Words from the Wise (Guys)

Copyright Nicholas HM Caldwell © 2005

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion


To the seventy-third issue of The Guild Companion. My laptop is back in service and I'm enjoying the freedom of being able to write this editorial at home!

TGC Project Blog and Search Engine

We've upgraded the TGC Project Blog from a thread on the Guild Companion Modules forum to a distinct forum of its very own, where you can find the first two months of weekly updates. Before the length of the thread gets out of hand, I'll create a new thread and have our webmaster lock the old one.

In case you have not heard, we now have search engine functionality restored to the site, courtesy of the FreeFind search engine. We still plan to relaunch our own customized search engine once all the bugs have been worked out, but hopefully the FreeFind engine will tide you over until then.

Plate Mail versus Combat Armor

There's been a revolution in how we're intending to handle personal combat, most notably armor, in the science-fiction version of HARP (still awaiting its name). The initial shape of the rules concerning armor had the base armor types provide Defensive Bonuses on the same scale as the medieval armor types of HARP Fantasy. Through playtesting, the maneuver penalties were adjusted downwards to better reflect the advantages of futuristic materials and design. The difficulty as always was with natural animal hide and archaic armors when confronted with modern weaponry. It is intuitively clear that while both plate mail and combat armor should be both good at warding off sword blows and the like, it is less plausible for plate armor to be as good as combat armor against machine guns and laser rifles.

The original solution was to divide the Defensive Bonus of archaic armor by 5 (rounding down) against projectile attacks (guns, essentially) and energy attacks (lasers, stunners, flamers, etc.). For natural armor as represented by the Tough Hide talent, we divided its Defensive Bonus by 4 against projectile and energy attacks.It was a workable solution, but an ugly one adding extra book-keeping.

Further discussions with the playtest group led to our revolution. Instead of retaining the same scale for futuristic armor, the new rules increase the range of Defensive Bonus from 30 DB for ballistic armor up to 90 DB for combat armor. The values are a compromise between making future armor appreciably better than historical armor and still allowing animal attacks, non-military weaponry, and accidents such as being hit by a speeding groundcar to threaten characters. There's been a fair bit of number-crunching to come up with these numbers, but the true trial will come when one or more groups of player-characters are sent on a combat mission or two to playtest the new rules.

Consternation Update

All being well, there should be opportunities for public playtesting and demos of HARP SF at Consternation, the British RolePlaying Society's biennial convention, which will be held in Cambridge this August. The Committee met in virtual session recently and we agreed that the registration fee will increase sometime after Easter from 24 UK pounds to 27 UK pounds. So if you are free on the weekend of August 12th-14th 2005 and fancy some role-playing in Cambridge, then book now and save yourself some cash. All the details are on the Consternation website at http://www.consternation.org.uk

Farewell for now ...

I have a slew of tasks to complete regarding TGC modules as well as more chunks of HARP SF to write, so I'll leave you to enjoy this month's selection of articles. Our next issue will be published in April 2005, but until then ...

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