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Words from the Wise (Guys)

An Editorial Rant

Welcome

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 sorted out!

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

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