Editorial: Company Time – Why work for SLA Industries?

sXe IndustriesOver at another German blog there was an article the other day which made us here happy. It was a German introduction to SLA Industries, complete with an introductionary adventureBPN concept (sadly without a proper BPN Form as a handout).

That introduction may have started with the statement that SLA Industries is amongst the games one should know (something to which we heartily agree), but it was sorely lacking in a reference to one of the primary reason why that is the case: The players.

Despite notoriously insecure future prospects, despite going through more publishers than you can shake a stick at, despite a long record of delayed, cancelled and now even minced products, questionable production values (say, how many pages do your books have left in them?), petty internet scandals and despite what else befell the game (and is yet to befall it in all likelihood), despite all this (and more) SLA Industries somehow managed to attract and keep a devoted and really outstanding playerbase.

Big deal, you say. All games, even the really obscure ones, have their fans – including those who make it felt that fan is indeed a contraction of fanatic.

The SLA Industries community stands out, though, due to two traditions running strongly through it: Productive creativity and tolerance. Both of them were probably born from the problems and worries of the game.

(Fanatic) enthusiasm combined with the on and off availability of official product (or indeed even an official publisher) drove the players to collective bouts of productivity time and time again. The results of that were far from being limited to a fan-site or two, a demo game, or a lonely article. Instead there resulted complete ‘zines (more than one actually), dozens of unofficial sourcebooks (some rivaling or even surpassing the core rulebook in length), handouts, „professional“ merchandise (by fans not by the publisher du jour), a sea of house rules, full conversions and entire scratch built rules‘ systems, a veritable mountain of material, growing, growing, growing …

… and universally welcomed. Obviously not everything ever created is used by everyone. Quite the contrary, amongst this flood of material anybody is bound to find more than one piece he would never ever like to see implemented at his own table. The sometimes radically different directions taken are not splitting the community, though. The work going into them is recognised and it is the common love of the game and the joy of exerting one’s own creativity based on the game that act as the ties that bind for the community, far more than the details of the material being produced.

For groups generally averse to using unofficial material all of this might not sound terribly relevant. But for us at d6Ideas it is one of the elementary strengths of SLA Industries, as these are the very values we swear by and also because at least some of us see themselves as being part of this productive SLA Industries community.

Over the last few months we tried to contribute to the wealth of SLA Industries material with four bilingual articles:
DEAD – a new corporate division and its dealings, along with a catalogue of their weapons and equipment developed to combat the Ebb powers of Ebons and Brain Wasters
Fear and Loathing in Los Muertos – drugs, drugs and yet more drugs
Got Soft Juice? – …and if you should somehow be fed up with drugs, why not go for a tasty energy drink? (Complete with random tables to generate your own brands and flavours…)
Kill the Ones You Love – BPN (with ready to go form for a handout ;)) for operatives, who are not overly attached to their friends and family

On top of that, we published to English only articles:
Good Clean Fun in the World of Progress – a look at the straight edge movement in the World of Progress, taking the shape of an in-character interview
The Killed Corps – a terrorist conspiracy, trying to „clean up“ SLA Industries from within, for use as either opponents, patrons or partners of the player characters

Finally, SLA Industries got an honorary mention in our very first “What is …?” article – Wer ist die Idiotessa? – though that was German only.

Surely we will see more than one article being added to that list in the future. For that, as we said, is one of the strengths of SLA Industries.

Perhaps that the next one will already appear in the next week? With the dice coming up a 5 for the number of articles, there should be room enough…

English articles:
On Monday, the intergalactic corporations – or rather its enemies – indeed makes an early reappearance. “The Folding Knife” is a dangerous artefact in the possession of murderous cultists, who always seem to be a step ahead of SLA Industries’ security forces.
On Thursday, we publish the next page of Shadom’s d6 Atlas, once more a map for use as a player handout or simply to drive your imagination for a new setting or locale.
On Friday, finally, we again find some love for The Red Star. “The Other Side of War” presents three new d20 Modern Advanced Classes geared specifically towards that setting.

German articles:
On Monday, “The Folding Knife” gets a German treatment. While we usually publish the English versions of our SLA Industries articles first, this time it was another German blog after all, which launched us upon this particular course.
On Thursday, the Atlas page appears accompanied by its original German text.

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