31 December 2010
30 December 2010
Iron Crown Fans:
First, an apology – For too long, resources have been woefully short to fully meet product and service quality as promised to you, our faithful and patient customers. It’s not that our licensee, Mjolnir LLC, run by Bruce and Heike, didn’t have the best of intentions – they did. But they were beset by difficult market conditions in the gaming industry which I’m sure you are all aware of, and combined with the lack of resources, Mjolnir were unable to fully meet your needs. While it is not our place to manage this situation and we are limited in doing so under the license agreement with Mjolnir, we did provide extreme flexibility in terms of foregoing a substantial amount of royalties which provided cash support for Mjolnir LLC to correct this situation, to no avail.
When Aurigas Aldebaron LLC first acquired Iron Crown Enterprises from bankruptcy, it was with the sole intention of supporting a product loved by many, a contender to rival D&D in the 1980’s, a game company known for its exciting criticals and its “true to art” creation of the first Middle Earth -based role playing games. Sure, I hoped to make a little money on it, but really I just wanted, like all role players at one time or another, to write/work/own a game company. I figured it would eventually provide the perfect outlet for retirement from my day job.
We have worked with Mjolnir since that time, and though there were ups and downs, we appreciate the contribution they made to the further development of ICE products.
It is time, however, for a new chapter to begin.
As such, I am pleased to announce some changes at Iron Crown Enterprises. Firstly, Aurigas Aldebaron and its representatives will manage the website and forums. In addition, we plan to manage more actively the sales and marketing of our products, as well as more closely oversee execution of product development and quality, and product deliverability by our licensees. Yes, all products will still be licensed out to creative organizations and as such, we will still only have limited control over the development of the systems and settings (and that’s a good thing to as we are not game creation and development professionals). But the terms of our agreement with our licensees will ensure better performance, and we think that with the freelancing methods’ fully variable cost structure to be employed by Guild Companion, we solve a critical problem plaguing our business – lack of resources – and instead increase the amount of resources brought to bear on the whole of product creation, production and delivery.
You will find that the ICE website will continue to be a central hub for all things Iron Crown. You will find links on the ICE website directing you to our licensee sites and to where you can purchase ICE items in PDF or print-on-demand physical copies. ICE will no longer operate its own store. You will be able to find announcements and product advertisements for all ICE products on the central ICE website.
We also expect there will be some growing pains and we will make some mistakes along the way – please forgive us and we hope we will get things corrected quickly. At the same time, since this is a new way of operating, we look forward to your suggestions.
As you can see, a lot of things are changing, but many things will stay the same. You shouldn't expect a complete overhaul of the website, or major changes to the forum rules, but we do hope you eventually see some big improvements in product releases, product quality and deliverability.
In fact, we really view this as the next generation of game company management. We are attempting to cut out the middlemen, or as many of the layers as possible in getting the creative aspect of the game to the people that play it. We want to eliminate central management and distribution as much as possible. If ICE can support game developers through some marketing and web-support, these developers can do what they do best, manage their own small expenses and sell via pdf and print-on-demand, eliminating upfront and fixed costs, which lowers risk and allows for more game product creation. It also ensures that if people work on a product, they get paid from the source upon a sale.
We are also pleased to announce that Guild Companion Publications will be the licensee for our HARP, Rolemaster, Spacemaster and Cyberspace game systems, and, as they do now, be the licensee of the Shadow World background This includes the re-involvement of Terry Amthor, the creator of Shadow World, so we expect big things! . In addition, they will take over management of Cyradon setting as well.
ICEVerse as a project is expected to continue, which means RM and HARP fans will have access to a virtual table top program, and hopefully into full-fledged computer games.
We are currently in discussions on Bladestorm and the Silent Death game system license Combat Express, However nothing is finalized and we are looking for interest on this license by other parties.
We are in discussion with third parties with some of our properties and are currently seeking interested parties to manage the pirates-based Run out the Guns! and Guild Companion will be looking for help on the Cyberspace systems as well.
We plan to hold an online Q&A session in the near future and will advise you on the details of this in the near future.
That’s all for now. Thanks in advance for your continued patience and support.
The Aurigas Aldebaron Team
28 December 2010
This post (from December 18) notes that Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2 will include:
· All new Hero generation system, including Talents
· Revised combat system including Armour
· Wizardry, Sorcery and Minor Magic spells
· A brand new reworking of Priests
· and a whole lot more.....
Also, there is an interesting thread on this game over at RPG.net here.
26 December 2010
25 December 2010
23 December 2010
Knockspell Magazine: Will be switching to a non-OGL format and re-focusing more toward AD&D than OD&D. Issue #5 will be a transition, since most of what I have for that issue is still OD&D. I'm doing the layout myself, so it will be rougher in appearance than before. Doing the layout myself is also making it go more slowly.
A bit more information is obviously in order on the Knockspell changes:
The main reasons for a shift to AD&D is that Fight On! is already doing a great job on OD&D. Not exactly how I would do it (witness different editorial styles in the magazines), but still excellent. The most difficult task for Knockspell has been assembling enough material, largely (I think) because Fight On! draws more of it. That's especially true after the long gap between issues.
Swords & Wizardry will still have a strong presence in the magazine, but by drawing in AD&D as well, there is a better potential to bring in general articles about gaming as well as articles that are purely resource. This will make it easier for me to put together the magazine.
The other option, which would be to make Knockspell purely for S&W, would make it effectively into a "house organ" magazine, which is what killed the quality of White Dwarf. In the long run, I think that would be devastating for the magazine's reach and quality, plus making it more difficult rather than less difficult for me to bring in a full magazine's worth of articles.
Based on the comments here, I might back water on some of those proposed changes. I can still retreat from the plan at this point, since Issue#5 is effectively all S&W. However, I don't want it to become just a "house" magazine, and it definitely needs to use up less of my energy or I'd be doing nothing but Knockspell all the time. That's what collapsed me on it in the first place.
Based on the feedback from this thread, I think I'm going to keep Knockspell as an OGL publication. The various comments make sense, and I suppose the benefit of getting more authors from calling it "AD&D" wouldn't offset the downside of having open game content.
As to the increased focus on (what will now be called OSRIC and/or "First Edition" because of the above), that's still in play with the understanding that it DOESN'T mean S&W won't be in there, it means that I will include material in an OSRIC format if that's what the author wrote or wants, rather than treating S&W as if it's a universal format. A lesson of time is that people for the most part simply don't accept the idea that any sort of format is universal. Or at least, if they do, there is still a much stronger preference than I had thought for having one's particular set of stats used.
If I were to switch Knockspell to a purely S&W format, I'm certain that it would lead to a smaller page count, and when you're selling on lulu you get a worse and worse value as page count decreases. Most of the built-in cost is from their setup fee, not from adding additional pages. I could do a smaller magazine if I were willing to print a digest-sized little 'zine and mail it out myself, but I never handle money or commit to shipping things because those are both areas where my disorders can cause me to drop the ball in a big, big way.
17 December 2010
14 December 2010
11 December 2010
09 December 2010
Another fine OpenQuest product from Newt Newport, with another great cover by Jon Hodgson, is now available!
'Geordie Racer' has a brief but helpful review here.
I have the PDF of Life & Death, and the print version is in the mail. Based on a quick skim, it looks very cool -- much more of a 'sandbox' than Newt's earlier OpenQuest adventure setting, The Savage North (which I think is also very good). I'll try to post more thoughts once I have a chance to give Life & Death a proper read (which, sadly, will not be for at least a few weeks, as I presently am overwhelmed with end-of-term grading responsibilities).
08 December 2010
Lots of good stuff for only 1 Euro (1.34 USD) each. I especially recommend Death Frost Doom. The sale ends on the 12th.
More info here.
The actual sale is here.
07 December 2010
I still own the game, and think about running it again, from time to time. Having lived in Ireland for three years (2005-2008), I would especially be interested in running The Shattered Isle, as it pits Hibernian rebels against the oppressive forces of the malevolent Granbretan Empire (of course, there's more to it than that!). It would be fun to draw on my real life knowledge of the isle (and photographs) to run such a fantasy campaign.
As for Moorcock's character 'Hawkmoon,' I find him to be rather shallow and uninteresting. Instead, I much prefer Corum. Indeed, I find the Corum tales to be superior to those featuring either Elric or Hawkmoon (especially compelling, in my judgement, is the way in which Moorcock draws on Celtic mythology in the second Corum trilogy). Nonetheless, the 'Tragic Millennium' is a great setting: it is familiar yet exotic, and provides ample opportunity for adventure. Moreover, unlike the 'Young Kingdoms,' the players can adventure in the world of Hawkmoon without the knowledge that the whole place is going to be destroyed in a few years hanging over them! Indeed, this difference was the main reason why I picked up Hawkmoon instead of Stormbringer 22 years ago.
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