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Words from the Wise (Guys)

An Editorial Rant


To the twenty-second issue of The Guild Companion.

It's been a long time since our first issue way back in December 1998. We've learned a great deal about publishing in the adventure games industry over the past two years, and doubtless we'll learn more in the new millennium as The Guild Companion evolves and adapts to the changing needs of the gaming community.

Apologies for the November Disruption

As some of you may have noticed, the transfer of the site to the new server did not go as smoothly as planned. Our domain name registration provider switched our records over a weekend which by great bad luck was followed by key personnel at our new Internet Service Provider falling ill. Nevertheless we're back on-line and the remaining site services will be returning as quickly as possible. Then we'll start providing new features on the site.

MECCG Newsletter Archive

One of those new features will be the complete collection of Official Middle-Earth Collectible Card Game Newsletters, edited and originally published by James Kight. Their former location on the Web (Mystical Alchemy) hosted by Jason Klank is disappearing forever. We were therefore delighted to be able to offer them a new home with us and so preserve them for the benefit of the MECCG community.

To find the newsletters, simply click on any Scrolls of Wisdom / Archives link.

Rolemaster, Spacemaster and Silent Death After ICE

We can confirm that the rights to Silent Death have been bought outright by the computer games company, Mythic Entertainment. However Mythic do not have any plans themselves to further develop Silent Death as a tabletop and miniatures wargame, preferring to concentrate on their electronic game products. Negotiations continue between Mythic and a coalition of Silent Death writers and fans to license the "paper-based" rights to the game.

In a surprise move, Mythic Entertainment announced that they were removing all Rolemaster material from their much-hyped upcoming "Dark Age of Camelot" game and that several current products which are heavily based on Rolemaster will be discontinued. Their explanation was that "the new owners" of Rolemaster had "other plans" for the property. It is by no means clear who these mysterious "new owners" are.

The IDTiger consortium continues to drum up support for their bid to buy the Rolemaster and Spacemaster core intellectual properties. They are also engaged in a wide-ranging series of polls and discussions to map out a new future for the games. (You can check them out at www.ironcrown.org)

Elsewhere, the Bankruptcy Trustee has decided to allow ICE's online store to resume sales of existing stock until the dissolution comes to a conclusion sometime in January. This may be your last chance to stock up on missing Rolemaster, Spacemaster and Silent Death products. There are even some old RM2 products, Cyberspace supplements, and Shadow World books for sale. The URL remains as ever www.ironcrown.com.

The creditors' meeting to discuss the dissolution proceedings is scheduled for 30th November. By the time you read this editorial, it will already have taken place. If significant decisions are made, we'll announce them on the Discussion Boards.

The Return of Dragonmeet

On a much happier note, the UK adventure games industry combined to host Dragonmeet 2000, a one-day convention held in London, on 25th November. Inspired by the Games Workshop-organized meetings of the 1980s, the aims of the new Dragonmeet are to promote gaming in the United Kingdom and to give everyone a great day out.

And it succeeded.

Despite the best efforts of the British rail network to prevent travelers reaching any destination in reasonable periods of time, five hundred gamers, gophers, traders, and demonstrators descended on Conway Hall. The exceedingly inexpensive entry fee - a mere four pounds sterling - probably played a part in encouraging many attendees to book early.

I decided some time ago that if I went to only one convention this year, it would be Dragonmeet. In a fit of altruism, I also decided that I'd help out by running a couple of games, namely "A Fistful of Doubloons" for Run out the Guns! (see our September 2000 issue for the complete scenario), and "Beneath the Veil" for Spacemaster (this setting is still very much a Work in Progress, so you won't find it in The Guild Companion or anywhere else for that matter).

On arriving at Conway Hall, every gamer was presented with a heavy bag of goodies. This treasure trove included such gems as Shadowrun Quick Start Rules, Dork Tower (#9) - John Kovalic's witty and amusing comic (John K. was actually Guest of Honour for the con), The Grand Tour (a cartoon booklet exploring D&D's Forgotten Realms setting), the third issue of Games Unplugged magazine, the latest edition of GURPS Lite, Where Heroes Fear To Tread (a scenario for Chivalry & Sorcery), a starter deck for the Sailor Moon Collectible Card Game, a booster pack for Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and dice. Plus flyers, discount tokens for buying games at the convention, and even a programme! (The preceding paragraph was not intended to become a shopping list, but I kept finding more stuff at the bottom of the bag.)

I spent most of my day running games. Seven bold pirates of the good ship Bonaventure dared to take on the treasure galleon, San Cristobel, and after a bloody fight, managed to seize the gold and silver from the hapless Spanish, marooning the surviving enemies and some fish (!) on the island. In the afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised when six players appeared en masse for the Spacemaster game. (A much better showing than at last year's Baroquon when the game had to be cancelled owing to lack of players.) Carnivorous alien creatures, pseudoscientific gadgetry, psionic abilities, guns, and frightfully British upper-class accents were the order of the day. Both games were extremely enjoyable from my perspective and the players appeared to have lots of fun too.

In between the games, I visited the trader's hall, wandering around the stands and buying copies of the first issue of the Excellent Prismatic Spray - Pelgrane Press' new magazine to support their upcoming Dying Earth RPG, the Dragon Reaches of Marakush and the brand-new Chivalry & Sorcery : The Rebirth - published by Brittannia Game Designs Ltd. (Methinks Suzanne will be ordering me to write a significant number of game reviews in the new year!) It also gave me the chance to thank personally some of the UK industry luminaries who have supported the Guild Companion - alas I didn't manage to catch all of them but there will be other opportunities.

I stayed to watch the auction, purely for the entertainment value of seeing James Wallis (of Hogshead Publishing) in spirited action as master of ceremonies. I decided to forego the late evening seminars, simply because I didn't trust the trains, and made my way back home with my new bundle of games.

Dragonmeet was simply a great convention. I'll be attending two conventions in 2001 - one of them will be Rocococon (the successor to Baroquon), the other will be Dragonmeet 2001.

Farewell (for now ...)

Our next issue will appear in January 2001, but until then

Keep gaming and have fun!
Nicholas HM Caldwell
General Editor for The Guild Companion

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