The Many Flavors of Shadow World

images

One of the great qualities of Shadow World as a game setting is the number of different “styles” that can be found in the various books. No matter what type of fantasy game you play, you can probably find a place or time in Kulthea that can work for you.

Cross-genre. SW’s sci-fi elements and tie in with Spacemaster were pretty novel for a fantasy setting in the late 80’s. For GM’s that like the “ancient astronaut” angle or want to run a Gene Wolfe style campaign, SW has a great back story and cool tech that co-exist with the more traditional fantasy elements.

RMC House Rules – Character Creation #7 Spell Lists

There are two significant bit so to learning spell lists for my house rules.

Firstly I will be using pretty much the Spells as Skills rules. You only need to learn the 1st level spell to enable you to start progressing up the spell list. This means that for the most part you will only need to spend 5 -15 development points to get the full list at first level.

RMC House Rules – Character Creation #6 Skills

I like few skills and broadly interpreted.

What I mean is, take the Athletic Games skill as an example.

Athletic Games: (Ag/Qu or Ag/St) Bonus for playing any one game
primarily involving agility, coordination, and motor skills.

You see I don’t agree with that in a fantasy setting. In the modern world you will get footballers, basketball players, rugby players and so on and they are all specialists and have coaches to work on sport specific skills. At the end of the day though they are all about core strength and hand-eye coordination, balance and spacial awareness.

Shadow World Adventure Hooks: “Rock Star” fortresses!

Abb.1_Weichardt

My campaigns have never featured a lot of traditional RPG dungeon crawls; I’ve always felt they were a little contrived and disrupted the grittier/realistic feel I was striving. Instead of stocked underground mazes filled with traps, puzzles and commensurate rewards I challenge my players with fortresses, strongholds, castles and lairs. Creative architecture is not my strongest skill, so I look to real life examples for ideas and templates. A google image search under “archaeological floorplans” generates a wealth of great layouts that can be printed and used for gaming. Most of these archaeological layouts are for ancient sites destroyed years ago and forensically recreated from the remnants of historical records, foundation stones and building science so I’m always excited to see an intact site.

RMC House Rules – Character Creation #5 Profession

One of the problems for D&D players coming to Rolemaster is that although ‘Profession’ appears to be pretty much the same as ‘Class’ they are definitely not the same thing!

There are significant flaws in Rolemaster professions.

  1. Once you choose a Profession in RM just about everything is set for life and is unchangeable. If your chosen profession virtually excludes magic then whatever happens in the future you will be forever pretty much excluded from magic.

RMC House Rules – Character Creation #4 – Cultural Background

Cultural Background is another element of RMU that I really like. The mechanism is really simple. There are a number of predefined backgrounds such as urban, nomad, coastal and sylvan, plus 4 others in RMU, and there is a mix of skills that are typical for people growing up in that culture. So you choose your culture and you get free skill ranks to assign into skill categories defined by your culture.

RMC House Rules – Character Creation #3 – Rolemaster Races

I am not suggesting many changes to the Rolemaster races in my RMC variant but first a bit of background on the long running ‘issue’ of Elves and Self Discipline.

Elves and Self Discipline

Most elves in Rolemaster based games get a -20 on the Self Discipline (SD) stat. SD happens to be one of the stats used to determine your Stalk & Hide skill and Meditation skill.

When most people see that -20 they assume that elves have no self control or discipline which is not the way Tolkien’s elves are generally portrayed. Rolemaster elves are the direct decendants of Tolkien’s elves as the roots of Rolemaster are set in the world of the MERP (Middle Earth Role Playing) franchise.

Rolemaster: Too Cool for School.

rsz_1680x105018_77661982.I was just introduced to Rolemaster by my best friend. He had moved to the next town over and found a new gaming group; one that had found Rolemaster through a Dragon Magazine ad. His stories of their gaming experiences were VERY different than my experiences with AD&D.

I headed down to the local game store and picked up a copy of Character Law. (Blue cover with Jorgenson artwork). I distinctly remember pouring through that book to background music of “Safety Dance”! I remember the artwork was different—more gritty?—but the rule were a massive shift from AD&D where “skills/abilities” were bestowed upon certain levels.  Looking back, skill based abilities seem commonplace now but back then it was something else.

RMC House Rules – Character Creation #2 Potential & Stat Gains

On Monday I covered how I intended to use a point buy system for generating characters stats. The point is to enable the player to play exactly the character they want whilst still being balanced.

When it comes to potential stats I was quite taken with the idea of giving the players an additional 100 points with which to buy their potential stats but the temptation to just dump that all on the prime stats for the character would be too great. That makes total sense to do that but in the end every ranger would end up looking pretty much the same as would every fighter and so on.

RM Combat Hack: Simplified armor & encumbrance

imgres

While both encumbrance and fatigue are critical elements in our game it’s always added an extra step of record keeping that was onerous. We’ve played around with several mechanisms but found that the new piecemeal armor and fatigue rule in RMU work great but we’ve taken it one step further.