Director’s Briefing – May 2014

Welcome to the thirty-fifth Briefing and the fifth scheduled Briefing for 2014.
Encroachment over
ALL the lectures have been completed and I am very happy to see the end of the preparation battle. Yes, there is marking to be done come the end of May but I’ve ensured by careful deadline setting that I will have a reasonable amount of time to do the marking without it turning into an encroachment situation.
Moving books
Over Easter, I had the sudden need to move my book and rpg collection. Now while I love physical books dearly and prefer them to ebooks, packing, moving, unpacking and reorganising hundreds of them tested even my love of the physical artefact. (And I will have a second collection to move in the next few months.)
While my rpg collection is smaller than my fiction collection, their larger size and weight meant they took up more space and demanded stronger boxes. Come the unpacking, I made a conscious decision that a significant proportion would stay in the plastic storage boxes and not be allowed back onto the bookshelves. Obviously HARP, Rolemaster, Cyberspace, Shadow World, and Spacemaster made it to the bookcases. GURPS and the Dying Earth RPG transitioned back to the shelves – I admit the fact that I have written professionally for both systems assisted in their return. So did both the original paperback and Magnum Opus incarnations of Dragon Warriors – I have made extensive use of their Legend world in my own campaigns and it is one of the very few settings that I would consider trying to license for HARP. Also back on real shelves are the original paperback and the Arion Games’ incarnations of Advanced Fighting Fantasy as the Titan setting that developed from the Warlock of Firetop Mountain etc solo gamebooks is old school dungeon crawling personified and I could easily run HARP games there. (You will know Arion as the publisher of Rolemaster Rome) The final non-ICE product on the shelves is Green Ronin’s Pirate’s Guide to Freeport because it is such a fine setting book. However D&D 3.0, 3.5, and 4e, d20 materials, various Dungeon and Dragon issues, 7th Sea, Brave New World, Space 1889, Traveller and a mishmash of various singleton books have all been consigned to remain in the plastic storage boxes as I won’t be GMing them, am extremely unlikely to be playing them, and I won’t be publishing for them.
What Next?
With the real world job finally under control and the worst of the home move dealt with (and home broadband restored), I am firmly back at the helm of GCP. There is, as always, a lot to do, and many of our freelancers will be receiving emails requesting updates on progress.
Looking at some of the items on my todo list:
Organise the financial data for the 2013 calendar and deliver to the company accountant for calculation of profit and corporation tax due. Due to issues of income in dollars, most expenditure in dollars, but tax being paid in sterling as GCP is a UK company, it is sufficiently complicated that it is always worth having a professional sort it out.
Complete Guild Adventurer #4. This boils down to updating the HARP stats in the relevant adventures and writing a new introduction. Then I hand all the material over to Terry for layout, and we to-and-fro the document between us checking that it stays error-free. Meanwhile I ensure that I have the most current payment information for all contributors so that I can get them paid on publication. Publication will be as a pdf and, if the size is over the OBS/LS minimum page count, in printed softcover a few weeks later.
Speaking of Terry, there’s obviously lots of Shadow World work underway. From my perspective, this means emails to Terry checking on progress, reviews of drafts of Tales from the Green Gryphon Inn and Emer 2, and then the organisational phase where I put artists under contract and get volunteers to craft the necessary RMSS stats. For third-party modules such as Lethys and “Shade”, my role is ensuring the timely transfer of feedback at the moment.
For HARP Bestiary, the work is twofold. Firstly, there is checking how the other contributors have been getting on, achieving consistency and consensus in terms of introducing new special abilities, and organising the checking of proposed stats against the rules. Secondly there are the chapters that I need to write, which are a mixture of importing creatures from the Something Wicked manuscript and revising them to conform to the new monster creation rules, plus of course recreating some Undead and Demon staples. As the descriptions of monsters start to accumulate, I will be sending out artwork requests so that the project can accelerate to layout.
For HARP Folkways, I need to drop Jonathan Cassie an email and see how he’s been getting on with this, what input he requires from me, and when he expects to deliver a draft.
For the Spacemaster Imperium setting project, I will be producing a master list of the products from which we need text extracted, checking the results of the fan organised OCRing to see how well the content has been retrieved, and then putting what still needs to be done on a big list so that volunteers can choose their targets and avoid duplication of effort.
For Maximiliano Tabacman’s ERA software, the work needed is to finalise how it can most sensibly be packaged up for commercial release.
For Unified Rolemaster, my immediate task is essentially to nag “Are we there yet?” The moment that the drafts are returned, they will go for a deliberately minimalist layout and be sent into public beta. My expectation is that the RMU team will have generated solutions acceptable to the fan base for the controversial areas highlighted in the first round. That being so, while public playtest finds and resolves any remaining issues, I will be able to set in motion the necessary artwork creation and acquisition.
Until next time
Time to get cracking on that todo list. The next scheduled Briefing will be in June.
Best wishes,
Director, Guild Companion Publications Ltd.
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