Burning of Novikov

There is a new adventure available on DriveThruRPG that is compatible with RM2/RMC and RMFRP. This time it was not written by me. It was written by an Argentinian writer called Ignacio M and art by Dyson Logos and Rick Hershey.

My involvement was to hunt down the book and page references for the different versions of Rolemaster.

What is exciting about The Descendant Revenge: Burning of Novikov for us is that this is the first of a three-part series, it is new writer bringing their ideas to Rolemaster and it is another low-level adventure for people who may be interesting in trying out Rolemaster but don’t want to spend too much money on a Shadow World sourcebook just to get the adventures.

Add this one, or three, to the standalone adventures that Terry is writing and it starts to make Rolemaster look more like a living breathing system.

Ignacio referred to Rolemaster as a ‘cult game from back in the 80s’. I think that is part of the problem. Because there are so few signs of life, people forget that Rolemaster is still alive and kicking.

Normally, a mention of Rolemaster brings on references to Chartmaster and Rulesmaster, so cult game form the 80s is an improvement, of sorts.

I am hoping that I have started a very small snowball rolling here.

Descent has already gathered a few sales, which is good. Ignacio is pleased and is telling people, other writers about it. If I can encourage more writers to write for Rolemaster that has to be good.

I am going to end with a tired old message: *IF* Iron Crown had a community content program, which is free to set up, and if they don’t know how then I am more than happy to do it for them, these adventures would be better. Rather than referring to just book and page for monster stats they would give the GM what they needed right there on the page. If people were allowed to use some of the artwork from the core books then we would not be using stock art from, mostly, DnD inspired artists, we would be using genuine Rolemaster art. Rather than pointing to stock NPCs from Character Law, we would see more fully statted out NPCs.

Right now ICE earns nothing from these adventures. The writers skirt around the restricted parts of ICE’s intellectual property. Not having a CCP is not protecting Rolemaster from anything. It is not protecting the brand or funneling people to the official adventures because third party adventures are being written and released regardless.

The only effect of ignoring CCP content and content creators is that ICE is losing 20% of something in a vain effort to protect 100% of nothing.

In previous Community Content discussions, it was all rather theoretical, but now the third party content is real, it is happening and real money that could be spent on moving RMu along in the form of freelance line editors and layout artists is being lost.

There is something else being lost as well. Every writer buys the rules that they are aiming to write to. They need to know what bases they need to hit. Every writer will promote their own work. A Rolemaster CCP would drive sales of RMu when it is released and the current rules today. Not many copies but even one copy is money in the bank. The more writers the greater the social media reach. All this is being lost.

11 Replies to “Burning of Novikov”

  1. Yep. I understand what you mean now about a CCP.

    I am currently working on a second introductory adventure for RMU (which I will use for my two sessions at GenCon this summer). I would like to publish them, eventually, as Pay What You Want adventures for RMU, and would love to be able to give exact monster stats to make the GM’s life easier. I hope that will be possible.

    1. Yes, it is possible to point to This book, That page, but it would just so much nicer for the GM if you just put the stats right there on the page. Or give an NPC spellcaster a favorite tactic of this spell followed by that spell… All these things would be possible.

      1. You can give stats (they’re not protectable by copyright, or by patent) but you CAN’T copy the textual descriptions of the monsters (you can, however, write your own description), and you can’t copy any images.

  2. Thank you for the heads up, and I just bought it (sight unseen), as I do with any RM product I see referenced here (so count one pre-purchase for you Hurin!). Course this begs the question as to why we don’t get this kind of notice from ICE when something like this comes out….

    As far as the CCP goes, we know their heads are in the sand, and have been (according to ICE forum posts) these past 8 years (or more). For example: People continually ask for Shadow World races in the Fantasy Grounds VTT, yet you’ve never seen one. And who in their right mind would publish one with the IP issues and the complete lack of a CCP. Nor would FG accept one, for those same reasons. The lack of a CCP, as Peter points out quite clearly, hurts not only the company, but supporters of the product as well.

    Sad days… makes me wonder about ICE’s support of RM in general given 0 new products for RM in the past 7 years (*), but 5 for Harp (and 5 in the queue). But that’s a topic for another day.

    (*) Assuming you don’t count Terry’s fine work in Shadow World.

    1. I fully understand Terry’s defence of Shadow World and his intellectual property.
      I can also understand why ICE would want to focus everything on RMu and HARP.

      Even a HARP CCP would be better than nothing and it would be a signal towards a brighter future.

      1. Yes, a Harp CCP would be welcome indeed, and as you say a welcome sign of understanding.

        Too, I well understand the need to actively defend IP rights (IANAL). I also fully support TKA’s efforts by buying almost every SW product he’s ever put out (some several times).
        However, my point with the VTT reference is that people willingly contribute small things to products they like all the time for no remuneration. A CCP provides a quick and painless (but legal) way to encourage those volunteer efforts. As it stands now if you contribute something as simple as a Character Sheet to one of these VTT’s communities, you infringe ICE’s rights (via Attribute names and organization, RR’s, skill names, races, cultures, etc..). Yes, people do it anyway, but it’s not right and ICE has every reason, nay obligation to demand it’s removal. It goes without saying that such action is completely short-sighted and community hostile but hey, that’s the way they want it. If they didn’t, they could/would change it.

        As to where ICE’s focus is at, without real knowledge of what’s happening, it’s all speculation. I’m taking a more and more grim view of it, others can make their own deductions. =)

        1. Many of the things you mention like attributes and skill names are not protected. Game mechanics are not protected and most of them were not created by ICE. What is protected is the way those mechanics are presented.

          I can, and have, used a pretty standard set of character stats but because the descriptions of the stats and how they are used is all my own work, I own my version and I can do what I like with it.

          If ever ICE dies, for a third time, or RMu go too far in a direction that the long time supporters don’t like, there is an open license, compatible version waiting in the wings. If it is needed.

  3. Peter, do I understand that you have prepared a clone of our favorite game?

    If so, my question is how long you are going to wait on it. I have said before that you and many of the people who contribute to this blog should get together and produce your own game—but you haven’t, probably because of your fondness for and fidelity to your most beloved IP. But you want it to continue, and I have read you report, time and again, “Just wait one more year, now one more year more, I am optimistic, we are so very close.”

    But, as you say, most of that game isn’t under copyright, just presentation, so, if you have a representation—and lots of adventure material you are dying to publish as “ready to play,” fully statted—I wonder if you shouldn’t put an ultimatum on a release of RM and just step, yourself, into that void.

    As you are well aware, at least two have gone before you—Lightmaster (which I haven’t read yet) and Against the Darkmaster (though that might be too transformed to properly play with RM). You have worried about these games—and, more powerfully, Runequest and Zweihander—eating up the market share of percentile systems. I think you can join this company. Could you get away with calling it Rulesmaster? 😁

    My last point: it appears you all play RM differently anyway. Why wait for an “official” release? Why not publish _your_ game? And start writing for it however you like.

    1. You are right in thinking that I have a retro-clone style game. It was released as a public playtest last year and is nearly ready to go into print.

      So far the playtest edition has been downloaded 352 times.

      The genre is a Spacemaster version as the potential existence of a SMu is way, way into the future. Converting from Navigator RPG to a Fantasy version would really not take someone very long at all.


  4. Oh, okay. Thanks, Peter. I’m well aware of Navigator RPG, of course. (I wrote a short series in anticipation of it.) I had the sense that you had something slightly different on standby, though I can see how easy it would be to adapt it for an FRPG.

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