To the one hundred-and-forty-seventh Briefing and tenth scheduled Briefing of 2023.
Part Works and Explaining Roleplaying
I don’t watch much normal “terrestrial” or “linear” television – and to be fair my consumption on streaming services is relatively low as well. And I write about “Dungeons & Dragons” even less in these briefings! It was pure chance therefore that I saw a television advertisement for a new Dungeons & Dragons magazine that was being launched as a “part work” magazine and pitching itself as an entry point and explainer of D&D.
“Part works” seem to be a British thing where a magazine will be launched as a serial of some number of issues. The first issue will have a low introductory price and this then increases to its full price and you are intended to buy all the issues. UK readers of a certain age might remember the “Joy of Knowledge” encyclopaedia (I found the space and history issues fun) or some of those on computing in the 1980s that explained how to write programs and how computers worked. What made me wince about the advert was spotting that it was a part-work and just how much the follow on issues cost. Each of those issues is the price of an adventure module from DriveThru, so this is an expensive way of getting into the hobby.
It reminded me nevertheless that it is difficult to “get into” roleplaying – and how some of us back in the 1980s had to figure it out ourselves. And yes, my family did ask where was the board in the red box Basic D&D set? I still have in my book collection a paperback with the title “What is Dungeons & Dragons?” (from 1984) which was a good read and an informative one (and only £1.50!) I am not proposing that ICE jump on a part-work bandwagon, but I will encourage Colin to persuade some folks to perhaps do some podcasts or video tutorials.
The other thing it reminded me is to say a big thank you to all of you who have ever explained Rolemaster or Spacemaster or HARP to anyone wholly new to gaming or to the ICE family of games.
I am still in the nuanced editing on HARP SF The Corporate Worlds. Dave has created a whole new sector of space for HARP SF. Here the megacorporations have set up shop in the form of colonies and bases to explore and exploit the star systems. While there are worlds in the original “Human Sector” centred around Sol that are run by corporate interests, the new sector is more aggressively organised and governed by the larger companies with smaller enterprises and freelancers still having chances to strike it rich on a brave new frontier world or become very dead in an “accident” in unknown space.
In the Tintamar universe, our “house” setting for HARP SF, the human worlds are united under the government of the Terran Federation, but individual worlds have their own governments and are sovereign in their own jurisdiction. The Federation’s role is to keep the peace between the worlds, prevent any local government from stepping over the line into committing crimes against humanity (and punish them if they do), and protect humanity from existential threats such as hostile alien species. The nuanced editing work is to ensure that the new corporate sector allows for adventure, skulduggery, and occasional outright mayhem, without pulling apart the rest of the Tintamar premises of human civilisation. So I have been increasing the Federation presence in the corporate worlds in order to strike the right balance. The goal is to ensure that SysOps and players can enjoy a variety of campaign modes, whether they see themselves in the classic vein of Poul Anderson’s van Rijn and David Falkayn as traders to the stars or FedPol Investigators uncovering corporate malfeasance or something else entirely.
A heads up that Dragonmeet will be on Saturday 2nd December at Novotel Hammersmith. I have seen the first draft of the stand positioning so I can confirm our position has been secured. As the train strike continues in the UK, I have fingers crossed that the unions will choose some other day to disrupt travel (and ideally that the strike action will come to an end). One way or another ICE will be at Dragonmeet.
Until next time
Back to the future of the twenty-sixth century for me.
Please stay safe and keep gaming.
Best wishes, Nicholas
Director, Iron Crown Enterprises Ltd