically let us know "it won't happen again".  Further evasions will just lead to more suspicions and bad feelings.

2.  All preordered Bottle City and other product needs to ship out IMMEDIATELY.  Not next week, not next month, not "sometime before Gencon".  IMMEDIATELY.  This needs to be THE HIGHEST PRIORITY  item in the agenda, getting paid for product in fan's hands.

3.  The presence of an actual company structure that does NOT include Rob in an position except as an idea man or designer.  Unfortunately, after this fiasco it will be a long, long, time, if ever, before Rob's word is ever taken seriously in the industry.  The new structure will just have to deal with that, and so will Rob, by taking a subordinate position. I'm also hoping the "money men" in this deal with be respected figures in the industry that will immediately inspire trust in the new company.  If the company structure was to stay the same (i.e., Rob's in charge still) I would probably never spend a cent on PPP products.

4.  No more pre-orders for at least a few projects....once again, Rob has lost the trust of the uber-fan and must regain it before limited editions, runic copies, or whatever are solicited.   At this point I doubt the money would be flowing in for this sort of release anyway.

5.  A STRICT release schedule. This cannot be overemphasized. There is absolutely no slack to be cut here due to the shoddy performance of PPP over the last year.  If another project is "late", any progress that might have been made to win back fans will all be lost.

6. Constant communication between PPP and the fans. This was perhaps the lowest point of the entire saga the last year, the fact that days, weeks and months would go by with NO news of orders or product.  Weekly updates on the website are a must to continued good will in the community.  It goes without saying that a company spokesman position is a must.

7.  Modernizing the company structure. No one wants to hear anymore about how Rob can't get to the post office to buy stamps. It is the 21st century, it is perfectly possible to do all aspects of mailing from your house, as I have been doing for years.  There should be no Luddite-type excuses why something isn't getting done, if Rob can't handle it then give it to someone that knows how.  But when you yourself don't have a car (I sold my auto recently) and yet somehow manage to mail out over 100 packages a month, you have VERY little sympathy for someone else who seems to be stymied by this development.


8.  While Rob's ideas are obviously the main thrust behind PPP, a company that is dependent on ONE individual is surely courting disaster should anything happen to that person.....see the last year of PPP.  If Rob can't put the finishing touches on something, then someone else needs to have the authority to step in and either finish the project, OR publish similar projects of their own.  Allan, not to kiss your ass or anything, but personally I'd be just as excited seeing something YOU wrote as any of Rob's stuff,  knowing your dedication to the game and old school gaming. Hell, if your multi-level version of Castle Greyhawk is in publishable form let's see it, call it "Castle Greyhold" or whatever and roll it out as a supermodule...I'd buy it!   Have a few other creator owned projects laying around for those times that Rob is running behind, and put them out during the spaces between Rob's classic stuff. Honestly the CAS1 and CAS2 were really nothing special IMO; I bought them to support the industry. Bottle City was the real attraction for me because of the historical aspects. Stick Rob on rehashing old Castle Greyhawk levels and other classic D&D stuff only.

It's probably obvious that fans of old school dungeons just want quality nostalgia items, whether they are Robs are someone elses. Have Rob stamp a "Approved by Rob Kuntz" on the cover and as long as it meets the standards of, say, Maure Castle, people will want to see it.  

9.  Make amends. I've mentioned before on this thread that alienating the fan base of a niche of a niche product is probably the closest thing to business suicide there is.  You are going to HAVE to do something to win fans back, many who have long memories and are not inclined at this point to cut PPP or Rob a break (I'm one of them). I would suggest basically a "freebie", for everyone on the mailing list, or everyone who ordered a Bottle City, basically the long-suffering fans.   It could take the form of a special publication, autographed item, maybe along the lines of The Living Room.  It could be a free download even. Just something to say "thank you" to the long suffering fans who had to wait and wait the last year.  It should be something unique and perhaps even valuable.  

To put my suggestions in perspective, there is a reason MLB pitcher Andy Pettite is being given a free pass, while Roger Clemens is about to be hounded out of the game, when both are guilty of the exact same offense. A little humility and eating a little crow can go a long way.  Rob may not feel like anything was done wrong; fine, but if he tosses out that attitude it truly will be the finish of PPP.  Whether or not he believes he was in the right or wrong he better humble himself if he has any hope of continuing his career...I honestly think it's that serious for his future.

I would also offer the suggestion that no matter what the problem that arises, if any, from the newly structured company, that someone just "deals with it". The tolerance for excuses of ANY sort are about nil at this point. Seriously, anything short of a natural disaster destroying the entire city where PPP is based is going to be greeted with skepticism and will probably finish off what very tiny part of good will might still exist.  To put it bluntly no one gives a rat's ass anymore about anything sort of death or absolute destruction.

Anyway IMO those steps would be a good start.

Mike B.


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