Gygax Magazine to cease publication
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  • Gygax Magazine to Cease Publication


    The following email just went out to subscribers of Gygax Magazine. It confirms that the magazine is to cease publication following the recent trademark dispute with Gail Gygax and the withdrawal of Luke and Ernie Gygax from the magazine. The company, TSR, however, will continue to produce RPG products, including some adventures and a new espionage roleplaying game.



    "As you may have heard, Gygax Magazine has been in a trademark dispute, which we're glad to have settled. However, Luke & Ernie Gygax have decided to withdraw for business reasons. We're all still good friends and support each other, but as a result, we've decided that we will no longer publish Gygax Magazine. Without any Gygaxes involved, it wouldn't be right to continue it. This was a very difficult decision, and we're so sorry to have to see it end. But there's good news, too. We've got great new products coming out in 2016, and I'm very excited about what the coming year looks like.

    As a subscriber, you will get credit in the store for any TSR products, including any back issues of Gygax Magazine you might have missed out on. Your credit will be based on the number of issues remaining in your subscription, you'll get an email next week with your credit balance and how to spend it."


    They then go on to outline that they're about to release a number of other products, including a series of digest-sized adventures for multiple RPG systems, a 5E adventure by Frank Mentzer, and an as-yet unnamed new espionage RPG (currently using the internal code name Acrid Herald) by Merle Rasmussen. There's also a new TSR Podcast Network, which has two new shows: Cube of Death and Game School.

    While the new products sound exciting, it's still very sad that such a promising magazine has folded after just a few issues.

    Here's the rest of the email:

    "Hi, it's Jayson from TSR Games. I'm writing to you because you're a subscriber to Gygax Magazine.


    As you may have heard, Gygax Magazine has been in a trademark dispute, which we're glad to have settled. However, Luke & Ernie Gygax have decided to withdraw for business reasons. We're all still good friends and support each other, but as a result, we've decided that we will no longer publish Gygax Magazine. Without any Gygaxes involved, it wouldn't be right to continue it. This was a very difficult decision, and we're so sorry to have to see it end. But there's good news, too. We've got great new products coming out in 2016, and I'm very excited about what the coming year looks like.


    As a subscriber, you will get credit in the store for any TSR products, including any back issues of Gygax Magazine you might have missed out on. Your credit will be based on the number of issues remaining in your subscription, you'll get an email next week with your credit balance and how to spend it.


    So let's talk about the fun stuff! We've got a new series of adventures called The Pantheon Series, a module from Frank Mentzer, a new RPG from Merle Rasmussen, and a brand new podcast network.


    Here's what's we're up to:


    The Pantheon Series


    First, the Pantheon Series. We’re releasing a series of digest-sized adventure modules for multiple RPG systems. We’re calling it the Pantheon Series, because together they represent a pantheon of great game systems. They’re digest sized, in a nod to the original formats from the 1970s, and for great portability. Each adventure includes a large fold-out map, so GMs don’t have to keep flipping back and forth during the game. We’ll be bringing out a new adventure in the Patheon Series every month, starting in February. We're starting with adventures from Gygax Magazine, and there are several brand new adventures coming soon after. The first four are shown below — and they’re only $5 each.


    Trouble at IronGarde Watch


    Next, we'll be releasing the first of our full-length adventure modules for 5E Dungeons & Dragons. It's kicking off with a brand new adventure from Frank Mentzer, Trouble at IronGarde Watch.

    Written with James Carpio, it contains three scenarios, taking the players on a thrilling journey to uncover a cultist conspiracy through dwarven outposts, lost temples, and a terrible monster's lair.


    Code Name: ACRID HERALD


    Finally, our biggest product on the way is a brand new RPG!


    Merle Rasmussen, creator of Top Secret, has teamed up with his original conspirator Allen Hammack, as well as James Carpio and Chad Parish, to create an all-new espionage game for the new millennium.


    It's still unnamed, so for now we're using its internal code name: Acrid Herald.


    Currently in playtesting, it will be played in public for the first time at GaryCon this March. The final version will be unveiled soon afterward, in a boxed set with introductory missions for players.


    This isn't the real box yet, but here's a sneak peek:


    TSR Podcast Network


    And finally, how about something for free?


    We recently launched the TSR Podcast Network, and we've got two great shows you can get for free through your favorite podcast app.


    Cube of Death is a quiz show, and a dungeon crawl in one. Every episode features contestants trying to survive dark and perilous encounters, defeating monsters & traps (and sometimes each other) by answering questions about sci-fi, fantasy, and nerdy pop culture trivia.


    Game School features hosts Satine Phoenix (I Hit it With My Axe) and Chad Parish (Dead Games Society), as they learn a new RPG for every show, with the help of the game's creators. It's fast-paced, fun, and features actual-play encounters every time.


    There are already over 20 episodes released between both shows, so head over to TSRPN.com and listen now!


    Thank you for being a TSR customer, and sticking with us as we grow. I'm looking forward to a great year in 2016!"
    Comments 25 Comments
    1. JeffB's Avatar
      JeffB -
      Sad. But not surprising once Gail stomped all over it.

      Looking forward to the adventures.
    1. darjr's Avatar
      darjr -
      http://gameschool.tsrpn.com

      http://cubeofdeath.tsrpn.com

      This is sad. Here to their new products. I've linked the two mentioned podcasts above. Didn't know about these and they seem to have been going a while.
    1. Boneguard -
      It's unfirtunate about the magazine, but considering the whole legal issues they faced...completely crazy if you ask me...I cannot fault them.

      Quote Originally Posted by Alzrius View Post
      including a series of digest-sized adventures for multiple RPG systems
      Depending on the RPG systems used that could prove interesting. Hopefully they'll have something to satisfy old school gamers like me who didn't get into the newer stuff.


      Quote Originally Posted by Alzrius View Post
      [snip] and an as-yet unnamed new espionage RPG (currently using the internal code name Acrid Herald) by Merle Rasmussen.
      His "Top Secret" RPG (the original one) was quite fun to play, are we looking into somethnig completely new or a new Top Secret edition?.
    1. trancejeremy's Avatar
      trancejeremy -
      I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did, to be honest. It was a good magazine though.
    1. Olaf the Stout -
      I bought the first 4 issues of Gygax Magazine (second-hand, but unread) and was a little underwhelmed to be honest. The magazine struck me very much as a magazine struggling to figure out what it was trying to focus on and, as a result, seemed very disjointed.
    1. delericho's Avatar
      delericho -
      A shame, but not a surprise. And, as they say, with no Gygaxes working on the magazine it was probably the right decision.
    1. TerraDave's Avatar
      TerraDave -
      And just as the OGL could have opened some things up for them....oh well.


      Look forward to their new endeavors.
    1. buda's Avatar
      buda -
      Nothing like getting sued by your mom to take the wind out of your sails.
    1. darjr's Avatar
      darjr -
      She isn't their mom.
    1. msmaenza's Avatar
      msmaenza -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boneguard View Post

      His "Top Secret" RPG (the original one) was quite fun to play, are we looking into somethnig completely new or a new Top Secret edition?.

      I was able to play test a portion of this system. It is different from Top Secret with completely different mechanics. It was interesting and had some elements that I have not seen in other espionage RPGs. That's about all I can say.
    1. ExTSR's Avatar
      ExTSR -
      I think it's sad that a magazine with a variety of games and gamer interests was (oft) criticized for not 'focusing.' I deserve the same criticism, as I play all sorts of games. A soloist can be nice for a single concert, but I prefer a full ensemble in the long term.
    1. Zarithar's Avatar
      Zarithar -
      As others have stated... Sad but not surprising. I really enjoyed it while it lasted though.
    1. neuronphaser's Avatar
      neuronphaser -
      Quote Originally Posted by darjr View Post
      http://gameschool.tsrpn.com

      http://cubeofdeath.tsrpn.com

      This is sad. Here to their new products. I've linked the two mentioned podcasts above. Didn't know about these and they seem to have been going a while.
      I had no idea they were doing these projects, and perhaps somewhat ironically, I'm pretty sure they are based relatively near me, so it's like I have all the reasons to know about it, but didn't! Doh!

      While I prefer video as opposed to audio/podcast format for gaming stuff, it's nice to see TSR are tackling more than just printing gaming material, and are reaching out through multiple media forms to do fun stuff.
    1. Jiggawatts's Avatar
      Jiggawatts -
      Is the damn statue ever going to be built?? It seems ridiculous that its taken this long. Instead of suing your sons-in-law how about you get on top of that, Gail.
    1. JohnRTroy's Avatar
      JohnRTroy -
      Quote Originally Posted by buda View Post
      Nothing like getting sued by your mom to take the wind out of your sails.
      Quote Originally Posted by darjr View Post
      She isn't their mom.
      And I should point out that she never engaged in a lawsuit. These are the facts that occurred.

      In 2012 Gygax Magazine was announced with a press release, and Gail immediately responded regarding the trademark with her own press release.

      Curiously, for all the prep work done for the magazine, there was never a filing of "intent to use" with the USPTO. That's a huge red flag. Why didn't TSR register the trademark in advance? That's business rule #1. Even when the first issue was released they didn't register an "in use" trademark. That's really a poor business decision...unless there was more going on behind the scenes. If you read Jayson Elliot's interview in the examiner, it appears he was talking to Gail, stating the following:

      "No. I talked to her before we did this. Gail Gygax has been very nice this whole time. She and I have been talking all through this process. I'm hoping she'll be involved in a material way, but whether she is or isn't, she has been really supportive. Gail wants what's best for Gary's legacy and for the gaming industry as a whole." This leads me to suspect there were some behind the scenes discussions, although considering what happened I'm not sure that quote is 100% accurate regarding Gail's feelings. Again, there's probably a lot more to the negotiations and disputes that the public was lead to believe.

      Then Gail registered several trademarks related to Gygax in the fields Gary was famous for.

      It was actually TSR that initiated legal action in the form of registering an Motion to Oppose Gail's attempts to trademark. (I believe they might have tried later to register before that but were rejected because Gail's application beat theirs) If you review the Trademark action board status, they filed first--and this is not a lawsuit at all, but more of an administrative legal action. It was scheduled for depositions and hearings, but this is not a trial or a lawsuit. While I'm sure there were legal fees on both sides, none of this would count as litigation, at least when it comes to trademark arbitration. Although to be really technical, if any legal action was initiated, it was on TSR's end.

      According to TEAS, the parties negotiated for several months, then the decision was made to acknowledge Gail as the legal owner of Trademarks regarding the term "Gygax". For whatever reason, the Gygax Brothers decided to step down rather than accept the terms (which we don't have a record of).

      While it's regrettable that there's a rift between family members, the simple fact is Gary chose to leave all his IP and inheritance to Gail and not to any of his Children (and the sons were not very involved directly in Gary's publishing works post TSR), and while I think we all wish they could get along, the simple fact is I think you have to respect Gail's rights when it comes to trademarking the "Gygax" surname when it comes to RPGs. If another party got those rights, it could make it harder for her to publish Gary's work. This doesn't limit the children from using their own names, as long as it's identified clearly "Luke/Ernie Gygax", same font size for both parts, indication as author, etc.

      This ended as I expected it to. I think they should have used the term "Drake, Wyvern, Wyrm" for the mag and if they wanted to advertise the Gygax's, say "Luke and Ernie Gygax Present" or heck, trademark "Gygax Brothers" as a term.

      Quote Originally Posted by Jiggawatts View Post
      Is the damn statue ever going to be built?? It seems ridiculous that its taken this long. Instead of suing your sons-in-law how about you get on top of that, Gail.
      Memorials take a long time...first of all most of the donations didn't arrive from WoTC until 2012-2013, and there's a lot of negotiations over location (Dorian Park seems to be on a wetlands and I see a lot of red tape involved. My Dad was on a committee to get a Vietnam Memorial built in the town and it took 6+ years to finish.
    1. chibi graz'zt's Avatar
      chibi graz'zt -
      Unfortunate, sometimes family and business are a combustible combination.
    1. JeffB's Avatar
      JeffB -
      Quote Originally Posted by ExTSR View Post
      I think it's sad that a magazine with a variety of games and gamer interests was (oft) criticized for not 'focusing.' I deserve the same criticism, as I play all sorts of games. A soloist can be nice for a single concert, but I prefer a full ensemble in the long term.
      Thanks for the effort on the magazine Frank. Can you tell us anything about your 5e adventure?
    1. ExTSR's Avatar
      ExTSR -
      Quote Originally Posted by JeffB View Post
      Can you tell us anything about your 5e adventure?
      Sure. First, it's not mine. Perhaps Jayson wanted to splash an olde name in his promo; Tim Kask has been active with the magazine, but he's moving on as well, so...

      I'm contributing a town to an adventure James Carpio wrote a few years ago. Real good adventure with setting, and given the shiny new OGL for 5, it's time to act. I'm using the Hommlet 'model' to develop a convoluted Gygaxian web of clues and enticements in town leading to different adventure 'paths' (the current vernacular iirc).

      So let's give credit where it's due, and anticipate more great stuff from Jayson and James and others at the New TSR.

      Frank

      * ps: Gail, don't bother to sue me for using the term "Gygaxian". I can prove in court that it's been in common usage, appearing in printed products for at least 25 years (prior use that you omitted from your claim in the filing).
    1. darjr's Avatar
      darjr -
      Gygaxian!
    1. JeffB's Avatar
      JeffB -
      Quote Originally Posted by ExTSR View Post
      Sure. First, it's not mine. Perhaps Jayson wanted to splash an olde name in his promo; Tim Kask has been active with the magazine, but he's moving on as well, so...

      I'm contributing a town to an adventure James Carpio wrote a few years ago. Real good adventure with setting, and given the shiny new OGL for 5, it's time to act. I'm using the Hommlet 'model' to develop a convoluted Gygaxian web of clues and enticements in town leading to different adventure 'paths' (the current vernacular iirc).

      So let's give credit where it's due, and anticipate more great stuff from Jayson and James and others at the New TSR.

      Frank

      * ps: Gail, don't bother to sue me for using the term "Gygaxian". I can prove in court that it's been in common usage, appearing in printed products for at least 25 years (prior use that you omitted from your claim in the filing).
      Thanks for the FYI, Frank!
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