Sunday, November 8, 2009

So Many Paths

There have been some concerns or guesses (speculation?) that our new line of products equates to me no longer crafting adventures. This is not so. The OC levels are still planned, and one named the Annex is in the works as is Dhalt. I have received lots of complements for my adventure crafting. Then again, a time does arrive sooner or later that a general design plan for my upcoming years will kick into effect. I wish to write essays and am doing so, instructive works, my memoirs, special projects and fiction, non-fiction and other. I do not have time to do all, so I must weigh against what makes me happy and what fans want (some at least) and arrive in middles. And I've always avoided middles, as one gets run over from both directions...

It has been 42 years in the industry (AND) in thinking, pondering and writing on many, many subjects other than RPG--I have always been a writer and a deep thinker first and only a designer second. That is a long time by some standards at least. I have a lot of thoughts on my life experiences, and only a fraction, not even a percent if I had to quantify it with haphazard human measuring systems, has been expressed. And I consider these the essence of my being and worthy of expression.

I've recently admitted to myself that the many mss and notes and maps and other that are contained on disc (3 cds) from my various auctions to date, well, there is going to be no way that this matter will get published as a greater whole in my life time--there is just not enough time and resources for it, even though there is great interest on my part to do so. Because of this, and at some future time, I will hand off these discs to someone who is competent in reordering and classifying/arranging their contents so that these could then be offered to the public. So this has been a recent question mark as well, and not only by myself but by close associates and friends.

Back to Dungeon Sets/Dungeon Trappings.

Historically, I can sense things changing but yet, again, remaining the same. DUNGEON SETS is also, in some part, a comment by me. At the beginning there were no booklets, EGG and I and Dave Arneson drew maps and invented things. TSR lost the early vision as they bought into the adventure business as influenced by outside forces (Palace of the Vampire Queen, et al, and then the plethora of JG material for AD&D). Then when the vision workers left TSR the whole marketing machine kicked in (like WotC has emulated today) and pumped out gobs of stuff, mostly junk in my estimation. What had happened was the pursuit of the dollar and that will always pinch out the truly creative kind and products spawned by them. I had always remained true to the vision and promoted quality above quantity; but surely without a staff of excellent designers and vision workers such efforts rarely succeed in making but a modicum of push in a market/sales driven model of OLD TSR's day or WotC's today. However, we have a game which on different levels is appreciated by all, including the idealistic creative types like me. It is extra painful for myself to watch the vision I helped create be raped over and over and then regurgitated as a truth to be bought into by others who will so readily listen and believe. To me it is a sin against all of what was the truth back then and an insult against the years spent working towards an unselfish end as comrades and friends. Adventures are becoming like pancakes, even in our grass roots movement to "FIND" the past--just add adventure batter and water and stir. There is no blame here, for look at what the model historically rests upon by comparison. Indeed, it is time for true creators and teachers to start creating and teaching again and to show the way to the youth who always inherit the "before-time"; and the barbarians are at the gates threatening the young as I type. "Back to basics" has only one meaning to me. Draw and craft and learn which is the only path I had in 1973. Very simple. Others rise to their own level and/or for their own reasons. But that's my level and a lot of other DM's levels as well. Ultimately it is all about fun, yes. But we also set the examples for the future, and in this I will speak only for myself as this is my truth and mine alone.

So I am returning to the start that I neever really left, part as an example, part out of hope, part of fear that we may be carried away in the tide of exhuberance too often noted when TSR rose and then so quickly fell. Negative? No. Just look at the examples. History has repeated itself time and again within this industry. Everyone has once again discovered the fountain of youth and the grail. Remember when...? And yes we do. Many "ancients" returning to their boxes in closet, basement, attic or garage remember fondly the FUN on many levels, and that includes crafting such adventures themselves.

Now if I had a PR Manager he would have shot himself by now, as I seem to be railing against my own existence as a publisher of booklets at least of the type I abhor on so many levels. But I have been doing this for years. Up the Bar, push the envelope, reach for excellence. It can only create more good and thus spur and inspire more positive growth. DUNGEON SETS/DUNGEON TRAPPINGS will allow me to get pieces of my creative mind to paper sooner than longish adventures would. That is both good for fans and for myself, for I always look at what I do with the idea of outdoing myself in the next round. :)

Though I have carried on a bit, ranted only slightly, and came close to uncontrolled egoism several times, I remain Galadriel... Uhhh... RJK ;)

"There is nothing at the end of twisting, twiddling paths; it is on the journey to Ithaca that all is revealed." -- Sah The Estranged.


Yesmar said...

I for one welcome more than one way of doing things. I like canned adventures as much as the next guy, but I also miss the heady days of geomorphs, the Monster & Treasure Assortments, etc. These new offerings will serve to strengthen our hobby by satisfying the needs of diversity.

JediOre said...

Rob, I'm glad your gearing up to release your next work! I'm looking forward to this.

Anonymous said...

So Many Paths, eh?

You remind me of Bilbo Baggin's words to his nephew Frodo:

"There was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. It's a dangerous business going out of your door. You step onto the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

It's great you are doing so many new things, getting back to basics. You have been there at the start of this 'Great Adventure' that has swept so many of us up along the way. There are many stories left to tell and much wisdom for you to impart still.

You will get your Legendarium out to the world. The Golden Discs of Robilar will see the light of day! You'll find the right, responsible people to help you. So much of EGG's expected to be seen works fell into shadow & vanished with very dim expectations to be seen. Please, let it not happen with yours.

All things run in cycles: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly. If someone doesn't keep the flame alive, it will be all the longer before young gaming minds 'get it' again. If every one of us does at least one positive thing, affects one player or group of players to ignite that initial excitement and enthisiasm that we ourselves have felt...the gaming world WILL be the better for it.

hmm, what is this soapbox I'm standing on? Sorry, I'll get down now and let everyone get back to the regularly scheduled blog...


Anonymous said...

Very nice/interesting entry here, Rob!

Endymion said...

Sounds like it's been an eventful few months, Rob: I hope your body and spirit are hale. It was a shame to let the blog go silent -- I posted only a few things over on the forum, which gets very little traffic, now. For some reason, I can't seem to abandon it.

The new product line sounds very interesting. It seems to be the logical continuation of the direction you pioneered in Bottle City. Collaboration/modification is always important in DM'ing, as you say. Did you know that the Unopenable Doors are actually located near a glacier in the Withered Heath, and house the shattered remnants of ICE's Court of Ardor, hiding from an even more terrible and nefarious collective seeking to dominate Northern Middle Earth? I'm running Mordy's Adventure right now.

When I can scrape some pennies together, I'll buy the new material. Regardless, it's great to "hear" from you again.