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Words from the Wise (Guys)

An Editorial Rant


To the thirty-seventh issue of The Guild Companion.

Silent Death

Mythic Entertainment and the new ICE have come to an amicable arrangement concerning the futuristic miniatures game, Silent Death. Readers may recall that the rights to the Silent Death setting were purchased by Mythic Entertainment in the last days of the old ICE's Chapter 7 bankruptcy period. It appears that the new ICE will be able to publish new supplements for Silent Death, giving it a renewed lease of life in its tabletop format. Details remain sketchy, but the future looks a lot brighter for Silent Death fans.

Shadow World

Fans of Terry Amthor's Shadow World setting will also be pleased to hear that Eidolon Studios and ICE are joining forces to publish Shadow World as the premier Rolemaster world. The Third Edition Master Atlas and other existing Eidolon products will enjoy the benefits of substantial print runs. Additionally RMSS/FRP GMs can look forward to the ICE editions containing RMSS/FRP statistics prepared by Brian Olson, a former Rolemaster series editor. But RM2 diehards need not fear - RM2 statistics will be remaining essential features of the new books. Terry himself is looking forward to being able to spend much more time writing new Shadow World books.

ICE Schedule

In other news from ICE, a projected product schedule for the rest of 2002 has been released. In addition to Shadow World projects, highlights include Fire and ICE (a new Elemental Companion for Rolemaster) and Vehicle Manual, the third volume of Tech Law for Spacemaster: Privateers. You can find more details on ICE's schedule on their website at


In very late breaking news, ICE has decided that it is not interested in publishing Bladelands, the fantasy setting created by John W. Curtis III, which was bedevilled by schedule slippage. Moreover ICE has decided not to permit the independent publication of Bladelands using the Rolemaster rules. John Curtis has indicated that he plans to take a few months off before making any final decisions on what to do with Bladelands.

The MERP Moratorium

We are very pleased to be able to announce the lifting of our moratorium on MERP articles. Although Tolkien Enterprises' new policy remains obscure to us, Decipher has no concerns about us supporting both their Lord of The Rings roleplaying game and MERP. So we intend to do just that, releasing the first article in our MERP backlog in this issue.

We have not yet received any indication from Chris Seeman as to his plans regarding Other Hands.

The Purchase of Infantry Commissions?

What do the Code Duello, the Cult of the Supreme Being, techniques for getting elected as a Member of Parliament for a "rotten borough", flogging, and the purchase of infantry commissions have in common? They are some of the revisions that I've been making to the manuscript for GURPS Age of Napoleon. However the last of them, namely the purchase of commissions, is still giving me grief.

First a little background. One of the lessons learned from the English Civil War was that an army officered by men with no stake in the status quo had little incentive to protect the establishment. Thus the "purchase system" was introduced, requiring potential officers to buy their commissions as ensigns, lieutenants, and so on up to lieutenant colonel. So barring promotions for bravery, only gentlemen could afford to become officers and proceed step by step up the ranks. The purchase system was in use during the Napoleonic period (Wellington bought his way up to lieutenant colonel), and was highlighted as something which needed to be included in GURPS Age of Napoleon. Explaining the process is relatively easy; finding a complete set of commission prices for any date from 1769 to 1821 is not. I've determined that an ensigncy cost 400 pounds, a lieutenancy 500 pounds, and a captaincy 1500 pounds. If anyone happens to know the price of commissions for infantry majors and lieutenant colonels, please let me know.

Farewell (for now ...)

Time for me to disappear again to finish the rest of the revisions to GURPS Age of Napoleon. Our next issue will appear in April 2002, but until then,

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

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