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Adventure Games Publishing is Closed

Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:22 pm

It is with great regret that I announce the closure of Adventure Games Publishing. Print product sales end immediately. PDF products remain available on the AGP DriveThruRPG site through the end of March, then migrate to either the Judges Guild or Troll Lord Games sites on DriveThruRPG (those of you who already purchased them will continue to be able to download them). After that date, Judges Guild and/or Troll Lord Games might continue to make print versions of these products available or not; that is their call, not mine. As all the details about the transfer of properties are still being worked out, please do not inquire after them about these items for several weeks after the transfer.

Subscribers will, over time, first have their final Campaign Installment shipped (100 Street Vendors of the City State, etc.), then as money becomes available, have the remainder of their subscription funds refunded. Subscriptions will be refunded in numerical order by subscriber number.

The decision to close AGP was neither easy nor quick; it has been brewing in my mind for a long time. It is the end result of far more mistakes being made than successess being earned. At one point a good friend, who knew of my work on Comics & Games Retailer, asked me point blank why I did not take the very good advice I dished out in that magazine. I still do not know why myself.

The closure is, essentially, the final result of ever fewer sales on each new product, both print and PDF, such that at this point, I'll end up paying people to take my next product. 100 Street Vendors of the City State, barring a handful of sales of Noble Knight Games, sold a grand total of three print copies. Yes, you read that right, three copies. The PDF sales were not much better, a grand total of 13 copies sold as compared to 15 copies being taken free by reviewers (and many, many thanks to the two of you who have actually posted reviews!)

As though the dreadful sales on what I considered to be my best, most tied-in work of the Wilderlands was not enough, this is also tax time, and looking over the results of the prior year was most educational. The end result, even after pinching every penny and keeping all expenses down to the bare minimum, was a grand total net income such that I earned a total of less than $2 per hour for all my work on AGP in 2009. Were this simply a sideline to a full-time job, that would truly be a nice result. As this is supposed to be my "day job," that result is, as we call it, a "reason to quit."

And so we are done. A few things:

If you wonder why I don't keep print sales open for the remainder of the month, it is due to the simple fact that at this point, even if I get good sales, all my profits from said sales could all too easily be wiped out on the purchase of the ink to print that last book (as ink for my printer runs $100 per cartridge). So any final sales of print products could be counterproductive rather than profitable, and there is no way to know until the final book is printed.

I still have a box and a half or so filled with copies of XXXI and 2008 Wilderlands Jam, as well as two HUGE boxes of Campaign Map 18: Southern Reaches. Rather than simply destroy them, one of these days I'll eventually get those to Bob Bledsaw at Judges Guild; he will sell them as he sees fit. As all other booklets are either sold out or were only printed on order, that is the last remaining stocks from AGP (no wondrous warehouse finds to be hand a decade or three down the road).

Adventure Games Publishing is unlikely to return; I plan to altogether put it in my past, and put my past behind me. Eventually, six months, a year, or two years (or more) down the road, depending on how long it takes the burns and wounds to heal and be forgotten, I will return to writing, likely as a hobby (writing for Fight On! perhaps), then later, maybe, for other publishing... But first I need to return my hobby where it belongs, to that place in my heart where it is a hobby.

This blog, Adventures in Gaming, is also going to close. It is too tied in with AGP in my heart for me to continue forward with it. A month or three from now, I will return to blogging, but elsewhere. For those interested in following whatever shall follow, I will certainly post here to let them know where they can find me.

Adventures in Gaming and the Adventure Games Publishing Catablog will remain up; I have no plans to take them down. Let them remain as historical artifacts.

I could get into the whole "what's going on with the Adventure Game Industry and how it applies to AGP," but frankly... I really don't care anymore. It seems the Adventure Game Industry has had enough of me, and I have finally had enough of it... and so it is time to move on.

Finally, many thanks go out to:

My wife, for being unbelievably, incredibly supportive;

My mother, for being there when we needed her;

Bob Bledsaw (may he rest in peace) and Bob Bledsaw Jr, for so very much I cannot say;

Steve Chenault, Peter Bradley, and the other good folks at Troll Lord Games;

Noble Knight Games and Chimera Hobbies, for taking a chance on my products;

My subscribers, for putting so much (sadly, misplaced) faith in me;

All who purchased by products;

Reviewers who understood;

My fans, many of whom are also good friends.

To all, good gaming!

James Mishler

Main Man, Adventure Games Publishing

Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:59 pm


I'm really sorry that it has come to this. I have been a loyal subscriber and I would have continued to be if given a chance. However, that loyalty doesn't necessarily pay the bills.

It was actually your writing and the creation of AGP that gave me my introduction to the Wilderlands. It got me to seek out old JG products as well as acquire all the recent d20 / 3.x incarnations of it as well. The Necromancer Games treatment of the material was wonderful and I did enjoy the attempts that Goodman Games did to bring back and update three classic adventures.

I don't currently campaign in the setting but there is large chunks of it that I use as inspiration and backdrop and I can't begin to thank you enough for trying to keep a beacon on the Wilderlands lit while other things Judge's Guild was in 'flux'.

I've got a couple of final questions for you concerning the end of my subscription but I'll leave that for when I have a bit more time tonight.

At any rate, thank you for trying to make a go of it. Your work and passion for the material is appreciated.

"You face Death itself in the form of... 1d4 Tarrasques!"

Partner to Brave Halfling Publishing

Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:07 pm

*sighs* Now I'll never know anything about those Death Touch Cliffs. BAH! Don't just get rid of the Southern Reaches maps?!?! Oh well.

> Omote's Advanced C&C stuff <
Duke Omote Landwehr, Holy Order of the FPQ ~ Prince of the Castles & Crusades Society

Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:13 pm

This is unfortunate. I wish you well in your further endeavors. Salute!

Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:18 pm

Sorry to hear about the closing down. It is not the best of times for rpgs, especially if it's your main source of income. Good luck to the future!
Eulaliaaa!!! Give those rapscallions blood and vinegar, wot?!

Be sure to check out Jim's artwork for sale:

Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:27 pm

A damn shame! I'll miss your excellent work and great ideas, James. Good luck with your future endeavors.

As a subscriber I forgive you anything you may still owe me, I consider myself "paid in full".
The Ruby Lord, Earl of the Society

Next Con I am attending: http://www.neoncon.com/

My House Rules: http://www.freeyabb.com/phpbb/viewtopic ... llordgames

Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:34 pm

Treebore wrote:
A damn shame! I'll miss your excellent work and great ideas, James. Good luck with your future endeavors.

As a subscriber I forgive you anything you may still owe me, I consider myself "paid in full".

James, I fully agree with Treebore/Robert.

Please consider me "paid in full," also.

Happy gaming,

Michael Gross / Zudrak
AD&D, Amish Dungeons & Dragons.

"Galstaff, ye are in a cornfield, when a moustachioed man approaches. What say ye?"

"I shun him."


"Knowledge, logic, reason, and common sense serve better than a dozen rule books."

-- E. Gary Gygax

Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:15 pm

Good luck, James, in all your ventures. Sorry to hear that AGP breathed its last.
LD's C&C creations - the witch, a half-ogre, skill and 0-level rules

Troll Lord wrote:
Lord D: you understand where I"m coming from.

Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:34 pm


John Adams

Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:59 pm

Thats a real shame, James. Don't be hard on yourself about it. Business is tough everywhere and this is, after all, a niche market. Best luck in the future and whether you attend as a hobbyist or publisher, I hope to see you at a Gen Con in the future.

Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:06 pm

I feel a deep pain and sorrow. I know what means to see an idea and a dream go away.

Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:10 pm

I feel a deep pain and sorrow. I know what means to see an idea and a dream go away.

Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:49 pm

Sorry to hear it, James. I hope you find another venue for your material. I'd think your stuff would be a good fit for Fight On or perhaps under the TLG banner.
Lord Frost

Baron of the Pitt
Castles & Crusades Society
The Dungeoneering Dad

Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:25 pm

James, I'm very sorry to hear this. I hadn't had a chance to purchase those items yet, but was very interested.

In terms of creating games as a full-time gig, I'm surprised anyone is able to do it at all, as it's a very difficult market to sustain without the economic problems we are now facing.

I'm wishing you the best.
Christina Stiles

The Misfit Troll Word Wrangler

Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:31 pm


It was really great to meet and hang out with you at past GenCons. I could tell from talking with you that you truly love gaming and all that is has to offer. You will be missed and i can only hope to see you at future GenCons or other events. Take care, and try to stay in touch!
Richard McBain

Trolllord Games

Convention Coordinator

Executive Director - TrollCon, Winter Dark



Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:12 pm


I'm pretty sure I've bought all your stuff, though all in pdf. I've loved everything. You are a talented writer of RPG material and I hope you will return to writing when the anguish this must be causing you fades away. I'll certainly purchase anything I can adopt to C&C that has you as an author. I'd certainly love to see Steve publish any material you write in the future. Good luck with everything.

Chris Dawson
Sir Dachda McKinty,

Margrave and Knight of Portlandia
Castles & Crusades Society

Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:24 am


So sorry to hear this news. I suppose all things must pass, but your efforts at keeping the Wilderlands alive were very much appreciated. Best wishes to you for success in whatever you put your creative mind to.

Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:45 am

As someone who always looked forward to your next release, and awaited packages from AGP as if they were Christmas gifts, I'm saddened to read that your publishing efforts have come to an end.

Good luck in your future endeavors and thanks for all of your great products.

Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:29 am

Man sorry to hear this

I've enjoyed your work and hoped for more. Recently I've hit a little money trouble (well more like just needing to tighten the belt) so have held off on ordering your latest books. I hope to get an order in now before it's too late. I know it won't help keep you up and running but at least you'll have a few more sales under your belt.

Again sorry!
"And so I am become a knight of the Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows!" - Mark Twain

Forgive all spelling errors.

Knight Errant & Humble C&C Society Contributor
C&C Society

Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:34 am

Sorry to hear this James. Best wishes in future endeavors.
The obvious will always trip you up FAR more than the obscure.

Baron Grignak Hammerhand of the Pacifica Provinces-

High Warden of the Castles & Crusades Society

Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:12 pm

Sorry to hear about this James. I hope that everything works out for you in the future. Dollars are tight these days and unfortunately most of us have to pick and choose which products we can buy, even though we want them all.
Lord Aladar

Warden of the Welk Wood

Baron of the Castles & Crusades Society

The Poster formerly known as Alwyn

Senior Gamer - Member of the Senior RPG Tour

"NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT - At least not in Yu Gi Oh"

Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:02 pm

Sorry to hear that James. Don't be too hard on yourself, it's tough times for most markets and it's even harder for this small niche market.

You should be proud that you tried, that you had the guts to try and follow your dream. I'm sure that's not how you feel right now, but this is what all of us think, believe me.

Good luck with what's next for you!
Deakin Thunderstruck, Lord of The White Heron
C&C Society

Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:42 pm

Just went to RPGnow and picked up the last few pdfs of James' I hadn't yet purchased. The last two Monstrous Menaces, the second Calamitous Curses, and the 100 Street Vendors.

The latter I heartily recommend for anyone needing to populate their city with a thriving economy. While geared for the City State of the Invincible Overlord, each vendor can easily be ported over to your own city. The book is arranged alphabetically by type of vendor. Each vendor is then named, given C&C stats (these are not lvl 0 folks, not all are human, and their alignments, classes, and levels vary considerably - at least one is a demon!), a physical description, description of his vending cart/wagon and its goods, and some notes on personality. Also given is their usual location in the CSIO. All but the latter is easily used in your own city. This is a fantastic resource for any CK who enjoys a city campaign. Grab it while you still can!
Sir Dachda McKinty,

Margrave and Knight of Portlandia
Castles & Crusades Society

Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:29 pm

I picked up some pdfs last night, too.
Christina Stiles

The Misfit Troll Word Wrangler

Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:30 pm

Sorry to hear that dude. From one indie publisher to another, it's a tough world this business. But at least you can say you tried it and gave it your best shot.

If you ever want to do some hobby writing Big Iron Vault is always opened to your writing for submissions etc.
Big Iron Vault Your friendly neighbourhood gaming magazine. Check out our new webcomic, The Heindrich Project!

Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:57 pm

Thomas A. Tullis

Fat Dragon Games

Castles & Crusades...more D&D than D&D.

best wishes

Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:52 am

and hope that you do feel called to dabble wherever you see fit in the future.

My subscribers, for putting so much (sadly, misplaced) faith in me

Not true at all- you did an impressive job of breathing life into the Wilderlands. And your work (and your very high-quality website) was pretty inspirational to others. Thank you again and looking forward to seeing you around the boards here or there.
Fantasy Roleplaying Supplements for Basic, Expert, and Advanced games, free for download or print-on-demand and available now! http://www.barrataria.com/

Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:55 pm


Lord Marshall, Earl of Stone Creek, C&C Society

C&C Playtester in 2003
OD&D player since 1975

Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:00 pm

Damn sorry to hear this, James. I like every single thing I've purchased; your work is top notch. All the best for future endeavors.

Count Rhuveinus - Lejendary Keeper of Castle Franqueforte

"Enjoy a 'world' where the fantastic is fact and magic really works!" ~ Gary Gygax

"By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes:" - Macbeth
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