Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bye-Bye Princess Ark

Some of you have known that for some time I've queried Wizards of the Coast for options to get some life back into the World of Mystara and the Princess Ark.  Unfortunately, Wizards isn't interested in cooperating.  This became clear when I began talking to their IP manager, who informed me that any arrangement regarding Mystara was out of the question at this time.  There was no interest in anything involving a transfer of rights, a sale, a license agreement, a permission to publish, or any other option--as a matter of policy.  From what I'd heard of WotC, I knew this going in.

What I really was interested in was writing new stories specifically for the Princess Ark, originally published in Dragon Magazine some twenty years ago.  For a time, it sounded like an arrangement might be possible.  Since Mystara wasn't available, it still would have involved stripping all related D&D- and Mystara-specific details.  It would have left the ship and her crew completely bare of any background.  However, WotC's IP manager decided that even this constituted an IP, and therefore wasn't available.  I offered cash, free ads, efforts to coordinate and support the release of D&D Next (etc.), to no avail.  That so many of you would be overjoyed to see any RPG release linked to Mystara or the Princess Ark didn't appear to be relevant in the least.

The Good News

Although this development may appear heart-breaking, there is a silver lining.  As the discussion developed, I became convinced that any involvement with WotC was a waste of my time and a future liability.  Writing Princess Ark stories without her original background seemed bad enough, but in the event of a licensing agreement or a simple permission to publish, I would have been obligated  to regularly submit any development for approval.  This would have made the experience infinitely worse, provided anyone at WotC were available for the approval process--which apparently isn't the case.  I was given to understand that WotC doesn't want to spare staff for this sort of work, even if they had anyone knowledgeable enough to do these old IPs justice.  This seems to be the situation for most of the old TSR game settings--not just Mystara or the Princess Ark.  The end result would have been a creative straightjacket at best, or more likely a nightmare.

Good riddance.

Time has come for me to set sail across stranger skies.  I think there's plenty of room out there for another ship, another crew, and new adventures unbound by darkness.  Although stories would take place in another world, in spirit one might think this is the Princess Ark reborn.  My plan is to move on with brand new fiction stories and release them as E-Books.  Your interest and support will be key in making this dream come true.  Once I get the details worked out, a Kickstarter campaign will become a must.  You can show your support now by sharing this article, posting your comments, or hitting the + button.

Thanks to all of you for your friendship and the manner in which you welcomed my return after a fifteen year hiatus.  It was a heartwarming thing for me, and to no small degree, this fueled my devoting so much effort to this blog.  Please understand I don't mean to stop contributing.  I'm opening another door and looking at what could have been and at new opportunities.  I hope you'll come explore some new frontiers with me.

Until then, I say: "Onward, my courageous companions!   Let us seek a better, bolder, grander future!"


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