Monday, September 12, 2016

Gygax Memorial Fund - Something I Missed - Project Completion is Expected in Less Than 2 Years

Somehow I totally missed this (second paragraph). It's notable for a few reasons:

1 - We actually have a timeframe that is relatively soon. Ground hasn't broken nor have bricks been offered for sale to fund the maintenance of the site (and the actual site is still being fought over - await the "call to arms!"), but we do have an end date - Spring 2018. Please mark your calendars for this auspicious event.

2 - This "scheduled to be completed within X years has been a rolling date of sorts. With the 2010 return (filed 2011) it was "within 3 years." The 2011 return posted does not have the statement in question. The 2012 return (filed 2013) also stated "within 3 years," thus moving the target. The 2013 return, filed in 2014 states "within 5 years" REALLY punting the ball down the line. The 2014 return, filed in 2015 also had it at "within 5 years."

So, in 2011, we were looking at 2014.
In 2013 we were looking at 2016.
In 2014 we were looking at 2019.
In 2015 we were looking at 2020.
Now, in 2016 we are looking at 2018.

Now, except for the monies, which really haven't seen a bump since 2013, what has changed?

They've had approval from Lake Geneva for the memorial since 2011 yet Gail isn't satisfied with the location assigned. After a 5 year battle without gaining ground, do you think they are going to change their position now?

Is the new, sooner "completion date" an honest assessment? Time will tell.


  1. Maybe it is because it is September 12th and I'm still emotionally exhausted from yesterday but...If Gail would actually just get this done I'd be content.

    Of course, even without selling bricks the funding would be pretty easy if she chose. Just put Gary's IP back on sale and donate 10% of proceeds to the fund. Heck, just sell the stuff in PDF and have no ongoing costs beyond the initial scanning and the like.

    I seriously do not understand why that IP is locked away as opposed to generating income for SOMEONE....and yeah, it could resolve any funding shortcomings the memorial could have.

    1. I think this weekend allowed me to reboot and see things I didn't see before. I'm really surprised I missed this prior.

    2. I agree with Bob. I can understand why Gail may not have wanted Troll Lord Games to publish Gary's works any longer, but I think his IP would have been better served staying in print with them until she found a better deal.

  2. Of course, the one thing people are ignoring is how much would Gary's IP have sold in the increasing dwindling tabletop RPG industry. I mean, only the original publishers and Gail would know for certain how many units were selling.

    I mean, let's say that Castle Zagyg was published, but what if it only sold about 2,000 copies, and only made a slim profit. I mean, that's the big unknown. People are putting their faith in how popular Gary was, but something tells me his stuff wasn't as popular as people believe--at least probably not as popular as a WoTC release or a Monte Cook release.

    In which case, perhaps Gail was correct in waiting for the big media deal. One thing people keep forgetting was that Gary wanted to be in movies (D&D entertainment company), and computer games (for at least a few years he kept trying, and even when back into Tabletop he still wanted those deals).

    1. How is it ignoring when you would call someone out for guessing at an unknown? If pop culture shows anything, people's back catalog sells well right after their passing.

    2. As we both know, this media deal is contingent upon actual getting something sold - and that is far from guaranteed.

      Having something like LA available for the last few years as POD would have at least ensured some income and kept Gary's legacy alive in the hobby.

      Buy hey, all is well in the world. 18 months and we'll have a memorial...

    3. By "ignoring", I mean that there's an economic cost sometimes to publishing. How long should somebody keep a work in print before saying "okay, let's fold". I think anybody who really wanted Lejendary Adventures had a decade to buy the core rules (in print from 1999-2008).

      Regarding back catalog, Gail didn't pull Gary's back catalog until August for LA, and I believe October for TLG's stuff. Was there a sudden uptick in sales of that stuff then? I'm not certain there was. Keep in mind, the most valuable stuff in the fans eyes is the D&D stuff, and all of the classics are in the hands of Hasbro.

      Looking at some of the Kickstarters out there as a possible yardstick--well, some of the people connected to Gary have numbers, but a lot of them depend on overpaying. Gary's former co-writer for Castle Zagyg has his AS&S...and his best Kickstarter had 300+ backers. Gary's son, Ernie, had about 1200+ backers for his megadungeon. That's really not a lot of sales and depends on whales. Monte Cook usually sold more stuff than Gary did, and his best Kickstarter had almost 5,000 units. John Wick got into the 5 figures of backers.

      Let's say, for instance, using this yardstick you might have 2500 people who would back a product. Since people don't want to pay more than $10 for a PDF, gross possible income is $25,000 dollars. The digital distributor must get a cut, and you take out taxes as well. Let's say you have to take out taxes as well. I don't know the tax rates involved, but let's say between this, you have half, $12,500. And what about the cost to produce--for a quality product, you need at least some art, maps, etc. And Gail can't do that alone, so she needs to pay a wage to people or have them take from the back end, as well as choose the right people to do it.

      All in all considered, you're probably talking about income that wouldn't be very good for a true business, and assuming the hypothetical of 10% for the GMF, you probably wouldn't get more than a few thousand dollars. Add to the fact if it's not a Kickstarter the income only trickles in, and the fact that the best of Gary's unpublished or out of print works that was done post TSR/post Mythus is the least popular, and it gets complicated.

      If Gary is so revered, and people are worried about Gail's Income (at least, based on what people keep saying), why do people want to drag him down to small press POD publishing ghetto for sales in the hundreds when it seems like Gail's made a decent long-term choice. (For all we know, Gail might have gotten a license fee or some other benefits from the sale.)

      Is this about what was best for Gary and his estate or business, or is it about what the hard-core fan base wants? I won't argue with people who dislike that they can't get Gary's unpublished work, (I personally would like to see some of the unpublished work printed myself), but when people start questioning the business sense involved I'm not sure it passes some logical tests.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition