WotC "Named After a Campaign"
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  1. #1
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    WotC "Named After a Campaign"

    In the recent Dungeon Index at wizards.com (behind the paywall), Chris Perkins states "Did you know that Wizards of the Coast was named after a D&D campaign? I didn’t know that ’til I read it in Dungeon magazine."

    Does anyone know the story or the issue in which this factoid is mentioned? Chris doesn't elaborate.
    Last edited by TarionzCousin; Wednesday, 4th April, 2012 at 02:46 AM. Reason: Weird space in the formatting: deleted.

  2. #2
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    I think it was a Forgotte Realms (Sword Coast?) campaign, possibly DMed by Peter Adkinson (the founder of WotC).

    I'd love to hear more about the campaign though, if anyone has details...

    -Havard

  3. #3
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    Yeah, it was Adkison's campaign. That's all I remember about it.

    (And no, I'm not saying I was there. I'm saying that's all I remember hearing about it. Mhjafh.)
    Last edited by jonesy; Tuesday, 3rd April, 2012 at 03:12 PM. Reason: oobelgoobel

  4. #4
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    Here's the story of how Wizards of the Coast got it's name, which of course is intertwined with the story of the inception of the company itself.

    My early days of D&D were in the late 70's and early 80's in Walla Walla, Washington. One of the legendary campaigns of the region was a world called Taragarden GM'ed by a guy named Butch Van Dyke. I played in this game from time to time along with a number of friends but the ones who pertain to this story were Terry Campbell, Darrell Judd, and Ken McGlothlen.

    One day we were at Darrell's apartment and Terry had just purchased a Judges Guild boxed set called the City State of the Invincible Overlord (or something like that) and we were oo-ing and ah-ing over it when Terry planted the seed of starting a game company someday when he said, "We could start a game company and publish something like this!" And almost immediately Darrell suggested we name the company "Wizards of the Coast" after a mage guild in Butch's campaign that we all thought was really cool. I don't really know why, the name just had a certain panache, partly I'm sure because of how Butch played the guild as quite exclusive, powerful, and sophisticated.

    In the space of about 10 minutes we all agreed that it was a great idea to start a game company and call it Wizards of the Coast but that we should probably wait until we finished school. My best guess is that this conversation took place around 1980.

    Neither Darrell or Terry took the notion too seriously, but Ken and I did. From time to time we would create something random and put "Wizards of the Coast" on it. I self-published a mass combat system for D&D called "Castles and Conquest" in the early 80's, and Ken put the name on a graphic design he did for a wedding invitation. For the next decade we used the name as if it meant something, and it did to us of course.

    In 1990 I was sitting in my cubicle at Boeing typing with Ken on telnet when I typed, "We should start Wizards of the Coast for real." There was a long silence, to which he replied, "You're serious, aren't you?"

    --Peter

  5. #5
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    Also, thanks Mark for pointing out this opportunity to tell the story. :-)

    --Peter

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterAdkison View Post
    One day we were at Darrell's apartment and Terry had just purchased a Judges Guild boxed set called the City State of the Invincible Overlord
    You wouldn't happen to remember if it was the version with Approved for Dungeons and Dragons on the cover, or the one with Endorsed by Dave Arneson? I've been wondering if that was the only difference between the two.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterAdkison View Post
    Also, thanks Mark for pointing out this opportunity to tell the story. :-)

    --Peter

    You're welcome. Thanks for popping in to elaborate. It's always fun for me to hear about the behind the scenes stuff, especially naming conventions.


    Quote Originally Posted by PeterAdkison View Post
    For the next decade we used the name as if it meant something, and it did to us of course.

    Hmm, Founded in Dec 2001. Yup, I've been using Creative Mountain Games like that for about a decade too!

  8. #8
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    Cool. I'm glad I asked.

    Thanks Peter & Mark.

    Also, Peter, it's a good thing you moved to Seattle, because Walla Walla is not on the coast.

  9. #9
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    Jonesy, sorry I don't recall. The module was purchased by Terry and I only glanced at it.

    TarionzCousin, Yeah, it was funny that we were thinking of ourselves as living on the coast years before we actually moved to Seattle. But we knew it was only a matter of time!

    --Peter

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterAdkison View Post
    TarionzCousin, Yeah, it was funny that we were thinking of ourselves as living on the coast years before we actually moved to Seattle. But we knew it was only a matter of time!
    You could have founded "Wizards of the Onions."

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