To be honest if it can be left until your tech Author gets back, it may be best. it is not that setting up a master project isn't easy. It is. It is just that how you set it up depends a lot on variables. For example what type of output is being generated,
If it helps, a master project is just a RoboHelp project that acts as a container for other RoboHelp projects. It normally has no content apart from the references to other projects. However it can have its own content. For a start, my first question would be whether the topics you have should be placed in the master project or another project that is then referenced from the master.
I think Colum may have misunderstood what you are wanting. Possibly because of the terminology used.
If I'm understanding the request, what you really want is a *TEMPLATE* project. One similar to what you see on the RoboHelp starter?
With these, certain elements are already in place. Sounds like you are wanting similar.
There are actually TWO different approaches you may take with this.
Create the template project as you would any other project. Add the elements and configure it as you wish. Then, whenever you want a new project, you use Windows Explorer to copy all the files from the location of the template project to the location of what will be the new project. Open in RoboHelp and choose File > Rename Project.
Create a new template project that will appear and be listed among the others RoboHelp offers on the start page. This will be a bit more involved. You still will need to create a new project and configure it as you do with the first approach. Then you copy the project to a specific location. To sort the location, right-click the shortcut that opens RoboHelp and choose Properties. There, you should see a button labeled: Open File Location. Click that and you are transported to where the RoboHelp executable lives on your hard drive. Once there, you should see a folder named "Template" and inside that folder should be another folder named "en_US" and inside THAT folder is where you should copy your new Template folder. I'm not certain the name you use is all that important, but just to be on the safe side, I'd name it appropriately.
You will need to look inside one of the other template folders and make a copy of a file named "NewType.dcr". This is a small file you may edit with Windows Notepad and it contains information used by RoboHelp to present the templates on the starter page. Things such as the name used, the order in which to present it from the starter, things like that.
Hopefully that is enough information to get you started.
The topics she gave me should be standalone projects. They already have elements in place so that they compile into web help that has our company logo, etc. My speedbump is that I don't know how to take those elements that already exist in our other individual projects, and make a master project out of it.
If you want, I'd be happy to contract with you to guide you along and get you started. Your call. If you are interested, shoot me an email message to rstone75 (at) kc (dot) rr (dot) com for more information.