Apologies and Neglect

I have been neglecting the blog recently. My own RM campaigns have been on hiatus. My face-to-face game hasn’t been played since Feb 2020, which is no surprise. My VTT game hasn’t been played in two or three months now.

I am playing a druid in a Shadow World RM2 game, and a cleric in a 5e game, so I am still playing, but my group of players and I could not sustain three games running at once.

Now, the Shadow World game is reaching a natural point to take a break, and we will be pausing to pick up my game again.

It is harder to think of really interesting things to write about when you are not planning and running games.

I even skipped a month of the Rolemaster Fanzine. It has been exploring an idea about two extremely dangerous weapons, one slaying to elves and the other to dwarfs. Without the stimulus of the running and planning, it was incredibly difficult to build a gripping scenario.

But, that is all about to change. I am getting my game notes in order and preparing for some upcoming sessions. Hopefully that will spark some interesting topics to put out here on the blog.

Weekend Musings 9-12-2021

Greeting to the Rolemasterblog, it’s participants and readers! As you can see, our blogging activity has really dropped off over the last few months. It felt like we had some energy and spring in our step earlier this year, but speaking for myself, the return of the COVID really has had a demoralizing effect on my time management and creativity. I hope everyone that reads this is doing well and have not suffered any personal tragedies from this pandemic.

So while I have a number of blog posts started, I thought I would return to a weekend centric overview blog of some thoughts, notable news and other items that have come up.

  1. If you don’t read Grognardia and have an interest in the “Old School” movement, you should check it out. James recently posted a review of “The Iron Wind” that is worth reading. Certainly I have a very different view point of the IW based on my back ground, but outside views are very relevant!
  2. Roleplaying plots. Like many of you, my game ideas are often drawn from a variety of media sources. Recently, Amazon made available one of my favorite genre movies: “Brotherhood of the Wolf“. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it and would also suggest the original french version with subtitles. Visually striking, the movie is a period piece, historical fiction, martial arts film, costume drama, mystery with a touch of horror. But what makes the movie great, is how easily adapted it could be to a great role-playing adventure. Mysterious monster killing women and children? It’s got that. Secret societies and cults. Yes. Adventures called in to save the day. Of course. Throw in royal and political intrigue, a Paladin with his trusted companion native Scout, a spy/assassin and lots of action and…well, just check it out!
Chainmail!

3. The image above is a 800 year old chain shirt found recently and in excellent condition! More on the story can be found HERE.

4. The authors of the Dragonlance series are creating a new world setting using the D&D “open source System Reference Document”. (Is this like OGL? Someone chime in on this as I’m not up-to-date on the vagaries of IP use or D&D in general.) However, two things strike me. First, it’s interesting to see open source opportunities for gaming system in general, and still frustrating that we haven’t found a working solution for RM besides “d100”. Second, the setting consists of “dragons and flying airships”. Look, I’m not suggesting that Shadow World isn’t derivative or there hasn’t been flying ships or dragons elsewhere, but if you had to describe Shadow World one way would be to “dragons and flying ships”. So while the SW setting has been described using phrases like: “derivative”, “kitchen sink” or “standard fantasy tropes”, apparently those tropes must still be interesting to someone. I touched up this subject back in 2016 HERE.

5. Mathieu is teasing some of his art for RMU HERE.

My final thought is that this has been an exceptionally slow period for ICE, the Rolemaster Forums, this blog and other RM and Shadow World material and updates. Thinks seem to go with cycles, so hopefully we’ll see an uptick this fall and over the winter.

Waste Not, Want Not

How many times, after battle, does your party start scouring the bodies of fallen foes for armor, weapons, magic items, and loot? If they’re like mine, the answer is “every time.” If I don’t bring up encumbrance, they’ll try to haul off every piece of gear in the hope it may be magical or valuable, leaving nothing but naked bodies behind.

But what do they do when they defeat a nonhumanoid creature? Does your party skin their fallen mammal foes for the furs? Do they scavenge the poison glands of giant spiders or reptiles? My party has actually done both, and often more. It’s made me think more about what parts of various creatures may be useful, or of great value. 

Historically, at least pre-industrially, cultures have made use of every part of their prey or livestock. Many still do — Americans are uniquely squeamish about eating organs, like heart, lungs, kidneys, etc. — but many cultures eat blood sausage or something similar, bone marrow, etc. Hooves are rendered to produce gelatin, blood is made into glue, brains are used to tan leather. Little goes to waste. Composite bows are an impressive combination of economy and mechanics, with sinew for tensile strength, horn for compression strength, and glue — all of these components usually taken from the same animal.

In my campaign, I make up a lot of new creatures for the party to encounter. They’ve been on a subcontinent inhabited in one region by fire-creatures, in another by water-creatures. The party’s penchant for harvesting anything they can has led me to include details on the uses for various parts in my creature descriptions. Fantastic creatures  (a.k.a. “Beasts” in Rolemaster taxonomy) can be useful for ingredients needed by alchemists or for magical rituals, but some parts can have more direct uses.

In this land of fire, Bastrekah, I created a type of salamander. The larvae roam the volcanic wastes and scrub, eating anything it can find, while the adult (8-10 meters long) burrows into the ground and spends its life eating precious metals and gems, and the miners who dig for them. 

The bones and sinews of the larvae make exceptionally strong composite bows, with a bonus to hit/damage. The skin of both larvae and adults can be used to make excellent soft leather armor that provides partial protection from heat and fire attacks. It won’t work as rigid leather, because the heat used to make the leather rigid doesn’t affect salamanders or their skin. Adult salamanders produce nodules the size of large-eggs in the rock they burrow through. These can be used by alchemists as power point multipliers when enchanting fire-related items, but they’re consumed in the process.

Not all creatures yield so many notable or powerful products, and many have none. But these are very powerful creatures, and while they don’t hoard treasure for the party to acquire, the value of their parts can be a reward of its own. Adding these details to creatures can also provide plot material. A leatherworker might pay handsomely for a large swath of salamander skin. An assassin might be interested in another creature’s venom, a barbarian may go after exotic hides or skulls to adorn themself, and just about any part of a rare creature might interest a mage. 

If your party routinely leaves the animals and beasts they fight laying to rot, consider encouraging them to think again. Let someone start following them, cashing in on the valuable bits. Eventually, they may start looking for work hunting creatures for their parts, or asking around town about what they can glean. And that brings more opportunities for interesting nonplayer character interactions. Personally, the challenge of thinking “what parts are cool?” and learning what real-world cultures have done with what nature gives them makes game prep much more fun.

Squishing Levels

A topic came up on the ICE Discord server recently that I feel deserves some discussion: The leveling curve in Rolemaster.

As a frame of reference, the initial commentary was that a 2nd level HARP character was equal to a 9th level character in the RM framework. Without having a real knowledge of HARP, this got me thinking about other systems and the relative curve of power as characters level. Consider that D&D has historically had a system based on levels 1-18, or more recently levels 1-20. By comparison, RM has a highly bloated (at least at first glance) system of leveling from 1-50.

Before we delve further, let’s look at the advantages of such a spread out system of leveling. Bear in mind that these are generalizations:

🔸 Levels 1-10 seem to be where the most progress is made, with characters mastering their core skills. Consider that during these levels, the character is maximizing the 5/3/2/1 rank progression, and by roughly 10th level is starting to see diminishing returns on these skills.

🔸 Levels 11-20 are where we see some real diversification of skills. At this point a fighter may have some decent bonuses in skills like fighting styles and periphery combat talents (disarm, protect, etc). Spellcasters have some talents in extraneous skills like Spell Mastery, applicable lores, maybe some rituals. Semis at this point now have a chance to spread out some development since they are typically DP-starved at lower levels. Characters in general have more DP available to sink into skills like lores, trades, leadership, and the things that make them unique.

🔸 Levels 20+ is a bit of an enigma. Rank progression at this point slows to a halt in all core skills, so this really becomes the point in the game where class lines begins to blur the most. Looking at old MERP supplements, Aragorn is depicted as Level 27 at the outset of the War of the Ring, and 36 at the end. So rangers can pick up some magical expertise and leadership skills to become party leaders, mages like Gandalf develop some skill at arms, other classes distinctions are blurred since most people inclined to learn magic have picked up many of the same spell lists, and so on and so on. At the same time, this is where classes gain some of their biggest power boosts and distinctions as spells 20th level and above are typically game-changing. While a Bard may be able to cast some elemental attacks at this high a level, the mage reigns supreme with Triad Bolts and the like.

More nutrition, in a smaller package?

This notion that level 20+ is where characters can break out of their class-limitations is not a bad thing. At this level of play, characters are supposed to be special and transcend some of these limitations. However, I wonder if this is actually conducive in the long run to a good gaming system. With RMU on the horizon (somewhere… we hope…) the idea of selling this system is limited by a few of the disadvantages:

🔻So many other systems have a faster, smoother inherent progression. While GMs can certainly increase XP awards to compensate, the fact that HARP seems to scale better, and that D&D has more delineated thresholds makes these systems seem to have more tangible rewards.

🔻A slow climb seems to be the accepted fate in Rolemaster in general. A number of articles have been written here, on the forums, and in Discord about the perils of low-level gaming in RM and the grind to survivability. Consider that the RAW in RMU suggest starting characters at 3rd level or above simply so they have enough skills to make gaming fun. I don’t think this is a design flaw, so much as a design choice that I don’t necessarily agree with, but it’s an issue that many have been vocal about in discussions.

🔻High-level gaming seems like the crawl is even more profound. When a character is only learning new spells every 5th level, that has a profound effect on player investment, as does reduced rank progression.

I know that a lot of what I’ve said here has multiple perspectives, and I’m not trying to be overly critical of a system that I see as a truly enjoyable one, but perhaps there’s some ways to make RM a bit more… fluid? I have two starting suggestions:

🔹Squish levels 20 through 50 so that there isn’t a 30-level gap in power development. By retooling some of the 20+ level spells and making them available at lower levels (even if the new level “cap” was 30th) that might create a smoother progression overall. Drop some of the repetition on lower level spells and move the higher level ones down so they are available from around level 15 onward.

🔹Retool magic at the starting levels so that it functions more like cantrips. One contributor on Discord suggested making all spells from 1st-5th level cantrips that can be cast at will (with normal restrictions, just no PPs). Even if you took only 2-3 spells per list and made them cantrips, and then scaled all of the other spells down accordingly, this would make early levels more palatable, especially for magic users. I see it as giving Semis a boost since they struggle to find a role early on in the game.

Any thoughts from the elders on these concepts? The goal is not to make RM more like D&D or even HARP, but to create a system that sees a more linear progression rather than an asymptotic one. Admittedly, these are just quick thoughts about some very large, complex concepts and I’m not suggesting a full-scale redesign, but this seems like a project that might be on the horizon.

Rolemaster Healing

A big part of Rolemaster’s color is the gruesome flair of the critical charts – shattered bones, sundered organs, arrows through both ears, 5 HP/round flesh wounds. To match that, the system has an exceptionally detailed set of spell lists for healing these injuries and putting characters back into play. Eyes destroyed by a Krush crit? “Major Eye Repair” will fix it at 11th level. Third degree burns? Frost/Burn Relief III is on an Open Channeling list, and it’s the same list any channeler should have for healing basic hit point damage. 

Character Law also includes extensive, fairly straightforward guidelines for recovery from injuries. Is it Light, Medium, or Severe? Roll for recovery time, and once the injuries have been healed, that’s how long you need to recuperate. Healing spells and herbs often include information on how long it takes to recover after they’ve been applied. 

There’s a missing step though, one that escaped my notice for four decades. Using the example from the books, Onree in his unsound tower that collapses will need 33.5 days of recovery time “assuming he is healed.” But what if he isn’t healed? What if he didn’t die in the collapse, but managed to drag himself out with his injuries, and there’s no one to set bones, splint limbs, etc.? His body will heal, but does that 33.5 days still apply? What state will he be in, with unset limbs and a severe head wound that went untended?

All of the recovery guidelines for time and permanent effects implicitly, and in some places explicitly, depend on medical attention of some sort, whether it’s first aid, spells from a magical healer, herbs, or a nonmagical medic’s help. There is no information to guide a GM in the absence of these.

In my own campaign, this came up with a fire crit that says the victim’s leg suffered “massive tissue damage, limb is useless” and the victim is at -80. The victim is the cleric, who doesn’t happen to have Concussions Ways high enough to throw Burn Relief III. They’re fugitives from the law, in a wilderness. What is her fate, without spells or other healing? How long does the party have, before her leg fixes itself but with lasting nerve and mobility damage? Assuming she’s healed, she’s rolled 10 days of recovery time, and rolled high enough to avoid permanent damage.

I’m now seeing the greater arc of “healing” as “treatment” and “recovery.” The guidelines given in Character Law assume treatment, and go straight to recovery. I’ve got to figure out the specifics for the burned cleric, but I never make specific calls on something when it looks like this big of a gap. I’m not medically trained (except for years of looking up the real-world implications of Rolemaster crits!) so these may be naive. But I’ve aimed for quick, easy, and consistent with the existing rules.

First, double the recovery time rolled on the “Healing Recovery Chart.” Healing with no treatment is going to be slower. Second, assume there’s going to be some permanent damage, as the body knits back together in a less than optimal way. A bone may not be straight, an organ may be permanently damaged. 

Each day that passes brings a bit of healing, but also a bit of permanent damage. I’m going to divide half of the starting penalty by the duration. Each day, that much of the penalty goes away, but the same amount becomes permanent. Proper treatment partway through the recovery period removes all penalty except for the permanent penalty accrued so far. (Following the existing rules, round the daily increment down and apply any necessary extra recovery to the first day. I would apply that extra increment of the permanent penalty to the last day, so the character has the greatest chance to avoid it.) 

For the burned cleric, the 80 penalty points will diminish over 20 days by 2 points per day, and the permanent penalty will increase from 0 by 2 points per day. At the end of the 20 days, the 80 has dropped to 40, and that matches the permanent penalty. If she gets treated 3 days in, she’s going to have a permanent -6.  Treatment after 12 days, she’ll have a permanent -24.

This would be my starting point. The penalty could be changed to apply to specific actions only, or left general. Other events could mitigate or exacerbate the recovery and penalties. “Permanent” can also be reduced to long-term. In my world, a lay healer couldn’t fix a bad injury that healed untreated, but a Channeling healer could transfer the badly healed damage to their own body, which would then heal.

What do you think? Too complex? Too simple? Too severe?

Getting Back To It.

Now that most everyone I know is vaccinated and the world is going back to normal I am able to restart my Shadow World campaign. This is less of a continuous adventure and more of a ongoing testing campaign, but my players expect, and I think welcome, random rule changes that occur almost every session (“Inter-office Rule Memos). In the past, that has meant having all of their spell lists replaced with new ones, losing skills that I deleted from my core rules, abrupt level changes and other pivots that they have learned to expect and provide feedback.

I have them running through Chapter 4 & 5 of Legends of Shadow World a few more times and then they are heading to the city of Nontataku to test out my new module. They have been to the city before, but just passed through on their way to Shade. It’s been a long time since they have done real urban adventuring and I’m looking forward to the change in environment and to stretch my DMing skills with more in-game social interactions and political intrigue. The Alliance is in town and making a play for the city!

A few years ago, I decided to focus more on blogging about content rather than rules, but I have 3 fairly major changes that I’m implementing and have been adopted in my SWARM rules. I’m going to see how it goes, and will probably blog more about them as things develop.

  1. Stats as Skills. I started working on this back in 2017, and had the players make stat checks on a few regular items: feats of strength, recall and correlation and poison/disease RRs. Over the subsequent couple of years, I’ve expanded the use of stats in the game and happy with the result. I’ve been reading some Grognardia blogs about the use of stats in D&D that coincides with some RM conversations about eliminating stats and just use bonuses. I am in the camp of increasing the use and utility of stats rather than eliminating them.
  2. Stat “Nerf”. There was some comments about the utility of low stats over on the D&D blogs: for example, a low intelligence may make the player immune to charm spells or ignore Illusions. I played around with some ideas for these types of benefits for all of the RM stats, but I admit I wasn’t completely satisfied with the results. However this led me to the conclusion that my player’s average stats in general are too high. Most have every stat above 75! So I’m trying something new: players are given 600 points to assign to the 10 stats. They still roll for Potential stats, but that’s starts them slightly above average and makes them think long and hard about stat levels. Given the increase use of the stat score for action checks and the added utility of historic “dump” skills like memory, the players really think about things. Even with a 30 or 40 stat score, they aren’t getting negative modifiers, but it does change the stat as skill roll outcomes.
  3. Magical Languages. For those that have followed the perpetually evolving Project BASiL know that I allow casters access to all of the spell “realms”. However, within some of the realms are different classes of spells: for example, Essence has Minor, Lesser and Greater “Paths”. This somewhat mimics the base list structure of RM and creates cost obstacles so players can’t learn the highest powered lists of each Realm without concerted DP allocation. To accentuate that further, I created qualifying skills, pre-requisites, that needed to be developed in tandem with the higher Paths. In the end I found this cumbersome and didn’t like to add skills that only had one purpose and no real in-game functionality. To simplify I decided to expand the magical language list and assign them to various spell lists. This had the added benefit of working well! In general, Essence lists now have a required magical language needed to cast the spells. Some lists can be cast with different languages, and some languages can add bonuses or other benefits to casting. Like rare spell lists, the casters are motivated to track down and learn other magical languages!

I’m looking forward to finalizing my Shadow World ruleset, but a part of me feels like the endless tinkering with the rule toolbox is a feature and not a distraction.

Maps, 5e, and a campaign on life support

I was putting the finishing touches on issue 50 of the fanzine today and I just uploaded a zip file with the maps for this issue.

There seem to be two aspects to maps. The first is having the talent to come up with a really cool idea for the map in the first place. The second is having the talent make it look good once you have had the idea.

I fail on both counts.

What I have hit upon is grabbing some of the Dyson Logos maps, and using them to ‘trace’ over using Dungeondraft.

This is the original map.

https://dysonlogos.blog/2020/05/09/the-old-fort-ruins-dungeon/

and this is my take on it.

I think it looks half decent!

The actual image is 1800px x 1800px so you can add your own grid in your favourite VTT in hexes of squares, whichever you prefer.

I recreated the underground area as well and that looks pretty cool as well.

To 5e or not to 5e?

I have been playing in a 5e campaign recently. We are up to 4th level and about half way to 5th.

We have three players, two of us have played D&D before and one is new, having only played Rolemaster/Spacemaster before.

Last night, the new to D&D player declared that he didn’t want to play D&D any more. It wasn’t the same as Rolemaster, and he just didn’t like the system.

Where this leaves our 5e game, I don’t know. He is chatting with the DM today. I dislike games that die without warning. I find it very dissatisfying.

I am still running my RMC game. The map above is from on of the locations in that game. I am running an open sandbox where the players can do what they want. Now they have their healer, they are getting a bit braver.

I am also playing in Shadow World where I have a 3rd level Druid.

So, I am not without a game or two, but I still think it is a pity if the game ends, which is what I expect to happen. It is a no win situation. If the game carries on with just the two players, we risk losing the excluded player, but the only other alternative is to end the game.

I do feel for the DM, he has spent a lot of money buying the 5e Fantasy Ground rules, an ultimate license for FG, and the adventure path.

The 5e rules seemed OK to me. 5e is a bit gung-ho, with everyone being some kind of spell user, or near magic abilities, and healing being two a penny. Is it a bad thing? Well, killing stuff is generally fun, sitting around unable to do anything because you are all down to 1hp is not so fun.

One suggested solution seems to be that we play Call of Cthulhu instead. With these players I cannot see that turning out too well. The other two players are real power gamers who have been known to sulk if there characters take a kicking. In CoC, you are always going to take a kicking, and it never ends well.

I should find out on Tuesday what the fall out is going to be.

Should players have an entourage? Using followers in your Rolemaster game.

One of the features of early AD&D was the use of various types of “followers” that the PCs could obtain. Most are defined by the level of loyalty they have to the PC character; ranging from a mere hired helper to a devoted sidekick. These NPCs are often interchangeably termed as followers, hirelings, retainers and henchmen, and their use can have significant impact on gameplay. As a primer, I would suggest reading this post from the OSR perspective.

It is notable to me that early Rolemaster rules (Character Law or Campaign Law) didn’t address PC followers of any type: even the cost of hirelings is absent the early charts in Character Law and Campaign Law (did any of the Companions delve into this?)

Looking back on the 1st ED. DMG, you can find a number of pages that cover these types of NPCs:

Page 16. “Followers for Upper Level Player Characters”.

This section alludes to a powerful characters obtaining followers of one sort or another. The mechanism isn’t addressed, except for the reference to “reaching a certain level” or “building a stronghold”. So while there is no real rules around the “how”, there are certainly a lot of charts about the “what”! For instance, Clerics can obtain up to 200 men-at-arms, ranging from light infantry to heavy cavalry. Fighters will obtain a military commander/leader between 5th and 7th lvl and a company of soldiers. Rangers have one of the more interesting follower charts, and can get humans, demi-human classes, animals, mounts and special creatures including were-beasts, giants or even a copper Dragon! Thieves and Assassins will attract a dozen or so followers upon reaching “Guildmaster” status and of course the Paladin will receive a special warhorse. And that’s just the start to the topic of “followers” in the DMG!

Page 26. “Hirelings”.

This section delineates between normal Hirelings and Expert Hirelings. All are various NPCs that provide labor, low-skilled services or specialty or niche abilities but are differentiated from henchmen by being “employees”. There is extensive material on various hirelings: soldiers, mercenaries, sages, engineers and beyond; the section starts on page 26 and runs onto 3/4 of the way through page 34.

Page 34. “Henchmen”

Retainers, like Hirelings, are also employed and paid, but they function along a system of loyalty based on many modifiers. It’s also inferred that henchmen act as a secondary PC, and can be used in place of the main character.

Page 103. “Hiring NPCs to cast spells or use devices”.

Finally, later in the Guide is a section on cost of hiring specialists to cast specific spells . This should have been included under the “Hirelings” section; but as it’s been noted by many others, the original DMG is an organization wreck.

Returning to Rolemaster, there are certainly times when the group will need to hire specialists, spell-users to cast spells or pay for magical healing, but there is not real attention paid to building a posse or retinue of hirelings or loyal henchmen and retainers. Is this an important angle overlooked by Rolemaster? Do you use followers in your campaign? I’ve written about a similar situation on this blog regarding familiars–I think they are pain in the ass and a constant source of abuse by the players. But perhaps there are other reasons:

  1. RM character development allows a broader skill set among the party compared to the structured approach of D&D. There is less need to add specialists to fill ability gaps.
  2. Complexity. If every PC had a retainer, you would effectively double the party size and add a considerable work load onto the GM. Even if you allowed the player to develop the retainers personality, the GM would still need to control or direct the NPC to some degree.
  3. D&D’s foundation in wargaming was the impetus for followers and henchmen. Rolemaster doesn’t have that pedigree and thus ignored it. Alternatively, RM was influenced by LoTR and that setting had less of a medieval approach to social organization?

I’m not a lazy GM, but since I already run a human-centric (or at least an anthropomorphic) game, I’m already managing a number of NPCs. I don’t need too, or want too, keep any eye on the use of a handful of retainers or henchmen. (I can handle hirelings). But I am intrigued by the concept being built into the game system. Certainly Shadow World’s emphasis on organizations implies the need for guild like systems: mentors, trainees, followers, squires etc. It’s seems natural to have higher level characters access human resources of the organization in some form or another–whether it be a trainee or a devoted believer.

Certainly this issue might be setting specific, but it might be cool to add some follower tables for use in Rolemaster. What are your thoughts?

Centaurs

There was a discussion on the ICE discord this week about using Centaurs as playable characters.

I happens that my players have a Centaur NPC healer. Most of there adventures have so far been above ground, or short forays into caves, but nothing that has proved to be a problem for the centaur.

Until last session….

We had reached the big fight, the characters had constructed a barricade to stem the numbers of creatures coming at them and it was a last stand.

One of the characters took a critical that broke their weapon arm, and the odds suddenly swung massively in the bad guys favour. Not only had the character a broken arm, but it was also all the other penalties that went with it. penalties to action and being stunned. This left a big hole in the characters defensive line.

The healer, known as Seth, was already low on power points, and pretty beaten up. He took the decision to transfer the broken arm to himself, and all the hits that the character had sustained.

The benefit of getting the character back in the action was worth the risk. Casting the spell put Seth unconscious.

Roll forward a few rounds and the battle was won. (hurrah!) But Seth had been so low on power points that he was not able to heal himself. At this point he had two broken limbs, a foreleg and an arm, he was on negative hits and had a damaged hip. He was in a bad way, but not bleeding.

The players first reaction was to try and jury rig a stretcher and get out of there, because they knew that there were more beasties in the cave waiting to come out.

The problem was that Seth weighs over 900lbs, is about 7′ long and isn’t very ‘stretcher shaped’.

As it is, the players have decided to make a stand here and hope that Seth can heal himself before anything else happens.

We will see what happens in the next game session.

In an upcoming adventure I am going to give these characters some choices. Things like they may have a climb a rope to get to the next part of the adventure, or to get the rewards for their efforts. Or, squeeze through a really tight gap. The objective is to see if they will press on without their healer, who cannot climb ropes or squeeze through small gaps.

These are the risk averse guys, who have been a bit braver now they have healing support. Given the choice between having that healer and turning their back on the final challenge and the rewards, or staying safe, which will they choose?

Battlemaps!

I am putting the final touches on the May issue of the Rolemaster Blog Fanzine.

If you have not been following it, I have taken a regional map created by Dyson Logos and I am detailing each location with either encounters or adventures, and I am introducing a plot running through them.

The intention is to end up with a map where you could not throw a stone and not hit a potential adventure.

As a side project, I have been saying for ages that I wanted to start getting the old issues of the Rolemaster Blog Fanzine uploaded as Kindle editions.

With the most recent issues of the fanzine I have bundled some battlemaps. These are made with Dungeondraft. I am not very good with the software, but I am improving over time.

This is going to cause a problem when we get to the kind versions. You cannot bundle battle maps with a kindle book.

To fix that problem, I am uploading them here, and including an address where the map can be downloaded from.

This one is pretty simple, it is a druidic site on the edge of a lake. The arc on the left are an amphitheatre-like set of grass terraces. The scale is 50 pixels per 5′, and should work with most VTTs if you want to use it.

I am hoping that my skills with Dungeondraft improve over time. I won’t share every map on here as some will spoil the adventures in the fanzine. This one is not exactly secret.