I’m not sure that’s a good title for this blog post, but I’m writing this “on the run” but look at that picture. To me, that could have been my roleplaying group back in the early 80’s. How about you? If that seems familiar it’s because A LOT of Rolemaster players are in their 40’s and 50’s now.
First, I should say it’s fantastic that we can enjoy the same game we have played for 30+ years or have rediscovered RPG’s later in life with friends and family. However, my second thought is that everyone I’m seeing on the RM Forums (out of commission right now), RolemasterBlog.com and the new Discord server are all around my age. Where are the new young Rolemaster players–like in that photo? We know that RPG market is growing…
Before this starts off like a lot of our blog posts with critiques of ICE let me say this. I.C.E. is a “virtual company” with no real employees or hard assets. They are leveraging their existing IP and putting out a few new products through a mostly volunteer basis. I have no expectation that they ramp up into another serious production/print/gaming company.
The issue that I want to raise is about authorship. Who will be writing new products for I.C.E. in the future? My brother Matt developed the SW Players Guide, built the Nomikos Library resource, contributed to most of the ICE material published in the early 2000’s and was on the ground floor for RMU development, but he’s mostly moved on to other endeavors. It seems like Nicholas and perhaps one other person does the bulk of the writing for HARP. RMU is being shepherded by a small volunteer group of 2-3 people and Terry is the sole author for Shadow World. While I’m not a published ICE author, I do write quite a bit of content–but I’m 50. I can see myself writing stuff for another 10 years, but that’s not that long. RMU and Priest-King have both been in development for 10 years and that doesn’t seem that long ago. Terry is 60. He has a impressive publishing resume, but how long will he be inspired to write? Nicholas has a busy and demanding career; how much work can he realistically do?
Let’s tie the two together. I.C.E. was founded by young people in college, most in their early 20’s. The growth in RPG players is: overseas, youth and females. Does I.C.E. now need to recruit new, relevant writers to appeal to today’s player demographics? What happens in just the next decade as we all enter our 60’s and even 70’s? Will our writing be relevant or we just existing for the small core of die hards our own age? Who takes over after that? Does ICE sell it’s catalog to a young upstart company or established gaming entity?