Islandia modules
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 4 of 41, 2, 3, 4
Author

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 7955
Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Last Visit: May 14, 2021
Location: DFW TX

Post Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 2:52 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote in Islandia modules:Re. They Gygax Estate - They wanted to retain, control, and argue among themselves over who is and isn't going to profit from daddy's work. Ernie screwed everyone who backs him on Kickstarter then sells the rights for a second bite at the cherry to TLG. In the meantime everything that the family think they are protecting is available for free to anyone with a search engine online. They could have licensed Zagyg and Yggsburgh to TLG and taken profit for years to come. They could have put their own money into protecting the Gygax name instead of dragging it through the mud, but instead one is off doing an absolutely fantastic job running GaryCon while the other is using the Gygax name to fleece Kickstarter backers out of whatever it was, $100K?

Re. Islandia - The problem here is both a project manager/developer that is focussing on money and profitability, whilst pretending its all about 'preserving the wonderful product', which is classic salesman talk and a disaster for anyone stupid enough to throw money at them. Add to that a delusional OAP who thinks he can compete with the quality of modern day writers, which IMO is just laughable.

And neither of them are willing to consider the obvious routes to preserve the products as is, and get them into the public consciousness, namely publishing digitally as they are and making them available PoD, then hit the forums and start conversations, send copies to notable YouTube reviewers, etc. and slowly build a monetary base to hire proper professionals to do a rewrite. Why? Because Mr Rice is too old and cannot be bothered, and the proposer doesn't see any real money in it for himself. Hell, with PDFs and PoDs of the originals online, if you can get enough talk in the community, one of the big publishers would pick the products up, assign real writers to them and commission real artists and cartographers.

Or... As would seem to be both parties' preference, Peter Rice dies, no-one gives a F about anything he ever achieved, he goes forgotten and some of us make out big time on products that continue to get rarer and rarer. We're all winners. The PDFs will eventually be available for free for anyone to download anyways, regardless of what they do. Somehow they think they can stop it, like all the muppets in the music industry, but the door is closing, and they have the choice to walk through it and make money, or abandon their work. In Peter Rice's position I can understand abandoning his IP. He's too old to care and that was lifetime ago. And from the poster's point of view, I can understand the attempt to cash in, but its a blatant money grab that cannot possibly succeed. If it were about the product, the project would go ahead with no requirement for money, because no money is required to make this succeed. Only the will of the author and his agent.



I agree on a lot of this. Just want to point out, no one who was born a Gygax has any control over the Gygax estate and his name, that is all under the control of his widow Gail.....who promptly closed all licenses of his work with TLG and his kept anyone from publishing anything he ever wrote for the last decade. The family has no control over the name or Gary's works, that is all in Gail's very incapable hands. Once again, we'll be waiting for someone to pass away before we ever see anything from Gary's folio.

Yes a lot of these old timers are contacted by someone interested and they see money signs, not to name names but Doug and I contacted someone about a reprint and the rates we were given for rights were far too much for a property out of print 40 years without much name recognition. I don't think a lot of these guys realize their properties are mostly available online for free in pdf form (example the four Places of Mystery series  from the Companions which are all floating around out there on websites in pdf form). The clock is definitely ticking on whether or not someone will pay to own updated versions or reprints of these 80's endeavors.

Mike B.


"THE MORE YOU THINK ABOUT WHY i DONE WHAT i DONE THE MORE i LAUGH" Cougar
"The Acaeum hates fun" Sir Allen
"I had a collecting emergency" Nogrod
Co-founder of the North Texas RPG Con
http://www.ntrpgcon.com

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 6261
Joined: Jan 03, 2005
Last Visit: May 17, 2021
Location: UK

Post Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 3:23 pm 
 

Gail - However, she did inherit his IP and Gary was well aware that she alone would inherit his IP and presumably was fine with that. He chose to exclude his kids for whatever reason from 'the family business', so I won't second guess the family dynamic.

Peter (and others) - Computers opened the door to digital media, and that brought immeasurable improvements to the quality of RPGs, and endless cheap [email protected] to the market. But at the same time it will suck in 99% of everything that was ever published in analog form. If IP holders consider their works to be unworthy of defending, then they are happy for their IP to be breached. They'll be dead soon enough, and if they couldn't give a damn about their IP, sure as hell their spouses and children don't give a F (and probably don't even know about it). As for rewrites/modernisations, there is nothing to stop anything they've written in the past from being plagiarised and with changes to place names. Good luck trying to win a breach of IP case there. Let's face it, you couldn't get away with publishing something like Islandia these days. The world demands much higher standards if you expect to get paid for it. That seems to be the thing all involved are blissfully ignoring right now.

I can see an avenue to rebuild forgotten brands. With Islandia, I cannot see a writer on board, new or old, who knows anything about publishing in the modern world. That is where the whole thing looks like a desperate money grab in my eyes. No-one is willing to put in the time or effort without begging the public to pony up money to backstop their failure.

If Ernie couldn't do it with the Gygax name, $100K, and the original Hobby Shop Dungeon, then there is no hope in hell that Mr Joe Blogs and Mr Unknown Author from 40 years ago are going to do it with a product only one in a million role-players have ever heard of, when neither of them are willing to put in any effort at all other than massaging egos and blowing sunshine up orifices.

EGG's body of work may be Gail's pension, so we may see licensing when she gets desperate for medical cover or a change in lifestyle. Peter Rice's works will all be available online for free before the decade is out, and if he's not willing to cash in on it before that happens, then he'll never have the chance to do so. I'm guessing what little effort is needed to proof read something someone else has written for him isn't worth the money he can get for it, and he'd rather abandon the work than monetise it.


This week I've been mostly eating . . . chicken and wild rice soup.

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 7955
Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Last Visit: May 14, 2021
Location: DFW TX

Post Posted: Fri Dec 25, 2020 12:29 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote in Islandia modules:Gail - However, she did inherit his IP and Gary was well aware that she alone would inherit his IP and presumably was fine with that. He chose to exclude his kids for whatever reason from 'the family business', so I won't second guess the family dynamic

EGG's body of work may be Gail's pension, so we may see licensing when she gets desperate for medical cover or a change in lifestyle. Peter Rice's works will all be available online for free before the decade is out, and if he's not willing to cash in on it before that happens, then he'll never have the chance to do so. I'm guessing what little effort is needed to proof read something someone else has written for him isn't worth the money he can get for it, and he'd rather abandon the work than monetise it.



Oh I'll second guess him. He made a horrendous, terrible decision because the one thing that you can say about him was that he was a terrible business person and made horrible business decisions his entire life. From having the Blumes co-sign onto TSR, going out to Hollywood for a year to get coked up and neglecting his business, to getting out maneuvered by Lorraine and losing his own company, through the awful decision to give Gail control of his name and estate, it's been one boner after another. He's he reason kids nowadays have no clue who EGG is, how would they when nothing he published in the last 30 years has been available for over a decade?

Gail has had medical needs and more the past few years, but being as terrible a businessman as her late husband has done her no favors, she wants over one million dollars for the rights to EGG's name which is preposterous seeing as how she herself has driven down the value the last decade.  Everyone she's tried licensing with has left in disgust or sued her. And when she dies? All indications are the estate will pass to her sister and brother in law, not to anyone named Gygax. In the end, he did it all to himself.

As for Rice, he also has done this all to himself, I cannot believe he doesn't see the value in getting The Companions stuff out there, updated and converted for a new generation, but as the case with Gary just because you are a good writer doesn't mean you have a lick of business sense.

Mike B.


"THE MORE YOU THINK ABOUT WHY i DONE WHAT i DONE THE MORE i LAUGH" Cougar
"The Acaeum hates fun" Sir Allen
"I had a collecting emergency" Nogrod
Co-founder of the North Texas RPG Con
http://www.ntrpgcon.com

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 6261
Joined: Jan 03, 2005
Last Visit: May 17, 2021
Location: UK

Post Posted: Fri Dec 25, 2020 4:42 pm 
 

With regard to Rice, his entire catalogue will be free for everyone in the next few years anyway. Practically everything anyone has ever published is out there, or will be sooner or later, and it could be demonstrated by any competent lawyer that none of these authors have taken any action whatsoever to protect their IP. So any future prosecution for breach of IP is very unlikely to succeed.

Maybe he's so loaded or so happy with life that another stream of income is irrelevant to him. Either that or he sees through the people who have been trying to encourage him to publish, and sees the money grab for what it is. Maybe he'll wake the F up if he meets the right publishing team, but the current proponent clearly isn't it. No business sense, no experience, and too great a desire to cash in on someone else's work. SO maybe Peter Rice will protect his IP when it appears online, but I very much doubt it.

As regards Gail -  Everything EGG has ever published, literally everything that I am aware of, is free to download online. Even Yggsburgh the hardback, which surprised me, is there as a HQ PDF. So the only assets that she possesses, are remnants of notes and unpublished manuscripts, which in all likelihood will end up at private auction and come to people we know, or people we know of. Even the Gygax name is not an asset anymore. You have one person running around trashing the name and fleecing people, another fighting bravely to maintain it's integrity, and an IP holder doing the best she can to bury it. The infighting in that family must be pretty bitter. Either that or they all agree to let sleeping dogs lie. I'd guess the former.

Either way there is nothing left to license to anyone anyway unless TLG fancy their chances reviving the Zagyg brand. I suspect the Zagyg brand had it's time in the sun and has been far surpassed by the younger breed of top level writers in the OSR. C&C itself is dead (or dying) and it wouldn't surprise me if TLG themselves are dead in the next five years. They have no-where to go now with C&C, no inhouse talent of any note, and haven't offered anything to the wider RPG community in a long while.

Shannon will record 10-20 as being the decade the old guard bit the dust and the new writers and publishers found their own and moved forward without them. Call it OSR or NuSR or whatever the kids want to call it. I see far more refreshing voices and exciting products in that space, than in what remains of the legacies of the founders and their followers.


This week I've been mostly eating . . . chicken and wild rice soup.

 WWW  

User avatar

Long-Winded Collector
Subweb Admin
JG Valuation Board

Posts: 4487
Joined: Nov 08, 2002
Last Visit: May 17, 2021
Location: Land of 10,000 ponds

Post Posted: Fri Dec 25, 2020 8:57 pm 
 

I understand you like to talk, but I'll disagree fiercely on this point:
Troll Lord Games is not going to die in the next 5 years.  It has been 12 years out from Gygax material, they seem to be doing just fine.  While not a fan boy, just going to their page shows proof they are still going with way more then Gygax or publishing Necromancer Games books, etc back in the day.  They have one of the best customer services (hard to deny Paizo in that regard as the best I've known) when I've had an issue with an order or Kickstarter. I've personally meet the dudes at GenCons of old, even had drinks with them.  As one of the old d20 companies still around they know what they are and shall stop only when they want to, not because of some old IP they no longer have.

ShaneG.


I reject your reality and substitute my own

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 7955
Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Last Visit: May 14, 2021
Location: DFW TX

Post Posted: Sun Dec 27, 2020 6:15 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote in Islandia modules:
Shannon will record 10-20 as being the decade the old guard bit the dust and the new writers and publishers found their own and moved forward without them. Call it OSR or NuSR or whatever the kids want to call it. I see far more refreshing voices and exciting products in that space, than in what remains of the legacies of the founders and their followers.


This is very true, so many companies and individuals with fresh new takes on old systems and ways of gaming, it's just sad the old stuff will fade away or be subject to pirating/bad pdfs instead of being brushed up a bit and republished, but that seems to be their wishes. And yes I agree that eventually with small print being as easy as it is we'll see some of this stuff reprinted without permission (it's already being done with actual TSR/WOTC stuff).   Just a shame.

Going to have to disagree about TLG, though. They are very happy being a mid-tier company and seem to have no ambitions to be any bigger. They seem to be doing just fine and by keeping printing in house have seen very little disruption due to the pandemic or vagaries of Chinese shipping companies. As long as they are happy with where they are, they'll continue to churn out stuff and have a loyal audience for it.

Mike B.


"THE MORE YOU THINK ABOUT WHY i DONE WHAT i DONE THE MORE i LAUGH" Cougar
"The Acaeum hates fun" Sir Allen
"I had a collecting emergency" Nogrod
Co-founder of the North Texas RPG Con
http://www.ntrpgcon.com

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 6261
Joined: Jan 03, 2005
Last Visit: May 17, 2021
Location: UK

Post Posted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:48 am 
 

They were one of the early adopters of PDFs and DrivethruRPG, indeed that is where I spent the bulk of my money with them. Let's hope they read the future at least as well as the competition and adapt to it well.

I was about to start asking questions about the disruptive nature of digital media on what remains primarily a print media business model, but that is a thread more suited to Dragonsfoot I suppose. PDFs aside, I am wondering whether innovation in writing and products is needed with some of these middle of the road companies, as a larger and larger body of talent is being found outside of the publishing houses now. Something Matt Finch seemed to recognise (or at least eluded to) few years back, although I do not follow these companies and their staffing closely and wouldn't be able to say who was working with who at any particular juncture.


This week I've been mostly eating . . . chicken and wild rice soup.

 WWW  

User avatar

Prolific Collector

Posts: 428
Joined: Jun 13, 2008
Last Visit: May 10, 2021

Post Posted: Tue Dec 29, 2020 7:50 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote in Islandia modules:I am wondering whether innovation in writing and products is needed with some of these middle of the road companies, as a larger and larger body of talent is being found outside of the publishing houses now.

"Needed" for what end?

I mean, the major companies produce nothing more than polished shite IMHO, and the masses of new-school D&D consumers gobble it up by multiple orders of magnitude more than the small publishers. What do the major companies have going for them? Branding, distribution savvy, and the built-up momentum of their corporate machinery.

Innovation & writing won't make up for that.

Sure, maybe innovation & writing could boost sales a little for a smaller company, but it gets easier every year to self publish at high quality.

Why would a "talent" waste their time writing what a middle-of-the-road company wants for a comparative pittance (have you seen how little even the big companies can pay!?), generally losing copyright in the process, when they could instead write an independent passion project, make much more, and keep copyright? That's only semi-rhetorical — there *are* reasons for somebody to throw-in with some company so as to avoid the logistics hurdles, but the hurdles get lower every year.


Guy Fullerton
Chaotic Henchmen Productions
http://www.chaotichenchmen.com/

  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 6261
Joined: Jan 03, 2005
Last Visit: May 17, 2021
Location: UK

Post Posted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 2:35 pm 
 

Guy Fullerton wrote in Islandia modules:"Needed" for what end?

I mean, the major companies produce nothing more than polished shite IMHO, and the masses of new-school D&D consumers gobble it up by multiple orders of magnitude more than the small publishers. What do the major companies have going for them? Branding, distribution savvy, and the built-up momentum of their corporate machinery.

Innovation & writing won't make up for that.

Sure, maybe innovation & writing could boost sales a little for a smaller company, but it gets easier every year to self publish at high quality.

Why would a "talent" waste their time writing what a middle-of-the-road company wants for a comparative pittance (have you seen how little even the big companies can pay!?), generally losing copyright in the process, when they could instead write an independent passion project, make much more, and keep copyright? That's only semi-rhetorical — there *are* reasons for somebody to throw-in with some company so as to avoid the logistics hurdles, but the hurdles get lower every year.


That's the business model, and also the flaw in it though, isn't it? You have a few dozen medium to large scale publishers that bang out the same old sh!te, tear in year out, and one of us buy any of it. But the stuff is bought by the younger generation, because they don't know any better, they haven't learnt to develop their own gaming habits yet, don't trust in their own instincts or abilities to DM, and need to be spoon fed this sh!t. They're grow up one day, collect stuff, and wonder why their kids are buying crap from the dominant publishers of that era. Is it really any different from our generation buying Judges Guild or the majority of TSR's products of that time? And ignoring the myriad of small press works. Admittedly it was harder to sort the wheat from the chaff back in those days, because you either had to have the $$ to buy stuff, or you had to trust word of mouth of the paid for reviews (which were never biased) from the gatekeep magazines who were selling advertising space to these same sellers who's books they were reviewing. Most of the small press stuff you could only buy mail order (certainly here in the UK).

But write cheap crap using junior writers, to bang out a regular flow of fodder to the waiting herd IS the business model. It works better than any other business model, and has done for half a century. So we can't really be surprised at either the lack of talent in their writing pool, the quality of the content produce, or the quantity at which the consumer will buy. I for one am glad, because it indicates a buoyant hobby, on the back of fear that RPGs were dying, and as I see it, we only have WotC and MtG to thank for that. Without MtG, I suspect the RPG market would now be a fraction of the size it has become.

Now, in regard to talent in the writing pool, most big companies need talented writers from time to time, or they die. Admittedly it is a slow lingering death, like gangrene where you suspect the rot is there before you see it, and then the patient hangs on for a long time hoping someone will save it before it eventually dies, but it dies nonetheless. Without sufficient nutrition from time to time, and the cutting out of the cancerous bits, companies just become irrelevant and they die.

I can't speak to the wisdom of a writer who truly is talented, choosing to work for, or with, a particular publisher on a sustained or long term basis. That presumably comes down to money, and the 'fit' between author and publisher. But I'd imagine most junior writers stay with publishers, or shuffle between them, because they don't have the talent to be an author of note, and its the only way they'll get their name on a book, which is what makes them employable on their CVs to other publishers, which is where their pay checks come from. But again, isn't that the same as a guy working for one company or another, but his CV and upping his salary, never having the ability to  distinguished himself, or stand on my own two feet as an independent contractor?

But you're right. Talent knows it's worth, and is found within publishers. The vast majority of what I read these days is, meh. You could probably craft a game out of it and entertain your players, but it would be nothing special, and I suppose I just can't be bothered settling for reading the same old sh!t over and over again. I guess that's why I find stuff in the OSR/NuSR, or whatever the kids are calling its these days, so interesting. Its a shame so many of the stalwarts cannot see it and be inspired. Or maybe, their internal editing process prevents them, with everything having to correspond with a corporate image and the mutual group collective consensus of that is interesting, which inevitably is the lowest common denominator of their combined imaginations.


This week I've been mostly eating . . . chicken and wild rice soup.

 WWW  
Previous
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 4 of 41, 2, 3, 4