Saturday, August 6, 2022

Concerning Judges Guild, To All Things an End

I appreciate the outpouring of support and patronage. As of 7:00pm eastern time, the amount of deferred royalties is enough to pay off the outstanding balance Judges Guild owes on the Wilderlands maps done by myself for the City-State Kickstarter. Accordingly, I have ceased sales of all Judges Guild licensed products.  A follow-up post will be up tomorrow. Again thank you.

Rob's Note: For what I will be doing next please see Concerning Bat in the Attic, Voyages into Strange New Worlds.

Currently, I have three main product lines two of which are produced under a license from Judges Guild. For a long time, I had a good relationship with Robert Bledsaw II, the son of Bob Bledsaw one of the founders of Judges Guild, and the current owner of the IP. 

In February of 2020, I learned that Robert Bledsaw II was making unacceptable social media posts after which I no longer wished to continue to have a business relationship with Judges Guild. The details of this can be read in the following two posts along with the sources they reference.

The problem I faced was that I was owed a substantial amount of money for the work I had done on mapping the Wilderlands of High Fantasy as a result of the issues surrounding the City-State Kickstarter. Prior to this, in March of 2018, it was resolved by Robert Bledsaw II offering to forgo his royalties until it was paid. I agreed to this and until 2020 it was working out nicely.

With much of the outstanding balance remaining, I decided not to end sales of the Majestic Wilderlands or the Judges Guild Wilderlands remakes. I did inform Robert Bledsaw II that I would no longer be producing any new Majestic Wilderlands products or asking to make another remake. That when the outstanding balance was paid, I will cease sales of all Judges Guild licensed products.

Right now the outstanding balance is less than $90. With royalty percentage for Judges Guild and DriveThruRPG percentage of sales, this is roughly around $1,500 worth of licensed products. Normally three months at the current rate of sales for me. I am aware that once I announce that sales are ending that there will be a last-minute rush. So I decided long ago that when the outstanding balance got this low that I would make the announcement then.

Accordingly, I will end sales of all Judges Guild licensed products by Monday, August 21st, 2022. That will give those interested two weekends in August to decide. It will end early if I reach $1,500 worth of sales. I apologize if this last point creates a gold rush mentality. Personally I intensely dislike sales gimmicks. Given the circumstances, it is what I am willing to do. 

Wrapping it up
Going forward I will be making another post concerning Bat in the Attic Games and the status of the projects I have been working on. 

As for the situation with Judges Guild and the behavior of Robert Bledsaw II, I will let my actions speak for themselves. I will only add that subsequent events have confirmed for me that I made the right choice in this matter.

There are two issues surrounding Judges Guild, the personal behavior of Robert Bledsaw II, and the business situation regarding the City-State Kickstarter. The reasons why both are still issues in 2022 are why I feel pursuing the Majestic Fantasy Realms and other original projects is the best course of action for me going forward.

I appreciate the support everybody has given and your kind words. Thank you for the feedback on my works and honored that you would buy my products. There is more to come that I think you will useful and above all fun!


Dick McGee said...

"Personally I intensely dislike sales gimmicks."

Ditto, but given the circumstances here it doesn't feel like it's driven by avarice, just a desire to finish disassociating yourself from from a stinking sewer of a situation. Hope it goes well and quickly for you and you never find yourself in a similar business relationship.

Robert Conley said...

Thanks appreciate your comment.

Bill Cameron said...

If someone views a decision based on personal integrity as a "sales gimmick", Mr. Conley, the fault lies with them. I too hope your business recovers quickly and grows stronger.

Jon S said...

Good luck Rob. I think everyone realises that you have conducted yourself with integrity over the course of a very tricky couple of years.

Travis Miller said...

Good for you. Looking forward to seeing what you have coming up.

Nathand Christenson said...

You have made the best choices for you and yours that you could when faced with no good options. You also tried to do something for others who had been effected by the KS mess, you had no requirement to do so. You have been an example of the best of our hobby imho.

Colin Chapman NZ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matrox Lusch said...

The Wilderlands still hold probably the fondest place in my heart for any setting. If anyone is wondering, these guidebooks and maps Rob produced for Judges Guild are the best bar none, superior to original works from the 70s-80s and the 2005 version 3.5 Wilderlands of High Fantasy (which Rob also worked on) in accuracy, consistency, completeness, and additional material (the updated rules from "Sea Steeds and Wave Riders" are a particularly excellent bonus).

It is certainly sad things turned out like they did. Thankfully the situation is not like a M.A.R. Barker.

Bob Bledsaw Sr., the creator of The Wilderlands, and others of the original Judges Guild artists and authors (Bill Owen, Janelle Jaquays, Kevin Siembieda, among many, many more people) are still held in high regard as progenitors of the hobby.

Thank you Rob for all the work you put in. I'm sure there are lot's of folks that would have enjoyed seeing The Wilderlands grow in new directions that now have to be satisfied sharing with others games of what was.

jedavis said...

Hey Rob, if I've bought these on DriveThru, will they remain available for download, or should I be pulling them down and backing them up religiously?

Robert Conley said...

I plan to deactivate them not delete them. So they should remain.

Adamantyr said...

I got mine awhile back, and they're beautiful. Thank you!

LuckyLegs said...

Oh wow, has this already been taken down? I was just doing some research before making a purchase but looks like I've missed the boat? 🙁

LuckyLegs said...

Oh never mind, just noticed the update. Missed it by an hour. Good luck with your future projects :)

LuckyLegs said...

I'm upset that this went so quickly. I've put a lot of energy into researching published settings over the last couple of months and Wilderlands has been in my top 2 for a while now. Money is tight so I've been extra prudent about purchasing decisions. Considering the appearance of this deadline, I had planned today to try and answer what questions I had left about the Majestic Wilderlands, to see if it was worth grabbing physical copies of that (including Scourge of the Demon Wolf) along with the other Judges Guild stuff, which looked fantastic. This is not your problem, I'm just feeling a lot of frustration due to the wasted time and energy. Of course there are other settings, but it's like my brain train just hit the side of a mountain. I understand why you took it all down and I wish you all the best with your original projects. I just wish there'd been more time.

Robert Conley said...

@LuckyLegs, Sorry to hear that. I will be posting on what I will be releasing for Bat in the Attic Games in the future. I think you will be pleased with what is coming along with its pricing.