2E Lorraine Williams, unfairly lambasted?

Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
The Eldritch Wizardry cover (1976) was no more provocative than what had appeared in the bodice-ripping pulps or that was being pandered through Ace and Lancer with the Boris Vallejo covers. One must also note that Barker's EPT (TSR 1975) had more provocative interior illustrations than EW:
 

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Sacrosanct

Legend
Well again, no one is arguing that art in the original B3 was worse than art that came before it. I'm talking about timing. That's important. Probably the most important factor. After the Egbert thing, TSR mandated that the art in basic be more kid friendly (as per the people who where there that I quoted earlier).

It would be like if WoTC put an illustration of a naked women being prodded by swords from a group of leering men in a D&D product now, and saying "It's not a big deal because early D&D had worse art." That wouldn't fly, and WoTC would be lambasted for it.
 

Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
Well again, no one is arguing that art in the original B3 was worse than art that came before it. I'm talking about timing. That's important. Probably the most important factor. After the Egbert thing, TSR mandated that the art in basic be more kid friendly (as per the people who where there that I quoted earlier).

It would be like if WoTC put an illustration of a naked women being prodded by swords from a group of leering men in a D&D product now, and saying "It's not a big deal because early D&D had worse art." That wouldn't fly, and WoTC would be lambasted for it.
Sure. But it's not about timing, really/ It's about perception. The Vallejo covers were still the rage (even with Mayfair Games' Role-Aids) and cheesecake was still proliferating the markets everywhere at the time of B3. TSR perceived that they had to change, just as they perceived that the assassin class needed to be eliminated from 2E.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Sure. But it's not about timing, really/ It's about perception. The Vallejo covers were still the rage (even with Mayfair Games' Role-Aids) and cheesecake was still proliferating the markets everywhere at the time of B3. TSR perceived that they had to change, just as they perceived that the assassin class needed to be eliminated from 2E.
Sure. I'm not saying their decision was right. Only that that was their decision. So anyone refusing to follow direction would find themselves in less than ideal light. Especially considering how autocratic the TSR management was, by all accounts. In hindsight, I think we all can agree that it seemed they overreacted. But hindsight is something we have that they didn't have.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Sure. But it's not about timing, really/ It's about perception. The Vallejo covers were still the rage (even with Mayfair Games' Role-Aids) and cheesecake was still proliferating the markets everywhere at the time of B3. TSR perceived that they had to change, just as they perceived that the assassin class needed to be eliminated from 2E.
There is a big difference between the one entity in the industry everyone outside knows and the bit players operating below their radar. As the face of RPGing, TSR was in the crosshairs far more than Mayfair was ever going to be with Role-Aids.
 

Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
There is a big difference between the one entity in the industry everyone outside knows and the bit players operating below their radar. As the face of RPGing, TSR was in the crosshairs far more than Mayfair was ever going to be with Role-Aids.
Shrug. But Lancer and Ace were not, of course. Depends on how one looks at it.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
To be clear, many of the settings that many people continue to love today, from Forgotten Realms to Planescape, from Al Qadim to Ravenloft, got their start under Williams.

That wasn't a comments about how many settings are a good thing. While I would say that the lack of focus wasn't helpful, I think we can now see that the creation of all of the IP was (in the long-term, at least) beneficial.
That's rose-coloured hindsight, old chap.

At the time - and remember that's the context we're talking here - all those wonderful settings ended up being no more than very large straws on a camel whose back was already near-broken.

Had they been more than that, WotC would have kept 'em in print.
 

darjr

I crit!
@Rob Kuntz do you have any first or second person knowledge about this incident? Was it the rising backlash scare of D&D that killed this adventure?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Again, nudity isn't the issue, it appears. It appears the issue was the depiction of an S&M torture ritual (and the other Otus image that the management didn't like for other reasons).
Which is interesting, because at the time such little information and rumour about all this that got out to us here on the west coast of Canada always pointed to the nudity and nothing more.

And it's extremely likely none of the actual orange-cover modules got out here for anyone to look at firsthand.
 
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No, you misunderstand me. I was curious what you meant by "set back the hobby" - if the hobby was set back by several decades, then what does it look like today if that had not happened (or - the same question - what does it look like in several decades)? How does this setback manifest itself?
I think that RPGs would have had a sustained mainstream success not tarnished by the satanic panic, and that TSR could have gone on to really sharpen and polish their product lines, which in turn could have led to a very different landscape today. I'm going to theorycraft a bunch of what-ifs and could-have-beens in detail, but I find it hard to believe that if there weren't failures causing TSR to collapse and the hobby to be stigmatized that it wouldn't have hit different heights during those decades.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Shrug. But Lancer and Ace were not, of course. Depends on how one looks at it.
Let us look at it from the perspective that Lancer went bankrupt in 1973, and Ace overextended itself to the point where it could not pay authors, and became a subsidiary that got handed around between other publishers. Not exactly a sign that they were making good business decisions.
 

Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
Let us look at it from the perspective that Lancer went bankrupt in 1973, and Ace overextended itself to the point where it could not pay authors, and became a subsidiary that got handed around between other publishers. Not exactly a sign that they were making good business decisions.
There was DAW and others like Del Rey. Boris was still in demand in the F/SF field at the time (as in Norman's Gor series, for instance).
 

Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
I think that RPGs would have had a sustained mainstream success not tarnished by the satanic panic, and that TSR could have gone on to really sharpen and polish their product lines, which in turn could have led to a very different landscape today. I'm going to theorycraft a bunch of what-ifs and could-have-beens in detail, but I find it hard to believe that if there weren't failures causing TSR to collapse and the hobby to be stigmatized that it wouldn't have hit different heights during those decades.
I would go back even further, to the death of TSR's co-founder, Don Kaye, and start from there. I touch upon that in a send-up/tribute work I am currently finishing on Don.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
There was DAW and others like Del Rey. Boris was still in demand in the F/SF field at the time (as in Norman's Gor series, for instance).
Yep, but then you are talking about big publishers, with diverse portfolios. They could take some people waggling fingers at some of their products without much worry. TSR? Not so much.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Man...imagine a world where the Blumes never took control to begin with. Might we have seen a supermodule of Castle Greyhawk in all of it's intended glory decades ago?

Thinking about it makes me more irked at Kevin Blume than I was before lol.
 

Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
Yep, but then you are talking about big publishers, with diverse portfolios. They could take some people waggling fingers at some of their products without much worry. TSR? Not so much.
Perhaps. Gary effectively pushed back against the Satanic panic if you recall. TSR benefitted from the exposure. in fact, with increased sales. TSR chose to go the direction it did, it did not have to. It did so because of perception only and not due to a lagging bottom line (at the time at least, that would come later and was unrelated to the topic between us as well). BTW: between 1971-1984 DAW published 700 books. Though trade paper that's not small by the time of B3.
 

Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
Man...imagine a world where the Blumes never took control to begin with. Might we have seen a supermodule of Castle Greyhawk in all of it's intended glory decades ago?

Thinking about it makes me more irked at Kevin Blume than I was before lol.
In part, yes. Don was a friend and fan of Gary. Brian was a fanboy of Gary. Kevin followed the bottom line for the Blumes and, to my knowledge, never played games. Don was, thus, a steadying influence on Gary, always had his respect, and Don denied him more than once his cavalier attitude. Many things would have been different if Don had not died, and not just with the Blumes.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
TSR benefitted from the exposure. in fact, with increased sales.
Yep. I said so a few posts above, iirc.

It did so because of perception only and not due to a lagging bottom line
Agreed. I mean, fear of public perception eventually impacting the bottom line would have been a reasonable basis for the choice - actually thinking ahead, and all that.

BTW: between 1971-1984 DAW published 700 books. Though trade paper that's not small by the time of B3.
Yes. As I said, DAW, Del Ray, and such, were big. TSR was not big. TSR would have been being prudent to say, "Well, the publicity is good for us, but let's not push it too far with our art and topic choices," while the big fiction publishers could shrug off the worry.
 

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