Monday, December 1, 2014

After the Dwimmermount Debacle . . .

. . . is the OSR community ready to give more money to a James Maliszewski project? Maybe. Check out JaMal's new zine for Tékumel, The Excellent Travelling Volume. $10 gets you a 28-page zine; the price includes shipping, but of course you pay more to get your zine on if you live outside of North America.


Note: Hey YDIS crew, this isn't an endorsement; just a note that the zine exists. As the self-appointed zine list keeper, I try to keep tabs on what's new and what's gone.

11 comments:

Clovis Cithog said...

$10 for 28 pages... their is a sucker born every minute . . .

mwschmeer said...

@Clovis: To be fair, that seems to be the going price for a non-U.S. publication, as long as it includes shipping. Mystic Pangolin, The Undercroft are right around $9-$10. Given that James is in Canada, I think this is a fair price given the going market rate. U.S. based zines come in around $4-$6 per issue, which usually includes shipping to U.S.-based addresses.

And I will say that the sample pages posted on his page look right purty, too.

The real question is whether or not James has rehabilitated his reputation among the RPG crowd enough for people to invest in this new effort.

Are his posts at The Black Gate Magazine been enough to convince people that he's worth trusting again? I dunno. No one really comments on his posts there much, at least not to the level that they used to at Grognardia. Of course, The Black Gate caters to a totally different crowd--people more into pulp literature than gaming (although yes, there'd be a large overlap if we drew a Venn diagram of the two groups).

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's about rehabilitation -- James has made it clear he doesn't give a shit, feels no obligation to comment on what happened, and owes nothing. His Black Gate articles are just reprints of Grognardia blogs. He manages with extreme care his exposure to criticism, not because criticism vexes him but because he believes critics should be excluded from all conversation as a matter of policy. At least, that's what I believe.

The real question is whether the community is going to let that slide.

mwschmeer said...

@YDIS: Good points. I didn't realize he was recycling posts from Grognardia for The Black Gate. And I agree about the shutting down critics; the stupidist move he made was shutting off comments on Grognardia and trying to shift them to Google+ where the context for the comments was lost.

But yea, I get that he's avoiding criticism even as he himself posts criticism. Oh, the irony.

And at the same time, the type of juvenile character assassination that goes on over at YDIS can't exactly be called reasoned criticism, either. When the only thing people can do is slather their attacks in racist, sexist, homophobic language, there's no way to take them seriously.

Anonymous said...

I take racist, sexist, homophobic language very seriously, but if you think those things are something to joke about, well I guess this is America and you can act how you want, but I don't think that's very cool.

mwschmeer said...

@YDIS: No, I **don't** think those are things to joke about either, but the majority of commenters at YDIS can't make a post without making personal attacks calling people racist, sexist, or homophobic epitaphs or posting vulgar and sexually-explicit material in the context of ad hominem attacks on a target's personal character.

Also, I don't think there is any way that a reasonable reader could construe that anything I've posted in this thread so far indicates that I condone the behavior of the YDIS crew. I do keep tabs on the threads over there because I've received a lot of hits that originate from that site; I've even posted there, under my actual user name "mwschmeer", when folks have mentioned or criticized this site (which, admittedly, is feeding the trolls).

Anonymous said...

Methinks you doth protest too much. Anyway, I might not like your jocular attitude toward hateful commentary, but I will to the death defend your right to have that attitude.

mwschmeer said...

@YDIS: Thanks, Eliza!

Anonymous said...

Back to topic: Are you going to purchase The Excellent Travelling Volume? If a "No" is simply because you're not into Tekumel, would you buy it if you were a Petal Pusher?

Basically I'm asking: Do you think James is a complete dick, or what?

mwschmeer said...

@YDIS: I am probably going to regret responding to you again, but, OK, I'll play along for a bit longer. No, I don't plan on buying it. I have a limited budget for RPG materials and I'm not into Empire of the Petal Throne.

As for the second question: no, I don't. I think the man's refusal to take responsibility for his words and actions are reprehensible and do speak volumes about his ability to be trusted by an audience that once found this bully pulpit worth listening to because of their shared interest in older RPGs and quasi-official tone that matched his writing style. However, once that audience saw JaMal the blogger couldn't back up his braggadocio with innovative and creative RPG product, he lost whatever trust and enthusiasm they had invested in him (for whatever reason) and has become an object of ridicule.

The most damning thing, of course, is that he took money on the promise of a deliverable and then flaked out on his end of the bargain, and then left his business partners on the hook for his failures to deliver and so on and so on. And he never apologized, never acknowledged his failures, and never attempted to explain why what happened happened in a way that satisfied the many, many, questions. That's just an utter lack of ethics. His actions, whatever they are, speak so much louder than his words in this case.

Of course, I've announced projects and failed to deliver, too. But I never took any money for them, so I don't feel bad about leaving people in the lurch. I give my stuff away because 1) it's of dubious quality, and 2) I'm in this for fun, not profit.

I'm in no place to judge his personal life, so I can't say he's "a complete dick" as you ask. But given his past behavior, I think he's untrustworthy when it comes to his business practices and I won't buy or support any project he hawks with a "buy now" button. Now, if I see an actual physical copy of something at my FLGS, I might given him the benefit of the doubt and pick it up and give it a once over, but I'm not investing in something with his name on it sight unseen.

Anonymous said...

I think he's a complete and willfully irredeemable dick, but more important in deciding whether to purchase are considerations of the author's talent and creativity, which are negligible. Cursed Chateau is objectively terrible. The Dwimmermount teasers he released inspired ridicule from virtually all quarters. Did anyone buy the space game? We can safely assume it's rubbish. Who could possibly expect Plain James to bring anything interesting to Tekumel, a setting beloved for its unique creative peculiarities?

Anywho, you should not reserve strong opinions for the obscurity of your comments section. You're a well-spoken and earnest young man, go ahead and express your feelings on the front page.