Weekend Roundup: October 8th, 2016


Cool treasure at Sutton Hoo. A helm worthy of an RPG.

IT’s spreading and being TALKED ABOUT

So call the FBI and ask for the “Clown Division”.

Art imitating life?

Lord of the Rings?

F#@%ing Elves!

I never turn away from a story regarding GNOSTICISM.

Have you ever cleaned out some old storage and found the “Blast From the Past” RGP adventure?

My go to resource for RPG ships.

Mapping resource. Any good?

RPG Brand Management. How about I.C.E.?

Tombs, traps, creatures and temples! The Lost Shrine of Tamaochan!

Spell list for a Cleric of the God of Needlework!


11 Replies to “Weekend Roundup: October 8th, 2016”

  1. That article on brand management is interesting, and it is a route that I think ICE should go down, to a degree at least, opening up new markets. Even on a smaller scale like Paizo, who have things such as card games, cards, battlemaps, miniatures and comics. Of course, the biggest problem that ICE/GCP has is no permanent staff. Even outsourcing such projects would require some level of oversight, and there might not be enough time available.

    1. It is an interesting piece but from the ICE/GCP perspective I think they are resource starved. They definitely have a lack of staff and financial backing. That is why they are all working second jobs and donating their time. Those staff are a finite resource and you cannot demand too much from people donating their time and efforts. That also limits the skill set available.

      What WotC has, via Hasbro, is access to a massive amount of media and marketing experience. You can have all the card games, battle maps and comics you like but if you have no marketing plan you are unlikely to make much or any money. It is entirely possible to lose a great deal of money if you cannot make back your initial investment.

      ICE/GCP also lacks time. Everyone is stretched already to hit deadlines. I honestly do not think that RMU was intended to be in Beta for over 4 years (I think Beta 1 was released in Sept 2012 if I remember correctly). If they try and take time out to try and set up licensing deals then the flagship product falls further behind. These kinds of deals only really work if you have a strong brand that the actual producers want to leverage to sell their products. If there are 7.5Million D&D fans out there then branding your comic as D&D makes it instantly more interesting to that audience. Rolemaster is a niche game with a tiny population that is quite likely diminishing month on month.

      I worry that GCP does not have the skills in house or the financial resources to launch an effective marketing campaign for RMU. Not everyone who currently plays all the older versions of RM will swap to RMU at least not immediately. That will reduce the size of the market even further.

      Without effective marketing then there will be only a small up take for the new game.
      Without effective marketing then you will not add value to the Rolemaster brand and that will impact your ability to enter into those licensing deals.
      Without effective marketing they simply will not make enough money to keep everyone on board that they have now. Most people will work for free on something they love if they think they can make it a success but if that success or growth does not happen then eventually you wear people out and they drift away.

  2. I think there will be a problem in getting RMU out to new people, not just existing ones. There probably isn’t the budget for a print run to get it out to shops, which loses access to a potential market. Especially as I wouldn’t be surprised if most shops would want sale or return on a largely, these days, unknown system. Perhaps a Kickstarter would help there.

    The other way would be the one you suggested, a RMU Lite version. Especially if it’s free. Again, there is a resource problem there.

    1. Yes, I agree. What I would do is start making contact with the biggest bloggers in RPGs, magazine site editors and youtubers and so on. Offer them free advance copies of RMU both for review and as prize give aways. I would offer interviews with Nicholas and any other members of the team that are up for it. You can get exposure for the art on art and design sites, game mechanics on games dev sites and so on. You can do nearly all of that for free or nearly free.

      I would produce a free ultralight version. It would contain 15 or so free gen characters, an adventure just the creatures encountered in the adventure, just the weapons used and just enough of the rules to run the adventure and so on. You could showcase the importance of herbs, you would not need to include any of treasure law as all of that would be done when the supplied adventure was created. You only need the creature stats for the ones you are going to use along with those attack tables. The spell lists would only be needed up to the levels of the pregen characters and the toughest villain.

      The intention would be that the prospective new GM and players could play an entire adventure start to finish and get a real feel for how the system works with just a single book/pdf. Giving this subset of rules away in no way damages sales of the core books.

      I would probably pitch it at about 5th level. Just high enough that the spell casters have enough variety of lists and a fair few power points but not so powerful that these light rules need to include half of spell law.

      I would certainly consider something like kickstarter to fund an initial print run to get the rules out to games shops. Even if it doesn’t sell well there they can sold off of convention stands or used as give away prizes in competitions, ist it on Amazon or whatever.

      1. I’m unsure as to just how much longer RMU will be in development. It may need completing before a lite version can even be considered. At least with electronic versions there’s no upfront cost for giving review copies away!

        There might be an RMU/SW starter adventure written (the collaborative project) although it would start at a lower level than 5th. Others may be done when RMU is finalised. Everything loses time in layout, editing and artwork, due to everyone doing it as a sort of paid hobby/second job.

        1. You certainly shouldn’t produce the lite version until the full version is complete. You want people to play and buy in short order. If they play the one off and then have to wait months for the full product you would lose people. You need to have as few barriers as possible between tester and customer. I would even give a 10% or 20% discount on one of the core books, probably Character & Arms Law at the back of the Lite version.

          You know full well that once people have bought one product it is easier to sell them more. If you buy Character Law then you need to buy the others to have a workable system.

          What I cannot wait to find out is GCPs post launch strategy. There are basically three ways to go. 1) The companion route producing more and more niche rules. 2) The supplement route such as Arabian nights and Rome themed books. 3) Adventures and I include Shadow World in this camp.

          I personally would go for 2 & 3 but the emphasis so far seems to be one #1. The talk I have seen on the forums is they have built a skill system that can be expanded in future companions, the same goes for professions and so on.

          1. I have a feeling that it might be 1 and 3. One problem with the supplement route is that you’re competing with GURPS, who I frankly think kill it in the themed supplements. I’ve never even bought the main system, but I’ve bought a whole bunch of GURPS supplements.

            1. I think it will probably be a lot of number 1 and very little number 3.

              I am not sure how producing genre specific supplements for RMU would have to compete against the GURPs supplements.

              The problem I see with the first option is that it adds fuel to the criticism of Rolemaster as Chartmaster and a mammoth sized and unwieldy game.

              1. Probably publishing adventures requires people to come forward with suggestions which are then approved. I wonder if they could go down the Adventure A Week route of producing simple two page adventures as well, just to get content out there for GMs.

                Regarding GURPS, they just seem to have covered, and covered well in most cases, pretty much every genre.

                The Chartmaster criticism is, I think, less justified these days when it’s compared to Pathfinder. The number of Paizo optional rules and content, never mind third party, makes Rolemaster seem a lightweight system. It probably depends on how modular things are; if you can pick and choose which rules you want, just as with Pathfinder (and like you could with all the Companions), it needn’t be rule heavy.

                1. The chartmaster thing is difficult. As an experience GM I know how much or little of the rules I need. I have all of the rules from all of the books distilled down to just 12 tables in a single PDF. I almost never have to refer to a paper book except when levelling up an NPC which I rarely have to do during the game session or a weekend of gaming. That is from an experience GM’s point of view.

                  If on the other hand you are a newbie and you are aware of that reputation for bloat and excessive charts and you get the books and flick through them you are going to be sensitised to the charts and tables. RPGs are dynamic systems and the rules grow over time if you suddenly ‘need’ 10 $30 books to play the game then that is a big investment. Bear in mind that a new GM wanting to buy RM2 and have the books that his players have probably needs Character, Arms and Spell Law; Creatures and Treasures I, II and III; Seven numbered Companions and the list goes on, War Law, Sea Law, elemental companion, oriental companion. I believe there were 37 books all told. RMSS and RMFRP are marginally smaller at about 25 books each.

                  My fellow GM likes his books on paper and he keeps all of his in a crate sized ‘recycling’ box. http://www.rolemasterblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/20160507_091010.jpg That is quite daunting if you are thinking of buying into a system. And then there is Shadow World, you don’t even get a setting with Rolemaster.

                  1. Although Pathfinder doesn’t have a free option, it does have a Beginner Box, which apparently contains everything you need to run a game, without getting the two main books (Core Rulebook and Bestiary). Sort of reminds me of the old MERP box and BXCMI boxed sets. Getting all the Pathfinder rulebooks will cost a heck of a lot, even in PDF.

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