Judges Guild and the Wilderlands

der_kluge

Adventurer
Ok, so I came to the party late, and saw (and read much of) the train-wreck JG thread from the main news page.

So, I dip my toes into these shark-infested waters with some simple (non-political!) questions regarding the future state of Judges Guild and The Wilderlands? Like, please, oh pretty-please let's keep this on-topic to just gaming related stuff . Mkay?

So, I've been running Wilderlands (S&S boxed set) as my defacto campaign setting for a number of years now. I bought several of the d20 products associated with the setting as well, although honestly some of them are a little ridiculously old school gonzo for my tastes, I still like them, I just doubt I'll ever use them.

But I am curious what people think might happen to the setting as a whole? I'd love to see someone else take it over. Maybe Bob will just agree to turn over the rights, since it seems like he's probably not going to profit off it anymore. Any word from other publishers what the status is of some of those collaborations?
 

vpuigdoller

Explorer
I certainly hope the IP survives the entire debacle. As of now its looking grim though, I haven’t heard anything suggesting it will change hands or otherwise alternate plans to keep it going. We will have to wait and see.
 

mach1.9pants

Adventurer
The stuff being published by Bat in the Attic ATM has money going to Rob Conley, as he's trying to rescue the failure that is the CSIO Kickstarter. Apart from that, I dunno. I could certainly see Frog God Games rescuing the IP (the did with The Blight), or maybe Goodman Games?
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Personally, see if you can track down the originals on the used market.

I’ve enjoyed mine since they came out, and they‘re damn near system agnostic. Sure, there’s AD&D type info in there, but the bulk of what you get is pure, usable fluff...and maps!
 
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Eltab

Adventurer
The view from miles away says that JG has the same problem that Sears did: nobody can tell The Boss to change course and make it stick. I think we are going to have to wait a while, until the remains of JG is so inexpensive (value-less) that the legacy product, IP, inventory, and future sales potential thereof are worth more than the corporate shell. Then some other company might offer to buy the family out.

This is pure speculation, no inside information at all. I would rather see a course of events that does not involve a 'crash and burn' phase as the RPG community removes an obnoxious individual from its ranks.
 
I'm a fan who was introduced to Judges Guild from the 3.5 era books from Necromancer. And they had some great products (like the Wilderlands Boxed Set).
I think the ideology of the hex crawl design will be the legacy of the company. We can see it in official adventures like Tomb of Annihilation and in games like Forbidden Lands.
We may not see any more official products, but their legacy will live on.
 
So many, many maps. I scoffed at the one book of just temple maps, but then one day, when I was stuck on an adventure, guess which book I cracked open?

I am going to continue to collect vintage JG materials as I have, since #2 has nothing to do with those. Honestly, I wonder if we'll even see any more modern JG books after this? It's not like that Kickstarter is ever delivering, and of the companies working with JG, only Goodman Games has yet to sever ties, and I'm guessing that's coming soon.

Personally, see if you can track down the originals on the used market.

ive enjoyed mine since they came out, and they‘re damn near system agnostic. Sure, there’s AD&D type info in there, but the bulk of what you get is pure, usable fluff...and maps!
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
If JG goes under due to people not wanting to give money to its owner, supporting a company which has bought the IP from JG's owner has the same effect, surely? So I'm not sure what the ethical route would be for a customer who (a) wants JG material and (b) doesn't want to support its current owner.
 
If JG goes under due to people not wanting to give money to its owner, supporting a company which has bought the IP from JG's owner has the same effect, surely? So I'm not sure what the ethical route would be for a customer who (a) wants JG material and (b) doesn't want to support its current owner.
I think that person should choose one of those wants, and pursue it. Either (a) buy JG material with the understanding that the money will (at least tangentially) support someone with hateful beliefs, or (b) give up on that material.
 

Gradine

Final Form
If JG goes under due to people not wanting to give money to its owner, supporting a company which has bought the IP from JG's owner has the same effect, surely? So I'm not sure what the ethical route would be for a customer who (a) wants JG material and (b) doesn't want to support its current owner.
It's almost like there's no ethical consumption under capitalism!

But in any case, a one-time purchase of an IP at bargain basement prices creates a situation where the shared ethical burden is minimal. There's definitely worse way to go.

Better still would be to find content creators who are making original works in the same spirit and style of those JG products but who aren't racist conspiracy mongers and support them instead.
 

Gradine

Final Form
I was about to say, there are a lot of worse ways to honor the legacy of JG without supporting JG directly than by supporting whatever it is Jennell Jaquays is up to these days. Looks like this is probably the best outcome one could have hoped for beyond completely scrapping this product. While I would have gone with different charities personally, I think this is probably the best we could have asked for.

Not exactly timely... but then I'm sure there was a lot of back-and-forth and probably some legal stuff involved in getting to this point.
 

Eltab

Adventurer
If JG goes under due to people not wanting to give money to its owner, supporting a company which has bought the IP from JG's owner has the same effect, surely? So I'm not sure what the ethical route would be for a customer who (a) wants JG material and (b) doesn't want to support its current owner.
Paying a person to go away / retire / golden-parachute, and future money will move through a different channel nowhere near that person, is a reasonable solution to the problem of separating the noxious person from the IP &c. It will not happen for free.
The desired future: future RPG'ers can buy and use quality material, and not suffer from twinges of conscience - because they paid Goodman / whoever, not the noxious individual, for the book.
 
I was about to say, there are a lot of worse ways to honor the legacy of JG without supporting JG directly than by supporting whatever it is Jennell Jaquays is up to these days. Looks like this is probably the best outcome one could have hoped for beyond completely scrapping this product. While I would have gone with different charities personally, I think this is probably the best we could have asked for.

Not exactly timely... but then I'm sure there was a lot of back-and-forth and probably some legal stuff involved in getting to this point.
Jennell Jaquays has always been a favorite designer of mine, and I look for anything she's worked on.
 
Not the response I expected, but a heavy funneling of moneys into charities is no bad thing. Nor is celebrating the work of Jennell Jaquays.

Very surprised to hear that Bledsaw II is also donating to those charities, though.
 

darjr

I crit!
Copy here
Joseph Goodman and I had the opportunity to get together on Sunday at Dundracon (neither of us were attending, it was just a good place to meet) and share our thoughts on what just happened this week with Judges Guild, a company I used to work for over 40 years ago as a designer/artist, creating a good share of their more memorable products, including Dark Tower for AD&D, Caverns of Thracia, and The Book of Treasure Maps (also Duck Tower, and Hellpits of Nightfang).
I'm currently working with Goodman Games on their second retrospective book on the history of Judges Guild, primarily featuring my work for them, and work of mine that was later republished by them.
The take away, if you don't want to listen to us talk about the product is:
1. We both condemn the racism and anti-Semitism expressed by the Bledsaws in their recent social media postings.
2. We are still going forward with the book. It is about the history of an important company in the earliest years of the RPG games and not the people currently handling their forebear's legacy.
3. The Bledsaws/Judges Guild will receive no money from the sale of this book. Joseph and I have chosen a pair of non-profits that deal specifically with anti-defamation and plan to give twice the royalty payment amount that would have gone to JG to them. I say "Would have gone" because JG has asked that their royalty be added to that total.
Special thanks to Rebecca Heineman who did our camera work for this video.
Goodman Games Comments On Judges Guild|Goodman Games
 

der_kluge

Adventurer
You know, I'm not a huge fan of Goodman Games in general (I find their stuff to be TOO old school for my personal taste, but it's a personal preference), but that statement warms the heart, and I might have to make a point to pick up what their working on just on the principle of the matter.

Good stuff
 

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