Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Road Goes Ever On...

After much discussion with friends and associates and after much deliberation over the past year and specifically during the last few months, I have reached the decision to suspend PPP's publishing endeavors where these relate to D * D compatible materials.

This does not effect PPP's non-fiction, fiction and other special products, which will be available when released through Noble Knight Games.

In order to satisfy some parts of the current fan base, I have negotiated  a non-exclusive contract with a well known RPG publisher for the release of my original Castle Greyhawk levels; this will fulfill at least that prior commitment to the fans.  A suitable press release is forthcoming regarding this, so I will not speak too much about it now.  These will in all likelihood be the last "related" products that I release in that specified sub-category of D*D compatible material.

The why of this is embedded in a letter I recently sent to Marv Breig (OD*D pro-board founder), a large portion of which follows:

"In 1968 (where my history starts in organized gaming) and through and up until the release of OD*D in 1974 we were gamers/writers/designers in LG.  So many games being played and talked about and written about during those times, board and miniature ones, of course.  Perren, Bobek, Hoyer, Arneson, Reese, Tucker, Morales, Kaye, Lakofka, Carr, Crane, Stafford, Webster, Lowry, Gygax and of course Kuntz, and that does not begin to total the associations via games, conventions, letters, PBM, phone calls that we as IFW members shared.  The experiences were many and ongoing, and as varied as were the personalities participating then.  It was always changing--who was coming up/to LG to play(test) and with what game(s), or where we were going by train or auto to do the same.

I was young then (in '68) and truly an idealistic kid, and as such soaked it up and believed, truly got into it and had an almost worship-like relationship with those who proceeded me--all of them 2 to 3 times older than myself, but for some reason respecting me as a kid, as I stood toe to toe with them in games as I learned through experience and instruction.  After a while they (in a few cases, begrudgingly) respected me.  I earned my stripes then and there and those are my roots, if any, for a past that eventually produced D*D and the three castles, Blackmoor, Greyhawk and El Raja Key.

I am now left with creative choices.  Yes, I became "known" as a D*D designer. And yes, there are those "holy grail" of projects which some want to see.  But in retrospect, what I have seen is me shrinking as a designer (as envisioned from those earliest days as noted) in lieu of creating the past rather than in promoting the future.  You see, we were all then about the future, and the future did not stop then, nor will it stop for anyone who continues to look to the past as a guide to the forward steps needed to continue blazing the trail.  D*D though a large example of that philosophy we so boldly pursued then is but one example of it; and if there is anything I am sure that any of those named above would appreciate is for the fans to understand at the very least that much and what it meant then and what it means now by extension.  There is no "Old School," so to speak.  This was (and is) about creating, and one does not do that in a vacuum of time, but always by looking back on the classics and going forward; and that is what I deem that I must do to reclaim that feel again, to go full circle rather than be stuck in a circle which in essence is complete."...

What I will be involved with:

--The Convention Circuit:  Getting to and participating at different levels at as many conventions as I can.  This will include those I am already participating at and others.  For instance, I will be running from here on out a very unique game-designer's workshop at North Texas RPGcon and at any other convention which invites me to do so.  That in between stressing at these events, as I have done in the past, the need for more unique creativity in game design through such participation.

--My ongoing participation with the Three Castles Award, again aimed at established and/or up and coming designers of merit and their works.

--The ongoing work on my memoirs and essays.

And on the near horizon, a new company devoted exclusively to a large project now occupying a good deal of my time and which I hope to publish in 1-2 years.  This one has caused me the most excitement, in fact, since my days of play-testing D&D.

This and seriously working on all levels with up and coming artists/designers such as Kyrinn Eis and her fine World of Urutsk, this so that she and others can possibly pave an easier road ahead while doing so--that is, one less strewn with difficulties--while realizing their dreams (in her case, 26 years worth of endeavor).  This will occupy my spare time in various roles such as consulting, editing, development, etc. for such projects.

So I am not disappearing, but am in fact following my own advice, and those of others which follow:

"Being involved in the RPG industry as long as you have, surely you’ve collected bits of wisdom and knowledge along the way. Is there any advice you could give to budding game designers?

"RJK:  Seriously: Throw out everything you think you know, including the rules. Challenge established norms, redefine what imagination and creativity “really” are, ignore the jealous and the pundits (re: critics), push past the mundane and open up possibilities, don’t close them, no matter how absurd someone says you are, or how off base they say you appear to be. With that, follow the words of my oft-quoted author, Orson Scott Card: “How can we experience the literature of the strange if we stay in well mapped lands?”-- my advice from one of the many interviews I've given.

"If we all think alike, if we all become uniform and bland, we shrivel up and die, and the great process shudders to an end. Uniformity is death, in economics or in biology. Diversity within communication and cooperation is life. Everything your forebears, your ancestors, everything you have ever done, will have been for naught, if we ignore these basic bacterial lessons." Autopoiesis and the Grand Scheme, Greg Bear

"Most of the time I look at my work as an ocean of missed opportunities...
My lack of talent & knowledge bedevils me no end... But I realized a long time ago that my art is a race I run alone..."  Michael Bair


JoetheLawyer said...

Wow, man. That's a big move, but I understand, and wish you the best of luck in all you do.

Anonymous said...

Bold and inspiring. I hope you 'reclaim that feel' :)

Anonymous said...

Cool Rob.

Like many I look forward to any and all CG levels you will produce and appreciate your commitment to do so.

Memoirs and essays should generate mucho interest, IMO and I can't wait to see what you publish.

Heh, didn't know you were a bit of a Sci-Fi fan (or maybe I did and forgot).

Peace bro,

Rhu. ;-)

Badmike said...

Sounds interesting, Rob. I guess we never really stop learning and growing. Good luck with your new endeavors; I'm really intrigued to see how the game designer's workshop works out at next year's NTRPG Con and hope this is the beginning of new creative resurgence.

Anonymous said...

Very illuminating, Rob.

So many of us have grown accustomed to sitting around your 'Green Dragon Hall', awaiting pieces of tales and games created and played by you long ago. It is still new to some of us, which is why we are so interested in seeing the past revisited. We get caught up, sometimes forgetting that new tales need to be written. That's how it's done.

I understand and respect your decision, and I will still be hanging around to see what things you'll have in store for us.

Maybe I am speaking just for myself, I don't know. The past can be too comfortable a place. You are so right. Thanks for reminding me of that.

We won't get to where we should be if we sit too long on the side of the road?

To the journey!


Cimmerian said...

Good luck Rob!

I'm glad you are appeasing your curiosity and yielding to that part of the mind that asks what if? The Dnd community will ride the rails and still occasionally pester you for tidbits of lore & opinion but in the meantime you will be happily satisfying the creative locomotion of your whim! I bet a creativity spurt is on the horizon! Enjoy your travels!

*Cim walks off into the kitchen and kicks a chair. :)

Timeshadows said...

It was challenging keeping quiet about this big announcement, but I am glad I did. You summed up what we had talked about on the phone very well.

I am looking forward to the *new stuff* you'll be producing. :D

Atom Kid said...

Good luck! I can't wait to see the new books!

Anthony Emmel said...

Good luck! This makes me a little sad (for selfish reasons , of course!), but on the flip side, one does what one feels is right.

Thanks for D&D stuff you have given us.

Andreas Davour said...

Anthony sums up my feelings as well.

Thanks for what gems we have seen yet.

To the future!

Anthony Emmel said...

And I forgot to add...

Lord of the Green Dragons said...

I want to thank everyone for their encouragements. The fans who truly follow my work are the best. They care. And it shows. -- RJK

Mike said...

"...the release of my original Castle Greyhawk levels..."

if this is connected in some way to erk/maure castle, i'm very, very happy. :-D

Havard: said...

I will be very much interested in seeing those memoirs and essays, Rob! :)