[podcast] Plot Points seminar on TSR West

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Big Mac
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[podcast] Plot Points seminar on TSR West

Post by Big Mac » Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:35 pm

I'd not heard of Plot Points, until yesterday, when I saw Paul Westermeyer commenting on something he heard about James Lowder's involvements in the Spelljammer novels in one of their shows.

Later in the same show, Wildspace the lost TSR TV show was mentioned along with TSR West. No actual details, just a mention...and the promise that "they had done TSR West to try to get people interested in Wildspace and that had failed". The story of TSR West was said to be a story that noone knows about, and noone cares about yet, but god once they hear it they are going to be like 'that's amazing'!"

When I went to the Plot Poinnts Website they had an entire show on TSR West, called: The Hope & Tragedy of TSR West Seminar Gen Con 2019- Ep. 155. Here is the show blurb:
Ben Riggs at Plot Points wrote:TSR West was an attempt by TSR to break into the comic book industry. How and why didn't it work out? A seminar from Gen Con 2019.

Ben’s book on RPG adventure design, Encounter Theory, is on DriveThruRPG. Click here to pick up this essential volume!

Like Plot Points? Support it on Patreon at the $2 level, and you’ll get a sneak peek into Ben’s book about the sale of TSR to Wizards of the Coast! This chapter concerns TSR West, an effort by TSR to open an LA office devoted to producing comic books, an effort that failed rather impressively. It is the product of a dozen interviews with professionals from comics, gaming, and Hollywood, and as far as I can reckon, it is a tale entirely untold until now.

Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast.

Theme music courtesy 50 Breaks.
I've listened to the show and there is no information on Wildspace, but finding out that TSR West was legally prohibited to produce Dungeons & Dragons comics...and finding out that TSR West decided to sell "comics that were not legally comics" is kind of mind blowing.
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Re: [podcast] Plot Points seminar on TSR West

Post by RobJN » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:36 pm

I don’t remember hearing Spelljammer reference except maybe something about a DC comic..?

And yes, TSR west sounded like a total train wreck, from how Riggs discussed it
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Re: [podcast] Plot Points seminar on TSR West

Post by Havard » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:56 pm

I like the Plot Points podcast. I've done quite a bit of research on TSR West myself. I will see if I can dig it up.

The connection between TSR West Coast and Spelljammer IIRC mainly comes from the never published Wildspace Board Game.

It is unclear to me whether the removal of James Lowder from the Spelljammer Cloakmaster novel series had anything to do with TSR West or its CEO Flint Dille?

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Re: [podcast] Plot Points seminar on TSR West

Post by Big Mac » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:48 pm

RobJN wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:36 pm
I don’t remember hearing Spelljammer reference except maybe something about a DC comic..?

And yes, TSR west sounded like a total train wreck, from how Riggs discussed it
TSR West were trying to launch a live-action TV show called Wildspace. A press release posted on the SJML, back in 1994 promised 22 one hour episodes of Wildspace, along with an interactive theme park event. That press release came from TSR in Lake Geneva, but I think it was pushing the work of TSR West, as Flint Dille was mentioned.
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Re: [podcast] Plot Points seminar on TSR West

Post by Big Mac » Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:06 pm

Havard wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:56 pm
I like the Plot Points podcast. I've done quite a bit of research on TSR West myself. I will see if I can dig it up.

The connection between TSR West Coast and Spelljammer IIRC mainly comes from the never published Wildspace Board Game.
I know that TSR West was connected to the Wildspace TV show bid. And that seems to be connected to the Wildspace theme park event.

But I don't know if the Spelljammer simulator ride that Alain Larose created music and sound effects for, was something intended for use in the "theme park event" that was announced by TSR in 1994.
Havard wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:56 pm
It is unclear to me whether the removal of James Lowder from the Spelljammer Cloakmaster novel series had anything to do with TSR West or its CEO Flint Dille?
Sorry. My bad. No connection there. That's just what was in the other topic that made me look for another Plot Points video about TSR West (hoping for information about Wildspace).

This video is almost entirely about how TSR West was TSR trying to take on DC Comics (while avoiding getting sued for breeching their contract with DC Comics).

The plan to avoid creating comics using D&D worlds licenced to DC Comics seems a bit odd, to say the least.

But, then again, Wizards of the Coast did recently hire James Ohlen to open an Austin studio that will make computer games that have nothing to do with either Magic: The Gathering or Dungeonns & Dragons.

So it seems like WotC is in the "invent us some new IP" business too.
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