Director’s Briefing – November 2014

Welcome to the forty-first Briefing and the eleventh scheduled Briefing for 2014.
Missing cats
At one of the stations on my morning commute, there is an advertising stand for the regional daily newspaper, which displays the headline for the day in an effort to drum up sales. Usually these are of a parochial nature but one caught my eye – “Dozens of cats missing” – and this is a headline that has reappeared a couple of times. Apparently in one of the local towns, lots of domestic cats have gone missing. Now doubtless there is a prosaic explanation for this (which I have no interest in) but I was reminded of Tolkien’s minor comment about “the cats of Queen Beruthiel” which in Unfinished Tales were described as being her spies, and also of the adventure seed involving an errant shapeshifting Maia and a religious cult in one Middle-Earth supplement. Transposing the disappearance of pets to a fantasy setting, there are possibilities for low-level adventures involving strange predators, were-creatures drawing animals to their rule, one or more mages / witches requiring the creatures for magical rituals or searching for the perfect familiar, and so on. I offer this as an instance where a GM can use the odd in the contemporary world as a spark of creativity for scenario writing.
ERA for Rolemaster
At the start of October, we were able to launch ERA (Electronic Roleplaying Assistant) for Rolemaster by Maximiliano Tabacman. This character management software package provides the ability to create characters at any level, add them to the ERA campaign dataset, enabling players and GMs to monitor and manage all aspects of the characters including skills, resistances, spells, abilities and gear, and to resolve maneuvers and actions. The base software package is available for free and you can purchase prebuilt data sets for RMC Arms Law, Spell Law, and Character Law. An update to all three platform-specific (Windows, Mac, Linux) packages has been recently made which will make the process of installing data set files easier. If you have any difficulties with any part of ERA, please post your queries on the Rolemaster Software discussion board.
ERA’s base package has had almost five hundred downloads so far from RPGNow, so thanks to everyone who has tried it out, and even more thanks to those customers who have purchased data files. With ERA joining AutoHARP and Rolemaster Combat Minion in our commercial software offerings, GCP moved into the #2 spot for computer software sales in October across OneBookShelf. For comparison, we are routinely in the top 20 for print-on-demand sales, and in the top 30 when sales of everything are considered. Note there are over 1700 active publishers across OneBookShelf.
HARP Bestiary continues to make incremental progress and we are accumulating ever more animals and monsters. We are by no means complete yet, but we do now have a greater selection of material to support module writers. I am also going to formally pull in the rewriting of the Bestiary chapter for the Cyradon main book into the HARP Bestiary team’s remit as that is the key chapter still needing fixing there.
The consequence of delays in second drafts of Bestiary chapters is that The Guild Adventurer #4 is still in a holding pattern.
Some really good news is that Jonathan Cassie has been making great progress with HARP Folkways. He is currently working on example culture writeups for Shadow World and Cyradon, and then only has two more chapters to write.
Tales from the Green Gryphon Inn
Unfortunately some of the artwork has yet to arrive for “Tales from the Green Gryphon Inn”, so we were not able to release it in pdf last month. The moment it does arrive, Terry and I will get it prepped and safely out as pdf. It is now looking much less likely that it will be ready as a print edition for Dragonmeet.
Terry is not twiddling his thumbs – he’s writing and editing on other manuscripts.
Unified Rolemaster
Edited manuscripts are still not ready to hand over to me. I hope that the team will be able to deliver material in a fit state to me that I have time to deploy it in the Rolemaster mini-game at Dragonmeet next month. If not, we will use RMC combat rules instead.
Dragonmeet 2014
Colin continues to run around doing some of our logistical preparation, the card payment reader is on order, and the print inventory is with John Seal for transport to the convention site. We expect to also be able to burn cds with pdfs for people who’d like to purchase our products in pdf.
John Seal has a HARP scenario to run, Chris Seal will be running Rolemaster, and I will either run HARP SF or a Cyradon adventure. We would love to see lots of ICE fans at Dragonmeet and UK members of the Order of the Iron Crown are very welcome to participate.
Full details on Dragonmeet are available on their website at
Until next time
Back to work for me. The next scheduled Briefing will be in December.
Best wishes,
Director, Guild Companion Publications Ltd.
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