Friday, October 31, 2008

Onward

I worked on the schedule for the better part of the day (though I have to confess I took an extended lunch break and watched an episode or two of Trailer Park Boys...that show just makes me happy!). I have laid out the next 6 months. I'm presently parsing through the covers and ad copy. Hopefully I'll some of this up and over to Brian for some much needed updates over the weekend. We have info on CKG, A6, A7 Halls of Adventure and Crusader 15 up first. That's December, January and February. March will bring A8, Casey Christofferson's Black Librum and April is a big one with Players Handbook (4), Monsters & Treasure (3), A9 and an unknown book but one you'll be much excited about when I finalize it.

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,
Steve

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Riding the Line

There’s a great movie with Charlton Heston in it called Will Penny. If you’ve never seen it you should check it out some time. It’s basically about a old cowboy whose job is to ride the line and repair and fix fences that have fallen. Along the way he has several adventures and a few shoot outs. Very good stuff all told.

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Gygax Games has withdrawn all licenses from Troll Lord Games.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 CafĂ©. 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,
Steve

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.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Old Dock Boggs

Well here it is a Tuesday again and we're no closer to the finish than when we started. I'm not sure what that means but I think it has something to do with publishing books and such.

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,
Steve

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Of Monthly Beginnings

Today a bit hectic here...

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.
Steve

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Darkest of the Hillside

In the thick of it now.....

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.

Steve

Monday, October 13, 2008

Off on a Monday

We aren't off of course!

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.

Steve

Friday, October 10, 2008

We All Gotta Know

Well it is what it is, but here's a little song for you. Its one of my favorite!

Cowboys


Have a good weekend.

And as always Thanks for Playing.
Steve

Monday, October 06, 2008

Wow

Looking at the stuff going on up on high I will refrain from lengthy comment.

We are not sheep being led by wolves. We are wolves being led by sheep.

Steve