Elves, Elves, Everywhere! Elves in Shadow World and fiction.

RMU has established a tool kit that balances out race, class and creature creation by assigning DP values to skills, abilities and attributes. It’s very detailed and typical RM!  A currently running thread on the RM Forums is about Race balance, and more specifically Elves.

We discussed Elves here on the RolemasterBlog, and it’s also a common topic on RPG blogs as well. It seems like people either love or hate em! However, if you look through the various games or popular fiction, Elves can vary quite a bit, differentiated from the foundational trope established by Tolkien.

Musings on High Elves in Shadow World


I’m not a fan of Elves, but I am a fan of Shadow World. Can those two feelings co-exist? Fiction has exposed us to many portrayals of Elves but one constant is that Elves are very long lived or immortal. In a past RMU discussion, the immortal “trait” was discussed: how do you subscribe a value to a trait like immortality when it has little impact on gameplay?

How Drow Elves compare to other elven races

In the Forgotten Realms there are five races of elf, High, Grey (or Moon), Green (or Wood), Sea and Drow Elves. For most people I guess the High, Grey and Green equate pretty much with Moldar, Sindar and Silvan. For the purposes of this discussion I am going to ignore the Sea Elves as they are not typically found in most MERP or Rolemaster campaigns.  The others most players or GMs, I would have thought, wil be familiar with.

My Experiences in RPG Self-Publishing – Part 3

This is Part 3 of an article series on self-publishing in the RPG industry. Also see Part 1 and Part 2.

Do Reviews Help or Hinder?

Five Stars

The effects of reviews on sales can be hard to quantify, especially when there isn’t a lot of consistency in sales in the first place. When sales are all over the place, it’s effectively impossible to determine whether a review has benefited or harmed them.

My Experiences in RPG Self-Publishing – Part 2

This is Part 2 of an article series on self publishing in the RPG industry. Also see Part 1 and Part 3.

Setting the Price

Dollar Sign

Price is a tricky one. There is a temptation – which I fell into – of undercutting the competition, but in the long run, this really doesn’t help anyone. OneBookShelf (OBS) tend to say don’t sell for under $1 (although $0.99 can help sales and makes little realistic difference). If the supplement includes artwork, especially artwork which you are unlikely to be able to reuse but costs money to buy, this can mean that a higher selling price is necessary.

Rolemaster Profession Review: The Many Flavors of Magic-Users.

I got a couple emails on my last blog regarding Shamans so I thought I would expand the conversation to include “Magic-Users”.

First off, my over-arching point about Shamans is an extension of my discussions on Clerics and Priests in general. The Rolemaster Cleric is really just the Channeling archetype; there are numerous variations that could be treated as “sub-classes” or unique Professions (like Shamans or Animists). Herein lies a systemic problem with Rolemaster–what determines whether a class idea needs a whole new profession with base lists and individual skill costs or whether it can just be a variation of skill selection using an established profession? Why have an Animist/Druid and not the Shaman? Why should there be a “Barbarian” profession and not a “Mercenary”?

How many Spells is enough?

BriH touched on this with his high level adventures but a very high level spell caster is highly likely to have every open and closed list and every base list to the max. Obviously the rules in play can affect that. I am playing my lay healer in a game where almost everyone in the world has at least some kind of magic and every family has a spell caster.

In that game 10 ranks in learning a spell list is enough for automatic success and you can learn lists in parallel. You can learn one list for every powerpoint/level you gain. The GM also allows you to add your stat bonus to the spell gain roll if the chance is not automatic.

…and another Happy Halloween!

Brian got in there first with his Happy Halloween From BriH post. He signs off by saying that “I know  all of us at Rolemasterblog have a lot of work in store for the coming year.” This was timely as on Saturday we released our first mini supplement. I say mini as it is a single page adventure hook. This one was written by BriH and edited by Edgcltd, published by Azukail Games and sold on RPGnow. Now it only costs 50¢ but that is not the point.

50th Level Adventures. Deconstruction & Design of Chapter 1: Legends of Shadow World.

Peter’s recent blog project, Thought Experiment, is leading RolemasterBlog into deeper discussions on design and balance issues. I thought this new direction creates an opportunity to review the issuesI encountered when playtesting my 50th Level Adventure Series. I just posted up a shortened version of Chapter 1: The Seers of Strok on the RM Forums, but I’ll include it below as well.

First off, the download is not complete and I intentionally left out some material that is either being fine tuned or will be included in the “final” product. Some of that material not included in the download:

Made Men. Made Weapons. Do you run a personification campaign?

I recently read “The Kings of the Wylde“.  A bit of tongue in cheek that played on common fantasy tropes but still created a strong image of a certain type of a fantasy setting. It was an irreverent version of Ambercrombies “The First Law” series.

The commonality between the two is the concept of “Named Men” and “Named Weapons” that is integral to the respective settings. The Kings of the Wylde took this concept one step further, embracing modern trends of fame, wealth and popularity.