Iron Crown Enterprises Director's Briefing

Director’s Briefing – September 2020

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To the one hundred-and-eleventh Briefing and ninth Briefing of 2020. We sincerely hope that you and yours are still staying safe and managing as best you can in these trying circumstances.


As was pointed out in the forums last month, we have reached an anniversary Briefing number beloved of a certain hobbit and his long-expected party. Like many ICE fans, I came in via The Lord of the Rings and playing in a friend’s MERP game, which he morphed into using the RM 2nd Edition rules to provide greater possibilities. I had the loan of his Spell Law volume for a while and one of my first rule meddlings was seeing how I could compress the Mentalism spells into ten levels just like the MERP Animist and Mage. It is perhaps not so surprising that I would end up writing Mentalism Companion a few years later.

Virtually Expo

Fresh from Gen Con Online, we moved in force on Virtually Expo, which was a much better organized experience. Colin had spent more Development Points in his new skill – Discord Server Mastery – and we had three very good Q&A sessions, one on RMU, one on ICE generally and a live demo/Q&A on Fantasy Grounds for Rolemaster. One of the things discussed was the status of the product pipeline. I all but suffered a mathematics critical when I added up all the products for which we have a manuscript.

The Great Manuscript Hoard

For the purposes of the hoard, I am only going to count projects where I have at least a first draft in my hands. There are other projects where work is underway but I have not seen a full draft yet so they will not be formally counted as part of the hoard.


Here we have HARP Subterfuge which is with Terry for layout, closely followed by the long-awaited HARP Bestiary which is ready to go into layout. HARP Garden of Rain is receiving more artwork (during one of the Virtually Expo Discord chats, we saw Joel’s cover rendering which is fantastic). HARP Beyond the Veil is complete and ready to have its artwork commissioned. HARP SF The Poseidon Gambit is still with Joel but when he finishes, it will be complete in text, artwork and cartography (and since I have seen a draft, I am prepared to count it in the hoard). So remember the number five.

I am not counting for the purposes of the hoard the adventure module HARP Dark Hunt, HARP Strongholds, HARP SF Vehicles Compendium, HARP Steampunk, or HARP Something Wicked Something Wondrous because they are all still in progress.


Colin has finished his amendments to the Cyradon setting book, so it is ready for me to edit. We also have Allen Maher’s original trilogy of Cyradon adventures to transform into Arrival in Cyradon plus the manuscripts of M is for Murder, The Ruins of Kausur, Enya Lote and Escort Duty to update for the current rules set. Remember the number six.

Elsewhere in the wider world of Mithra, Chris Seal is working on Caer Glais.

Shadow World

Brian Hanson’s The Priest-King of Shade is patiently waiting its turn in the editing queue before its artwork can be formally commissioned. Remember the number one.

Of course Terry is busy (when not in layout) with Emer IV and we also have the HARP Handbook for Shadow World underway, but again until a full manuscript appears, I will not count it in the hoard.


For RMU, we have Arms & Character Law, Spell Law, Treasure Law and Creature Law. Given that Creature Law is not ready yet but will appear as two volumes and we did have a full beta version, I will stretch the rules and include it in the hoard as one item. Remember the number four.

In addition to RMU, we also, for instance, have a complete Rolemaster adventure module, Night of the Third Moon, which is set in the Bladelands notionally. I am not currently counting this as the complete manuscript is still all in German!

In terms of progress on RMU, I have double-checked all of Jonathan’s amends to Arms & Character Law and they are all good, and modulo the necessary introductory text and credits, Arms & Character Law is now final.

I have completed the editing pass on Spell Law. Working with Jonathan, we made some final modifications to the spell lists so we have improved versions of the Dabbler, Lay Healer, Healer, and Open & Closed Channeling and Mentalism spell lists – I hope the greater clarity of descriptions on the healing spell lists will make game play better. In terms of other fixes, there were some comments raised about the potency of the Herb Enhancement and Herb Mastery spells, so I have altered these so that they have different and meaningful effects. There was also concerns about the Mystic’s Hiding spell list having Invisibility spells at a higher level than Invisible Ways and the Unpresence Self spell duplicated on two Mystic base lists – I rolled up my sleeves here (and in a nod to my earliest rules tweaking) have created new modified spells to resolve the problem. Again, modulo the necessary introductory text and credits, Spell Law is now final.

I have sent the final textual versions to Max so that he can get properly underway with ERA for RMU and also to Dakadin so that he can make progress with Fantasy Grounds RMU rules set.

Colin is chomping at the bit to get on with commissioning artwork for RMU, which leads to the question – should we go for black&white interior artwork or colour interiors? While this does not necessarily have an impact on the pdf price, it does make a difference to the cost of the print versions. For a standard size book, the per-page cost is currently about two cents per page for black&white, rising to about five cents per page for “standard colour” (which is what we use for Shadow World sourcebooks) and up to nine cents per page for “premium colour” (which we have used in the very early days for the Shadow World Player Guide and HARP SF Xtreme). You can play with the DriveThruRPG printing calculator here. We know our legion of artists are perfectly capable of handling either. We would be interested in your views on the subject – please let us know on the forums or via the Discord server.

Back to the Hoard

You have probably forgotten the numbers. They were five, six, one and four, which means that we have sixteen (!) manuscripts at varying stages of development.

Until next time

RMU Treasure Law is next on my editing list

Please stay safe.

Best wishes,

Director, Iron Crown Enterprises Ltd

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