Saturday, December 20, 2008
Good solid week this past week despite a bumpy Monday. Sometime around Tuesday the nature of the week changed as several items were brought to my attention. While boxing up some emergency orders Mark asked me to bring over some larger shipping boxes. I noted we were out, we checked the various and sundry places we have attempted to store our shipping boxes...the Blue Room, Storage, Mail Room (very crowded), Shop, Todd's Attic...and we couldn't find any but for one mangled, oil covered box that must have survived the Exxon Valdez spill. Being cheap and noting that this was an outer shipping box, we used it.
Mark taped it with Duck Tape.
"Mark, what are you doing?"
"We're out of packing tape."
Making a mental note I went on about my day. Later while nosing around in the shop for more boxes I saw two garbage cans full of scraps. There were no liners in the can.
"Mark, why aren't we putting liners in the can?"
"We're out of liners. So I'm using the large wraps the Upper Works bundles came in to catch the scrap. Its not really working."
This led me to the inescapable conclusion that we might be running short of supplies.
Its been a busy 6 weeks, what with getting Crusader 13, Upper Works and Towers of Adventure out as well as work on non TLG projects. Mark and I have been running pretty constantly. And inevitably we run out of supplies. Which is, I think, a good thing.
So Wednesday, in the midst of whatever else it is I was doing I began compiling a list of material and supplies the Trolls will need. Its the perfect time, with Christmas and end of year, so its the perfect time to resupply and get ready for January 1 and 2009 which promises to be an interesting year.
Here is the short list of what I came up with.
Large Shipping boxes...50
Outside Shipping boxes...100
Inside Shipping boxes...100
USPS FRB2 boxes...100
USPS large flat rate...100
USPS priority Mail shoebox ...100
USPS priority stickers...100
39 gallon garbage bags...4 boxes
light bulbs...4 cases
packing tape...12 rolls
6 100 round belts of M80 ball with M62 tracer rounds
Ink for small printer...1 cartridge
The list goes on.
So Thursday I set myself the task of traveling around Little Rock and gathering these supplies. We buy much of it locally, the boxes and what not, but its a bit of a drive to go get them. And I think for the better part of the entire day I was either ordering stuff or driving and picking up stuff. Its a good thing I have a full size truck.
I'm about 3/4 of the way to resupplying the company. And I'm glad to report we are preparing ourselves for whatever 2009 brings us. And who knows what that will be?
In thinking about Castles & Crusades. I wonder sometimes, is it a Crusade we lead? Or is it a Civil War? We crossed the Rubicon to find what had been lost . . . .
Enjoy your weekend. Do not be troubled... (Around miniute 3.52, is a great scene)
Thanks for playing,
Friday, December 12, 2008
Things have been moving very fast around here. I'm not sure what's going on. I'm actually managing to keep up with paper work. I've fixed IRS problems that have posted since 2005 (or I think that I have). Mark is working through some issues in the shop which have led to some quality issues (and we hope not released into the general pubic). Peter is doing some freelancing while hammering on a bunch of covers and interiors. Jason has been busy on cartoons and interiors. Davis has turned over 2 complete modules (3 if you count A5) and James Ward had been hammering on Of Gods & Monsters. This doesn't even count Mike doing some extra work on Arms and Armor, Casey on Halls of Adventure, Liz on the Crusader (14), and Cory editing two books. And we top all this off with Brian working over the webpage and trying to get us a gallery up of past pictures and events and McBain on conventions, Breakdaddy on the computers (which I have some questions for him come Monday...he loves hearing my hair brained questions).
(I know some of you are asking Who are all these people? I have the same question . . . . Mark assure me he know them!)
It seems that each day begins with simple tasks and ends in harried confusion. Take today (friday) for instance. I plopped down in front of the computer around 8:20 or thereabouts. Liz needed some material for Crusader 14, pictures and such. I had a few small task to tackle as well, a contract and financial statement to the bank. I figured about 2 hours and then I could wrap up the final read of A5 before it goes to Cory for editing. I thought, okay, before I get started I'll clean this desk up a little. I filed some papers, found some unpaid bills. Logged on paid those, filed those papers. Went through the in box a bit, noticed that I had a new solicitation sheet from Alliance. I cross checked that with my announcements. Noticed that some annouced projects hadn't been put up on the boards. That led to a sheet of inventory needs by Aldo Ghiozzi. I pulled print sheets and called him for an update inventory sheet so I could see what I needed to send him. He was out of lots of material. So I begin to go through the mail room and my stock room inventory to see what we had on hand.
It hit me then that i hadn't even gotten to Liz's Crusader needs yet. So I stopped, went through some art files from the old Codex, got some pictures. I couldn't find the original cover as she had asked for so I had to go into the storage boxes, dig out the old CDRoms, transfer the original cover over and save it the file type needed. I scratched that off her list. I noted that some of this art hadn't appeared in the Codex, so I moved some files around to get it where I could get to it later (or more likely forget about it). I then laid out an ad for Winter Dark. Doing this led me to the discovery that several of Jason's digital originals were not where they were supposed to be. I hunted them down, moved them, finished the ad and sat back. It was already 1015 in the a.m.
I sat back to see to some contracts I needed to do and Mark sauntered in. He needed the days assignments and wanted to go over some minor issues. We discussed these and got him set up and he wandered off to the Shop after we both cussed the governement and various technoligical devices for a few minutes.
Back to work.
So I worked over the contracts. As I was finishing those I wandered up to answer email on the lap top and process some orders. I had there a letter from Luke Gygax and I fired him off a couple of bone headed responses (to which he hasn't yet answered). The phone rang and I chatted to a Canadian customer for a bit. Back to the main office and the financial statement that the bank needed back in November. I stared at the tiny boxes for a minute and thought it best to dig out an old one and copy it instead of digesting another years worth of tax returns and other crap. And of course it had been a year since I needed one of these and I couldn't find the old ones. I searched for a bit and quit, to take up another task and wait for my old brain to joggle around. It was 11:20 so I had me some lunch. Two P&J sandwiches. Watched the news and cussed the tv.
Conversation with Peter, Casey Christofferson and the wife and then back to work. I busied myself for a minute noted that Amazon was down and worked on its password for awhile. Checking the boards I noted that I hadn't announced the Christmas sale.
Off to do a press release, realized that my email addyes were destroyed and thought up a way to get the word out. This meant extending the sale to RPGNow, something that I should have done anyway, and off to work over that sale page. This took the better part of an hour to make a new logo and design the bundles and upload all that. I returned to the file where I remembered I filed my financial statements and tackled that. Of course it was more painful that I remembered and it took too long. I remembered that I hand't signed and shipped the contracts and I stopped on that project, hit the contracts, made out the envelopes and booked off to the post office. The christmas cards, addressed, but unstamped were in the seat of the truck. So I gathrered all this up and dumped it on my local post master. Glenda laughed at me and gave me two books of stamps. I spent a good while stamping post cards. Got all that done and back to the office.
It was 3 in the afternoon. HOLY CRAP. So I finished the financial statement, faxed it to the bank. Answered a few emails and headed upstairs to get my work in on A5. I sat down and worked through a paragraph and the phone rang. Took an order. Worked and the phone rang again. It was Patrick, the latest bundle of Upper Works and StarSiege boxes were ready for pick up. Crap. Called Mark, he was elbow deep into some jobs that he couldn't quit. We decided to pick them up on Monday.
Mail arrives and a big check is there that I need to pay some bills with. Off to the bank. Back to the computer. Balance books. Pay some bills, leaving the freshly balanced books unbalanced. Head back to A5.
Its now after 4. For the next hour I struggled with A5 and managed to get through a few pages. Several interuptions and a VALA moment where I remembered a way that I might salvage my email addys from the pre-flattened computer. I wandered down to the old computer, searched them and found some original LDIF files Jason and I had saved long ago when we ported out of netscape. I imported these and they looked live.
Well. Long Train Ride later. I didn't get A5 done, but will this weekend. I managed to get alot of small stuff done and put some fires out. Strangely though it seems that every day has its own little litany of things that need doing. What's up with that??
Well, after that, we all deserve a little music. Here ya go you '70s freaks!!
Thanks for playing.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Things seem to moving at an almost feverish pitch here, I'm not sure why. We've finally gotten Upper Works into the channel. It shipped out last week and was announced as available starting this week. That's good news. Restocks and reorders came in for Star Siege. Mark has begun the full release run of Towers of Adventure and it will be out in early December. In the meantime we've finally wrapped up Crusader 13, it will ship out to subscribers on Thursday.
NOTE MANY OF YOU MADE SIX MONTH SUBSCRIPTIONS, THEY ARE RAPIDLY ENDING. SO BE ON THE WATCH OR GIVE US A CALL.
Arms and Armor was delayed as its waiting its turn to print. Should be late this week. I'm wrapping up text for Crusader 14 and Jim is laying out the prospects for the Crusader 15-17.
In exciting news Jim Ward has turned over the first 2 chapters for Of Gods & Monsters. So that book is in advance of schedule. I'll turn them over to Peter for art direction tomorrow.
Peter in the meantime is working on the cover for M&T, 3rd printing, which will be announced in the next couple of weeks.
I have been working on the CKG, amidst the hordes of technical problems we've had around here (thank you Jason for fixing this cluster #&#@).
On a more relaxed note, the wife and I have rearranged the living room so that we have our large pine desk facing the fire place. The cold has at last arrived here in Arkansas and I've been spending my evenings (once everyone goes to bed) sitting at the desk, writing and working by the light and warmth of a crackling fire. It really helps the writing mood.
Thanks for playing.
Friday, October 31, 2008
I would link all those but I'm too tired. I'll go back through and link when we have new info on them. :)
Swords and Sorcery is going to be a whole lota things. We are in the concept stages of a comic strip and an RPG. So look for more along those lines.
Thanks for playing,
Thursday, October 30, 2008
With that in mind its time to repair a few fences here at TLG. We’ve been very busy since Gencon and I’ve not had time to keep up with the message board or this blog as I should. Our schedule has been turned upside down, Crusader has gone monthly and my box maker had a near brush with fiscal collapse which directly impacted our new game marketing approach. Couple all this with normal day to day grind, some burn out on my end and various and other sundries and your left with a fence that needs some fixing.
So let me be my own Will Penny. There’s good and bad coming down the pipe. Lets start with the bad as well, its bad, and its best to take one’s medicine before the ice cream.
Gygax Games has withdrawn all licenses from Troll Lord Games. This includes Gygaxian Fantasy Worlds, Gord the Rogue, King of England King of France, C&C Adventures as well as Castle Zagyg. This is a note from Gail:
“A fond farewell from Gail Gygax:
I want to thank all at Troll Lord Games for the joy, laughter, and support they gave my late husband these past eight years. Many of you are wondering what is in store for various worlds created by Gary. To that end, I have, with TLG’s good wishes and blessings, embarked on a new journey.
Gygax Games will now take up the mantle as the vehicle for the continuation of Gary’s unfinished works, plus the Lejendary Adventure™, Castle Zagyg™, and Gygaxian™ Fantasy Worlds product lines. There are lots of fun surprises ahead!
This does not preclude Gygax Games from working the Troll Lord Games and I hope to do so in the future. To that end, I look forward to seeing everyone in Lake Geneva in the summer of 2009 for the convention!
So to Steve, Davis, Mark and Peter – I thank you.”
I cannot really comment on the whys and wherefores of this decision. Obviously TLG had planned on publishing Gary’s material for several years to come, but this is not to be. TLG and Gary had a great run I think, and I personally am very proud of our achievements and still marvel at what we, Gary and the TLG crew, managed to do in the past eight years. On a personal note working with Gary was always a pleasure and I looked forward to his emails, sitting on his front porch, having a smoke and chatting the world away. He was a good friend to me and I’ll always remember the first toast we made in the Old Town Serbian Café. Here’s to you Gary!
So now what for TLG?
First we finish the last two projects we are working on for Gary and tie up the rest of the loose ends. Upper Works is still being produced and sold through TLG. We’ll ship a limited number of copies into distribution on the 13th of November. We will continue to sell them through our website. They will not be available on Amazon as the time to get it entered and the trouble it takes to remove items is too much and our number of copies that we can sell is too limited. The reason we have not released this into distribution is we keep selling into our distribution copies. I have to ship a minimum to meet demand or ship none at all. This plays into our Box maker which I’ll get to shortly. The second items of Gary’s we are wrapping up is the series of articles How it all Happened. These we’ll finish in Crusader 13 which should ship out this week or early next.
Once these two items are done we’ll have only the back stock on existing GFW titles and Gord to move or sell.
Everything has to be moved out by December 31, 2008.
So what’s next for TLG. With the removal of so many titles from the roster, about 20 or so, what does that do to our schedule? Obviously it negatively impacts it in the short run as we have to fill in the many holes. This isn’t such a bad thing. Its allowing me to move all manner of projects up on the table that really just considered before as Gary’s material was more important.
Much of what is coming is retooling from products to personal. Here’s what we have:
Up first our some personnel issues. Todd gray actually came back to work for us, picking up bi-line work with me on several of my projects. Of that I’m very happy, Todd and I work well together so hopefully we can pick up some of the old magic and make some sweet books like Heart of Glass and Winter Runes. Mac Golden has come out of hiding with a load of magic items and monsters for the upcoming M&T 2 and M&T of Aihrde. James M. Ward has offered all manner of assistance and with the soon to be released Towers of Adventure we are happy to oblige him. And of course Casey Christofferson, Casey Cannfield, Robert Doyel and Mike Stewart have all jumped forward with various projects and offers of assistance. Presently I have these writers on several scatter shot projects, work here and work there. Much of it to fill areas in projects now removed from the schedule. In the coming days I’m going to email each one of them personally and discuss their strengths and weaknesses and give them projects that will prove mutually beneficial.
Up next is the projects:
First up is the C&C game. I am a little stunned to announce that the 4th printing is upon us! Suddenly I find myself with only a 3 month supply of Players Handbooks and surprisingly a 3 month supply of Monsters & Treasures, 5 months at the outset. Peter and I will begin working on the layout today as he has finished up Arms and Armor and I’ve managed to wrap up some of my paper work that has been outstanding for several months. Once done we’ll be able to recharge the whole line. It won’t be anything tremendously different, but I am investigating looking into a few new format approaches. More on that as it comes to me. These new printings will coincide with the release of the CKG and the new hardback book by Mike Stewart and Casey Cannfield: Halls of Adventure. All this in early 2009. There may be some price increases but we’ll have to see how that goes. I hate to raise prices in a coming recession, but we’ll see.
All the scheduling issues have allowed us to bring a project we’ve long cherished back to the fore, the re-release of Ernie and Luke Gygax’s The Lost City of Gaxmoor. This project has sat on a back burner for a long time and we planned to couple it with other projects, but now we can give it the full attention it deserves. In some ways this if full circle for us as Gaxmoor came out before even any of Gary’s projects. I’ve talked to both Luke and Ernie and there is even a chance we’ll see more from them in the future. Peter has already started on the maps (remember peter likes to work on LOTS of things at the same time).
Beyond this we intend to grow the C&C line tremendously. Monsters and Treasure 2 by Robert Doyel and other writers is well under way as it Monsters & Treasure of Aihrde. We are going to couple these with more Siege Gear books in the same style as Engineering Dungeons and the soon to be released Arms and Armor. There is a great deal of room to grow the C&C brand and with you continued support and help we will do it. 2009 should be a very exciting year for all this.
The Siege Engine games are moving along as well. These items have been stalled for a very long time as we worked out the logistics of how to bring them to the public. We discovered this in the box making talents of good sir Partrick Nehan of Diamond State Specialty Box company. By controlling costs and working with TLG, DS gave us a golden opportunity to bring box set games to market. With this we able to release Starsiege and make plans for Victorious, Harvesters and Pulp Siege. All these are in the schedule and set for a quarterly release beginning next year.
A hitch was thrown into our long term plans as well as the release of Upper Works in August/September. Diamond State suffered some serious problems (clients failing to pay and one major injury) from which we were not certain if they could recover. This impacted our production of the Upper Works boxes as well as Towers of Adventure. I could have jumped ship on Patrick and found another box maker, but it didn’t seem right. Patrick had given me great prices and service in the past (if you own HOMP, LA Essentials you have his handy work) and we had a well laid out plan for the future. So I decided to brave the storm and stick with him to see if he could pull his business out of the slump. It was probably not the best business move, but if any of you know me well, you know loyalty is a word with meaning. “I’d rather die blind and ragged” . . . . And yes this meant the delay of Upper Work’s release to the general market and for the fans and retailers who are eagerly waiting for this, I apologize, but I stand by my decision to wait for Patrick to recover.
And it seems that DS has managed to recover and is back in business, if much reduced from 5 months ago. They are producing more Upper Works boxes as we speak to cover the shortage mentioned earlier. As well as that we are laying out the next box set for them. So wish them luck and if you’re inclined send a short prayer. They’ve had a rough ride.
There’s lots of work to do here at TLG. The C&C game hasn’t even entered a complete stage yet as the CKG isn’t finished. Tons of supplements, monsters, game aids and adventures are waiting for the light of day and need developing. There’s much to do and we’ve got to get to doing it. Siege Engine is on the cusp of being born and we are working on a Swords and Sorcery brand as well.
So I leave you all this information to digest, certain that I’ve raised many questions and not answered many more. But rest assured TLG is adjusting to these latest developments (remember I’ve had some time to adjust to them personally) and will move forward as we always do, but for now I've a little more fence to ride.
Thanks for playing,
Ps: I’ve only just discovered the Trailer Park Boys. Oh my lord. Best show I’ve seen in a long time. Its actually begun to impact my work schedule!! Check it out if you have time.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
We've just released Shades of Mist in pdf format over on RPGNow. I'll get the word out as the day progresses.
Friday was a bumpy day as Todd's house was robbed and Mark and I took the day to help him clean up and put a new door in. If you've ever seen the movie Dodge Ball and heard the comment about Monkey's and a door knob, it was a little bit like that. They stole his computer which we had just reconnected to the internet and set up his todd trollord address. Ha! Its fate I told him. Unlucky bastard if ever there was one.
So yesteday was mucho catch up on paper work and bills and orders, this to make up for Friday's loss.
Today we are off and running
Mark is doing some printing work on some outside jobs for Otherworlds Creations and other various and sundries.
Liz is working on Crusader 13. Wrap up we think.
Jim is working on Crusadser 14. Trying to get me to turn over stuff I suspect.
Peter is working on Arms and Armor. Cover is finished and prepped and he is working the guts.
I'm hammering away on the still unfinished NPC section. Should be able to wrap it up today however and get it tooled and playtesting.
Check yourself out some Dock Boggs. GREAT Hill music. They have a little sample on Youtube.
Thanks for playing,
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Mark is working over an outside project.
Peter continues to slog away on Arms and Armor.
I released a press release about Crusader going monthly. Of course the address books proved a problem and didn't port correctly into Thunderbird so I spent too much time unraveling that little problem. Finally abandoned it and began using Outlook for the PR. More scheduling work as I look where to fit the (tentatively) titled Halls of Adventure, C&C Hardbook into the roster as well as Victorious and Pulp Siege.
I'll also wrap up Book 1, Chapter 6 on NPCs for the CKG and finish the opening for Book 1, Chapter 1, Multi-classing. Davis is going over Book 1, Chapter 1 the Classes. I think he is working on the Rogue together.
I also had a long talk with Davis, Todd, Mark and err myself...about the Monsters & Treasure 2 and Monsters and Treasure of Aihrde books. We laid out some guidelines for the Treasure section in MT2. So that was all good.
Liz is bothering me about final art pieces for Crusader 13, so we suspect that is wrapping up shortly.
Also I hope to debut the T-shirts this weekend.
Thanks for Playing.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Mark is finalizing Upper Works, will ship it tomorrow probably. This to distributors.
Peter working on cover for A7, maps for A6 and final interiors for Arms and Armor.
Jim and Liz are working on Crusader 13. Should be ready for print this week.
Brian updating the store for the Crusader subscription options.
I'm on scheduling this morning, updating cover files and new announcements. Will turn my attention to CKG, NPC section and Muliclassing section. As well as work on some new monsters...Mogrl I think. Prep and release Shades of Mist as a PDF.
Monday, October 13, 2008
I know everyone is waiting for some news on CZ, and I should have something for you this week. Things are what they are and we do what we can, eh?
But in the meantime, today I'm spending some time caching up on the TLG Balance sheets and Expense Reports as well as prepping a Press Release about the Crusader magazine.
Mark is packing orders and sorting Upper Works for shipment to Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
Peter is working over the art for Mike Stewart's Arms and Armor.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
That's right, I'm talking about my email. Its been on the fritz for about two years now and not really able to do what I need it to do. I've been working this problem since last Thursday. I've managed to get nothing done other than shouting at my computer, paypal, amazon and a dozen other sites as I bring in a new email address to be posted soon...actually two and made a dozen other changes to the way information flows here in the offices.
First: I've switched off of Microsoft and over to Thunderbird. Thunderbird allows me to set up mail boxes, much as my old Netscape did, that are separate from each other so that email is funnelled into the correct inbox and not all jumbled together. We've about ported everything but address books over. So a few more days before this change is complete.
Second: We are porting over the whole site to a new provider. This is going to take several days and probably crash the site a number of times throughout the week and maybe weekend.
Third: Answering all email and deleteing those that aren't necessary. This is amost done.
So look for furhter chaos, but in the end, don't eat your babies, it will improve (was that a metaphor for the market?)
Monday, September 22, 2008
Today Mark tackles Crusader 12 and other sundries.
Peter is working on the cover for A6.
I am working on the CKG and writing a short piece for the Crusader magazine. On top of that I'll continue running the aforementioned sales reports which shouldn't take more than an hour or two, press release on Shaes of Mist and some various updates on web pages. Oh yeah, and addressing the Paizo PDF store.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
So. Thank You Kindly.
Mark has been working on printing Shades of Mist and two other large jobs for other publishers. So he's kept the machines running hot and the cutter dull. So much so that one of the machine kerploded on itself and is down. We'll have it back up tomorrow but in the meantime Mark entered the Blue Room and began boxing the last of the Star Siege. That wonderful little game ships to distributors tomorrow.
Peter has been working in the CKG cover....some maps and other sundries.
Yesterday I worked on the CKG for a bit, wrapped up a bunch of bills and paper work, broke out Dwarven Glory II and polished it up. This latter project still needs a little work. Today I tackled some problems with some dungeon maps that took the better part of the morning. After that I balanced the deposit records (this too awhile as I hadn't brought it up to date since June) and I'm glad to say that TLG is on the track for having its best revenue producing year since its founding in 1999. The story to beat was 2005, and I think we can do it. The nice thing about that is that 2005 was still the d20 boom time and we were publishing Dungeons and Dragons, now its Castles & Crusades. After the deposit records I turned my attention back to Dwarven Glory II, clocked out at 5:04 p.m. and wrapped the evening up by teaching my son how to ride his bike without training wheels...that and shooting air rockets at all the neighborhood kids and stepping in a big ole pile of cat *#@$!
Its late now, about 11:00 p.m. and I've just released Crusader 8 in pdf format on RPGNow, and made a blog entry.
Tomorrow is another big day.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Tis been a fun few weeks no doubt. As some of you may or may not realize the Troll Dens were hit by a pretty wicked patch of weather that spun off of Hurricane Gustav back on the 2nd. It knocked out power out for the better part of 8 days and proved once again that the modern world is a pretty fragile place and that I could probably go native pretty fast.
I’ll give you a quick run down of the week’s events, both for your amusement (or contempt as the case may be) and historical record (for whatever that may or may not be worth to our distant future).
When I clocked in on the 1st of this fine month I took to task the mountain of orders, pre-orders and re-orders. You see, we found ourselves in a pinch for time as we came back from Gencon with Gary Gygax’s Upper Works, Star Siege Event Horizon and Towers of Adventure to ship. We had pre-orders on all these. These titles became hopelessly mired in the LA and d20 Sales that we launched in and around Gencon. Roll that up in a box of actually printing and shipping all the retailer orders and you have a small Troll Crew staring hopelessly at lots of work…throw in of course Mark taking 4 days off to recoup from the 45 non break work period before Gencon. We fitfully wrestled with it for the better part of a week until it kept growing and not shrinking. So I set myself the task of getting organized and getting us organized and shipping all this material.
So on the 1st we worked orders all day. On the 2nd Mark began some small jobs in the print shop while I prepped the several large jobs coming down. Both days went smooth, but sometime in the darkening hours of the 2nd the power went off. I didn’t know this until the next day when I woke up.
3rd: Once I took care of my normal morning I thought I would wait the power outage out and catch up on some sleep. Shouldn’t be but a few hours I thought. Well those few hours turned into the better part of the day. In the early afternoon I took my youngest (whose daycare was closed due to the power outage) and went over to the print shop and began boxing Star Siege material and getting in Mark’s way. I cleaned out one of the warehouse rooms, made a work bench area for packing boxes and took a complete inventory of that room. I quit the 3rd with no doubt that the next would have the power back on. I went home and the whole family retired to the front yard to sit in chairs and play outside (it was getting a little warm inside.)
We gamed that night at Todd’s house and I returned to my own home to candles and a radio that has no batteries, you have to crank it to charge it (a great gift from the wife!!). I relaxed into the wee hours of the dawn listening to the rain and radio.
The 4th saw the office still in the dark, and the mail room with it. I went into the mail room to attempt to package stuff. This proved impossible as I had to set up so many flash lights to see and kept tripping over crap. So I abandoned that idea and gutted the mail room. Moving tables, racks of books, rearranging all the boxes and making it much more orderly. I moved the packing table under the window so light could filter through, of course it was raining and no light was filtering through…but for the future it might be helpful. I left the mail room eventually to return to StarSiege work and the room we refer to as the blue room (this is the one I rearranged on the 3rd). I set myself the task of packing all the remaining Hall of Many Panes and marking a bunch of old titles for destruction or return to the authors. Once these were separated I packed so more and finished cleaning the blue room. The offices still had no power so I wandered home. I pulled out the ice chest and packed it with ice, soda and milk and some other perishables. Kat showed up and we once more retired to the front lawn to enjoy the cool air. Finally I relaxed to some fresh beef steak from Buffalo Grill and messed around with the family for awhile.
Early in the evening, I cranked the generator up to the immediate shouts from all of my family to turn it off “ITS TOO NOISY!!! Let us enjoy the quiet!” Its then, as I was turning the generator off, that it occurred to me that none of my kids, nor me, nor the wife had even mentioned the tv, computer games or the internet (club penguin for those of you with kids). They were all adjusting quite nicely to the no-power Chenault household.
Later, the wife and I sat by candle light and listened to Senator McCain’s speech on the crank radio. It was very relaxing.
The 5th saw us still without power. At this point I hadn’t gotten any solid TLG time in 3 days, hadn’t checked the email, the blogs, the message boards, nor had I responded to anything other than phone calls. I had left my phone over at the blue room and found myself taking care of some work around the house…abandoning TLG altogether. I cleaned gutters, raked, hauled off some crap, fixed the leaking toilet, a few other various and sundries and finally broke out my gas-generator to get the family a little time with the tv and some lights. We all spent the early afternoon on the lawn, relaxing in chairs and drinking soda and talking it up with our powerless neighbors.
The wife had to go to
The 6th I woke up to a warm house and still no power. We cleaned up the place, emptied the fridge and made the house more comfortable. We restocked candles and what nots but spent the better part of the entire day on the front lawn, talking with neighbors, enjoying the air and relaxing. It was all very good.
It was disturbed however by 7 power trucks and 5 large tree trimmers who had been showing up off and on for the past two days. The began the work of bringing us back on the grid. This is when I told Kathy that I really could care less about the power. I’m Going Amish!! She said, what about TLG? To which I said: “To hell with that! I’m going native! This is nice” We had an idiotic conversation from that point forward but I spent the better part of the day dreaming about a life without electricity…sure, I know there are some downsides, but hell, with electricity comes the wave of hurry hurry hurry, without it the world was calm and serene!. That’s all I could figure.
It was late in the evening (this was Saturday night) that the power came back on. I was leaning on the window looking out at the summer sky when it powered up. I could hear the neighbors shouting in joy and my daughter went nuts. For myself I couldn’t help but wonder how different the world was so long ago . . .
(As I nice addendum, the power went down again Sunday afternoon and was out until Monday night, the 8th).
To all those folks down south in Texas, your in our thoughts and I hope your region a speedy recovery. Being Texans I imagine it can't unfold any other way!
But things are back in order now. All pre-orders have shipped. And about 95% of the other orders have shipped. I want to thank everyone for your extraordinary patience and kindness. You guys are great! We have some major updates coming down the website, hopefully this weekend, and you will see the beginning of the new line up and schedule. Its all pretty cool….from miniature battle rules to rune lore. All cool stuff.
Quote of the Century, John Wayne in Hondo: "A man's got to do what he think's best." Said to another cow poke that was about to kick his dog.
Thanks for playing.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Monday and Tuesday found us short of all supplies and Mark dropped me a long laundry list of things to get to keep us all happy. So I spent the better part of that time ordering equipment and office supplies. I also put a wrap on all the Crusader articles I was working on. Mark and Peter hammering away at what they do best, Davis working over A5 and scripting the notes for A6, so that I can write it.
Today I have some legal material to go over and revise, contracts and what not. After that its all eyes on Shades of Mist.
Peter is SUPPOSED to be working the CKG, but keeps getting interrupted by me and Mark is sorting through a host of outside print jobs.
Thanks for Playing
Friday, August 22, 2008
Peter: Layout and design CKG.
Steve: Schedule for the next six months, update the message boards coming soon section, choose product support covers for Crusader, write Crusader magazine articles (got one done yesterday). And of course, process orders.
I should elaborate on the schedule, the fall was heavily geared for LA products and with those out of the picture we are filling in the gap. It is too late to get anything solicited as we have to do that 3 months out and I just now put in the Towers of Adventure solicitation. But, this respite will not go to waste. I will release a series of pdf adventures (Dwarven Glory 2, Dwarven Glory 3 and Monsters of Aihrde IV) and we will work on the CKG almost exclusively...along with Crusader articles and such. So the fall will be busy catch up and set us nicely for a really exciting Winter and Spring. Crusader is transitioning over to a monthly mag so it alone will hold a bit of the fort. But check the message boards this afternoon as this is what I'm doing...er right now.
Thanks for playing.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Mark is printing StarSiege today and Murder of Crows for another company.
Peter continues to slug it out with the new C&C look and design....oh didn't I tell you?
I have some invoices to settle up, orders to process, and more Gencon business to settle. Meeting with McBain at 11ish to discuss location and time of WinterDark 3 which is making the official move to Little Rock Arkansas this winter. Once done I will file some papers of use with the patent and Trademark office and cement a trademark of ours (more on that in coming months, and its going to be bad ass!!). And then that clears admin for me: today, as I have failed two days running now, I need to write some Crusader articles, and the next installment of the Troll Cartoon for Crusader. This afternoon I'll go over Robert's outline for his section of the CKG and make notes for direction and combine my latest sections with Caseys. These will be turned over to Peter for art considertions....probably tomorrow.
Thanks for playing.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Mark is on half day today and will come in around noon to assess the damage done to the print shop and help with restocking and inventory.
Peter is working on Castle Keeper's Guide cover/layout and Inzae map apparently. haha
I will update some of the information on the message boards. Clean the office and begin inventory on the return stock from Gencon, tally sales reports and enter the data into my trusty battle wagon of a computer here. There's about 15 boxes of mixed material so it will take a moment or two. After this I'll prep the convention cases for the next convention and get them stored. Then a phone call to Jim and as I failed to write my articles for Crusader 12 yesterday I'll do at least one this afternoon. Also my alliance solicitations are over due and with luck I will get them in this afternoon.
Thanks for playing.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Gencon was another success. We had even growth off of last year and the booth stayed pretty busy. We had four new products this time around, Upper Works, StarSiege, Towers of Adventure and Crusader 11. All sold well. Upper Works flying on Thursday, but slow and steady StarSiege crept up, and though it didn't surpass it, it came very close. Towers was a third so in all a very good convention. I'll give more details in my upcoming Convention Blog for Crusader issue whatever Jim puts it in!
I want to put a thanks out to the fantastic TLG crew! These mofos worked like dogs both in the load up, trip up, set up, break down and back down the hill. Not to mention keeping shelves stocked, product in order, reacting to Davis and I product shifts, keeping the video streaming, running the register, and let us not forget the real work, continuing to sell a fantasy RPG (Castles & Crusades) to a community that already has one. That's hard work at times and the crew did an AMAZING job.
So a special thanks to:
Mark Sandy (you may not have seen him as much but he put in about 3 60 hour weeks to get these products to the floor)
Richard, Hudson, McBain
Jason, Breakdaddy, Alexander
Kim, AGNKim, Hartsfield
Jeffrey, Ghul, Talannian
This con was a great success and met all my targets! So a hearty thanks to all those cats who helped make is so...even those who somehow redeployed into my dreams...er nightmares.
Tip of my hat to the great board members who showed: Storm Queen, very nice talking to you. Omote...who hammered Davis' game and I ran into at the Beaver, Gray Elf (we got work to do) and everyone else. McBain asked me and I agreed, if we could through a Pizza Party for board members next year. So we'll work it all out and let you all know where the free eats are!
Treebore has requested that we keep folks up to date about what we are doing here abouts...so today.
Mark is off and sleeping after a grueling 3-4 weeks.
Peter is working on CKG cover layout.
I'm going to go unload the racking, store it and move some product about. I need to get an inventory on the PH and MT. Peter and I will discuss the layout of the CKG cover this afternoon and I'll balance all the books, deposits and get paychecks out. I have to go through and update ALL the d20 pages and put that stuff prominently for sell, this will of course include GFW as all the d20 has to be gone by year's end. These files have to be sent over to Brian Kowalski for cleaning and uploading. If I have time I'll write one of the 3 articles for Crusader I'm behind on. Need to call Jim Ward as well and discuss various and sundries about Crusader and Towers.
Thanks for Playing!
Monday, August 11, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I tackled the final format of James M. Ward's Towers of Adventure. Jason Walton sent the final art over, fast and sharp as usual, and the box needed its final touches before going to the press. It should make the show with little problem. The picture presented on the website is not the final by the by. That is a picture of Nulak Kiz Din's Towers, the picture for Towers of Adventure is even sweeter!
Also put a wrap on Book 5 of Upper Works and saw it to the print shop.
The afternoon saw me formatting the Monsters & Treasure 2nd printing for release in electronic format. Doesn't take long but kind of a pain to do. I released it on RPGNow shortly after it was complete and then turned my attention to the long neglected Paizo.com site, uploading 13 different files that should appear in the next few days.
Did a little shop cleaning at the end of the day and scheduled an interview for Tuesday night (that's now).
Today was almost entirely devoted to Crusader and Gencon. The proofs of #11 came back and I wanted to change some stuff around. So there's been a lot of scrambling all day, rewriting on my part and cleaning off a new monster to get it in the magazine. Jim and Liz reacted to my about face on several items and formats in good sport and its all being affected. Crusader is my baby and I get a little particular about it as I don't about other things.
The Gencon paper work isn't too much but things need read, filled out, signed and faxed or at least put in the convention folders so we will have them at the show. More filing of course.
Peter has been hammering away on various gencon related projects and Mark printing like mad. Tomorrow promises to be a bumpy day I wrecken!
Thanks for Playings
Saturday, July 26, 2008
On Mark's return trip from the paper men he tried to drop the wraps off for several boxes we are producing but Patrick, ex-navy chief box maker, had locked his shop up and headed out. The woman there wouldn't let Mark in despite his pleas that he needed to drop some stuff off. Ha! That'll larn him. I helped him unload the paper over at the Shop, and it was a hell of a task in the grueling heat, but a welcome retreat from the office and this computer.
I generally try to take the weekends off, but generally fail. Updates are turned over to Brian the Webmaster on Sundays and these are usually not written until Sunday.
But today I was determined to not meddle in Trollish affairs, but Peter defied me. Sitting in Tulsa OK at Conestoga Con he sought after something to occupy his time. He wanted to lay out Shades of Mist and hollered at me. I took a few hours to go over Cory's edits and put in some small changes of my own. The book passed the first playtesters thoughts and looks to be good to go. I turned it all over to Peter this afternoon. The playtesters will run it through the mill work and get back to me with small corrections.
I suspect it will be print ready by mid-week at the latest and for sure out the week of Gencon.
I'll now wander off to find my book, The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper. I've never read this, nor his more popularly known Last of the Mohicans, but I have found the read very relaxing, if a bit slow. The main character, Deerslayer (Hawkeye), is truly the template for a hero.
I do have to say this has been one of the most surreal weeks in TLG's history. So with that in mind here's a little music for you that I think sums it all up!
Thanks for Playing
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Hail Brian Master of the Web! Trollzah! Trollzah! Trollzah!
With this new website we'll endeavor to get updates out in a more timely manner.
I need to take a moment out to apologize to the United States Marine Corps! Apparently the photograph we had up on the site, the one linking to the military support page, had a picture of Marine wearing his insignia backwards. I hadn't noticed it before, though a close examination proved the truth of it. But thank you to Gunny Sergeant Brian Deming for pointing it out to us. The picture was promptly replaced. I would offer the Marine Corps "beers on me" but that would get very expensive very fast.
Its been over a month since I updated this blog and there is a deficit of information out there. But we have been working like madness to bring the Upper Works up to speed so that it makes it out in July. Jeffrey Talanian, Peter Bradley, Cory Caserta and Jason Walton have done an amazing job in bringing the final pieces of this project together and their work and labors would, I think, make Gary proud.
LGGC IV was a good show! Attendance was down just a bit, but the show was one of the best. The porch party was moved to the Legion Hall and the crowd swelled all night until we had over 50 people gathered about gaming and chatting. The hall was a constant buzz of gaming goodness with C&C, LA and AD&D dominating the playing field. I didn't see any 4e, though I was hoping for a look see at how it played. I ran a fast paced game for a bit on Saturday and the gang did a sound job of adventuring through the Darkenfold! Joe Goodman was good enough to join us and played one tough gnome fighter who rode the shield of a greater orc while pounding its head in. Sweet stuff. A thanks out to Frank Mentzer, James M. Ward, Tom Wham and Tim Kask, all great guys who went out of their way to participate and help grow the show. And a special thanks to Gail Gygax who made a wonderful ham and turkey for the feast at the Legion Hall. I'll post more later but good times were had all around.
We have more news coming, exciting news I think that may help propel the game you and I have built these past years into the general pit fight that is our common hobby. This will be around the Gen Con time frame....that's assuming I get my end of it done.
I'm really just babbling at this point and need to sign off. Hope you enjoy the new page and look to the post man cause Crusader 10 is at the printer now!
Thanks for Playing
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Dro Mandras shipped to retailers and Crusader 9 is on the press machines and being printed. I'm in the middle of a re-write on Shades of Mist...not really a re-write so much as a read through. The intro was pretty jumbled but after fixing that the reading picked up. I expect it to go to Cory tomorrow.
I've also been compiling my files for release on Paizo.com and we are planning on a big electronic release on Sunday, June 1st. June may be a good time to launch a certain annual event we have grown accustomed to doing. Check back on Sunday for that too...assuming I can get Brian to upload everything on the weekend. Sometimes he has a life or something like that.
But more importantly I've spent a chunk of this week working over CKG files. Davis turned the mass over to me for organization. I'll soon know where the holes are and what needs to be done to fill them and what we need to do to completed material. This will not move to editing or layout until Upper Works is 100% in the bag and Lejendary Pantheons is 100% in the bag and Lejendary Rules for All Players is 100% in the bag. It does look like it will be close to 180 pages with a $29.95 price tag.
Concerning Upper Works, pre-orders will open up on June 1st. We've about set the price tag. It is not going to be the $70.00 - $100.00 that other box sets go for, but it will probably be $39.95 or $44.95. This is way beyond what I would like to see in a price tag, but we are looking at some 30+ maps, some 11 x 17, one color. scores of illustrations 7 books with 5 covering levels the other two art and player handouts. Its a big project and we want to do it correctly.
Okay. Back to work for me.
Thanks for playing!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Things have gotten a little bit busy and convoluted with the number of projects and now the number of associates working for TLG that I've taken to making lists of things that have to be done. I decided to do this Sunday night, late, while musing on all that Monday would bring. So while sitting on my screened in porch, overlooking the trees of the little valley behind the house I sketched out 20 things that I had to do on the following day.
I'm not much of a "list" kind of guy, but in this case it seems to have worked. It keeps me focused. And I try not to do anything else other than the items list, working from top to bottom. I'm also trying not to multi-task as I think that multi-tasking actually lets you do alot and finish little, sort of like the "short cuts cause long delays" approach. It all seems to be working. What I don't finish from the previous days task, move to the next and so on. Its not completely possible of course as the biz is a bit fluid and things come up that I can't control but have to be tackled. But the idea is to keep a good balance. We'll see if I can keep this up.
I have just wrapped up my articles for Crusader #10. We are starting a new column called "Monsters of Aihrde" where we will present a new monster each issue. This issue sees the Naerlulth, a creation of Unklar the Horned God. These beasts were powerful servants of his, not far removed from the Mogrl. Jason had read over for them and had this to say: "but if you want this thing to be a TPK machine then THUMBS UP CHUM, HE FULLY IS!" LOL It is poweful. But it creates its own landscaped within which a CK can run whole adventures without ever encountering the monster, as it spawns creations of its own...of course the first of those will be showcased in Crusader #11.
I also finally had a chance to sit down with Davis and get caught up on a number of projects. Personal issues have kept him from much involvement for a few months and it was good to touch bases and find out what is happening. His approach to gaming and design are not far removed from my own and we work well in tandem, thus making the Chenault Brothers the heart of the Swords & Sorcery milieu around here.
Lots of shipping today, and finally able to work on the Encounter Tables. We have some new product announcements this weekend that you'll see, so check back often.
See you on the boards and as always, thanks for playing.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday night is generally game night for us, so after some family biz I headed over to Todd's to run the crew through more adventures in the southern Darkenfold. The game went so well that it fired me up to get back to Aihrde.
Which is what I did today. I finished up some minor biz and spent a great deal of time on the phone with Jim Ward, Aldo, ABF (setting up TLG's shipping account) a few customers determined to get their copies of Crusader despite my apparent inability to ship them and some various and sundry other folks. By 1 p.m. I found myself in Aufstrag, in Klarglich with Unklar as he forged the Naerlulth, foul creatures of his design set to mock the trees of the All Father. These powerful creatures turn all that they touch to ash and live in the desolation of their never ending hunger. They attract the dispossessed minions of Unklar to their service and spawn other creatures of like evil.
Its brought me back to Aihrde with a gusto. This creature will be showcased in a new column in Crusader, starting with issue 10, that highlights Monsters & Treasure of Aihrde. And yes, for the doubtful, we are working on issue 10 already, as 9 should print next week and ship the week after.
Tomorrow is a short day as the family and I are off to Muskogee to hang with Peter at the Ren Faire. They do a big canon salute on Saturday that I know the youngins will love. On Monday I have cleared the docket for work on Shades of Mist ( a few hours at best before I turn it over to Cory) and the Castle Keeper's Guide. So with luck Monday's blog will bring some long sought after news about that little project.
Thanks for playing.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
This consumed much of my writing time of course and I pushed back to tomorrow what I wanted to do today. But we did manage to put to bed two outside projects and get Dro Mandras off to the Impressions warehouse in Ft. Wayne. The cover on that book looks great, a deep green to draw out the colors in the picture Peter Bradley drew for it. Great stuff by Casey and Peter.
Tomorrow we have some major shipping to do, the last of the Free RPG Day material goes out as well as one large outside job. Once that is in the bag I'm back in the office to catch up on email and writing. Things should lighten up and I fully expect the next couple of weeks to be very C&C productive.
Thanks for playing.
Monday, May 12, 2008
We opened shop early this morning and tried to get some outstanding jobs wrapped up. We are only half way through Free RPG Day now and stopped it to get Dro Mandras finished. We had a few outside projects that needed some TLC and we tackled those, only one of which was actually finished. I abandoned Mark in the afternoon and returned to the office to wrap up some ads for Crusader 9 which should be to press next week, and get some files out to editors and the like as well as upload A2 Slag Heap to Paizo's PDF warehouse. If the opportunity presents itself I'll upload a file each day until I've brought the Paizo website up to speed with RPGNow and Drivethru. I've neglected that site far too long.
Mark worked on into the evening until a hose on the cutter burst and sprayed oil all over the place. He called and I went over to the print shop and he and tried a patch job, but no dice, the split was too severe. So we pulled the hose and figured out what I'll be doing at 8 in the a.m. tomorrow. Hopefully we can get it up and running pretty quick as we need that machine.
Tomorrow I tackle Crusader 10 articles and start my re-read of Shades of Mist . . . after finding a hose of course.
Thanks for playing,
Thursday, May 08, 2008
All the while Jeff has put a wrap on Upper Works, Cory has begun the final edit. Spencer has finished Lejendary Rules for All Players, Peter is almost done with the cover. Casey Christofferson has sent in three small books, Cannfield whole sections of Essential Places. Davis has dropped part of the draft for A5 (Peter has also finished the final cover for this one) on my desk and some CKG material. Robert is busy on conversions for Lejendary Pantheons (not to mention Peter's new cover, now complete). Liz and Jim have hammered out Crusader 9. I've finished Dwarven Glory II and Shades of Mist. It lacks only a final reread.
So things have been a bit wild around here and I'm playing a heck of a tune trying to keep it all organized.
More as it comes to me.
Thanks for playing.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
So where do we go from here? The answer is as simple as the question. We go on. Gary would have wanted and expected no less.
Many have asked if TLG can survive without
Gary and I worked together for the better part of 7 years. We worked on a multiple number of projects from d20 to the Gygaxian Fantasy Worlds, from Lejendary Adventure to Castles and Crusades and Castle Zagyg. It included articles for Crusader, games and short stories and a host of products that TLG hadn’t the resources to produce but he entrusted to our vaults to preserve and publish at such a time that we were able. He was impatient of our produce and he had hoped that he would live long enough to see these many projects in print, as in many ways these works would redefine his role in the game and fiction world.
We had hoped he would live as well.
In truth some of the passion for this business left me after March 4th. It doesn’t help as I realize that many of the projects Gary had wanted to come out (King of England King of France, Castle Zagyg, the LA Core Books and the Gord Reprints) are nearing completion and had he been able to remain with us for a year more he would have seen the shelves of many shops filled with his games and perhaps the conversation would shift back to the craft of having fun and away from the craft of making the “perfect role playing” game.
But passion aside,
After thousands of emails I came to know the direction that
And though TLG was never able to put out material quick enough for
Castle Zagyg: I have assigned Jeffrey Talanian to head up the Castle Zagyg project. He worked with
Lejendary Adventure: When
Gygaxian Fantasy Worlds: Of all
Gord: TLG will print and publish the hardback reprints of all seven Gord novels. The first is already out.
KoE KoF: In December our lead designer on this vanished. He left us in a horrible bind. Peter Bradley took up the task of laying the game out as quick as he could for Winter Dark. Sadly it wasn’t completed and
Other Projects: There are other projects, too numerous to name here that are going to be worked on so long as the Gygax’s allow us the honor and we feel that we are doing Gary’s memory and legacy justice.
LGGC: This convention continues in all its Glory.
Winter Dark: We are seriously considering merging Winter Dark with a new convention in honor to
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Gary Gygax in the twilight of his years. He was a good friend to me and to TLG. He was jovial most of the time, kind with a good head for business and working out deals that were fair and equitable . . .
He's left an empty chair at the table, and we'll never fill it, for indeed we cannot. But in truth that empty chair is not empty at all for Gary continues to reside at all of our tables and on our computer consoles, in the games we play and will play in the future.
Davis, Mark, Peter, myself and everyone here at TLG will do our best to serve his legacy and bring to you all more Gygaxian fun!
To our Captain, Goodbye & Godspeed.
To his Fans and the Gaming World, lets go 'Round the Merry Go Round one more time.
Thanks for playing.
Monday, March 03, 2008
Crusader 8 should be this week I think. I'll keep you posted.
I'm really not clear what the heck is going on around here. I spent the weekend on the farm. Its always very quiet. They are on dial up so internet is almost impossible. I can't figure out how to work the digital on the tv and don't really want to. We spend alot of time discussing politics, the War in Iraq and Afghanistan and other sundries. But the weather was nice so me and the kids went out to skip rocks on the pond. But I didn't last long and ended up "resting my eyes" stretched out beneath a sycamore tree. It was a comfortable 72 degrees with a nice soft wind blowing over the hill and through the trees. All things troll were lost, drifting down wind as it should be. So the website didn't get updated, the message boards were neglected and I haven't too much idea what I'm supposed to be working on.
So my plan for Monday is to bug Peter and find out what he's doing.
Here's a little something for the western in you. Take it away Johnny . . . .
Thanks for playing.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Many of you have heard me say, over and over again, that the company is undergoing near constant reorganization. Its true, and it continues to do so. Many of the problems TLG faces are due to personnel changes. People come and go as life's own schedules conflict with their work load. Peter, Davis and I are the only real consistent work hounds here, though that is changing as Mark Sandy gears up for full time employment.
These are good things, but I am very happy to note that the constant cleaning and re-organization is finally showing results. The past two weeks my desk has stayed largely clean and I've managed to react to issues quickly, so that they don't stack up. And that is a good thing as it keeps my mind clear of undone clutter and allows me to focus on projects that are both late (CKG) and projects that are almost finished (Shades of Mist). Also, the increased presence of Mark and Davis has allowed me to focus on marketing the game we have all come to love . . . er Castles & Crusades :) . . . and reconnect with retailers and distributors. This seems to be yielding some fruits as our orders have gone up slightly (though this may be a reflection of discontent with other RPGs on the part of retailers and is definitely impacted by the customers an fans who continue to push the game all over the place).
But as importantly and the gist of my post this eve is that I managed to write over 6000 words this week, both on Shades and, yes, the CKG. Not a massive achievement, but its more than I've been able to do in some time . . . this and not fall further behind.
So I say, guardedly, that perhaps things are going to improve and hopefully next week will see even more productivity.
Thanks for playing.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Ahhhh The Castle Keeper’s Guide. It seems that the more I answer questions about this project the more I have to answer questions about this project. That is a good thing though, so no complaints from me.
But I would like to set the record straight a little bit and hopefully remove a little of the confusion.
The CKG has never actually been put on our release schedule, meaning to say that no hard and fast target dates were set for the book and resources devoted to it. To this day Peter has little more than a working cover and I think he’s changed the idea he wants to put on it.
But how did it get on Amazon? Well, that’s my fault of course. In talking to one distributor about things that might be coming out in the summer (this was back in 2005/6) I sent over some info on a bunch of projects we were working on. The CKG was one of them. Either I did not understand him or he me, but he took the list as a hard and fast product release schedule for that summer whereas I thought it was supposed to be a blurb in a catalog. Amazon promptly announced it and we we’ve been looking like boneheads ever since.
So, technically, the book is not late. J I know no one is going to believe it, nor care about this technicality, but with as many projects as we have late, I would like you to know that the CKG isn’t one of them.
And before I go on the book will not be announced until the text is 100% complete and at the editor and the cover is 100% done and the interior shots are 50% complete. We spent 2007 trying to catch up with our releases and bring late products out so that 2008 would be on a more professional track. Though this doesn’t affect direct consumer sales so much it does retail sales. Retailers need to know that they can depend on a company to support a market. We have worked hard on that and are on track for weekly releases for some time. Many of these projects are on autodrive, meaning to say that they were completed or brought to near completion in 2007 and they can make release dates in 2008 on time. This is all a good thing. Check the boards and you can see our releases.
We are working on becoming more dependable.
But where are we on the CKG. It still is not announced for release. We are into our June releases and it is my hope that if Davis and Peter can draw their ends together we can announce it for August. This would be a coup of biblical proportions for us. I’ve had nauseatingly long talks with
I hope that helps and we really do appreciate the continued interest in the project and we will get er done!
Monday, January 28, 2008
We've shipped two products this month and a third will go tomorrow (Chimera's Roost, East Mark Folio and Engineering Dungeons). I have a fourth, Monsters of Aihrde III that should be released in electronic format in the next day or so.
I'm working with the boards to come up with a better announcement system about what's coming and what's available. I've created a News section and separate products by type. You can check that out here.
And lastly Peter and I worked on some layout issues on the covers for the books. I've not been happy with the yellow in the covers as it tend to be a bit overwhelming. So we've done some adjustments and covers will begin to reflect the art on their front, a way to draw the viewers attention to the art itself. You see that first on Engineering Dungeons by Robert Doyel.
My email is beginning to get a little bogged down, but I'll hit it tomorrow.
And in personal news: Mac, Mark and I went to Rambo last night, and holy carolina. THat move rocked!! Its not a kinder gentler Rambo. Or even a campy one. That movie is brutal, pulls no punches and is brutal. Very, very, very good flick. I would highly recommend it, but it is not for the faint of heart.
Thanks for playing.
He Who Sits on the Elephants Back
Monday, January 21, 2008
First, I’d like to take a moment to welcome James Ward to this wonderful tea party of ours. James (whom I call Jim) worked for TSR in the early years and is the culprit that brought us Metamorphis Alpha. I’ve known Jim for several years as he has been very supportive of LGGC and Winter’s Dark as well as all things Troll. We finally had a chance to sit down at the Next Door Pub in Lake Geneva this past convention and come up with what we both hope becomes a fruitful arrangement. First on his plate is Crusader. So all you hearty Trolls and Crusaders give Jim a warm welcome as the Company’s new Managing Editor of the Crusader Journal.
Jim’s first goal is to shift Crusader from its bi-annually release to a more healthy monthly release. I mentioned this as one of our goals two days ago and now you know who is going to bring it about. Jim's long time experience with Dragon magazine can be, I have no doubt, put to amazingly good use on Crusader.
This brings me a very important point that is uppermost in many people’s minds. A board entry of last week put it very succinctly:
I noticed that TLG has a lot of stuff in the pipeline - Castle Zagyg, the "A" Series, Cult of Yex, the Siege Engine boxed sets etc, but a lot of is still in production. Lots of new stuff is announced but existing projects are not completed, while further new projects are announced and not completed.
You can see and join the full discussion here.
First, let me give you a brief explanation of WHY we announce products the way we do. It is vitally important that we keep TLG in the minds and eyes of retailers and distributors. Their business models do not depend on revenue generated from TLG, so it is very easy for them to overlook us in ordering and sales. So we have to keep a public face with them, this is best done by new announcements. We officially announce products three months out. Unofficially Davis, Peter, Robert or myself will mention books that are in the design stage. These often get mixed up with what’s on the working schedule.
On a side note the CKG was prematurely announced. When asked by my sales rep at one of the distributors for projects due out the following Summer I put down the CKG with the note that it was not on the schedule and we had no release dates. They or I did not make things clear and it went into Amazon as officially to be released in June of 2006. When it was never intended to come out that early. That left me rather annoyed as it has become popular to say the book is 2 years late.
That said . . .
The writer overstates things a little, much of his understandable frustration coming from the tardiness of the CKG and the Castle Zagyg projects. Aside from the Crusader we’ve established a pretty regular release schedule in the past six months . . . and that will only get better as 2008 unfolds. As to the aforementioned projects, sadly the CKG, falls from my estimation too often. The book is not needed for the C&C game and is really extra material. We made a mistake in calling it the CKG and an even greater mistake in mentioning that it was forthcoming. Not that I don’t think it will be a good book, but its name and pending release have created the idea that the book is part of the 3-book paradigm needed for all RPGs. Its not. CZ has suffered from some major set backs that were only fully understood and corrected in 2007. For the better part of a year now Gary and Jeffrey Talanian have been hard at work grinding out that ancient castle.
In short, our diverse product line and announcements have not been what has caused the problems and delays.
We’ve we’ve always had a diverse line. The GFW series walked hand in hand with our early d20 pubs and we’ve done games like Planet Busters and Troll Knuckles as well as the Seeker magazine, fiction books (www.chenaultandgray.com). One hand has always fed the other. To do otherwise would not allow us any sustainability. Keeping in mind that this is not a hobby for us. Davis and myself do this full time as does Peter and soon to be Mark Sandy.
2005-2006 was an interesting year for us as we transitioned out of d20 and brought C&C and LA to join the GFW series and surprisingly that best seller the Codex of Erde. This gave us four steady lines by close of the year. To this we added Crusader. An aggressive release schedule kept us busy, but even small upsets, we found, derailed the entire process. Notable instances was the massive problems of the 1st printing of the PH and a practical reformatting of the entire book. This consumed time and resources that could have been better pitched into projects like CKG. That one product remake triggered a whole series of delays, couple this with new announcements to keep the company 'out there' created massive tangled mess.
Throw into this mess a general dissatisfaction with the convention circuit and the launching of LGGC in June, 2005 and its sister con in 2007, coupled with the rebirth of Troll Con (our first diversification) and we had an even greater shortage of labor. 2006 became more tangled as our growth in direct sales both to consumer and sites like Amazon began to consume time and resources (in a VERY GOOD WAY mind you haha). And all this became even harder to do in late 2006 as we watched too much revenue hemorrhage off in needless printing and we opened our own print shop. This derailed us further as we had to slow progress and learn a new trade. More labor. More time. But Davis and I both have always looked to the long term growth of the company and all of these things are essential to out long term survivability. The company now has three, albeit small, heads: The Publishing Division, The Commercial Print Division and the Promotion and Sales Division .
All of these entities took shape in 2006-2007. They now have some organization to them with small crews working them, something that has taken us several years to achieve (this includes weeding out people that were unreliable and finding good people with confidence in the endeavor).
And that my friends has always been our Achilles Heal. Labor. Getting jobs done quickly and efficiently requires people, for TLG is people. IT IS PEOPLE!!!! Haha By and large 2005-06 was Peter Bradley and myself working this party.
With all this in mind I stopped announcing any new books in 2007, at least for the first 5 months. Those we did announce were small items or reprints. This allowed us to close out the year with many projects wrapped up and able to gear things back up again all the while keeping ourselves in the public eye. We brought on more folks to help and were able to free up everyone’s time. The benefits of this began to show in November/December of last year as projects were hitting very close to their release dates.
2008 has begun better, by far,than 2007 and here’s why.
In many respects the labor issue has been or is being addressed. We have weeded out some rather unreliable folks and replaced them and we now have a nice pool of folks laboring on these multitudes of projects. Here’s the breakdown:
Manager: Stephen Chenault (full time)
Art Direction: Peter Bradley (full time)
Art: Peter Bradley, Jason Walton and Bryan Swartz (with Sarah Walker and Meghan too)
Print Shop: Mark Sandy (full time as of March)
Media Room: Mark Sandy, Steve and Davis .
Conventions: Stephen Chenault and Richard McBain
Tech Support: Jason Alexander (something we lacked for years, so our systems were a mess and bogging us down)
Webmaster: Brian Kowalski
Editing: Cory Caserta (he’s even begun combing the webpages for mistakes) & Liz Stewart
C&C Development and Writing: Davis and Stephen Chenault, Robert Doyel, Jeffrey Talanian, Casey Christofferson, Casey Canfield, and Mike Stewart.
CZ: Gary Gygax, Jeffrey Talanian and a host of other writers.
GFW: Gary Gygax and a host of writers
LA: Gary Gygax, Chris Clark and a host of writers.
Crusader: Jim Ward and all the above
The only two people who have their fingers in everything are myself and Peter.
And we have expanded the field. The boxed sets are not taking energy from any one place other than Peter, myself and Mark. But this is our job. Davis the architect of C&C is wholly unaffected by these announcements. IN fact the whole C&C is wholly unaffected by Josh Chewning’s StarSiege Event Horizon or Mike Stewart’s Victorious. Only Peter and I are affected by this in so far as advertising, support and layout are concerned.
Castles and Crusades will be the first line to benefit from the new diversification of labor as Jim and McBain free up my time to help
With all this in mind, Castles & Crusades will not see any decrease in releases. Gary has turned over 20 something CZ manuscripts that are in need of final editing and layout (these are already hitting the floor). I have a line of modules partially written in the Darkenfold. Jim Ward is turning the Crusader into an even greater support vehicle for C&C starting with issue 8 and Gary has just put together another team of writers to work on adventures for the CZ setting. Through into this mix that Mark Sandy has developed over half the magic items for Monsters & Treasure of Aihrde and I've written about half the monsters AND Robert Doyel has finished all the monsters for Monsters & Treasures II....and so on. There is plenty coming, being worked on and coming to your shelves soon....the CKG being the one that myself and Davis are at last able to focus on the most.
Of course this is the plan . . . .
Now for those who have a mind for some good music from one of the greatest Sci-Fi movies of all time (Dark Star) listen in!Thanks for playing.