Words from the Wise (Guys)

Copyright Nicholas HM Caldwell © 2007

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion


To the ninety-ninth issue of The Guild Companion.

Dungeon and Dragon Magazines To End

It's probably the biggest news in the gaming industry this year so far. Wizards of the Coast and Paizo Publishing announced the conclusion of Paizo's license to publish Dragon and Dungeon magazines. The September issues of both magazines will be the last to be published by Paizo and indeed the last ever to be published as printed magazines. Paizo will be able to finish off their current Adventure Path series and will be moving on to publish new OGL-compatible Adventure Path campaigns in book form - each Pathfinder Adventure Path will be published as six 96-page perfect-bound books, one per month for six months, according to their press release. As for Wizards, they intend to launch a new Digital Initiative so that content of the form that used to appear in Dragon and Dungeon will be made available online through their own site, almost certainly through some form of paid subscription service

Now I'm not and have never been a Dragon or a Dungeon subscriber. Nevertheless a quick headcount of my rpg library indicates that I own some thirty issues of Dragon and Dungeon, with a slight bias towards Dungeon as I was interested in some of the d20 mini-games such as Iron Lords of Jupiter (which were published back when Dungeon and Polyhedron were cohabiting the same physical magazine) and I collected the very first full Adventure Path - the award-winning Shackled City, because it seemed an interesting concept and it never hurts to have a complete campaign ready-to-run as a backup, just in case the inspiration or the time ever runs out!

What Does It All Mean?

Speculation is rampant as to the motives of Wizards in ending the license. Some have suggested that this is a move by Hasbro to bring all of the D&D identity, branding and intellectual property in-house in preparation for something really big like licensing out the entire tabletop rpg division to another company, so that Hasbro can earn money without all that tedious and expensive work that designing, developing and selling tabletop rpgs requires. Others have suggested that it is in preparation for the eventual launch of D&D 4th Edition. By consolidating everything in-house, Wizards may be better able to provide a unified message as the new edition nears completion and beyond. Perhaps 4th Edition takes D&D in new directions - more miniatures-based, or more in tune with the online computer gaming styles? As I said, speculation is rampant.

It does mark a further retreat for the industry from mainstream outlets (such as the newspaper/magazine chain of stores where I bought most of my Dragons and Dungeons) towards dedicated and electronic channels. That means less of a presence in mass-market stores which reduces the hobby's visibility especially to lapsed gamers and potential newcomers, particularly since specialist gaming stores are a vanishing breed. The Internet, electronic books (pdfs and others), e-stores, and so forth are all wonderful things, but they work best for people who already know what they are looking for rather than the person who is merely browsing in the hopes of making a serendipitous discovery.

What Does It Mean For Us?

And here I mean both us (Guild Companion) and us (the ICE gaming community). Dungeon was the inspiration for our own Guild Adventurer. Anecdotally ICE gamers (still) cast envious eyes at Dungeon and its wealth of high-quality scenarios, and indeed some were and are willing to put in the legwork to convert d20 scenarios into Rolemaster or HARP. That source is about to dry up, to be replaced by full-blown campaigns a la Adventure Paths from Paizo and whatever Wizards produces in the future.

Which makes The Guild Adventurer even more important in its role of providing ready-to-run scenarios and adventure-support material for Rolemaster (all editions), Spacemaster and HARP.

The good news is that all the content has now arrived for TGA #2 and Rick Hansen has the artwork well in hand. The line-up for TGA #2 is as follows:

  • Rose Petals and Snow Lions by Terry Amthor, a Shadow World/Rolemaster scenario
  • The Echoes of History by Robert J Defendi, an Echoes of Heaven scenario dual-statted for Rolemaster and HARP
  • Hunting Season by Robert J Defendi, a Spacemaster: Privateers scenario
  • The Selkie's Secret by Brent Knorr, a double-length HARP scenario
  • Vorlori's Rest by Allen Maher, a 3P HARP statted adventure location

The even better news is that I expect to have the final editing completed in the next week or so, whereupon I will be handing the whole caboodle over to Andrew Ridgway for layout.

We will be using the ransom model again for TGA #2. It is possible that we may be using a service such as www.ChipIn.com to handle part of the ransom process - however I need to risk a mathematics critical in order to determine whether it is cheaper for us to lose some money to their handling fees (and the fees vary according to how a ransom is set up, so it might not be better than RPGNow's 35% cut in the end) or whether it is easier to just use discounted coupons as we did with TGA #1 . What I can say is that we will be offering coupons so that patrons can purchase TGA #2 through either RPGNow/DriveThruRPG or the new kid on the block, www.YourGamesNow.com . Look for more news on this on our forums and on ICE's forums.

And the further news is that, even though TGA #2 is not even in layout yet, we are now soliciting submissions for TGA #3, so if you think you have got what it takes to write a scenario or an adventure location piece, drop me an email at editor@guildcompanion.com

Farewell for now ...

I'm off to sort out the rest of this issue, finish off TGA #2 and tidy up a number of loose ends, so I'll leave you to enjoy this month's issue. We'll be back in June for the the Centenary Issue, but until then ...

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