Words from the Wise (Guys)

Copyright Nicholas HM Caldwell © 2011

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

Welcome

To the 143rd issue of The Guild Companion. A Happy New Year to all our readers.

Welcome to the New World Order

On December 30, 2010, the following announcement (http://www.ironcrown.com/ICEforums/index.php?topic=10542.0) was made on the ICE forum website and promulgated elsewhere. On 31st December, 2010, the final transition agreement came into effect such that my company, Guild Companion Publications Ltd, now holds the license from Aurigas Aldebaron to publish Rolemaster, HARP, Cyradon, and Cyberspace in addition to the HARP SF and Shadow World licenses.

So What Does All This Mean?

HARP & HARP SF

Our immediate priority for HARP is to release HARP SF and follow this with HARP SF Xtreme as quickly as we can. I am very pleased to announce that HARP SF is already with Aurigas for licensor approval. We will be starting a Heisenberg Uncertainty Countdown on HARP SF Xtreme very shortly.

At the same time, we will be rebranding the existing HARP Fantasy products and getting them back on sale in pdf and print. As HARP SF has introduced a number of improvements to the HARP system, we are going to take the opportunity to retrofit those fixes into the main HARP Fantasy book. These include Flat DPs per level as the standard, Skill Flexibility as a human special ability, recosting of Talents for better balance, etc. None of these changes will be massive, but since we have to open the book so to speak for rebranding, we ought to make them now as part of the rebranding process.

HARP Fantasy will take first priority and we will then proceed through the other key books and get them back on sale in both pdf and print-on-demand (via OneBookShelf) in the first instance.

We will also be publishing new HARP books but there will be more news about that in due course.

Rolemaster

Our immediate priority is to get at least one edition of Rolemaster back on sale in pdf and print-on-demand. The master archive files were shipped as CDs and DVDs to Aurigas, who have been sorting through them for us. We will need to "rebrand" the books and check that the current layout will work for OBS' print-on-demand requirements. I have a freelance layout expert who will be dedicated to this particular task..

For pragmatic reasons (i.e. the fewest number of books for a complete Rolemaster system that goes to all levels of play), the quartet of Rolemaster Classic books (Character Law, Arms Law, Spell Law, and Creatures & Treasures) are first on the list to be processed. Others will follow.

I have also appointed Marc Rosen, who led the RM Classic team and has served with distinction as a co-editor on HARP SF and HARP SF Xtreme for GCP Ltd, as Rolemaster Line Editor.

For many Rolemaster fans, the concern will be that RM Classic has "won" or RMSS/FRP has "lost" or vice versa in a secret edition war. None of these things have happened. Instead Rolemaster has won and we hope that all portions of the Rolemaster community will take this opportunity to unite in their passion for Rolemaster.

Cyradon

We are gathering together various good people to work on new Cyradon setting materials. We will be producing Rolemaster conversion materials for the base book (for both RM Classic and RMSS/FRP).

Spacemaster

We will also have to rebrand the complete set of Spacemaster:Privateers books and they will be joining the processing queue as soon as possible. We have several ideas here for new products, but it is far too early to talk about them in any detail.

Shadow World

Work is still continuing by Terry Amthor, Matt Hanson and others on our Shadow World product line.

Other Issues

It has been noted that there are no full-time employees of GCP Ltd, and some people have been concerned about this. This is not a problem. Go to your Rolemaster, HARP or Spacemaster collection and look at the credits on the various books. You'll see that a disproportionate number of those books have been written by freelance writers, that much of the art has been done by freelance artists, and indeed during the Mjolnir era, layout was a freelance activity as well. So this is not a problem. Indeed it is a strength because it will ensure that our future products across all of the ICE game lines and settings draw upon the creativity of the community, and because GCP Ltd does not have to pay salaries, there will not be a pressure to publish something just for the cash it might generate. Instead we will continue to reward the people who work on projects as GCP (Ltd) has been doing for years and focus on making the best possible products.

It has also been noted that as GCP Ltd. will be using OneBookShelf print-on-demand services and that this means ICE product lines will not be going through distribution and so not appearing in game stores. This is true. However many of the recent Mjolnir-era products were pdf-only so in a sense there is no change here. Moreover there is little point in us producing hundreds of copies of existing books - most of the people who would want an existing book already own it. OneBookShelf print-on-demand services will, however, mean that fans will be able to pay their money and get their books in the format that they want in a timely fashion. Using OneBookShelf for printing is not an exclusive arrangement; in the future as demand and sales warrant it, ICE products will once again be in traditional distribution and great game stores.

And also, I would like to thank Rob and Ian, the unsung heroes of the web, who have taken over the maintenance and hosting of the ICE web site and forums on behalf of Aurigas. Both Rob and Ian have been providing these services for the Guild Companion magazine for many years now, so we know that the ICE web infrastructure is in very good hands indeed.

Farewell for now ...

I will leave you to enjoy the rest of the issue. We'll be back in February with issue 144, but until then ...

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