Director’s Briefing – January 2017

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Welcome to 2017
Happy New Year to everyone. Welcome to the sixty-eighth Briefing and the first scheduled Briefing of 2017.
My reading this year has not involved any new books. Instead for the past few months, I have been rereading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series and have currently reached Feet of Clay. There are a handful of later books which will be new to me, but for the moment, this is essentially “comfort reading” where I can pick up the book, read a bit, and most importantly put it down again at any point. The last few months have been so hectic that any new fantasy or sf epic would have been spoiled by too many interruptions or would have interfered with my progress on the treadmill. Once you get past the running gags of The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, the books from Equal Rites onwards are true comic gems and remain funny on rereading.
In terms of the cinema, the latest addition to the Potterverse “Fantastic Beasts and How to Find Them” was unexpectedly good, although my wife preferred Dr Strange. Pride of place went to Rogue One. Previous Star Wars prequels have not been on a par with the original trilogy. Rogue One was, however, excellent. The body count was extraordinarily high on the hero side for a Star Wars movie – one expects many Stormtrooper casualties and the execution of Imperial commanders for failing, of course – but in retrospect this was inevitable as Rogue One directly leads to Star Wars A New Hope and most of its protagonists do not appear in the original trilogy. Movie continuity must be preserved.
A retrospective on 2016
As with 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, let us begin with a look back on what was achieved in 2016. We named 2016 as the year of unrelenting perseverance, and it turned out to be so, despite the long shadow of unwanted crises in my workplace.
We persevered and a number of successful outcomes have emerged.
Eidolon: City in the SkyIn Shadow World, the new version of Eidolon did reach softcover. Terry made progress on multiple fronts – Emer I, Emer II, Haalkitaine, and others of his own devising – as well as making some progress on editing of Priest-King and Lethys. 2017 is a year where we try to get Terry to focus in his writing so that we get completion on at least two Shadow World products this year.
Progress on the HARP Bestiary manuscript enabled us to finish the stats for The Guild Adventurer #4, which meant that we could finally publish this long-awaited product. A successful and visible outcome.
Colin’s various adventure seed blog posts inspired two module proposals – Trail of the Corrupt and Garden of Rain. The latter by Brad White has arrived in full first draft. Chris Seal has started shipping finished sections of Caer Glais, his adventure module set in the Shatterings. Aaron Smalley has been toiling away on No Quarter under the Crown.
HARP Loot for High Adventure Roleplaying RPGIn HARP, as the year drew to a close, we released a new enhanced version of HARP Loot, compatible with HARP Fantasy, HARP Martial Law and HARP College of Magics. This was another successful and visible outcome. HARP Folkways is rattling through the final stages of layout. HARP Bestiary remains stubbornly incomplete in terms of stat blocks. Two new HARP sourcebooks have been commissioned, namely HARP Strongholds and HARP Beyond the Veil.
In HARP SF, The Poseidon Gambit has had its first draft edited and is with its creator to complete.
Mentalism Companion for ERA2016 was another very good year for Rolemaster software support. The ERA package received various updates to its base software and saw many new datasets released including ERA The Armory, ERA Essence Companion, ERA Mentalism Companion, ERA Channeling Companion and ERA Rolemaster Companion I. Max certainly knows how to persevere relentlessly.
2016 saw an enlarged RMU team of Matt Hanson, Dan Henry, Joeri Timmermann, Jonathan Dale and Grahan Bottley bring Arms & Character Law, Spell Law and Treasure Law to stable drafts. Creature Law is receiving critical attention.
In December, ICE/GCP attended Dragonmeet for the third time as traders. Drawing on our lessons from 2014 and 2015, we had a very successful convention, generating a modest profit again.
GCP was a frequent entrant on the top 15 publisher listing on RPGNow. We continued in the top 2-3% of publishers over the year across all OneBookShelf sites, and in the top two for software products across OneBookShelf all year.
Guild Companion Publications Ltd and Aurigas Aldebaron LLC merged into a single company, halving our administrative costs and simplifying our corporate and our legal framework.
This will be a year of balance – a focus on completion while ensuring that products for the future are commissioned.
The first thing you will notice is that we will be formally changing the company name from Guild Companion Publications Ltd to Iron Crown Enterprises Ltd. Expect to see the Iron Crown Enterprises name on the OneBookShelf network soon. The corporate changes will take a little longer to accomplish.
For RMU, we will see Creature Law brought to stable drafts as two separate volumes and I will be performing my close edits of the whole RMU set.
For HARP, the next release will be HARP Folkways. I will personally be pressing hard to complete HARP Bestiary as soon as possible. The moment that we have a complete HARP Bestiary draft, “Something Wicked” will come into my personal writing focus. We will also be in a position to move forward with adventure modules and the return of the Cyradon setting. HARP Strongholds and HARP Beyond the Veil are not slated to arrive in draft until late in 2017.
For HARP SF, the first goal is to complete and release The Poseidon Gambit. The second goal is to commission additional HARP SF products.
For Shadow World, we will do our best to ensure that Terry stays sufficiently focused to finish his own writing projects and his editing work
In software, we hope that our software creators will continue to support our games and especially be willing to support RMU. We will be seeking out some new opportunities for software support
In terms of conventions, we intend to attend Dragonmeet as traders and would like at very least to send a representative to UK Games Expo. We also want to encourage the Order of the Iron Crown to be more active in attending conventions.
Until next time
All that remains for me to do is wish you all a very Merry Christmas (or other holiday of your choosing) and a Happy New Year. The next scheduled Briefing will be in January 2017.
Best wishes,
Director, Guild Companion Publications Ltd.
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