from the Wise (Guys)
the seventeenth issue of The
and the second of our special themed issues.
The UK RPG Industry
The heart of the role-playing industry is in North America. That's where the large companies have
their headquarters, the annual Origins and GenCon conventions are held, and where the majority of
the world's role-players can be found. But it is not the whole picture.
In the British Isles, there has been a long tradition of small publishers creating innovative
high-quality games. Being on the far side of the "pond" has often prevented their products
from receiving the market penetration which they justly deserve.
(Hogshead Publishing is the exception here in punching above its weight. James Wallis has used the Warhammer Fantasy RPG
licence to establish Hogshead on a firm foundation, enabling him to experiment with the critically
acclaimed "New Style" line of revolutionary role-playing games.)
So we decided to produce a special issue to showcase the talents of British publishers. We
approached as many UK and Irish adventure games companies as we could find and solicited articles
from them. Despite the pressures of overwork and losing one contributor at the last minute to Ph.D.
corrections, we still managed to secure two in-depth interviews and two introductory articles to very
different role-playing game settings.
Pelgrane Press is probably the newest RPG publisher in the UK games industry. So
naturally, they have the license to one of the oldest and best fantasy worlds in existence,
namely Jack Vance's Dying Earth novels. David Thomas provides insights into the style and variety
of adventures which will be made possible by Pelgrane's original RPG to be released later this year.
Before there was science-fiction, there were scientific romances. Marcus L. Rowland has not only
saved many of these tour-de-forces of Victorian and Edwardian imagination from obscurity, he has used
them to create an original series of role-playing games and supplements - Forgotten Futures. In our interview,
Marcus discusses how he came to become a one-man publisher and describes some of the highlights of his games.
Chivalry & Sorcery (C&S) is one of the classic RPGs of all time. Brittannia
Games Design Ltd. has taken over the publishing of C&S, breathing new life into
the game. We interview Steve Turner, Brittannia's Managing Editor, on the new directions for
this incarnation of C&S and what the future is likely to hold for the game.
UK publishers have a reputation for creating settings which are grittier than run-of-the-mill
fantasy worlds and sf universes. SLA Industries, produced by Nightfall Games, combines a
simple rule system with a dark setting. Tim Dedopulos, co-founder of Nightfall, introduces the bleak
World of Progress and explores the possible career paths for player-character Operatives who want to survive in the corporate state.
We (at The Guild Companion) would like to express our thanks to
David, Marcus, Steve, and Tim for participating in this themed issue. We hope you (the readers) will enjoy their contributions.
The summer (at least in the northern hemisphere) has arrived, and so has the convention season.
Middle-Earth fans will be pleased to hear that Middle-Earth Role-Playing has been
nominated for induction into the Origins Hall of Fame this year. Keep your fingers crossed that it
gets the necessary votes from the Academy to win its rightful place of honour!
GenCon will see the launch of the much-hyped Third Edition of Dungeons & Dragons
this year. Wizards of the Coast expect to sell ten thousand copies of the brand-new Player's Handbook.
Only time will tell if these forecasts are accurate ...
If you're attending a convention this year, share your experiences with those of us who aren't
so lucky. Post your thoughts on the General Discussion Board, admit to
succumbing to the Third Edition hype on the Dungeons & Dragons Discussion Board
or write up a full convention report and send it to me.
(for now ...)
That's it from me for this month. The next issue will be appearing in August 2000, and you'll
be treated to a Guest Editorial from Joe Mandala, our Middle-Earth Editor.
Have fun and keep gaming
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Nicholas HM Caldwell,