“He who embarks on that fickle sea, requires to possess the skill of the pilot and the fortitude of the navigator, and after all may be wrecked and lost, unless the gales of fortune breathe in his favour.”
Scott, Walter. The Complete Novels of Sir Walter Scott
The first was that ICE, the publisher of Rolemaster has gone bust several times. Back in 2019 The latest version of Rolemaster was years behind schedule, and the talk about their marketing plans did not inspire confidence. Not only was I concerned that the new version of Rolemaster would never appear, but even if it did, I was concerned that it could disappear without trace. The Rolemaster old guard were not sounding too keen on buying into the new version at the initial release.
The second was that ICE are very reluctant to allow their party publishers to write anything for Rolemaster. I can kind of understand where they are coming from, even if I don’t agree with them.
The third reason was that many creators were asking for a Community Content Programme for Rolemaster, if not a CCP, then an Open Game License or a compatibility license.
All of these were refused, leaving creators no where to go, no outlet.
So, I had this idea. Rolemaster was created as a set of optional rules for AD&D. Converting it from d20 to d100. Why not repeat the process? Then what I would end up with would be my own version of the original Rolemaster. My personal preference is for science fiction. I looked around and and found White Box White Star. It was OGL, and a nice simple OSR system.
The end product was Navigator RPG. I put it up as a PWYW public beta in September 2019, and continued to revise it through to June 2020.
Navigator RPG (it always gets the -RPG on the end as there was another Navigator roleplaying game, but it hasn’t been updated in decades) got quite a bit of interest and excitement. One of the spin-offs of that excitement was to create an SRD for the system, but expanding it to cover many more genres. This SRD is now known as Bare Metal Edition. BME is continuously updated and expanded. you can find it on Git Hub.
I started work on Pilot RPG in October 2020, but it was a bit of a false start. I then tried again in the new year but stupidly I did it just as I hit one of my busiest weeks. Another false start.
Navigator RPG was an adaption of White Star. Pilot is going to be an adaption of White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game . both of these games are cleaned up and refreshed versions of the original Gygax rules. They are also compact rulebooks.
This weekend I have done a third restart. Over the weekend I have created a the first six chapter. I have also started chapter 7.
As of this afternoon, I have character stats, ancestries, cultures, talents and flaws for defining new ancestries and the first profession working. What this means is that I can roll up a characters (as long as you want to play a fighter). Pilot RPG is following the same structure, and is interoperable with, Navigator RPG. Navigator RPG is 20 chapters.
I can put this away now until next weekend.
First time around I put Navigator RPG on DTRPG, the day I finished the first draft. I made it PWYW, and promised that it would be free forever. It has had nearly 1000 downloads and of those 109 are paid for. It is available as PDF and premium soft and hard covers.
The game was completely self funding.
What I would like to do is create Pilot RPG, put it out as a Kickstarter this time, and then set up a Community Content Programme. One thing I have maintained is a broad compatibility with Rolemaster. Starting from roughly the same source material and striving for the same end goal.
If my plans succeed, what I will achieve is a CCP for Rolemaster content, where creators can get paid for creating Rolemaster compatible content. The rules are also OGL, allowing people to develop their own content. Basically, I want to provide everything that ICE don’t feel able to do.
I will give you weekly updates for Pilot’s development, partly to keep me on the case.
As with Navigator RPG, as soon as the beta is ready, it will go up as PWYW, and the earnings will be reinvested to make the game better.
I am also going to try and cram in a few more firsts along the way.