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Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by 7hm, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    That's a cardinal mistake than many RPGs do, they often don't get that the initial setting description with all its flavor is essential to what drew people in, but then changing that setting with various narrative cruft into something that feels inferior (original Shadowrun versus how it developed over time) makes people lose interest in the setting
     
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  2. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    TSR went under because of management, had nothing to do with product.

    Fun fact: around the time the Blumes departed TSR, they had roughly 90 relatives on TSR's payroll.
     
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  3. Thac0 Time Mage Patron

    Thac0
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    Das Schwarze Auge...
     
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  4. BruceVC Augur

    BruceVC
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    That is interesting and explains their financial woes, nepotism 101

    But on the other side of the coin TSR wasn't a listed company at the time, as far as I know, and you are allowed to hire family members because its your company ....you just need to ensure they competent
     
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  5. BruceVC Augur

    BruceVC
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    I just wanted to add I am really enjoying all this type of history about the much loved AD&D\D&D franchise that you and other members are sharing

    Some of the worlds after Forgotten Realms I bought and we played, I was the DM. So I know about Ravenloft and Planescape as I integrated them into the Forgotten Realms as alternative realms and in the case of Ravenloft I designed an adventure once where the party were banished to Ravenloft due to a Gate spell that went wrong. And they had to return to Waterdeep, it was great fun

    But I never designed games in any others like Dark Sun or Spelljammer

    And now I am thinking I can at least play the Gold Set PC games just to try to recapture the experience.....what do you guys think?
     
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  6. Mortmal Arcane

    Mortmal
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    You dont need our permission to play them , you dont even have to raise your finger to go pee.... That said those games only capture a very little part of darksun.
     
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  7. KeighnMcDeath RPG Codex Boomer

    KeighnMcDeath
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    Most people don't think of the other product Settings TSR dipped their hands into:

    Gangbusters
    TOP Secret
    Gamma World
    Metamorphosis Alpha
    Alternity
    Star Frontiers
    BOOT Hill
    Buck Rogers
    Marvel Superheroes
    Indiana Jones
    Lazer Tag
    Dragon Dice
    Conan
    Amazing Engine
    Board Games like Dungeon/Fantasy Forest etc
    Chainmail
    Spellfire card game and more.

    Wikipedia gives some (but i was part of the old Hobby Shop so lists there are cool
    TSR archives hits your major stuff (needs updating). I picked up these two products that had listings that started me checking off products as I found them
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Then searching and getting mail order catalogs. Good times.

    RPG.net
    TSR Archives
    Older TSR Archives
    The Acaeum for Collecting
    I got banned from Dragonsfoot for being a dick so... eh. They aren't so free willed as the codex. Call staff woke fuckers and you get banned.
    And more... just look around.
     
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  8. BruceVC Augur

    BruceVC
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    Yes I know I dont need your permission :D
    I meant what do you think of the actual games, Ravenloft vs Dark Sun for example. I have never played any Gold Set before . I realized I didnt explain it properly, my bad
     
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  9. Mortmal Arcane

    Mortmal
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    Those are completely different from gold box games , ravenloft is a real time dungeon crawler in 3D same for mezoberanzan and ravenloft: stone prohet , probably looking too dated now even if you use dosbox filters, it just looks bad on modern screens .. Darksun aged as poorly graphically but is a bit more evolved than forgotten realms gold box, a real turn based rpg .They were certainly fun in their time and i'd like to play something like that again with HD graphics .
     
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  10. Melan Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    Melan
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Strap Yourselves In
    Oh, it did, it did. It had everything to do with product, in the 1990s, at least. (By that time, the Blume relatives were long gone.)

    While TSR had decent success with its alt settings - they badly screwed up on their generic AD&D offerings. Since their offices were filled with wannabe failed novellists, most of them didn't want to write "vanilla" adventures, and when they were tasked to, they didn't have the right knowledge. The resulting adventures, many of them written by RPGA alumni (Jean and Jeff Rabe, and Douglas Niles, all talentless hacks), were dreadful garbage. Swamplight, Terrible Trouble at Tragidore, The Murky Deep, and their ilk are unimaginative, boring "cabinet contents" dungeons without the truly interesting encounter design and charismatic locales of the 1e era. I suspect they lost a lot of gamers because of that. I knew this stuff sucked when I was in my early teens. There were better modules in the late 1990s, but that's mostly after TSR's downfall and in the early Wizards of the Coast era. The early-to-mid 1990s were horrid.

    WRT the settings, Dark Sun, Ravenloft, and Planescape at least sold decently, and each had a small fan base - where they erred is that they started coming out with ultra-niche supplements like The Complete Sha'ir's Handbook, which were only bought by a small share of the niche. That's where they failed - these product lines started out promising, and were important in retaining slightly jaded gamers. It helps that they were written by people who were much more enthusiastic about their assignments than the new recruits in the Intern Pit who were told to crank out so many words in a certain amount of time. And who allegedly weren't allowed to playtest on company time.

    You can add to this failed entries into collective card games, the over-extension of the originally successful novel lines (sounds familiar?), shit like Dragonstrike!, and I suppose yeah, Lorraine really did funnel a lot of money into her own voluminous folds.
     
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  11. Fluent Augur Patron The Real Fanboy

    Fluent
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    Hey guys. BruceVC , u should really try Dark Sun: Shattered Lands sometime! I recently played thru it for the first time ever and had a blast, and I plan on importing my party into the 2nd Dark Sun game, Wake Of The Ravager. Also, Gold Box games are still great fun today, especially FRUA (Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures.) FRUA offers player-made campaigns from a selection of over 600 of them made, and more being made today as well. Check out Ray Dyer's stuff if u play FRUA, he has a whole level 1-to-epic level campaign thru many of his modules taking the same party thru the Adventure Path. Hope u enjoy! And if u have the bright type of imagination and love for the genre that I think u do, u should still really get a good time out of these older gems! Rock on. :)
     
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  12. mondblut Arcane

    mondblut
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    I think the common sentiment was that adventures, while needed to keep a game afloat, don't really sell? That's why WOTC came up with OGL, so that nameless niggers would slave away supporting WOTC's game with modules while WOTC rakes in the profits from core rules and splatbooks that sell much better than adventures.
     
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  13. KeighnMcDeath RPG Codex Boomer

    KeighnMcDeath
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    Terrible Trouble at Tragidore is the most AWESOME module EVER! I mean you lose your gear like Curse of Azure Bonds and Secret of the Silver Blades. Too awesome.

    eh.. if you sandbox and change it you can make use of the module. By itself, pretty weak. I don't recall if I bought Swamplight and such or just later acquired pdfs. TTAT came with a DM combat screen.

    It is funny no proper SSI to TSR PnP adaptation of Hillsfar, Pools of Darkness, Savage Frontier Games, the Dragonlance CRPGs to PnP, Secrets of the Silver Blades
    Show Spoiler
    (Vala is a dude)
    , etc.

    Do it yourself they say.

    OK.
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. LarryTyphoid Learned

    LarryTyphoid
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    lmao is this what eurofags actually believe?
     
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  15. Zed Duke of Banville Zo Kath Ra Patron

    Zed Duke of Banville
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    [​IMG]

    According to Jon Peterson, TSR had only 95 employees remaining by the time Gary Gygax returned to the positions of President and CEO of TSR on March 29, 1985. :MIIRC, aside from Brian Blume (TSR's Vice President from early on) and Kevin Blume (who joined TSR management in late 1976), they did eventually hire 1 or 2 other Blume brothers for lesser positions.
     
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  16. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    It was a very weird company... the only reason why we got Buck Rogers games was because Lorraine Willians, the president after Gygax, was heir to the Buck Rogers rights and wanted to shove the license everywhere.
     
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  17. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    The Buck Rogers RPG is actually pretty decent. The ruleset itself is basically AD&D with a skill system.
    Super soldiers, space opera, aliens, ...
    Probably a bit ahead of its time, might have actually been popular in the 00s.
     
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  18. Grampy_Bone Arcane

    Grampy_Bone
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    It's easy to understand that rulebooks sell more than modules when every player tends to buy a PHB but only one person needs to buy the adventure.

    The real problem was how haphazard they were. You could buy every module in 2e days and still have tons of gaps where you needed to make your own adventures, You constantly had to try to adapt a module for characters 3-4 levels lower or higher. One piece of shit overrated crap module is Ruins of Undermountain--three poster-sized maps of a dungeon and 90% of it is empty. "Fill it in yourself." FUCK YOU. What the fuck did I buy this for? Another crap ass adventure is Dragon Mountain. A whole dungeon filled with kobolds meant to be a level 15+ campaign? Are you insane? I tried running that once and even with gimping my players in all the ways it says (low ceilings, lol) I could never make a fight with kobolds a challenge for players with access to 8th level spells.

    Despite 20+ years of publishing TSR never quite figured out how to make a campaign, with a few exceptions. Presenting the greatest D&D module product of all time:

    [​IMG]

    It doesn't have an impressive story or super tricky dungeons. What it has is content, and a shitload of it. This box lets you run a full game from levels 1-15. Awesome. It's a steal at any price.

    It wasn't until Paizo made their adventure paths that anyone realized the real sales potential here. THE biggest obstacle to playing PnP is getting someone willing to generate content. It's hard and takes a fuckton of time. It's why I finally had to quit. Making adventures you can just buy and run forever should have been the norm 20 years ago.
     
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  19. Morpheus Kitami Arbiter

    Morpheus Kitami
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    The Ravenloft games are from my brief recollections, in the same vein as the first two Elder Scrolls games or maybe Ultima Underworld. Those awkward years for RPGs where first-person ones weren't Dungeon Master-clones (like Eye of the Beholder and Dungeon Hack) or true 3D games. The environments are 3D, but all the characters are 2D sprites. Expect unusual controls, and both the engine and the things it depicts are likely to break at some point during gameplay. If those are things you'll be likely to mind, you probably won't have a good time.
     
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  20. KeighnMcDeath RPG Codex Boomer

    KeighnMcDeath
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    Slayer & Death Keep might be almost considered the Dungeon Hack versions of the Ravenloft/Menzo games. I mean that pretty loosely.

    The Undermountain CRPG was a mess. It could have had potential but was bungled up. I saw a damn fast speed run by exploiting its errors.

    I know more than a few UNDERMOUNTAIN fans that wouldn't take kindly to saying Ruins of Undermountain was shit. My beef with tsr is they never initially finished it and there's some good lore about the construction of the module that almost wasn't (RoU).

    NOTE: ROU II and the space module was a bit terrible tbh. Past all that... 3.5e/4e/5e meh. A good DM will construct something from what is available. RoU is going to be a bit of a sandbox imho if you want to. Lots to develope. Fill it up add more. I'd done such with nothing but the three books PHB/DMG/MM.
     
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  21. Zed Duke of Banville Zo Kath Ra Patron

    Zed Duke of Banville
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    In regard to TSR's ultimate demise, this had little relation to its earlier troubles in the period 1983-1985, since the drastic slashing of its employee payrolls combined with the success of certain products to turn around the financial situation in 1986. The subsequent focus on campaign setting materials and on novels tied to these settings greatly improved TSR's finances even further.

    [​IMG]


    Ultimately, TSR made a number of mistakes that led to a financial crisis at the end of 1996 and the demise of the company in 1997, and it isn't possible to completely separate management decisions from problems with the products being offered:
    • As much as we love many of the D&D/AD&D-licensed games developed by SSI, sales were ultimately disappointing, which led to TSR severing its exclusive relationship with SSI in 1994 and making a deal with Interplay to develop games in the Forgotten Realms and Planescape campaign settings. A variety of opportunities were missed not only for CRPGs but for other genres of games, both on computer and on consoles, which could not only have increased SSI's sales (and TSR's payments therefrom) but also brought new gamers into D&D/AD&D.
    • Although campaign setting material was generally quite successful for TSR, even as they released a multitude of new settings, as discussed previously they couldn't resist damaging several of the settings by advancing their timeline in order to incorporate events in novels and modules as canon to the settings, and also published some hyper-niche material that can't have sold well.
    • For its conventional settings, TSR focused on boosting the new Forgotten Realms setting over Greyhawk and Dragonlance, leading to Greyhawk's cancellation in 1994 and Dragonlance's near-demise as a setting for gaming (as opposed to yet more novels). Even the Known World / Mystara D&D setting was eventually destroyed via a botched attempt to shift it to AD&D in 1994.
    • Some of its unconventional settings sold poorly, although TSR did terminate these lines rather than continue to lose money (Spelljammer and Al-Qadim in 1994).
    • There were diminishing returns to publishing ever more optional rules books, e.g. The Complete Fighter's Handbook was destined to sell much better than The Complete Paladin's Handbook, much less The Complete Spacefarer's / Gladiator's / Sha'ir's Handbook.
    • A certain collectible card game that shall remain nameless became a popular fad and took much business away from TSR, which was slow to release its own competitor.
    • TSR's publishing department thrived for years by releasing trilogy after trilogy, novel after novel, in the expanding number of settings (though especially for Dragonlance and the Forgotten Realms). However, the average quality of these novels dropped rapidly at first and then continued declining, while the annual number of new releases continued to increase. This eventually led to losses from returns, which TSR postponed via an arrangement with its distributor Random House, but the accumulated bill was finally called in 1996, precipitating a financial crisis so severe at the end of the year that it halted all further publishing, even of gaming material.
     
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  22. Darth Canoli Arcane

    Darth Canoli
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    That's some "family business" they had there...


    I disagree about Dark Sun: Shattered Lands, it's very good and didn't age at all, actual "retro-looking" games look way worse because they can mimic the style but not the art direction nor their soul.

    Also, the only think Dark Sun: Shattered Lands would need is a hex grid and an isometric view to make the combat less messy.
     
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  23. Fowyr Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Fowyr
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    Goldboxes are must play games. Dark Sun as well. Ravenlofts - only if you like the Dungeon Master clones.
     
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  24. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    Buck Rogers games are the best Gold Box games and I refuse to acknowledge anyone who disagrees
     
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  25. Fowyr Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Fowyr
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    No. Best Gold Boxes are
    1) Pool of Radiance
    2) Death Knights of Krynn
    3) Countdown to Doomsday
    4) Gateway to the Savage Frontier
    Still, Countdown to Doomsday was very fine (albeit short) game with a great character system and funny space battles.
    BruceVC
    Don't rate my posts "participation award", son, and play Dark Sun and PoR instead. If I say that something is a must play, it's a fucking must play, I played and finished all of these games.
    I expect you here or in the appropriate threads with questions like "Where should I start in GB?" and "What party is best in Dark Sun?"
     
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