Candlekeep Forum
Candlekeep Forum
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Active Polls | Members | Private Messages | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Forgotten Realms Journals
 General Forgotten Realms Chat
 Everyone owning Forgotten Realms
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 2

EltonJ
Learned Scribe

USA
101 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  05:39:16  Show Profile  Visit EltonJ's Homepage  Click to see EltonJ's MSN Messenger address Send EltonJ a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Guys,

How would you feel if Forgotten Realms(TM) was owned by the fans instead of a publishing company, and that publishing company only existed to publish the creme of the crop on physical hardback, of your creations of the realms?

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Thauramarth
Senior Scribe

United Kingdom
655 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  08:07:59  Show Profile Send Thauramarth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by EltonJ

Guys,

How would you feel if Forgotten Realms(TM) was owned by the fans instead of a publishing company, and that publishing company only existed to publish the creme of the crop on physical hardback, of your creations of the realms?

Hypothetically speaking, of course.



Honestly? Not good. I'm not saying that I am happy with the way FR has been handled by WotC, but you know the joke, right? "What's a camel?" Answer: "A horse designed by committee." The Realms fandom is far too diversified to develop a coherent line of work.

Club Secretary of the Dragons on the Hill RPG Club of London, UK: http://dragonsonthehill.co.uk/.
Go to Top of Page

mensch
Learned Scribe

80 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  08:47:48  Show Profile  Visit mensch's Homepage Send mensch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wonderful things have been done by fans of other campaign settings. For example the efforts to convert "Dark Sun" and "Spelljammer" to the 3e and 3.5e ruleset. But further developing a campaign setting is another matter, I think. Maybe it might work when it is set up in a manner like open source projects, which are democratic to a large extent but have project leads and several levels of management.

A community of fans would be great for preserving (the lore of) a campaign setting, Candlekeep is testament to that, but developing new content is going to be tricky, to say the least.

Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate to know that for destruction ice is also great and would suffice. – Robert Frost (1874 - 1963)

Edited by - mensch on 07 Sep 2010 11:49:13
Go to Top of Page

Snowblood
Senior Scribe

Australia
388 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  11:14:23  Show Profile Send Snowblood a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Developing new content even in an arcane age setting is a nightmare...you have to be aware of all that has gone before & all that will follow after...this is why I work with lost & mostly forgotten empires & realms...I have clear beginnings, middles & endings with plenty of wriggle room in between...but canon lore is the backbone of any good setting...research...research...research.....

Aryvandaar, Ilythiir, Arnothoi, Orva, Sarphil, Anauria/Asram/Hlondath, Uvaeren, Braceldaur, Ilodhar, Lisenaar, Imaskar, Miyeritar, Orishaar, Shantel Othrieir, Keltormir, Eaerlann, Ammarindar, Siluvanede, Sharrven, Illefarn, Ardeep, Rystal Wood, Evereska are all available here for download:http://phasai.deviantart.com/gallery/
Go to Top of Page

Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3496 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  11:17:25  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'd have to agree with Thauramarth. I think if it were to revert to the fans it still wouldn't bring the divide together that exists today. Now developing new content is all well and good and I think WotC should take a bigger interest into fan-created material.
Go to Top of Page

EltonJ
Learned Scribe

USA
101 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  13:59:38  Show Profile  Visit EltonJ's Homepage  Click to see EltonJ's MSN Messenger address Send EltonJ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Thauramarth

quote:
Originally posted by EltonJ

Guys,

How would you feel if Forgotten Realms(TM) was owned by the fans instead of a publishing company, and that publishing company only existed to publish the creme of the crop on physical hardback, of your creations of the realms?

Hypothetically speaking, of course.



Honestly? Not good. I'm not saying that I am happy with the way FR has been handled by WotC, but you know the joke, right? "What's a camel?" Answer: "A horse designed by committee." The Realms fandom is far too diversified to develop a coherent line of work.



Allow me to explain:

The reasoning behind this hypothetical scenario is that number one: you already own the Realms because it exists in your minds and in your hearts. The scenario creates ownership by all as a legal reality. The Realms will be released with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 U.S. License.

The License will allow you to:
to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
to Remix — to adapt the work

Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.


This makes the Realms, D&D, and other related properties to be distributed by the audience (with the normal distributors still distributing beautifully printed dead tree pulp).

WotC would take the very Capitalistic route and publish by Reputation. To be published by WotC, because it costs a lot of money to put content on dead tree pulp or CD (not so much a CD as dead tree pulp), you are dealing with a popularity contest. However, because the above license will make it so D&D and all related "properties" owned by the fans, it will be possible to create your works and print through .pdf distribution as well as a small press printing dead tree pulp.

This hypothetical scenario was created because someone asked me how would WotC would make money in a world without the fool law, so I spent months thinking about it, and it's obvious. Printing will become a popularity contest by a well known company.

WotC would make money printing Super-Star material (R.A. Salvatore, Ed Greenwood, and hot shot Designers like Mike Mearls and Ari Marmmell). While the rest of you will make money printing small press or selling *.pdfs.

So in this Hypothetical exercise, not only would you be able to do anything with the Realms, but your peers will become the last word if your work will stand the test of time. In fact, they will become your distribution point.

If it is great, it stands forever. If it sucks really bad, it lasts only a few months. Maybe.

Here's a movie that talks more about what I'm talking about. It's titled: "The Surprising History of Copyright and what it means for . . ." :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhBpI13dxkI
Go to Top of Page

Ashe Ravenheart
Great Reader

USA
3079 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  14:10:19  Show Profile Send Ashe Ravenheart a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Nice. All that for SPAM.

Hasbro owns Wizards of the Coast. Wizards of the Coast owns the copyright of the Forgotten Realms Intellectual Property. And they will defend their rights with a team of corporate lawyers.

Go ahead, Elton. Publish away under Creative Commons. But I'd rather not have my name on a lawsuit.

Just for the record, I think Creative Commons is a terrific thing. Catalyst released Eclipse Phase under CC, allowing everyone to download the game for free from the Net, counting on people that like the game to come back and spend money on it to support it. And so far it's working. But that's with the full buy-in of the company that owns the rights to the game.

I actually DO know everything. I just have a very poor index of my knowledge.

Ashe's Character Sheet

Alphabetized Index of Realms NPCs
Go to Top of Page

Erik Scott de Bie
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
4586 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  15:06:30  Show Profile  Visit Erik Scott de Bie's Homepage  Send Erik Scott de Bie an AOL message Send Erik Scott de Bie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The concept is great, but the consequences for the Realms (or any setting) would probably be the end of Forgotten Realms publishing, pretty much entirely.

What we're not taking into consideration is the sheer cost of design, development, editing, printing, and distribution, and that's what a big company like WotC/Hasbro handles. We're talking in the *millions* of dollars here, and that's like *each product* in the millions. They spend millions every *month."

If it's just you and me publishing stuff in a particular setting, we don't have any of the money or infrastructure to get stuff out there, and without publishing stuff, the setting in question will vanish very quickly as a setting.

Now that doesn't mean that fan ownership or a fan role in production would be a bad idea. Ashe has the right of it: if a company that owns the IP fully buys into using fans to fuel creation and design, then you can get something cool like the ENnie award winning Eclipse Phase . . . but that requires the fully buy-in of a company dedicated to producing only that.

Cheers

Erik Scott de Bie

'Tis easier to destroy than to create.

Signature of Shameless Self-Promotion +6: Order my sixth novel, Shadow of the Winter King (Amazon, e-signing, Dragonmoon Press)

Also check out my Realms work, most recently Shadowbane: Eye of Justice, out now on e-readers everywhere! (Kindle, Nook)
Go to Top of Page

Thauramarth
Senior Scribe

United Kingdom
655 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  15:54:10  Show Profile Send Thauramarth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ashe Ravenheart

Nice. All that for SPAM.

Hasbro owns Wizards of the Coast. Wizards of the Coast owns the copyright of the Forgotten Realms Intellectual Property. And they will defend their rights with a team of corporate lawyers.

Go ahead, Elton. Publish away under Creative Commons. But I'd rather not have my name on a lawsuit.



I don't think EltonJ actually advocated publishing under the Creative Commons Attribution License without the say-so of WotC (he clearly stated it was a hypothetical, whereby I assume that he meant, "suppose WotC decided to release under Creative Commons").

quote:
Originally posted by EltonJ

WotC would take the very Capitalistic route and publish by Reputation. To be published by WotC, because it costs a lot of money to put content on dead tree pulp or CD (not so much a CD as dead tree pulp), you are dealing with a popularity contest. However, because the above license will make it so D&D and all related "properties" owned by the fans, it will be possible to create your works and print through .pdf distribution as well as a small press printing dead tree pulp.

This hypothetical scenario was created because someone asked me how would WotC would make money in a world without the fool law, so I spent months thinking about it, and it's obvious. Printing will become a popularity contest by a well known company.

WotC would make money printing Super-Star material (R.A. Salvatore, Ed Greenwood, and hot shot Designers like Mike Mearls and Ari Marmmell). While the rest of you will make money printing small press or selling *.pdfs.

So in this Hypothetical exercise, not only would you be able to do anything with the Realms, but your peers will become the last word if your work will stand the test of time. In fact, they will become your distribution point.

If it is great, it stands forever. If it sucks really bad, it lasts only a few months. Maybe.



I have to say that I misunderstood the original hypothesis - I assumed that, when EltonJ posited "owned by the fans", there would be some form of joint ownership that would edit and publish very much like WotC does - novels, supplements, scenarios, adventures are issued by one source, rather than many. Setting up an alternative company (a lot of people's old dream of pooling enough cash to pay Big Ed to do nothing but churn out Realmslore) .
Putting aside all procedural and economical issues (as Erik very rightly pointed out), I don't think such an approach would lead to any meaningful difference with regard to the present situation.

In my view, the Realms, as a setting that has consumers / fans all over the world, exists because a series of works are published by one editor / publisher, who establishes a common point of reference. Fans may like that common point of reference or not, it forms the basis of all discussions.

In the hypothesis proposed by EltonJ, if I understand it correctly, WotC would still be involved in "big ticket" items. That would mean that WotC would still be in overall control of the canonical setting, by virtue of the fact that, well, it has the best distribution network. Something mediocre by WotC would receive a greater following that the most brilliant piece of work by any fan, for the simple reason that WotC has a reach of millions, whereas fan-produced PDFs, well, do not. In fact, such an approach might even boost WotC's overall control over the setting, since each individual work outside the common core provided by WotC would probably have only limited following, and, as in politics, in the face of numerous but fractured alternatives, the biggest contributor usually becomes the dominant one.


Club Secretary of the Dragons on the Hill RPG Club of London, UK: http://dragonsonthehill.co.uk/.
Go to Top of Page

Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
15675 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  17:56:57  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Some of the silliest lore produced for FR came out of the RPGA network. Not saying all of the Ravensbluff stuff was bad, but a good chunk of it was 'questionable'.

Which is what the Realms would look like if it went 'independent'. Some really good, some REALLY bad, and most of it just mediocre at best.

On the other hand, the Realms reverting to Ed Greenwood, with George Krashos assigned as official 'traffic cop' would be amazing, IMHO. Others definitely writing for it - both professional and new-comers alike - but with those two 'at the helm' steering the whole thing, I can see nothing but good coming out of it.

Consistency has been the biggest problem with the Realms, and not just with the advent of 4e, but throughout its history as a published setting. It needs both a captain and a navigator to get it past the 'rough spots', not a dozen individuals all going in different directions.

IMHO, of course.

Ohhhh... and detach fiction from the canon - some lore can be made canon retro-actively in splatbooks, but the novels themselves should be considered 'stories' told by bards for the most part, filled with embellishments and 'poetic license'. In that way, people can just ignore the 'bigger then life' antics of certain NPCs and just enjoy the damn game.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

Go to Top of Page

Alystra Illianniis
Great Reader

USA
3747 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  19:11:43  Show Profile  Click to see Alystra Illianniis's MSN Messenger address Send Alystra Illianniis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I actually like your idea, MT. That would be a dream come true for most FR fans....

The Goddess is alive, and magic is afoot.

"Where Science ends, Magic begins" -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

"You idiots! You've captured their STUNT doubles!" -Spaceballs

Lothir's character background/stats: http://forum.candlekeep.com/pop_profile.asp?mode=display&id=5469

My stories:
http://z3.invisionfree.com/Mickeys_Comic_Tavern/index.php?showforum=188

Lothir, courtesy of Sylinde (Deviant Art)/Luaxena (Chosen of Eilistraee)
http://sylinde.deviantart.com/#/d2z6e4u
Go to Top of Page

Varl
Learned Scribe

USA
259 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  19:22:22  Show Profile Send Varl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Thauramarth
Honestly? Not good. I'm not saying that I am happy with the way FR has been handled by WotC, but you know the joke, right? "What's a camel?" Answer: "A horse designed by committee." The Realms fandom is far too diversified to develop a coherent line of work.



I don't know. Open Source seems to be flourishing quite well on the idea of independent creators collaborating to arrive at some very nice work.

If nothing else, I think an Open Source Realms would broaden the horizons of choice, even if some of that choice wasn't particularly good. Even the worst products can spark the imagination in directions for improvement.

"Intimidation is a weapon of the Legion. Intelligence is not." -Illidan Stormrage
Go to Top of Page

Caolin
Senior Scribe

682 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  19:32:17  Show Profile Send Caolin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay



Ohhhh... and detach fiction from the canon - some lore can be made canon retro-actively in splatbooks, but the novels themselves should be considered 'stories' told by bards for the most part, filled with embellishments and 'poetic license'. In that way, people can just ignore the 'bigger then life' antics of certain NPCs and just enjoy the damn game.



Couldn't disagree with you more. Think what you want about fiction, but the novels are the only reason DnD (and the Realms) as a game exists. Writing the novels in the way you are suggesting would destroy the books and the Realms along with it. I would never be interested in generic stories that have no real bearing on the setting they exist in. Frankly, the only reason I read the game books is so that I can have a more enjoyable experience reading the novels.

This whole canon debate is a big non-issue. Seriously, if a DM can't work around the novels or just flat out ignore them then they shouldn't be DMing.
Go to Top of Page

Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
15675 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  20:12:03  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I do ignore them - I have never had that problem.

But the problem does exist, since it is always brought-up, and seems to be the primary reasoning behind the 4e Realms.

Just because a problem is 'foolish' doesn't make it non-existent.

That is why I offered a solution - not for myself, but for those who seem unable to make lemonade from lemons.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

Go to Top of Page

Caolin
Senior Scribe

682 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  20:43:54  Show Profile Send Caolin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

I do ignore them - I have never had that problem.

But the problem does exist, since it is always brought-up, and seems to be the primary reasoning behind the 4e Realms.

Just because a problem is 'foolish' doesn't make it non-existent.

That is why I offered a solution - not for myself, but for those who seem unable to make lemonade from lemons.



Just for the record, that wasn't meant for you. I know you are very experienced and skilled DM and designer. I do however become very defensive over the novels. That is my ONLY avenue into the Realms because it is rare that I have the time or can even find people who want to game. From what I can tell, this is true for most people who read the novels. It also seems that a lot of those who do still game don't even read the novels. I can't tell you how many times I see posts from some of the vets on this forum say that they haven't read this novel or that. I soak them all up and wish there were more. But maybe I am different in that manner.

But any ways, back to the original posters topic. I have many times fantasized about winning the lotto and buying the Realms license back from Hasbro only to hand it back over to Ed. But the problem with that is that Ed doesn't want it back......or so I gather from some of his comments. As was made clear by Erik, producing material and distributing it is an expensive endeavor and Ed doesn't appear to be a multi-millionaire. So someone would have to foot the bill to keep the Realms going. I would like to see a privately owned company buy the rights. I think having a publicly traded company owning creative material is always a recipe for disaster. Profits before quality.

Edited by - Caolin on 07 Sep 2010 20:44:26
Go to Top of Page

mensch
Learned Scribe

80 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  22:02:21  Show Profile  Visit mensch's Homepage Send mensch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Varl

quote:
Originally posted by Thauramarth
Honestly? Not good. I'm not saying that I am happy with the way FR has been handled by WotC, but you know the joke, right? "What's a camel?" Answer: "A horse designed by committee." The Realms fandom is far too diversified to develop a coherent line of work.



I don't know. Open Source seems to be flourishing quite well on the idea of independent creators collaborating to arrive at some very nice work.

If nothing else, I think an Open Source Realms would broaden the horizons of choice, even if some of that choice wasn't particularly good. Even the worst products can spark the imagination in directions for improvement.

There are a lot of great open source projects. If it weren't for all those developers who create open source software in their spare time, many commercial manufacturers couldn't even create the products they make today, for example.
A lot of open source projects suffer from a lack of direction though. The reason why an open source operating system like Ubuntu is so popular is in part because an overall project lead (the people from Canonical) define the overall direction of development. Albeit with the direct and democratic input of their community, but Canonical is ultimately responsible. Ubuntu's bigger brother Debian, which aspires to be as open source and democratic as possible, has had problems in the past of reaching release deadlines, due to infighting among the community on policy issues.

But developing new FR lore with a larger body of people is absolutely feasible, I would say. As long as there is some overall guidance.

Releasing content under a version of the Creative Commons license would be a very big and frightening step for a publisher like Wizards of the Coast. They tried it with the Open Game License tied to the d20 system, coinciding with the release of 3e and 3.5e D&D. Which basically meant everybody could freely use the d20 System Reference Document and publish material based on the d20 rules, with proper attribution. A lot of extremely great third party content (adventures, alternate sourcebooks, etc.) has been generated because of it. But it clearly didn't majorly benefit WotC, because otherwise 4e would have been released under the OGL as well. Instead the company reverted to the earlier policy of copyrighting everything. Because the money isn't flowing like in the eighties and nineties WotC isn't as adventurous as a publishing company anymore. Which is a shame for the customers, of course.

As for the question of copyright. I could see a scenario where a fan developed cosmology extremely similar to the Forgotten Realms wouldn't be subject to litigation. If one uses the overall concepts of the Forgotten Realms, without referencing to it explicitly or use the names of famous NPCs, I don't think WotC would have a legal case against such a project. They may send "Cease and Desist" letters, but those are mostly to scare smalltime "copyright offenders". Also the legalities on copyright aren't as strict in other countries as they are in the United States. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is quite a bitch. They're working on a delightful European version though, so soon we can extuingish all creativity with endless lawsuits on the continent as well. Yay!
You can copyright names and very original concepts, but I don't think you can copyright a set of generic ideas. Otherwise the Tolkien Estate could retroactivly sue Ed Greenwood for creating the Realms in the first place. Not that the Forgotten Realms is a blatant copy of Tolkien's universe, but they could sue based on certain details. Not that they would win. At least not in a court with a relatively sane judge.

But in theory you could have a universe where a ages old wizard - smokes a pipe, talks with "Ye's" and "Thou's" and was born in a land with a lot of dales - goes about his business or a white-haired emo-Drow who was seduced to the Light Side and spends his time with a dwarf, halfling, barbarian and a girl named after French cheese. Similarly you could have an Aztec-themed continent and create polytheistic pantheons.
A gaming project does something similar to this by supplanting the lore of the original videogame Thief (which is an absolutely amazing series of games, by the way) with similar concepts to be used in a Doom 3 mod called "The Dark Mod". Which is basically a modern toolset to create new Thief missions. They explain a bit about the universe on their wiki. The project is still in its infancy, but actively developed and, more importantly, not in any legal danger from the copyright owners, who are actively developing a fourth game in the Thief series.

Some might call it lame and unoriginal. But a project like Wine started out as something similarly lame and unoriginal (also downright mad) more than ten years ago, but is now the saviour of anybody who wants to run Windows software on Linux or Mac OS X.

Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate to know that for destruction ice is also great and would suffice. – Robert Frost (1874 - 1963)

Edited by - mensch on 07 Sep 2010 22:10:01
Go to Top of Page

Thauramarth
Senior Scribe

United Kingdom
655 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  23:32:49  Show Profile Send Thauramarth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Caolin

quote:
Originally posted by Markustay



Ohhhh... and detach fiction from the canon - some lore can be made canon retro-actively in splatbooks, but the novels themselves should be considered 'stories' told by bards for the most part, filled with embellishments and 'poetic license'. In that way, people can just ignore the 'bigger then life' antics of certain NPCs and just enjoy the damn game.



Couldn't disagree with you more. Think what you want about fiction, but the novels are the only reason DnD (and the Realms) as a game exists. Writing the novels in the way you are suggesting would destroy the books and the Realms along with it. I would never be interested in generic stories that have no real bearing on the setting they exist in. Frankly, the only reason I read the game books is so that I can have a more enjoyable experience reading the novels.

This whole canon debate is a big non-issue. Seriously, if a DM can't work around the novels or just flat out ignore them then they shouldn't be DMing.



And I, in turn would have to disagree a bit with that one, on a couple of levels. Novels kept the Realms in existence as a published setting, but, in my long-held (and oft-repeated) view, the preponderance of the novels spoiled the Realms as a gaming setting. A setting cannot be equally good as an evolving universe for both fiction and games, one is always going to impose on the other.

A policy whereby novels are mostly set in the same timeframe as the gaming setting could work - provided that the novels are easy to ignore. This does not mean that the fiction has to be obscure - for a long time, the Drizzt series was a good example of that: probably the best-sellers, and yet very easy to ignore, as most of the action takes place in remote locales (Icewind Dale, Menzo, Mithril Hall) or has little lasting impact on the setting (one guildmaster being replaced by another in Calimport - who cares)? It's not so easy ignoring the return of Shade, the Time of Troubles, the retaking of Myth Drannor, etc.

Now, of course, the argument can be made that a GM can ignore any canon. True - but by working on that assumption, the viability of the Realms as a published setting is undermined. A published setting always needs some common core, something that not everyone may like, but that forms the common base for discussions and exchanges. Otherwise, why bother with a common setting - just go with a homebrewn setting. In addition, many people (including a lot of scribes over here) approach the Realms mostly or only as a setting for fiction, and they are looking for canon through the prism of the fiction.

Fiction can still have a place in a game setting, but I'd see it limited to low-impact stories (as in, low or no impact on the continuity of the setting) set in the same timeframe as the game setting, and high-impact stories set in the past and not making any changes to the current timeframe of the setting.

Club Secretary of the Dragons on the Hill RPG Club of London, UK: http://dragonsonthehill.co.uk/.
Go to Top of Page

Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
15675 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2010 :  23:50:41  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Caolin

I think having a publicly traded company owning creative material is always a recipe for disaster. Profits before quality.

Too true.

Not an insult to the Realms or WotC or even Hasbro, mind you, but to the obviously out-dated concept of 'free market'. Free Market today = 'the rich get richer', and the little guys get crushed like bugs.

What we need is some good old-fashioned despotism..... with me in charge, of course.

I've had a similar (lottery winning) dream, BTW, but I allowed in mine that I would have to continue to 'foot the bill' long after giving Ed back creative control. I've gone as far as figuring out how to organize it in such a way as to be a non-profit organization to avoid nasty things like 'taxes'. So long as at least 10% of all proceeds are used for charitable works you are good to go - the rest is used to maintain the company and charge the bare minimum for downloads.

I picture $1 'dungeon' downloads, $3 adventure-arcs, and $5 splats. Charge more then that on the internet and you will get piracy. At those prices people won't really bother to steal, especially if they know the minimum is being charged just to continue producing product. You will always have some theft, but not like what you have if you charge $35-40 for so-so products.

Also have a subscription similar to Paizo's model - those guys are a great group to emulate. They produce products and other material based on a common consensus - what a concept!

Have some 'specials' throw-in there, like limited-edition, giant poster-sized maps selling for decent money (you will always have the cash-heavy grognards) and perhaps a yearly hardbound 'Gazeteer', but keep the majority of the stuff inexpensive and accessible.

And keep the quality top-notch, including the art - don't cut any corners, even if it means taking a hit on profits. If a book could use another 30 pages, then include them! Don't let great material end up on the cutting-room floor because of sub-standard space-considerations. Especially if most of this is going online - why throw anything away?

You'll never get rich, but you'll stay afloat, and keep FR alive for many, many years that way. I've asked friends 'in the business' - store-owners and game company owners both - and they said if you want to get rich, go into anything BUT games. You do it for the love of the hobby.

Oh... and for the record, I'd build at least one storefront that looked just like a miniature version of the Colliseum (gaming in the round!), with the main store upstairs and a 'gaming pit' below that folks can look down into from all around (cut down on those pesky onlookers touching your minis!!!). Include a snackbar and a couple of hot chicks in skimpy outfits to work the place and its pure nerd-win. I figure the first one would have to be in California, and if it catches on build a chain. Have store-promoted games for your own product line (like Games Workshop does with Warhammer), but allow all other company's products as well. Eventually add-in a bookstore and video/computer games, just to pull in folks who hadn't considered table-top gaming before.





"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 08 Sep 2010 00:49:21
Go to Top of Page

Jakk
Great Reader

Canada
2165 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2010 :  00:36:57  Show Profile Send Jakk a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

Some of the silliest lore produced for FR came out of the RPGA network. Not saying all of the Ravensbluff stuff was bad, but a good chunk of it was 'questionable'.

Which is what the Realms would look like if it went 'independent'. Some really good, some REALLY bad, and most of it just mediocre at best.

On the other hand, the Realms reverting to Ed Greenwood, with George Krashos assigned as official 'traffic cop' would be amazing, IMHO. Others definitely writing for it - both professional and new-comers alike - but with those two 'at the helm' steering the whole thing, I can see nothing but good coming out of it.

Consistency has been the biggest problem with the Realms, and not just with the advent of 4e, but throughout its history as a published setting. It needs both a captain and a navigator to get it past the 'rough spots', not a dozen individuals all going in different directions.

IMHO, of course.

Ohhhh... and detach fiction from the canon - some lore can be made canon retro-actively in splatbooks, but the novels themselves should be considered 'stories' told by bards for the most part, filled with embellishments and 'poetic license'. In that way, people can just ignore the 'bigger then life' antics of certain NPCs and just enjoy the damn game.



I love that last idea... the only problem I can see with it is, how (apart from splatbooks) does the publisher advance the timeline and evolve the setting? But then, we've never really had "evolution" with the Realms; it's been a state of "punctuated equilibrium" from one RSE to the next... mind you, I'd rather have a 200-page gaming supplement filled with generally-applicable lore and adventure hooks than a 1200-page novel trilogy any day, so I don't have a problem with using splatbooks to advance the timeline and evolve the setting. My biggest regret about the 3E Realms is that we never even got all of Faerun covered, let alone all of Toril. I would have loved a Cormyr sourcebook, a Lands of Intrigue sourcebook, and a Bloodstone Lands sourcebook... and now we'll never get them, at least not from the official publisher in a form that I will use, because my Realms has the same goddess of magic it has always had* and no Spellplague.

* - yes, that's right. I suspect that this may be closer to pre-Spellplague canon than NDAs will allow people to admit.

quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

I do ignore them - I have never had that problem.

But the problem does exist, since it is always brought-up, and seems to be the primary reasoning behind the 4e Realms.

Just because a problem is 'foolish' doesn't make it non-existent.

That is why I offered a solution - not for myself, but for those who seem unable to make lemonade from lemons.



If people (admittedly, including myself, for some time) would stop planting and harvesting the lemon trees, maybe those of us making the lemonade would have a chance to keep up! But seriously, I love the business plan, and I agree entirely with Caolin; having creative IPs under corporate ownership is a bit like having a pet under corporate ownership... we create things like the Realms and develop them out of love, which is why we feed our pets and otherwise keep them healthy. How long do you think Fluffy would last if every last decision relevant to his well-being had to be voted on at eight different levels? IMHO, Fluffy would starve to death in fairly short order.

Anyway, that's my metaphor starved to death. Other thoughts?

Playing in the Realms since the Old Grey Box (1987)... and *still* having fun with material published before 2008, despite the NDA'd lore.

If it's comparable in power with non-magical abilities, it's not magic.

Edited by - Jakk on 08 Sep 2010 00:40:53
Go to Top of Page

EltonJ
Learned Scribe

USA
101 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2010 :  00:42:08  Show Profile  Visit EltonJ's Homepage  Click to see EltonJ's MSN Messenger address Send EltonJ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Nice to know that nobody is entirely ganging up on me for my Libertarianism.

As for the Open Game License and why it failed:

It failed because Wizards didn't "share all their toys" with the other children. They still held monopolies on what ever they produced that wasn't included in the SRD. It also failed because the other children were allowed to hold monopolies on the stuff they produced, so second teir and third tier publishing became nearly impossible. Thirdly, it failed because there was more people at WotC who wanted to maintain their printing monopoly than to continue the experiment (However, the World is more than ready for it, they weren't).

So, under this hypothetical situation: Wizards of the Coast relinquishes its Printing Monopoly on Dungeons and Dragons, the FR, and Eberron (just these 3) to you. But they will retain copyright on these three items so that they can protect themselves against:
* Other companies committing real plagiarism and reverse plagiarism (Reverse plagiarism is an entity printing a book claiming to be Endorsed or authored by another entity when that entity didn't actually endorse or author the book).
* Upstart people claiming copyright on a 3rd party Realms product. (the hypothetical WotC will hire Anti-Trust Lawyers for this purpose).
* And the new 'Hypothetical' WotC will use Ed's Endorsement to maintain a coherent FR timeline for most of the Fans. For as long as Ed Greenwood is alive.

I think that will please everyone here on their concerns. however, it doesn't stop d20 glut, but it will be YOUR responsibility to control the glut. This new hypothetical WotC will disavow any responsibility to control glut through it's copyright. You will be its main distribution point, it's your job to control it.
Go to Top of Page

EltonJ
Learned Scribe

USA
101 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2010 :  00:58:51  Show Profile  Visit EltonJ's Homepage  Click to see EltonJ's MSN Messenger address Send EltonJ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ashe Ravenheart

Nice. All that for SPAM.

Hasbro owns Wizards of the Coast. Wizards of the Coast owns the copyright of the Forgotten Realms Intellectual Property. And they will defend their rights with a team of corporate lawyers.

Go ahead, Elton. Publish away under Creative Commons. But I'd rather not have my name on a lawsuit.




I've already planned for the Contingency.
Go to Top of Page

Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
15675 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2010 :  01:02:00  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jakk

IMHO, Fluffy would starve to death in fairly short order.

Fluffy?

Take a look at ANY HMO - life-and-death decisions made by non-medical personal regarding our health issues, all based on 'the bottom line'.

Screw Fluffy - REAL PEOPLE are suffering and dying with corporations in charge!

When the quality of our lives - be it games, education, and even our well-being - is all decided by a bunch of 'invisible' billionaires who have completely lost touch with reality, something has got to give. The poor Realms isn't even the tip of the iceberg.

Now even the quality of our 'play' is decided for us.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 08 Sep 2010 23:05:28
Go to Top of Page

Caolin
Senior Scribe

682 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2010 :  01:38:39  Show Profile Send Caolin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Thauramarth

And I, in turn would have to disagree a bit with that one, on a couple of levels. Novels kept the Realms in existence as a published setting, but, in my long-held (and oft-repeated) view, the preponderance of the novels spoiled the Realms as a gaming setting. A setting cannot be equally good as an evolving universe for both fiction and games, one is always going to impose on the other.

A policy whereby novels are mostly set in the same timeframe as the gaming setting could work - provided that the novels are easy to ignore. This does not mean that the fiction has to be obscure - for a long time, the Drizzt series was a good example of that: probably the best-sellers, and yet very easy to ignore, as most of the action takes place in remote locales (Icewind Dale, Menzo, Mithril Hall) or has little lasting impact on the setting (one guildmaster being replaced by another in Calimport - who cares)? It's not so easy ignoring the return of Shade, the Time of Troubles, the retaking of Myth Drannor, etc.

Now, of course, the argument can be made that a GM can ignore any canon. True - but by working on that assumption, the viability of the Realms as a published setting is undermined. A published setting always needs some common core, something that not everyone may like, but that forms the common base for discussions and exchanges. Otherwise, why bother with a common setting - just go with a homebrewn setting. In addition, many people (including a lot of scribes over here) approach the Realms mostly or only as a setting for fiction, and they are looking for canon through the prism of the fiction.

Fiction can still have a place in a game setting, but I'd see it limited to low-impact stories (as in, low or no impact on the continuity of the setting) set in the same timeframe as the game setting, and high-impact stories set in the past and not making any changes to the current timeframe of the setting.



Why exactly do DM's need setting continuity? I mean, all you really need is lore to frame your campaign around. You could write the whole Time of Troubles out of your campaign all together if you wanted. To me, setting continuity is more important in a novel or else you get the disaster that has become the Star Wars novel universe. How hard is it to tell players to ignore anything outside of your campaign?

I also would like to add that the Forgotten Realms was originally a literary world. TSR made it into a gaming world when they figured out what Ed had created.


P.S. out of respect that this is way off topic I'm gonna stop talking about canon and continuity in this thread.

Edited by - Caolin on 08 Sep 2010 01:55:32
Go to Top of Page

Ashe Ravenheart
Great Reader

USA
3079 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2010 :  03:19:21  Show Profile Send Ashe Ravenheart a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by EltonJ

Nice to know that nobody is entirely ganging up on me for my Libertarianism.

As for the Open Game License and why it failed:

It failed because Wizards didn't "share all their toys" with the other children. They still held monopolies on what ever they produced that wasn't included in the SRD. It also failed because the other children were allowed to hold monopolies on the stuff they produced, so second teir and third tier publishing became nearly impossible. Thirdly, it failed because there was more people at WotC who wanted to maintain their printing monopoly than to continue the experiment (However, the World is more than ready for it, they weren't).

So, under this hypothetical situation: Wizards of the Coast relinquishes its Printing Monopoly on Dungeons and Dragons, the FR, and Eberron (just these 3) to you. But they will retain copyright on these three items so that they can protect themselves against:
* Other companies committing real plagiarism and reverse plagiarism (Reverse plagiarism is an entity printing a book claiming to be Endorsed or authored by another entity when that entity didn't actually endorse or author the book).
* Upstart people claiming copyright on a 3rd party Realms product. (the hypothetical WotC will hire Anti-Trust Lawyers for this purpose).
* And the new 'Hypothetical' WotC will use Ed's Endorsement to maintain a coherent FR timeline for most of the Fans. For as long as Ed Greenwood is alive.

I think that will please everyone here on their concerns. however, it doesn't stop d20 glut, but it will be YOUR responsibility to control the glut. This new hypothetical WotC will disavow any responsibility to control glut through it's copyright. You will be its main distribution point, it's your job to control it.


I know a certain company that starts with a Pai and ends with a Zo that would disagree that the OGL failed.

I actually DO know everything. I just have a very poor index of my knowledge.

Ashe's Character Sheet

Alphabetized Index of Realms NPCs
Go to Top of Page

EltonJ
Learned Scribe

USA
101 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2010 :  04:18:55  Show Profile  Visit EltonJ's Homepage  Click to see EltonJ's MSN Messenger address Send EltonJ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yep. The people at "Pie Doe" are often smarter than the people at the other company.


Perhaps that should say: "The reason why the OGL failed for Wizards of the Coast . . ."
Go to Top of Page

Thauramarth
Senior Scribe

United Kingdom
655 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2010 :  07:39:59  Show Profile Send Thauramarth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Caolin



Why exactly do DM's need setting continuity? I mean, all you really need is lore to frame your campaign around. You could write the whole Time of Troubles out of your campaign all together if you wanted. To me, setting continuity is more important in a novel or else you get the disaster that has become the Star Wars novel universe. How hard is it to tell players to ignore anything outside of your campaign?

I also would like to add that the Forgotten Realms was originally a literary world. TSR made it into a gaming world when they figured out what Ed had created.

P.S. out of respect that this is way off topic I'm gonna stop talking about canon and continuity in this thread.



As an individual DM, you don't, but it cannot be denied that there's a demand for a canon to be established, both with gamers, as well as with fans who only know the Realms through fiction or non-gaming products. I know that FR started out as a background for Big Ed's short stories, but was already adapted to be a gaming world before TSR published it. I'm just saying that, as a published setting, a world cannot excel both as a gaming setting and as a setting for fiction where world-changing events happen on a pretty regular basis.

But the idea behind a published setting is to establish a minimum of common ground for ALL gaming groups, not just an individual one. In my view, the ideal situation for a gaming setting is one where the published setting is always set at "year zero", but where further published products broaden and deepen the setting of "year zero", with fiction either depicting events that have a small (and, for individual DMs, easily ignored) impact on the setting, or which depict "big events" only if these happened in the past, but do not change the current setting.

This was basically how FR operated up until the advent of 2nd Edition AD&D: the OGB was expanded by FR1-Waterdeep and the North, FR3-Empires of the Sands, FR5-The Savage Frontier, and FR6-Dreams of the Red Wizards. (I left out FR2-Moonshae, as the timeframe for that supplement was set in the past.)

The fiction, at the time, was limited in scope: Spellfire, The Crystal Shard, and Curse of the Azure Bonds were basically just tales of adventurers having an adventure, that did not change much to the setting. Pool of Radiance and the Moonshae were set in the past. That's a model where I think the interests of both gamers and fiction fans are best served, and which should be the basic framework for publication (be it by a company or by a collectivity).

Club Secretary of the Dragons on the Hill RPG Club of London, UK: http://dragonsonthehill.co.uk/.
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2018 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000