A DnD What If

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A DnD What If

Postby nick_crenshaw82 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:35 am

What if Gary Gygax retained ownership of TSR instead of being push out of control? Would the Forgotten Realm exist (I could see it existing on Western Oerik, currently the setting for the Sundered Empire), or Kara-Tur, or Al-Qudim (both could be in Central Oerik)? Would Gygax sell Dungeons and Dragons to Wizards of the Coast?
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby Sturm » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:05 am

That's indeed an interesting Alternative History :)
It could well be that Gygax would have not be very interested in developing other settings beyond Greyhawk, but he could well have decided to let others do it in the company.. With D&D growing in the 80's and the early 90's probably Gygax's TSR would have invested in something, so other settings would probably have been a natural choice anyway. It's hard to predict how he would have reacted to the Magic boom. Even if I think he did some big mistakes with his company finances, maybe if he managed to retain ownership he would have learnt something out of it and survived the mid-90's crisis better than TSR did...
He apparently was keen in developing D&D in other media, particularly film and television, so maybe we would have seen a D&D movie sooner...
From my European working in a small company POV I do not really understand why he did not manage better the success (and the increasing finances) D&D clearly had, avoiding selling stocks to other people. It seems to me he engaged in unnecessary risky capitalism, thus ultimately allowing others to oust him, but I may be wrong because I was not there obviously.
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby Big Mac » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:07 pm

nick_crenshaw82 wrote:What if Gary Gygax retained ownership of TSR instead of being push out of control?


Interesting concept. I bet that Frank Mentzer and Tim Kask would have some short-term ideas, but I don't think we could predict the long term alternative future of TSR.

nick_crenshaw82 wrote:Would the Forgotten Realm exist (I could see it existing on Western Oerik, currently the setting for the Sundered Empire), or Kara-Tur, or Al-Qudim (both could be in Central Oerik)?


Forgotten Realms already existed. It was bought in, from Ed Greenwood and transformed into a RPG setting. So, I think we need to ask: "Would TSR have still bought Forgotten Realms and turned it into a tabletop setting?" And: "Would Forgotten Realms have gone anywhere, if Ed Greenwood had pushed it forward on his own?"

Western Oerik already had it's own campaign setting planned. François Marcela-Froideval was going to insert his Greyhawk campaign setting into that area. After he left TSR, he went on to reboot it as the setting of the Black Moon Chronicles (Chroniques de la Lune Noire) comics. (There are also some French games that use the Black Moon Chronicles setting as a background.)

Frank Mentzer also had a campaign setting that was going to inserted into another part of Greyhawk. That was Aquaria (now being renamed Empyrea) and The Piazza has an Aquaria forum, where you can learn more about that.

If both of those Greyhawk sub-settings had gone ahead, that would have been like replacements for Al-Qadim and Maztica. I won't say a replacement for Kara-Tur, because Kara-Tur was actually designed to be a Greyhawk sub-setting and then got rebooted as a Forgotten Realms sub-setting, after Gary Gygax got booted out.

A focus on building three Greyhawk sub-settings would certainly have eaten up some of the time spent building different campaign settings. We might have lost at least two of the campaign settings that we got in the 2nd Edition era. And if Gary Gygax was still around, we might not have had David "Zeb" Cook overhauling the AD&D game system to create the 2nd Edition rules. We might have still had something after 1e, but it probably would have been Gary Gygax's 2nd Edition.

The entire 2nd Edition era might vanish in your scenario. We might have lost Spelljammer, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Planescape, Birthright and the various small D&D settings that followed at the end of the 2e era. :?

nick_crenshaw82 wrote:Would Gygax sell Dungeons and Dragons to Wizards of the Coast?


I believe that was a "white knight" deal, made to prevent the printing company that was attempting a hostile takeover from gaining control. So I don't think that would have happened unless Gary Gygax got into the same financial trouble that the post-Gygax TSR did.

You never know, maybe TSR might have ended up buy Wizards of the Coast, so that they could make D&D settings out of it. ;)
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby nick_crenshaw82 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:45 pm

Big Mac wrote:Forgotten Realms already existed. It was bought in, from Ed Greenwood and transformed into a RPG setting. So, I think we need to ask: "Would TSR have still bought Forgotten Realms and turned it into a tabletop setting?" And: "Would Forgotten Realms have gone anywhere, if Ed Greenwood had pushed it forward on his own?"

Western Oerik already had it's own campaign setting planned. François Marcela-Froideval was going to insert his Greyhawk campaign setting into that area. After he left TSR, he went on to reboot it as the setting of the Black Moon Chronicles (Chroniques de la Lune Noire) comics. (There are also some French games that use the Black Moon Chronicles setting as a background.)

Frank Mentzer also had a campaign setting that was going to inserted into another part of Greyhawk. That was Aquaria (now being renamed Empyrea) and The Piazza has an Aquaria forum, where you can learn more about that.

Now I fill stupid, wish I did more research before post parts of this counterfactual.

Big Mac wrote:I won't say a replacement for Kara-Tur, because Kara-Tur was actually designed to be a Greyhawk sub-setting and then got rebooted as a Forgotten Realms sub-setting, after Gary Gygax got booted out.

That's cool to know, are there any maps of this original concept?

Big Mac wrote:A focus on building three Greyhawk sub-settings would certainly have eaten up some of the time spent building different campaign settings. We might have lost at least two of the campaign settings that we got in the 2nd Edition era. And if Gary Gygax was still around, we might not have had David "Zeb" Cook overhauling the AD&D game system to create the 2nd Edition rules. We might have still had something after 1e, but it probably would have been Gary Gygax's 2nd Edition.

Maybe Gary used the game mechanics of other systems he designed in OTL (original timeline) like Dangerous Journeys as his 2nd edition, Lejendary Adventures as 3rd, and Castles & Crusades as 4th.

Big Mac wrote:The entire 2nd Edition era might vanish in your scenario. We might have lost Spelljammer, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Planescape, Birthright and the various small D&D settings that followed at the end of the 2e era. :?

If the above dones happen than these setting may still occur (if we use the 'Rule of Cool' and ASBs (alien spider bats) to say they do).

Big Mac wrote:You never know, maybe TSR might have ended up buy Wizards of the Coast, so that they could make D&D settings out of it. ;)

That could be interesting.
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby willpell » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:14 pm

nick_crenshaw82 wrote:Would Gygax sell Dungeons and Dragons to Wizards of the Coast?


If he didn't, then I would likely never have gotten into it, and it would likely never have become as almost-mainstream as it now is. Wotco's take on the game was offensively naked in its mercenarism, but it also effectively leveraged the company's ability to reach a mass market, particularly in 5E. I definitely think the way things went down seems to have gone well, and particularly a version which stuck closer to its original version, staying very grognardy and old-school and not trying to branch out to a wider audience, would almost certainly never have appealed to me in particular. What can I say, I like the shiny stuff.
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby Morfie » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:44 am

nick_crenshaw82 wrote:Would the Forgotten Realm exist (I could see it existing on Western Oerik, currently the setting for the Sundered Empire), or Kara-Tur, or Al-Qudim (both could be in Central Oerik)?


bigmac wrote:Forgotten Realms already existed. It was bought in, from Ed Greenwood and transformed into a RPG setting. So, I think we need to ask: "Would TSR have still bought Forgotten Realms and turned it into a tabletop setting?" And: "Would Forgotten Realms have gone anywhere, if Ed Greenwood had pushed it forward on his own?"


I thought Gary was out around 1985. Forgotten Realms was bought in afterwards, coming out around 1987. I heard that was because they didn't want Greyhawk as the "Flagship" setting anymore so bought a replacement. But Dragonlance was there around 1984 I believe. No idea what Gary thought about that.
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby Big Mac » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:40 pm

nick_crenshaw82 wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Forgotten Realms already existed. It was bought in, from Ed Greenwood and transformed into a RPG setting. So, I think we need to ask: "Would TSR have still bought Forgotten Realms and turned it into a tabletop setting?" And: "Would Forgotten Realms have gone anywhere, if Ed Greenwood had pushed it forward on his own?"

Western Oerik already had it's own campaign setting planned. François Marcela-Froideval was going to insert his Greyhawk campaign setting into that area. After he left TSR, he went on to reboot it as the setting of the Black Moon Chronicles (Chroniques de la Lune Noire) comics. (There are also some French games that use the Black Moon Chronicles setting as a background.)

Frank Mentzer also had a campaign setting that was going to inserted into another part of Greyhawk. That was Aquaria (now being renamed Empyrea) and The Piazza has an Aquaria forum, where you can learn more about that.

Now I fill stupid, wish I did more research before post parts of this counterfactual.


Don't feel stupid.

Do you think I knew all this stuff, before I signed up to The Piazza? Absolutely not. I didn't have so much opportunity to learn things about campaign settings I didn't own.

I've found out about some relatively obscure, but interesting products, in the last few years.

And I asked so many questions about Chainmail (which I didn't know anything about, until after it went out of print under my nose) that I helped that Greyhawk sub-setting win a bespoke subforum within the Greyhawk forum. So sometimes it is good to go around and ask questions. ;)

BTW: I didn't mention Chainmail, as it wasn't from the Gygax era of Greyhawk, but it occupies the same part of Oerth as Black Moon Chronicles would have occupied. And there are similarities between the two maps. There are a few topics about Black Moon Chronicles in the Chainmail forum. Go have a read and start a new topic, if you have questions about anything that isn't covered by an existing topic. :)

nick_crenshaw82 wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I won't say a replacement for Kara-Tur, because Kara-Tur was actually designed to be a Greyhawk sub-setting and then got rebooted as a Forgotten Realms sub-setting, after Gary Gygax got booted out.

That's cool to know, are there any maps of this original concept?


I'm afraid I've got to the limit of my learned knowledge.

I don't see a map in the 1e Oriental Adventures and I didn't see a mention of Oerth in the book. It's possible that the Greyhawk references were all removed before that point. I don't know if any of the 1e Oriental Adventures products contains a map or world information.

Perhaps a Greyhawk expert can help you.

(Failing that, maybe we someone could ask David "Zeb" Cook nicely. :)

nick_crenshaw82 wrote:
Big Mac wrote:A focus on building three Greyhawk sub-settings would certainly have eaten up some of the time spent building different campaign settings. We might have lost at least two of the campaign settings that we got in the 2nd Edition era. And if Gary Gygax was still around, we might not have had David "Zeb" Cook overhauling the AD&D game system to create the 2nd Edition rules. We might have still had something after 1e, but it probably would have been Gary Gygax's 2nd Edition.

Maybe Gary used the game mechanics of other systems he designed in OTL (original timeline) like Dangerous Journeys as his 2nd edition, Lejendary Adventures as 3rd, and Castles & Crusades as 4th.


Maybe, but I doubt it.

Gary got kicked out of his own gameline and had to make things that did not infringe on TSR IP. He might have invented some rules similar to Lejendary Adventures and or Castles & Crusades. But he might also have kept large parts of 1st Edition. We will never really know...

...not unless one of his friends tells us what sort of system Gary used for his private Greyhawk games. There were a few folks that left TSR, after Gary Gygax got booted out, and went to help him set up New Infinities Productions Inc. Maybe they played D&D together. (I know that Frank Mentzer still plays using his BECMI rules that he wrote back at TSR. He is actually going to include BECMI stats in his new Empyrea product.)

nick_crenshaw82 wrote:
Big Mac wrote:The entire 2nd Edition era might vanish in your scenario. We might have lost Spelljammer, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Planescape, Birthright and the various small D&D settings that followed at the end of the 2e era. :?

If the above dones happen than these setting may still occur (if we use the 'Rule of Cool' and ASBs (alien spider bats) to say they do).


Well you can do anything, at that point. But there must be a point where some new designers were brought in to fill the boots of people who left with Gary. So it becomes harder and harder to predict what would happen.

S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks had science fiction spaceships in it, so Spelljammer could easily have been replaced with something that was a lot more like a D&D conversion of Star Frontiers.

If you get rid of either Forgotten Realms (which Jeff Grubb got TSR to buy in from Ed Greenwood) or Dragonlance (which Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman designed on the drive across America to get a job at TSR) then that would knock out a big part of what made Spelljammer.

Ravenloft is built on the back of I6 Ravenloft so again you are dependent on Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman getting jobs at TSR for that to happen.

Dark Sun is a funky idea, so who knows if Gary Gygax would have greenlighted it.

Planescape is a reworking of the 1e Manual of the Planes so it might well have happened. But it might have happened with different authors. Or 2e might have had a cut down Manual of the Planes hardback as a core book instead.

Birthright again, is a funky idea. Who knows how these ideas get to convince the people at the top that they are worth the investment. We know that Spelljammer, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Planescap and Birthright were economically viable now, but there was a time when someone had to fight to convince people that they were not nonsense.

Gary Gygax had said some stuff about alternative Oerths. It's just possible that TSR might have spent money developing one or more of the into a campaign setting. That hypothetical setting would need to occupy the slot of another TSR setting (in the production schedule).

nick_crenshaw82 wrote:
Big Mac wrote:You never know, maybe TSR might have ended up buy Wizards of the Coast, so that they could make D&D settings out of it. ;)

That could be interesting.


Oops. I meant TSR buying WotC, so that they could make D&D settings out of Magic: the Gathering. :oops:
Last edited by Big Mac on Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby willpell » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:02 pm

Big Mac wrote:Oops. I meant TSR buying WotC, so that they could make D&D settings out of Magic: the Gathering. :oops:


Which has finally happened...a little...very half-assedly.
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby nick_crenshaw82 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:33 am

Big Mac wrote:Maybe, but I doubt it.

Gary got kicked out of his own gameline and had to make things that did not infringe on TSR IP. He might have invented some rules similar to Lejendary Adventures and or Castles & Crusades. But he might also have kept large parts of 1st Edition. We will never really know...

...not unless one of his friends tells us what sort of system Gary used for his private Greyhawk games. There were a few folks that left TSR, after Gary Gygax got booted out, and went to help him set up New Infinities Productions Inc. Maybe they played D&D together. (I know that Frank Mentzer still plays using his BECMI rules that he wrote back at TSR. He is actually going to include BECMI stats in his new Empyrea product.)

I read about and it sounds like Gary got Brian Blume.

Big Mac wrote:S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks had science fiction spaceships in it, so Spelljammer could easily have been replaced with something that was a lot more like a D&D conversion of Star Frontiers.

If true that may be cool.

Big Mac wrote:If you get rid of either Forgotten Realms (which Jeff Grubb got TSR to buy in from Ed Greenwood) or Dragonlance (which Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman designed on the drive across America to get a job at TSR) then that would knock out a big part of what made Spelljammer.

What was Gary's opinion of Ed Greenwood? That could have an affect on if TSR buys the licensing right to the Forgotten Realms.

The Hickman's were hired by TSR in 1984. So the real question is would Gary have hired the Hickmans.
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby Big Mac » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:47 am

nick_crenshaw82 wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Maybe, but I doubt it.

Gary got kicked out of his own gameline and had to make things that did not infringe on TSR IP. He might have invented some rules similar to Lejendary Adventures and or Castles & Crusades. But he might also have kept large parts of 1st Edition. We will never really know...

...not unless one of his friends tells us what sort of system Gary used for his private Greyhawk games. There were a few folks that left TSR, after Gary Gygax got booted out, and went to help him set up New Infinities Productions Inc. Maybe they played D&D together. (I know that Frank Mentzer still plays using his BECMI rules that he wrote back at TSR. He is actually going to include BECMI stats in his new Empyrea product.)

I read about and it sounds like Gary got Brian Blume.


You might know more than me. I know that Gary retained the rights to Gord the Rogue and some rights to Greyhawk. I know that he renamed and rebooted things, that would have been put into TSR's Greyhawk, had he stayed.

I'm kind of less interested in TSR's intrernal politics, than the stuff that they published, but you really do need to have a general idea of both to work out what is going on with Greyhawk.

nick_crenshaw82 wrote:
Big Mac wrote:S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks had science fiction spaceships in it, so Spelljammer could easily have been replaced with something that was a lot more like a D&D conversion of Star Frontiers.

If true that may be cool.


It might have been cool.

I wouldn't be here, though. You would be having this conversation with my replacement geek. :P

nick_crenshaw82 wrote:
Big Mac wrote:If you get rid of either Forgotten Realms (which Jeff Grubb got TSR to buy in from Ed Greenwood) or Dragonlance (which Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman designed on the drive across America to get a job at TSR) then that would knock out a big part of what made Spelljammer.

What was Gary's opinion of Ed Greenwood? That could have an affect on if TSR buys the licensing right to the Forgotten Realms.

The Hickman's were hired by TSR in 1984. So the real question is would Gary have hired the Hickmans.


I'm not sure here, but I think that Dragonlance was rushed through to give the Forgotten Realms team more time to finish converting Ed Greenwood's work. And I suspect that both were published, so that Gary Gygax's name would not be on the campaign setting boxes.

Like I said, I'm not too interested in the politics, but if you could establish that Jeff Grubb got Forgotten Realms bought in to decrease dependency on Greyhawk and confirm if Dragonlance won it's slot as a stopgap measure (and then was cool enough to hang onto it) you would have a good idea of their possible existence in an alternative TSR, where Gary Gygax stayed.

Again, I probably wouldn't be here. I started playing D&D, during the 2nd Edition era, gave up and got pulled back in the 3rd Edition era. I initially didn't like the 3rd Edition rules, but was persuaded to play in a game specifically because it was a Forgotten Realms game. It's possible that I might have come back to play in an alternative 3rd Edition AD&D Greyhawk game, but without Spelljammer to keep my interest in D&D alive, I might have skipped it.
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby Angel Tarragon » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:21 am

Since Dragonlance deviated away from the D&D system to the SAGA system, I think assuredly that had TSR not brought it into the fold that another company might have, if not that then the Hickmans' might have developed their own role-playing system for the world.
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby Big Mac » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:27 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:Since Dragonlance deviated away from the D&D system to the SAGA system, I think assuredly that had TSR not brought it into the fold that another company might have, if not that then the Hickmans' might have developed their own role-playing system for the world.


SAGA came later, towards the end of TSR.

I think that TSR had forced out Tracey Hickman and Margaret Weiss at that point, but I'm not sure
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby Havard » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:18 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Angel Tarragon wrote:Since Dragonlance deviated away from the D&D system to the SAGA system, I think assuredly that had TSR not brought it into the fold that another company might have, if not that then the Hickmans' might have developed their own role-playing system for the world.


SAGA came later, towards the end of TSR.

I think that TSR had forced out Tracey Hickman and Margaret Weiss at that point, but I'm not sure


Yes. SAGA was an experiment from TSR sparked by the obsession with Cards spawned from the MtG craze, combined with storyteller inspiration from White Wolf and other companies. Sadly it was a mistake to marry SAGA with Dragonlance since DL was so deeply rooted in AD&D history and DL fans were not interested in this system. I think SAGA had enjoyed a greater success if it had been presented as an alternative system for every D&D world and not something that was going to "steal" DL away from AD&D fans.

Hickman left TSR in 1987. I believe Margaret Weis left around the same time. Both would return to write Dragons of Summer Flame, but I assume they were working as Freelancers then. SAGA was not really their project AFAIK.

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Re: A DnD What If

Postby Havard » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:25 pm

Big Mac wrote:
nick_crenshaw82 wrote:Would Gygax sell Dungeons and Dragons to Wizards of the Coast?


I believe that was a "white knight" deal, made to prevent the printing company that was attempting a hostile takeover from gaining control. So I don't think that would have happened unless Gary Gygax got into the same financial trouble that the post-Gygax TSR did.

You never know, maybe TSR might have ended up buy Wizards of the Coast, so that they could make D&D settings out of it. ;)


I am not an expert on Gary Gygax, but from all I have read, I don't think he was a particularly apt business man. He was a good game designer, a hard working person and incredibly productive for sure, but TSR was already in trouble back when he was running the company with the Blumes Brothers. That is why Gary brought in Lorraine Williams to help sort out the finances. Williams would later force Gygax out of the company, which is why she is often painted as a villain of this story, but she did manage to keep the company afloat for another decade.

If Gygax had not brought in Williams, I think TSR would have folded sooner, long before WotC had the finances to buy them out. Maybe D&D would have ended up in the hands of White Wolf, Chaosium, Avalon Hill, or someone else.

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Re: A DnD What If

Postby Angel Tarragon » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:50 pm

Havard wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Angel Tarragon wrote:Since Dragonlance deviated away from the D&D system to the SAGA system, I think assuredly that had TSR not brought it into the fold that another company might have, if not that then the Hickmans' might have developed their own role-playing system for the world.


SAGA came later, towards the end of TSR.

I think that TSR had forced out Tracey Hickman and Margaret Weiss at that point, but I'm not sure


Yes. SAGA was an experiment from TSR sparked by the obsession with Cards spawned from the MtG craze, combined with storyteller inspiration from White Wolf and other companies. Sadly it was a mistake to marry SAGA with Dragonlance since DL was so deeply rooted in AD&D history and DL fans were not interested in this system. I think SAGA had enjoyed a greater success if it had been presented as an alternative system for every D&D world and not something that was going to "steal" DL away from AD&D fans.

Hickman left TSR in 1987. I believe Margaret Weis left around the same time. Both would return to write Dragons of Summer Flame, but I assume they were working as Freelancers then. SAGA was not really their project AFAIK.

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Dragonlance wasn't the only SAGA project, as TSR had acquired the means to produce MARVEL SAGA.

And I am sure that I am not alone in not having been a huge fan of Dragonlance married to the AD&D rules-set. I quite like Dragonlance Saga. Aside from Dragonlance saga, the only AD&D Dragonlance product I was over the moon about was Time of the Dragon.
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby Havard » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:53 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:Dragonlance wasn't the only SAGA project, as TSR had acquired the means to produce MARVEL SAGA.


True. I never got to play MARVEL SAGA, but the game was published and apparently it implemented additional rules that many felt were an improvement to the version used for Dragonlance. I would have loved to see a 2nd edition of the fantasy version of the game as well. I still feel that the strong ties to between SAGA and Dragonlance hurt both SAGA and Dragonlance at that time.

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Re: A DnD What If

Postby willpell » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:20 pm

Havard wrote:Yes. SAGA was an experiment from TSR sparked by the obsession with Cards spawned from the MtG craze, combined with storyteller inspiration from White Wolf and other companies. Sadly it was a mistake to marry SAGA with Dragonlance since DL was so deeply rooted in AD&D history and DL fans were not interested in this system. I think SAGA had enjoyed a greater success if it had been presented as an alternative system for every D&D world and not something that was going to "steal" DL away from AD&D fans.

Hickman left TSR in 1987. I believe Margaret Weis left around the same time. Both would return to write Dragons of Summer Flame, but I assume they were working as Freelancers then. SAGA was not really their project AFAIK.

-Havard


I haven't heard about this SAGA thing. As a veteran cardflopper, I'm quite curious. Is there a Piazza topic that introduces the basics?
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby Havard » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:10 pm

willpell wrote:
Havard wrote:Yes. SAGA was an experiment from TSR sparked by the obsession with Cards spawned from the MtG craze, combined with storyteller inspiration from White Wolf and other companies. Sadly it was a mistake to marry SAGA with Dragonlance since DL was so deeply rooted in AD&D history and DL fans were not interested in this system. I think SAGA had enjoyed a greater success if it had been presented as an alternative system for every D&D world and not something that was going to "steal" DL away from AD&D fans.

Hickman left TSR in 1987. I believe Margaret Weis left around the same time. Both would return to write Dragons of Summer Flame, but I assume they were working as Freelancers then. SAGA was not really their project AFAIK.

-Havard


I haven't heard about this SAGA thing. As a veteran cardflopper, I'm quite curious. Is there a Piazza topic that introduces the basics?


Hi Will,
there is this thread, but I suppose it might not go into the basic details as much as you would be interested in. I would be glad to answer questions in that thread about those things though, if you have any.

There is also this thread where I argue that Cards add something important that replacing them with dice would remove.

Then there is this thread for using SAGA with Ravenloft and this thread for using SAGA with Taladas

-Havard

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Re: A DnD What If

Postby Silverblade-T-E » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:24 pm

Alien SPACE bats, not spiders, are what allow more fun alternate worlds to exist ;)
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby nick_crenshaw82 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:31 am

Havard wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Angel Tarragon wrote:Since Dragonlance deviated away from the D&D system to the SAGA system, I think assuredly that had TSR not brought it into the fold that another company might have, if not that then the Hickmans' might have developed their own role-playing system for the world.


SAGA came later, towards the end of TSR.

I think that TSR had forced out Tracey Hickman and Margaret Weiss at that point, but I'm not sure


Yes. SAGA was an experiment from TSR sparked by the obsession with Cards spawned from the MtG craze, combined with storyteller inspiration from White Wolf and other companies. Sadly it was a mistake to marry SAGA with Dragonlance since DL was so deeply rooted in AD&D history and DL fans were not interested in this system. I think SAGA had enjoyed a greater success if it had been presented as an alternative system for every D&D world and not something that was going to "steal" DL away from AD&D fans.

Hickman left TSR in 1987. I believe Margaret Weis left around the same time. Both would return to write Dragons of Summer Flame, but I assume they were working as Freelancers then. SAGA was not really their project AFAIK.

-Havard

I thought Spellfire was TSR's answer to MtG.
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby nick_crenshaw82 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:35 am

Havard wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
nick_crenshaw82 wrote:Would Gygax sell Dungeons and Dragons to Wizards of the Coast?


I believe that was a "white knight" deal, made to prevent the printing company that was attempting a hostile takeover from gaining control. So I don't think that would have happened unless Gary Gygax got into the same financial trouble that the post-Gygax TSR did.

You never know, maybe TSR might have ended up buy Wizards of the Coast, so that they could make D&D settings out of it. ;)


I am not an expert on Gary Gygax, but from all I have read, I don't think he was a particularly apt business man. He was a good game designer, a hard working person and incredibly productive for sure, but TSR was already in trouble back when he was running the company with the Blumes Brothers. That is why Gary brought in Lorraine Williams to help sort out the finances. Williams would later force Gygax out of the company, which is why she is often painted as a villain of this story, but she did manage to keep the company afloat for another decade.

If Gygax had not brought in Williams, I think TSR would have folded sooner, long before WotC had the finances to buy them out. Maybe D&D would have ended up in the hands of White Wolf, Chaosium, Avalon Hill, or someone else.

-Havard

Maybe if Gygax had a better partner than Brian Blume than Lorraine Williams wouldn't have had to be brought in in the first place.
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby nick_crenshaw82 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:37 am

Silverblade-T-E wrote:Alien SPACE bats, not spiders, are what allow more fun alternate worlds to exist ;)

You're absolutely right, my bad.
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby Havard » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:27 pm

nick_crenshaw82 wrote:Yes. SAGA was an experiment from TSR sparked by the obsession with Cards spawned from the MtG craze, combined with storyteller inspiration from White Wolf and other companies. Sadly it was a mistake to marry SAGA with Dragonlance since DL was so deeply rooted in AD&D history and DL fans were not interested in this system. I think SAGA had enjoyed a greater success if it had been presented as an alternative system for every D&D world and not something that was going to "steal" DL away from AD&D fans.

Hickman left TSR in 1987. I believe Margaret Weis left around the same time. Both would return to write Dragons of Summer Flame, but I assume they were working as Freelancers then. SAGA was not really their project AFAIK.

-Havard

I thought Spellfire was TSR's answer to MtG.[/quote]

That is correct. Spellfire was the direct response from TSR to MtG. They also did Dragon Dice which also attempted to capitalize on the collectible game concept, but with dice rather than cards.

SAGA was not a collectible cards game, but the incorporation of cards as the core mechanics of the game were clearly an attempt to attract a segment of the market that was fascinated with CCGs. I also think that this was partly responsible for a negative response from other groups of fans since the hobby was becoming increasingly polarized back then between AD&D fans <-->White Wolf fans <--> MtG fans. So it probably hurt SAGA as much as it may have helped it.

-Havard

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Re: A DnD What If

Postby Havard » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:33 pm

nick_crenshaw82 wrote:Maybe if Gygax had a better partner than Brian Blume than Lorraine Williams wouldn't have had to be brought in in the first place.


Well, D&D was clearly a successful product and quickly became an amazingly popular brand with BECMI D&D's Red Box in 1983 becoming one of TSR's most best selling products ever. So it is pretty amazing that the management kept screwing their investments up over and over again. You can blame the Blumes for this, or Williams or even Dave Arneson. But at some point you have to ask the question of whether Gary was responsible for at least some of the mess himself. Being a great game designer does not necessarily mean you are a great businessman or corporate leader it seems. I didn't know any of these people so I am a little reluctant to pass judgement over any of them.

-Havard

Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
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The Blackmoor Blog
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Re: A DnD What If

Postby nick_crenshaw82 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:12 am

Gygax's ideas on 2nd Edition Rules

I really love the Greyhawk Grognard blog not only for the above but aloso for his Beyond the Flannaess maps and for his placement of Aquaria
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