Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Road to Dwimmerhell is Paved With Best Intentions

Yep, when Dwimmermount was first Kickstarted, Autarch gave James Mal both the rights and the monies to the project, but were themselves saddled with the responsibility of completing the project. Nice thoughts, very bad business practice.

After James Mal resurfaced, he signed a contract giving the monies and the Dwimmer-rights to Autarch, keeping the right to exclusively publish for Labyrinth Lord to himself.

Except he now says he didn't exclusive rights, he wants Autarch to publish the LL version based on his notes. Which makes sense, as why wouldJames want the pressure of having to put out an expected project when he currently can't handle the pressure.

This is a nightmare that never ends.

Latest From Tavis:

"I am just about certain we'll find a way to fulfill the LL version of Dwimmermount. Once I have the details nailed down I will reply to refund requests. I don't think it is realistic to expect that James will return to work on the project in a substantial way during our time frame for completion, so I'll be looking to be sure that we're refunding backers who would not be happy with a version of the dungeon that hasn't been overseen by James from start to finish, but not those who will be satisfied with a LL version once I can be sure how we'll be able to do that. 
I uploaded our amended contract with James to the Dwimmermount download area. The relevant clause is "8) Labyrinth Lord. The Company agrees not to publish a version of the Product using the Labyrinth Lord rules, leaving this option open to the Creator as a vehicle for publication of his final creative vision, and will cooperate in good faith to promote any such efforts in future." Because Dwimmermount will become 100% open game content upon its publication by Autarch, despite this clause we could partner with another company who isn't bound by this agreement and can publish the LL version for us to distribute along with the other rewards. I wouldn't normally try to make an end run around James' intent as I understood it on the phone and tried to reflect it in the contract I drafted, just as I normally wouldn't assume that someone would tell me they were going to review this draft with their lawyer and still wind up signing a document that doesn't reflect their intent. However I trust Dan Proctor (Goblinoid Games) and if he says that James meant for Autarch to fulfill our LL version now as well as promote his LL "director's cut" later, that lines up with my responsibility to the backers and I'm eager to find a way to make it happen. (reposted from KS comments)"


  1. Good grief.

    I'll be happy if the whole thing gets OGL'd (sooner rather than later), or if Dan Proctor steps in to do the LL version. If we're stuck with ACKS-only, I may ask for a refund.

  2. At this point, I just want my money back.

  3. Not I. I'm really enthused by all that's happening, as it appears that we may see (at least) two very different takes on Dwimmermount: the Autarch crew producing a version with a distinct ACKS sensibility and Dan Proctor or others contributing on a very different LL version.

    On top of that, you have the move to open everything using the OGL, which will give projects like Devilmount the ability to thrive in the open. That's awesome.

    While its been a long journey to reach this point, I almost no doubt that the total creative output of this project will exceed what I had guessed at when the Kickstarter funded. To me, then, the value of this Kickstarter has only grown.

  4. Meh. Maybe because I suffer depression (have lost girlfriends, one job, and jacked up many lessor things due to it) I just can't muster any ill will. I'm also probably much more patient than most.

    In fact, Dwimmermount project is going well considering what it has dealt with. Projects without any of the seame impediments have burned to the ground less graciously than Dwimmermount's "failure" has been handled.

    Dwimmermount is one of several mega-dungeons in my 1.5/weekly campaign. Two groups adventure in it regularly. People enjoying themselves around a table. There is no higher level of success than that.

    1. Part of handling depression though is self-awareness. If from experience you know, rationally, that you won't be able to handle a project through to fulfulment, then don't take it on. Don't take on stuff in your 'up' phase without acknowledging that you'll most likely drop it in your 'down' phase.


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