Saturday, December 11, 2010

Where’s Fletnern?

Anyone who has bought our products likely knows of the world of Fletnern. Fletnern is the flagship setting for most Board Enterprises products, even when the products are generic. (They truly are generic, but the examples typically come from Fletnern.) So what’s the deal? Well, you can see cheat sheets and starter guides for free at, but even that isn’t the “world”.
I’m a big fan of Ed Greenwood. I love the way he developed his histories. Eons ago, I had the great pleasure to have lunch with Jeff Grubb at GENCON. I was probably not even old enough to drink, but he was short on time (between signings and booth work) and was willing to have lunch with me if I was wiling to fetch it. Between that 45 minutes and several articles he had written for Dragon Magazine, I came to understand what he had done with the Forgotten Realms (as well as MSH, Gamma World and some others). He had taken a huge filing cabinet full of Ed’s disjointed notes and turned them into a coherent book describing a world/campaign setting. Oh, I’m sure Ed helped too, but Ed had been the idea man and Jeff the producer.
What does this have to do with Fletnern? Well, I’m an idea man without a producer. Fletnern is about 1,200 pages of disjointed ideas kept on dozens of computer files and one or two file boxes. There is actually a page in there entitled “lost cities”. No, this isn’t like El Dorado, this is cities that are mentioned in some place in the files, but I have no idea what I was talking about or where that city is supposed to have been. OK, at least half of them are places I renamed, but which new city are they?
See how disjointed this is? That’s how those 1,200+ pages are. And that count doesn’t include the campaigns that likely have setting information in them. I realized a decade ago that Fletnern was too big to publish, so I started to write it up not as a setting book, but instead as The Encyclopedia Fletnernia. Cute, huh? You think I’m off on another tangent, but I’m not. The world of Fletnern is so well developed, that it has ceased to be a marketable product. In order to make it marketable, I would have to cut it down to the point where it was no longer a strong, unique world. I am considering, just writing the Encyclopedia and selling it for $10 despite the fact that its 400 pages long, but I still don’t know if that would be marketable.
So the answer to the question, “Where’s Fletnern?” is simply - it’s stuck in pre-publication because I’m incapable of reducing it to a readable book. I hope you continue to enjoy the free stuff we give out on it, and if the demand increases, you just might see that massive encyclopedia hit the distributors.

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