Friday, April 26, 2013

The Story of Trolls 5

Jumbled piles of stone reflect the collective memory; balance arrived at in a disorderly pile of half remembered stoney thoughts. Here they stand stacked one atop a pile of others that are thrown not so half carelessly so that their tumble is all there is. Somewhere there is a universal truth but no one much cares about it.

This continues the Story of the Trolls 4.

Four months stood like a chasm before the three would-be publishing assailants as Gen Con loomed on the not too-distant horizon. The crew needed four books and a map to make the convention one worth attending, to debut in style. With that the paraphernalia required to display at such a show was needed as well: banners, shirts, etc etc. To make it all happen the companies labor was divided up.

Mac had a handle on the legal side of things, being a lawyer by trade, and set about putting the business together. This meant filing the necessary paper work with the state, getting a tax ID number and the like. While that was hammered out, he took a short adventure, written by Steve for submission to Dungeon Magazine, and began expanding it into the Fantastic Adventure.

Davis returned to Wyoming, where he lived in a hotel, while working on an archeological dig. He took with him a rifle of papers and notes on his adventure Vakhund and the early concept maps of Aihrde. Davis, the three quickly learned (or rather Mac and Steve learned), was severely hampered by lack of regular internet access, most of his work, whether writing or email, was done at a small library computer. Contact was intermittent at best. It was amusingly noted that he had far more access to the sop rags at various out-in-the-woods bars (where he spent a great deal of time) than he did on the computer.

Steve had just finished his Master Thesis in history and had begun working on his PhD with the eventual plan of teaching, but this gave him time to set to compiling the Erde material and re-writing it to make it publishable; as well as working on The Mortality of Green, bringing it up to speed. He became Mac's back up if something needed filing as Steve was not working at the time. A shed in the back of his house was designated the packing point for the books when they arrived and it was designed thusly.

Despite the handicaps of time and distance the crew rapidly realized one of the key problems to over come was the art. The books needed covers and the guts needed maps and interior art. Mac began scouring the internet for artists. He had already a reserve in his contact list because of work on the early Seeker. From these he culled a few and hired them out for small pieces, but the real diamond in the rough was found online with Jason Walton of Myriad Studios. Jason lived in British Columbia and the whole crew immediately fell in love with the art. Jason did design art for logos and such and his own fantasy brand, and was more than happy to take up the task of covers and some gut pictures. Jason fit the crew's mold very well, being a cryptozoologist in the far north with long dreadlocks and a free wheeling lifestyle. And he loved beer. So a relationship was formed that has lasted until the present day.

The cover content required another round of beer besotted meetings, this time minus Davis, at Vinos. Outlines were given to Jason, in the briefest form and his artistic instincts allowed to fill in the rest.

Now work began apace and the crew, now four, were working long nights and late hours to bring the whole battle wagon to the show.


Anonymous said...

Steve, if it's not too personal, why weren't you working at the time? Sabbatical? Unemployed? Semi-retired?

I enjoy "how it all started" stories, but that seemed a missing piece of the synergy.


Stephen Chenault said...

Hmmm I hadn't really thought about it. In those days I had just finished my MA Thesis in History, had been working at part time jobs and started work on my PhD in History. Let me amend . . .

Anonymous said...



Guy Fullerton said...

Steve, keep it up! I return to the blog every morning to see whether a new part has been posted.

I'm looking forward to finding out when the Erde map was actually released. I tried scrounging up concrete release dates for early TLG stuff, but I couldn't find a concrete one for the map; the best I got is an old Noble Knight Games new releases post (on usenet) that includes the map in Oct 2000.