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The Downturn Continues: 1997-2004


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With the foundation of Issaries, Greg Stafford officially left the company that he had created 25 years earlier. However, he didn't entirely divest himself of interest in Chaosium. Stafford kept just less than a third of the stock in the company — an amount matched by editor-in-chief Lynn Willis and by new president Charlie Krank. Nonetheless, Stafford would be a silent partner for the next decade and a half, leaving Krank and Willis to run the company.

Their position wasn't an enviable one, because the downturn that began with the MSGS crash would stretch on for several years. Not only did the company have piles of nearly useless inventory, but it was also more than half-a-million dollars in debt — owed primarily to the IRS, the state of California, and the company's printers. Chaosium's principals offered up some additional investment to keep the lights on, but Chaosium was still running on fumes. It had no paid staff, products prepared for publication before the downturn sat around for years, and loans from friends were required to get the era's most notable roleplaying books to press. Sadly, some of these loans were never repaid, while freelancers who had worked on the books were also finding their accounts delinquent.
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