GenCon wrap-up: Dragonlance support already taking flight

When Wizards of the Coast published Call of Cthulhu d20, there was a complete failure on the part of Chaosium to cash in on their marketing by putting out supplementary releases. That hasn’t happened with WotC’s Dragonlance d20 release and the company lined-up to support it, Sovereign Press: the first big resource for Dragonlance d20 (which hasn’t even hit store shelves yet) was available at the show. A couple hundred copies of Age of Mortals were shipped directly to the show, between two weeks and a month ahead of the product reaching distribution channels.

Age of Mortals coverThe hardcover supplement is set after the Chaos War, and includes reference materials for everything from the minotaur invasion of Silvanesti to stats for Ogre Titans, all for a meager $40. Sovereign Press VP Jamie Chambers (co-author of Age of Mortals along with Margaret Weis and Christopher Coyle) assured me the support would flow in steady fashion, as SP has eight products planned per year, including a monster book and Key of Destiny, an introductory adventure scheduled for October. Considering that, and the swarms of Dragonlance fans that were asking Weis and Tracy Hickman to sign things, I’d say a D&D renaissance is in the making.


  1. What the hell happened to Chaosium? They used to put out the greatest stuff imaginable, and now they’re just a running joke.

    WOTC basically handed them D20 Cthulhu on a plate, and they blew that one hard. Now all they seem to want to do is recycle old product, and release more stuff that nobody wants. Their sales have shown time and again that the Modern-era Cthulhu stuff is far more popular than the 1920’s stuff, and yet they still only want to do the 20’s crap.

    It’s just sad that they’re still sticking around, peddling the same old crap, when someone else could be doing something worthwhile with it.

    What I don’t get, is that if Lovecraft’s stories are all in the public domain, why doesn’t someone just use the OGL to do a game of Lovcraftian horror that’s just not called Call of Cthulhu?

  2. Rumor has it that Chaosium’s fan base began to panic that their game will be converted to d20 and started shooting off angry mails, and Chaosium spent most of their time and resources calming them.

  3. My sources say that Chaosium was just low on funds and couldn’t afford to make the follow-up products for Cthulhu d20. Since I worked in the same building as Chaosium, and know a couple of the staff there, I’m fairly sure that was the reason.

  4. I understand, and yes, that all did seem to be a problem. My point was that for the last 6 years or so, their product has been lackluster at best. Unseen Masters was good, and proof again that their fans want modern-era stuff. But they keep just regurgitating the same old junk… It’s sad, really…

  5. “Die” has it right. How many versions of the same adventures do we really need. Now they have the excuse to reprint a bunch of the older stuff by saying they are adding D20 stats to it…sigh.

    Ask yourself, when was the last time that CoC was “scary” rather than just being retread?

    Other manufactures have surpassed the “grand pappy of Horror RPGs” with games like Unknown Armies and Delta Green. The settings alone are just creepy..and how sad is that when you are publishing the RPG of Cthulhu Fiction.”

  6. Sounds like the folks who make Delta Green (a modern-day CoC setting) — Pagan Publishing — should acquire the CoC IP from Chaosium — which is Chaosium’s flagship game. Or better yet, Pagan Publishing should acquire Chaosium. Period.

  7. Pagan, unfortunately, would never be able to acquire Chaosium, as they wouldn’t sell, and Pagan doesn’t have the capital to buy them out. Hell, they barely have the money to keep their own stuff in print. This is what I don’t get about the whole thing: Lovecraft’s works are pretty much either in, or slipping in to the public domain as we speak. Nobody owns the rights to them. Least of all, Chaosium. All Chaosium owns is the rights to the BRP system, and the trademark on the name “Call of Cthulhu” as a game title. Why doesn’t someone like Pagan just release a “Sourcebook of Lovecraftian Horror!” for D20 Modern, and start doing their own stuff? I mean, it wouldn’t be perfect, but it would sell, and you know people would buy it.

  8. I thought Lovecraft’s works are already Public Domain (PD). But what Chaosium wrote based on that PD cannot be made PD, true? Personally, if Chaosium have no idea how to promote the Wizards’ rulebook, they should license it out to Pagan or Malhavoc Press (Monte Cook’s print press, also author of CALL OF CTHULHU d20) so they can support it with adventures and small campaign series.

  9. This statement is outright false:

    “Their sales have shown time and again that the Modern-era Cthulhu stuff is far more popular than the 1920’s stuff, and yet they still only want to do the 20’s crap.”

    At least as of 5 years ago, the modern books sold 25-50% worse than the 1920s books. I’ve never seen Pagan’s numbers, so I can’t compare how well their modern does against Chaosium’s 1920s, but given that they spend 1-2 years on each book, there are real differences in quality, and so you’re comparing apples and oranges.

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