Sunday, October 30, 2016

The El Raja Key DVD Archive Is Out And I Must Eat My Words

A few weeks ago, I posted about the imminent release of Rob Kuntz's El Raja Key DVD Archive.  It's an exciting product, featuring 1,000+ files full of Rob's maps, notes, and other materials from the games he ran in the 1970s.  I'd intended that post to drum up some support for Rob's work, but in the process I made some unfounded comments about 'Rob's lack of timeliness'.  Those comments, intended in the spirit of good humour though they were, were out of line.  Rob's extensive body of work speaks for itself, and I - who don't know him personally or professionally (and can barely even run a timely blog, let's face it) - have no place taking cracks at the man.  I hope he can accept my apology, and we can move on from this.

In this instance I'm quite happy to admit that I was wrong, because the Archive is out!  Right now!  If you want to check it out, head over to and take a look.  I honestly haven't been this interested in a new RPG-related product in years (perhaps since Castle Zagyg).  I'll admit it, I'm a mark for any material from D&D's earliest days, so I was always on the hook for this one.  I have to admit - and I only have screenshots to go on - it looks even better than I was expecting.  (That's not a slight: my expectations were pretty high at the outset.)  The interface has a cool retro look, and the sample images that can be found on the blog ( look great.  This is what I wanted from Castle Zagyg - the notes and maps as they were, untouched, and apparently with loads of historical commentary.

Unfortunately for me, it's that hellish nightmare time of the year, the time for creeping dread and unknown horrors.  No, not Halloween, I mean Christmas.  As usual money is tight this time of year, so I must endure the agonising wait to order the Archive until January.  I'll most probably do a follow-up post after that, giving my thoughts on the Archive, at least as an overview (something tells me it'll take more than a couple of weeks to really dig in to it).  I'm looking forward to it.


Rob Kuntz said...

Well it's done and then undone. OK man, humans will be... well, orcs, sometimes.

If a free-lance writer/designer did not have a few timeliness issues with as much as I've done (I broke my leg once writing something that finally got published and then nominated for an ENnie) they would not be human. But in the weight of it all, I pretty much hit my goals. Also remember that I am free-lance, real old school free-lance, so that means I do this full time and oftentimes hold down a primary job while doing so. At 61 years of age I am still used to 6 hours sleep a night, tops, because of that. Yep. I run circles around my wife and associates, all of them in their late forties....

The DVD does not even represent my total unpublished works, but the the mainstay of the juicy bits starting in 1971, like my entire Greyhawk Castle Levels, All of my Castle El Raja Key castle levels, etc. This from 10 years of compiled auctions and their scans, so it's all the primo stuff. But my greatest ideas/concepts, I would say not. I have another DVD in the future for those, they just didn't fit on this one, size wise or philosophically. But that's the difference between old and mature and maturing as a designer. My best stuff is still around the corner IMO, re: "Dave Arneson;s True Genius," also snap shotted at our website and its ms finished as of two months ago.

Now I have to get back to two separate interviews! Yep, always doing something. :) If someone says otherwise it's guaranteed that they do not know me.

Cheers and see you in January.

Nathan P. Mahney said...

Thanks for being gracious about all of this, Rob. I shall endeavor to be less Orcish in the future.