Words from the Wise (Guys)

Copyright Nicholas HM Caldwell © 2004

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion


To the sixtieth issue of The Guild Companion

Service Interrupted

Regular visitors to our site will have discovered that we temporarily disappeared from the face of the Internet during the latter part of January. This magazine is generously hosted by Mimic Media. Their domain name registrar was cleaning out their records and wiped our DNS entry (on the perfectly reasonable grounds that they weren't responsible for registering us.) Meanwhile our domain name registrar didn't have the correct records for us, so we completely disappeared. At that point, we still didn't know what had gone wrong. An emergency call reinstated the domain forwarding that had been previously operational - however that timewarped us back to the last issue to have been published prior to the site revamp. Our Top Men figured out what was wrong and contacted our domain name registrar and the records were fixed.

So apologies for the inconvenience. Normal service has now been resumed and we're glad to be back.

Decipher and Lord of the Rings RPG

The final instalment of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy has come, has been and is being watched by millions. And despite the fact that Peter Jackson had to make changes in migrating the epic from book to cinema, it was a thrilling and gloriously spectacular film. Jackson and the film deserve to win a clutch of awards.

Which makes the news that Decipher has closed one of its studios - the studio that was responsible for their Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game - all the more tragic. All of the staff who worked at that studio were fired and it seems likely that most, if not all, of the projects they had been working (even though which are essentially finished) will never see publication. Fans of Middle-Earth will legitimately point out that Decipher was slow in providing effective supplements to support their core rulebook. It is a great shame because their system was, in many ways, a better fit to Tolkien's legacy than MERP, and tied to what is the license, Decipher could have provided a new route into role-playing for gamers that didn't involve entering via some flavour of D&D.

I fear that an opportunity to expand our hobby has been squandered.

Consternation 2005: Guests Update

Now on to happier news.

I indicated last month that I've been recruited to serve on the organizing committee for the next British Role-Playing Society gaming convention (Consternation 12-14 August 2005). I can now reveal that we have secured David Pulver as our Guest of Honour and Marcus Rowland as our UK Guest.

David Pulver is the creative genius behind the GURPS Transhuman Space product line as well as the author of GURPS Technomancer, GURPS Vehicles, and GURPS Bio-Tech. He is currently a line editor for Guardians of Order.

Marcus Rowland is a prolific writer and game designer, responsible for the creation of Forgotten Futures, a series of games and settings inspired by classic "scientific romances" and other lost gems. His latest work is the bizarre Diana: Warrior Princess, which transforms the twentieth century just as "Xena: Warrior Princess" and "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" twisted and warped Graeco-Roman myth and history.

More information will be appearing on the Consternation website at http://www.consternation.org.uk

College of Magic

I have been privileged to have been involved (at various levels of participation) almost from the very beginning with High Adventure Role Playing (HARP). I now have the good fortune to be responsible for the design and writing of College of Magic, the definitive work on magic for HARP.

Here at the beginning, everything is possible. With only the core rulebook in place, plus ICE's wish list for how magic should work, there are few existing constraints on creating new options, rules, spells, and anything else which will enhance the game. At the same time, other writers are busily preparing to push forward their frontiers, leading to new dependencies between the emergent books.

For instance, Martial Law, the upcoming sourcebook on combat options is expected to introduce three new professions - the Runic Warrior (who enhances his combat prowess by enruning his arms and armour), the Shadowblade (a magic-using assassin), and the Holy Warrior (HARP's answer to the Paladin). College of Magic needs to incorporate their professional spheres into my framework of Middle Magic and ensure consistency with the evolving area of Rune Magic. Similarly, their spells have to conform (as much as is possible) with the spell creation system that is being implemented in College of Magic. And even with some eighty new spells already written using the spell creation system, there's always the chance that it will be further modified before College of Magic is complete.

Keeping a firm grip on all of these interdependencies is jointly ICE's responsibility and the authors'. It certainly adds to the excitement of the writing process as HARP matures and expands!

All being well, I hope to offer some glimpses into College of Magic in the coming months. Stay tuned.

Farewell (for now ...)

I must get back to my writing and editing, so settle back and enjoy this month's issue. Our next issue will be published in March 2004, but until then ...

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