Lee McCormick along with John Corradin founded Wilmark Dynasty. We are fortunate to have been able to find Mr. McCormick over the Internet. We invited him into Tome of Treasures for a short interview with the Scribe. This interview is in question - answer format. Enjoy! -- March 12, 2004
Did you distribute your WD products widely to game
shops? What was the primary method of selling these?
Did these only sell along the Northeast corridor?
-- John handled most of the sales and distribution. I
know we sold through the Armory and Chessex, both of
whom were national/international distributors. We
also sold them in our store.
How many copies were printed of each of our
-- The first edition of Melanda, I'm not sure, but may
have been 250 copies. The second edition and all
other products were produced at 1000 copies each.
Would you say the pre-Melanda material was made with
D&D specifically in mind? If not what are the
differences in the gaming mechanics, in your opinion?
-- Yes. John produced a product called Roomscapes which
was specifically designed with D&D in mind. Some of
our early releases were compatible with multiple RPG
systems with adaptation info inside. The more married
we became to Melanda, the less compatible pieces were
because of the tremendous differences in gaming
mechanics and philosophy.
What sort of contact did you have with TSR good or bad?
-- The Wilmark Dynasty was originally formed
as an organization to train and supply gamesmasters to
conventions. We ran tourneys of board games, tabletop
games, and RPGs (and still do!). Our relationship
with most of the large game producers usually centered
on seeking prize support for running tourneys of other
companies games. I'm not aware of problems with any
company in that vein except Steve Jackson Games.
Could you expand on the Steve Jackson Games situation?
-- Everybody and their brother was into some of the
larger steve jackson games (car wars jumps to mind).
But, we had fallen in love with his mini-games.
Undead (one of my all time favorites), kung fu 2100,
one-page bulge, raid on iran, etc. We even named him
game designer of the year when we opened the Days of
Knights and celebrated with a full window display and
a week of demo-ing his game products.
We sent him copies of the publicity we'd gotten on the
opening including articles and a few shots of his
product featured. We were putting together a playtest
for some games for running at a summer con. We were
going to try to get him to come as our featured
speaker and highlight his product line. We asked for
prize support for the tourneys. He turned us down
flat. We provided our own support, held off on
inviting him as speaker, and when we met him at the
con (my initial meeting with the guy) selling his own
stuff, we found we were glad we hadn't continued with
our plans to feature him. You'd have thought he was Gary Gygax and had
single-handedly set off this entire wave of gaming
resurgence as an industry. He made it quite clear
that he didn't 'give' product to anyone, if we were
running his games at a tourney it was because we knew
they would fill and make us money, if we were doing
demos of his games it was because we could see their
obvious superiority to other material on the market
and were, in fact, in his humble opinion, quite
correct to make such a choice.
Of the prominent gaming personalities, who do you
remember from the gaming circuit and what impressions
did you get from them? (east coast cons might include
folks from GAMA, game clubs, Lou Zocchi, folks from
TSR, folks from other publishers of fantasy material,
-- We knew the owners of the Armory and Chessex (in fact
we physically helped Chessex build their first
warehouse in Phoenixville), Lou Zocchi, game designers
Ken Rolston and Martin Wixted (who helped us maintain
good relations with Games Workshop and West End
Games), Scott Bizarr(sp?) (Fantasy Games Unlimited)
loved for us to run his stuff and I wrote a module for
him many years ago, Forest Brown and the founders of
FASA worked with us closely to help us encourage a
raised level of convention role-playing and tabletop
tourneys, Don Greenwood and the early owners of Avalon
Hill were very friendly and supportive of many of our
tournament efforts. Once John took over the retail
store, he moved into a more intimate working knowledge
of and relationship with game publishers,
Did you ever run any tournaments at Gen Con?
-- Gen Con
East in the early 80s was one of our favorite cons.
We ran games in a number of role playing systems and
It would seem as though your energies switched from
game company to game store in the early eighties.
you characterize this as the end of Wilmark Dynasty?
-- Not at all. As mentioned above the publication aspect
of the Wilmark Dynasty was a sideline. Our primary
reason for existing was convention planning and
management. We are currently running two conventions
a year--a larpe and a pot pour ri of relaxing game
styles and systems.
-- For my money, the most valuable thing we accomplished
as a group was to raise the consciousness of gaming
clubs and organizations regarding the responsibilities
of running tourneys at cons. Our goal was to bring
prices down while raising the level of design and
play- test of scenarios while encouraging an emphasis
on in- character roleplaying in games, fairness in
'GMing' (anyone can run a dungeon - it takes a
'gamesmaster' to run quality, rewarding roleplaying
events). We ran seminars and demos in design, play,
team play, mastering the classes, how to step outside
the system without screwing the balance of the game,