Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Merry We Go Round

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. “What are you guys going to do?” we’ve been asked far more times than good manners permit. TLG will continue to do what we’ve always done, we’ll make and publish games. We have a very diverse portfolio and we continue to diversify. Castles & Crusades remains in its infant state with much room to grow as our fellow gamers realize that it is the real McCoy. A host of other games and products are in the docket, Star Siege, Crusader and so on. But even beyond that our relationship with Gary Gygax continues. He made certain of that.

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, Davis and I, and everyone here at TLG have recommitted ourselves to Gary Gygax, what we could not fully deliver in life, we’ll do so in death. The heirs to Gary’s material have graciously allowed us to continue working with his material and what in many ways will be his legacy. It is what Gary wanted us to do and I think he would be happy to note that we continue the drive forward.

Gary was energized in the last four-five months of his life. Somewhere in October of last year he emailed me with a bunch of projects he wanted to resurrect. He was pushing hard to get KoE KoF done by Winter Dark, but too he wanted to launch a series of short adventures for LA, the Jolly Jungeleres and another series of Castle Zagyg adventures for C&C. The former were small advents previously published and on which he had a host of notes that he wanted incorporated and updated. The CZ advents were concepts he had long running adventures in and around, each of them coming with extensive “bible” notes. He had discussed adding more content to the Castle itself as he always expressed that Castle Zagyg was a living project and became quite furious with me when I published a fixed number of levels . . . “How do you know how many levels it has!?!?!” he would shout at me across the ether. With this host of new projects was the desire to put the final touches on Essential Places, add an LA column to Crusader, add several more books to the GFW Encyclopedia series and put out some children’s short stories. On top of this he and Kerry B had written two new Gord short stories and planned to begin work on a Gord novel.

After thousands of emails I came to know the direction that Gary wanted his products to go in. Of that I am confident.

And though TLG was never able to put out material quick enough for Gary we have long been committed to a schedule filled with Gary’s works. We continue to be so committed.

Castle Zagyg: I have assigned Jeffrey Talanian to head up the Castle Zagyg project. He worked with Gary on a daily basis for the past 2 years and knows better than anyone the direction Gary wanted the project to go in. Upper Works is on schedule for a summer release, we hope at LGGC IV. There are 20 more Castle Zagyg Town Expansion books that are on target for release of one a month. Beyond that there are a host of small adventures set in the environs of Yggsburgh in the East Mark. All these are being managed and produced.

Lejendary Adventure: When Gary passed he and I were in the middle of assigning a supervising editor to merge his latest notes and game developments with the old rules. Though the full team has not been assigned I will note here when it is. But the Lejendary Rules for All Players is scheduled for a Summer release. The other core books will follow suite. We will continue to support the line with more adventures and source books.

Gygaxian Fantasy Worlds: Of all Gary’s works I liked these the best. They were my speed. He did not work with any one individual one these projects other than myself, so I assume the role as Editorial Supervisor on the GFW books. We have a 2nd printing of the Canting Crew and a 3rd printing of the World Builder in the offering as well as Lejendary Pantheons and Essential Places. The former is the book Gary was presently concentrating on as he wished to see a C&C conversion in the work to go along with the LA descriptions already in it. He had asked me to assign Robert Doyel to take up this task and he was working with Todd Gray as well. These assignments continue.

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 Gary did not get to see his game finished. In many ways he wanted this out more than any of the other products. But he and I exchanged a host of emails on it and we shall proceed apace and try to have it out by late summer.

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 Gary’s memory: Gary Con.

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 . . . Gary’s response to our first offer of X% when we were negotiating our first contract was typical Gary. He expressed astonishment that we had offered to pay that percentage for HIS work, promptly cutting it in half and explaining to Mac and myself that TLG would go out of business by paying such high rates . . . he was quick to anger but just as quick to get over it when things were explained to him or no excuses given. He appreciated honesty and was always forthright with Davis and I and I think respected our inability to deliver a load of bull shit to his stoop. But most of all Gary enjoyed a good smoke, a drink and good plate of food . . . frowning at me for not polishing off everything on my plate, which I never did . . . he loved games, playing them and designing them. All in all Gary had a good life and he did not look back on any of it with regret, always looking forward. He was a good friend and not a day will pass around these offices that his absence isn’t noted.

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.

Gary at Gamefest (my favorite video), skip to 1:20.

Futurama

Thanks for playing.
Steve Chenault

Monday, March 03, 2008

March is Upon Us . . .

Holy Carolina! March is already upon us. I managed about 9500 words on several projects last week, primarily articles for Crusader 9 and CKG. But once more Shades fell to the wayside. I'm going to attempt (for the 14th time according to these blogs) to finish it this week. Peter has done much of the art, maps and has a little to do on the main map I think and this thing is ready to go. After that back to the CKG for about three weeks and then to Crusasder 10.

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.
Steve