Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More Old News

I'd meant to make note of this several days ago, but it slipped my mind -- a hazard of old age, I guess. A week ago, John Adams announced that Brave Halfling Publishing would be scaling back its operations and focusing solely on creating products for Castles & Crusades and Eldritch RPG. I'm sorry to hear this, because BHP produced some of the best products to come out of the old school renaissance. Its support products for Labyrinth Lord were particularly good and were among the few I consistently looked forward to seeing released. I think I probably own their entire catalog of products and, with only a couple of exceptions, I bought every one of them myself rather being given them as review copies -- a high compliment indeed, given my penuriousness when it comes to buying gaming products these days.

In the end, though, I can't be upset if John Adams is happy with his decision and will better enjoy his business. In the short time BHP supported the old school movement, it did amazingly good work, far more than I've done in the same span. John deserves a huge debt of thanks for all that he did and I sincerely hope some joy will come back into running his business. Goodness knows he's earned it.


  1. Well, nuts. I really enjoyed those "retro" products I recently bought from BHP. Compared to products from supposedly "professional" companies, they were very good. Ah well, I hope they prosper with this new direction.

  2. I'm pretty excited about this move. Eldritch and C&C will definitely benefit from this new direction

  3. As a LL fan, that's too bad.

    But it makes sense that a writer with limited time would want to focus in on his very favorite games. Good luck!

  4. Not to get all tinfoil-hattish, but are there any publishers out there who are supporting both C&C and retro-clone systems? James Mishler only supports C&C. Goodman Games supports C&C and releases "1E compatible" products but they're conspicuously not linked to any clone-system. Am I missing anyone? It makes me wonder, because TLG has been more vocally and publicly condemnatory of retro-clone systems of any publisher (for awhile they even had OSRIC filtered as a swear-word on their forums) so it wouldn't surprise me if perhaps they put a bug in John's ear that if he wanted to "officially" support C&C it might be a good idea not to support those other legally and morally dubious (I TLG's O) games. I'm sure both sides will deny this up and down, and it probably is nothing but my overactive imagination (and memories of statements from a couple-three years ago), but it does make me wonder...

  5. I'm confident we can put that suspicion away. I've had a number of conversations with John about a great many things. I'm not trying to defend whatever TLG may have done in the past, because I just don't know and wasn't around in those days, but based on our discussions I'm certain John has made his decision for exactly the reasons and motives he has announced.

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  7. @James: Thank you James, that is high praise and I am honored. :)

    @T.Foster: So, how do I deny something that you have already decided and proclaimed I would deny before I'm given the chance to reply? That's a mighty wicked spin you put on it, but it sounds like you do have your reasons for being suspicious. Try to hear me out then.

    I have always been open and honest about BHP - even when I've said things that folks didn't want to hear - like just how much the LULU contests hurt BHP - so I won't stop now.

    Like Dan Proctor, all of that stuff happened long before I even came on the scene. I only know about it from going back and reading over threads from a few years ago.

    Actually, I have been talking with TLG (when I could get their attention) about getting a license from them for about 14 months. Steve gave me his official "okay" about nine months ago. I have published over a dozen OSR products since then and I still could publish more. The only time Steve even talked about the retro-clones was when I brought up the subject when I asked him if it was a problem that I was also publishing stuff for them. His reply was, "No, that's not a problem at all - people just assume that it is." So please beleive this short, chubby pastor - he's telling the truth.

    My first plan was to just support C&C, ERP & LL, but there is only so much I can really do and do well. I asked my core BHP guys to form a little group that would just focus on getting Labyrinth Lord Material together for BHP. I even asked for one of them to volunteer to head up the group - but no one responded. So I decided that I needed to drop LL as well.

    I chose to focus on C&C and Eldritch for exactly the reasons I listed on my blog. To me (and I'll not argue this here) C&C is a tool for old-school gaming. I worked with Gary Gygax quite a bit in the last year and a half of his life in his Lejendary Adventures game and I learned to love both him and his game. Eldritch RPG is a great game and it is as close to LA as it looks like I'll ever get the chance to publish for. Plus, I am friends with Dan cross.

    Actually, the only "behind-the-scenes politics" I've had to deal with while publishing stuff for the OSR is with some folks in the OSR who believe that there should be "one clone to rule them all."

    Again, that you James.:)