Director’s Briefing – September 2013

Welcome to the twenty-seventh Briefing and ninth scheduled Briefing for 2013.
There have been a number of requests on the ICE forums concerning our project schedule, and how we are very protective of sharing expected release dates. This is a necessary precaution when everyone who is on the staff of Aurigas and Guild Companion Publications and all of our project teams, writers, artists, editors, proofreaders and layout gurus are freelancers. Real life has an unpleasant habit of ensuring that the best laid project plans oft gang aglay, and that can lead to deadlines and release dates being missed. (If you have read the most recent State of the Mongoose, you will have read how Mongoose have switched from an inhouse writing team to freelance writers and consequently are no longer announcing products until they are ready to enter layout, in an effort to improve their ability to keep to a release schedule.)
Rather than talk publically in terms of release dates, I would prefer to characterise our projects in terms of stages: Precontract, Preproduction, Production, Release and Strange. The planning spreadsheets that I use have more specific stages, but to keep things manageable for this Briefing, I am going to simplify. Precontract indicates that a project has been or is in the process of being proposed; the author may even be busy writing the first draft but it is inappropriate for it to be contracted with firm deadlines, usually because its progress even to a full draft depends upon other products. No sense in putting an author under an unnecessary deadline. Preproduction denotes a project where the author is under firm contract and is busy writing their draft. Production is a project where the final draft has been handed in, artwork is being created and the layout is underway. Release is when the product goes on sale, at least in pdf. Some products are not following this pattern, typically because they are preexisting products needing updates, so we may have new artwork already for them but have not yet finished the text updating, and so we will designate them as being in a Strange phase.
The Big Project Status Roundup
So now for a quick rundown of ongoing projects across the lines:
For HARP Fantasy, we currently have Loot: a Field Guide in Strange state, HARP Bestiary in Preproduction, and a new sourcebook on races and cultures in Precontract discussions. Something Wicked and The Construct Toolkit are also in a Strange state, as they depend on progress in HARP Bestiary. The Elendarrh setting is in Precontract while HARP Skirmish is in Strange.
For HARP SF, we currently have SysOps Guide and The Poseidon Gambit, an adventure module, in Precontract phase. We plan to issue a formal call for HARP SF products in the near future.
For Cyradon, the core setting book is in a Strange mode in that it requires further progress on HARP Bestiary before it can be completed. In terms of supporting adventure modules set on Cyradon, we have Cyradon: Arrival, The Ruins of Kausur and Enya Lote in the Strange phase ( again this is the Bestiary issue ), with M for Murder in Preproduction and two other modules in Precontract. In addition, we have two adventure modules set in the Shatterings, where A Wedding in Axebridge is in the Strange mode and Caer Glais is in Preproduction.
For Shadow World, we have Emer 3 from Terry Amthor in Production. We also have Emer 1, Emer 2, Eidolon, Haalkitaine and Jaiman in a Strange stage. In terms of Shadow World projects being written by writers other than Terry, we have The Priest King of Shade and the Lethys sourcebooks in Precontract with substantial material already written, and I hope that both of these will move to Preproduction soon. We will be making a formal call for Shadow World adventures in the very near future – Terry and I are still working up the call instructions.
For Rolemaster, the unified Arms Law, Character Law, Spell Law, Creature Law, and Treasure Law projects are obviously in Preproduction. For equally obvious reasons, a set of modern era unified RM rules and The Sirens of the Silence adventure / campaign module set are in Precontract. Unexpectedly, we hope to be able to resolve the IP issues relating to the Stone of Seven Souls adventure module and we will be able to put it into a temporary Strange state, before rereleasing it with dual RM Classic and RMSS / RMFRP stats – it might also acquire HARP stats. We also have the No Quarter under the Crown adventure module, officially in Precontract but with writing underway.
Last but not least, The Guild Adventurer #4 has not been forgotten about and as soon as I can get my hands on the final images, it will hurtle through the final Production subphases.
At over thirty projects in various stages of progress, you can understand that things can get hectic for GCP and Aurigas. As you will also see from the rundown, we have some key projects, HARP Bestiary and the RMU quintet, which have multiple downstream dependencies, and that is where I am trying to focus my attention.
Until next time
HARP Martial Law is now available in both softcover and hardcover formats from OneBookShelf. HARP College of Magics is about to enter the print process. I am now off to read more manuscript drafts.
Best wishes,
Director, Guild Companion Publications Ltd.