Stages of Midgard development

In this dark time, new heroes must arise to claim the crowns of Midgard, and restore the jewels to her scattered thrones...
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Stages of Midgard development

Post by Big Mac » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:48 pm

I know that Midgard used to be developed via something called Open Design and that later there were at least two Kickstarters to fund expansion of the product line.

Does anyone know of a page that shows what stages of growth the campaign setting has gone through?

Failing that, could someone give me a quick overview of the evolution of the product line.

BTW: Was Open Design some sort of in-house crowd funding system or was it an earlier name for Kobold Press?
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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by thorr-kan » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:57 pm

A lot of this history is available from the Wolfgang Baur and Kobold Press Wikipedia pages:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Baur
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobold_Press

I can provide a listing of the first 27 Open Design/Kobold Press crowd sourced projects. It's not pretty, but it goes:
Order, Title, Game System, Month/Year (for the last 10 entries)
OD 1 Steam & Brass 3.5 OD 2 Castle Shadowcrag 3.5 OD 3 Empire of the Ghould 3.5 OD 4 Six Arabian Nights 3.5 OD 5 Blood of the Gorgon 3.5 OD 6 Tales of Zobeck 3.5 OD 7 Halls of the Mountain King 3.5/4 OD 8 From Shore to Sea/Sunken Empires PF OD 9 The Red Eye of Azathoth CoC OD 10 Courts of the Shadow Fey 4 OD 11 Tales of the Old Margreve PF OD 12 The Northlands PF OD 13 Streets of Zobeck PF OD 14 Lost City 4 OD 15 Dark Deed in Freeport PF OD 16 Midgard Campaign Setting? PF/AGE OD 17 Dark Roads and Golden Hells PF OD 18 Journeys to the West PF 11 2011 OD 19 Midgard Bestiary for 4ED 4 6 2012 OD 20 Midgard Tales PF 4 2012 OD 21 Deep Magic PF 6 2013 OD 22 Southlands PF 9 2014 OD 23 Advanced Races Compendium PF 4 2015 OD 24 Tome of Beasts 5 10 2015 OD 25 ARENA: Fury of Hellas, a 2 to 4 Player Card Game Card 5 2016 Not funded OD 26 Demon Cults & Secret Societies: 5th Edition & Pathfinder RPG 5/PF 10 2016 OD 27 Midgard Campaign Setting: Dark Roads & Deep Magic 5/PF 2 2017

Open Design was Mr. Baur's title for his patron sponsored Livejournal blog. Kobold Quarterly was Mr. Baur's title of the quarterly print magazine published by Open Design. They got combined into Kobold Press to unite the brand and prevent confusion.

Open Design functioned on a patronage version of funding, very much like Renaissance artists. It was crowdfunding before crowdfunding was cool. Mr. Baur would poll several possible subjects, solicit donations, design it with patron feedback, and release the finished product to just the patrons.

Yes, snob appeal and exclusivity were selling points. It was *awesome.* In a lot of ways, I miss it. The change to Kickstarter allows a much broader audience, more depth for funding, and better pay. And a lot of the earlier projects were rereleased to the public. But I still miss it.

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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by Tim Baker » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:32 am

I can't add much to what thorr-kan said. I would just mention that there are many Kobold Press products that weren't crowdfunded, and therefore aren't listed on the table.
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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by Big Mac » Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:16 am

thorr-kan wrote:A lot of this history is available from the Wolfgang Baur and Kobold Press Wikipedia pages:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Baur
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobold_Press

I can provide a listing of the first 27 Open Design/Kobold Press crowd sourced projects.
Thanks Thorr-Kan. :)

The interesting thing from your list is that Zobeck doesn't appear until the 6th project. I don't know if the earlier (and later) products were all intended to be part of the setting that evolved into Midgard, or if some of them have been retconned into Midgard. (Dark Deeds in Freeport is definitely a Freeport product.) I guess that, when Open Design started Wolfgang Baur could have gone in a number of different directions and that the response of the Open Design backers must have had some level of influence.
thorr-kan wrote:Open Design was Mr. Baur's title for his patron sponsored Livejournal blog. Kobold Quarterly was Mr. Baur's title of the quarterly print magazine published by Open Design. They got combined into Kobold Press to unite the brand and prevent confusion.
I actually prefer the name "Kobold Press" to "Open Design" but I think that "Open Design" was probably a better name for the concept of Wolfgang Baur writing stuff on a blog and collaborating with fans.
thorr-kan wrote:Open Design functioned on a patronage version of funding, very much like Renaissance artists. It was crowdfunding before crowdfunding was cool. Mr. Baur would poll several possible subjects, solicit donations, design it with patron feedback, and release the finished product to just the patrons.
I've seen a couple of the old posts about Open Design, while searching for things. But I don't really think I understand the context as much as someone who was there at the time. I certainly don't know what the vibe of the Open Design fan community was like. It's easier to see that with current Kickstarter projects (as Kickstarter encourages fans of anything being Kickstarted to spam their friends to death, in an attempt to unlock cool stretch goals). Open Design sounds like it would have been a lot more subtle and slow and immediate, creating a constant move forward rather than explosions of funding for large numbers of things that don't happen until several months later.
thorr-kan wrote:Yes, snob appeal and exclusivity were selling points. It was *awesome.* In a lot of ways, I miss it. The change to Kickstarter allows a much broader audience, more depth for funding, and better pay. And a lot of the earlier projects were rereleased to the public. But I still miss it.
I'm not sure that Open Design looked like snobbery to me, but it did look something that I didn't "get" because I didn't know anyone who could talk to me about what was being done. I think that Kobold Press has broken through some sort of "surface tension" that has allowed it to connect to people who are not yet customers.

The thing I think I've missed, by not being an Open Design backer, is the time period where there was no Midgard and people saw Midgard start to appear and then got a name for it and saw details being fleshed out. Looking back, you can see the entire product line, so any speculation on what Wolfgang Baur might do is probably all gone.
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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:13 am

It's my understanding that the old Open Design projects were always set in Wolfgang Baur's home setting. If this wasn't explicitly the case at the time, they've been retconned in since then. I say this because most of the old Open Design products have been published for different systems and made available to the general public. This has been done under the Kobold Press name, and in several cases, the products were included in Midgard Kickstarters. Castle Shadowcrag was just included in the revised Midgard Campaign Setting Kickstarter. Empire of the Ghouls' setting content was used in the Imperial Gazetteer, and is clearly the same empire found in the Midgard Campaign Setting. Six Arabian Nights was expanded to Eleven Arabian Nights and included in the Southlands Kickstarter. Halls of the Mountain King was published for Pathfinder as a Midgard product.
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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by Old Man » Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:35 pm

Hi all. Huge fan of the old Patronage projects though I was late to the concept, only joining toward the end of Dark Deed and Midgard. I had a lot of fun during the Journeys to the West development. The old forums were full of back and forth on story, site and theme development. I miss that as the Kickstart have less crowd interaction in that style.

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Last edited by Old Man on Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by thorr-kan » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:52 pm

Big Mac, no time now, but I'll address two points:

Steam & Brass was set in Zobeck; Castle Shadowcrag was set outside Zobeck. So it's been there since 8AM, Day One. Zobeck was based in Mr. Baur's home campaign.

Midgard is based on Mr. Baur's home campaign, but is not the same. When Midgard got published, a lot of other writers were part of the process. The two were similar but not the same.

Go on over to the Kobold Press Google Group and ask away.

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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by Tim Baker » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:53 am

Old Man wrote:Hi all. Huge fan of the old Patronage projects though I was late to the concept, only joining toward the end of Dark Deed and Midgard. I had a lot of fun during the Journeys to the West development. The old forums were full of back and forth on story, site and theme development. I miss that as the Kickstart have less crowd interaction in that style.
Are you familiar with RPG Design Camp? They've had two successful Kickstarters in the past year, and run the project in a collaborative way with their backers. It's intended to be similar to the Open Design process, and features some of the former Open Design patrons/designers.
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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by Old Man » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 pm

Tim Baker wrote:
Old Man wrote:Hi all. Huge fan of the old Patronage projects though I was late to the concept, only joining toward the end of Dark Deed and Midgard. I had a lot of fun during the Journeys to the West development. The old forums were full of back and forth on story, site and theme development. I miss that as the Kickstart have less crowd interaction in that style.
Are you familiar with RPG Design Camp? They've had two successful Kickstarters in the past year, and run the project in a collaborative way with their backers. It's intended to be similar to the Open Design process, and features some of the former Open Design patrons/designers.
Yes I am. I backed the first and passed on the second. I was not interested in the subject of the 2nd. Am looking for another campaign supplement/setting/adventures style of development.

Regards,
Old Man

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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by Big Mac » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:02 am

Tim Baker wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:13 am
It's my understanding that the old Open Design projects were always set in Wolfgang Baur's home setting.
Oooh! Now that's interesting.

That implies there could have been some sort of "proto-Midguard" that Wolfgang Baur was working on privately.

I know that Rich Green (who I think was involved in some Open Design stuff) was running an Al-Qadim game with his own homebrew city, called Parsantium, and that he went on to clean out all the Al-Qadim IP and build a new campaign setting around his own work.

Because Rich Green blogged his own stuff, you can get an idea of how long the proto-Parsantium era was before it got a commercial reboot. Does anyone know about homebrew gaming sessions that Wolfgang Baur ran that included elements later recycled as part of Open Design or Kobold Press products? Is it possible to point to any old notes and identify pre-commercial origins of the setting?
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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by Big Mac » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:35 am

Old Man wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:35 pm
Hi all. Huge fan of the old Patronage projects though I was late to the concept, only joining toward the end of Dark Deed and Midgard. I had a lot of fun during the Journeys to the West development. The old forums were full of back and forth on story, site and theme development. I miss that as the Kickstart have less crowd interaction in that style.
Thanks Old Man.

I think it's a shame those old forums went down.

We have a growing community here, and obviously I'd love to see more Midgard fans (old as well) come here, but not at the expense of an existing community (especially one with a ton of conversations in the era where parts of the setting were still being built).

I think that one of my issues with Kickstarter. There is a big massive push to get a lot of money in one go. And once the money comes in the person running the project has to run off to get stuff done. And the more money they pull in, the busier they are. The Open Design thing (and the Patreon thing) seem to be more of a slow push, with a creative person having a steady stream of income that funds a steady amount of work. That seems to be a bit more stable to me, although I can't doubt the fact that Kickstarter has brought Midgard to the attention of a lot of people who had not heard of it before.
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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by Big Mac » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:37 am

thorr-kan wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:52 pm
Big Mac, no time now, but I'll address two points:

Steam & Brass was set in Zobeck; Castle Shadowcrag was set outside Zobeck. So it's been there since 8AM, Day One. Zobeck was based in Mr. Baur's home campaign.

Midgard is based on Mr. Baur's home campaign, but is not the same. When Midgard got published, a lot of other writers were part of the process. The two were similar but not the same.

Go on over to the Kobold Press Google Group and ask away.
Thanks Thorr-Kan.

I guess it might be easier to ask which Open Design products were not incorporated into Midgard. :D
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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by Big Mac » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:57 pm

Tim Baker wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:53 am
Old Man wrote:Hi all. Huge fan of the old Patronage projects though I was late to the concept, only joining toward the end of Dark Deed and Midgard. I had a lot of fun during the Journeys to the West development. The old forums were full of back and forth on story, site and theme development. I miss that as the Kickstart have less crowd interaction in that style.
Are you familiar with RPG Design Camp? They've had two successful Kickstarters in the past year, and run the project in a collaborative way with their backers. It's intended to be similar to the Open Design process, and features some of the former Open Design patrons/designers.
How many people have launched their own carriers after jumping onboard with the early Open Design scheme?
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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by Old Man » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:26 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:35 am
Old Man wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:35 pm
Hi all. Huge fan of the old Patronage projects though I was late to the concept, only joining toward the end of Dark Deed and Midgard. I had a lot of fun during the Journeys to the West development. The old forums were full of back and forth on story, site and theme development. I miss that as the Kickstart have less crowd interaction in that style.
Thanks Old Man.

I think it's a shame those old forums went down.

We have a growing community here, and obviously I'd love to see more Midgard fans (old as well) come here, but not at the expense of an existing community (especially one with a ton of conversations in the era where parts of the setting were still being built).
...
Since I wrote my post, 2nd edition Midgard hit the shelves and I've seen wonderful growth in activity at Kobold's facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/448762168826739/ ) and some over on Google+.

Regards,
Old Man

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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:04 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:02 am
That implies there could have been some sort of "proto-Midguard" that Wolfgang Baur was working on privately.

Does anyone know about homebrew gaming sessions that Wolfgang Baur ran that included elements later recycled as part of Open Design or Kobold Press products? Is it possible to point to any old notes and identify pre-commercial origins of the setting?
I've heard Wolfgang Baur speak in several podcast interviews. My recollection is that Midgard has been his home brew setting since the AD&D days. He incorporated elements of it into his work while he was at TSR. For example, Dragon Magazine #70 has an adventure called "Kingdom of the Ghouls" by Wolfgang Baur. This empire of ghouls was later fleshed out in an early Open Design product, and then featured in the Midgard Campaign Setting.
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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:06 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:57 pm
Tim Baker wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:53 am
Are you familiar with RPG Design Camp? They've had two successful Kickstarters in the past year, and run the project in a collaborative way with their backers. It's intended to be similar to the Open Design process, and features some of the former Open Design patrons/designers.
How many people have launched their own carriers after jumping onboard with the early Open Design scheme?
I don't know the exact number, but there are at least a handful of designers who got their start with Open Design and later Kobold Press opportunities. Kobold Press has been great about accepting pitches from brand new designers, allowing them to get their foot in the door.
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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:09 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:37 am
I guess it might be easier to ask which Open Design products were not incorporated into Midgard. :D
I don't think any of the Open Design products couldn't be incorporated into Midgard. Some may not be explicitly set there, but I'm not aware of anything that would exclude those products from the possibility of being in Midgard.
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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by thorr-kan » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:02 pm

Tim Baker wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:09 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:37 am
I guess it might be easier to ask which Open Design products were not incorporated into Midgard. :D
I don't think any of the Open Design products couldn't be incorporated into Midgard. Some may not be explicitly set there, but I'm not aware of anything that would exclude those products from the possibility of being in Midgard.
The Red Eye of Azathoth, the ninth project, specifically set on Earth and using Call of Cthulhu rules? :D

But yeah, I think everything, barring that and Dark Deeds in Freeport, the 15th project, are explicitly set in Midgard.

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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by Tim Baker » Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:41 am

thorr-kan wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:02 pm
The Red Eye of Azathoth, the ninth project, specifically set on Earth and using Call of Cthulhu rules? :D

But yeah, I think everything, barring that and Dark Deeds in Freeport, the 15th project, are explicitly set in Midgard.
Good points. I forgot about the CoC project. Even the Freeport project, while not explicitly in Midgard, I seem to recall having a recommended location where it could be placed in Midgard.
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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by thorr-kan » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:43 pm

Tim Baker wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:41 am
thorr-kan wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:02 pm
The Red Eye of Azathoth, the ninth project, specifically set on Earth and using Call of Cthulhu rules? :D

But yeah, I think everything, barring that and Dark Deeds in Freeport, the 15th project, are explicitly set in Midgard.
Good points. I forgot about the CoC project. Even the Freeport project, while not explicitly in Midgard, I seem to recall having a recommended location where it could be placed in Midgard.
There's been a lot of discussion on where Freeport is in Midgard. I don't have links, but I recall DMs being spoiled for choices.

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Re: Stages of Midgard development

Post by Old Man » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:40 am

thorr-kan wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:43 pm
Tim Baker wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:41 am
thorr-kan wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:02 pm
The Red Eye of Azathoth, the ninth project, specifically set on Earth and using Call of Cthulhu rules? :D

But yeah, I think everything, barring that and Dark Deeds in Freeport, the 15th project, are explicitly set in Midgard.
Good points. I forgot about the CoC project. Even the Freeport project, while not explicitly in Midgard, I seem to recall having a recommended location where it could be placed in Midgard.
There's been a lot of discussion on where Freeport is in Midgard. I don't have links, but I recall DMs being spoiled for choices.
Barsella was one option and the other was along the coast of the Middle Sea such as Kapataria for example.

Regards,
Old Man

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