WotC Spokesperson Apologizes to Mystara fans

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Re: WotC Spokesperson Appoligizes to Mystara fans

Post by stebehil » Mon May 14, 2018 8:59 pm

One way to generate support for Mystara might be pointing out the qualities of the setting to the guys at WotC. As several people pointed out, what Mr. Sernett said was mostly related to a small part of the setting, as presented in some products that have their issues. He admitted that he did make an error there. Now, wouldn´t it be an opportunity to maybe show him why there is still strong fan support for the setting, over 20 years after the last official product was published? I think that the GAZ line is one of the strongest product lines ever published for any D&D setting (and I´m not just saying this because Bruce might read this), even with a few IMO weaker entries, so maybe pointing these out to Mr. Sernett might engender some interest in the setting - I assume that he does not know them, judging from his statements. I don´t think that dwelling on his criticized statement will do any good in that regard.

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Re: WotC Spokesperson Appoligizes to Mystara fans

Post by shesheyan » Mon May 14, 2018 10:30 pm

stebehil wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 8:59 pm
I don´t think that dwelling on his criticized statement will do any good in that regard.
This thread is barely 26 replies long. I wouldn't say we are «dwelling» on the topic. Members of the forum have the right to express themselves on the issue.
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Re: WotC Spokesperson Appoligizes to Mystara fans

Post by Raymond » Mon May 14, 2018 10:43 pm

Is the host supposed to be a D&D expert? I thought the statement about druids killing each other to level up a bit strange as the rules state defeat. I wouldn't think that True Neutral characters would look to kill to get to the next rank as wouldn't that limit who was left to challenge? Am I missing something here?

Maybe this will stir the pot and be good or Mystara. Though I kind of like that the IP owners are letting the fans do what they want. If the IP owners start publishing stuff now for Mystara, I don't believe they will know enough about it to not produce a train wreck.

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Re: WotC Spokesperson Appoligizes to Mystara fans

Post by Ambreville » Mon May 14, 2018 10:50 pm

shesheyan wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 10:30 pm
stebehil wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 8:59 pm
I don´t think that dwelling on his criticized statement will do any good in that regard.
This thread is barely 26 replies long. I wouldn't say we are «dwelling» on the topic. Members of the forum have the right to express themselves on the issue.
I don't see that walking away from the event and pretending it didn't happen will accomplish much either. Sure, what happened happened, and it can't be undone--neither can 20 years of mistreatment and disrespect of Mystara, its fans, and old IPs in general, by various and assorted staffers past and present. Do not to treat with gloves those who are determined not wear any. It isn't my intention to forget and forgive the unforgivable. What is appropriate here is a clear statement from WotC, not only issuing a proper apology but an engagement not to tolerate from employees any further disrespect toward fans and toward the work of so many authors.
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Re: WotC Spokesperson Appoligizes to Mystara fans

Post by night_druid » Mon May 14, 2018 10:54 pm

Raymond wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 10:43 pm
Is the host supposed to be a D&D expert? I thought the statement about druids killing each other to level up a bit strange as the rules state defeat. I wouldn't think that True Neutral characters would look to kill to get to the next rank as wouldn't that limit who was left to challenge? Am I missing something here?
He calls himself a "loremaster". Watching the video, I just mostly buried my head in my hands. I just chalk it up as another reason I just buy 1e/2e/BEMCI PODs.
Maybe this will stir the pot and be good or Mystara. Though I kind of like that the IP owners are letting the fans do what they want. If the IP owners start publishing stuff now for Mystara, I don't believe they will know enough about it to not produce a train wreck.
I kinda doubt it. Looking at the past four year lineup, I just don't see them touching Mystara with a 10' pole. Or Spelljammer. Or Planescape. Or Birthright. They just don't have the bandwidth to handle more than 1 supplement & 2 adventures per year. The only thing I could see them remotely doing would be a "Worlds of D&D" book in 2019 or later, with *very* brief overviews of the various settings aside from Forgotten Realms (32 pages each, tops. More likely 8 to 16 page range).
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Re: WotC Spokesperson Appoligizes to Mystara fans

Post by stebehil » Tue May 15, 2018 7:25 am

Ambreville wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 10:50 pm
shesheyan wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 10:30 pm
stebehil wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 8:59 pm
I don´t think that dwelling on his criticized statement will do any good in that regard.
This thread is barely 26 replies long. I wouldn't say we are «dwelling» on the topic. Members of the forum have the right to express themselves on the issue.
I don't see that walking away from the event and pretending it didn't happen will accomplish much either. Sure, what happened happened, and it can't be undone--neither can 20 years of mistreatment and disrespect of Mystara, its fans, and old IPs in general, by various and assorted staffers past and present. Do not to treat with gloves those who are determined not wear any. It isn't my intention to forget and forgive the unforgivable. What is appropriate here is a clear statement from WotC, not only issuing a proper apology but an engagement not to tolerate from employees any further disrespect toward fans and toward the work of so many authors.
To be clear about that, I would not deny anybodies right to express their opinion on that issue (even if I could), and I did not want to advocate forgetting about that statement, continuing the blatant disregard of the setting and its authors and its fans. But all too often I´ve seen it happening that some kind mudslinging results from hurt feelings, which would not help engendering a positive reaction from either party involved. That is what wanted to warn against. I guess I expressed that particularly badly, judging from the results. I´m all for trying to point the folks at WotC just what Mystara is all about, and trying to get them to really look at the setting, not continuing some old prejudices carried over from earlier times. Thorfs idea of an open letter from the community to WotC looks like a good idea IMO. It is all right to point to the statement by Mr. Sernett as a starting point, but delevoping a positive attitude towards the setting should be the goal.

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Re: WotC Spokesperson Appoligizes to Mystara fans

Post by Ambreville » Tue May 15, 2018 1:45 pm

stebehil wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 7:25 am
(...)
My comment had less to do with you than it did the folks attempting to whitewash the matter. I had no issue with what you wrote. Sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable.
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Re: WotC Spokesperson Appoligizes to Mystara fans

Post by stebehil » Tue May 15, 2018 4:42 pm

Ambreville wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 1:45 pm
stebehil wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 7:25 am
(...)
My comment had less to do with you than it did the folks attempting to whitewash the matter. I had no issue with what you wrote. Sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable.
Thanks for clarifying that. No hard feelings here. I took a few comments as aiming at my statements, and felt the need to address that. And I saw that I expressed myself less clear than I might have - it is probably harder to discuss things like these in a non-native language, even as I consider my english to be pretty good (reading RPG books back in my teens in the 80ies did wonders to my english r/w skill, btw).

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Re: WotC Spokesperson Apologizes to Mystara fans

Post by Mike » Tue May 15, 2018 7:33 pm

Bruce, as far as "whitewashing" you may be referring to my comments. For what its worth, I apologize if my comments were offensive. I know the guy stepped on some toes, and I get that there is also a desire to raise awareness.

I'm not really on board with the raising awareness part so that may inform some of my opinions, I don't know. I like that Mystara is in a backwater, and feel that if WOTC picked it up again they'd ruin it. Many folks here don't agree, and that's fine. I'm not agitating for any particular thing, and if it happens it happens.

Stepping on toes: absolutely. His dramatic pause followed by a blanket dismissal was definitely starting on the wrong foot.

I guess my thing is: My experience has been that people made fun my my chosen game and my chosen setting. I think everyone here is agreeing that Mystara gets little respect. I have been told that classic D&D was a kiddie game. Players agitated at my table to move to a game for grown ups like 3E or PF or at least AD&D, just anything but D&D with its race as class. Players loved Mystara, but not the way I loved it. I saw the stories, the places to explore, the history. The saw theme parks and vending machines in dungeons and flying pizza delivery services and stoner wizards. (Yeah not part of Mystara, but this is the direction they chose to run.) They deliberately played up the silly because "it is only D&D" and "that is what Mystara is about." My player who loved it most was also the player who said his favorite game was TOON, and saw Mystara as his golden opportunity to play "D&D TOON". ugh.

I run nearly all my games in the known world and/or mystara, one version or another, and have been for almost 40 years now. There was a time when I defended it staunchly. There was a time when I agitated to increase its visiblity and popularity. There was a time when I wanted to play it very serious, and tried to downplay the corny elements. There was a time when I played UP the corny elements. And finally, I got altogether tired of defending it to deaf ears and closed minds. There came a point where I just accepted it for what it is, the good (ie stuff I liked) with the bad (ie stuff I didn't like) and the "ugly" (its hard for me to swallow what I see as comedy elements, but in the end that's the true soul of D&D), and stopped really caring much what people thought. That's where I am now. I like it being an internet-based, fan-only community without commercial support, because I feel like WOTC ruins everything they touch. Grump grump.

Now, to be fair not everyone is like this. Lots of players were cool with it. And it is less a problem now that OSR is a popular thing and gonzo is back in fashion. But my overall experience has been disrespect or dismissal, and yes it offended me and I took it personally. I wanted to prove it was good. I wanted to see it become popular. In the end I realized people want different things, and some people have closed minds for whatever reason. I accepted that Mystara does have goofy elements AND serious elements, and some people wont like it for that reason. Thats cool, I often hate their settings and games too.

And what really grinds my gears is when WOTC picks things out of Mystara -- stealing its crown jewels -- and sticking them into other settings. Or as Sam said, "disassemble the elements of Mystara,then put it in generic books". That makes their other settings stronger and Mystara weaker, in the sense of stealing its uniqueness and its thunder. Why play Mystara for the flying ships and tortles and isle of dread when these things already exist in your favorite setting? When you steal all the cool stuff, all that is left is the not cool stuff to differentiate it, and at that point the setting is as good as dead. So again, I turn my face away and shrug and say, its better to be forgotten than to be noticed and carved up like a turkey.

Those who have produced material for Mystara naturally want to see their material used. I also design stuff (software) and like to see it used, even if its taken out of its original context, because I hate to see it languish. (And mostly it does languish, because technology relentlessly moves on... everything I do is soon forgotten, no matter how much I sweat over it or how proud I am of my work.) So I want people to enjoy and find value in my stuff. That's totally fair and I don't begrudge you that, in fact I wish you success; it's not necessarily in line what what feels best for me, but I have no dog in this race.

I also understand that his comments must have felt very personal, because you poured your heart and soul and career into this. That sucks. In no sense to I mean to diminish that. And let me take the opportunity to thank you all for your contributions that I have enjoyed so much.

So when I said the comments felt accurate, that's what I meant. More of the same, nothing new, just another hater. I'm done with haters. I didn't see him as a WOTC spokesman (even if he was), he just seemed another of an endless stream of youtube nerds stating their opinions. Yawn.

Sturm said, "Obviously some people may prefer gritty dark games over more funny ones but personally I've experienced fun at the table only when people game without taking the game too seriously"

I think that is the bottom line. It is not to deny that Mystara has corny elements but to accept that D&D is absurd, that nearly every D&D group (in my experience) devolves into monty python jokes and general goofing around, and that is okay and it is fun that way. Every setting is absurd. One of the reasons I like Mystara is that Greyhawk and the Realms are too ridiculous for me.

I hope this serves to clarify a bit. Sorry if I offended or if any of the above offends, its not my intent. But these are thoughts I've had and developed for decades, and this is the only place I get to express them. Maybe this isn't the best thread to bring this stuff up, I don't know. I often feel out of step with the RPG community and sometimes with the Mystara community, and I've also made peace with that.

Anyway, I always write too much, but I'm done.

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Re: WotC Spokesperson Apologizes to Mystara fans

Post by Thorf » Wed May 16, 2018 3:29 am

Mike, that's a very interesting and insightful perspective. Thanks for sharing! You make a lot of good points.

One thing I would say about the possibility of Wizards doing something Mystara is that I think more of us are probably interested in the potential of DMs Guild Mystara than with what Wizards actually put out. There's a lot of cynicism about the latter, for all of the reasons you, me, and others have stated in this thread. I doubt anyone here can honestly say they have total confidence in what Wizards may come up with. ;)

But we have a lot more confidence in what we as a community can come up with — with the added benefit that we are pretty adept at not stepping on each other's toes, and letting everyone do different things without getting upset about it. This sense of inclusion is not something that comes easily to Internet communities, and I think it's something we should be really proud of. Mutual respect for each other and our likes and dislikes is absolutely the corner-stone of this community. And taking it as a given that everyone has their own version of Mystara sets us all free from pointless head-bashing.

Looking back, I think the discussions 20 years ago about "what is canon" — and the backlash against those kinds of discussions — really helped us a great deal, saving a lot of time and effort that would otherwise go into arguing with each other. Instead, we've focused on creating and collaborating with like-minded people in the community.

Getting back to your analysis, I think the absurdity of D&D is a fascinating concept. Based on my most recent games, I think you're spot on: even though it seems like playing it seriously should be the most mature thing to do, I'm not at all convinced that this ends up being fun. When I tried out 3rd Edition with my brother back in 2007, it fell completely flat because we were taking it way too seriously. More recently, in 2016 trying out 5th Edition went a lot better, not necessarily because of the system but because we actually tried to have fun and enjoy ourselves rather than expecting the game itself to provide the fun for us.

Personally, I've always been a bit straight-laced when it comes to humour, not just in D&D but in everything. Which is not to say that I'm serious, but I've always known that my sense of humour doesn't quite align with other people's. I guess this completely changes my perspective on absurdity and Mystara, because I am used to enjoying the bits that I like and ignoring the bits I find too silly — and not just with D&D, but with everything: books, TV, films, even daily life.

What it comes down to for me is that the silly aspects are absolutely present, but I don't see why some people stress them as much as they do. In the big picture, they are minor little things, and not necessarily representative of the whole setting. We seem to have a view these days that everything must be used by default, but that's not at all how Mystara grew, and A doesn't necessarily lead to B, nor does it imply C, because A, B, and C were all created separately by different authors, and in fact B and C's authors didn't even know about A at all, nor about each other.

This is really to our advantage, though, because knowing that there's not necessarily official continuity makes it easy to see that we can accept or ignore whatever part of the setting we like, as we see fit.

That's enough from me for now. Perhaps we should split off the open letter discussion to a new thread so it doesn't get lost here.

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Re: WotC Spokesperson Apologizes to Mystara fans

Post by sam » Wed May 16, 2018 7:44 am

night_druid wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 10:54 pm
I kinda doubt it. Looking at the past four year lineup, I just don't see them touching Mystara with a 10' pole. Or Spelljammer. Or Planescape. Or Birthright. They just don't have the bandwidth to handle more than 1 supplement & 2 adventures per year. The only thing I could see them remotely doing would be a "Worlds of D&D" book in 2019 or later, with *very* brief overviews of the various settings aside from Forgotten Realms (32 pages each, tops. More likely 8 to 16 page range).
Rumor says four books will appear in this year.I will hypnotize myself and believe that they will do this, although the rumors have said many unfulfilled things.If they don't make any changes in this year,I will be completely disappoint and give up 5E, whether or not they have plans for the next 10 to 20 years(I will see what I want until 2028? Go to HELL), and I'm not anything for them.They continue to maintain mysticism,but in the end, if almost everyone is cheering for new products, and I can't feel any excitement about it, I'm done.

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Re: WotC Spokesperson Apologizes to Mystara fans

Post by night_druid » Wed May 16, 2018 12:29 pm

Here's my perspective on the whole thing. If you had asked me about Mystara, oh, 20 years ago, my answer might have been similar to the WotC's guy's response. I'm not a "Mystara guy" or even what you might call a fan, but I certainly don't poo-poo those who do like it. A big reason for never trying to contribute to Threshold is my complete ignorance of the setting. My thoughts on Mystara have been along the lines of "its that setting that's a really random collection of real-world cultures. Vikings next to Monguls next to Rome etc." More than anything else, what kept me from Mystara was a complete lack of a "jumping on point". I started gaming towards the tail end of the Gazetteer line, and there was no ready book or boxed set I knew of to give an overview of the setting, in the way that FR, GH, or DS had.

In the past year I have purchased the GAZ line via a PDF deal (whole collection for like $30). I've not had time to read them thoroughly, but what I have read thus far is fairly impressive in terms of how well they connect. It really is a shame that Mystara has been left to lavish. But it took me many years to get to this level of understanding of how the game operated "in the day" and develop an appreciation of BECMI, Mystara, and other elements of the D&D landscape.
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Re: WotC Spokesperson Apologizes to Mystara fans

Post by maddog » Wed May 16, 2018 1:22 pm

One thing is always true... It's harder to get people to remember the things that were done right, but the things that were done "wrong" will never be forgotten. LOL! I think there was a guy from WotC who was asked about a setting of which he only had passing knowledge, and he remembered the things that were done "wrong." Let's face it, TSR did do some very odd things with the setting. At times it did seem to be a test bed for (bad?) ideas. Multi-media CDs anyone? LOL! It is these oddities that seem to be kept in the collective DnD memory about the setting. We all know differently of course, or we wouldn't be here at The Piazza.

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Re: WotC Spokesperson Apologizes to Mystara fans

Post by Dragon Turtle » Wed May 16, 2018 6:54 pm

Discussion about an Open Letter to Mike Mearls and the Wizard's Team has been split off into a separate thread here.

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Re: WotC Spokesperson Apologizes to Mystara fans

Post by snorri » Fri May 18, 2018 6:57 pm

The best thing with could do to repair their error would be to recruit Havard as community manager. :)

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Re: WotC Spokesperson Appoligizes to Mystara fans

Post by Dread Delgath » Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:55 pm

Morfie wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 7:20 am
He seemed to think The Known World was a Greyhawk offshoot. No idea where that came from.
I'm late to this thread, but, since no one else has answered this, let me offer a little bit of suspect data.

In the beginning, there was (at least) the World of Greyhawk and Blackmoor. In Gygax's original campaign map, he included Blackmoor on his official maps. Blackmoor was a province north of the Greyhawk territories. When the division between Greyhawk & Blackmoor happened (the split between Gygax & TSR and Dave Arneson which also split the original D&D game into BECMI D&D and AD&D) only a little bit of historic data leaked through to official Blackmoor products to explain it, and subsequently to the Known World/Mystara setting, as the official Mystaran time-line has the campaign setting of Blackmoor as it's ancient predecessor.

That was the Twin Cataclysms mentioned in Blackmoor (the pre-history era of Mystara), in Greyhawk's pre-history, they were known as the Rain of Colorless Fire and the Invoked Devastation.

Is it possible to travel between Greyhawk & Mystara? Absolutely, if you have the D&D equivalent of a TARDIS; both timelines exist albeit in parallel realities. The rift in Time & Space happened at the moment of the Twin Cataclysms. After that point in time, for Blackmoorians, Greyhawk just ceased to exist. In the World of Greyhawk, Blackmoor instantly became nothing more than a very small province on the shores of a cold, Arctic landscape of inky black ice.

No, hardly any of that is official, as far as linking Blackmoor & Greyhawk (except for Blackmoor era pre-dating modern Mystara). But it should be. ;)
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