Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Luke Gygax follows up on Frank Mentzer's removal as Guest of Honor at Gary Con

Luke posted the following on Facebook earlier this morning. I think it sheds some light (though not a lot) on what led to Frank's removal as a guest of honor at Gary Con.

Link to Luke Gygax's FB Post:
It’s been a very busy and long day between the Army and GC but I feel this is important. 
I want to share some more information to stop the rumors and give those of you that care to know some insight as to why I made the decision to remove Frank as a Guest of Honor. I believe that it was Frank himself who emphasized the importance of communication in our community way back in Polyhedron number one. That is sage advice that I want to heed. The way things get better is through communication and that is what I was trying to do with Frank. I called him several times over the past months. Sunday was the first time he called me back and we had a chance to talk. 
I needed to talk to him about something that had become clear to me; making Frank a Guest of Honor gave the perception that Gary Con condoned some behavior that was against our policies. I feel I am taking better actions now than I have in the past. The gaming community is in the midst of change and it is change for the better. Gamers are speaking up and demanding that we provide safe and inclusive environments for all of us to gather, play games and have fun. In the past we have had to talk to Guests about their behavior at Gary Con and even tell some not to come back the following year. Sometimes an attendee has crossed the line with a volunteer, and we addressed that with them and got resolution. I believe that due to Frank’s status and friendship with my Dad, I treated him differently in the past. 
However, I want to make some things clear. No one strong-armed me into making a decision. Sure people talked to me and gave me their opinions, but no one demanded that I remove Frank as a Guest of Honor. In fact when I talked to Frank I left the door open for him to attend Gary Con as he did last year. At the end of our communication it was Frank that closed that door. I respect Frank’s contributions to our hobby and all that he did to help Gary Con over the years. I hold no animosity towards him, he is a practically an uncle to me along with Tim, Jim, Tom and Mike. Quite the opposite is true; I wish Frank well. I am saddened by this entire situation. 
This is our hobby and in my mind it is about friends sharing good games and going on great adventurers together. Someone messaged me saying that a GM or GMs were considering canceling their plans to attend in protest. I hope that isn’t true, but if anyone is thinking about it they should realize that the people you are punishing is your fellow gamers who signed up to play in your game. As I said above, communication is critical, it is what will help us be better. I am willing to listen and I have read and replied to the messages that I received. If you have a concern or a suggestion please contact me. I hope that we can focus on what things unite us and get back to enjoying ourselves by rolling dice, creating new stories and forging strong bonds of friendship.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Tonight at 9 PM Eastern - Bill Webb and Mark Greenberg talk Lost Lands in Frog Chat - 9 PM Eastern

We host a weekly Frog Chat every Tuesday Night on the Tenkar's Tavern Discord Server. Tonight we'll have two special guests who you can pepper with all of you Lost Lands questions - Bill Webb and Mark Greenberg of Frog God Games.

Here's your handy link to tonight's chat:  https://discord.gg/fReGmuD

Have a great time :)

Removal Day - Zak S' Consultant Credit to be Removed from Future Print & Digital D&D Player's Handbooks

Interesting day. An interesting day indeed. Zak S actually made the news at the WotC D&D page. Let's read along, shall we?
To all D&D fans, 
We spent the last week listening and learning from the D&D community. 
Zak Smith, along with many others, was engaged by Wizards to provide feedback on D&D Next, the playtest which evolved into D&D fifth edition. We have not contracted with him since, and regret our choice to do so in 2014. Because of that, we are removing Zak’s credit from future physical printings and digital versions of the Player’s Handbook. 
We applaud how the D&D community supports one another and fully support the planned Dungeon Masters Guild bundle raising funds to donate to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). The bundle is live now and we will be amplifying it going forward! 
We are grateful to be a part of this wonderful community, and we thank you for your passion. We remain committed to working with and learning from you, the D&D community. You may always share your comments and thoughts with us on our social media platforms and we are setting up an email address to receive feedback more directly. 
The D&D Team
Interestingly enough, now there are NO consultants at all listed anymore:

Frank Mentzer Removed as a Guest of Honor from Gary Con

Sometimes it seems like we are in a time of un-personing the main influencers in the OSR. The removal of Zak S from the community over the last week was huge. I'm guessing Contessa is feeling its oats because now Gary Con has removed Frank Mentzer as a Guest of Honor from Gary Con.

Heres the announcement (you can read in full here:  https://garycon.com/blog/2019/02/18/harbinger-unheeded/)

Note that I am highlighting certain text that I will be commenting on below.

Harbinger Unheeded
          February 18, 2019  
After much deliberation, I made the decision to remove Frank Mentzer as a Guest of Honor from Gary Con. His past misconduct and threatening behavior violate the ethics and harassment policies established by Gary Con. This was a difficult decision for me because Frank was a long-time friend and employee of my Dad, he has been to every Gary Con and had the honorarium of Old Guard attached to his name. He made significant contributions to the gaming industry in the 1980s with Basic D&D and the RPGA. However, Frank’s harassing behavior, threatening communications, tone-deaf and unapologetic responses are unacceptable to say the least and not the kind of behavior that represents what Gary Con is about. This form of toxic aggression is detrimental to the safe space we as a gaming community strive for.

I want to make something crystal clear, Gary Con is about celebrating the love of gaming, making friends, having fun and sharing camaraderie. All while we honor the memory of my father, one of the most important figures in RPG history. In order for Gary Con to continue to be the premiere gaming convention that it is, we must ensure that everyone feels welcome, safe, and believes that they are a valued member of our community regardless of their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or what edition that they play. I want everyone to understand that if someone acts inappropriately, the staff will take action swiftly to correct it.  It is my reasoned judgment that having Frank as a Guest of Honor was counter to these principles.  That is the bottom line.

Luke Gygax
Founder, Gary Con
Wow. So, nothing new. Its the same drama that was attached to Frank at last year's Gary Con and he didn't get uninvited. It is also especially harsh wording. After Frank was removed as a Guest of Honor from Gamehole in fall of 2017 he was left, primarily, with two of the three Old School Cons a year. This past fall, citing health issues, Frank was limiting his convention appearances to one on a year - Gary Con. It's looking like Frank is done on the convention circuit.

Frank's comment on the situation:

Monday, February 18, 2019

Kickstarter - The World of the Lost Lands (System Neutral Setting from Frog God Games)

My God. This is the setting book Frog God fans have been waiting forever for. Well, maybe not forever, but it certainly has been a long time. We've received the setting in bit and pieces prior to the World of the Lost Lands Kickstarter.

Where to start. $50k goal. After less than 7 hours it's already surpassed $29k. Yes, it's that kind of project ;)

So, what do you get?
Over 42 years in the making, this is the definitive guide to the world of the Lost Lands!
This massive volume includes the history of the Lost Lands, a wealth of detailed maps, cultural information about its nations and peoples, and a huge gazetteer containing descriptions of the world's countries, cities, waterways and geography. For the first time, readers can explore the length and breadth of the great continent of Akados, including regions never before described, and far Libynos, home of the Desert Kingdoms and many ancient cultures alien to the folk of Akados. 
The book weighs in at approximately 700 pages in full color, with maps by award-winning cartographers and beautiful, original artwork to place you directly into the world itself in all its glory and terror. 
Entirely system-neutral, the guide can be used with any game system you choose.
The Lost Lands are the setting for a tremendous array of over 150 individual adventures and sourcebooks already published by Frog God Games and Necromancer Games, many providing statistics in multiple game systems. All of this material is available to provide an almost inexhaustible resource of ready-made adventures and epic quests! Future Frog God Games products set in the Lost Lands will be built into the ever-growing canon finally revealed in this volume.
Yes, you can use it with The Fantasy Trip (a popular choice in the comments section of the Kickstarter.)

Now, at $75k there is a REALLY interesting stretch goal:
The Lost Lands are opening up! At $75,000, Frog God Games will set up a license agreement that, at no charge, allows third-party publishers to commercially publish adventures, supplements, fiction and other written material set in the Lost Lands. Frog God Games material older than 18 months is available to expand upon and use as a springboard for your stories and adventures. Rights to third party-created content are retained by the creator and can be sold through any gaming or fiction marketplace determined by the creator. Simple guidelines apply (no indecent material, no harassment or encouragement of harassment of actual persons, no *-cist or *-phobic, no real world intrusions into fantasy games, etc.). Want to create new levels in Rappan Athuk? Go right ahead. Wish to reunite the Sundered Kingdoms? Great. Desire to expand upon otherwise unexplored locations? By all means! Want to go into the past and explore ancient times? Go forth and conquer!
Example of the thousands of illustrations and maps that will be available for 3rd party publishers or really awesome Game Masters. 
What is more, Frog God Games is currently developing a community hub that will contain resources like reference materials, a published adventure directory and access to almost 2,000 illustrations that have appeared in Frog God Games and Necromancer Games products, all for use by creators. The Hub will be free to backers for at least 3 months and will have a very minimal fee thereafter (only to pay for maintenance and compensate the coordinator behind everything). 
Other details will be forthcoming in updates and other channels as they are developed.
Dare I say "Holy Shit!" This is literally more than I could ever have hoped for (and I pitched an idea to open up an unused corner of the Lost Lands nearly two years ago but as always, my shots were placing low on the target ;)

Note - there is no POD option for overseas customers so PDF might be your friend.

Sweet spots for backers? I'm in at $105

For PDF only I'd probably recommend the following:

I'm stoked. Really. I might help the Frogs out at conventions but The World of the Lost Lands setting book is something I've been hoping to see for years. Opening the world to third-party publishers? Simply icing on the cake.
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