Yes, that's right - the Secrets of the Kargatane website will be closing on Halloween, 2003.
This is a decision that has been some months in the making, and which hasn't been easy. This website has been a labour of love for the Kargatane for more than 6 years, and so we can promise you that this decision was not taken lightly. In the end, however, we have come to the conclusion that it is time to move on, and for the Kargatane to return to Darkon.
The inevitable question is, "Why?" There are many contributing factors, but in the end it comes down to the fact that the Kargatane no longer have the collective enthusiasm and energy to make this site live up to its own standards as a Ravenloft fan site. To keep something this big going, it requires constant ongoing revision and attention to keep it fresh. In this site's heyday, the Kargatane were producing netbooks, regularly writing reviews, running competitions and creating other useful downloads for fans. Lately, updates have come much less frequently, and the running of the site has become more of a chore and less of a joy.
These changes shouldn't be all that surprising to us or to our visitors. Six years is a long time to be devoting to a website such as this, especially when it's something that comes out of your own spare time. In that time, we've all gone through changes - we're all a bit older (some older than others!), our personal lives have changed, and a number of the Kargatane have been freelancing for the setting itself! All of these things impact our ability to devote free time to the site, and have contributed to the end decision to close down this website.
Although this is the end of the road for the Secrets of the Kargatane, we're tremendously proud of what we've achieved. Since the Kargatane first formed in early 1997 (as a result of Chris Nichols' idea to create a Ravenloft netbook), the Kargatane has:
* Edited 9 netbooks of high-quality fan-produced Ravenloft material, amounting to over 1,450 pages of text.
* Built the most popular Ravenloft site on the web, with extensive reference material for both Ravenloft DMs and players.
* Been appointed the "Official Ravenloft Website" by Wizards of the Coast in 1999. In fact, Secrets of the Kargatane was the very first "official site" appointed by WotC, and was the example used for later appointments of "official sites" for closed settings.
* Kept Ravenloft alive on the web from when Wizards of the Coast announced its cancellation, through to the licensing of the setting by Sword & Sorcery studios for release as a d20 game.
These achievements are not only the result of our efforts, but reflect the efforts of many in the Ravenloft community. We would never have bothered to work on any of these things, if it wasn't for the wellspring of support and enthusiasm from the Ravenloft fanbase on the web. We'd like to offer our thanks to everyone out there who has ever submitted an article, created some artwork, written a review, emailed some feedback, posted a message or simply read a netbook or visited our website. Your support and interest has always been appreciated.
The Kargatane also received a lot of support and assistance from the Kargat over the years. While there are many who deserve to be thanked, particular mention should go to Steve Miller, who has provided support in many ways over a long period of time, and Cindi Rice, who (among other things) pushed for this site to be the first "official" site sanctioned by WotC.
The current members of the Kargatane would also like to thank the Kargatane alumni; Barry Trevelyan, Charles Brown, Joe Bardales and Andrew Hackard. Your friendship and contribution is greatly appreciated.
..and so that's where it ends. The six Kargatane in that weird little bookshop in Vallaki are packing up and heading home. We'll most likely see you around in some of the other Ravenloft community haunts - we're unlikely to be disappearing for good - and we thank you for your custom during our stay.
Andrew Cermak, John W. Mangrum, Ryan Naylor, Chris Nichols, Stuart Turner and Andrew Wyatt.
Why haven't you handed over operation of the site to someone else?
There are a couple of reasons for this:
* the website doesn't just require work - it also requires a financial commitment to keep it running. I'm not comfortable asking another to take that on.
* given that this site has been the home of Ravenloft on the web for over 6 years, I think it's probably best if someone starts anew, to inject some new energy and fresh ideas into a Ravenloft fansite.
What will happen to all of your website's content?
The Kargatane's netbooks will continue to be available from a very cut-down version of the current Kargatane website.
Most other material will, however, be removed. Much of this is because we can't continue to host this material if we're not the "official site", but also because the content will become rapidly out of date if we don't remove it. We'd rather not let the site stagnate due to lack of attention.
What will happen to the netbooks you host for other people?
We don't intend to continue hosting such items as the Quoth the Raven netzine. However, if an alternative host is found, we'd be happy to host a link to the new location.
I'm running/playing a game in your Tavern, and want a record of where my game is up to!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll organise for you to get transcripts of your games currently running in the Tavern.
Back to the Secrets of the Kargatane...