Words from the Wise (Guys)
An Editorial Rant
To the thirty-first issue of The Guild Companion.
Agony in August
Many of you noticed that the Guild Companion disappeared from the Web in August
for a prolonged period. As I was away in the United States at a conference, it fell
to Randy Campbell, our Business Manager, to handle the queries of many worried readers.
The site was invaded by a virus which sneaked past our anti-virus safeguards and set up
shop in our server. Its attempts to infect other machines proved its undoing as we (and our
internet service provider) have a very good idea of our bandwidth usage and the usage was
highly abnormal. Our webmaster, Ian Trump, took the site off-line and at a distance of
several thousand miles, repaired and resecured the site, getting us back on-line as soon
as humanly possible.
There are still some features which we have yet to restore, namely the search engine and
the ability to post on the discussion boards. We hope to get these functions back in service soon.
Turning to the Dark Side
In addition to the virus attack and its consequences, my life was further complicated by
the joys of moving flat and the start of the GURPS Age of Napoleon playtest over in
Pyramid (see http://www.sjgames.com/ for more details). My books are almost all still in the
storage boxes - not enough bookcases here yet to accommodate them - except for my
collection of Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons rulebooks and supplements. My erstwhile band
of Rolemaster players have been clamouring for someone to run some
traditional epic fantasy with the caveat that they would really like to try the new D&D.
With the relocation complete and the light at the end of the tunnel beginning to appear
for the GURPS supplement, I decided to bow to the inevitable but to run the game my way. Hence power
points rather than spell points, no class-based restrictions on learning skills, and using
skill points to buy extra spell knowledge for Bards, Sorcerers and Wizards. (The last variant will
be appearing here as a d20 System article - the other two have already been published by us in past issues.) There will doubtless be other changes such as replacing
experience point expenditure in magic item creation, and where appropriate, I'll be writing them up as articles too.
Of course replacing silly rules with more sensible ones is only a small part of the problem
in switching systems. I want to reuse my version of Legend, the medieval world presented in
the truly excellent Dragon Warriors books, as the setting. However Legend has
been home to three Rolemaster (one RM2 and two RMSS) campaigns since October 1993.
Available races, overt and secret organisations, religions, notable personalties, and events
have all been shaped by the possibilities available within Rolemaster. Alas, it
isn't enough to simply run the new campaign at a safe distance from the Rolemaster
strongholds of the world - some themes such as monotheistic religions are present in all the
civilized areas of the world (and D&D3E's Clerics are designed for coping with pantheistic worlds),
the faerie and unusual races are more varied and more playable by PCs but the world has no halflings, orcs or
other D&D staples, and, of course, there's a lot of Mentalism magic in the world. I intend to solve
the last problem by using the Psionics Handbook - of course Mentalism does not equal
Psionics but I do have a campaign to write as well, so I felt at least one shortcut was permissible.
For months, I've been unable to come up with a new
fantasy campaign. Then three viable ideas turned up at the same time after I'd been perusing the map
of Legend in a desperate search for inspiration. I had no strong feelings on which to pursue
further so I decided (on a diabolical GM whim) to let the players choose. I gave each campaign a descriptive name (though cryptic rather than
informative), and indicated the emphasis of the campaign in terms of geographical location,
encounter location (wilderness, urban, and "dungeon"), and style (quest, intrigue, combat, etc.).
The players added further queries such as the level of magic (do non-mages stand a chance?) and
party autonomy (will the PCs be mostly independent or employees of NPCs?), and then duly cast their
preferences. They selected "The Bastions of the East", a military campaign with quest and
intrigue elements set in the byzantine New Selentine Empire of Legend - so I'd better get the plots
While keeping my players entertained is one reason for my "conversion" away from
Rolemaster, it is not the only reason. In order to leverage Open Gaming and the
d20 System as methods for tempting D&D players and GMs to Rolemaster, it is necessary
to really understand D&D3E and that means running some long-term games using the system. I'm not abandoning
Rolemaster, merely infiltrating the competition ... Likewise The Guild
Companion as a whole remains committed to Rolemaster, Spacemaster and Middle-Earth.
Farewell (for now ...)
Enough rambling from me. I'll let you get on with reading the rest of this month's magazine.
Our next issue will appear in October 2001, but until then,
Keep gaming and have fun!
Nicholas HM Caldwell
General Editor for The Guild Companion