Forum icon

Discuss Mystara's Savage Coast / Red Steel setting here.
The Book-House: Find Savage Coast products.

Moderators: Seer of Yhog, Havard, agathokles

which icon?

Image red steel
0
No votes
Image savage coast black background
0
No votes
Image savage cost transparent background
1
8%
Image Savage Coast new
12
92%
 
Total votes: 13

User avatar
cab
Storm Giant
Posts: 1701
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 11:50 am
Gender: male
Location: Cambridge, UK

Re: Forum icon

Post by cab » Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:14 pm

Tim Beach wrote:I too like the revised logo by Thorf.

When the Red Steel boxed set was being discussed, it was noted that a title like "Savage Coast" sounded somewhat generic in a game context -- and Forgotten Realms had the Savage Frontier. "Red Steel" was chosen as a "sexier" name, one that was evocative, and which led into what was going on in the setting. Sadly, it was then given one of the "unsexiest" box covers of all time.

Tim Beach
Shame, 'cos the contents of that box are way better than the cover art would make you believe!

User avatar
Tim Beach
Orc
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:09 pm
Gender: male
Location: Lacey, WA, USA

Re: Forum icon

Post by Tim Beach » Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:11 pm

Your guess is likely correct about the lack of the Mystara logo: the AD&D version of Mystara was seen as an "introductory" setting, while Red Steel was aimed at a more "mature" audience. Among the design staff, it was sort of like the relationship between Al-Qadim and Forgotten Realms: while Al-Qadim was in the Realms, it was designed as a standalone setting, as was Red Steel. Similarly, the chance of a crossover between Savage Coast and the rest of Mystara was rather slim. And, quite honestly, I tried to distance Red Steel from Mystara in terms of rules as well, such as by using kits.

The box. Sigh. In the catalog, there was a piece of art -- quickly done by Paul Hanchette, if I remember correctly, and okay (it wasn't great, but it wasn't meant to be -- it was a placeholder for the catalog). As we got closer to publication, there was talk of doing something "fancy" with the cover, like foil, or partial gloss. (It was an era of fancy alternate comic book covers, you see.) Well, the idea of partial gloss kind of stuck, and I wrote an art order for the cover, and I think Paul Jaquays might have done a sketch (if so, I probably still have it -- I'll see if I can locate it). The idea was that a sword could be a prominent feature in a group of adventurers, or maybe as an additional cover element (kind of like the gun ended up for the Savage Baronies cover), and that it would be glossy.

Well ... we had a couple of new people involved in branding, or marketing, or graphic design, or something, and while Tom and Mary were nice, they weren't gamers. (In fact, for a time, there was an edict that Marketing folk not learn about games, so they could still market in English -- ignoring the fact that the vast majority of our audience was more familiar with Gamerese, and unless an item was specifically meant to bring in new-to-RPG players, ads should really be in Gamerese anyway.) Anyway, I think they designed the cover, used a lot of subdued colors, and put an outline of the map behind the sword (it took me forever to figure out what it was), and used a flat, bland gray for the rest of the box. And then somebody in upper management liked it. (This was also an era when Lorraine Williams or other higher ups would make comments like "future it up" or "the cover needs more yellow.") We tried to get the cover changed back to artwork, but by the time the arguing was done, there wasn't much choice: there wasn't, officially, time to get a piece of art done for the cover (realistically, we could probably have gotten something done, and I think Paul Jaquays may have volunteered to do it). And there it was.

I was very pleased with the logo, though, and the graphic treatment inside the books -- very cutting edge at the time. And I wondered why they went back to the "Savage Coast" title, too. Perhaps it had to do with other games called Red Steel, or with a disconnect (" 'Red Steel' isn't a place -- shouldn't a campaign setting be a place?" -- I can easily see any number of marketers or other non-designers saying something like that. Never mind setting names like Spelljammer, Planescape, or even Al-Qadim.)

Wow, that turned into a little bit of a rant, didn't it? Sorry for that ...

User avatar
Gawain_VIII
Storm Giant
Posts: 1579
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 9:36 pm
Gender: male
Location: Oklahoma, USA
Contact:

Re: Forum icon

Post by Gawain_VIII » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:57 am

Tim Beach wrote:Wow, that turned into a little bit of a rant, didn't it? Sorry for that ...
Absolutely not. I, for one, enjoy learning the R/W history of game development (and I would wager that a large majority of the rest of he board would as well). This is especially important, I think, since the inner workings of TSR during that period were largely kept secret--a fault, I would surmise, due to TSR's "head cheese", Ms. Williams, being widely rumored to look down on gamers, her only customer base, and thus the gaming industry as a whole. (If true, she must really have hated her job.)

Roger
"Time does not heal all things--only swift and decisive action does." --Roger LaVern Girtman, II, 17 April 2010
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Classic Campaigns, my Mystara fansite
Moderator of The Piazza's Mystara and M3e Project forums.

User avatar
maddog
Frost Giant
Posts: 882
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:17 pm
Gender: male
Location: Threshold

Re: Forum icon

Post by maddog » Sat Feb 07, 2009 2:01 am

Tim Beach wrote:Wow, that turned into a little bit of a rant, didn't it? Sorry for that ...
Don't worry about it. Anyone who has ever worked in a company that is large enough to be sub-divided into departments was smiling all the way through that post. :)

--Ray.
---
Hey! I just became a frost giant!
My Moderator voice is in Green.
Moderator of Dragonlance forum.

User avatar
Dave L
Storm Giant
Posts: 1591
Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2008 10:58 pm
Gender: male
Location: Plymouth, England

Re: Forum icon

Post by Dave L » Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:36 pm

Gawain_VIII wrote:
Tim Beach wrote:Wow, that turned into a little bit of a rant, didn't it? Sorry for that ...
Absolutely not. I, for one, enjoy learning the R/W history of game development (and I would wager that a large majority of the rest of he board would as well).
I definitely agree - it's great to get answers to questions we've wondered about for years.

And Tim, it's also good to see you had such a passion for your work that even now you can get steamed thinking of how good it could have looked if only you'd been allowed to do the job properly.

User avatar
Havard
Dragon Turtle
Posts: 20523
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Gender: male
Location: Norway
Contact:

Re: Forum icon

Post by Havard » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:20 pm

Tim Beach wrote:Your guess is likely correct about the lack of the Mystara logo: the AD&D version of Mystara was seen as an "introductory" setting, while Red Steel was aimed at a more "mature" audience. Among the design staff, it was sort of like the relationship between Al-Qadim and Forgotten Realms: while Al-Qadim was in the Realms, it was designed as a standalone setting, as was Red Steel. Similarly, the chance of a crossover between Savage Coast and the rest of Mystara was rather slim. And, quite honestly, I tried to distance Red Steel from Mystara in terms of rules as well, such as by using kits.
This presentation of Mystara was a big disappointment to those of us who had followed Mystara from the days of the Gazetteers. Given the situation though, I understand your take on Red Steel. I am also happy that you kept things like the Immortals rather than turning them into Gods or Powers. Ruleswise, I am very happy about your approach. I would have loved to see a Known World boxed set in the same kind of style as the Red Steel one (though with a Caldwell cover).
The box. Sigh. In the catalog, there was a piece of art -- quickly done by Paul Hanchette, if I remember correctly, and okay (it wasn't great, but it wasn't meant to be -- it was a placeholder for the catalog). As we got closer to publication, there was talk of doing something "fancy" with the cover, like foil, or partial gloss. (It was an era of fancy alternate comic book covers, you see.) Well, the idea of partial gloss kind of stuck, and I wrote an art order for the cover, and I think Paul Jaquays might have done a sketch (if so, I probably still have it -- I'll see if I can locate it). The idea was that a sword could be a prominent feature in a group of adventurers, or maybe as an additional cover element (kind of like the gun ended up for the Savage Baronies cover), and that it would be glossy.
Is this the Paul Jaquays piece? I don't really hate the sword cover, but I think a finnished piece like that would have worked better.
Well ... we had a couple of new people involved in branding, or marketing, or graphic design, or something, and while Tom and Mary were nice, they weren't gamers. (In fact, for a time, there was an edict that Marketing folk not learn about games, so they could still market in English -- ignoring the fact that the vast majority of our audience was more familiar with Gamerese, and unless an item was specifically meant to bring in new-to-RPG players, ads should really be in Gamerese anyway.) Anyway, I think they designed the cover, used a lot of subdued colors, and put an outline of the map behind the sword (it took me forever to figure out what it was), and used a flat, bland gray for the rest of the box. And then somebody in upper management liked it. (This was also an era when Lorraine Williams or other higher ups would make comments like "future it up" or "the cover needs more yellow.") We tried to get the cover changed back to artwork, but by the time the arguing was done, there wasn't much choice: there wasn't, officially, time to get a piece of art done for the cover (realistically, we could probably have gotten something done, and I think Paul Jaquays may have volunteered to do it). And there it was.
It is interesting to hear these descriptions of what went on in the TSR management in that period. It matches what other former TSR employees have said (sometimes less diplomatically).
I was very pleased with the logo, though, and the graphic treatment inside the books -- very cutting edge at the time. And I wondered why they went back to the "Savage Coast" title, too. Perhaps it had to do with other games called Red Steel, or with a disconnect (" 'Red Steel' isn't a place -- shouldn't a campaign setting be a place?" -- I can easily see any number of marketers or other non-designers saying something like that. Never mind setting names like Spelljammer, Planescape, or even Al-Qadim.)
Yep. Red Steel works fine as a setting name. Very few settings are named after places afterall. There has been some criticism of the name Mystara for the same (or rather opposite) reason.

Havard

Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
Where to find me on the Web
The Comeback Inn - My Blackmoor Forum
The Blackmoor Blog
THRESHOLD Magazine - The Mystara Fanzine
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.

User avatar
Thorf
Cartomancer
Posts: 2484
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 2:41 am
Gender: male
Location: Akita, Japan
Contact:

Re: Forum icon

Post by Thorf » Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:19 am

Havard wrote:Is this the Paul Jaquays piece? I don't really hate the sword cover, but I think a finnished piece like that would have worked better.
Nope, that piece is the design sketch for the finished Savage Coast cover:

http://www.pandius.com/2521cov.jpg
It is interesting to hear these descriptions of what went on in the TSR management in that period. It matches what other former TSR employees have said (sometimes less diplomatically).


I absolutely agree! These details are fascinating, especially when we're learning them so many years after the fact.
Tim Beach wrote:I was very pleased with the logo, though, and the graphic treatment inside the books -- very cutting edge at the time. And I wondered why they went back to the "Savage Coast" title, too. Perhaps it had to do with other games called Red Steel, or with a disconnect (" 'Red Steel' isn't a place -- shouldn't a campaign setting be a place?" -- I can easily see any number of marketers or other non-designers saying something like that. Never mind setting names like Spelljammer, Planescape, or even Al-Qadim.)
I agree with you about the design, Tim - very original even today. The decorative page borders and conquistador-flavoured illustrations, all rendered in one colour red line art, were really evocative. The fonts were nicely-chosen too.

On a similar note, although I like the Orc's Head Peninsula cover design, I'm not a big fan of the Savage Coast cover. I think Red Steel's cover was better despite the fact that it's really just a close-up of a sword. Savage Baronies may have been the best one, art-wise... (I don't mean any disrespect to Paul Jacquays - his Savage Coast cover just happens to be my least favourite of his paintings, most of which I a big fan of.)

User avatar
Tim Beach
Orc
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:09 pm
Gender: male
Location: Lacey, WA, USA

Re: Forum icon

Post by Tim Beach » Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:40 am

From Havard:
Is this the Paul Jaquays piece? I don't really hate the sword cover, but I think a finnished piece like that would have worked better.
As the accompanying text indicates, Paul did that piece as a Red Steel sketch. And thank you, Thorf, for finding the other reference. I think what happened is that he did it for Red Steel, and when the campaign book came around, he did a finalized version. It seems like Paul may have done one or two other brief treatments (with a more prominent sword, perhaps, or a different graphic element -- I vaguely remember something in a circular or oval "frame" in the center of the cover, a sort of compromise between full art and the graphic treatment).
It is interesting to hear these descriptions of what went on in the TSR management in that period. It matches what other former TSR employees have said (sometimes less diplomatically).
Well ... I do try to be diplomatic. I was accused of burning bridges when I left TSR, though that wasn't my intent. My feeling at the time was that if they had happened to soak the bridge in kerosene, it wasn't necessarily my fault if my heel struck a spark on the way across. Now, I'll try to be honest, while recognizing the different motivations and situations of the people I might mention. Just because I disagree or even dislike someone doesn't mean they're a bad person (necessarily ;) ).

From Thorf:
Savage Baronies may have been the best one, art-wise...
Well, aside from it being a picture of me, which I like very much 8-) despite the embarrassment :oops: at the time, I think Alan is a really good artist, and I think he did a good job of capturing the Baronies' feel. Paul was trying to sum up the entire Coast in one piece, I think, and for whatever reason, his final lupin has a kind of Wile E. Coyote vibe -- which his sketch definitely didn't. And honestly, Randy Post is the Man as far as I'm concerned. Not every piece he did was brilliant, but a lot were, and he did a fantastic job of capturing what I described, and adding new and interesting elements.


Tim

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 25464
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: Forum icon

Post by Big Mac » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:38 pm

Tim Beach wrote:Your guess is likely correct about the lack of the Mystara logo: the AD&D version of Mystara was seen as an "introductory" setting, while Red Steel was aimed at a more "mature" audience. Among the design staff, it was sort of like the relationship between Al-Qadim and Forgotten Realms: while Al-Qadim was in the Realms, it was designed as a standalone setting, as was Red Steel. Similarly, the chance of a crossover between Savage Coast and the rest of Mystara was rather slim. And, quite honestly, I tried to distance Red Steel from Mystara in terms of rules as well, such as by using kits.
Hmm. Did I see someone saying that Thunder Rift was supposed to be the "easy" Mystara? Would that mean that Thunder Rift would be designed for low level, core Mystara for mid level and Red Steel for high level?

Hmm. That is almost a World of Warcraft like progression of danger levels.
Tim Beach wrote:I was very pleased with the logo, though, and the graphic treatment inside the books -- very cutting edge at the time. And I wondered why they went back to the "Savage Coast" title, too. Perhaps it had to do with other games called Red Steel, or with a disconnect (" 'Red Steel' isn't a place -- shouldn't a campaign setting be a place?" -- I can easily see any number of marketers or other non-designers saying something like that. Never mind setting names like Spelljammer, Planescape, or even Al-Qadim.)
You know, I actually think Red Steel is better for a campaign setting name than Savage Coast (or Mystara). With a name like Maztica, when you say the word Maztica people never know if you mean Maztica (the place) or Maztica (the setting). (But then I am a Spelljammer fan, a Dragonlance fan and to a lesser extent a Planescape fan, so the more abstract names speak to me about the ethos of the game.)
Tim Beach wrote:Wow, that turned into a little bit of a rant, didn't it? Sorry for that ...
No, no. Please rant away. As someone who doesn't even live in the USA I only ever got to see D&D from a distance. So all of this stuff bypassed me during 2nd edition and back then I just used to sigh and wonder why TSR did something I didn't like. Now I'm finding out about all the things going on behind the scenes I'm really getting to appreciate the good products that managed to make it through the system.
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum (and administrator). My moderator voice is green.

User avatar
night_druid
Radiant Dragon
Posts: 6554
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:08 pm
Gender: male

Re: Forum icon

Post by night_druid » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:10 pm

Big Mac wrote:Hmm. That is almost a World of Warcraft like progression of danger levels.
Eh, the idea isn't exactly new with WoW; its just wasn't as spelled out that an area would have levels "1-10", another area would be "11-20", etc.

Tim Beach wrote:I was very pleased with the logo, though, and the graphic treatment inside the books -- very cutting edge at the time. And I wondered why they went back to the "Savage Coast" title, too. Perhaps it had to do with other games called Red Steel, or with a disconnect (" 'Red Steel' isn't a place -- shouldn't a campaign setting be a place?" -- I can easily see any number of marketers or other non-designers saying something like that. Never mind setting names like Spelljammer, Planescape, or even Al-Qadim.)
Either name is pretty cool. :)
Tim Beach wrote:Wow, that turned into a little bit of a rant, didn't it? Sorry for that ...
Heh, for us guys who never had an inside look into TSR at the time, this is rather entertaining and enlightening.
Moderator: Spelljammer, Kingdoms of Kalamar. My moderator voice is green

User avatar
Ashtagon
Hierarch
Posts: 3759
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 5:45 pm
Gender: female
Location: Hillvale, Isle of Dawn
Contact:

Re: Forum icon

Post by Ashtagon » Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:01 pm

I reset the poll and added a new option for the current icon.

It's mainly academic at this stage though.
Emma Rome, otherwise known as Ashtagon
Image
Overall site admin for The Piazza. My moderator colour is pink!

User avatar
Hugin
Messenger of Odin
Posts: 4154
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 9:40 pm
Gender: male
Location: Fergus, Ontario

Re: Forum icon

Post by Hugin » Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:50 pm

Ashtagon wrote:I reset the poll and added a new option for the current icon.
I was a little surprised to see I hadn't voted in this poll when I was quite sure I had. You made me think I was going senile. :shock:

Post Reply

Return to “Savage Coast”