Director’s Briefing – October 2015

Welcome to the fifty-third Briefing and the tenth scheduled Briefing for 2015. The less said about the real-world deluge of academic, research and admin tasks that swept away my September the better. So onward to gaming matters.
Guild Companion Bicentennial Issue
Congratulations to the Guild Companion magazine on reaching two hundred issues. That is a landmark that I did not foresee occurring when we established the webzine back in 1998 as a reaction to the folding of the Portals print fanzine.
My successor as General Editor, Peter Mork, continues to ensure that the Guild Companion remains an independent voice and source of gaming material for all the family of ICE games. My thanks to him and all the volunteer staff, writers and artists, present and past, who have made the Guild Companion such a great success over the years.
As of this bicentennial issue, GCP will be submitting previews and excerpts from upcoming products to TGC. This month, it is an article covering the Ghost Overlay from the upcoming HARP Bestiary.
Shadow World
We are very pleased to announce the publication in pdf of the enhanced version of Eidolon. Covering the floating city of Eidolon and the sprawling Sel-kai metropolis, this sourcebook retains all the great features of the first edition (which saw it receive a 4-star glowing review in Dragon back in the day) and adds a hundred pages of new fantastic material. You will find new adventures, new skyship and watercraft information (including deck plans), more insider gossip on celebrities and scandals to enrich your campaigns, and dual-statting for Rolemaster Classic and RMSS/FRP.
For one month only, the pdf of Eidolon will be available at the special introductory offer price of 10 USD. If you want to take advantage of this discount, use the following link:
Buy Eidolon now >>
All being well, Eidolon will be available in printed glorious softcover and hardcover editions in November and we will have copies available for sale at the Dragonmeet convention.
There’s been some discussion on the ICE forums regarding the target audience for RMU – is it aimed at the existing player and GM base, or new customers, or both? And there have been various interesting comments spurred by the topic.
Perhaps the first comment is “We don’t need RMU”. By that, I mean there are GMs and players who have invested time and money in a particular edition of Rolemaster and customised it with options and house rules to be perfect for them. Obviously adopting RMU may pose issues for those fans and customers as they will inevitably have to make compromises or houserules to achieve an RMU that is perfect for them. The follow-on comment is “ICE needs RMU”.
As we all know, Rolemaster is divided into two editions. In the case of RM2, while the core is available through Rolemaster Classic, most of the Companion material is still locked in copyright limbo. In the case of RMSS/FRP, we have most of the material but only in pdf as the archives are not in a fit state to create new print books without huge effort. And then comes the even bigger issue of what can be published for a divided system. Essentially we can publish adventures, settings, and certain types of sourcebooks, but we cannot sensibly produce rules-heavy products that work for both systems. Trying to maintain both versions as completely supported systems will not be feasible. But the evidence suggests that the active Rolemaster fan and customer base is split down the middle, so picking one over the other essentially halves the target audience.
The only solution as we have stated before is a new version of Rolemaster that provides a fresh start for Rolemaster fans. So the target audience for RMU is initially RM2 and RMSS fans because they are the easiest for us to reach. It is not only existing fans, but it is also new fans that we are interested in attracting to the game. Of course, Rolemaster is and always will be a game with options, detail, and the verisimilitude of realism, so those new fans will be people who match that profile. Gamers who like very rules-lite systems or cannot abide detail are unlikely to play any edition of Rolemaster.
Balancing the competing interests of RM2, RMSS/FRP and new players is a difficult task. My key responsibility at this stage of RMU is to be alert to any issue that could be classed as a dealbreaker for too many people, i.e. a rule or rules subsystem that would prevent you from buying into RMU. If there is an issue that you feel is a dealbreaker, then email me at director@guildcompanion dot com, and I will consider it. It may already on be on my list. Anything that I deem a dealbreaker will be fixed before RMU is finalised.
In addition, we are creating two new boards for the playtest as we push RMU towards the completion. The first Playtesting Feedback is to be used by playtesters to post specific issues or ask specific questions of the developers. The only people who can respond to a thread on this board will be the original poster or developers. It is intended for highly focused issue and response – and the response may be simply “Comment noted” – not wide-ranging debate. The existing boards already cover that. The second new board, Solutions Support, is for developers to ask playtesters for comments and feedback on a specific proposed rules change. Only developers can open threads on this board.
HARP Bestiary
Thanks to the afore-mentioned deluge, I did not get the Elementals finished, much to my great annoyance.
However, Joel Lovell has been quietly filling one of my corporate DropBox folders with text, plans and illustrations for The Poseidon Gambit, a HARP SF adventure module. I have firm instructions from Joel that this is not the complete draft, so will await the word from him before looking at it with my editing hat on.
Until next time
The next Briefing will be in November.
Best wishes,
Director, Guild Companion Publications Ltd.
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