Rise of the Old Guard.

GROGNARDIA

For those that follow various RPG blogs, you are probably familiar with Grognardia, written and curated by James Maliszewski. James ended the blog back in 2012 and it looked like he was done with the project. Perhaps he ran out of creative energy, or there was no topic left unturned.

Many of his older posts are worth perusing, but as it turns out, James is back and restarted the blog after an 8 year hiatus! Since the restart he has been prolific with 309 posts in 2020 alone! We managed 1 or 2 months of almost hitting 1 post a day here at the Rolemasterblog, and that was with 3 or more contributors!

James brings a true OSR viewpoint to his writing and he has in depth knowledge of the early Golden Age of roleplaying. He’s posted several articles on MERP and has some familiarity with Rolemaster even though he’s not a fan of the system. Welcome back James!

New Year, New Projects

I think this is the longest I have ever gone without posting on the blog, excepting when I was plugged into hospital machines but I try to forget that bit. Every time I have thought about writing a post, there has been some new article from either Hurin or Brian.

I am also in a period where I haven’t played so much Rolemaster since I left home in 1985. After years of resisting online play my group has gone Fantasy Grounds crazy with two games a week now, Tuesdays and Fridays.

I used to have months to prep sessions, and that is cut down to days, and FG combats are so fast to adjudicate that where I would allot an hour for a battle previously, they now take twenty minutes at most. A fight last week ran to twelve rounds, three characters against a sea serpent. The beast was hard to kill because it was ignoring many criticals and effects. Twelve rounds with four combatants, including area of effect attacks was done and dusted in twenty minutes.

New Project #1 Sabre Lake

I saw a map recently by Dyson Logos.

It appeared so rich in adventure locations that I wanted to detail it all and run exploring the region for my players. They are on route there at the moment, but as they are first level, and only on their second adventure, they will have a few side quests along the way.

What I am doing is chopping this map into smaller blocks, the first is a rectangle that covers The Fool’s Rush Inn to Hebrek’s Tower. I am then detailing the adventure locations, both for my own players, but also in the fanzine.

I detailed both the inn and the tower, this month (Issue #45) but left some areas undetailed to give other GMs places to put their own ideas.

In February I will detail the Violet Obelisk and the Dench Estate.

Over the rest of the year I am going to try and cover the entire river valley.

All the adventures will only use the monsters from Creatures & Treasures I and Creatures & Monsters. This means that they adventures will be playable in all versions of RM, including RMu.

Project #2 Pilot RPG

I did start this in December, but then stalled. It is my definite intention to get this written and published as a public beta in the first half of 2021.

I am also tempted to try my hand at a Kickstarter. So I will write the first draft, then use KS funds to add a level of professional polish to the finished game.

As with Navigator RPG the game will be in print and as PDF. Putting the two together will give the community a community content/OGL rulebase for both Sci-Fi and fantasy that is broadly RM compatible.

I will then talk to OneBookShelf/DriveThruRPG about setting up a Community Content Programme.

This project will in all likelihood take up most of 2021, but it will also be a really interesting learning experience.

Thee Tales of the Tarot Deck.

Tale 1. One of the more curious aspects of The Court of Ardor is the “Deck of Ardan”, a tarot-like magical set of cards. At first glance, the deck simply acts as an “org chart” for the mysterious Court and assigns members to various roles based on a playing deck. Additionally, the deck holds other powers, two of which are detailed. The first is the ability to communicate with other members of the Court featured in the deck. This can be through voice, or if chosen a visual window akin to modern “Facetime”. The second detailed power was enhanced “Channeling”–per the channeling skill in Rolemaster. Since no one I know has ever used the Channeling skill (as described in RM2), it was interesting but ultimately unhelpful. (I recently asked Terry about the origins of the Channeling skill, but that’s another blog!)

Tale 2. The Court of Ardor was not the first appearance of a Tarot style deck in fantasy that replaced the cards with characters in the particular story. It has been decades since I had read Roger Zelazny’s “Nine Princes in Amber” but I vaguely recalled the same style device being used. The book was published in 1970, so it clearly predated Rolemaster and I’m not the first that noted the similarity. Age of Ravens blog noted the similarity in 2011.

http://ageofravens.blogspot.com/2011/02/rpg-supplements-i-like-court-of-ardor.html

So was this just a coincidence or an example of convergent creativity in early fantasy? When I asked Terry, he provided this short explanation:

“Yes the Ardan Tarot was inspired by Zelazny’s books. More details I am afraid I don’t recall after all these years!”

So there we have an answer, but answers to questions I had about additional powers of the deck or further ideas on their use were lost in the mists of time!

Tale 3. 29 years after Zelazny’s book and 16 years after The Court of Ardor, a Tarot plot device appeared in another fantasy series. One that had it’s birth in fantasy gaming. Gardens of the Moon is the first Book of the Malazan and featured the Deck of Dragons. This deck of cards was both a divination tool and depicted the various members of a pantheons court. The Deck of Dragons plays a major role in the early Malazan books, but less so as the books go on and other systems replace the deck. I’d enjoy asking Steven or Cameron (the authors) if they too were inspired by Zelazny’s book; the Malazan series was driven primarily by their early roleplaying games.

Perhaps I’ll read Nine Princes in Amber again, but I’m still intrigued by the use of Tarot cards in Court of Ardor and Malazan. Zelazny might have been the progenitor of an idea that is now shared DNA in two other fantasy settings.

(Updated 1/17/21) Rolemaster Profession Review: The Astrologer

While the Astrologer has not been included in RMu, it does hold an interesting place in the minds of Rolemaster players. What was the point of the Astrologer? Is the profession even a useful PC? Why are the base lists so sparse? I decided to ask Terry if he could remember anything about the origins of the Astrologer from the early gaming days in Charlottesville. It’s been 40 years, but he did have this to say:

It was included partly for the spell-user realm symmetry (we needed a hybrid mentalist/Channeling?) I never played one; I think they are better suited as NPCs.

That’s interesting and re-affirms my thinking that some of the original RM professions were probably never gamed extensively. (Not dis-similar to the new RMu Delver). Nonetheless, the Astrologer is a profession in RM and I’ve had a few thoughts about it recently:

  1. Astrology implies a game setting that supports the concept. Sure, the Astrology spells are mostly replicated in other spell lists, but the conceit itself relies upon some systems around the sun, moon, stars or “heavenly” bodies. Does that work in all settings? Probably not. Does it work in Shadow World. Yes!
  2. Many of the Astrology spells are divination based. That can create challenges for the GM in terms of predicting future events. The more vague the information (for instance through “Dreams”) the easier, but specific info about the future may require the GM to funnel the gameplay to meet a desired, predicted outcome.
  3. The Astrology base lists need work. I addressed some of that in my blog below.

Conceptually what is an Astrologer? For me, the Profession invokes ancient magic, star-cults, sun based worship or Zoroastrian magic rather than “horoscopic” mumbo jumbo. The Zorastrians were seen as a priesthood and called Magus or Magi, so it was a combination of religion and magic. In Rolemaster, Astrologers are Channeling/Mentalism hybrids, but you could make the argument for Channeling/Essence given their “star-fire” powers.

The Astrologer was a prominent feature in early MERP products and shown in color coded city maps using red fill with a question mark for Seer/Astrologer. Clearly, Peter & Co. saw a need for Diviners in their early campaigns even if those professions were left out of the MERP ruleset. As an NPC, the Profession adds an air of mystery and exoticism and would be a useful resource on occasion. As PC, it’s not clear that the Astrologer would be that effective.

In other “Profession Review” blogs I offer up more specific spell lists and remedies that I think would fix or focus a profession. With the Astrologer, I have some ideas but the verdict is still out. Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Combine the Seer & Astrologer Profession. They both have a divination aspect and consolidating the base spells lists would tighten up the spell abilities.
  2. Tie the spell lists into some type of astrological mechanism. For instance, why not have some spell lists tied to the Sun that can only be used from Dawn to Dusk, others that can only be used at night under starlight and a list that can only be used when the Moon is full. (see next item).
  3. I haven’t reviewed the Moon Mage in a while, but Astrology includes the “Sun, Moon and Stars”. Why not roll the useful and usable MM spell lists into a fleshed out Astrologer. Moon Mage is a goofy name anyway.
  4. In conjunction with #2 & #3, an Astrologer could be an interesting Profession using Shadow World. With 2 prominent moons (Orhan and Charon) that are the home of the Gods, and other planets in the Solar System, there is a basis for building the Profession around orbital mechanics. I’ve already experimented with Essaence cycles and lunar orbits in Chapter 3. It might be cool to develop unique spell lists for different moons, planets and the sun that only work during portions of their orbit in relation to Kulthea.
  5. Currently, I use Astrologers as a subset of the Phaon clergy. They act as Priest-Astronomers and justified their use of Sun-Fire spells. I think using Astrologers as Priests of Phaon in Shadow World, or Priests of a “Sun God” in other settings makes sense.

So just a few thoughts on the Astrologer. Has anybody played one as a PC?

Armsmaster for RMU Preview: Two Spell Lists

As part of my project to revise the Armsmaster class and adapt it to RMU, here is a preview of the first two Armsmaster spell lists. You can find them in the Downloads>RMU dropdown menu above. Note these are purely homebrew at this point – they have no official sanction from ICE. I would love to have any and all feedback you can provide.

But first let me give a little explanation of these lists. I noted earlier (in this article on the RMBlog: https://www.rolemasterblog.com/the-armsmaster-and-the-warlord-for-rmu/ ) that I always liked the idea of a heavy-armor wearing Mentalism semi-spell user, and that previous editions of Rolemaster gave us the Noble Warrior/Armsmaster. I did have some problems with the class in those incarnations, however, and more recently Jeff Robertson on these boards expressed his frustrations too (many of which I share) in commenting on my posts. The Armsmaster also needs updating to the RMU ruleset and action economy. So this is what I’ve come up with.

One thing to note is that RMU natively solves one of the problems Jeff recently pointed out with the class in previous editions, namely, the problem that so many Armsmaster spells were ‘next round’ buffs. This is a problem because the last thing a semi-spell user wants to be doing in combat is spending lots of turns prepping spells or casting spells that inhibit his combat abilities. Thankfully, in RMU, instant spells (those marked with an asterisk * in the spell list) can now be cast for 0 activity — much like a spell that costs a ‘bonus action’ in D&D — so the RMU Armsmaster can cast a buff spell and still attack at full OB in the same round. I think this makes the Armsmaster spell suite much more useful in RMU (the same goes for the Paladin spells in RMU too, by the way).

I have tried to make all of these Armsmaster spells useful to a heavily armored Kensai/Samurai or Knight type class. I have made his spells focus on his own abilities in combat, rather than group buffs or heals, because I want to leave space for my own Warlord class (who will have a focus on group buffing/enabling). But theoretically you could combine them if you wanted (both are Mentalism users). I am currently working on finishing the Armsmaster’s six spell lists (and the Warlord is just in the planning stages), but I offer you here two preview lists for the Armsmaster:

–Armor Mastery: This focuses on enhancing the Armsmaster’s armor and shield, and on enabling his/her movement in and maintenance of his/her armor.

–Weapon Mastery: This focuses on enhancing the Armsmaster’s weapon, and on his/her ability to wield and maintain his/her weapon, especially his/her ‘personal’ weapon, which is the one mystically attuned to the Armsmaster herself.

In case you are wondering, the remaining four lists for my Armsmaster will be:

–Body Mastery: Focused on movement and alertness skills, such as blindfighting, sensing ambushes, awaking easily from sleep, etc.

–Mind-Sense Mastery: Focused on social skills, unnerving/debuffing, distracting, taunting, and interrogating enemies, etc.

–Self Mastery: Focused on endurance, fortitude, and resistance.

–Technique Mastery: Focused on general combat skills such as multiple attacks, disarming and other weapon tricks, riding, etc.

So, let me know what you think. Is this the sort of Kensai/ Samurai/ Knight that you would find fun to play? Are the spells too weak, too strong, or just right? (Note that some of these spell buffs might seem relatively minor at first glance, but remember that instant spells can now be cast in RMU while meleeing at full effectiveness; and so together, the Armsmaster’s spells and arms skills have a lot of synergy.) All feedback and criticism is welcome. And if you ever get to playtesting these lists, please let me know how it goes!

Everyone Loves Handaxes!

While I have rarely been a player over the last 35 years, when I do get a chance I build a character more on my aesthetic than taking a min/max approach. In fact, I typically play a Monk so I don’t have to worry about equipment, magic items or loot–a carryover from my early D&D days.

As a Warrior Monk or my second choice, a Rogue, I invariably chose hand-axes as my primary weapon. I’m not sure I’ve looked at the hand-axe attack chart in years, but again, I don’t worry about the efficacy of the table; I’m more interested in the how it fits my character role. So why are hand-axes so great?

  1. They are cheap and ubiquitous. As a functional tool, hand-axes will be found in virtually any society or setting so acquiring the weapon won’t be too difficult.
  2. They can be thrown. What is better than having a solid melee weapon that can be used for a ranged attack? 2 skill development costs but only 1 inventory item.
  3. I use my Weapon Specific Modifiers instead of Rolemaster’s general combat modifiers, so hand-axes are small with lower penalties for most actions.
  4. They are light, so you can carry more than 1-2. Very helpful when you end up throwing one at a target!
  5. They are a tool, so they can be used to chop and cut things, knock people over the head etc.
  6. Damage is respectable, about the same as a mace or other smaller 1h weapons.
  7. They can look very cool. There are tons of fantasy images of hand axes as well as real historic weapons that are have a visual impact.

For my Warrior Monk Caylis (featured on pg 62 RMU Character Law!), dual wield hand-axes were the go to weapons when MA Strikes weren’t viable.

Does anyone else choose weapons that might not be the most potent or is just an interesting character bit?

Styles types of viking axes and their history(2020 updated)

Expanding “Core” Rolemaster Systems in Shadow World

First, that’s a confusing blog title, but I couldn’t think of a better description for what I wanted to discuss!

So what do I mean by core systems? In Rolemaster, these are groups of skills that are the underpinning of a Profession(s) and typically cost 40-60% of DP per level. In Rolemaster, the core systems are combat & magic. Arms Law and Spell Law.

Are there any other of these core systems in Rolemaster that are embraced by a Profession? In non RMU editions of Rolemaster it’s my opinion that there is only one other core system used to build a Profession: the Thief, which is built around Subterfuge systems. Now, the subterfuge system is really a handful of trope skills; there is no “Subterfuge Law” that fleshes out this system, but one could certainly be made. How would that look?

  1. Subterfuge. Without falling down the rabbit hole of RMSS skills, the predominant subterfuge skills are probably: stalk/hide, perception, pick locks, and disarm traps. Key secondary skills are trickery, disguise, pick pockets and a few others. For me, that’s a great starting point for “Subterfuge Law”, an expansion of these skills into a full blown core. There are probably 4-8 professions that are already built in various supplement or could be built. A few of the top are Thief, Assassin, Spy, Con-artist, Magician (the trick kind not the spell user). Those 5 alone represent interesting variations of subterfuge and could be great additions to a party. There is enough of a foundation to expand the skills, add gameplay material and build a “Subterfuge Law” of 30-50 pages.

Rolemaster also has the kernels of several other systems that could be expanded or developed, for another set of Professions. The framework, ideas, skills and spells are sprinkled around the original rules, companions and supplements, perhaps the most significant of which is the Alchemy Companion. AC is a fantastic resource and while I would reorganize items, and “de-spell” much of the material, the information is there. So what are these other systems?

  1. Engineering. For a lack of a better category name, “Engineering” includes sciences, mechanical engineering, alchemy (chemistry) and crafting/building. I want to note that these skills would not reside in spell lists (that would fall under the magic system) and does not include enchanting magical items. (Although it would entail fabricating items that could be enchanted). These skills encompass engines, gears, automata, springs, mechanical devices, chemical interactions, explosions, complex devices, alloys, composites and similar production. I believe RMU has moved in this direction with the Delver, but unfortunately, imbued most of the skills and abilities through spell lists rather than mundane skills and lores. However, this also includes the fabrication and use of already enchanted materials (laen, ego etc). Are these skills and sciences enough to support a PC or NPC? I think so, but it’s certainly dependent on the setting as well. The skills, technology, devices and crafts can easily be fleshed out with existing materials in RM supplements, and would make for a versatile and interesting character. What professions could be based around an Engineering Law? Tinkerer, Delver, Inventor, Sapper, Armorer, Gunsmith, War Engineer, Alchemist (for clarity, I use “Enchanter” in place of the traditional RM Alchemist profession).
  2. Herbalist/Pharmacist. Rolemaster was one of the first, if not the earliest games, to introduce a robust system of herbs & plants that provided magical or pharmacological benefit. Of course this was driven by Middle Earth’s depiction of Mirenna /Mirgalen and King’s Foil, but is now a integral part of RM in general and built into Shadow World as well. Would anyone play a “Herbalist”? Both Animists and Druids have low Herb Lore skill costs and herbs are part of their professional DNA, but I’m promoting the idea that “herbs” could be expanded into a core system akin to combat, magic, subterfuge or engineering that could also anchor new professions. There are already many categories of herbs: medicinal, enhancements, poisons, healing, and antidotes. This can be expanded into cooked or mixed “food” products: breads, spirits, beers, wines or other plant/food based formulae. Rare recipes and formulas would provide for unique non-magical effects similar to spells. I think with enough expansion of the “herb system” it can become just as viable as the others and support a character built. Some Professions built around “Herb Law”: Animist (revive the name as a non-magic user), Witch (again non-magic), Herbalist, Brewer, Pharmacist, Physician, Apothecary, Druggist, Poisoner. Some may see these professions as better NPC, support roles, but many also saw the original Astrologer, Alchemist, Lay Healer and Seer as poor PC’s as well. A fleshed out 30-50 page “Herb Law” could broaden the scope of these professions and provide examples that could fire the interest of players.

Assuming that Subterfuge Law, Engineering Law and Herb Law were developed and became equal pillars along with Arms Law and Spell Law, I believe it would add to Rolemaster as a game system and change new gamer’s perceptions of RM. Another benefit is increasing the role of non-spell users and non-magical skills. I think the trend of encoding every new ability or skill as a spell only increases the advantages of casters and devalues regular skills in general.

These aren’t new or novel ideas, it’s just a matter of re-organizing information and EMPAPHIZING these cores as a inherent part of Rolemaster. Sure, hack and slash adventures will probably revert to the offensive abilities of a fighter or magician, but in a more expansive campaign these skill sets could add more depth–and fun!

So, let’s tie this into Shadow World. For those that are familiar with the setting, SW has an extensive range of technology from ancient Althan advanced tech, to tech/magic fusion used by the Worim and Jinteni to current advances in tech from Namar-tol (sky barges and gunpowder), Sel-kai (bicycles), clockwork devices, clip-bed dart guns etc. These groups and societies will have “Engineers” and similar professions to develop, built and use this technology. (Reminds me of “Gnomes” in some D&D settings). In low magic settings, RM Engineers could fill the gap and replace the use of magic-items with cool tech.

Herbalists also have a major role in Shadow World. SW has adopted and expanded RM’s herb list and Terry has introduced new herbs and substances in subsequent publications. Useful herbs can be seen as either natural with medicinal or beneficial properties or “magical”, Essaence-infused flora. Many of the populations in SW are low tech indigenous cultures that would rely on natural remedies rather than high level healing spells. Expanding and creating “Herb Law” adds yet another core system that builds upon Rolemaster and adds to SW world-building.

Per the comment below, here are some rough diagrams that I used.

Fig. 1a. This is how I see RM in it’s current form. On the left you have “Arms Law” which is robust combat system that support non-spell users. On the same side, but not quite as robust or organized is subterfuge skills which are the core of the Thief profession. Finally there are all the skills that are used in Arms Law, Subterfuge and elsewhere that can be drawn upon by all Professions with varying costs. On the other side is Spell Law. Under the umbrella Ment/Chan/Ess and the hybrids, you basically have spells that mirror or replicate everything on the left side. Add in the Companions and support material and you basically can achieve any physical, combat or skill effect with a magical spell. Whether you see that as a feature or a bug of the system, that makes all mundane, non-magical abilities only necessary for the handful of non spell users.

Fig. 1b. This is a more simplistic diagrame of RM. You have Arms Law & Spell Law that draw from a pool of skills contained in Character Law. This diagram implies a balance between Arms and Spell.

Fig 1c. This is a more nuanced view of Rolemaster. You still have Arms Law and Spell Law, but there are secondary support systems that have more robust rules: herbs, making and using magical items, healing and the bundle of subterfuge skills. Below that are miscellaneous skills of varying utility, design, purpose or value.

Fig. 1d. This shows my current mental model for this blog. I’ve defined 5 core systems that make up the core of certain Profession types/groups. All of them draw from the a shared pool of skills.

Like Busses, 4 come along

My group has really got the Fantasy Grounds bug. It started with my running a game, then one of the other regular GMs started his game, so I get to play a Monk in that one.

On Friday, our Shadow World GM starts his game. I have created a Druid for that game. I will be serving the role of group healer, so I will be trying to pick up those closed channeling healing lists. At first level I have Druidstaff and Concussion Ways as lists.

One of the other players is just starting to come up to speed with FG as well. I have not played in a game run by this GM since Bushido was a new game. I think it must have been around 1987, maybe 88? I really have no idea what to expect.

So Many New Characters

I have never needed to create so many new characters before. What is particularly interesting is that this is the first time that I have played a profession that is not in the Character Law, I am referring to my new Druid.

All my characters up until now have been in the core books. I never felt that the professions in the companions added any value to the game.

Sure, new spell lists are nice, but you could collapse the new spell lists into the existing professions. Do you need a thief, rogue and burglar?

I broke that duck in this game because I know that the game will be a lot of hack and slash, and I like to be useful outside of combat, and I like playing the party healer. The Druid gives me access to the healing lists, they are one of the most aggressive spell casters in the game, and they are great in the wilderness.

They are also very self reliant. The druid staff gives you that starting magic weapon, stone mastery gives pretty powerful ranged magical attacks starting at just 5th level (basic ranged attacks are a first level spell).

It is that self reliance that I find attractive for this character. I don’t know Shadow World very well, I don’t know what the GM has in store for us, and I don’t know who else will be in the party. I am hoping that I will be able to fit into a role whatever the campaign brings.

Print on Demand: The Death of Collectible RPG Books?

Evolution of Arms Law « ICEWEBRING

With a resurgence in RPG’s I am wondering what the impact of the new generation of gamers would be on classic collectible RPG products: modules, supplements, rule sets etc.

I was able to amass a collection of “Old School” products in the late 90’s early 2000’s when role-playing interest had died off and I bought out the inventory for several game stores. Before eBay we didn’t have market pricing on rare or interesting products so I was able to accumulate new shrink wrapped MERP products, parchment ICE material, old Midkemia supplements and most of the 1st edition AD&D modules at bargain basement prices. Those products from the early 80’s were pure nostalgia with simple line drawn artwork, heavy stock paper and cruder presentation.

The first demand bump I saw was after the announcement for the first Lord of the Rings movie. MERP products, already out of print but of great quality (it was reported that the movie designers used ICE MERP products extensively) started increasing in value. Then OSR started manifesting and the early D&D products started to grow in demand. Early second tier materials: Midkemia, Loremaster, HARN and Judges Guild also added value in the early 2000’s.

Has the demand for these supplements faded? A quick check on eBay shows that Court of Ardor sells for $70 or best offer–with the map. The hardcover edition of Minas Tirith, an amazing product is now only $80! What about ICE? Early products can be bought for prices far lower than 10 years ago.

Given the ubiquity of DriveThruRGP, the availability of out of print products in PDF form and a younger generation that is more open to paperless products; will new products ever become “classics” in the future? There does seem to be value in some ICE print on demand products that are no longer available, but in general prices seem stagnant. As original gamers get older, will these early books lose their allure?

BHanson’s 2020 Year in Review.

It’s that time of year where we look ahead to a new year and review what, if anything was accomplished this past year! For me, this was truly a lost year and when I look back at early 2020 blog posts I can barely remember writing them. Strangely, the pandemic and the resulting shut down of my businesses actually freed up a lot of my time; but psychologically it was very hard to write or be creative. So how did the year look?

  1. Blogging. I wrote a total of 27 blog posts; or 1 every other week. Not bad compared to other RGP blogs but not what I would consider amazing output.
  2. Topics. One theme this year was a harder look at various RM Professions. My take on Rangers, Bards, Druids, Warrior Mage, and Mystic. Peter and Hurin added their own posts and I thought it was a fun to have everyone’s perspectives.
  3. Spin Cycle. I’m also a fan of re-purposing MERP modules for Shadow World. The SW “DNA” is imbedded in these early ICE products given that Peter and Terry had their hands in both lines. This year I tackled Umbar (one of my favorite all-purpose supplements), Assassins of Dol Amroth.
  4. Most Engagement. My blog post on the aging RM gamer demographic, “Thoughts on Mortality” garnered 22 responses.
  5. RMU. Another year has come and gone with RMU just around the corner. Will 2021 be the year?
  6. ICE. The ICE website and forums are down again (3 times this year?). This time, the site has been down to the point that google in no longer indexing it for searches! Is that bad? Right now the Blog and the Discord Server seem to be carrying the water for Rolemaster gamers. Personally, I don’t get a lot of utility from Discord, but it seems like a solid resource for gamers seeking games online and the group adventure project appears to be moving along which is encouraging.
  7. Master File List. I had the time to post up a list of most of my uploaded files here on the Blog. I didn’t include the BASiL material, and it needs updates. Unfortunately, most of the links go to the RM Forums, so right now it isn’t that useful.
  8. Other 2020 Completed Projects. From a writing standpoint, 2020 was a below average year for output. I put some finishing touches to Priest-King in May and handed it off to Nicholas for further editing. Will it ever get published? Who knows, but it’s out of my hands. I also posted up a shrapnel/swarm critical chart, a handful more Mentalist spell lists, an Essence list, The Book of Pales, completed the user versions of all 5 chapters of “Legends of Shadow World” and have put out 2 or 3 new adventures for 50 in 50 Pt II. I think the total uploaded output was around 100 pages.

Looking ahead. 2021. I’m already well underway on several new projects and finishing up long gestating ones.

  1. Legends of Shadow World Omnibus. I’d really like to format this for RMU once it’s finalized. I think the new system needs support material and no one has really tackled a 50th lvl adventure for Rolemaster. I’m going to consolidate all 5 chapters, polish things up, add a scoring system for each chapter so it can be used for tournaments and will look into 3rd party artwork and floorplans. I’m happy to pay for the work but I’m always hesitant when it comes to Shadow World material…
  2. Empire of the Black Dragon. This was originally part of Priest-King, but to keep the size reasonable and avoid any serious canonical disputes I split it off. It had been siting at 50 pages for years but I’ve been plugging away at it. Ultimately, it will be Part III following the last adventure of Priest-King and combined with Part I: The City of Nontataku. This module is basically 5 fortresses so it’s layout intensive.
  3. Mentalism. 2021 will be the year for me to put out the rest of BASiL: Mentalism.
  4. 50 in 50 Pt 2. I got off to a slow start but have 10 out of the 25 complete or drafted. I just need to focus on them for a week to catch up.
  5. SW Channeler Players Guide. I’m excited about this–I consolidated all of the SW religious spells, religion material and added more player specific information to help flesh out Priests in Shadow World. It’s averaging 5 pages/diety so it should finish up around 60-80 pages!

So, a look back, a peak ahead. Hopefully we start climbing out of this pandemic over the next few months, ICE gets back up online, RMU is published and Terry finishes up Emer IV. That would be a year.