On the heels of rumors that Ken Whitman has found someone to "relieve" him of the obligations of fulfilling his Pencil Dice Kickstarter comes this evidence that Troll Lord Games is stepping in to help "relieve" Ken Whitman of some of his obligations for the Castles & Crusades: Beyond the River Kickstarter.
Ugh.....seriously? I get how the owners of this IP might want to step in and take care of their fan base, and I have to give them some props for trying to salvage relations with this precious commodity (fans/customers), but at what cost? Picking up the tab basically gives Ken Whitman free money....
A reward and update from Troll Lord Games
We wanted to give you all a quick update and to give you another stretch reward. This time it is the original unabbreviated script (which had to be pared down), written by Stephen "Troll Lord" Chenault. You can download it here: http://we.tl/eVU8hjrHPm
As we mentioned last time, Ken has asked us to take over some of the work on this and of course we are happy to do so. So many of our fans joined this Kickstarter because of the association with C&C. Even though this is a d20 Entertainment project, we are all currently going through options to see the best way to proceed.
With that in mind, please don't hesitate to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any concerns for questions.
In the meantime, you can head over to www.trolllord.com and see all the excitement in the Troll Dens.
Thanks for your time and we hope you enjoy the script!
Troll Lord Games"
So let me get this straight....Ken Whitman takes $6,001 from YOUR fan-base and doesn't deliver the "pilot". Looking at the comments I'm not sure any backer rewards have been fulfilled. Some of the rewards were basically "we'll keep you informed about production!" and it looks like outside of the campaign funding push there have been 2.....two! comments from Ken Whitman and one is to mention they get a lot of emails and the other is to say there was an accidental deletion of the d20 Entertainment Kickstarter account. Not one comment about the project. Well, that is what updates are for, right?
Hey hey....22 updates before the one posted above.....but only 10 of those are post-Kickstarter Campaign and only 4 are actually about the project.
- C&C: Blacktooth Ridge is set to shoot in May! (April 25th)
- Day One Shoot - NOW IN PRODUCTION! (May 16th)
- Castle & Crusades : Beyond the River World Premier (May 25th)
- C&C Blacktooth Ridge TV Pilot Update (July 27th)
Unfortunately all those links are for backers only, but based on the comments I doubt they were positive ones. I have yet to hear 1st hand of anyone who has seen this Castle & Crusades "Pilot", although I have heard unkind rumors that, if even remotely true, would mean that this film should never see the light of day.
I can't go off of rumors, but I find it incredibly telling that Troll Lords Games would put out a video (a nice one at that) the day after the intended premier of their "pilot". Since they are promoting in online as their "first ever short film" I have to take that as Ken Whitman's film was a flop, failure, or no-show.
By the way, you can see this excellent short here.
Again, let me circle back around. Evidently Ken Whitman is $6,001 richer (minus KS fees), hasn't really communicated with or provided rewards to backers, and evidently has been passed over for future work by Troll Lord Games. I think that the "Troll Lords" are being overly polite when they say, "Ken has asked us to take over some of the work on this and of course we are happy to do so." Chalk it off to my bias, but I hear, "Fuck you guys, I got my $5K and change, you 125 backers can go form a circle-jerk. I'd rather not work on projects that give me even more money."
Obviously Troll Lord Games is in a bad spot, almost as bad as this Kickstarter's backers. Personally I'd rather see them use this new production company to make a similar, but definitely different "pilot" and work with these 125 backers to litigate Ken Whitman into submission. Make Ken Whitman pay for his mistakes, don't step in an cover for him.
Of course they need to do what makes sense to them on a financial and philosophical level. Something tells me they don't have the contractual and representative clout that Kenzer & Company has, which is why they at least got a half-assed screening of their project at GenCon.