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Death of a Dragon

So it's official; WotC/Hasbro has ended the license for Dragon magazine, capping the publication's 30-year run, and also put an end to the sister publication, Dungeon Adventures. They've both had good runs, but I'm sad to see them go, seeing as working for TSR Periodicals was the first job I had after college.

I'm not sure what comes next, but I am excited about the prospect of Pathfinder, the new book series that is not only using all the best Paizo talent, but trying new things not possible in a licensed publication. Given the level of talent that Paizo brings to this new venture, I hope it will meet with the same success that Dragon enjoyed. In fact, I'm working hard to make sure that happens in Fortress of the Stone Giants.

Still going to miss seeing the old beast in the mailbox every month. Damn. Didn't think I could get choked up about a magazine, but... Sigh. Onward!

Comments

( 47 sutras — Your wisdom )
ppanavalli
Apr. 19th, 2007 07:44 pm (UTC)
Choked up
Same here- I have all of Dungeon mags and have been an infinite source of inspiration for me. I am not sure what direction WotC is headed, but this seems so wrong to me. Pathfinder- the format seems strange, 1 adventure path with no other adventures for $20 a pop? I am not sure about this marketing strategy at all.
the_monkey_king
Apr. 19th, 2007 07:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Choked up
I'm writing one of the Pathfinder adventures, and I think the new approach has a lot of promise. You'll get the backgrounds and monsters that are currently shifted into Dragon, plus things like Ecologies and other stuff I can't discuss quite yet.

I'm not as convinced that the better-quality paper and binding is the right move, but... we'll see when the first issue hits.
ratzeo
Apr. 19th, 2007 07:49 pm (UTC)
I'm certainly sad to see Dragon and Dungeon end. They were good friends during the spans that I didn't have a gaming group. On the other hand... Pathfinder sounds fascinating to me. Fascinating to the point that I would actually consider trying to get on board writing to support it.
the_monkey_king
Apr. 19th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
The Paizo guys seem to be saying that doing a monster writeup for the Pathfinder Bestiary is the way to get started, so that's what I would recommend as your best shot.
mouseferatu
Apr. 19th, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC)
I've been hesitant to bug Erik and James about submission guidelines this early in the process, as I'm sure they're swamped at the moment.

But as soon as official guidelines go up for Pathfinder and/or their Game Mastery Modules, I'm there.

I've not gotten to do nearly as much for Dragon as I wanted to, and I never did manage to get in Dungeon. :-( Hopefully, I'll be able to use these avenues instead. I really like Paizo, and I'd love to do more with them.
open_design
Apr. 19th, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC)
The folks at Paizo are nothing but class. With the new magazine, the game accessories, and the novels, they'll be fine.

Yeah, you should definitely send them a query in a week or three when the announcement waters quiet down some.
helium3
Apr. 20th, 2007 12:06 am (UTC)
Oh come on. You know what the submission guidelines will be.

"Submit your article proposal to our gatekeeper mailbox and then wait eight thousand years to get a response."

;)
the_monkey_king
Apr. 20th, 2007 01:03 am (UTC)
LOL!

Yeah, probably. :/
ratzeo
Apr. 19th, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
I wonder if they're looking for any critters in particular. Bestiary write-ups are always a lot of fun.

Well, I suppose I'll just have to watch the boards like the rest of the rabble. Looks like it's going to be interesting.
the_monkey_king
Apr. 19th, 2007 09:11 pm (UTC)
Don't know what sort of beasties they'll want for the Bestiary section. Even though I've written up two of them already. :)
entil_zha
Apr. 19th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
Wow! This truly sad. I've been getting Dragon since the days when they did the Marvel File - it was a new Marvel Comics hero or villian every month... :(
open_design
Apr. 19th, 2007 08:38 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that was a great series for the Comics world. I think it might have been one of the longest-running too.

I think Pathfinder will find an audience as well.

While it does seem strange for WotC to kill off a success, I guess I'll wait until I see what they offer for online content to replace Dragon. I'd be impressed if it involved the big names like Greenwood, Baker, or Cook, plus art by Brom or Reynolds.
entil_zha
Apr. 19th, 2007 09:06 pm (UTC)
I think Pathfinder looks good and I'll sign-up for it.

As Indy would say "I have a bad feeling about this..." I can't help but think I'm going to be paying as much, if not more, for less...
the_monkey_king
Apr. 19th, 2007 09:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, I think you'll pay more but you'll also get more. The better paper and covers are good, and having no ads is a big plus. And from what I've seen of the new campaign setting (and I just wrote a history backdrop for it recently), it's going to rock.

At least, I hope it rocks as much as I think it will rock. I've been slaving over "Fortress" for several months, and I will be honing it to a fine edge before it goes to the editors. If Pathfinder doesn't find an audience, it won't be for lack of trying.
entil_zha
Apr. 19th, 2007 09:13 pm (UTC)
My bad, I was unclear. I think Piazo will do a great job. The worry is with the WotC on-line replacement!
the_monkey_king
Apr. 19th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
Well, I won't judge it until I see it. The bar is definitely set high.
thebitterguy
Apr. 19th, 2007 08:52 pm (UTC)
Man. It's like losing an old friend from high school. I used to read Dragon fairly regularly, and it was my first professional publication. That, and it was the only place to get info on old AD&D settings.

I'll miss it.
the_monkey_king
Apr. 19th, 2007 09:06 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the loss of Paizo's fairly regular Greyhawk support is going to cause some pain. Not to mention the Campaign Classics and the like. There's not many people at WotC with the same depth of expertise in the older settings. Ouch, no more Al-Qadim support, or Planescape.

Though I think Paizo would pick up the torch for Greyhawk content in a heartbeat if the Hasbro folks were willing to license it out. Hadn't thought of that loss.
thebitterguy
Apr. 19th, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm probably one of a dozen people on the planet who picked up a new issue of dragon specifically because it had Al-Qadim pasted on the cover.
the_monkey_king
Apr. 19th, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC)
Well, if I'm lucky, I'll have an Al-Qadim-ish guest post for Empire of the Ghouls. Not for a while yet, though.

wesfox
Apr. 20th, 2007 04:28 am (UTC)

Yeah, the loss of Paizo's fairly regular Greyhawk support is going to cause some pain. Not to mention the Campaign Classics and the like. There's not many people at WotC with the same depth of expertise in the older settings. Ouch, no more Al-Qadim support, or Planescape.


I'm finding it incredibly bittersweet that I got to write the Planescape article for Dragon's last campaign classics issue. I finally manage to get something published, trying my feeble best to hold a candle to the material in comparison to the 2e authors, and then the magazine drifts off into the Astral.

I wanted to chip in a little to the setting, not see it off from overt support (though Demonweb Pits is certainly helping, plus your upcoming material for Dungeon).

Man this is a shame.
the_monkey_king
Apr. 20th, 2007 04:42 am (UTC)
Yeah, I have a funny feeling the WotC content won't be open to freelance submissions. But I hope to be proven wrong. The loss of a playing field for newcomers is a big hit to the field.

OTOH, the planes are SRD material. Writing a good planar adventure doesn't *require* Planescape, and since it has never been officially updated to 3.5 anyway....

Well, I'd love to write more planar adventures. Maybe one-night shorts.
(Deleted comment)
the_monkey_king
Apr. 19th, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC)
Publish a monster in Pathfinder!

Ain't no one takin' my dice, neither. *checks dice*

Nossir! :)
(Deleted comment)
the_monkey_king
Apr. 19th, 2007 09:46 pm (UTC)
Wow, you're keeping busy — good luck with the submissions!

I really should go look at Delver's Square stuff. But I need to read Ptolus first... so behind.
(Deleted comment)
avidreader514
Apr. 19th, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
I'm 30 pages away from finishing Ptolus. It's taken me four months...and that's not counting the supplementary material!
(Deleted comment)
wahcrysob
Apr. 19th, 2007 10:01 pm (UTC)
Though I never read either regularly, I am sad to see the mags go, I was planning on getting myself a subscription to Dragon too. And maybe writing for it one day, in the far future of the 41st milenniun when I have time thanks to school.

However, I'm very excited about Pathfinder, as it offers exactly what I'm looking for right now: a way to run without having to do all the work of writing, which will be done, at first, by you, which is a step above my own skills! I'm already considering a subscription, we'll just have to see what the price tag is.

Good luck with Pathfinder, whether I get the chance to actually put it to use or not!
the_monkey_king
Apr. 19th, 2007 11:05 pm (UTC)
Seems that the price tag is steeper for Pathfinder, but there are no ads, and it's printed with thicker, better paper and cover.

$20 an issue, but there's a subscriber discount, and it's month to month. Not sure whether they'll fly off the shelves at this price, but it's definitely competitive with a sourcebook price.
migar_frobert
Apr. 20th, 2007 10:58 am (UTC)
Price is a serious issue here, nothing beat the value for money that you got from a Dungeon subscription. Pathfinder is not a Dungeon replacement; those who bought Dungeon for generic adventures that could plug in to their campaigns will not want Pathfinder.
the_monkey_king
Apr. 20th, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC)
I don't know, I'm writing the 4th adventure for Pathfinder, and it's very much a generic adventure that could be plugged into any campaign.

The title is "Fortress of the Stone Giants" — it's meant to go anywhere that giants go.

What makes you say that people won't want Pathfinder?
migar_frobert
Apr. 20th, 2007 03:56 pm (UTC)
With the three adventure path series that I have seen so far in Dungeon (and to a lesser extent with the shorter arcs) I find them more difficult to plug in to an ongoing campaign that isn't involving the whole series. Sure, there is great stuff that can be pulled out and used piecemeal, but the motivations and goals of the villains don't necessarily easily translate into another campaign. Perhaps I'm just showing my own shortcomings as a GM.

With Pathfinder, it seems that it will be one huge Adventure Path after another. This isn't a bad thing for people who want to collect it all (rather than having to pick up 12 or so Dungeon back issues), but means that it's all focused on the one track. My personal preference is for diversity.

Finally the price point is much higher than for Dungeon. I know that there are no ads and the paper is better, but I don't think that this is a good trade-off. (In fact, Dungeon is one of the few places where I _like_ to see the ads).

So, I'm getting the same page count as with Dungeon, but for four times the price (for a subscriber for each) and with less diversity. I'm not convinced by that. Though I do like the offer of the bundled pdf.

You reassure me somewhat with your comments on your own adventure in the first series, so I might just pick and choose amongst them as they come up. It just won't be a no-brainer subscription like Dungeon was for me.
pithhelmet
Apr. 19th, 2007 10:32 pm (UTC)
So it's official; WotC/Hasbro has ended the license for Dragon magazine, capping the publication's 30-year run, and also put an end to the sister publication, Dungeon Adventures. They've both had good runs, but I'm sad to see them go, seeing as working for TSR Periodicals was the first job I had after college.

I started playing D&D and buying "Dragon" in the early 80s. I stopped buying "Dragon" around 1990 or so. Your issue on Bas-Lag got me to buy my first copy in over 15 years. Thanks for helping my "Dragon" experience go out on a positive note.
sucros
Apr. 19th, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC)
Dragon really took an upturn in the past few years too... The new web content had better be *really* good, or they're going to have at least one pissed off regular consumer.

I'm really going to miss campaign classics.
the_monkey_king
Apr. 19th, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
You and me both. I'm very pleased with what I'm seeing in the Paizo campaign setting (such as the art for Karzoug and the Pathfinder dragon). It's a good sign that they're ready to go with strong stuff; the WotC web content will have to be very good indeed to compete.

Maybe the competition will mean gamers win in the long run. One hopes.
halo_ov_fire
Apr. 20th, 2007 07:51 am (UTC)
NO! Damnit. Why does this have to happen while I'm in Kuwait?!?! Wait, why does this have to happen at all?

Crap

mr_rakshasa
Apr. 20th, 2007 08:23 am (UTC)
I used to cut the covers off Dragon - and some of the full page painted monster pictures - and had a big collage of them on my wall when I was a kid.
the_monkey_king
Apr. 20th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was flipping through the new Art of Dragon Magazine book lately. Brought back a lot of memories.

I was raised by a librarian, though, so no cutting up of magazines for me. :)
ppanavalli
Apr. 20th, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
Wulf, any thoughts on what portion of the D&D populace the "30ish" crowd is? There seems to be some discourse that "we" are not part of the core market for DnD.
the_monkey_king
Apr. 20th, 2007 09:25 pm (UTC)
No idea, really. The core market tends to be high school and college, but just as video games have moved into older age brackets, so have the tabletop games moved. There once were no older gamers because it was all too new; now, I suspect that it's at least 20% of the market over 30.

I think a broader age group is probably healthy, as long as new people are still joining the hobby.

Whether we're part of the *WotC* core market is another question entirely. Based on what I know of their marketing and brand management, I'd argue the answer is no.
(Anonymous)
Apr. 27th, 2007 06:38 pm (UTC)
MY question would not be what percentage of gamers are 30-ish, but rather as a percentage of total D&D sales how much do those over 30's spend?

dpetroc
the_monkey_king
Apr. 28th, 2007 03:00 am (UTC)
Good point. I suspect that some of them spend a good deal, but that's the "good income, no kids" group. Others.... bits and pieces.

It would take some serious work to get a real answer, but it's certainly the right question.
(Deleted comment)
(Anonymous)
Apr. 27th, 2007 07:00 am (UTC)
Future directions for Paizo and WotC
I think that WotC have taken careful aim at one of their feet and hit the target. They may well find out that they used a grenade launcher and will soon regret getting what they asked for. I, and many other people seem to share this view, spend quite a bit of money on WotC products only to be disappointed by various shortcomings. I will not compound that error by buying on-line content that will cost me even more to have in a portable form.

As for Paizo's upcoming adventure path; yes, I will buy it. The price seems right for the promised content. Even if I don't use it immediately, I will have it for a backstop when I next get the chance to DM.

And the money that I will spend on those Paizo products is money that I would otherwise spend on WotC product. For me it is a zero-sum equation: I spend $x on gaming products; Paizo will soon be getting a larger share of those $'s at WotC's expense.

On a related note, I am going to spend some time this weekend downloading as much of WotC web-based material as possible. It is not inconceivable that such material gets tied to their on-line subscription model.
the_monkey_king
Apr. 28th, 2007 03:08 am (UTC)
Re: Future directions for Paizo and WotC
Paizo FTW!

Yeah, I wish WotC were more open and transparent about their plans. The secrecy makes me suspect they don't *quite* have it together yet.
( 47 sutras — Your wisdom )

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