Director’s Briefing – September 2021

Welcome

To the one hundred-and-twenty-second Briefing and eighth scheduled Briefing of 2021. I hope that you and yours are staying well.

Apologies for August

Apologies for the absence of an August Briefing. I finally managed to have a break at the start of August and exhaustion caught up with me hard. A moral – I need to ensure that I get my leave more regularly – I will blame the pandemic for making that very difficult in the past two years or so. Alas, I returned to various work crises and by the time they were under control, it was too late for the briefing to be useful. Back to normal now.

HARP

Brad sent in the additional stats for the NPCs and these have now been included in the HARP Garden of Rain pdf. We are currently reworking the key of one of the maps but once that is done, we will release the pdf version.

RMU

The artwork for RMU Arms & Character Law and RMU Spell Law has continued to arrive. CTMT 3727. Additional artwork has been commissioned for RMU Treasure Law.

Until next time

Please stay safe.

Best wishes,

Nicholas

Director, Iron Crown Enterprises Ltd

CTMTTYAC Competition

Welcome to the Colin The Marketing Troll’s Ten Year Anniversary Competition (CTMTTYAC) – I had ten years to think of a title for this, I really should have done better.

The competition

Throughout September I will be hiding secret codes around ICE’s various platforms and outlets. When you find a secret code, submit it using the form at the bottom of this page. At the beginning of October I will then collate all the entries (each code is a separate entry so the more you find the greater your chances of winning) and pick winners.

Each secret code will start with CTMT and be followed by four numbers (ie CTMT-1234). We will release a new secret code each day (so there will be 30 codes overall). They will be hidden across all ICE platforms and outlets including: Emails, ICE Facebook page, Rolemaster Facebook page, HARP Facebook page, Spacemaster Facebook page, ICE Twitter, Discord, ICE forum and of course the ICE website (only the ironcrown.co.uk site). Some will be better hidden than others but they will all stay in place from the day they are released until the end of the month (ie you don’t have to find them on the day they come out).

In short – Keep an eye on pretty much everything we do in September and if you see a code, submit it through the form below.

The prizes

1st prize – $30 voucher for DrivethruRPG
2nd prize – $25 voucher for DrivethruRPG
3rd prize – $20 voucher for DrivethruRPG
4th prize – $15 voucher for DrivethruRPG
5th prize – $10 voucher for DrivethruRPG

It would be great if you spent these vouchers on ICE products, but we’re not going to force you.

Enter here

To enter, input your email address and the code that you have found. Please ensure you use the same email address for each entry.

N.B. Please submit each code individually

Terms and conditions

We want everyone to take part and enjoy this competition so we will only allow one prize per person. If you’re drawn as the winner of 1st prize AND 2nd prize, you will only get first prize and redraw 2nd. We hope you think this is fair.

Incorrect codes and duplicate codes (the same code submitted from the same email address) will be removed before drawing winners.

If I feel that a player is attempting to cheat the system I will remove all their entries at my own discretion

10 years with Iron Crown Enterprises

What a difference 3652 days make!

Can you remember what you were doing 10 years ago? I can. Roughly a decade ago I (Colin the marketing troll) was sat on a park bench in the quietest spot I could find trying to convince a man that I had never met, that I was the right person to run the marketing for his company. I’m sure you will have guessed that the man on the end of the phone was none other than ICE Company Director Nicholas Caldwell and (spoilers) I got the job.

Ten years on and a lot has changed for me and for ICE. I’ve made some mistakes, learned an awful lot and got more involved in all areas of ICE than I had ever imagined. For those of you that don’t know, I was an author on the recently released HARP Bestiary, I’m working on the Cyradon source book and adventures, I have taken on the rather grandiose title of ‘Art Director’ and have taken over the management of licensing ICE IP to 3rd parties. All in addition to my normal marketing troll work. What started off as a small job to gain experience and earn some extra money quickly became a passion project that I enjoy much more than anything else I do. I love the ICE team. I love the games and the projects we’re working on. But the thing I love most is the fans.

Over the past ten years I have moderated your chats like a creepy big brother, talked to a number of you about a variety of things and even played games with some of you. You’re a great group of people and it has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you over these last ten years and I hope that we’ll all get to know each other better in future.

I hope you think that I have been a net positive for the games you love and the company that produces them and I’ll do my best to continue to help out in any way I can.

As a thank you for all your support over these ten years and to celebrate this amazing milestone, I have put together a little competition to give five lucky ICE fans the chance to win one of 5 DrivethruRPG vouchers ranging from $30 to $10.

You can find out all the details on the Colin The Marketing Troll’s Ten Year Anniversary Competition (CTMTTYAC) page which will go live tomorrow (and will be linked to here, on social media and just about everywhere else I can think of). Tell your friends, family, followers and even people that you’re not overly fond of. I’ve been toying with the idea for this competition for the best part of a year so I’m hoping a lot of people take part and that everyone enjoys it.

Once again I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your support, encouragement and just generally being lovely people over the past decade. Thanks to the ICE team, especially to Nicholas for taking a chance on me all those years ago. I hope I didn’t disappoint.

Here’s to the next ten years!

Love and hugs
Colin the marketing troll

7 alternative guilds for your fantasy tabletop RPG

Guilds and groups are a great tool in tabletop gaming. They could offer work to the party, they may be part of some political intrigue in the local area or might (for whatever reason) be opposed to the party’s activities. Whatever their role in the story, there are some go to guilds that are a common trope in fantasy tabletop roleplaying games. To offer some variety, here are a few ‘alternative’ guilds and groups that you might want to consider.

The beggars guild

The beggars guild is a philanthropic organisation that works to help people who have fallen on bad times by providing food and shelter for anyone who needs it. The guild is not particularly popular with actual beggars as they encourage local people to donate to the guild rather than individuals so that they can ensure that any money is spent on food, housing and safety for everyone who needs it.

Some people have suggested that certain branches of the beggars guild are up to no good, taking the money for themselves or forcing the beggars to work (or perform other, more troubling acts) for their food and shelter.

Argaton Academy Alumni Association

Argaton Academy is one of the most prestigious schools in existence. By sending their children to the academy the rich and powerful ensure not only that they receive the best education possible, but also that they form long-lasting relationships with others who will one day become very rich and powerful.

The Alumni Association ensures that everyone who has ever attended Argaton keeps in touch through numerous events and circulars. Some say that the Alumni Association is an attempt by the Academy to constantly drum up new funds for the Academy Head’s lavish lifestyle, but no one can deny the Academy’s impact in ensuring peace due to the fact that all rulers and their children have attended the great school.

The pilgrims of the burning flame

Deep in the old forest lies a holy flame that is said to have burned since time immemorial. The church of the burning flame have set up their home surrounding the flame. Their lives revolve around the worship of the flame and all that it represents. A special few are chosen to be members of the elite band known as the pilgrims of the burning flame. Each pilgrim is tasked with taking an anointed candle, lighting it from the flame and taking it out into the world to spread the word of the church of the burning flame.

Unfortunately due to weather and the size of the old forest, not one pilgrim is yet to reach anyone else to spread the word. Each time the flame goes out and each time they trudge back to the flame feeling unworthy.

The glutton club

The beginnings of the glutton club are unknown. It is less an organised club and more a lifestyle. Small groups of people (usually wealthy and usually men) make it their life’s work to try and eat every creature that graces the planet. Great acclaim is given to the member that brings the most exotic meat to the feast.

A number of members of the glutton club have been lost as they have tried to capture exotic (and dangerous animals) for their feast. Because of this most members will employ more expendable people to seek out, kill and butcher exotic animals.

The society for the prevention of cruelty

This group is a conglomeration of a number of smaller groups including the society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, the society for the prevention of cruelty to plants and the society for the prevention of cruelty to children. The group is now against cruelty altogether, whoever or whatever it is aimed at.

The group may sound like a joke, but they’ve achieved a great many things since the group’s creation. They will often prevent the killing or capturing of magical creatures, protect lands and creatures against encroachments from towns and cities and have been instrumental in overthrowing any governments that are deemed to be ‘cruel’.

The wild farmer’s guild

Wild farmers do not believe in fencing creatures or plants in. Instead they forage for plants in the wild and will hunt creatures in their natural habitats. They claim that this gives their produce a more natural, wholesome taste.

In practice the guild applies pressure on governments to place taxes on more conventional farmers for using land that the guild claim could be put to better use. They are also not above causing problems for ‘conventional’ farmers that live and work in their areas.

The housewives’ guild

There are many who say that this guild does not exist, that it is an urban legend and nothing more. There are certainly no documented cases of anyone ever admitting to being a member of the group. Legend has it that the guild’s members secretly train in magic and unarmed combat to protect any women who require it.

There are no official rules of membership or political aims. There’s no hierarchy and no leadership. It is just understood by all that sometimes things have to change for the safety and continued happiness of an individual or of the group. The means through which they achieve this range from gentle political pressure to sudden disappearances of ‘problematic characters’.

Director’s Briefing – July 2021

Welcome

To the one hundred-and-twenty-first Briefing and seventh scheduled Briefing of 2021. I hope that you and yours are staying well.

Guild Companion

The Guild Companion magazine has been on hiatus for some while and has recently disappeared from the web. I have had a chat with Kristen Mork and Rob Brott, and we have acquired a complete archive of the Guild Companion magazine way back to the very beginning. Colin is busy getting the archive onto the new ICE webserver so we hope to have all issues available again soon.

HARP

A continued thank you to everyone who has spotted and reported errata in the early adopter version of HARP Bestiary. I have held off asking Nick to make changes as another batch of errors were caught, but hope to be able to call it ready soon for the print masters for DriveThruRPG.

I have reviewed the complete first draft layout of HARP Garden of Rain pdf and have caught a few issues, which Nick has happily resolved. I also spotted that a few of the NPCs managed to escape getting their stats for RMC / RMFRP and/or HARP, so I have a request with Brad to stat them up. Brad, by the way, has been working on the sequel adventure module HARP Dark Harvest, Dark Hunt.

RMU

Jonathan has completed his additional tweaks and consistency work on RMU Treasure Law, with Colin using that as a basis for artwork commissioning, and this version also with Max for his work on preparing the new RMU datasets for ERA.

ERA Software

Speaking of ERA, Max has produced a new ERA dataset, namely RMFRP Arms Law 2003, for those who would prefer to use its attack and critical tables in ERA rather than the 1999 edition of Arms Law. In operation, the datasets are mutually exclusive, so you either use the 1999 or the 2003 dataset. The dataset has been released on DriveThruRPG.com.

Until next time

Please stay safe.

Best wishes,

Nicholas

Director, Iron Crown Enterprises Ltd

New addition to the ERA for Rolemaster

We are thrilled to announce the release of another great addition to the ERA for Rolemaster e-support product. We give you ERA for Rolemaster RMFRP Arms Law (2003)!

This feature package adds all attack and critical tables in RMFRP Arms Law (2003). Arm your characters with weapons from the sling to the battle axe, and your monsters with 11 different natural attacks. Or just go bare handed with martial arts strikes or throws. For increased damage, deal some of Rolemaster’s acclaimed criticals. 

Please note you can only use either this 2003 dataset or the 1999 Arms Law edition dataset which is already available.

Director’s Briefing – June 2021

Welcome

To the one hundred-and-twentieth Briefing and sixth scheduled Briefing of 2021. I hope that you and yours are staying well. My ICE todo list is getting longer, but in a good way.

HARP

Thank you to everyone who has spotted and reported errata in the early adopter version of HARP Bestiary. We will endeavour to fix the errata and add a series of bookmarks to the pdf in the next few weeks before preparing a print master for DriveThruRPG / OneBookShelf.

Nick Morawitz has not been resting on his laurels – he has produced the complete layout innards of the HARP Garden of Rain pdf and that is now awaiting my review.

Shadow World

I had the opportunity to do some final checks on Brian Hanson’s Priest-King of Shade, so took that opportunity. More artwork and cartography requests to be added to Colin’s queue!

RMU

The virtuous flow of artwork contracts from us to artists, artwork from the artists to us and payment in turn to the artists continues.

Even bigger news is that Aaron has sent through nearly all of the first volume of RMU Creature Law. There are some tables he is still working on and Jonathan is undertaking some additional tweaks and consistency work between RMU Treasure Law and RMU Creature Law. (He is Rolemaster Line Editor so far better he fix any residuals now rather than having to endure them later on.) I have already had a first look at the Creature Law volume manuscript and I am not seeing any major issues – I do have to do the detailed editing pass, which I expect will take time but only because this is a big manuscript. This means RMU Creature Law has queue-jumped on the RMU Character Companion manuscript.

ERA Software

In ERA, preparations are very far advanced with regard to enabling ERA support and datasets for Spacemaster: Privateers. There may be additional updates to ERA itself as a consequence.

Until next time

Please stay safe.

Best wishes,

Nicholas

Director, Iron Crown Enterprises Ltd

HARP-SF playable race – Mice

Happy Towel Day everyone! To celebrate all things Douglas Adams, I have created a brand new playable race for HARP-SF – Mice. Enjoy!

Appearance: The Mice appear as mice. Well… They are mice. But Mice are not what we think mice are. Mice are actually hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional creatures. Their small twitchy noses, black eyes and long tails are merely a three-dimensional projection of their actual form. However, as their actual form cannot penetrate beyond their own dimension, it is probably best to think of Mice as just being mice and forget that we ever mentioned that they are actually something completely different.

Biology: In our dimension the Mice’s biology is exactly the same as that of the mice you might find in a science lab or pet shop. This is mostly because all the mice you find in science labs or pet shops are, in fact, the hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional creatures that we on Earth know as Mice. Within their own dimension, these creatures are not too dissimilar to humans in their appearance and various bodily functions. However, as we will never venture into their dimension, this is a useless piece of information that I include here only in the interest of padding the word count.

Demeanor: The demeanor of Mice varies quite wildly from being perfectly happy to scurry around mazes and eat little bits of cheese to wanting to scoop out a living creature’s brain to take a look at what lies within.

Technology: Mice, and by that we mean the hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional creatures that masquerade as mice on Earth, are some of the most technologically advanced creatures in the Universe. They were responsible for the building of the Universe’s most advanced supercomputer (whose name currently eludes me for copyright reasons) which was responsible for calculating the meaning of life, the Universe and everything.

Lifespan: The average lifespan of the creatures behind Mice is around 45,000 earth years. Mice however live much shorter, less impressive lives.

Culture: Mice are a philosophical lot. They are so advanced that the only question that is left unknown to them is “what was the point of all that advancement”. Long hours are spent bickering amongst themselves as to what reason there might be behind their very existence with no one really believing any of the suggestions that they put forth.

Special Abilities:

Computer wizard, Knowledgeable authority (Xenology), Logical mind

Species Limitations: None

DP Cost: None

Director’s Briefing – May 2021

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Welcome

To the one hundred-and-nineteenth Briefing and fifth scheduled Briefing of 2021. I hope that you and yours are staying well, and if you have the opportunity to be vaccinated, you can take it. I can happily report that I now have had my first AZ dose.

HARP

As you have hopefully already heard, we have released HARP Bestiary in its pdf format through DriveThruRPG. It is on sale at 20 USD and that is an early-adopter price. The eventual price will be 30 USD due to the huge page count and the colour interior artwork. Colin, John, Nick and I are very happy to see it finally released, and we hope you are all equally glad to have it on your electronic shelves.

As always, we are inviting our early adopters to report any errors or oddities, so that we can rectify them before we send the print masters to OneBookShelf / Lightning Source. Please make use of the thread on the HARP portion of the ICE forums for this. All changes will be made to the pdf as always and an update released free to all early adopters in the traditional manner.

It is so nice to have a new HARP release.

Meanwhile Nick has turned his attention to HARP Garden of Rain. Elsewhere Joel Lovell is trying out various layout possibilities for HARP SF The Poseidon Gambit.

I have been in contact with Brad White who is making progress on the manuscript of Dark Harvest, Dark Hunt (the sequel to HARP Garden of Rain) and also with Chris Seal who is still labouring away on Caer Glais (a campaign module set in the wider world of Mithra). Jon Cassie (of HARP Loot, HARP Folkways and the upcoming HARP Beyond the Veil) is musing on a campaign module for the continent of Anias.

Shadow World

The Shadow World queue has acquired a new manuscript – Night of The Third Moon – an adventure module set in the Bladelands (Folenn). We have this manuscript in both English and German, thanks to the efforts of its author, Gerrit Guenther. I am quite aware that we still have Priest-King to get through its final stages.

RMU

I have issued a gallery of artwork contracts to Colin to distribute to artists. I am pleased to report that he has come back for some more contracts and the first pieces of artwork for RMU Arms & Character Law have now arrived. Colin is currently coming up with the full list of artwork for RMU Spell Law.

In terms of other arrivals, a complete draft of the RMU Character Companion has also arrived in my inbox for editing perusal.

ERA Software

As part of the preparation work for Spacemaster: Privateers, Max has been making additional upgrades to the existing ERA package and datasets. These have been uploaded and you can retrieve the latest versions at your convenience.

Until next time

Please stay safe.

Best wishes,

Nicholas

Director, Iron Crown Enterprises Ltd

Roleplaying adventure hooks – Science fiction

Looking for inspiration for your next science fiction roleplaying adventure? Then look no further! We’ve put together these three adventure hooks all based on technology and Artificial intelligence to give you some ideas for your next gaming session. Enjoy!

The simple life

The inhabitants of a far-off planet have rejected technology and decided to live off the land without the ‘evil’ of technology. It is their choice how they live but a number of nearby civilisations now consider them easy pickings.

A group must be sent to the planet with two missions, the first is to see off any incursions by neighbouring civilisations. The second is to work with the planets inhabitants to create planetary defences that will protect them without giving up on their wish for a ‘simpler’ existence.

Finders’ keepers

Scientists have designed an incredibly powerful new weapon that could be the difference in the wars raging across the universe. However, it requires the use of an under-utilised mineral which can only be found on very few planets and none that are under their control.

The mineral can be mined on a couple of neutral planets and even more enemy planets. A group must be sent to set up clandestine mining facilities and to ensure that no one finds out what they are doing. If they are discovered, it will arouse suspicion and the enemy may begin looking into the capabilities of the little-known mineral.

Rogue AI

After a trip to a market world, things begin to go wrong on the ship and strange noises can be heard at night. There are no new life signs on board but what does it really mean to be alive?

Upon a complete inspection of all areas of the ship a creature it found. It was human before it died but it is definitely now dead (according to all the scanners at least). There are various strange pieces of technology hidden beneath his flesh and bones but the strangest thing about him is his tale of an army of the undead under construction in hidden places across the universe.