Guardians of Order

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Guardians of Order
TypePrivate (defunct)
IndustryRole-playing game publisher
DefunctAugust 2006
FateBankruptcy[citation needed]
HeadquartersGuelph, Ontario
Key people
Mark C. MacKinnon, David L. Pulver, Jeff Mackintosh, Adam Jury, Jesse Scoble, Lucien Soulban
ProductsBig Eyes, Small Mouth, Silver Age Sentinels, Tri-Stat system

Guardians of Order was a Canadian company founded in 1996 by Mark C. MacKinnon in Guelph, Ontario. The company's business output consisted of role-playing games (RPGs). Their first game is the anime inspired Big Eyes, Small Mouth. In 2006 Guardians of Order ceased operations due to overwhelming debt.

Publication history[edit]

The Big Eyes, Small Mouth game used the Tri-Stat System. The system would later be modified for use in other games and be more generally named the Tri-Stat dX system. Most of Guardians of Order's games use some form of the Tri-Stat dX system.

After Big Eyes, Small Mouth, Guardians of Order would go on to achieve significant success with The Sailor Moon Role-Playing Game and Resource Book. The game was built on Big Eyes, Small Mouth but featured an extensive reference to the Sailor Moon universe. Guardians of Order acquired licenses and published Big Eyes, Small Mouth-based RPGs for a number of other anime series including Dominion, Demon City Shinjuku, and Tenchi Muyo!. After El Hazard, the last such game, the company's strategy with licensed anime series changed and it began issuing "Ultimate Fan Guides" which served the same purpose while avoiding the need to reprint the same BESM-based mechanics. All of these books included game statistics for characters in the series as well as extensive episode guides and character summaries.

Guardians of Order expanded beyond anime based games when the Tri-Stat dX system was adopted for the superhero game Silver Age Sentinels.

Guardians of Order later acquired the rights to publish the Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game from Phage Press.[1][2] Guardians of Order licensed the rights to produce role-playing games set in existing fictional works. These include games based on The Authority, Tékumel, and A Song of Ice and Fire.


Mark C. MacKinnon created the company Guardians of Order to publish his anime game, Big Eyes, Small Mouth (1997).[3]: 318  Guardians of Order was founded by Mark C. MacKinnon in 1996. In 1998, Guardians of Order hired David Pulver. In 1999, Jeff Mackintosh was hired; and 2000 brought in Liz Fulda and Lucien Soulban. In 2002, Guardians of Order launched their "Magnum Opus" program, licensing the company's intellectual property to third parties to create new games. By 2005, Guardians of Order downsized to just Mark C. MacKinnon.

Between February 14, 2006 and August 1, 2006 there were no official updates to the Guardians of Order website. There was speculation on the official forums that the company was out of business. On July 28, 2006 a post to George R. R. Martin's official web site announced that Guardians of Order was out of business.[4] In response, on August 1 Mark MacKinnon posted confirmation that Guardians of Order "ceased operations."[5] According to MacKinnon the company had too much debt. MacKinnon attempted to place Guardians of Orders games with other companies, and promised that existing orders would be filled. The company officially closed their doors August 1, 2006.

On September 9, 2006 ArtHaus Games, whose titles are published by White Wolf Publishing, announced that it had acquired the third edition of Big Eyes, Small Mouth which was slated to be released in April 2006. The announcement stated the company was "extremely confident" that a release date of January 2007 would be met and confirmed that those who pre-ordered and prepaid for the book would be "in good hands," though it was also said that they have not taken on Guardians of Order's liabilities.[6]

On March 7, 2007 George R. R. Martin wrote that he had regained control of his intellectual property rights and was "all square" with Guardians of Order.[7] As part of their settlement, Mr. Martin received all remaining stock of the limited edition version of the RPG. No further information regarding the settlement was revealed, nor the status of other creditors' claims on the property.


Original properties[edit]

Tri-Stat dX[edit]

  • Big Eyes, Small Mouth - Guardians of Order's original game had four revisions before the company went out of business, with the third edition being in development and published by another company.
    • Core rules
      • Big Eyes, Small Mouth (1997) - 94 black and white pages.
      • Big Eyes, Small Mouth Second Edition (2000) - 280 full color pages
      • Big Eyes, Small Mouth Third Edition (2007) - 280 full color pages, released by ArtHaus publishing
      • (for Fourth Edition please see Big Eyes, Small Mouth)
    • Expansions
      • Big Robots, Cool Starships (1999) - Rules for science fiction anime-inspired games, especially those featuring mecha.
      • BESM Game Master's Screen (2000)
      • Cute & Fuzzy Seizure Monsters (2000) - Rules for pet monster battling style games, inspired by cartoons like Pokémon. Also published as Cute & Fuzzy Seizure Monsters due to censorship concerns.
      • Hot Rods & Gun Bunnies (2000) - Rules for modern day action adventure anime-inspired games.
      • Centauri Knights (2001) - Science fiction setting
      • Big Ears, Small Mouse (2001) System for playing small cartoon animals such as Rescuers, Capitol Critters, etc.
      • Uresia: Grave of Heaven (2003) fantasy setting
      • BESM Dungeon (2003) - Additions to BESM for running more fantasy oriented anime-inspired games.
      • Cold Hands, Dark Hearts (2003) - Rules for playing supernatural monsters in a gothic horror setting.

Other Tri-Stat games[edit]

  • Silver Age Sentinels (2002) - Superhero role-playing game. Based on modified BESM rules using ten-sided dice instead of six-sided dice.
  • Tri-Stat dX (2003) - a small generic role-playing system based on BESM.
  • Ex Machina (2004) - Cyberpunk role-playing game using the Tri-Stat rules.
  • Dreaming Cities (2005) - Urban fantasy role-playing game
  • Reality Storm (in conjunction with Hero Games)

d20 System[edit]

Licensed products[edit]

Guardians of Order licensed the rights to a variety of titles to convert them into role-playing games. The majority were based on Big Eyes, Small Mouth and licensed from anime series. The books also served as resource guides, summarizing the episodes in the series and the characters.

Standalone RPGs

Resource books requiring BESM or BESM d20
  • BESM Hellsing Ultimate Fan Guides: #1 (2002), #2 (2003). Not a self-contained RPG, relied on BESM. #1 covered episodes 1-6, while #2 covered 7-13.
  • BESM Hellsing d20 (2003): Reprinted fan guides as a single hardbound book.
  • BESM Trigun d20 (2004): Hardbound book covered all 26 episodes of the TV series.
  • The Slayers d20 Role-Playing Game (2004) - Based on the BESM d20 rules instead of the original BESM Tri-Stat rules. Only covered the first 26 episodes. The remaining episodes were covered in later resource books: BESM: The Slayers: Next (2004, Episodes 27-52), BESM: The Slayers: Try (2004, Episodes 53-78)
  • BESM: Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Rose Collection (2004) - Covers episodes 1 through 13.
  • BESM: Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Black Rose Saga (2005) - Covers episodes 14 through 26.


  1. ^ a b "Guardians Of Order's New Year's Message". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2006-07-11.
  2. ^ a b "Phage Press". Archived from the original on 2006-07-13. Retrieved 2006-07-11.
  3. ^ Shannon Appelcline (2014). Designers & Dragons: The '90s. Evil Hat Productions. ISBN 978-1-61317-084-7.
  4. ^ Martin, George R. R. (2006-07-28). "Guardians Of Order Out of Business". Archived from the original on 2006-08-22. Retrieved 2006-07-29.
  5. ^ MacKinnon, Marc (2006-08-01). "Guardians Of Order Announcement". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2006-08-01.
  6. ^ "ArtHaus Acquires Big Eyes, Small Mouth RPG" (Press release). Atlanta, GA: White Wolf Publishing. 2006-09-09. Archived from the original on November 9, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-09.
  7. ^ Martin, George R. R. (2007-03-07). "ICE & FIRE role playing game". Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2007-05-01.

External links[edit]