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Words from the Wise (Guys)

An Editorial Rant

Welcome

To the twenty-eighth issue of The Guild Companion.

The Future of Rolemaster and Spacemaster

There is little news to report with regard to Rolemaster and Spacemaster. The Trustee is apparently concentrating on the rights issue. Once this is resolved, it is believed he will attempt to sell all the ICE game-related property to a single buyer. This might avoid the grief which is sure to happen if Rolemaster and Spacemaster are sold as separate lines.

The Rolemaster Investment Group now have a web presence again at http://www.ironcrown.org but at the time of writing, this remained a basic home page with no actual content.

Spacemaster now has its own Yahoo Groups mailing list at spacemaster@yahoogroups.com, naturally enough!

The Future of Silent Death

As you may remember, the rights to Silent Death were sold by ICE to Mythic Entertainment during the last weeks of ICE's existence. Keen-eyed observers among the Silent Death community have watched the appearance of Silent Death Online among the products of EA Games. Silent Death Online is being showcased at http://www.ea.com/worlds/games/pl_sdeath00/home.jsp. What this augurs for the future of Silent Death as a tabletop game is unclear.

Run out the Guns!

As part of my preparations for RoCoCoCon, the 2001 British RolePlaying Society's convention to be held in Cambridge in July, I've been writing and play testing scenarios. The first scenario, "O My Island in the Sun" (for Run out the Guns!), has now been put through its paces. As ever, I assembled the Usual Suspects plus three "ringers" (an occasional gamer, a lapsed gamer, and a gaming "virgin"). As nine players is too many for a ROTG! group - seven being the absolute maximum - I split the would-be pirates into two groups.

To provide greater variety in character archetypes, I supplemented the templates and backgrounds found in the "Run out the Guns!" (ROTG) boxed set with the additional types provided in "All Hands on Deck" and a number of backgrounds downloaded from Steve Hess's website at http://www.geocities.com/srbhess/. Of the latter, the "Poseur" was the most needed in order to allow players to take female characters who could masquerade as male pirates. It really ought to have been included in "All Hands on Deck".

To help the players select suitable backgrounds to create effective characters, I created a subjective division of the backgrounds into Core (all characters should have one of these), Middling (useful), and Optional (to be taken if the player has an unusual desired character concept and is willing to accept a potentially weaker character) categories. (AHOD refers to "All Hands on Deck", SH refers to Steve Hess' website in the lists below.)

  • Core
  • Able Seaman (x2)
  • Captain of the Tops
  • Coxswain (AHOD)
  • Gunner's Mate
  • Helmsman
  • Ordinary Seaman (x2)
  • Poacher

  • Middling
  • Fisherman
  • Grenadier
  • Maroon
  • Poseur (SH)
  • Prisoner (AHOD)
  • Shipbuilder (SH)
  • Stowaway (AHOD)
  • Whaler

  • Optional
  • Colonist
  • Cutpurse
  • Militiaman
  • Musician (SH)
  • Native Son (AHOD)
  • Schoolmaster
  • Sea Cook (SH)
  • Surveyor (SH)

"O My Island in the Sun" survived its encounters with the two groups. Although the experienced gamers had a more complete triumph over the unfortunate Spanish NPCs, both groups found sensible solutions to the scenario's challenges and had a lot of fun in the process. As a result of the play-tests, I've simplified the adventure to remove an unnecessary plot complication (because neither group found the core plot to be too easy) and I've adjusted the starting date so that clever players can take advantage of the Feast of St. James, patron saint of Spain. I can also now recommend the Former Officer and the Fop (both from "All Hands on Deck") as strong foundation character templates - those using the Irish Deserter should however alter his Religion to be Catholic rather than Protestant as his stats contradict his biography and special abilities. It might also be worth making sure that anyone playing the Former Officer does realize his or her character is a former officer - one of my players spent the first fifteen minutes thinking he was on a Navy ship, leading to the classic line "You mean, we're pirates?" and the response "Aye, captain!".

As ever, the "Rolemaster without pain" and the "Ready to Play" nature of "Run out the Guns!" won the game some new converts. So I expect to have no problems recruiting players for my next piracy game. However my next task is to produce a GURPS Age of Napoleon scenario and get it play-tested for RoCoCoCon. A GM's work is never done ...

Farewell (for now ...)

Time for me to let you get on with reading the rest of this month's magazine. Our next issue will appear in July 2001, but until then,

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

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