James Lowder & the Cloakmaster series

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GMWestermeyer
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James Lowder & the Cloakmaster series

Post by GMWestermeyer » Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:36 pm

Most of this podcast is about TSR's contracts with Random House and the possible Tolkien RPG that people had been discussing. But James lowder emntions something in passing that I thought Spelljammer fans would be interested in. Basically, he says that he was responsible for the series plot of the six Spelljammer novels, the Cloakmaster series. Though he does say some other person, whose name i didn't catch, took the seires over.

I'm not sure I had ever heard that before, and I wonder if anyone knows ofan intervciew with James Lowder where he discusses that?

https://player.fm/series/plot-points/de ... tsr-ep-161

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Re: James Lowder & the Cloakmaster series

Post by Havard » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:29 pm

Interesting find! James Lowder is on FB, so maybe someone could contact him there and ask him about it?

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Re: James Lowder & the Cloakmaster series

Post by Nate Christen » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:22 pm

I'm especially interested to know about the change of author for the last book and how that affected the overall storyline.

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Re: James Lowder & the Cloakmaster series

Post by Big Mac » Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:06 am

GMWestermeyer wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:36 pm
Most of this podcast is about TSR's contracts with Random House and the possible Tolkien RPG that people had been discussing. But James lowder emntions something in passing that I thought Spelljammer fans would be interested in. Basically, he says that he was responsible for the series plot of the six Spelljammer novels, the Cloakmaster series. Though he does say some other person, whose name i didn't catch, took the seires over.

I'm not sure I had ever heard that before, and I wonder if anyone knows ofan intervciew with James Lowder where he discusses that?

https://player.fm/series/plot-points/de ... tsr-ep-161
Thanks for posting this. I've never seen Plot Points before, but it sounds pretty interesting. If Ben Riggs is writing a book about the TSR takeover by Wizards of the Coast and has done over 160 interviews (and released them) it's probably going to be a highly detailed book.

00:28:40 to 00:28:58 is the bit people need to listen to.

Eric Stevenson or Severson is the person who took over the Cloakmaster Cycle. James Lowder came up with the overall plot arc. I always felt that it zigged and zagged a bit, and I've seen people suggest that authors were tossing out the characters of other authors, but perhaps they were following the direction of James Lowder, rather than ignoring the work of previous authors.

00:47:50 there is a mention of TSR West and the Wildspace plan. There are no details...but they say that nobody cares about this, but when the details come out, everyone is going to want to talk about it.
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Re: James Lowder & the Cloakmaster series

Post by Big Mac » Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:23 am

Nate Christen wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:22 pm
I'm especially interested to know about the change of author for the last book and how that affected the overall storyline.
James Lowder didn't write any of the Cloakmaster Cycle novels. I think that he was going to be the editor of all the Cloakmaster Cycle novels...and then had to pass it over to Eric Stevenson after he had already done the initial planning.

I know the last book in the Cloakmaster Cycle has more of an infodump feel to it than the earlier books. The factlets there are all awesome, but they seem like they are crammed in (as if earlier authors had not got everything in the writers bible into the story and someone upstairs wanted to make sure the fans got to see all of the plot points that would "pay off" the fans that wanted to know where the story was going).

The second half of book five also feels a bit different from the first half, so I wonder if James Lowder ran the Cloakmaster Cycle for four and a half novels and Eric Stevenson ran it for the last one and a half novels. :?

EDIT: I'd love to know exactly what James Lowder's role was here. I know how to read a novel, and I know the storyline pretty well, but there must have been someone commssioning artists and authors and making sure that the books were put together and sent to the printers. Would James Lowder have tabled big meetings with all the creative team for the Cloakmaster Cycle or contacted everyone individually and weaved it all together.

Was it James Lowder's job to connect each novel to the next one (and push the two authors to a common point) or did the authors do that between themselves?

And how far did James get into the process before handing over to Eric? Did Eric have a full plan or did he have to get the novel cover design or paintings sorted out?
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Re: James Lowder & the Cloakmaster series

Post by Big Mac » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:15 am

Big Mac wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:23 am
I'd love to know exactly what James Lowder's role was here.
James Lowder was kind enough to post some details on his role in the Cloakmaster Cycle novels:
James Lowder talking to The Piazza wrote:Indeed. I was originally designated as the line editor for the Spelljammer fiction. The project initially required a lot of interaction with the game material and I was the most active game designer/gamer in the book department at the time. (In fact, I think I have a developer credit in the original Spelljammer RPG boxed set.) I came up with the basic conceit for the series, but my schedule did not allow me to continue on the line--it may have been me being assigned the Dark Sun fiction line--so Eric Severson took over.
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