I found an article you guys might be interested in. It was written by Jon Peterson and published in 2014, and probably the most detailed account I've read so far on the finances of TSR and how EGG lost control.
Post by geneweigel on May 26, 2020 10:16:36 GMT -5
When Gary told me that same story it was centered around Williams and detectives following him leading up to divorce. So this seems slanted. This guy seems like he is hostile to Gary in the wording. Not cool.
Post by geneweigel on May 26, 2020 11:48:57 GMT -5
I remember at that time being a slow decline in popularity where 10 people would have played 4 years earlier but at that point with the cartoon in full swing there was this heavier need for necessity of it yielding 3 players if you were lucky. Thats why we were all bumping heads to get more legit with it. If this shit didn't go down we might have lost interest if there was a complete disintegration of Gygax D&D content by him. Since he was removed there was that lack that made a driving force. Hypothetically if WASP'S NEST was delivered would people have walked away? That is probably the greatest question.
Something in the article stood out to me as possibly being a missed opportunity:
As these events played out in real time, he had little opportunity to reflect—Wesley Sommer then formally requested that Gygax tender his resignation. No doubt still grappling with his new circumstances, Gygax refused. Sommer therefore proposed the following to the TSR board for a vote: “Resolved that, in the best interests of the corporation, E. Gary Gygax be terminated as President and Chief Executive Officer and Chairman and that TSR and Mr. Gygax negotiate and seek to enter into an agreement whereby Mr. Gygax would continue to do creative work and the Company continue to utilize his creative talent.” This last clause no doubt related to the royalty issue previously under discussion.
I can't fault EGG for trying to regain control of the company, and leaving when he was unable to... But what if he had negotiated to remain with the company as chief designer of AD&D and/or Greyhawk? Did he even want to run a company, and be in charge of all of the finances, acquisitions, reorganizations, hirings and firings? This quote above implies that although they didn't want EGG running the company, they still respected his creative talent and would have been open to him continuing forward as a designer. But I'm sure hard feelings made that all but impossible.
Last Edit: May 26, 2020 12:31:05 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
Post by geneweigel on May 26, 2020 12:58:29 GMT -5
The guy writing that jive is one of these hostile nemeses, of the name Gary Gygax, that feel that shadow of D&D's creation had to do something wrong in that time to validate some kind of dorky adherence to post-Gygax material. I don't believe any of it. The way I translate what Gary hinted at, believe me he went on and on about this, was:
1) Blume(s?) were addled half the time tried to spend millions saving some relative's business (textiles?) and thats why they were on their way out power-wise.
2)The local judge was a crook on the take who ruled unfairly on him priorly (?).
3) Williams was a ringer marking him for a sucker with lawyers, detectives, etc starting back in Hollywood. Playing games with Gary's ex-wife and perhaps trying to blackmail him.
So whatever this guy is writing its just to exonerate all of his "heroes" of the Williams' TSR (Roger E. Moore, Zeb Cook, Jeff Gribb, etc). Gary out of being in charge is what created Dragonlance so we got that anyway. These biographies are malicious seeming if Gary isn't seen fairly.
Post by foster1941 on May 27, 2020 11:04:32 GMT -5
I had a big argument with Jon Peterson at the time this article was published because it’s so at odds with Gary’s version of these events. Peterson’s method is that he only relies on contemporary written records and not retrospective memories of the participants, Because he feels the latter are too inaccurate, which is his prerogative and he’s consistent about it but there’s two problems with it: (1) the contemporary written records may not be complete or accurate - stuff could left out or people could be lying, both of which seem to have been the case here. He repeatedly quotes from TSR’s internal employee newsletter as proof that Gary was still the primary decision-maker at TSR for years after he says the Blumes had taken over, that he went to Hollywood by choice rather than being exiled there, etc. which leads us to (2) he takes those contemporary written records and forms them into a narrative that he then presents as being The Truth without acknowledging the uncertainty inherent in his methods or contradictory accounts, including/especially later accounts by the participants.
Gary said in later years that the Blumes were in total control at TSR from about 1980 on, and that he was still the public face of the company but every important decision was voted on by the board where he was always outvoted 2:1 (and presumably, once the board was expanded to include the outside directors, 4:1). But because Gary only described that dynamic after the fact, Peterson completely ignores it in his narrative in favor of the sanitized official version from the company newsletter where he and the Blumes were perfectly in sync.
Furthermore, when I pressed him about that he revealed his bias by stating that he thinks Gary was especially “non-credible” because he tended to make technical errors about things like dates and because he did things like dismiss the outside directors as “stooges” when they were in fact respected Milwaukee businessmen, which Peterson found offensive. So his claim is that he’s objectively evaluating the written record but that’s not quite the whole truth - he’s specifically fishing for documentary evidence that contradicts the “folk tradition” of retrospective accounts from the participants in order to prove that his method is better and more serious.
If he acknowledged the other side in his accounts - if he noted that Gary’s version of events was substantially different and that there’s uncertainty around the actual truth (the way actual responsible historians do) - that would be one thing, but he doesn’t. He completely dismissed and ignores anything outside of his self-imposed narrow scope, crafts a narrative around that particular subset of data, and presents it as both the objective truth and specifically as an antidote or corrective to earlier accounts. And then, of course, once he’s published his version others pick up on it and repeat and amplify it, characterizing it as how Jon Peterson has “proven with facts“ over and over again that Gary Gygax was a liar.
Post by foster1941 on May 27, 2020 11:33:15 GMT -5
Peterson also wrote the article alleging that the Chainmail Fantasy Supplement was stolen from the rules for a Tolkien minis scenario published in a wargaming newsletter in 1970, and the article about how the D&D movie script Gary was shipping around Hollywood was a giant piece of crap so all of Gary's claims in Dragon magazine about how the D&D movie was going to be good was playing the readership for suckers. So highlighting "new discoveries" that contradict things Gary Gygax said and make him look bad (or at least less credible) is definitely a running theme of his work.
Post by geneweigel on May 27, 2020 11:54:27 GMT -5
There was a Trigee associate, him who shall not be named, who was actively hostile towards his "boss" Gary. Remember him? So I don't know what the dynamic was at Trigee. I don't believe we've ever addressed this broadly. I've specifically mentioned that individual over the years but he immediately appears and talks in riddles.
Last Edit: May 27, 2020 11:54:59 GMT -5 by geneweigel