Words from the Wise (Guys)

Copyright Nicholas HM Caldwell © 2008

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion


To the 113th issue of The Guild Companion.

Project Progress

To much fanfare, we released "Shadow World: The Land of Xa-ar" in early June - if you are a Shadow World fan and you've not already purchased a copy, we'd strongly suggest that you head over to any of our stores: on the ICE site at guild.ironcrown.com, www.RPGnow.com, or www.YourGamesNow.com and buy yourself a copy. If you've already bought a copy, many thanks for your support - we hope that you enjoy it and get many hours of gaming goodness from it.

We're not resting on our laurels though with regard to Shadow World. We're in the process of commissioning an official Shadow World Player's Guide and Terry is already planning his next module, which has been decided by popular demand to be Emer III: The Southeast. And he will be producing a new Shadow World scenario for TGA #3.

Speaking of The Guild Adventurer #3, Robert Defendi has turned in his Spacemaster scenario and we also have the first in a series of campaign guidance articles by Laura Trauth and Terence Wynne. Various other people are also hard at work finishing their articles.

On Rolemaster Companion I, still more pages have arrived from Andrew Ridgway, aka ictus, for approval. We're now perched squarely at the start of Section 5 on Items and Equipment.

The interior artwork for Dun Cru has arrived from Rick Hansen (aka Ironmaul) and it's stunning as always. Just waiting on the cover now.

There are a number of other future projects beginning to take shape but it's too early in their lifecycle to say anything more about them.

Game System License

The Game System License duly arrived, somewhat later than advertised.

It is as bad in some ways as expected, and worse in others. Those who read my editorial of May will know that it was being expected that the GSL would be exclusionary - and so it is - a product can either be OGL or GSL, not both and conversion to GSL means that you have to stop making and publishing the OGL version (thus neatly preventing companies fissioning to have an OGL side and an GSL version of the same product). And to make it more clear, "Licensee acknowledges and agrees that it will not publish any product pursuant to the OGL that features the same or similar title, product line trademark, or contents of a Licensed Product." and it's Hasbro who gets to decide whether the contents is the same or similar. Worse, conversion to the GSL is one-way - there's no going back to the OGL, even if the GSL is terminated - that part explicitly survives the termination of the agreement.

Any GSL product lasts only as long as the GSL survives or your entitlement to use it lasts. Wizards can terminate your entitlement to use the license whenever it suits them. They can also change the license whenever it suits them and it is the licensee's job to check their website for such changes. There's no 30-day cure period to bring any products into compliance if they do change the license.

The license only allows you to make reference to terms given in the new System Reference Document. You can't include the stat block of a Rockfire Dreadnought, you have to say Rockfire Dreadnought, see Monster Manual and page references are explicitly forbidden, even though as you'll have read in my review of 4th edition, there isn't an index in the Monster Manual. You can't redefine any of the terms either.

There is also lots of legal redress in their favour such as where any legal proceedings might take place, waiving of jury trials, many provisions surviving the termination of the agreement, etc, etc.

I've described this license as lethal elsewhere and there's no way I'd sign it on behalf of the Guild Companion, which is a shame given that 4e D&D is a much better game than 3.x. Nevertheless life is simply too short to put our projects at the mercy of Hasbro's corporate whims.

Farewell for now ...

Something Wicked is singing its siren song so I'm off to do more writing. We'll be back in August with issue 114, but until then …

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