From TSR to WotC: A History of D&D


Well, that was fun
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[h=1]Links, Articles, Posts & Essays[/h]
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Also see: Ex-WotC Employees

I was pretty much boxed out of the running of the company because the two guys, who between them had a controlling interest, thought they could run the company better than I could. I was set up because I could manage. In 1982 Nobody on the West Coast would deal with TSR, but they had me start a new corporation called "Dungeons and Dragons Entertainment." It took a long time and a lot of hard work to get to be recognized as someone who was for real and not just a civilian, shall we say, in entertainment. Eventually, though, we got the cartoon show going (on CBS) and I had a number of other projects in the works.
While I was out there, though, I heard that the company was in severe financial difficulties and one of the guys, the one I was partnered with, was shopping it on the street in New York. I came back and discovered a number of gross mismanagements in all areas of the company. The bank was foreclosing and we were a million and a half in debt. We eventually got that straightened out, but I kind of got one of my partners kicked out of office. (Kevin Blume, who was removed as TSR CEO in 1984 - ed.. Then my partners, in retribution for that, sold his shares to someone else (Lorraine Williams - ed.). I tried to block it in court, but in the ensuing legal struggle the judge ruled against me. I lost control of the company, and it was then at that point I just decided to sell out.

[h=2]Wizards of the Coast[/h]
[h=3]Masters of Fantasy: TSR The Fantasy Factory[/h]

[h=3]Peter Adkison's Open Letter, 2000[/h]
Greetings friends, As of January 1st 2001 I will no longer be an employee of Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro. No,I'm not getting fired or layed off. I'm leaving voluntarily. I'm sure many of you will want to know why. Well, I don't think that the core of my reasoning is any more complicated than this. When you start a company and run it as CEO for many years you think of it as your own. Yes there are other shareholders and a board of directors you answer to, but your vote is always the biggest vote. Then you sell the company and you go along trying to make the best of the situation, telling yourself that you still have the same responsibilities as before, plus a vote in something even bigger. That works for a while until something happens that you object to and in spite of your best efforts you find yourself powerless to stop it.
At that point you are forced to accept the fact that the company is no longer yours, that you no longer carry the biggest vote, and that can be difficult to take. I'm not naive. I always knew intellectually this was the case, but to think you understand something and then actually experience it are two different things. I have several thoughts I want to leave you with. First do not by any means feel sorry for me. I made the choice to sell and if I had it all to do over again I'd make the same decision. I fulfilled many amazing dreams through this company. I made a lot of people a lot of money. I feel very good about that. And although I didn't design many of our games, I know that I contributed significantly to many of them, not just by starting this company and running it well but also as a CEO who is a gamer at heart and made for an effective sounding board with our R&D department.
In particular I'm very proud of having written Wizards of the Coast's first product, The Primal Order; the role I played in the publication and development of Magic: The Gathering; the acquisition and subsequent turnaround to profitability of TSR; and the 3rd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, a game I've loved since 1978. I feel particularly privileged to have worked with so many amazing people. Richard, Jim, Skaff, Jot, Vince, Monika, Jesper, the list goes on and on and I can't hope to list everyone. Truly the hardest thing about leaving is leaving the companionship I have with so many people who are here. What will I do next? Hard to say. Many people dream of having the means to not work,travel around, goof off, etc. Most people don't get to do that until they are perhaps too old to enjoy it; I'll get to try it in my 30s (barely)! I'll stayin touch and send pictures of me rock climbing and snow boarding in exotic places! You'll also see me around here from time to time I suspect. I have acouple of D&D campaigns I intend to keep running whenever I'm in town. Eventually I'm sure I'll want to work again. I'll go crazy not being productive. And some sort of change will do me good. I have an amazing resume thanks to Wizards of the Coast and I hope to leverage that by either running or starting another company someday. I have some truly incredible opportunities ahead, and no one can take away the incredible accomplishments I can now list on my resume. I want all of you to understand that I still strongly, adamantly, passionately believe that this is a very magical place. What we are doing is producing amazing games, bringing joy to millions of gamers around the world. Our customers are a tough crowd. They love to bitch. But don't let that fool you.I've found that deep down inside most of them hold us in very high respect and are truly amazed by the games we make. And at least within the Hobby Game segment, as long as we make money Hasbro is not likely to interfere with the way we do business. And I hope you'll all be proud of being part of Hasbro too.
Hasbro is a great company that's produced many toys and games that we've grownup with, like Monopoly, Clue, Scrabble, and so on. If I were someone else and I were offered a job here at Hasbro I would be ecstatic at the opportunity to work for such a great company and with so many great people. Finally I want to put in a good word for Vince, Al Verrecchia, and Alan Hassenfeld. I'm leaving you in very good hands. Effective January 1st, Vince will be CEO of Wizards of the Coast. Vince has been COO of this company for several years now and I know better than anyone else that he's fully capable of leading this company through the rough waters ahead. Vince is also a hobbyist at heart and understands our business very well. He's also an inspirational leader; I know,I used to work for him at Boeing and that's why I hired him in the first place. He's also a great friend and I hope you'll support him in the times ahead. Regarding Al and Alan, in spite of some differences of opinion on a couple of business issues, I have the utmost respect for both of them. Both are men of integrity, are hard workers, have the best interests of the company at heart,and they've never mislead me or played :):):):):):):):) political games with us. These are incredible attributes to find in the people at the top. Well,this has dragged on long enough. I'll be around until Christmas break, so feel free to stop by and say hi/goodbye if you like (but only if you promise not to cry I'm trying to keep positive!).
It's been truly an honor to serve with you all.
Peter D. Adkison
Founder& CEO,
Wizards of the Coast
December14, 2000
[h=1]Gary Gygax Q&As[/h]

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Thanks for starting this excellent thread. In an attempt to find the first part of the Magic & Memories: The complete History of Dungeons and Dragons, I found a page with a tremendous amount of history, incuding all 5 parts of the Magic & Memories articles. Unfortunately, because I apparently haven't posted enough times on ENWorld, the site won't allow me to post direct links. So here is an indirect link, which I hope someone else will post in an easier to use format:

http (colon slash slash)

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