Friday, August 19, 2016

More of the Same

There's been a lot of yammering about the Gygax estate partnering with Mr. Desanto to produce legacy products from Gary Gygax's pre- and post-TSR intellectual property.

I have some insight into this, and then there's the obvious:  For those in the RPG community who continue to believe that they will ever be given a true and historical treatment of said works such as I attempted to steer Trigee into for Castle Zagig back in 2004, then keep dreaming.

This is a high profile push deal aimed at movies, perhaps novelizations and definitely a computer game minus any historical trappings whatsoever.  The latter, in my estimation, will be like Gygax vanilla aimed at making money and branding for his legacy sake.  This is what, from what I've been lead to understand, Gail Gygax wants, so more power to her there in that enterprise and I wish her luck.

But gamers--do not get your hopes out of joint, for if the Castle or related RPG works from that time period were to be published it would have happened by now way before this deal.

Then there is the matter that a full 20 levels from that Castle are claimed as my intellectual property alone, and I have had no contact over their use from the Gygax estate, all of which in that regard, I am monitoring very closely.

So buckeroos, dream on, but just a down to earth reminder, this is Gail's show, and rightly so, so don't be looking for the low-end deals through this partnership.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

El Raja Key Archive Sample Image

"The Mound" &" Ruins of Seer" Adjoined Super Adventure

This is from the "Ruins of Seer" a massive Greyhawk Adventure I had written BitD (1983-1985) and that was never published due to TSR's inimical stance with Gary and myself and the marginalization of Greyhawk due to that.  I tried to sell it as a Expert level adventure to TSR in 1985 but they showed no interest in it after seeing it and having it described to them when I visited with both Bruce Heard and Harrold Johnson about it.

This is representative of the quality of material that is on the DVD.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

El Raja Key Archive Final Update

DVD Label:  Final
There are four principal people involved in this massive project and all of us have been busy at it, made more difficult by me being overseas and having to interface via Skype for sometimes 6 hours straight many days in a row as of recent.  Those people are:  myself, Paul Stormberg of the Collector's Trove, Kevin Maurice and my wife, Nathalie.

Upon receiving the test DVD by FEDEX we have finished:

Going over the 1,100 image files for proper placement within categories and sub-categories, for image quality, and for the ability to print, share and to otherwise test the interface in relation to these. As well Kevin is working on a "cascading view" because some categories open with as many as 60 thumbnail images.  This will allow a handy interface for viewing and accessing.

Tonight we finish up on the 200+ pages of file descriptions while fine tooth combing Paul's and my own descriptions of the auctioned and scanned items which started over 10 years ago, this for errors, omissions and possible better wording/changes.

We have all learned quite a lot doing something that none of us have ever done before, and we have been making adjustments to the project as it proceeds due to this.

The date for release keeps changing due to that, so our next, pretty final one is the 3rd or 4th week in August.

In between, know that we are very busy with the many things connected to this and the launch of Three Line Studio.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A New Ethos in Game Design: The Paradigm Shift Originated by Dungeons & Dragons, 1972-1977

To Be Released 2017

As many people and communities throughout the Internet are aware I have been steadily adding chapters to a book that I undertook researching and writing 8 years ago, actually now almost 9 years, in fact.  It is now approaching 200,000 words and with 20 diagrams; and my projection for its release has been amended several times due to moves (first to Wichita, then to France), the releasing of my DVD Collection (a long project started in Illinois, continued in Wichita and finished in France), and to my marriage to my wife Nathalie Hachet-Kuntz.  Though slowed in bringing the book to immediate release due to all of these life-changing and, ultimately, happy life circumstances indeed, I am now on track to finishing it.

This book is a culmination of over 42+ years of being actively exposed to game design and game theory and in combining this with my research to achieve a goal:  To discover the true essence of the RPG concept and, moreover, to describe it in scientific terms to allow for its continued expansion in many ways.  The book intersects many disciplines, such as game design, game theory, play theory, cognitive science and systems thinking, to name a few.  In my estimation I believe that I have achieved my goal; and I am in the process of fleshing out the details of it as gathered through reading and referencing 50+ major texts, over 200 related articles and from my copious notes, a copy of the latter which is being held for me by my close friend and associate, Allan Grohe.  I have also had in-depth discussions and readings by me of  the ms with Allan Grohe and Jon Hershberger (Black Blade Publishing), Paul Stormberg (the Collectors Trove) and of course my wife Nathalie.  I have also extensively sampled its parts for all of the above named and my wife retains a full back-up and is one of the editors assigned to the project.

In essence, this is my grand opus, so to speak.  It is not only a culmination but a beginning, just as Arneson's concept was for game history and for the theories he espoused.

My current book (the manuscript is finished and we are about 2 months out, if not sooner, from releasing it) is entitled Dave Arneson's True Genius; and it is not only a send-up to Dave Arneson but is an in-depth study of what Arneson gifted to us:  his genius.  It is also a shot across the bow for A New Ethos in Game Design, the former being a solid prelude of it that will include samples from this much larger companion work.

With all good news comes a rumor which I am tracking for its origin and that a text similar to mine in kind is now being prepared, this after I recently went public and put myself on the radar at several forums in stating my purpose.  

Though just a rumor at present I cannot but now feel delighted, if it has any basis in fact, that someone might join the scientific fray by way of attempting to ride my coat-tails whereas no such wind was in the air prior to my recent announcements.  Rumors are what they are, and I also claim no right of way to be the only one to pursue such a course as I have partially described herein; and since science is science and historically it seems that the advantage therein not only lies with the true thinker but sometimes with the hasty doer who would forward a cause based upon ego and denial rather than truth and the patience of a scholar who reads first and then decides upon matters worthy or not of the pen.

Whether folks in this hobby care to notice or even to admit this behavior--and as paraded in the past as fact and not as rumor as in this case--it is pretty entrenched in RPG's history.  It derives explicitly from the split between Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, the resultant obfuscation of facts due to out of court settlements, and the continued marginalization of Arneson's real contributions due to that.  This attitude has desisted in large part to a norm which is now promoted less virulently but more remotely.  "Historians" who do not quote living persons associated with that era have come forward to paper over the past with the "truth".  They have their own interpretations based upon non-primary sources, which are the actual people themselves who are excluded from such "scholarship."

My research is based upon my experiences from not only historical texts, my own 42+ years of involvement starting at the pre-dawn on this industry/hobby, as someone who has witnessed the great majority of primary shifts that caused its rise; and by participating with those primary and secondary people--living history--who were there.  I have taken the high road of real scholarship in stating facts as I know them to be and have left interpretation aside which has no place in science or history as even provisional truth.  Therefore it is of interest in all the many books that have come forth as of recent regarding D&D's and TSR's past that very few primary people from that time period have been asked to participate in their formation, and apparently fewer still are solicited if they do not fit onto a certain narrowly defined output so apparent from these books.  

One might ask the whys about this--and many have.  To my knowledge there have been countless redirections to myself--and endless other redirections to primary people associated with that history--by secondary people who were being asked primary questions.  Of those redirections I can only speak for myself directly:  nothing came from them.  The secondary source's recommendations to enquire of the primary source, myself in this case, were ignored.  In three cases to date my name occurs in the same number of printed works and in many instances. In every case I have not been asked a single question regarding contextual use or to verify such uses as fact.  In one case I was not even aware that the book was just about to be released in two weeks time.  I can only assume that this form of exclusionary approach holds true for other living persons from that time period who are referenced within these works. 

Expediency has no place in scholarship no matter the subject. This sort of careless approach can speak to many outcomes but never to truthful reporting.

There is no doubt that the end-use reader has the final verdict with all such matter, and as often compared to similar works--but that they should be from the very onset given a clear picture based upon equally researched views that are verifiable and attributable and not in the least bit "interpretable" is what defines properly executed research.  Minus this we are left with a hodge-podge of interpretations which become voided as opinions.

You have my guarantee that my own works have not, nor will not, proceed along such a marginal course as I have described above.  The LGTSA (Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association) cut their teeth on intensive research time and again and within overlapping and multiple subject areas.  It was part and parcel of my own existence as its membered president--now 47 years removed but not forgotten.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dave Arneson's True Genius: First Major Treatise on Dave Arneson

Place Holder Cover

Three Line Studio is nearing release of the first ever major treatise on David L. Arneson, the genius behind the role-playing craze that started in 1971 in Minneapolis with his group of players and spread like a contagion from 1974 onward through the commercial release of Classic Dungeons & Dragons in 1974.

The manuscript for the work is finished and we are finishing designing the cover and sourcing a layout person.

The work is not the usual history tour so much as it is a tour of Arneson's mind, design philosophies and ultimate systems organization, the latter which busted wide open 2,000 years of game history with his unprecedented systems architecture.

The tentative date for its release is set for 2 months from now; final editing of the ms is now being overseen by Nathalie Hachet-Kuntz (TLS) and Allan Grohe (BBP). 

Three Line Studio has one fulfillment agency in the U.S. for distribution purposes and is seeking a second to handle overflow orders for the monograph, which we deem will be brisk.  We are currently sourcing a second agent for fulfilling overflow orders.  If interested contact us at for details.

Review copies will be available for established book reviewers in and out of the RPG industry.  Use the contact details above if you are interested in reviewing the book and in receiving an advanced copy of it prior to its release.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

UPDATE: DVD Project, Book on Dave Arneson, New RPG Adventure

It has been a long and complicated 9 months since I arrived in France and was married to my sweet wife, Nathalie.  Setting up a working office, dealing with all of the official governmental requirements of my residency, attending LUCCA, doing business under changed circumstances which was not always conducive for expediency as it was in the States, writing and designing in the face of it all, and the list goes on...

As much as there have been delays, still much has been accomplished.  As most of the readers here are aware there are MAJOR changes ahead for this writer.  Some are near coming to pass; and I will list a few hereafter.

The RJK DVD Collection is nearly set to go after many delays.   The Collector’s Trove (Paul Stormberg/Kevin Maurice) is finalizing the matter and I have recent word from Paul of a final release date in a month to 6 weeks.  There’s some extra content that’s been added by me and that is a solid, surprise bonus.  I am awaiting a mailing of the DVD to me for review and then after that it goes into production and release.  The size, from what I’ve been told, is 6.8 GB constituting 1100 scanned files.  Here’s a few prelim image samples of it:

Three Line Studio (link).  Nathalie and I have been busy creating our new website. Though it is mostly barebones right now, we a have a product forthcoming listed there, which is a book of linked essays regarding Dave Arneson:  “Dave Arneson’s True Genius.”  This is a preliminary shot across the bow for my major forthcoming works, “A New Ethos in Game Design” (due out 2017) and “New Models for RPGs” (due out 2018).

The manuscript for Dave Arneson's True Genius is finished (around 20,000 words) and we intend to release thisbefore the end of the year!  VERY EXCITED about this!  TLS is currently in the stage of having a fitting  book cover design created for it. The one on the website is merely a placeholder cover.

Logo Copyright 2016 Three Line Studio
My RPG Works continue with the Italian republication of Bottle City due out by Mondiversi (Amos Pons) at LUCCA 2016; a new D&D module already written (17,200 words) but of which I cannot speak about as yet other than to say that it derives from something I created for GENCON way in the past... And I have been negotiating with my friends at Black Blade Publishing about some related work and this particular module, all of which takes time.  I am full-time in this industry but many who publish and assist have day jobs, so I must understandably wait upon them for final dates and verdicts, etc.

There’s much more ahead so that’s it for now as it’s back to the creative table for me!

*Note that contact information for me can be gained through our website.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Lucca Comics & Games 2015

Lucca Comics & Games was a blast and a high-calibre experience not to be missed, as the second biggest comics and games convention in the world after San Diego CA, in terms of size and visitor numbers (300,000+). Lucca is certainly a creative force to be reckoned with as an international event bringing together a plethora of guest artists and creators (authors, game designers, illustrators, cartoonists, publishers, movie makers, etc.), and genres and platforms as varied as movie extravaganza (Star Wars) to D&D (Rob Kuntz and other D&D creators), to manga.

The atmosphere was upbeat, as can be expected from such a type of festival, with a plethora of costumed individuals hyped up by the Halloweenesque time of year, lending it a surreal vibe, against the solemn grandeur of the historical Tuscan town of Lucca. For the event spills well out of the confines of the halls and tents, into the Renaissance streets, past the opulent architecture of the town.

Most of all, we were impressed by the friendliness, dedication and professionalism of the team of volunteers, helpers and show enthusiasts who work consistently year on year to make Lucca Comics & Games a resounding success!

Meanwhile we shall leave it to the pictures to do the talking...

The fun starts here!
Rob meets up with fans at the Mondiversi Publishing booth
Rob and Amos Pons (Mondiversi Publishing)
Rob DMing the first session of The Cairn of the Skeleton King
Rob's workshop on design philosophy: Lateral Thought Processing in Real-Time RPG Design
Overhead view from the 'tower' of the dealers section
Rob at the Mondiversi booth
Rob and Mark Rein-Hagen, with our Italian interpreter and assistant, Anna
Awards ceremony
Mark Kelly, C.A. Suleiman and Rob doing his best zombie imitation!
Relaxing before the video podcast
The 'A Team' of behind-the-scenes helpers, Paolo, Irene and Gian Luca (Jurgen)!
Rob on the video podcast
Andrea D'Urso (left), one of the main event organisers, Lorenzo and Rob
Rob and Nathalie
Presenting awards for the winners of the D&D tournament
Looking Italian!