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guardiansorder
There's been several questions that have popped up on the net in various locations. Here's my answer to a bunch of them:



What's in store for the future of BESM? Will Arthaus be publishing supplements?

I have no knowledge of any plans at this time, so if there are any for supplements, I am unaware of them. Same thing goes for Vanilla BESM (which I would have loved to have worked on!). Since BESM 3 is now Arthaus's puppy, I'm not really the person to ask.



What were your plans for the BESM 3 line?

That's something I can answer. I was going to turn BESM 3 into an ideal product line for a mid-tier RPG company, with a unique approach to supplements.

The first supplement was to be the BESM Companion: A Player's Guide to the Multiverse. This would provide expanded information on the relationships between the various worlds (prime, inner, outer, and beyonder), and given the players and GM some "idea meat" for which to use in campaign and character creation. The writing was commissioned for this book (though rewrites and edits were never done), but it unfortunately died when the company did.

BESM Player's Options would have been next. The purpose of this book was to give a multitude of options that could be used in games. For example, I was going to present a dozen or so different ways to handle damage. "I don't like static damage," one player would say. Fine, here's how to change it. "Where are the social skills, like bluff and detect lying," another would question. So here's a bunch of social skills and rules to incorporate them. Consider it the ultimate compilation of house rules.

Then for the next two years, we would have published one world book for each of the Primary Worlds. Rather than just setting material for the GM, these books would have also served as genre books. For example, Ikaris is the multiverse's high fantasy world. The Ikaris book would have presented a plethora of templates, sample characters, and ideas for your campaign. And yes, it would have been a great setting book as well, but through the setting we could provide examples of how your character could be constructed and advance.

I had more plans after that, but there's the initial 2 years/8-12 products.



Can I convert my 2e character to 3e?

No conversion is really possible, since the games are substantially different. Rebuilding your character would be easy to do, although the point values will change substantially. If you want to run a BESM 3 campaign, it's best to start with new character builds.



Is BESM 3 as complex as Tri-Stat dX/Silver Age Sentienls?

No, not at all. And yet, the system is as robust and comprehensive as those games. The material in BESM 3 is presented in a superior fashion to any game we produced, and allows games to operate at the standard level (a little more advanced/complex than BESM 2, but certainly comparable), at a stripped-down level (as easy as BESM 2), or at a more advanced level (like Tri-Stat dX, but much cleaner). In some ways, it's even easier to create a character in BESM 3 vs. 2 because we provide you with the tools (like templates) to make the process smoother. Also, since there are fewer rules gaps that require interpretation compared to 2e, 3e will possibly play cleaner as well.

I think that the presentation as a whole is far superior to BESM 2; as a game, it's a better product. It's not fair to compare it to BESM 1, though, since the games have completely different purposes.

Of course, others may disagree.



Why did you change the damge to a multiplier system?

The system works much better this way, and provides for better ease of use. In BESM 2, every weapon had a different damage value that you needed to know. A gun may do 15, a sword 10, etc. But the weapons weren't unified or created within the Weapon Attack Attribute very well. It was rather sloppy, really.

The new system is completely unified. Every weapon has a Weapon Attribute Level (0=unarmed, 1=knife, 2=staff, 3=sword ... missile=30). Every character has a damage multiplier (5, unless modified). And so damage is now the Weapon Level x Damage Multiplier + Attack Combat Value. It's faster, easier to remember, more intuitive, and comprehensive.



I heard there were PMVs. I hate PMVs. Are there PMVs?

No. No PMVs. Each Attribute functions as written, without the need for any modifiers. Oh, yeah, and ignore Chapter 5.

Now if you want to customise your Attributes, take a look at Chapter 5. You'll find a list of Variables and Restrictions that you can add to some of your Attributes to change how they work. It's completely optional.



I don't like how open-ended Dynamic Powers is! You don't give me enough rules, and I have to make thing up!

Then please take a big, fat black marker, and cross out the entire Dynamic Powers Attribute on page 29. In your campaign, this Attribute does not exist. You are not allowed to use it, so don't even think about it. I forbid it.

Then turn to page 45 and read Power Flux. It will be much more to your liking and easier for your brain to understand.



That's it for today. Have a grand weekend!
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guardiansorder
This blog is back, though it's completely different than before.

With the Third Edition of BESM -- the last book I authored/produced for the now-defunct GoO -- due out within a week, I thought it would be a good time to give a little more back to the fans. Consider this an official designer's blog, though not sanctioned by the BESM 3 publisher, Arthaus.

This blog is for anything related to BESM 3 that I feel is post-worthy, and it will be updated when I get the chance and when the mood strikes me. I hope you gain some insight or enjoyment from it.

BTW, you can order the book directly from Arthaus by following this link.
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guardiansorder
This will be our last official post on the GoO Blog.

For a number of reasons, this mode of informal communication never gained critical mass for us. Primarily, no one in the company had the time to post effectively and frequently, and thus readers lost interest or were never drawn in. With little hope of improvement in the future, we think it's time to walk away.

There are several other great resources where you can obtain your GoO news:

* Message Boards (http://www.guardiansorder.com/boards)
Our boards are quite popular, and are a great way to not only communicate with other gamers, but with the company reps directly.

* Enlightened Self Interest PDF Newsletter (http://www.guardiansorder.com/pdfs/goo_esi_current.zip)
A much more successful implementation of informal communication, the tri-weekly ESI is a great resource for GoO fans, retailers, and distributors.

* Our various mailings lists (http://www.guardiansorder.com/community/lists.php)
Traffic is light on our mailing lists, which makes it a preferable alternative to the message boards for some people. The goo-info list is a read-only list for company press releases and announcements.

Thanks for tuning in. It was great while it lasted.
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guardiansorder
The first issue of our new PDF newsletter, "Enlightened Self Interest," is now available for download!

http://www.guardiansorder.com/pdfs/goo_esi_current.pdf


Issue 1 (February 2, 2005) features:

* Save GoO Campaign Update
Response has been great! New exclusive items now available!

* Products Off To Press
Both Tekumel and the BESM Anime Card Game are now at press!

* A Game of Thrones RPG Signed Edition Pre-Order Update
Only about 200 copies left! Dual-statted for d20 and Tri-Stat!

* Street Team: 2005 Summer Conventions
Run a game or two for us at Origins or GenCon

* Tekumel Excerpt
Exclusive introduction from Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne

* Product Spotlight
Learn more about Dreaming Cities, BESM Anime Card Game, and Tekumel

* Order Request Form
A handy form you can print out and bring to your local retailer!


Comments and criticisms appreciated! Please send them to info@guardiansorder.com

Thank you.
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guardiansorder
We've moved our absolutely free electronic version of Tri-Stat dX back to our own servers!

You can download the PDF file [no DRM, no registration required to download] at the following URL: http://www.guardiansorder.com/pdfs/goo_TriStatdX.pdf.
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guardiansorder
From President Mark C. MacKinnon
31 December 2004 (Edited 3 January 2005)


NOTE: This message may be reposted to other internet sites and distributed freely.

[EDITED (3 Jan 05): While I was originally going to post this message on New Year's Eve, the recent tragedy in Asia gave me pause. I didn't think it was the right time, given the magnitude of the pain and suffering that makes our woes seem so very insignificant in comparison. That said, certain information, and mis-information, leaked today to the gaming community today, and I owe it to our supporters to respond quickly. This address, plus the explanation on our Enlightened Self Interest page, should put most things in the correct context.]

On this uncharacteristically warm New Year's Eve I sit at my computer desk sipping hot chocolate as the sweet sounds of Bach’s Violin Partita in B minor plays in the background. I am thankful that all is well in our great country, and mourn the terrible losses that have devastated many families in Asia after the earthquake and tsunami. We are witnessing the incredible power of Nature, and I cannot help but be humbled.

Thinking about GoO's 2004 business year, I am proud of what we accomplished but also disappointed with what could have been. A few key products needed to be delayed for various reasons, which unfortunately turned 2004 into our "year of sequels" (with sequels, conversions, and revisions) rather than our "year of new products." Throw a weak economy into the mix, and it can be a recipe for disaster. Faith manages, though, and we pulled through. But sometimes … faith needs a little help.

SUMMARY OF 2004
To recap the developments at Guardians Of Order in 2004:

  • we released our two largest books ever, both weighing in at 352 pages: Ex Machina: Tri-Stat Cyberpunk Genre and The Authority RPG and Resource Book
  • a plethora of licensed BESM/BESM d20 anime guides (9 guides, plus Slayers d20) made it to market and finished many of our series
  • we released BESM d20 Revised edition — updated to d20 v3.5 — only to learn to our embarrassment that it actually wasn't updated
  • we reprinted BESM d20 Revised, and made sure it was updated this time!
  • we converted and re-released several of our popular BESM Tri-Stat titles to the BESM d20 system
  • working with the fine gents at Hero Games, we co-published Reality Storm: When Worlds Collide, a crossover adventure and conversions book featuring the characters from our Silver Age Sentinels and Hero Games' Champions
  • we announced the acquisition of an RPG/fan guide license for the cult-hit anime series, Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • we moved and expanded our PDF offerings to DriveThruRPG.com, experiencing greater-than-expected sales in this new venture
  • we finalised our deal with Erick Wujcik of Phage Press to continue offering sales of Amber DRPG-related merchandise, with the hopes of more to come in the future
  • we helped two Magnum Opus publishers bring their "great works" to print: Hearts Swords Flowers and Everstone – Blood Legacy
  • we released our critically acclaimed short story anthology sequel, Path of the Bold, set in the Empire City superhero universe
  • we announced plans for BESM Third Edition, to release in spring/summer 2005

In total, we released 24 products -- 23 books of our own and one co-publication with Hero Games -- in 2004, effectively matching 2003’s releases. Breaking down the products into lines, we have:

  • Silver Age Sentinels/superhero books: 4 (17%)
  • BESM/BESM d20/anime books (original): 7 (29%)
  • Anime books (licensed): 10 (42%)
  • Other: 3 (12%)

As you can see, nearly three-quarters of our output involved original or licensed anime material -- our signature strength. If I had to pick just a few must-buy stellar highlights, I'd recommend Ex Machina, The Authority RPG, Slayers d20, d20 Military Vehicles, and Path of the Bold.

SALES AND RPGs
I have talked to company presidents, renowned retailers, distributor representatives, and industry gurus. If there is one thing they all agreed on in 2004, it is the remarkable downturn in role-playing game sales. I'm sure the reasoning behind this trend is complex and varied, but the final result cannot be argued: RPGs were seriously hurt this past year.

Clearly, as an RPG-only company, this should have devastated our sales income, right? Well, no, actually. For the third consecutive year, Guardians Of Order has enjoyed an increase in gross sales revenue, and we achieved this remarkable fact without A Game of Thrones RPG (which, unfortunately, is delayed until spring/summer 2005). I’ll admit that releasing larger and more expensive books accounted for much of this increase, but it is still a great accomplishment for us in a declining marketplace.

Why, then, is our net income the lowest it has ever been?

LARGER THAN RPGs -- THE SLIDING US DOLLAR
To put it bluntly, over the past two years the American dollar has had the snot kicked out of it by all major foreign currencies. Unfortunately, this includes the Canadian dollar and as an exporting company that calls the Great White North home, we've been hit hard. Really hard. We pay most of our fixed expenses (company overhead, such as salaries and rent) in Canadian dollars, which means that we must convert our US dollar revenue into Canadian funds for disbursement. One American dollar used to fetch $1.60 Canadian a few years back when the US economy was stronger, but the continual decline for two years has dropped that to about $1.15 -- a loss of nearly 30%. This "exchange rate deficit" comes directly out of our bottom line, and has resulted in us losing nearly a quarter million (Canadian) dollars since the start of the decline.

There is no end in sight for the weak US dollar, and so our business plan is forced to adapt through downsizing and cost-cutting. There comes a time when you have to say "that’s enough."

A PLEA FOR ASSISTANCE
Although we are firmly dedicated to having a full release schedule in 2005, we can't do it alone. We have an abundance of inventory in our warehouse -- partially the result of low sales, and partially due to greater-than-expected book trade returns -- and we need to convert a large portion of it to cash quickly and efficiently.

Starting today, we are launching what we're calling an "Enlightened Self Interest" sales campaign to help us convert inventory into cash. If there’s a book you've been thinking about buying from us, but have been waiting for the "right time" … well, now is most certainly the "right time." The page also has a few older gems for sale, but copies are extremely limited. We have many books waiting in the wings, but the company needs an influx of revenue to remain healthy. Please take a moment and visit our Save GoO webpage for more information.

This New Year's Eve message is about looking back and look forward. I don't want to dwell in the doom and gloom, but every bit of support helps. The sky isn't falling … at least not yet.

REVIEW OF GoO IN 2004
Although we have been under tremendous strain over the past year, I think we still did excellent work. Briefly, here is my review of our company's performance in 2004:

Communication: B-
- With all the tools at our disposal -- message boards, mailing lists, website, and a weblog -- we should be able to communicate frequently and efficiently with our gaming community. Unfortunately, many hours of my time must be spent on financial management (budgeting carefully and moving monies from place to place) each week, which has prevented us from keeping in touch.

Effort: A-
- Not everything worked out as planned this past year, but we collectively worked very hard under difficult circumstances.

Follow-through: B
- We worked through a lot of backlog in 2004 (BESM Space Fantasy, Fushigi Yugi and Hellsing fan guides, SAS supplements), but due to many unfortunate circumstances Tekumel and A Game of Thrones RPG have still not yet made it to press. Tekumel is finally approved, though, so we are very, very close; AGOT is also well on its way, with a March 2005 release planned for the Deluxe Limited Edition.

Innovation and Leadership: C
- Unfortunately, “leading” took a backseat to “producing” in 2004. Although we had a few highlights -- Ex Machina and The Authority RPG in particular -- we’ll pick up this ball again in 2005.

Quality: A
- We produced simply amazing stuff in 2004. This would have been an A+ if not for the unfortunate error in BESM d20 Revised Edition.

Overall Analysis: B-
- Although I had hoped to rate my company better this year, it was not to be. I think we stumbled in 2004. Not terribly, but it happened. I think we can turn that around in 2005 if plans hold.

THE CRYSTAL BALL OF 2005
The future is always a tricky thing in this industry. You don't want to announce many ideas too early, for fear you can't follow through in time or that someone else will beat you to the punch. At the same time, fans want to know what you have planned and announcing plans early builds hype. This year, I've decided to lay the cards on the table and give you insights into our future:

EARLY 2005

  • Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne -- The long-awaited RPG based on M.A.R. Barker's exciting world is approved and ready for press.
  • Dreaming Cities: Tri-Stat Urban Fantasy Genre -- As the follow up to the new-wave cyberpunk book, Ex Machina, there are high expectations for this book. With a complete Tri-Stat dX rule set and three world settings, you won't be disappointed.
  • BESM Revolutionary Girl Utena (Book 3) -- This book is ready for press, but low pre-orders are holding it back briefly.
  • BESM d20 Monstrous Manual -- Adam is laying the book out now, with art soon to follow. It's a balanced point-based breakdown of over 100 fantasy monsters, each of which is given an "anime spin."
  • Advanced d20 Magic -- Featuring the alternate DC-based magic spell system that premiered in Slayers d20, this book is ready for layout. Unfortunately, there are many products at the layout stage, and we still have to prioritise everything. Still, it should be out shortly.
  • The Shroud -- This first supplement for the Everstone RPG explores the world of Lannith and the swamp-like forest of The Shroud.

SPRING 2005

  • A Game of Thrones RPG Deluxe Limited Edition -- A masterpiece two-years in the making, and we are so very close now. With over 450 full-colour pages and an art budget of $30,000, this is destined to be one of most gorgeous RPGs ever published. Throw in excellent writing and game design (for both d20 and Tri-Stat), and the result will be truly stunning indeed. Signed and numbered editions are available for pre-order now.
  • BESM Neon Genesis Evangelion Books 1 and 2 -- At last, the fan-favourite anime series will receive the BESM treatment. Your campaign will never be the same again!
  • Big Eyes, Small Mouth Anime Card Game -- Our first card game published under the GoO brand, this is an exciting Hearts variant that is easy to learn but difficult to master.
  • Ex Machina: d20 Cyberpunk Genre -- A d20 version of our cyberpunk masterpiece, containing core rules and four complete game settings.
  • Tekumel: d20 System RPG -- The glory of Tekumel, detailing a customised d20 mechanic and the expansive world setting.
  • Dreaming Cities: d20 Urban Fantasy Genre -- Three urban fantasy world settings, wrapped in customised d20 mechanics.

SUMMER 2005

  • A Game of Thrones d20 -- Westerosi politics blend perfectly with a gritty d20 mechanic to create the best in d20 role-playing. This standard edition will be a gorgeous full-colour hardcover.
  • BESM Third Edition -- We return to our flagship product in 2005 with a new edition, featuring the new roll-high Tri-Stat implementation and a detailed multi-genre campaign setting that spans infinite dimensions. One system to rule them all!
  • A Game of Thrones: The Book of Ice and Fire RPG -- This core rulebook for the Tri-Stat System gives you everything you need in one place for the ultimate "A Song of Ice and Fire" campaign.
  • BESM Companion: The Player’s Guide to the Multiverse -- Everything you wanted to know about the BESM Multiverse is here, along with templates to complement any character.

LATER 2005
I don’t want to give away too many details, but a number of products are planned for later in the year. Here is a partial list, edited to remove my secret surprises:

  • BESM Player's Options -- A book of rule variants
  • Winter is Coming -- A companion book to A Game of Thrones core rulebook(s)
  • The Authority Companion -- Covers Millar's run on The Authority comic
  • A Clash of Kings -- Expands upon Martin's world, covering the second novel in his series

THANK YOU, AND GOODNIGHT
That wraps up this address of 2004 … a bittersweet reflection of what was, and what could have been. With a strong release schedule planned for next year, I predict that 2005 will be the fourth year in a row in which we see increased sales. It will be a tremendous year for me personally as well, for my wife and I are expecting my second son to arrive in mid-January.

If you enjoy the products we create, and want to see us continue in our mission, please consider purchasing a book or two today from your local retailer or our (webstore). Additionally, you would not believe how much good press (reviews, discussion threads, telling your local retailer what you think of our stuff, etc.) helps. We need your support now more than ever.

Thanks for reading, and best wishes for the new year!

Mark C. MacKinnon
President
Guardians Of Order, Inc.
http://www.guardiansorder.com
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guardiansorder
Dreaming Cities: Tri-Stat Urban Fantasy is in the art/layout stages, and it's shaping up to be a very worthy follow-up to our popular Ex Machina: Tri-Stat Cyberpunk title. It's slated for March 2005 - we'll start posting previews a few weeks before it's about to hit stores - but here's the cover art from the extremely talented Marta Dahlig.

Dreaming Cities Cover

Ancient gods and modern myths rub shoulders in night clubs, ghosts and goblins ride the subway, and the fairies are ready to rock and roll! This hardcover book features complete rules for playing and game mastering urban fantasy games, an informative guide to the genre, and three original settings that range in scope from the darkly comedic lives of the wee folk, to the magical rhymes and fables of our childhood, to the epic conflict between gothic Earth the World of Nightmares. An excellent resource for players and an essential guide for Game Masters</i>

Tri-Stat dX Core Rulebook | Hardcover; Black and White | $39.95 US/$51.95 CAN | Product Code #18-003 | ISBN 1-894938-08-9
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guardiansorder
We've been rather quiet recently, working very hard on a number of projects. Here's one of them!

A GAME OF THRONES SIGNED LIMITED EDITION RPG AND RESOURCE BOOK PRE-ORDERS NOW AVAILABLE

Guardians Of Order, Inc. announced today that it is now taking pre-orders for the Deluxe Limited Edition of their highly anticipated upcoming release, A Game of Thrones Role-Playing Game and Resource Book. This authoritative reference guide -- featuring over 450 pages of breathtaking colour artwork and detailed analysis of setting, plot, characters, and culture -- is based on George R.R. Martin's award-winning epic fantasy novel series, “A Song of Ice and Fire.” The first 500 orders of this Limited Edition will be signed and numbered by George R.R. Martin himself, and are available exclusively from Guardians Of Order.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime product,” said Guardians Of Order President, Mark C. MacKinnon, “and we are privileged to present this ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ resource guide to George’s many fans worldwide. We worked closely with George to create a book of the highest quality, and spared no expense in its creation. He personally reviewed the text for authenticity, and has provided us with additional background information where appropriate. It’s the perfect companion for aficionados of A Game of Thrones.”

The lands of Westeros come to life in this gorgeous tome, which features premium-quality paper, a foil-embossed leatherette cover, an exquisite dust jacket featuring art by Mike S. Miller (The Hedge Knight graphic novel), a cloth bookmark, a full-sized colour pull-out map of the Westeros continent, and a host of stunning artwork and graphic designs by a team of exceptionally talented artists. This deluxe RPG contains two core game rule systems: d20 -- compatible with the world’s most popular fantasy game -- and the critically acclaimed Tri-Stat System. As a complement to pre-ordering the limited edition, Guardians Of Order is also enclosing a Game Master’s Screen and introductory game adventure with all orders. A Game of Thrones RPG and Resource Book (ISBN 1894525841; Product #16-099) is available for $99.95 USD (plus shipping) from http://www.agot.guardiansorder.com.

About Guardians Of Order
Founded in 1997, Guardians Of Order, Inc. is a Canadian publishing company specialising in Japanese anime and superheroic role-playing games, as well as licensed resource and reference books. In addition to their Origins and Ennies Award-nominated BESM d20 anime RPG, they publish licensed fan guides and RPGs based on: popular anime series (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Trigun, Hellsing, Fushigi Yugi, The Slayers, and others); DC Comics’/WildStorm’s acclaimed superhero series, The Authority; and George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy novel series, "A Song of Ice and Fire" (spring 2005). Guardians Of Order is headquartered in Guelph, Ontario. For more information, contact Guardians Of Order at info@guardiansorder.com or visit http://www.guardiansorder.com.

About George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin is the award-winning author of eight novels, including Fevre Dream and The Armageddon Rag. He received a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois in 1970, graduating summa cum laude. In 1986 he signed on as a story editor for Twilight Zone at CBS, in 1987 he became an Executive Story Consultant for Beauty and the Beast, and by 1989 moved up to Co-Supervising Producer. George Martin has won numerous awards for his novels, novellas, and short stories, and his "A Song of Ice and Fire" series has captured the imagination of fans across the world. George currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

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guardiansorder
Question of the Week



Gadodel asks:
"Which Guardians of Order product is your favourite, and why?"

Mark MacKinnon answers:

Although many books are near the top of my list, the number one position is held by the Sailor Moon RPG and Resource Book. It was the second book that I ever wrote (after Big Eyes, Small Mouth) and the first license for our company. I took a month off from my Master's Degree research (in synthetic organic chemistry) and watched countless hours of Sailor Moon with my fiancée (now wife). It was a great challenge to write an RPG that could be introduced to tween girls -- the target market for the show -- but I really enjoyed the work. The Sailor Moon RPG was our top seller for a long time and was critical to the company's growth and stability during our early years. Although the writing and production of the RPG isn't up to our standards today, it was my magnum opus back in 1998.

David Pulver answers:

It's hard to decide -- there are plenty of books I like a lot, from Centauri Knights and Tenchi Muyo to Silver Age Sentinels and Ex Machina. But I think the single game I have the most affection for is BESM 2nd Edition. It distilled everything we had learned as a company about game design, art, and production at that time into one neat package. It was the culmination of a sequence of books such as Demon City, Hot Rods and Gun Bunnies, and Big Robots, Cool Starships, in which we developed aspects of the current Tri-Stat system. In BESM2 they finally came together into a coherent whole. I was very happy with the supporting anime material such as the fan service sections and the campaign advice (I still get a grin out of Bug Hunter Keiko). The actual design process also flowed well, with a close collaboration between Mark and myself on the writing, and Jeff's layout and art direction making it was one of the best looking books I've had my name on. So, BESM 2nd Edition was my favourite GOO book . . . so far.

Jesse Scoble answers:

For me, Silver Age Sentinels is still my favourite. It was the biggest project I had worked on, and I was not only on the ground level of planning, but when Lucien Soulban departed he passed the developing torch to me. Because of that, I feel I touched almost every part of SAS, and I'm extremely proud of the work we did. I think in many ways it's our strongest complete package - we took everything we learned from BESM, coupled it to our love of comics and superheroes, and cranked up the volume.

Mark rebuilt the game system. Ed (Northcott) did a fantastic job depicting our characters. Steven Kenson was great to work with. Lucien got the ball rolling the in the right direction. And Jeff did what I consider his best work (so far). New books may look or even read better, but this is where we busted our chops and learned the ropes. There's very little I would like to change about SAS, given the chance. That said, if we ever do a 2nd edition, we now have this as our high-water mark to surpass - huzzah!

Jeff Mackintosh answers:

Tough one... I'd have to say it's The Authority (though Silver Age Sentinels (deluxe edition) is a very, very close second... ). I love superhero games. The majority of my gaming experience has been with superhero games so they'll always hold a special spot in my gaming-heart, which is why these two books are high on my list of favourites. Authority ever-so-slightly beats out SAS for one simple reason - I think it's gorgeous. I think it's my best work to date, as a graphic designer. It's a book that I would happily hold up against anything else ever published in the industry. Game-wise, both are absolutely fantastic and are (as I've said about SAS, since it came out) the superhero game I've always wanted. Fast, simple, cinematic, and fun. As a game product, I think Authority and SAS are almost perfect but I have to say Authority is the prettier book so it wins out.

Adam Jury answers:

This may be the easier answer, and it may just seem like blatant shilling, but Ex Machina: Tri-Stat Cyberpunk is my favourite Guardians of Order book. First off, cyberpunk as a genre is roughly 4.68* million times cooler than any other genre, so it starts out on good footing.

The obvious aside: Ex Machina looks beyond the "Big Hair and Mirrorshades" 80s cyberpunk, eying the genre through a new pair of shades - and quite frankly, it scares me. I can't read through Daedalus without shuddering at the idea of a society with such control mechanisms, and I bet Michelle Lyons laughed evilly, knowing that her great work would influence me so. I want to play that setting; I feel compelled to fight against the machine - even though it's not real... yet.

[* All numbers based on obscure mathematical formulae that are far too complex to explain in an 150 word blurb.]



Have a question for the company, or any one of the staff members? Drop us an email at qotw@guardiansorder.com today! The deadline for submissions is every Friday. We can't answer every question, but we'll address the most interesting one on Monday each week on the GoO-Blog!

Visit our Message Boards to discuss this week's answers!
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guardiansorder
Question of the Week



Almafeta asks:
"What third-party games (that is, not written by anyone at GoO) have been the biggest influences on BESM and TSdX?"

Mark MacKinnon answers:
Without a doubt, the Amber Diceless RPG was the biggest influence on BESM First Edition. I was playing a lot of Amber at that time, believing it was the best RPG ever produced (I still believe that, by the way). In particular, I liked the rules-light aspect of the game, and wanted to create an anime RPG with the same feel. Of course, I even one-upped Amber by only having three stats in BESM (compared to four in Amber)! I'd be lying if I didn't say that AD&D had an influence as well, since I had played that game for many years earlier as well.

When I brought David Pulver in to re-launch BESM Second Edition, he told me one of his goals was to create "HERO-light" -- keep the simplicity and speed of BESM 1e, but ensure that the range of options from HERO were covered as well. Many people compare BESM 2e to GURPS -- likely because David worked on so many GURPS books -- but HERO is a much better comparison.

Finally, when Tri-Stat evolved into dX (through Silver Age Sentinels primarily), I also looked to HERO to make sure I didn't leave anything out. The introduction of PMVs into Tri-Stat wasn't patterned after any other game specifically, but rather after the range of comic book characters from DC and Marvel. I took BESM 2e, identified where I needed to expand and customise the rules, and went from there.

Arguably one of the biggest influences on the upcoming BESM 3e is actually the first edition of BESM. Simplicity and ease of use is a major feature in the new game, and we believe that our new streamlined approach to Tri-Stat will be well received by our customers. Of course, we aren't returning to our 96-page roots in BESM 3e, but the spirit of our very first RPG is alive and kicking!



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