Words from the Wise (Guys)

Copyright Nicholas HM Caldwell © 2007

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion


Indeed, a hundred thousand welcomes to the hundredth issue of The Guild Companion from all of us. To mark this occasion, some of this month's articles either have some reference to the number "one hundred" or have a word count of one hundred or multiple hundred words. And the rest of this editorial will also be presented in one hundred word segments.

The Printed Page gives way to the Virtual Medium

A hundred issues is a long time in gaming. TGC began as a reaction to the abrupt termination of Portals, the last of the printed fan magazines dedicated to ICE games. We positioned ourselves as an online periodical because we believed that was the only way an ICE magazine could survive, let alone flourish. Now the stalwart Dungeon and Dragon are themselves transforming from the printed medium to the electronic domain, while ICE supports the Rolemaster, HARP, and Spacemaster game lines with quarterly pdf periodicals in addition to more conventional books.

Troubles, Doom and Rebirth at ICE

When TGC came into existence, ICE's flagship RPG line was RMSS, but the troubles had already set in and the unpaid debts were beginning to mount. We witnessed the repackaging of Rolemaster as RMFRP and the dawn of Spacemaster: Privateers, but also the retreat into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the loss of the MERP license, and the eventual dissolution of ICE in 2000. TGC carried on during the dark times when there was no ICE, until ICE was reborn as Aurigas and Mjolnir. Since then, RMFRP, Privateers, and Shadow World have returned and been joined by HARP and RM Classic.

Evolution in TGC

TGC was created without reference to ICE and remained staunchly independent of ICE-that-was until the bankruptcy. Our editorial and web teams have evolved and changed as gaming has changed. As ICE's game lines have consolidated and expanded, our editorial divisions have similarly altered to better match the needs of the fan base. Sadly we lost our esteemed RM2 editor, Lowell Matthews, in 2004, and various of our staffers have retired from active duty (though thankfully are still with us).

TGC remains, however, free, independent and fan-based, and will remain so whilst people continue to submit gaming articles.

Modules and Reprints

No one at TGC believes that we're going to get rich from publishing rpg products. But there are worthy projects that demand publication (or republication!). Despite some of these taking seemingly forever to bring to fruition and some, alas, failing to reach a final manuscript form, all of our projects so far have broken even and some have even made modest profits. The Construct Toolkit, HARP Skirmish, a reprinted and RMC-compatible Rolemaster Companion I, Dun Cru, and the SWMA d20 Edition are still on our todo list, but they will all see the light of day.

The Guild Adventurer

The Guild Adventurer is our boldest venture in the commercial arena, but one that answers the very real need in the ICE community for Ready-to-Run scenarios. The ransom model and fan support made the first TGA issue a stunning success. The second TGA issue (this time with longer scenarios for more extended gaming) is now up for ransom. Once again, we need Patrons who are willing to pledge their support - one hundred pledges are required, just over fifty are in - so pledge now to make it a reality. For details, see either our boards or ICE's forums.

Gaming Futures

Gazing into the crystal ball, I proffer the following predictions for the industry and the hobby:

There will be a D&D 4 th Edition. It will be more miniature-based, more geared to the memes of online and computer gaming, and you will either love it or hate it.

The real money in gaming will be ever more in computer and online gaming, and companies will have to pursue that holy grail or become irrelevant.

Smaller companies will find it harder to survive: they will fold cleanly or messily; they will diversify, perhaps joining with the online companies; they will transform from full-time operation to part-time micropresses and hobbyists.

But people will still be role-playing and having fun!

Farewell for now ...

Time for you to enjoy the rest of this special issue. We will return for issue 101 in July, but until then …

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