Evil Genius Games bleeding personnel?

Meech17

WotC President Runner-Up.
Um, actually . . .

They screwed up their relationship with Salvatore first, which then resulted in WotC commissioning Anthony to write (and finish) "The Shores of Dusk". Anthony's Dark Elf novel got canned because they repaired their relationship with Salvatore.

I've always wanted to read that "alternate history" Dark Elf novel . . . I've also felt bad for the guy (Anthony), to be this close to getting your story published, to have the rug pulled out from under you.

:)
Having just finished Ben Riggs' 'Slaying the Dragon', apparently that was one of the first things Adkison did after WOTC purchased TSR. He took the TSR Rolodex in one hand and a checkbook in the other and went and called tons of people trying to make amends. He offered to pay Salvatore the money he was owed, and asked him to pretty please come back and write more Drizzt. He also apparently called @JLowder who's been participating in this very thread and gave him back the rights to his book that TSR had seemingly decided to hold hostage.

Totally unrelated to this thread, but I geeked out a little bit seeing Mr. Lowder comment on this thread right after I had finished the book. Thought I'd use sidebar conversation to share that tidbit.
 
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Um, actually . . .

They screwed up their relationship with Salvatore first, which then resulted in WotC commissioning Anthony to write (and finish) "The Shores of Dusk". Anthony's Dark Elf novel got canned because they repaired their relationship with Salvatore.

I've always wanted to read that "alternate history" Dark Elf novel . . . I've also felt bad for the guy (Anthony), to be this close to getting your story published, to have the rug pulled out from under you.

:)
Specifically Brian Thomsen, acting as executive editor for TSR, is the one that messed up relations with Salvatore. Multiple stories there about late payments, non-compete clauses, and some strong arm tactics that Salvatore wasn't gonna deal with. It was WotC taking over and replacing Thomsen with Mary Kirchoff that brought Salvatore back and shelved this novel.

And yeah as Wofano said, Anthony had previous novels with TSR and actually turned down an offer from Kirchoff as he was writing his own series. Something he's on record as preferring to writing in the shared worlds of D&D.
 

Checking his wiki (mostly to see if that was his real name - it is - or a pseudonym) he's written nine other novels (three as Galen Beckett) since 1998, which is roughly when he parted company with TSR. He'd written several other D&D books for TSR before that as well.
The Galen Beckett books are excellent and I thoroughly encourage everyone to check them out.

His D&D books for TSR were pretty bad though.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Having just finished Ben Riggs' 'Slaying the Dragon', apparently that was one of the first things Adkison did after WOTC purchased TSR. He took the TSR Rolodex in one hand and a checkbook in the other and went and called tons of people trying to make amends. He offered to pay Salvatore the money he was owed, and asked him to pretty please come back and write more Drizzt. He also apparently called @JLowder who's been participating in this very thread and gave him back the rights to his book that TSR had seemingly decided to hold hostage.

Totally unrelated to this thread, but I geeked out a little bit seeing Mr. Lowder comment on this thread right after I had finished the book. Thought I'd use sidebar conversation to share that tidbit.
If you want to know what kind of person Jim Lowder is, sure you can read his books or look at his resume, but if you really want to know, read the forwards of a bunch of TSR books from the 90s authored by people like Christie Golden and others.

Every single one, and I do mean every single one, ahem...lauded...Lowder with praise. Not just as an editor, but as a mentor and coach. If you pull up all those novels from TSR in the 90s, you'd probably be surprised at just how many authors call out Jim in the beginning. That speaks volumes, no pun intended.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
I urge the people in this thread to follow the words of General Mattis...

"Be polite. Be professional. Have a plan to kill everyone you meet."

Mod Note:
No. I mean, not unless you want to get tossed out of discussions.

On this site, if you are framing your approach to discussion in terms of violence, that's a problem.
 

I didn't mean for the TSR examples to sidetrack the more important and current discussion of the thread. Those references are handy to show how much the business/creator conflict has been a common problem in the TTRPG market for a long time.

The Peter Adkison/TSR references, though, are where this history can circle back to the topic at hand. There are ways for TTRPG publishers to recover from even catastrophic problems with creators. Peter listened to his staff and even the disaffected creators and former staff. He hammered out lots of mutual wins for the company and the staff/creators after the buyout was completed. Those are possible, even starting from very contenious situations.
 

I
To be fair, a lot of D&D novels published by TSR are pretty bad.
If you've ever seen Lynn Abbey's account of her dealings with TSR in the process of writing her Dark Sun novels, it's probably more surprising that any D&D novels in that time period ended up being readable at all.
 

If you've ever seen Lynn Abbey's account of her dealings with TSR in the process of writing her Dark Sun novels, it's probably more surprising that any D&D novels in that time period ended up being readable at all.

That was during the Brian Thomsen era of the department, which ran from late 1992 to the WotC buyout, with his impact really hitting the department processes and schedule partway through 1993 and into 1994. See also Laurell Hamilton's troubles with the program and all the stuff covered by Ben Riggs in Slaying the Dragon. Brian had pretty solid SF/fantasy fiction publishing business bona fides from his time in New York when he came to TSR; that experience did not translate well to the shared world publishing program and caused a lot of (needless) conflict with writers and editors.

The TTRPG market and publishing business can be very difficult to navigate, even for professionals from others areas of publishing.
 
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To be fair, a lot of D&D novels published by TSR are pretty bad.
Honestly, I regard the majority of all gaming fiction as pretty bad, regardless of publisher or game. It's not a large majority (much better than Sturgeon's Law suggests) and has gotten a bit better over the decades, and there are many quite enjoyable exceptions, even a few gems. But overall, there's a lot of stuff I regret spending time on, and a rare few I just gave up on partway through, something I almost never do. YMMV of course, but I've had far more disappointments with gaming fiction than the general run of scifi and fantasy that I've read.
 

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