Gary Gygax' New Infinities Productions Inc.

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Gary Gygax' New Infinities Productions Inc.

Post by Havard » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:10 pm

Gary Gygax launched New Infinities Productions Inc. in 1986 to produce more RPG material soon after he had been forced to leave TSR. Frank Mentzer and Kim Mohan were also affiliated with this company. New Infinities had published several novels about Gord the Rogue, which are unofficially linked to Greyhawk. They also published three products for a Sci Fi RPG called Cyborg Commando as well as four Generic Fantasy RPG products under the Fantasy Master series, including the often talked about on The Piazza, Æsheba setting book.

Fantasy Master (Generic Fantasy) Cyborg Commando RPG
  • Cyborg Commando 1 (1987) - Core Rules, Boxed Set
  • Film at Eleven (1988 ) - Adventure
  • San Francisco Knights (1987) - Adventure
More discussion of Cyborg Commando here.

Novels (Gord the Rogue Novels)
  • City of Hawks (1987 )
  • Night Arrant (1987 )
  • Sea of Death(1987 )
  • Come Endless Darkness (1988 )
  • Dance of Demons (1988 )

Does anyone have any experience with any of the products by New Infinities? I am particularly interested in the Fantasy Masters Series.

After New Infinites, Gary's next project would be Dangerous Journeys published by GDW.

-Havard
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Re: Gary Gygax' New Infinities Productions Inc.

Post by ExTSR » Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:47 pm

Slightly incorrect. Gary (via his company Trigee Enterprises) created & owned DJ. NIPI had nothing to do with it.

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Re: Gary Gygax' New Infinities Productions Inc.

Post by Havard » Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:51 pm

ExTSR wrote:Slightly incorrect. Gary (via his company Trigee Enterprises) created & owned DJ. NIPI had nothing to do with it.
Ah, thanks for commenting Frank! This ought to teach me not to trust Wikipedia ;)

I have edited my original post removing the references to DJ. My main interest, at least for now, are the RPG products, especially the Fantasy Master Series. I am wondering if they can be used together? I would have liked to place the other three modules in the Æsheba setting, but it seems like the rest are more standard fantasy than Æsheba is.



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Re: Gary Gygax' New Infinities Productions Inc.

Post by ExTSR » Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:18 pm

Havard wrote:My main interest, at least for now, are the RPG products, especially the Fantasy Master Series. I am wondering if they can be used together? I would have liked to place the other three modules in the Æsheba setting, but it seems like the rest are more standard fantasy than Æsheba.
Convert (mine, originally RPGA) is about a paladin who is duped by a BigBadEvilGuy masquerading as his 'god'. Set in Aquaria, outdoor travel plus 'dungeons'.

Baldemar (Blake) is a gem. Bob (RIP) wrote and/or ran many of the AD&D Open tournaments, nearly won the 1980 Invitational, and was an undisputed master of the game. This is a detailed town setting, no campaign ties but what you add... extremely well-done.

Aesheba (Blake & O'Hare mostly) is, as noted, a continental 'what-if' setting, assuming that the Egyptians never got it together, the continent dominated by an expanding Greek empire. (I wrote the whole magic section, to make it all 'feel' really... African. We deliberately left it rather open-ended, to fit any campaign, so it is sometimes criticized for not being more specific in some areas.)

Despot (Nieblings & Stambaugh) is a true '70s vintage (non-TSR) tournament scenario used at a Michigan convention, zany and cryptic. (It was the most problematic of the four as Turnbull, NIPI President and a close friend of the Nieblings, forced it to be published with far less editing than it needed.)

...and then there's CC, which was published before it was ready (again on Turnbull's orders). I'd love to finish it, but it belongs to Gail G., so that's a nonstarter. :/

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Re: Gary Gygax' New Infinities Productions Inc.

Post by ghendar » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:17 pm

Just ordered a copy of Baldemar. Can't wait to check it out.
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Re: Gary Gygax' New Infinities Productions Inc.

Post by Havard » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:38 pm

ExTSR wrote:
Havard wrote:My main interest, at least for now, are the RPG products, especially the Fantasy Master Series. I am wondering if they can be used together? I would have liked to place the other three modules in the Æsheba setting, but it seems like the rest are more standard fantasy than Æsheba.
Convert (mine, originally RPGA) is about a paladin who is duped by a BigBadEvilGuy masquerading as his 'god'. Set in Aquaria, outdoor travel plus 'dungeons'.

Baldemar (Blake) is a gem. Bob (RIP) wrote and/or ran many of the AD&D Open tournaments, nearly won the 1980 Invitational, and was an undisputed master of the game. This is a detailed town setting, no campaign ties but what you add... extremely well-done.

Aesheba (Blake & O'Hare mostly) is, as noted, a continental 'what-if' setting, assuming that the Egyptians never got it together, the continent dominated by an expanding Greek empire. (I wrote the whole magic section, to make it all 'feel' really... African. We deliberately left it rather open-ended, to fit any campaign, so it is sometimes criticized for not being more specific in some areas.)

Despot (Nieblings & Stambaugh) is a true '70s vintage (non-TSR) tournament scenario used at a Michigan convention, zany and cryptic. (It was the most problematic of the four as Turnbull, NIPI President and a close friend of the Nieblings, forced it to be published with far less editing than it needed.)
Thanks for giving us the inside scoop on these Frank! Æsheba sits nicely in my shelf and I just got my hands on The Convert. I suspect I will try to get hold of the others very soon. I didnt realize that some of these were based on tournament modules, which links them more closely to D&D than I had first assumed. I am especially pleased to learn that the Convert was written for Aquaria!

I responded to your comments about Cyborg Commando in a separate thread.

-Havard

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Re: Gary Gygax' New Infinities Productions Inc.

Post by Havard » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:39 pm

ghendar wrote:Just ordered a copy of Baldemar. Can't wait to check it out.
Great, let us know what you think when you get it! :)

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Re: Gary Gygax' New Infinities Productions Inc.

Post by ghendar » Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:20 pm

Baldemar came in but I've only had a chance to leaf through it so far. It's a nice sized book, 60+ pages. Comes with a pull out map of the town. I'll try to go over it in more detail soon and take some pictures. Looks quite detailed.
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Re: Gary Gygax' New Infinities Productions Inc.

Post by Havard » Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:52 pm

ghendar wrote:Baldemar came in but I've only had a chance to leaf through it so far. It's a nice sized book, 60+ pages. Comes with a pull out map of the town. I'll try to go over it in more detail soon and take some pictures. Looks quite detailed.
Cool,
looking forward to it! :)

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Re: Gary Gygax' New Infinities Productions Inc.

Post by Havard » Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:06 pm

ExTSR wrote: Gary (via his company Trigee Enterprises) created & owned DJ.
BTW: How many companies did Gary help found during his life? :o :)

-Havard

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Re: Gary Gygax' New Infinities Productions Inc.

Post by Big Mac » Thu Jul 24, 2014 1:11 am

Havard wrote:
ExTSR wrote:Slightly incorrect. Gary (via his company Trigee Enterprises) created & owned DJ. NIPI had nothing to do with it.
Ah, thanks for commenting Frank! This ought to teach me not to trust Wikipedia ;)
Actually independent tests show that Wikipedia is as accurate as Encyclopedia Brittanica.

One thing to bear in mind is that anyone can edit Wikipedia, but some people are better at following the process than others. Wikipedians are supposed to provide "reliable secondary soruces" for any facts they add into a Wikipedia article. So if you are reading an article, and it makes a claim (like "NIPI supposedly owning DJ") you should look to the end of the sentence (or sometimes the paragraph) for a citation number (like this "[1]"). If you click on the citation number, it will take you to the bottom of the article, where you can see the source of the supposed facts and double-check them yourself.

If you see Wikipedia articles with content that does not come with citations, that means that the editor that put it there did not take the time to demonstrate their sources. If you see content that is not properly citated, that is the content to trust less. It still might be correct. There is a lot of correct information that gets put onto Wikipedia, without citations to back it up. And frustratingly, some of this content (that flouts the "no original reserach" rules) gets removed, instead of being tied up with reliable secondary sources that can back up the claim or an editor who does not want to go back and finishe the job.

But the great thing about Wikipedia, is that it can constantly be improved. And that is why, despite being behind Encyclopedia Brittanica in some areas, it is ahead of it in other areas. :)

Where did you see this error? I can not find a "New Infinities Productions Inc." article on Wikipedia* so I assume you are talking about something on another article. Did you fix the error in that article? Did you add a note on the talk page, to let editors know that it was an error (with a link to the post here where Frank Mentzer said this was wrong, so that people can verify your information)? We can actually fix this, so that someone else doesn't get trapped by the error that caught you.

* = I think is a bit of a shame, considering that this was the company that one of the inventors of D&D set up after being booted out of his own company. What happened with NIPI, especially the story of the events that led to it being shut down by TSR lawyers, as I think that shows you the sort of politics that Gary Gygax was dealing with, during the 2nd Edition AD&D Era.
Havard wrote:I have edited my original post removing the references to DJ. My main interest, at least for now, are the RPG products, especially the Fantasy Master Series. I am wondering if they can be used together? I would have liked to place the other three modules in the Æsheba setting, but it seems like the rest are more standard fantasy than Æsheba is.
I would have been interested to have seen what New Infinities would have done next if it had not been zapped by TSR. I don't know if that led to anyone (like Gary or Frank) being pushed out of the industry, but there definitely would have been more from NIPI. It would have succeeded or failed on its own merits (rather than because of politics).

The Fantasy Master series might have turned into a single campaign setting, it might have spawned a "Fantasy Master Roleplaying System" or NIPI might have done several settings (like Eldritch Ent is doing).

I also think that the 3rd Edition era could have been a very interesting time to have observed NIPI. With WotC taking care to open up the D&D system via the SRD, that would have been an opportunity for NIPI to have been at the forefront of the 3rd Party Publisher movement. If Gary had spent less time reinventing the wheel, perhaps we could have gotten a long run of a new Gygaxian campaign setting. Maybe there would have been time for him to finish publishing his megadungeon and to have done a lot of other stuff that old school gamers (and maybe new school gamers) would have really enjoyed.

And that is just the sort of stuff we might have gotten from Gary via NIPI. I do not really know the work of Robert J. Blake**, but maybe he might have given the world a Baldemar Campaign Setting. Maybe Frank might have been able to use NIPI to have given us a line of Aquaria products decades earlier. Maybe Tim Kask could have gotten his Makander Campaign Setting up and running earlier via NIPI.

** = I really used to know very little about the pre-2e designers, before I joined The Piazza. I'm not really an old school gamer, but I've really seen that I've missed out on the excitement of seeing the various RPG systems that led to "my D&D" being developed. I've been lucky enough to meet both Frank Mentzer and Tim Kask (from the very first few designers) and I'm sure that every other designer must have brought their own "stuff" along. Back during 2e I thought of D&D as something from the other side of the world that was kind of like a fluffy cloud that rained cool stuff. Perhaps it might be nice if we had some threads somewhere to talk about various D&D designers, including Robert J. Blake, so that the people who do know their work (or the people who worked with them) can tell us more about them.

And if you look at how Paizo used Ryan Dancy's SRD-lifeboat to build the Pathfinder Reference Document, when WotC shut down 3rd Edition D&D, I think that Gary and co could also have attempted to have kept the 3rd Edition era alive (if they had joined the 3PP movement). Paizo went one way, but just imagine if NIPI got Frank Menter to do the sort of reboot he did when he changed B/X into BECMI. Necromancer Gamers used to promote itself as selling "3rd Edition products with a 1st Edition feel", but it is possible that NIPI might have made the SRD into something that had a BECMI feel, with Frank's talents. That is a big string of maybes, but I would love to have seen what Frank Mentzer might have created for a "New Infinities Reference Document" follow up to the SRD. I wonder if he could have reunited the new school and old school fans the way that WotC hopes to do with 5e.

However, we will never really know how much we lost. We will never know what future generations of tabletop fans have lost. ;( I'm sure that NIPI would have responded to the demands of the fanbase, so it really is impossible to work out exactly where they would have gone if they had evolved for another (what is it? :? ) 30 years. But I would be interested to know if there are any vapourware products for New Infinities. They must have had some sort of documents that they were sending out to distributors. I'm assuming that some things must have been partially finished when the axe of TSR's lawyers fell.

I would love to know what the short-term aims of NIPI might have been. :)
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Re: Gary Gygax' New Infinities Productions Inc.

Post by ghendar » Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:51 pm

Havard wrote:
ghendar wrote:Baldemar came in but I've only had a chance to leaf through it so far. It's a nice sized book, 60+ pages. Comes with a pull out map of the town. I'll try to go over it in more detail soon and take some pictures. Looks quite detailed.
Cool,
looking forward to it! :)

-Havard

Still have to read it lol
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Re: Gary Gygax' New Infinities Productions Inc.

Post by Semi-Retired Gamer » Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:50 pm

I never owned any of the Fantasy Master stuff but I probably would have snatched it up if I had the chance.

I still have a copy of Cyborg Commando hoarded away in the closet. It's too bad that the other two sets could not be completed today. I need to dig it out again...

I read two of the Gord the Rogue novels when I was on a 6 month stay in wonderful Mogadishu (Somalia) while I was enlisted in the US Army. I was on a small compound with a "library" consisting of a small book case (maybe 3 x 4) of all sorts of different paperbacks. There was no organization or upkeep to the books - people just came in and swapped them out willy nilly. I have no idea which two Gord novels I read but I did read them along with several Battletech novels and a Necroscope novel.
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Re: Gary Gygax' New Infinities Productions Inc.

Post by Big Mac » Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:53 pm

Semi-Retired Gamer wrote:I never owned any of the Fantasy Master stuff but I probably would have snatched it up if I had the chance.
The Fantasy Master products are all available Amazon, and three of the four are pretty cheap: :)
The Convert is currently $1.50 USD + shipping.
Town of Baldemar is currently $14.95 + shipping.
Æsheba: Greek Africa is currently $7.48 USD + shipping.
The Abduction of Good King Despot is currently $59.50 + shipping.

I would personally advise not buying that expensive copy of The Abduction of Good King Despot, not because I've got anything against it - I just think it will be available at a lower price at some point.

There are threads about The Convert and Æsheba: Greek Africa if you want to read more about them...or ask questions. I own both of them, but have not had a proper read of The Convert yet.

I don't know anything about Town of Baldemar, but it seems to be its own campaign setting, so you could always start up a topic for it in the Other Worlds forum.

The downside of most of the Fantasy Master stuff is that TSR's lawyers slapped down the chances of any future advancement. Frank Mentzer is back doing Aquaria (as he has owned that since well before he worked for TSR) but his new Aquaria stuff is a bit different from his RPGA stuff and his NIPI stuff, so you might need to tweak The Convent a bit to get it to work more effectively with the new Aquaria stuff he does.
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Re: Gary Gygax' New Infinities Productions Inc.

Post by Semi-Retired Gamer » Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:53 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Semi-Retired Gamer wrote:I never owned any of the Fantasy Master stuff but I probably would have snatched it up if I had the chance.
The Fantasy Master products are all available Amazon, and three of the four are pretty cheap: :)
The Convert is currently $1.50 USD + shipping.
Town of Baldemar is currently $14.95 + shipping.
Æsheba: Greek Africa is currently $7.48 USD + shipping.
The Abduction of Good King Despot is currently $59.50 + shipping.

I would personally advise not buying that expensive copy of The Abduction of Good King Despot, not because I've got anything against it - I just think it will be available at a lower price at some point.

There are threads about The Convert and Æsheba: Greek Africa if you want to read more about them...or ask questions. I own both of them, but have not had a proper read of The Convert yet.

I don't know anything about Town of Baldemar, but it seems to be its own campaign setting, so you could always start up a topic for it in the Other Worlds forum.

The downside of most of the Fantasy Master stuff is that TSR's lawyers slapped down the chances of any future advancement. Frank Mentzer is back doing Aquaria (as he has owned that since well before he worked for TSR) but his new Aquaria stuff is a bit different from his RPGA stuff and his NIPI stuff, so you might need to tweak The Convent a bit to get it to work more effectively with the new Aquaria stuff he does.
Thanks for the heads up! :cool: I just might have some browsing to do in a bit...
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