Bill Owen Q&A
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Post Posted: Sun May 18, 2008 10:12 pm 
 

Bill Owen wrote:Yes. I screwed up in not thinking through how they would fit together properly. I can't remember but we may have realized after the 1st one how the grid had to be a certain # of columns & rows to match up left/right & up/down. My excuses are: I was an untrained 22 year old working alone. Bob and I were surprisingly autonomous and compartmentalized about how we put the materials together.

I have flayed myself enough on this though. 30 years is plenty.


I know how hard it is. My first multi map project was using quarter inch square graph paper (8.5 by 11). I had a campaign that used 12 sheet in a 3 by 4 grid and I had to draw it three times before I got them to fit like the master map.

Then in the late 80's I redrew all the Wilderlands maps. Not only to preserve the older once I had but because I expanded the scale from 5 miles to 12.5 miles and added a lot more detail. The Ghinor map is an example of what I did with paper.

I drew them on these huge hex sheet that allowed me to combine multiple Wilderland maps one sheet. I screwed up the first one by starting out the coastline in ink. The map began with the coast near viridstan by the time I swung back north I missed some hexes but things stopped lining up. Since then I drew the coast in pencil first and then inked after I was sure it lined up.

Here is an example my hand drawn map. http://home.earthlink.net/~wilderlands/ ... tilmap.jpg
One area expanded to every village.
http://home.earthlink.net/~wilderlands/Antil_SE.JPG

There two reason I made the changes I did. First in on my campaigns the players went from city-state to viridstan in a few days. They were kinda of shocked how short it took and expected the world to be bigger.

Second my campaign were heavy with character building baronies and building realms. In the early/mid 80's the best source for running a medieval realm was Harn.  

By setting the maps to harn scale I could use the harn material judge how many people can inhabit various areas as well as getting the bigger map the player's wanted.




Bill Owen wrote:As I remember it, the we would cut the lower 2/3rds of the hand-drawn mountain out of zipatone and with the exacto knife, place it in position.

Most of the initial maps were drawn by Bob and I think I went over to Wood Printing to use their typesetter to set the type for all the text.

After I was gone from the Guild, later Wilderlands maps may have been drawn by Bob's employees under his direction.

The maps were drawn with Rapidograph drafting pens on vellum with an SPI grid underneath.


Thanks for the info. I know this may be long winded but here some of the things I did on the way as far as mapping.

I redrew the Wilderlands maps and the City-State map in the late eighties by hand. The computer generated map you saw stems from the mid 90's when CorelDRAW and Windows became the affordable.

The City State map when through three re-draws. This started in order to preserve my beat up originals. Also while the CSIO map was great, I didn't like how there were enough allyways and how huge the average buildings were especially in the middle section. Nothing wrong with it the original mind you but my personal preference.

When I stumbled across a xerox place that had a blueprint photocopier. I had them xerox six copies of the player's and gm map of CSIO. Then I took the Player's map and drew the new alleyways and building. This wasn't radically different than the original I focused more on the changes that six campaigns of players made to my CSIO (1981 to 1985).

Then I went to college in the fall of 1984 and majored in Computer Science and minored Geography. One my first classes was how to use all the technical drawing pens, vellum and what now. We had these great light tables as well.

So I took one of my photocopied maps bought a big old sheet of vellum and then inked out essentially the same map I posted previously. I then took it back to the place with the blueprint copier and had them photocopy and and then I use the photocopies to color and add fine details. I lost that vellum sometime in late college and always regretted.

So that was the second version. The third version was done using CorelDRAW and was my first serious attempt at drawing on the computer. The key was keeping everything in separate layers and ordering the layers correctly. Which is trickier than it sounds especially in the middle portions.

Do this I shrunk down my map to 8.5 by 11 and then used a digitizer board and a puck to accurate the maps from my original hand drawing. Scanner in the mid 90's were really expensive and unlike today the multi meg images that resulted from a 8.5 by 11 scan crushed the average computer.

I never did really transfer over my hand drawn wilderland maps. At the same time I did the computer CSIO map I found a place that could laminate blueprints/posters so over the years I had everything laminated and my preservation problems were solved. The Ghinor map is more of an expansion as my handdrawn maps stopped at the southern tip of Orchia.

However since my involvement with the Necromancer project I actively resumed trying to "figure out" how the old maps were drawn. One recent breakthrough is I paid a $100 to Letraset for a CD of scans of old zipatones. Now I can use the bitmap fill feature of Corel and have the old terrain shown as they should be.


Bill Owen wrote:
but Bob would bug me every so often about remaking the maps. I figured


James and other known that I am getting close to perfectly replicating the old style if they every need the old maps redone as they were. The big question is where can we find the textured paper they were printed on as nobody seems to have it anymore.


Bill Owen wrote:We and a lot of customers liked the classic, olden look of the maps. And I think it's important to remember how our level of quality may have impacted customer usage. What I mean is that if we'd provided extremely high quality (printing wise) materials especially if on slick, glossy paper, how many people would have felt comfortable or even able to mark them up with their own personalization.


Again wish we could find the paper again. That was good stuff and had the right combination of look and usability. I think you are spot on with the glossy stuff.

Bill Owen wrote:reassurance that "you blew'em all away Bob!" And we did. Even TSR seemed to have to play catch up with what we were doing. And I think we helped them make their game a lot more playable.


In my campaign the JG Materials were the meat and the TSR stuff was the filler. Nearly everything you guys did both maps and writing was more usuable out of the box than what TSR did. Sure there may been some clunkers (Looking at a certain Storm Giant Castle) but overall JG was the best value for my buck then and now with the re-releases.

Bill Owen wrote:Thanks Rob! I appreciate the care you've gone to match our original pre-digital age efforts!


I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.

Rob Conley

P.S. Great touch adding the street lights to the original CSIO maps. I proofed the new CSIO map for Clark and Necromancer and I off handedly mention "Don't you wonder what those dots were on the original?" He said "Yeah what are they?" I replied "They are the street lights. You can see which areas are lighted with oil lamps and which are not." Clark made sure that the new map had them.

  


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Post Posted: Sun May 18, 2008 10:31 pm 
 

Bill Owen wrote:
The city state in color looks pretty cool. I don't see a grid or text. Is that TBA (To Be Added)?


The file that color map was printed uses a lot of layer. By setting which layer is visible during printing I produce the following maps.

A color reference map that everyone sees. Printed at 17" by 22"
A sectioned GM map with the key and a square grid that is 240 feet per square. Printed on multiple overlapping 8.5 by 11 sheets.
A b/w player's map that is not grid and printed a single 8.5 by 11 sheet.

Since I print the file at so many different size I don't set scale other than the square grid and the scale bar. I was kinda of careless with this map. On subsequent map I made my scaling more precise.

Bill Owen wrote:Several years ago, Bob came to me to show me the beautiful full color map of the overall Wilderlands that I thought Necromancer had made for their redo of the product. But there was no grid! Was the artist not a wargamer?


The CSIO map was my first major attempt at drawing a map on the computer. The handrawn map it was taken from was drawn at 1 mm = 10 ft. I mucked up during the computer redraw.

Since then I been more careful at maintaining my scale and sizing things for the paper size I draw too. It is definitely not easy.

One of the problem I run into is that I approach my maps from a cartographer standpoint. What shows the most information, with the most precision in the most useful presentation.

Most of the people I compete with are more artists who paint/darw their maps way better than I can. On the Ghinor map you can see my attempts at using texture fills to give my color maps more punch in the looks department.

Bill Owen wrote:
As to the original style and jagged coasts, Bob and I spent some time thinking about that w/r/t Illustrator. I felt that there was probably some sort of random pattern that could be 'drawn' on a path (the newest versions of AI has lots of features). But it was apparent that he felt that the Illustrator approach wasn't enough of a time savings to warrant the redraw, personally.


I done some work on this using a feature where you can layout symbols along a line. I made a symbol list of random dabs and used the feature to give the coast that JG look. I haven't quite got it right (too heavy for the most part) but am working on it. Once I draw up the right combination it may work.

Bill Owen wrote:You've done a really nice job and the only thing I can add is a suggestion about the hex coordinates. I think that perhaps they should be black on a white 'shadow' so they don't get lost in the forests.


That is actually a tough question. I can do that easily with layers but it doesn't look as pleasing with this forest broken up by these blobs of text. I suppose for the Map 19 I will do it because it has large unbroken expenses of forest. However for a different map that has smaller chunks of forest. I will think I will forego the white shadow and just tell the ref to count hexes.

Also I found it not white shadow you want. But rather you copy the text that needs to appear to a layer underneath the text. You make the copied text white and make the text border 4 pt.

In CorelDraw Text colored like objects. Normally text has just the fill and no outline. But by setting the fill to white and giving it a 4 pt outline it make a perfect space for the text to show.

Bill Owen wrote:For full color maps, the grid and coordinates don't need to be the same color actually.


I didn't think of that. Thanks for the tip.

Bill Owen wrote:Anyway, great job and I KNOW how much work's involved.


Thanks and I appreciate talking with you about this stuff. I think we are cut from the same cloth as far as mapping goes.

Rob Conley

  

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Post Posted: Sun May 18, 2008 11:10 pm 
 

robertsconley wrote:
Thanks and I appreciate talking with you about this stuff. I think we are cut from the same cloth as far as mapping goes.

Rob Conley


I try and try again. The first time is for my graphic training and 2nd time is fire for effect. I think a certain amount of doggedness helps (if you don't know what you're doing!)

When I was drawing the giant Victory In Europe map in the late 70's/early 80's, I made a giant light table out of my smaller sand table. It was 4x6' and with deep sides. I bolted several flourescent fixtures inside the table top and ordered a 4x6'piece of tempered glass (I think) and tried to mount it well enough so it wouldn't slide off and cut my legs off. Because it couldn't just be flat or slightly angled or I'd have to walk around and draw upside down. I mounted it with heavy door hinges to the rafters of the Franklin Mall (I had an apartment overlooking the mall street:
www.franklin-mall.us
...and proceeded to draw up a storm. Later when my father kicked me out because he'd rented my pad to a hairdo parlor, I didn't want to carry the glass with me so I gave it to him and he installed it in his new condo as a picture window between 2 rooms!

Then I moved with my brother's family and together bought the old homestead--a concrete bunker of a house (Miami Modern in central Illinois!) where I got started in wargaming and Bob moved in with me because he had to move from his place too! This meant we got to play a LOT of Hitler's War, A House Divided, Kingmaker and probably other stuff.

It was pretty retro because this is where Mark W and I used to play a lot of Anzio, shooting at tanks and ships with BB guns etc.


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Post Posted: Sun May 18, 2008 11:31 pm 
 

Rob,

I realize I may have insulted you when I said I couldn't figure why your map didn't have hexes. I tried to make it clear that that may not have been your choice but rather the guys who hired you.

But I'm such a gamer, I'd have hexagons on my toilet paper if my wife would let me. And probably should have a gag on my mouth!

I'm sorry.

I did say the map was beautiful!

robertsconley wrote:When I stumbled across a xerox place that had a blueprint photocopier. I had them xerox six copies of the player's and gm map of CSIO. Then I took the Player's map and drew the new alleyways and building. This wasn't radically different than the original I focused more on the changes that six campaigns of players made to my CSIO (1981 to 1985).


I just found out something interesting at our local blueprint place, they can scan at the same time they are making giant 'xerox' copies (3'x100' or whatever you need long!) and the price is right, the 1st copy is $.50 a square foot and 2nd is $.14 per square foot!

And if you scanning, then that's same cost as either pass (not in addition but in the place of if you need 0-1 copies).

You can send them a pdf (or whatever) and they'll output it at the same cost so I'm going to try them for a giant reference poster for Command Decision. The quality looks sharp (unlike blueprints which also literally stink).

The only glitch is that it does B&W scanning... do you know of anyone that will do giant COLOR scans of, say 17x22" or 22x34" for mouse-sized budgets? I ask re something I think JG fanatics would really like... a pretty definite purpose which is not at present disclosable

Bill


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Post Posted: Sun May 18, 2008 11:43 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:How did you first meet Bob?


I had met his cousin Dave Petrowsky and after buying D&D in 1974 I called Dave up to invite him to my 'dungeon' (sounds pretty uninviting, huh?)!

Dave was totally uninterested in fantasy and later always harassed us about how we were fixated on fairies and enthralled with elves. He was a historical miniatures magnate who ended up teaching school after leaving the railroad (they may have flung him off the train, not sure). But think of his lucky (boy) students... refighting at least 2 dozen (he may have more periods of miniatures than that though) battles as SCHOOL. He did want to play the Live Ring Game but mainly to depants people.

Anyway, he said that his cousin Bob might be interested so I called Bob and Marc Summerlott. Bob brought Dave's brother Mike along to my beautiful 3rd floor city apartment which my brother and I had transformed from slumlike torpor. Sitting in my front room overlooking the street, the 4 of us played a completely forgettable D&D game of my own making.

The turning point in history came afterwards when Bob quietly asked, "May I borrow the ruleset?"


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Post Posted: Mon May 19, 2008 12:04 am 
 

Bill Owen wrote:.......I just found out something interesting at our local blueprint place, they can scan at the same time they are making giant 'xerox' copies (3'x100' or whatever you need long!) and the price is right, the 1st copy is $.50 a square foot and 2nd is $.14 per square foot!

And if you scanning, then that's same cost as either pass (not in addition but in the place of if you need 0-1 copies).

You can send them a pdf (or whatever) and they'll output it at the same cost so I'm going to try them for a giant reference poster for Command Decision. The quality looks sharp (unlike blueprints which also literally stink).

The only glitch is that it does B&W scanning... do you know of anyone that will do giant COLOR scans of, say 17x22" or 22x34" for mouse-sized budgets? I ask re something I think JG fanatics would really like... a pretty definite purpose which is not at present disclosable

Bill


I am PMing you at this time.
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Post Posted: Mon May 19, 2008 1:45 pm 
 

Bill Owen wrote:I realize I may have insulted you when I said I couldn't figure why your map didn't have hexes. I tried to make it clear that that may not have been your choice but rather the guys who hired you.

But I'm such a gamer, I'd have hexagons on my toilet paper if my wife would let me. And probably should have a gag on my mouth!

I'm sorry.


Nah I understand your point of view completely. There was a time when I flipped from using a grid (square or hex) to using clear plastic rulers to measure things. Then I kept losing the damn things and I have flipped back to using grids for my own work. All my commercial work has been done with the full hard core JG hex style.



Bill Owen wrote:
I did say the map was beautiful!


Yes you did and also I didn't mention that I am deeply impressed with your normandy. One thing I haven't mastered yet is drawing a map of a real place.

The closest I came was for the live-action role-playing chapter I owned for a couple of years. I ran events for another chapter before buying my own. Running a LARP event is like having a hundred players and dozen co-DMs. One thing I was tired of what player saying "Well I will march to this town (in-game world) get X and march right back in time for the afternoon big battle.

So when I bought my chapter I was given a section of the game world the parent organziation (NERO) uses to for a common campaign world. A part of it fit Western PA perfectly. Western PA (Meadville) is where the chapter was located and where I live. So I decided to transfer as much of Western PA into the in-game map I could. Wherever the camp we used was at that was where it was on the map.

I found it pretty hard to get good detail and have it all fit. Finally I just went with one version that was fairly close. With more practice I think I can do it but haven't had to time to pursue it.

For what it worth it did solve the problem. The second or third event of my chapter a player did indeed try to say "I want to walk to X and get something" I said "ok we are here and X is near Edinboro. Think you can get to Edinboro and back walking from sunup to noon?".  (We were 30 miles away).




Bill Owen wrote:The only glitch is that it does B&W scanning... do you know of anyone that will do giant COLOR scans of, say 17x22" or 22x34" for mouse-sized budgets? I ask re something I think JG fanatics would really like... a pretty definite purpose which is not at present disclosable


Look for places that do poster printing or fine art reproduction. The fine art reproduction places are generally not cost effective for anything other than a one off. The poster places vary and may be open to negotiating better rates.

As for scanning, in recent years most places will take a PDF file on a USB Flash Drive. I know that not the same as what you are talking about but since most of my original work is done on computers it been a LOT easier getting something made since the advent of USB Flash Drives. Just remember to buy another flash drive so you can leave it with them if they can't do it right away.

I will look into seeing what my local blueprint printers have. If I can get my hand drawn maps scanned that will be great. I can not only make more copies but also stitch them together. If the only thing I can fine are b/w scanners than I will just get them scanned and use the scan to draw over on the computer so I can replicate my original drawings.


Good Info

Thanks
Rob Conley

  


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Post Posted: Mon May 19, 2008 1:46 pm 
 

Aneoth wrote:
I am PMing you at this time.
Best Regards, Aneoth


If you could send some info my way as well that would help me as well.

  

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Post Posted: Wed May 21, 2008 1:43 am 
 

Hi Bill,

I really got a nice laugh when I read some of your auction descriptions on eBay, particularly the ones noting the quality coffee and tea stains laid down by Bob across some book covers and pages.   :lol:  I guess I find it amusing that today we bag and board these suckers but back in the day these gaming materials were freely used and put in harms way.  Were these spills a frequent occurrence around the JG office?  Were they a frequent occurrence at the gaming table?

Also we know Bob was fond of the toasted style for his maps and scrolls ...were there ever any notable incidents at the table as a result of putting paper to flame that you recall?  Please share if you can as I'm sure everyone here is fascinated hearing about the early goings on around Bob's gaming table when he was DM'ing his Middle-Earth and CSIO campaigns.

Thanks!

  

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Post Posted: Wed May 21, 2008 1:53 am 
 

robertsconley wrote:
If you could send some info my way as well that would help me as well.


Anoeth's basic point is that cost-effective color scanners tend to be roll fed and that is a problem with ancient, delicate maps (my situation!) so he anticipated the likely glitch.

Fine art scanners are obviously going to run a lot more money since they are less common and oriented to super high quaity unneeded by blueprint service companies (some of which may have a color capable roll fed scanner--I should check locally).

So here's another idea, am I absolutely nuts to think we could take a photo of the old map? It's already mounted in a frame anyway but I think we could remove the glass and thus glare.

My wife has a 12-MB digital camera that's pretty darned good. I use a rather dumpy 5-MB because my needs are either eBay or travel photos for brochures I make regularly.*

This is a project to benefit Bob Jr's new JG efforts and I haven't even mentioned it to him yet (since I spend much of my time on the bleeding edge!) so I'd rather not say what it's about here and just yet.


*Here's a rather obscure JG factoid:  did anyone know that we took the original CSIO Guide art from an old drawing of Rothenburg-ob-Tauber in Germany? It's a real place, old, with a wall around it and on the Romantic Road between Frankfurt & Munich roughly. The streetscene is a famous view of the buildings that is featured on lots of travel posters and brochures.

Here's a sample photo; the spot is called Ploenlein:
http://travel.webshots.com/photo/108409 ... 2854mJngOg

I just sent a group of 39 people there today and just got back from seeing them off at O'Hare. So R-o-T keeps coming in and out of my life.

Now another couple of CSIO/RoT factoids: Bob drew the the guy coming down the street which we rubber cemented on the old drawing... to give it some life and if you look up on the clock tower, there is no clock! Just a grey tone that is too "even" in shade rather than textured like stucco or a wooden shutter. At the last minute Bob & I thought that a clock would be anachronistic and so we covered it up!

If you were going to take a vacation with the missus, she'd probably like it too (lots of neat shops and quaint stuff) and you'd feel like you're in the city state! (Sort of. Not many Orcs or sword fights that I saw).

When I thought my brother wanted to buy the travel agency, I took one last grand tour of Europe with my wife & daughter in 1999 before our agent privileges were histoire. I definitely included R-o-T, Lucerne's Chateau Gutsch, Brugges, Amsterdam, Munich, Venice, Rome, Paris, Madurodam. All old stuff and tiny stuff; we weren't looking for modern monstrosities! He ended up not buying me out but selling instead so we have kept on truckin'...

Assembling unique tours is what I continue to do for a living (since leaving Judges Guild, so 30+ years now) so if a couple dozen of you want to spend several thousand dollars on castles and old cities in Europe, I have the contacts in Europe through American Express etc. to assemble a custom tour... Judges Guild Comes Home To The City State Tour!


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Post Posted: Wed May 21, 2008 2:18 am 
 

islestrike wrote:Hi Bill,

I really got a nice laugh when I read some of your auction descriptions on eBay, particularly the ones noting the quality coffee and tea stains laid down by Bob across some book covers and pages.   :lol:  I guess I find it amusing that today we bag and board these suckers but back in the day these gaming materials were freely used and put in harms way.  Were these spills a frequent occurrence around the JG office?  Were they a frequent occurrence at the gaming table?

Also we know Bob was fond of the toasted style for his maps and scrolls ...were there ever any notable incidents at the table as a result of putting paper to flame that you recall?  Please share if you can as I'm sure everyone here is fascinated hearing about the early goings on around Bob's gaming table when he was DM'ing his Middle-Earth and CSIO campaigns.

Thanks!


Bob was a major coffee drinker so I know that the spills didn't come from me. He'd be working away on something and accidently throw a coffee slosh spell and say something like "oh dummy me!"

You know someone's made an enormous impact on you when they are gone and you find the words you use are his words... (wistful sigh) ...or when annoyed saying "what is this garbage?!"

We mostly didn't WORK together that much (oddly enough; I guess we were both solitary by preference) but when we did (which is to say, Bob would come up town to the public office), the one big table that was just covered with booklets and maps was a minefield for stable coffee cup placement.

Of course we gamed together a lot both before and after JG (but not during; where was the time?!) and so we had plenty of coke (me!) and coffee spills over games. He'd feel awful and I'd tell him don't worry, you may have IMPROVED this particular game!

Bob would play ALMOST anything so he was sort of the opposite of Mikey and the cereal. And he wasn't a quitter or excessive competitor. Just the other day, Mark was commenting about how Bob caught him off guard as he was making up some fake review about Harry Turtledove's alternate reality book, impromptu like he was reading it off the back cover, in a blase voice... but it was actually Bob's being sarcastic about how insane the author is/was.

Bob did that all the time when we were in his campaign, relaying news like he was a BBC commentator with slight nuances of presentation... he might have been a great Shakespearean actor because of his lack of overacting. But he'd be telling me about how the orc army had carried off Sumerlott's wife and chopped her up... and in a similar tone to over the back fence chat with a neighbor.

He'd get a giant kick out tieing our shoelaces together in game terms and watching us 'hop up and fall down'... he was pretty mischevious that way. And how he'd laugh!!!

I don't remember him making the toasted stuff (which I prized even then but how much of it got scattered or lost?!) while we were there but I can just imagine it (he told me with a pained look at least once about how his scroll artwork burned up while just trying to toast the edges) because I think  he did most of his designing up a stool at his breakfast nook next to the stove where he'd light cigarettes* and throw tea on after making a big, screwed-up face after drinking what was now horrible/cold coffee.

We'd be down at the dining room table rocking and rolling and cutting up. And he'd be saying things like "oh my poor monsters!"

I have fun and think a bit of therapy remembering these things but as Pope John Paul said, MUST GO TO SLEEP NOW.

*This was back before politically-correct, anti-smoking times when I actually took up cigar smoking as self-defense against the staves of stinking.


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Post Posted: Wed May 21, 2008 6:09 am 
 

Since we know Bob was the writer, did you ever get a name (NPC, place, etc) that Bob liked and included?  How much if any of the situations that happened in the games you played before starting the company made their way into the early stuff?

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Post Posted: Wed May 21, 2008 6:19 am 
 

hey bill

back in the day, who got to DM the most?

and what kind of Dm-ing style was used? this kind of thing always interests me...

thanks

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Post Posted: Wed May 21, 2008 8:51 am 
 

Bill Owen wrote:So here's another idea, am I absolutely nuts to think we could take a photo of the old map? It's already mounted in a frame anyway but I think we could remove the glass and thus glare.

My wife has a 12-MB digital camera that's pretty darned good. I use a rather dumpy 5-MB because my needs are either eBay or travel photos for brochures I make regularly.*


Just to expound on your comment.

No, you are not nuts.

Do you have some sort of frame or stand to set the camera in/on for verticle shots?
If so, then there are ways to rig the shot so that the resulting picture will be an almost exact copy (To scale) of the original subject.

One of the many aspects of Land Surveying includes photogrammetry.
Bascially, this is ariel photography for making detailed maps of the terrain to a specific scale.
The same process can be used for photos of objects, including maps.
This is commonly done in the restoration process for ancient books, maps and other ancient documents.


"Guys, I am starting to think Tegel Manor might be haunted..."
Stated by me as a PC during a run of Tegel Manor DMed by killjoy at NTRPGCon 2010

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Post Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 1:36 am 
 

Plaag wrote:Since we know Bob was the writer, did you ever get a name (NPC, place, etc) that Bob liked and included?  How much if any of the situations that happened in the games you played before starting the company made their way into the early stuff?

ShaneG.


Actually I did add to the writing/art but had forgotten it! Huberic of Haghill was my castle art. I only remembered this when I found the color map I'd done first. My memory is really fuzzy but I think it was when I was judging the Mirkwood portion of the campaign later in our D&Ding.

I also wrote up the section on Litigation Tricksters which came from my brother's relaying how lawyers were illegal in ancient China (he had masters degree in Chinese law which in the mid-70's was pretty hard to put into practice) and a bit about Talus caves which I wrote up in the Tacoma Washington library while waiting for my sister to get off work (another lawyer). We went backpacking a lot there in the Olympics or Cascades and of course I was always soaking up topography for fantasy maps.

The biggest transfer from our campaign to JG came via Tegel Manor. We had a great time with this one and I think Bob probably improved on it a  bit but one could estimate that it was 80% original. Most of the other JG material was either new or piecemeal recombined rather than being unibody construction like Tegel.

And this is partly guesswork based purely on faulty memory!

Bob didn't always pass out dungeon levels etc. after a game. In fact, he may have never done this EXCEPT in so far as I was taking over a portion of the campaign when he was in the 'delegating' mode. I think Marc Summerlott (which I assume is at least partly where Thieves of Badabaskor*) was another active delegate and possibly Mark Holmer and Craig Fogle but they will have to speak for themselves.**

*And if you don't recognize the knock-off mountain on that ones cover, then you need to rent Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The best part in that movie was the heat register screws!

**And if forgot someone I've known since high school, please forgive me because I have an old and capricious brain! And this delegation came rather late in our D&D campaign. I don't know if it lasted weeks or months.


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Post Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 1:55 am 
 

killjoy32 wrote:hey bill

back in the day, who got to DM the most?

and what kind of Dm-ing style was used? this kind of thing always interests me...

thanks

Al


Hi Al,

I kind of touched on this in my response to Shane but here's a succint answer rather than my usual digressions:

Who: Bob (who probably beat all the rest of us 10 to 1 combined!*)

Style: ???

Now the digressions!!

It's kind of too bad that he was so good at it! I think that he really would have enjoyed PLAYING in a game 1 in 3 rather than 1 out of 30.

He was great on several levels, namely the creation, the telling, the graphic design of items passed out (which were often in color not just black and white, rarely in lowly pencil) and an intuition for balance and kindly eye for judicious second chances.

Oddly enough his excellence and wide ranging ability made it intimidating to BE a judge in any proximity to him! I probably only agreed because we feared he'd keel over otherwise from overwork and we OWED him a boundless debt for all that he'd done to date.

As regards judging styles... I am stumped on how to compare and contrast because I was so provincial as to never (that I can remember; don't take it personally if I sat in on YOUR game--MY first D&D judging was forgotten by ME ALSO) play in anyone else's game.

The phase when we were delegates may have been short because we did such a mediocre job or the group was breaking up anyway. I cannot remember playing in their games and remember nothing really of games I judged. Wierd huh? But I have (or just sold) the evidence that it DID happen for a while.

So maybe when I'm walking through Wal Mart, I will suddently remember something significant to say about "style".


*But then when it came to miniatures or hosting bizarre boardgame variations, I was usually the organizer, referee, terrain maker etc. I judged at least 70 Tractics games in the first 2 years of the '70's. And countless other non-FRP stuff.

Alas, my style at times was pretty sarcastic and pushy about trying to keep the game moving. I'm NOT proud of the preceeding & trampling implicit but the truth will set me free.


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Post Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 3:17 am 
 

Bill Owen wrote:We and a lot of customers liked the classic, olden look of the maps. And I think it's important to remember how our level of quality may have impacted customer usage. What I mean is that if we'd provided extremely high quality (printing wise) materials especially if on slick, glossy paper, how many people would have felt comfortable or even able to mark them up with their own personalization.

I guess this is also a valid observation for game materials in general. A lot of the time, you look at them like museum pieces because they are so slick, well produced and professional that they are perfect without you. A bit of roughness keeps it more personal, more accessible, and since it needs your input, it also encourages and facilitates it.

A question: how many of the old dungeon levels survive? Lonely Mountain and Moria were mentioned as huge, many-level complexes; are these levels comparable to, say, an immense thing like Tegel, or more along the lines of Badabaskor's smaller areas?

  

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Post Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 10:42 pm 
 

Melan wrote:I guess this is also a valid observation for game materials in general. A lot of the time, you look at them like museum pieces because they are so slick, well produced and professional that they are perfect without you. A bit of roughness keeps it more personal, more accessible, and since it needs your input, it also encourages and facilitates it.

A question: how many of the old dungeon levels survive? Lonely Mountain and Moria were mentioned as huge, many-level complexes; are these levels comparable to, say, an immense thing like Tegel, or more along the lines of Badabaskor's smaller areas?


Melan,

1. A guy in Scotland got what was left of what I had of Bob's campaign. I don't know if Bob kept anything. He was more into piling than filing. Plus he was humble and my motivation was keeping a memento.

I had 2-4 levels from the Tower of the Elephant which was a big dungeon adjacent to Lonely Mountain which I think had a separate dungeon though it may have been connected.

The dungeon levels I can remember were "moderate in size" i.e. mostly sparse rather than dense and letter-sized (1/4" graph paper). But they were often many levels deep (i.e. 10-16); I don't if that's above average.

The giant sized dungeons were unusual and Tegel Manor is the only one can remember right now.

I have my Wales campaign materials ready to go up on eBay 'soon' (3-18 days). And there were some crude dungeons therein. I sell all this stuff with a satisfaction guarantee because they are generally unorganized and perhaps disappointing in terms of expectations. You haf been varned!

2. I bolded your comment about game being "perfect without you" ...a startling comment to ponder.

The younger one is, it may be surprising that most of our materials were a step up from the ransom-note style of graphic quality that was the norm in wargaming. And certainly color was very unusual. So having 2 color products was another step up.

I think that my natural tendency (as evidenced by the 35 Travel Catalogs I produced from 1991-2006) was to strive for constantly upgrade print quality. But despite having color printing in house, I have avoided glossy stock and high-tone look even though our tour groups run from about $3000-5000/person. I believe that glossy would connote unaffordably and off-putingly high end to most of our prospects.

It goes back to Stevens Publishing's founder "KK" who showed up on my door because he was prospecting for customers. He produced mostly weekly newspapers and catalogs... on newsprint or what I think was called high quality newsprint. He told me he wanted to get his son involved int the business and printing D&D materials (his high school aged son's current gaming obsession) might help him see how he could involve himself in both business and gaming. It worked Tom is still in the business after KK died young.

Anyway, he told me something rather important... people are most interested in what you have to say than how it looks. Self-serving perhaps but can you gold-plate crap and have it be more enticing?*

The other thing it did was allow us to publish much more materials for no more money. This was important for massive projects like Arneson's First Fantasy Campaign. We thought of it as giving more value.

I'll admit that I was less impressed by later JG stuff that had kind of a Comic Book colors, self-cover approach but I was long out of it by then. And my opinions were only as valuable as anyone else's! But the real issue was whether the product inside had value.

*Of course, the outward appearance must at least not repel you. Ideally intrigue the prospective buyer. Games that suffered by their graphic treatment include War at Sea and Victory in the Pacific. We thought they were ugly and didn't play them until much later... then realizing that they were gems in the rough and a lot of fun.


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