Words from the Wise (Guys)

Copyright Nicholas HM Caldwell © 2007

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion


To the ninety-fifth issue of The Guild Companion, and a Happy New Year to all of our readers.

Review of 2006

As has been the case in recent times, 2006 was a hard year in terms of article numbers for the Guild Companion magazine. The quality of article content remained high, but it was a struggle to secure articles in quantity. Some of this is undoubtedly due to the fact that we are all becoming busier as we get older. However, I do believe that the interminable RMX discussions on the ICE forums have distracted many people - it is very easy for Rolemaster GMs and players to get bogged down in creating new rules rather than developing material for the game(s) they already have. Given that ICE has indicated that a new Rolemaster revision may not happen until 2010, the unofficial RM revision discussions are, in my opinion, of limited utility at the present time.

2006 was also the year that our commercial publishing efforts came of age. In March, we rereleased the RMSS supplement, Castles & Ruins, as a PDF, as the first offering in our Rolemaster "reprint" series of sourcebooks and companions that had entered limbo after Old ICE's bankruptcy. Castles & Ruins has went on to become a "Copper" pick at RPGNow. May 2006 saw the publication of Friends & Rivals, our compilation of HARP NPCs produced using a "content ransom" by a cadre of dedicated character creators. Our greatest coup was our third and final publication of 2006, the first issue of The Guild Adventurer. We recruited some of the top talent in the ICE community of authors and designers, and gave them the task of producing adventures and adventure-support material. Then we challenged the ICE community of gamers to pledge their support to the project and our challenge was answered with a wave of support that saw The Guild Adventurer become a critical and popular success. That support ensured that The Guild Adventurer transform into that rare beast, a profitable adventure product.

What of 2007?

For the magazine, we'll be endeavouring to encourage more folk to write articles for us, particularly since June 2007 will be the 100th issue of The Guild Companion. (We're not expecting any telegrams from Her Majesty, however.)

In terms of commercial publishing, we have a raft of products at various stages of completion. On the reprint front, Essence Companion is only one page short of being ready to release. Our other rerelease for 2007 will be Rolemaster Companion I - my expectation is that we will be recruiting some of the RM Classic team to progress this from OCRed content into a standardised and more modern layout (in particular, the Delver base spell lists will be upgraded to the same layout as the rest of the work.)

Before Christmas, I received a fantastic colour cover from William Tibaud for the d20 Edition of the Shadow World Master Atlas. With that in place, we can shift gear into the final layout phase on that project. Shadow World fans will, I trust, be very pleased to hear that Terry Amthor is working on a new region/adventure module (The Land of Xa-ar) for us. I've seen a partial first draft of this and it looks exciting. Current plans are to dual-stat for RM2/Classic and RMSS/FRP.

In the HARP arena, The Construct Toolkit will return from its editing pass with Tim (if nothing else, there are editorial judgements from that work which impinge on a project that ICE would like me to do for them!) and HARP Skirmish has enjoyed some final authorial tweaking from Gavin Bennett. I'll be re-editing the latter shortly and arranging for its required artwork.

And finally, there will be further issues of The Guild Adventurer, subject to suitable content being received and successful ransoms. We're targeting Easter for the release of the second issue. The tentative schedule for the third issue is sometime in the third calendar quarter of this year.

In Other News

Despite the best efforts of medical unpleasantness to derail me, the vast HARP SF manuscript was completed in mid-2006, including extra material requested by ICE on the Tintamar universe (making it even vaster, naturally). The concentration of ICE's focus on RM Classic has delayed its progress to official release, but I am hopeful that it will see the light of day this year. We may even find out its actual publication title!

In addition to the projected SysOp's Guide, intended as the GM's guide for HARP SF, ICE have asked if I would be willing to consider writing Something Wicked, the proposed HARP sourcebook on all things evil. Back in 2004, I was offered the opportunity to pursue Something Wicked; I declined at that juncture as I was already committed to writing HARP SF and I didn't want the pain of shifting between science-fiction and fantasy mindsets. Something Wicked went elsewhere but that allocation has since fallen through for various reasons and the offer was made again to me. Given that I have been immersed in science-fiction literature for nearly three years with very few excursions into other genres, I went on a splurge of fantasy novels over Christmas to reconnect with the magic. Unsurprisingly this did the trick, inspiration arrived, and I now have seven a5 pages in my notebook on issues, topics, and random thoughts on what should be incorporated in Something Wicked. At some point, I'll be having a discussion with ICE to see if this matches up with their expectations. It looks like 2007 could be a busy year for me personally.

Farewell for now

I'm off to work on TGC's other projects, so I'll take my leave and let you enjoy the rest of this month's issue. We'll be back in February, but until then ...

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