TSR Lorraine Williams, unfairly lambasted?

Sacrosanct

Legend
This is something that's bothered me for a while. Lorraine Williams is often attacked to this day of single handily destroying TSR. Whenever people talk about the TSR failing, it's always, and only, Lorraine they talk about.

I'm not excusing her bad business decisions (refusal to playtest products, and bad financial planning of taking Random House up front money before products were even sold). But I think she only deserves half the blame, and does deserve some credit.

I think people forget that TSR was hemorrhaging money and racking up debt under Kevin Blume. It wasn't Lorraine who started forays into things like knitting kits, or All My Children game. It wasn't Lorraine who almost destroyed TSR by forcing the original Palace of the Silver Princess module out (that was Gary, defending his friend Jean when the team said the module was garbage; essentially soft S&M porn Jean wrote to mirror her SCA persona). It wasn't Lorraine who continued to violate copyright protections (Gary again).

I also think people forget that one of the best products ever was under her watch (Core Rules CD ROM).

So yeah, her business practices ultimately led to the demise of TSR, but she is hardly the only one at fault, or even mostly at fault. She inherited a disaster and actually turned the company around. If not for over producing novels and dragon dice, and the spike in popularity of Magic (completely out of her control), TSR might not have crashed and burned like it did.

I guess it just makes me crinkle my eyebrows whenever I hear how she got blamed for everything, and is the only one ever blamed.
 

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S'mon

Legend
It wasn't Lorraine who almost destroyed TSR by forcing the original Palace of the Silver Princess module out (that was Gary, defending his friend Jean when the team said the module was garbage; essentially soft S&M porn Jean wrote to mirror her SCA persona).

It (Orange B3) is a perfectly decent and very atmospheric module with ONE slightly risque illusion, and otherwise a complete lack of "soft S&M porn". I'm planning to run it again (for 5e) in a few months.
 

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
More of a collective screw-up between Lorraine Williams and the Blume brothers. After all, when Gygax told the Blume brothers to hit the road, they decided to screw him by selling all their shares to Williams, making her majority shareholder. Gygax then sold all his shares to get out for good, and that was the end of those ties, and leaves an all around bad taste.
 



Zardnaar

Legend
She was the one in charge bad some bad decisions financially.

Also perceived to screw over Gygax ASAP after he brought her in.

Also used TSR as a personal piggy bank via Buck Rogers.

Not all her decisions were bad and she had soft spots for staff members keeping one member in who due to sickness would have been let go in most companies.

She also avoids a lot of negative personal stories that gave swirled around Gygax.

But yeah terrible business persona/reputation. Ex staffers don't seem to have problems with her on a personal level though.

Opinion on 2E seems to be changing as well.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Instead of sharing the blame, why does it focused on her?

2. She wasn't a gamer.
This one.

Bringing in an industry outsider to run a company is always risky, as said outsider might not understand (or be willing to learn) the specifics of the product and market.

This happened in a large corporation I worked for - the long-time CEO, who knew the industry inside-out and backwards, died and was replaced by someone from outside the industry. The outsider largely bombed as he flat-out didn't seem to understand the industry; what kept the company going was mostly momentum and solid processes built up from earlier.

A few years later that outsider CEO was removed and replaced with an industry insider recruited from a different company, and the turnaround within a year was quite remarkable.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
Some of the animus, I'm sure, comes from the near-worship of Gygax you see in some gamer quarters. But some of it also comes through the rather poor taste TSR was leaving in people's mouths in the earlier internet days before WotC bought them. Her tenure marked a time when TSR was pretty jealous of its intellectual property and they had a restrictive view of fan-based internet resources.

When their policy changed it was a significant breath of fresh air and I, for one, appreciated it. They had gone from really grasping and miserly to free-flowing with information, including articles and adventures that had been published via Dragon or Dungeon or as modules. It was a nearly 180 degree change in direction.
 

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