On March 2nd, 2012, James Maliszewski of Grognardia announced that he was starting a Kickstarter project to publish his home campaign’s mega-dungeon Dwimmermount.

Everything was to be completed and sent out to backers in August 2012. Here we are in October 2013 and so far nothing has been sent.

Grognardia was perhaps the most well known OSR blog out there. James was a prolific blogger with a large following. To be honest, I never really saw the attraction. But he had something interesting to report once in awhile so I checked it out from time to time.

Frequently, he talked about his mega-dungeon Dwimmermount. I’ve seen a couple of commercially produced “mega-dungeons” from TSR, and created my own expansive dungeons in the past, but I was naturally curious to see what James had created. When he announced his Kickstarter project I, like many others, rushed to back it in order to get a copy. To be clear, I wanted to see Dwimmermount (not just any old mega-dungeon).

The Kickstarter went very well. It quickly surpassed the $10,000 goal and raised a total of $48,756. Stretch goals were added. Events were held. Artwork was obtained.

Then James’ father fell sick and eventually passed away. Not one word has come from James since. His blog has lain dormant. In fact, even the news of his father never came from him. It was only reported by others.

Eventually, other individuals have stepped up and offered to finish the project. They are completing the work so we may still (eventually) receive something.

But I didn’t back this project to receive “something”. I backed it because I wanted to see Dwimmermount. James claimed to have a richly detailed mega-dungeon that he had been running for many many years. THIS is what I wanted to see. Instead, it sounds like someone else is taking some of this and some of that and creating the rest to produce a mega-dungeon. That is most certainly not the same thing.

I feel for James but his actions are inexcusable. After collecting nearly $50,000 I think he could manage to eventually set his grief aside long enough to tell everyone briefly what happened and state that the project would be delayed while he was recovering from his loss. Everyone would certainly understand that. Fourteen months with no word is unacceptable.

Supposedly, the folks who have taken over the project have had some contact with James. But it is clear that he is in no way working with them on the project. My understanding is that he has released the money collected from the Kickstarter to them, along with his notes and maps, and they are taking it from there, unassisted.

Not only did this fiasco irreparably damage James’ reputation but it affected people’s faith in Kickstarter. This being the first project I backed, I could easily have given up on Kickstarter and assumed all projects were this unreliable. Fortunately, that didn’t happen and I’ve been very pleased with others since. But still, I am very disheartened that anyone, let alone such a well-respected member of the OSR community, could be so irresponsible to have treated his supporters so shabbily.

Don’t bother looking for a point here. Everyone else has long-since aired their views on this matter and it was simply my turn to rant. Shame on James. But hopefully everyone will realize that his failure is the exception and not the rule. Kickstarter is an amazing program and most projects that achieve funding deliver as promised.