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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

What's 10 Years Old and Losing Value Every Day? - The Gygax Trust (CRPG Games to be Licensed by the Gygax Trust via Crowdfunding)


How do you ensure the IP you are entrusted with withers on the vine?  Refuse to license it for 10 years.

How do you attempt to revive its value? Talk about the death of its original market and aim for a new one.

What am I talking about? Why, the Gygax Trust and the ludicrous attempt to get value from Gary's work, not from tabletop RPG but from computer games.

There are two articles floating around today about the Gygax Trust making a deal with Fig (some crowdsourcing program) to license CRPG rights to Gary's works to developers. Let us look at those articles, shall we? Be warned, there's a shitload of snark from your bartender, and I'm not referring to Alex Gygax...

First, from Polygon:

Dungeons & Dragons creator’s unpublished work to be turned into video games

Gygax Games and Fig announce open call for interested developers
By Charlie Hall@Charlie_L_Hall  Apr 17, 2018, 12:00pm EDT

It’s been 10 years since the death of Gary Gygax, the man who co-created Dungeons & Dragons. Now, Gygax’s family, through the auspices of the Gygax Trust, wants to bring his unpublished works to life as video games. (Here's the deal - Gail's hope to have movies / streaming services / multimedia from the deal with theTransformers producer in July of 2016 hasn't come up with shit and Gail / Alex need money - the rest of the family is NOT involved)

The Trust announced today that it has partnered with crowdfunding and investment website Fig (who the fuck is "Fig"?). Together, they will begin a global search for the right developers to carry the legacy of Gary Gygax forward. (this should have happened 10 years ago. The Gary Gygax legacy has withered on the vine)

To accomplish their goal, the Gygax Trust has rejuvenated Gygax Games (you would think they would have revived the website BEFORE the announcement)  and installed Gary’s youngest son (and Gail's only child), Alex Gygax, as the CEO.

“I was gaming since I could walk and talk,” said Alex, who was raised in the family home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. “My first D&D adventure I’d say was when I was four or five years old, running a solo campaign with my father on his work breaks. So I was playing D&D before I knew what any of that was.”

Alex told Polygon that at an early age he played an instrumental role in playtesting another creation of Gary’s, a tabletop role-playing game called Lejendary Adventure, which was licensed for a time to Troll Lord Games. The game is now out of print. (and why is it put of print? Gail. Yep, she's a real wizard at making money)

“I was playing in our Thursday group through the entire creation of the Lejendary product line,” Alex said, who is also one of the lead bartenders at a local pub called Sprecher’s. “Since then I’ve been working here in town, doing a lot of gaming, hanging out with the locals, going to my local game store. I’ve played everything from Xbox games to computer games, board games, over at my brother’s house or Magic: The Gathering events at the local game store.”

Alex said that his job will be to ensure that future projects based off his father’s work continue to retain the spirit of the original Dungeon Master. Right now the Gygax Trust is working to archive handwritten materials and Gary Gygax’s personal effects, some of which formed the basis for the creation of Dungeons & Dragons. Alex called the collection a “treasure trove.” (problem with this - anything Gary wrote before he left TSR is probably owned by WotC these days, whether or not Gary revealed it at the time. What does the trust have rights to? Lejendary Adventures, the game they refuse to put back in print)

Alex Gygax was one of the first playtesters of Lejendary Adventure, a role-playing system by Gary Gygax and published for a time by Troll Lord Games. You can still find the quick-start rules at their website. (Grab it before the Witch of the Mid-West demands it be taken down)

“One of the major ones that everyone knows about is his personal dungeon,” Alex said. “It was his personal D&D campaign that he had never released to the public. He didn’t want his game nights being destroyed by publishing his work and then having his group go out and buy it and find out all of his secrets. So that’s one of the main things that we have to use, and all the little side derivatives of that.” (not so sure where the rights for that actually lie, but whatever)

More than anything, Alex said that he’s excited to find his father’s original work a new home in the future of digital role-playing games.

“I grew up playing this and I’m also a huge video gamer, so I’ve always wanted to see my dad’s work because I thought that they were some of the greatest stories and tough adventures,” Alex said. “I’ve always wanted to see them put out in the next level. Pen and paper is a dying art. (There you go tabletop gamers. Get your Fucking Shine Box! Tabletop RPGs are hitting new highs but they're dead. Sigh. Alex, I had high hopes for you. Ever get your name actually on the GMF website as a member of the board or is that still "in the works"?) Computer games, video games, they’re the next generation, the next wave of games and I’ve always wanted to see them on that new medium (that's all fine and dandy, but why not tabletop too?) and I’ve always wanted to be working with someone who’s excited as I am about it.”

Alex said that many of the games that his father created were always meant to be digital properties, and the time is right to fulfill his wishes.

“He always had the intention of taking certain product lines and transferring them to the digital realm (I'm guessing this was in addition to print versions), it just never came to fruition,” Alex said. “There are a few lines that he created specifically with that in mind. So published or unpublished, there’s definitely the digital realm in mind with these lines. It’s something that has been talked about for a very long time, and I’m really excited to get this underway.” (sure it has been. So why is Gail finally giving it the OK? is the Trust broke?)

Fig CEO Justin Bailey told Polygon that his company entered into a licensing agreement with the Gygax Trust with the intention of finding developers to pair with it. Ultimately, the Fig platform will be used to run the crowdfunding campaigns that will in turn produce the games.

“We’re running a full green-light process with our advisory board,” Bailey said, referring to the team of experienced game developers who help curate games on that platform. They include Randy Pitchford (Gearbox Software), Feargus Urquhart (Obsidian Entertainment), Tim Schafer (Double Fine Productions), Aaron Isaksen (Indie Fund), Alex Rigopulos (Harmonix Studios) and Brian Fargo (InXile Entertainment).

“Any developer who wants to propose something, get it in through pitches@fig.co and we’ll review it with our green light committee and with Alex to make sure that it’s a good fit. Once Alex is able to get the Gygax Games website up, that will be another avenue for submissions.” (Holy Shit! See this? The website isn't up for Gygax Games - that's some shade throwing right there. CEO of a shit show don't mean shit)

So why did it take 10 years to bring these foundational pieces of Gary Gygax’s work to the digital space? Alex said that it was all simply a matter of timing. (LOL! Timing? The timing was lost long ago. This is a matter of desperation to finally get some cash from the rotting IP)

“It’s just a combination of things,” he said. “Technology. Having the right group of people there. (Mom being broke) Wanting to have the fans involved and being able to keep some creative control. Maybe not full control, because we want a developer to be able to do what they’re good at, but making sure that it’s done with Gary’s spirit in mind. So being able to keep his spirit with everything is I think one of the really big parts of why we waited so long.” (No, the reason you waited so long is Gail wanted a million bucks to even open the vaults. Now, she's willing to take coppers on the gold piece in the hopes of making some kind, and kind of money.)

Yep, fun times.

Now, from VentureBeat:

D&D co-creator Gary Gygax’s trust and Fig partner on video games

Video games owe a great deal to Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons. In many ways, his game set foundations for the medium, and its mechanics and spirit branch out to all genres these days. But Gygax never created a video game that made it to market.

Alex Gygax wants to add video game development to his father’s legacy. Today, The Gygax Trust is announcing a partnership with the crowdfunding platform Fig to publish video games based on the unpublished works of Gary Gygax. Timing for the first campaign was not disclosed. (Because there IS no timing for the campaign. Judging from the lack of details, this probably just developed)

In an interview with GamesBeat, Paul Stormberg (I'm clueless) of Gygax Games said that the projects would deal with, among other things, the original home role-playing game campaign that Gygax ran. (Good luck on that - isnt that owned by WotC thse days?) “We’ll just say it’s something people have been waiting for a long time,” said Stormberg, who’s worked for years in the pen-and-paper RPG industry.

Alex Gygax said that the trust picked Fig as a partner because of the important role fans play in crowdfunding. (Huh? Correct me but wouldnt, I don't know, Kickstarter be a better choice?) Since they don’t have a development studio signed or a game prototype yet, they chose Fig to work with. This platform differs from Kickstarter and Indiegogo in that people backing products can get a piece of the action and a return on their pledges. (interesting)

“It’s a good opportunity to get some games produced and work with gamers and still be able to have some direction of where some things go,” Alex said, “making sure the spirit, the essence, of Dungeons & Dragons (bad Alex! Bad bad bad) and the RPG Realm is kept in mind.”

I asked if it was at all based on Castle Greyhawk, the megadungeon that served as the base for one of Gary Gygax’s home campaigns. They were a bit coy about it, but they did confirm that the projects wouldn’t involve Gord the Rogue, his character that appeared in novels after the D&D co-creators breakup with his own company, TSR, or the Castle Zagyg, a Castles & Crusades megadungeon that could be called “The Son of Castle Greyhawk.” (right, so is LA stuff that's been rotting for 10 years)

“We’ll just saw it’s something people have been waiting for a long time,” Stromberg said.

The Gygax Trust has had years to adapt Gary Gygax’s works into a game. So, why did they decide now is the time? It’s a combination of platforms like Fig and the advancement of in-game design and computer tech. (sure, and like I said above - Gail is finally desperate to make money off the IP - 10 years to late and a million dollars short)

“Video games have caught up” with the ideas and concepts my father played with, Alex Gygax said. “I think [the industry] has caught up with what we’re trying to create.”

Stromberg explained how over the years, the family has tried to work with studios to make games on Gary Gygax’s works before.

“Gail [Gygax, Gary’s wife] herself is quite familiar with the development of her husband’s IP for computer games, having worked with a number of companies over the years to do so. While the projects all had promise, some of them quite fantastic, the developers could never quite achieve the vision Gary had laid out,” Stromberg said. “However, now, with Fig, an amazing pool of talented developers, and some truly amazing advances in computer gaming, we know we can begin to bring the real jewels of Gary’s unpublished IP to his legions of fans and the larger gaming community.” (as a betting man? this goes nowhere)

As we chatted, Alex Gygax and Stromberg kept talking about the fans. It’s certainly the people who play, who create adventures and worlds of their own, that have been the key to D&D‘s longevity over the past 40 years. Poking around internet communities such as Reddit and forums devoted to RPGs, you find people still playing the old editions that Gary Gygax published decades ago. (so, there's a market for Gary's work, but they aren't going to market to the market...)

“[My father’s work] is something people love, and they stick with it. It had a very family like feeling to it, to everyone that has played or enjoyed it over the years,” Alex Gygax said.

On Reddit and those forums, you’ll also find people recounting their fond memories of encounters with Gary Gygax, who always made it a point to interact with fans at conventions and answer thousands of letters and emails. Alex Gygax even noted how his father would answer letters from prisoners.

And it’s that passion and goodwill that Fig and the Gygax Trust are hoping to tap for their crowdfunding campaign.

So, there you have it. Another deal from The Trust that will go nowhere. Beleive me, with 10 years of practice doing nothing with the Gygax IP, Gail is a master at the art now.

If I appear to be overly harsh in my assessment, feel free to make counter-arguments below. Note that Gail is a shrewd business woman, able to balance a Trust and a Fund and accomplish nothing with both of them.






48 comments:

  1. "Paul Stormberg (I'm clueless)", So true.

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  2. They want to keep the 'spirit of D&D' but in a video game? Good luck. I agree with all of your comments. If Alex was really interested in his Father's legacy, he should have been doing more in the past decade in the actual field of RPGs instead of being a beer slinger and going to Magic games and just playing games, he should have been working with or for a developer and got the knowledge that they now so desperately need.

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  3. https://www.wired.com/2012/05/arneson-auction-rewind/

    He runs the Collector's Trove. From the website's description:

    We (The Collector's Trove) are the online auction house for game industry designers, artists, and insiders, including former TSR employees, the company that brought us Dungeons & Dragons. Our mission is to help these individuals realize the maximum value for their collections at auction.

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  4. Those quickstart rules are already gone, or the link is broken.

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    1. it worked when i put up the post - that was quick

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    2. Hi Erik,
      the QS is still available here:
      https://www.dragonsfoot.org/php4/archive.php?sectioninit=LA&fileid=80&watchfile=

      Delete
  5. I still wish we had Gygax magazine [sigh]. I'm guessing consultants/lawyers are pushing for video games as that market now surpasses Hollywood (let's face it, tabletop rpgs are nearly a rounding error as far as % of entertainment market share).

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    1. Don't we all! It was great while it lasted.

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  6. I'm just sad. It's a tragedy how Gary's legacy has been left to wither away. I don't feel the anger that Tenkar does, but I'm not going to make a counter-argument as to why he shouldn't feel angry.

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    1. As I point out, this level of anger doesn't do anybody any good. It's been a decade since Gary's death and 32 years since he left TSR. If people are still holding grudges now, it's time for folks to move on.

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  7. We're gonna need a bigger boat for a snark this size.

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  8. The best thing that has been done to honor Gary is being done by his other son Luke with GaryCon. The next best thing was actually done by WoTC with OneBookShelf when Gary's TSR work was allowed for sale in PDF and POD.

    All of the rest is somewhere between s**tstorm and clusterf**k.

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  9. I want to call Paul Stormberg "Stromberg" from now on.

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  10. I don’t see Gary’s post TSR materials like Lejendary Adventures and Castle Zagyg as being widely known outside of OSR circles. I hope Garys IPs can be made available again for tabletop rpg use, namely as reprints, pdfs and new materials based on these IPs.

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  11. Do some internet searches on Fig .... its a train wreck. Cannot believe they agreed to work with them.

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  12. Look up comments about Fig, PSYCHONAUTS 2 and Tim Schafer ... that will show you where this is going to head ... no where good.

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    1. And it also funded Pillars of Eternity 2, Wasteland 3, and Phoenix Point (creator of original XCOM's spiritual sequel). Tim Schafer can be a polarizing figure, but this thing isn't as bad as you're making it.

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    2. In your other comment you said that the fou needs of Fig created those games, not Fig itself. Which is it?

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  13. I'm surprised Tenkar never heard of Fig. Fig is actually a pretty big deal. Fig was founded in part by some of the big Video Game players who actually were the people who put Kickstarter on the success map, the guys who did Broken Age, Wasteland 2, and Pillars of Eternity. The goal is to only do very curated projects and work with investors so you don't have the funded but mismanaged aspect risk of Kickstarter. The WP page has a good analysis of it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fig_(company)

    As far as Paul Stromberg, he's been a big old-schooler, though not a big author. Most people in the old-school stuff know him, he attends GaryCon and does a lot of things, so again, I'm surprised there's no knowledge of him.

    Now--as for the rest of this, I'll counter briefly. I've not responded to posts for quite a while, but this should be commented on.

    Basically, all this comes across as just another angry rant by a die-hard fan who can't stand the fact that Gail and Alex are not doing what said fan wants to be done--a small release aimed at the die-hard old-school print market that just makes a small profit. For the most part, typical people would be happy that there is progress made and a big deal, or that Gary's stuff would reach a wider audience. But among some Grognards, this is akin to Heresy--Gygax is treated as a Jesus-like figure people want to build religions around, and actually caring about maybe elevating him to a level higher than the rest is bad. The potential is akin to what CD Projeckt did for The Witcher, a novel mostly known in Poland, now known a lot more for the video game adaptations.

    Tenkar, why does this bother you so much? You've past the rubicon of being a "concerned investigator" when it was proven that the Memorial Fund wasn't fraudulent, just slow going, and the lack of responses to the latest posts you write about that tell me that most people understand this and realize this is a snarky vendetta. Stuff like this just proves it. I can understand the hatred towards Ken Whitman since he's a legitimate Con Man, but this is just a whole other level. At least with this post, you're more honest about your feelings toward the matter. This anger really isn't good. There's still fans out there angry 10 years after his death that the original plans were not followed through, but there's also fans still angry about his forced departure in 1986. It's really time for folks to move past this. Some of Gary's fans are totally selfish--it's all about what they want to see. But it's time to get over it.

    Gary made his choice--he put Gail in charge of all his IP decades ago. His other kids from his first marriage did not contribute much to his writings post-TSR, so it is obvious to me who he wanted to make decisions. Gail has made her choices, and I think people need to respect that--at least out of respect for Gary. What do you think was more important to him? Respecting his work? Or respecting his loved ones? Do you think Gary would react well to these screen shots of what you said about Gail in one of your pre-discord chats?

    https://cdn.pbrd.co/images/Hh6l5v2O.png
    https://cdn.pbrd.co/images/Hh6llg9.png

    Something honestly tells me if there is an afterlife I think a lot of these hard core "fans" honestly will never get to sit at his gaming table in the sky. Gary wasn't as worried about his "legacy" in the manner the fans are.

    If people don't like what Gail and Alex are doing, fine. But its time to move on--OSR materials are in abundance and there's tons of writers out there who may have more passion for this than Gary did. (He was really more into LA in his later years and CZ was more of an appeal to the masses). But engaging in schadenfreude is just sad--wish them the best and then move on. Letting this bitterness fester won't change anything.

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    1. JTR, you're completely missing the point.

      Gary's dying wish was to support his loved ones and, yes, this is all within Gail's legal rights, but her every action has been contrary to Gary's life's work. Gary chose an heir, but he also chose a publisher, a cowriter, a game, and a format. He dabbled in cartoons and movies and advertised a vaporware video game in the back of Necropolis in 1992, but his life was tabletop RPG's and he never stopped sharing his gifts with the world. His beneficiary shitcanned all of that and hung everyone that supported Gary out to dry.

      Those who loved his work aren't bitching about ancient history or old grudges, it's ongoing. Every year we read more news about how Gail is making sure we never read another drop of our favorite D&D author. Alex says our game is a "dying format." Last year the would-be seller of the last Gord manuscript was threatened. The year before that Gail shut down the magazine honoring Gary's name. The Memorial we generously contributed to goes nowhere. Less than 700 copies of Gary's final work were printed. Fully-written Yggsburgh expansions languish under lock and key. For the last ten years, his property has been sequestered, withheld, and ransomed while the new owner waits for a dumptruck of money. These aren't someone's eccentric business decisions were bitching about, this is greed and injustice.

      Now, while fans grow old and grey lamenting Gary's out-of-print, under-published, and unpublished works, his bartender son with the least writing, publishing, design, or entrepreneurial experience in the family is going to try his hand at video games.

      Do you get it?

      Maybe Alex will make Gygax Games bigger than Square/Enix, Blizzard, Hasbro, and Skyrim and it will be great and Gary will reach a wider audience... but Gary believed in imagination and social interaction. He never had much luck with glowing rectangles.

      And don't portray Gygax fans as sycophant grognards, you toadying, yesman, copyright worshiper. I just like Gary's modules and the way he wrote.

      Delete
    2. Cody: Maybe is being super gracious, so I'll just be the realistic SOB here -- No, he won't.
      Otherwise, right on.

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    3. Cody, I did not call the grognards sycophants--that's what you called me. Though I especially like "copyright worshiper", seeing how Gary valued copyright so much that he once had people go around to tear up the people making illegal photocopies of Chainmail and OD&D.

      My criticism is towards the people who sort of paint a skewed, idealistic picture of Gary as the starving artist, fighting against corporate corruption and eschewing popularity, when the reality was much different. This stuff about "dabbled in cartoons and movies and video games" is basically not the truth--he was seriously trying to succeed in that.

      The manuscript wasn't a Gord book, but a copy a reviewer tried to sell illegally for his own profit.

      "Greed and Injustice"--please have some perspective. You act like an unpublished manuscript is some kind of injustice, or that trying to sell to the widest audience is greedy. It's not. Languishing is a human emotion. If it's about the cancelled contracts, all the business parties have pretty much moved on to other things.

      I get disappointment, that's a natural emotion. But taking it to the extremes I see some folks doing is wrong and more insulting to Gary's legacy than any transgression they think the family is doing. It's a selfish desire based on the fans own greed to read the material in the format they desire most. I mean, all the drama over Alex basically admitting that the big market is in computer games--that's a fact--but people take that like its some kind of personal insult.

      It's also not like any works you bought in the past have disappeared. Some are out of print--but if you were a big fan you already had them, and the TSR era stuff is still in print, plus there's still DJ and LA stuff at Flea Markets.

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    4. To be fair, Tenkar and crew are coming across as a bunch of small minded hateful trolls here, especially in the PNGs you posted, but the whole tone of the article is quite frankly shameful. I for one would love to play an CRPG based on some of Gary's unreleased stuff and I'm sure there are many others that would enjoy that too. Probably more than I enjoy Tenkars Tavern, especially if its going to degenerate into childish and hateful mud slinging.

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    5. Fig is a great platform to make games with focused groups of developers and help move a game from prototype to production. The guy who did Xcom is releasing a game on the platform, and I believe the new Battletech game from it. Fig is not just a company but a team of people who help small time developers get their shit done. They wont' take just anyone, you have to have all your ducks in a row and THEN you pitch to them.

      Tenkar sounds extra snarky in this posting.

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    6. In one interview, Gary (not quoting as gospel, but for reference): "The LA system will fail only if its audience diminishes." I guess Gary never considered that the game might fail if they unplug it as soon as he left this world.

      It doesn't make me angry. It's just sad. After 10 years, no one would pick that game in a store.

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    7. No better whining drivel than JRT's whining drivel! Keep 'em coming.

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    8. Eh, if anybody is whining here, it's Tenkar. But when people don't have any good way to counter an argument, they resort to those types of insults.

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    9. JRT - right from the start of this post, I warned it was full of snark. Glad I didn't disappoint.

      I'm surprised you aren't also commenting at ENWorld. The relevant news article is nearly universal with negative commentary from the community.

      Windmills await good sir!

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    10. You use the term "snark" thinking it excuses you from people calling you out on mean-spirited behavior, like it's all in good fun. It doesn't.

      And I no longer go to message boards or do any of that "tilting at windmills" crap anymore. Why bother arguing with selfish people who's minds are made up, etc.

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    11. Gail earned her special place in my heart when she threatened me with legal action for something I NEVER posted (and the retraction that she demanded indicated such nonsense)

      She's one of three to have done so in this hobby, none of them seem to understand the law as each of the threats were baseless.

      So yes, Gail and her mismanaged (in my opinion - possibly shared by others, but simply stating my opinion) Trust and Fund are not instilling confidence in my regarding this latest venture.

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    12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    13. Certain language is not acceptable on the blogside, Randy.

      I've stated my opinion on the blogside. You don't get to state it for me.

      Delete
  14. I'd like to comment on this quote: “Gail [Gygax, Gary’s wife] herself is quite familiar with the development of her husband’s IP for computer games, having worked with a number of companies over the years to do so. While the projects all had promise, some of them quite fantastic, the developers could never quite achieve the vision Gary had laid out”

    I was at TSR from 1984-1989. I left to make my way into digital games and spent 10 years as a freelancer, working on some TSR stuff, some HeroQuest stuff, and a bunch of video & computer games. In the early-to-mid 1990s, a producer from Cyberdreams called me up and said, "You've worked with Gary Gygax before, right?" I said "Yeeesssss..." hesitantly, as I wondered what was coming. Turns out they'd contracted with Gary to design a fantasy RPG computer game (tentatively titled "Hunters of Ralk") and they had gotten his design for it and it was unworkable (according to the producer). He asked if I'd be willing to re-work it. I promptly asked if Gary had agreed to it being re-designed, as I knew of old that this was an issue. I was told yes and we agreed on a price and I signed a contract.

    A couple of days later a very heavy FedEx box arrived for me. In it was Gary's "design" for HoR -- roughly 1,500 pages of unworkableness (to be polite). I read through it and it was very obvious that Gary had never played a computer RPG and had no idea how to design for one. There were speeches from NPCs that went on for five full pages of text, for example.

    So I sighed and got to work. Took me 5-6 weeks and I eventually turned over a ~300-page design doc that was still too weighty but retained as many of Gary's original elements as I felt should be there. A week or two later the producer called me up and sheepishly told me that, while I was still going to get paid, they discovered that Gary's contract did indeed give him the right to refuse any changes to his work and he was exercising that right. Because, you know, his work was always perfect, even for media he was completely unfamiliar with. Since the game was not remotely publishable the way Gary wrote it and he wouldn't allow any changes, Cyberdreams killed the project.

    I was told by the producer that there was some contract-related involvement from Gail at the very end, when the company said they were going to kill the project. But since I have no direct knowledge of her involvement, I'm not going to repeat what I was told. That's the only time I ever heard Gail's name mentioned in reference to this project (though of course I knew her from my time at TSR, when she was Gary's secretary).

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  15. I agree with you that there's a degree of desperation here. I only quibble a little bit about the reasons for the past mismanagement. I think it's no coincidence that this is happening right when Gail Gygax's only biological child gets interested in the industry. My bet is that she wanted to keep her late husband's legacy exclusively for herself and *her* child (and not for Gary Gygax's children from his first marriage). Hence the push to shut down Gygax magazine, founded by Luke and Ernie Gygax. Unfortunately, some people would rather have all of a severely diminished pie than a generous slice of a much larger one.

    As for the original Greyhawk, my understanding was that Gary Gygax had never used his home version of the dungeon for any TSR product, even those with "Castle Greyhawk" somewhere in the title. I'd also heard that the Castle Zagyg published by Troll Lord Games was that original dungeon under a different name to avoid infringing on WotC-owned IP. If that's the case, Troll Lord may still hold those rights or an exclusive license.

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    1. My understanding of the Castle Greyhawk IP coming from Designers & Dragons.

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  16. I came to the conclusion some time back, that She has gone out of her way to bury as much of his legacy as she can. She's getting Gary's royalties from D&D still, I'm sure, so she probably isn't hurting for money.

    No, I think she wants anything, or anyone, with the name Gygax under her thumb. Why? I don't know.

    This is a gesture. It isn't meant to succeed. Just as the memorial fund will never build a memorial. By doing some paperwork on some vaporware,it will satisfy trademark requirements to actually do something with those precious trademarks. It's use'um or loose'um. And, a computer game that might take years of development, with other people's money, before it's abandoned is perfect for this.

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  17. Look at all the trouble the pros at Paizo have had getting video games to work. If they can't do it, I give no chance to Gygax "Trust".

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    1. Paizo went their own way, did their own thing, worked with a small time publisher, and tried to release a WoW-Clone. Fig is a delivery platform and development pipeline, it doesn't make the games it works with people to make sure the games get done. The best thing the Gygax Trust can do is stay the fuck away from anything else besides putting their name on the logo.

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    2. Agreed, if Paizo had made a single player game (a la Baldur's gate or Neverwinter Nights) and/or contracted with a bigger and more capable studio they would likely have been fine. Hopefully the Trust does the same.

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  18. This story just gets weirder and weirder...

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  19. I don't think WotC will stop her, just because of the negative publicity, or at least I think they will kind of let this melt down on its own. What really gets me is all the talk about Gary wanting to bring things to digital and communicating with the fans. He had some pretty anti-video game post online a few years before his death (that have msotly been lost to dead servers and/ or taken down)

    Like he just never seemed big on video games, or their value as a role playing medium, and that is the kind of thing people will dig up if this goes anywhere.

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    1. ...Doesn't mean that some of his unreleased material wouldn't work in computer form and be fun to play. I think this is the aspect some of the grognards are missing here. Pool of Radiance, for instance, was based on 1E AD&D and was fantastic for its day. Who's to say there's not another RPG waiting to be made, based on Gary's unreleased stuff, that will be awesome? But haters are going to hate; it's what they do.

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    2. Hasbro will stop her dead to rights if they infringe on any of their IP. They have to. IF they don't then any writer can point to the works and say "Well you didn't sue her, why are you suing me?". Hasbro has to cover their IP regardless of who the author is/was.

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    3. Yeah Ja Dd is right. i was tired, and never really think of ip laws. and im not saying it would make a good game, just that the idea that Gary was really into that rings false to me. The guy who wrote the wither books hates the games, and the third one is loved.

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  20. As their partner FIG said: "Once Alex is able to get the Gygax Games website up, that will be another avenue for submissions."

    Who announces a project to license video games without having a website up? Gygax Games, that's who.

    The announcement is great for Fig - its getting them more eyes, and close to worthless for Gygax Games. There is no website for folks to bookmark and return to.

    The Trust is good at making splashy announcements (Transformers Producer anyone) but coming through? Yeah, not so much.

    There's a reason for that. Gail, even when she makes these deals, won't give up any control.

    Now, is my post above shit full of snark? I specifically warned it would be. I generally reserve the extra love and attention to those that have threatened me with legal action. Groundlessly, I might add.

    This will be, as all things related to the Trust or the Fund, a whole lotta wind and nothing more.

    It is the desperate actions of someone who was waiting on a multimillion dollar payday that never happened. Never was going to happen.

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  21. The hatred that you have towards Gary Gygax and his family is despicable.

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    1. You do realize it was Gail and the Gygax Trust that sued Gygax Magazine out of business, right? The magazine that Luke and Ernie were integral parts of and the mag that was beloved by the community. I guess you forgot that.

      It was Gail that threatened to sue me for a comment made by a reader here at The Tavern. Not something I said, something said by a reader.

      If you ask me If I have any love for Gail, I'll tell you no. The Gygax Memorial Fund is, at best, poorly managed. I don't hate her any more than I hate Kenny or Gareth. I just don't like them all that much for well documented reasons.

      As for the Trust, its 10 years now that Gary's works have sat and rotted, hoping for the huge payday that never happened. That payday, if it does happen, will benefit Gail. Possibly Alex. The rest of Gary's kids? Not a dime.

      I have nothing but good experiences with Gary when he was alive (we communicated via ENWorld back in the day). Same goes for his kids. Even Alex was gracious when we met as Gary Con IX (he did have choice words regarding me and the "annoyance" I was to his mother, but that was said to another, not me, and I understand why he feels as he does)

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