Kevin Siembieda's Heroes of the Megaverse

The latest thoughts and ramblings from the Palladium Books staff.

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Kevin Siembieda's Heroes of the Megaverse

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Inevitably, battles such as Palladium’s struggle get painted in broad strokes and the individual gets lost in the grand scheme of things. That’s a shame, because ultimately, it is the efforts of individuals working together who win the day.

You’ve heard Palladium’s story and my words. You also hear about the Palladium “crew” and “freelancers,” now I’d like to tell you a little about some of the specific individuals who have made a difference.

Here are just a few of my Heroes of the Megaverse

Alex Marciniszyn. Yeah, he’s one of Palladium’s “crew” or “staff.” His name is in most every Palladium product we make, so you know him as an editor, and some of you know him as one of the Moderators on the Palladium boards or as the guy who manages my Ebay Toy and Collectibles store. Here’s a little you don’t know, I just hope Alex doesn’t mind, because he’s a quiet, private person.

Alex has been waging his own, personal war against depression and anxiety for years. That means things you and I take for granted, Alex has to work at . . . like getting out of bed every morning and going to work. A high stress situation like what’s going on at Palladium doesn’t help, yet Alex has never wavered. He’s never missed a day of work, never complains, and works his keister off to help me and Palladium in any way he can. Alex is one of those guys who never seeks the spotlight or glory, and is never afraid to do the little things, the unglamourous things, and the grunt work that needs to be done. Of course, that’s most everyone at Palladium Books, but Alex still stands out. What you also don’t know, is that Alex lent Palladium money when we needed it most. And not a little bit either. Alex took the risk and plopped down big bucks to keep us going in the months before we made our appeal. When I hesitated to take it, Alex said something to the effect of, “Kev, you have to take it. Palladium has to keep going. I know you can do it.” When I expressed concern about what happens if Palladium goes under, Alex said, “Hey, I don’t want to work anywhere, but Palladium. Take the money, I know you won’t let Palladium go under. If things don’t work out, it will still be money well spent I guess. Besides,” he said with a stupid grin, “I’m sure I could always get a job sweeping floors at Wal*Mart.” Alex has been my very best friend since Eighth Grade and I'm glad to have him at my side through thick and thin, and the many adventures that are yet to come.

Wayne Smith is another one. Wayne could easily get a job anywhere and start off making $8,000 to $10,000 more than what he’s making now. He wouldn’t have put in 10-12 hours days and lose a third of his weekends like he does at Palladium, but not once has he asked for a raise or talked about quitting. Not once, not even when he and the rest of us had to work without pay for two weeks.

Zachary Houghton aka Zachary the First. Did you know Zach is in the military and stationed overseas? Sure I had met him in passing a couple of times at Gen Con over the years, but he was just one of the nice guys I’d see at shows like Gen Con. Sure, he offered me his kidney in exchange for a sold out Glitter Boy miniature in a Christmas Grab Bag (A deal I took him up on. Hmmm, maybe I should cash that offer in. I hear kidneys can get some pretty good money these days.), and we exchanged a few letters over the years. But I didn’t really know Zachary. Yet when Palladium was in trouble Zachary was there with posts of encouragement and support, rallying the fans and spreading the word. He quickly purchased a print and ordered products. He was there with words of support, offered ideas, and volunteered to create, organize, launch and spearhead the Megaversal Ambassadors. The Megaversal Ambassadors is a volunteer group of Game Masters and fans who have pledged to run Palladium gaming events whenever they can at conventions and stores around their home. Like Johnny Appleseed they hope to plant the seed of enjoyment for role-playing games in others. I don’t pay Zachary or any of the Megaversal Ambassadors a dime. Heck, I have to force him to take the occasional book for free. Zach is a legion of new friends I am privileged to know.

Dennis Hughes aka the Subjugator. Another fan boy with a heart of gold (and that heart is as big as our planet). Dennis has spent waaaaaaay too much money to help Palladium out, but that’s not what makes him one of my heroes, he cares, he’s kind, he’s taken the time to talk with me and inspire me and lift my spirits when I was down. He’s one of the good guys in the world. Period. As for his efforts at Palladium, he’s offered ideas, helped at Gen Con, helped tab catalogs for mailing, joined the Megaversal Ambassadors, and has been a shoulder to lean on. Before April and Palladium’s appeal to our fans, I never knew the man. Today I’m proud ot call Dennis my friend.

Doug Lamberson – long time convention fan boy and something of a Palladium groupie. The only things I think Doug loves more than Palladium are his fiancé Becky and Transformers. He’s another one whose has offered his help in many small, generous and welcomed ways behind the scenes.

Erick Wujcik has been a friend for 27 years. He’s been a friend, cohort in crime, creator, writer, cheerleader, and supporter on so many levels that these words don’t do him justice. He is also one of the few people I consider a true game design genius. I love this guy. Even a zillion miles away in China, Erick continues to e-mail and call and champion Palladium. He’s busy trying to drum up interest within the electronic game community for a smart videogame company to realize the value and range of Palladium’s intellectual properties (“Kev, Palladium is an I.P. factory”) and get someone to license one or more of our games for any number of game platforms.

Shawn Hall is another buddy I met as a fan of mine years ago. Now I’m a fan of him. Among the number of things Shawn has done, he single-handedly wet mopped the entire Palladium warehouse for the Open House this past May; all 17,000 square feet of it. But it’s his friendship and belly laugh that echoes loudest in my heart.

James Brown – the G.M. not the singer. Who is this guy? One of the kindness, nicest people on the planet, and though I’ve not played in one of his games, from all reports, one of the best Game Masters around. James is another lunatic who has risen from the ranks of “fans” to go above and beyond the call of duty, become an advocate of Palladium Books, a Megaversal Ambassador and a friend. Thanks man.

Gosh, there are so many people who have stepped forward that I could fill page after page writing about them and bore you all half to death – Chris Guertin, Margaret Hailey, Joe Bergman, Theresa Houghton, Teresa Mead, Justin Snodgrass, Lonni Langston, Wallace Stricker, Ben Rodriguez, Evan Cooney, Josh Hilden, Kerry Cook, Killer Cyborg, Londonbaz, Astral Explorer, Drahkar, Bookwyrm, Jefffar, Citizen Lazlo, Paradigm, CS Jarhead, Shadow_otm (thanks for the brownies), Involved Observer, Sir Tenzan, Skyefire, Lazlo Kid, Prince Artemis, Corcinn, Matareal, Zazshann, Chaserone, kgirlfae, Phadeout, Warwolf, Ravenspoe, Mark Hall, NMI (Jeff Ruiz), Peter Hartman, Rodney Stott, Shawn Merrow, Larry Elmore, David Martin, Jeff Easley, Chris Arneson, John Zeleznik, Mark Evans, Scott Johnson, Apollo Okamura, Carl Gleba, Todd Yoho, Jason Richards, Brandon Aten, Taylor White, Jason Marker, Levi Johnstone, Josh Sinsapaugh, John Philpott, Brian & Alan Manning, Kent Burles, Bill Bailey, James Mishler, Kenneth Keskett, Kevin and Andrea Jagh, all the Palladium Mods, and I could fill pages just listing names. Heck, and though you might not know it, half of the names you might recognize as Palladium creators or freelancers started out just like you, as fans and gamers.

And then there is every single one of YOU. Really. I can’t single out everyone, I wish I could, but you don’t know how much you have inspired me – all of us – and given us the strength and motivation to go on. Everyone of you who has taken the time to post words of support or suggestions online, spread the word about our plight, sent a letter, made a call, purchased a print, ordered a book, came to the Palladium Open House, stopped by at a convention to offer a kind word of support . . . you have all made a HUGE difference. We could NOT have made it this far or be able to dream about the future without you, and I want you to know that. Palladium fans are without question, the greatest in the world.

How can I stay positive through all the bad stuff, betrayal and difficult times? Look at this page. One creep hurt Palladium badly. Thousands of good people have rallied around us to save it. That's how. Don't ever lose sight of the potential for goodness in each of us or how beautiful the world can be when you have friends.

Keep those imaginations burning bright and game on!

Kevin Siembieda
Sentimental, Humbled and Proud Publisher of Palladium Books
August 26, 2006
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