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D&D General Lorraine Williams: Is it Time for a Reevaluation?

but this makes her at worst a bad business executive. The villification goes waaaay beyind that.

What type of business exec she was (proactive vs reactive, long view vs short sighted, moral vs amoral, micromanaging vs delegating, etc) seems like a pretty important thing to focus on of you're trying to look past any villification. If you don't want to look at people's personal opinions of her, what else are you re-evaluating?
 

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I'm posting the quotes and links here to add information, not to make anyone feel better. AFAIK, these quotes from Corey Soloman have not been brought up in any of the previous threads about Williams, so they're not the same old tired stories. And even if you want to write off Soloman as nothing but a bigoted hack, the story of how Williams handled the movie license for D&D is a decades long, multi-million dollar saga that was felt in the company from the finance level down to the Drangonlance rules set. If you want to honestly re-evaluate Williams, it's an important chapter to consider that hadn't been addressed yet in this thread.

I'm not trying to make you feel bad. I'm trying to be very honest about my perspective on this.

I am familiar with that "story." I am familiar with a lot of the stories about Lorraine Williams. All of them? Of course not- I can't know everything! I haven't seen every interview of every luminary on every blog or magazine (I still don't know if Zeb Cook ever had an in-depth discussion about her, and I'd love to read it).

And for a very, very long time, I totally believed the received wisdom about her. After all, if there a ton of stories, there has to be some truth to them, right? Right???? Where there is smoke, there's fire, and all that.

But here's the thing- almost all of them come off very, very different now. Some of them are beyond cringe-worthy. Some of them just have those "flag" words that make me realize just how skewed the perspective is. A lot of them aren't first-hand, but are repeating ('fun" or "nasty") rumors other people told them. Over and over again, it's the same thing. Sexist. Hearsay. Unreliable stories that make the (male) storyteller look good and the (female) boss look terrible. Heck, even the constant refrain of, "She wasn't a gamer."

Times change. I remember a show a long time ago, when they were interviewing Hugh Hefner and he explained that when he set up the Playboy Clubs (which are mentioned in Game Wizards ... small world) he had a strict rule that the women ("bunnies") couldn't date customers. But then Hefner stated something like, "But I'm not a customer. I'm the owner. I get my pick."

That's the type of comment that plays .... very ... differently now.

So I'm going to reiterate what I said- I'm interested in receipts. In facts. Because I've seen these stories, and they don't do anything for me. Now, I know you seem quite dedicated to bringing them up repeatedly, so I'm just going to tell you- the accumulation of further sexist tripe that I've already said I find uncomfortable is unlikely to sway me from my position. That doesn't mean I have the answers- just that I'm not comfortable relying on that to form my judgment.
 

Bolares

Hero
I am familiar with that "story." I am familiar with a lot of the stories about Lorraine Williams. All of them? Of course not- I can't know everything!
Snarf showing some other bard traits...


Jack of All Trades
Starting at 2nd level, you can add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down, to any ability check you make that doesn't already include your proficiency bonus.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Snarf showing some other bard traits...

If I was a Bard, I would have said this:

I am familiar with that "story." I am familiar with a lot of the stories about Lorraine Williams. All of them? Of course! I know everything! So, hot enough for ya? Hey, I see you have a toolshed- do you mind if I borrow some of your tools? I'll bring them back, I promise. Wait, were you talking to me? I was on the phone. Also ....

6906febf-6500-4124-b587-b05bd545e828_text.gif
 

I think a lot of people associate her with 2e and the 90s, but yeah, her tenure predates all that. Forgotten Realms Campaign setting, Waterdeep and the North, The Magister, the Manual of the Planes, the Gazetteers line. And that's before we even get to the greatest hits of 2e.

To be fair, Salvatore only got to write D&D fiction at all while she was running TSR. Gygax was pushed out in 1985, Salvatore only published his first Drizzt novel in 1988.

I never had a dog in this fight at the time, I only really got into D&D in the mid 90s and all this was ancient history even then. But that sums her tenure up in a nutshell really, to me. A few competent organisational decisions early to stem the bleeding from late-Gygaxian chaos, then an era of extraordinary creative output (the degree to which she is responsible for that is of course debateable, but she is as responsible for TSRs successes in that era as she is for its failures) followed by a long slow crunch into insolvency as whole lot of poor strategic decisions came home to roost.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
To be fair, Salvatore only got to write D&D fiction at all while she was running TSR. Gygax was pushed out in 1985, Salvatore only published his first Drizzt novel in 1988.

I never had a dog in this fight at the time, I only really got into D&D in the mid 90s and all this was ancient history even then. But that sums her tenure up in a nutshell really, to me. A few competent organisational decisions early to stem the bleeding from late-Gygaxian chaos, then an era of extraordinary creative output (the degree to which she is responsible for that is of course debateable, but she is as responsible for TSRs successes in that era as she is for its failures) followed by a long slow crunch into insolvency as whole lot of poor strategic decisions came home to roost.

I liked your comment, but I loved the part I bolded so much I had to quote it and bold it.

Yeah, the end of 2e was a long slow crunch into insolvency. Well said!
 

So I'm going to reiterate what I said- I'm interested in receipts. In facts. Because I've seen these stories, and they don't do anything for me. Now, I know you seem quite dedicated to bringing them up repeatedly, so I'm just going to tell you- the accumulation of further sexist tripe that I've already said I find uncomfortable is unlikely to sway me from my position. That doesn't mean I have the answers- just that I'm not comfortable relying on that to form my judgment.

I mean, I literally posted links to 5 different sources/journalists with statements from three different individuals (more, if you follow the links) about a chapter of Williams tenure at TSR that had not been discussed a single time in this thread. If the only response you have is to label it as sexist tripe and ignore it, that's not a re-evaluation of anyone.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I mean, I literally posted links to 5 different sources/journalists with statements from three different individuals (more, if you follow the links) about a chapter of Williams tenure at TSR that had not been discussed a single time in this thread. If the only response you have is to label it as sexist tripe and ignore it, that's not a re-evaluation of anyone.

You're right. It's so weird that I am not using things I already know and used to form my prior opinion in order to re-evaluate that opinion. Especially when my concern was that those sources were biased in light of a book that presents the opening of Williams' story in an unbiased manner, and contradicts the information we had been given by these accounts.

But if you believe you're doing the right thing, keep on truckin'. I've explained myself, and you have. I think we are aware of each other's positions.

We are more than good now.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I suspect a big part of this is noting where you are on the internet. A quick google shows a ton of articles and discussions vilifying Perelman on comic book focused sites. Likewise, I highly doubt anyone outside of D&D (or Buck Rogers) fandom knows who Lorraine Williams is. Even in the D&D world, it's mostly older people and OSR fans; I suspect newer players have never heard of her.

If anything, I would say that Perelman is vilified more these days, as his name is popping up in a few MCU discussions. And apparently he recently reneged on a large donation to Princeton University.
To a certain extent he seems to get some heat now, but still, nowhere near the amount of heat that Lorraine gets. Just a quick googling test (with duck duck go and startpage because these provide repeatable results, also cause Google is evil n.n)

Ron. With startpage there's no hit piece on the first page. With duck duck go there isn't either.

Lorraine. With startpage there is no hit piece on the first page, but about half the page consists on the social profiles of homonyms. A second search with her middle name included outputs a hit piece on the third and fourth results. With ddg, the third and fifth results are hit pieces.

Moreover, while googling ron perelman+marvel outputs some hit pieces, it also outputs some neutral if not admiring results (and curiously, Marvel is mentioned as almost a footnote on Perelman's wiki page, while TSR's bankruptcy is an important part of Lorraine's) Lorraine + TSR? we not only get hit pieces on her, in some of the results the main topic was a variant of TSR where her name is gratuitusly mentioned in a dismissive way. It didn't matter if the main topic was Gygax magazzine, the first new TSR or the disaster of the new new TSR, her name is dragged dismissively every time while Perelman's is never brought up on an even similar way.
 








MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Which thread?

Edit: Nevermind, found it:
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
but this makes her at worst a bad business executive. The villification goes waaaay beyind that.

I think the main problem is a couple of people are insisting the villain narrative but no one here is pushing it.

And pretty much everyone here knows Gary wasn't good at business.

And in the last few years attitudes towards 2E seem to be shifting.

And there's also been positive stories about Lorraine come out as well like how she kept that guy on the payroll who was barely working due to cancer.

Gygax gets more credit I suppose because he did creative things and had a pipeline to the fans via Dragon Magazine and forums.
 

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