Over the past year, I’ve touched upon some new Spell Law concepts: a different take on “Channeling“, a new way to look at “Summoning” and the concept of “Links” or “Threads”. When I work on creating new spell lists for Rolemaster and Shadow World, I tend to come at it from a different perspective. I think many new lists featured in RoCos and the Guild Companion were devised from a Profession-centric approach. ie a new profession class is generated and then spells to support the concept are created. I’ve also done that with my Hierax Guard and a few others.
Earlier this year, I blogged about the concept of players channeling power and or spells to “followers”. To me, this was a natural progression of the original Channeling Skill & Spells found in the earliest versions of Rolemaster. I was always intrigued by the channeling concept in RM, but we never, ever used it in any of our games. It’s a powerful concept, especially for game system in the early days of RPG’s, but the game mechanics were clunky and the upside benefit during gameplay was never really clear.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Weekend Roundup” of interesting articles and news that might be RPG related, a good Shadow World hook or inspire a GM or player. Lots of good stuff since my last one…Shall we begin?
Banished to the Void? Does anyone know what’s going on?
How do the peoples of Kulthea see the Flows of Essaence?
Here in my home state of Maine! 50 skill ranks in boatbuilding?
Is feeding an army even an issue with “Create Food”?
I’ve been reluctant to comment directly on RMU; the rules are still in Beta and I’ve already decided what pieces to adopt in my own game. I think there is a lot of fantastic stuff in RMU–some of it inspired me to modify my own house rules or change the way I think of an RM mechanic. That’s a positive sign for any new rules in a system played predominantly by older games who are fairly set in their ways. Early versions of RMU inspired me to make wholesale changes to my game. In all honesty, despite the time I’ve spend re-writing Character Law and Spell Law, I was never going to tackle Arms Law. I just didn’t have the interest or patience in re-writing the attack tables–but they did need work. So thanks for that guys!
While originally designed as a bolt on system to DnD, the Rolemaster “Laws” were always unwieldy to adapt to a d20 system. That didn’t matter for long, as the full suite of rules were published in fairly short order: Rolemaster was a standalone system.
Unfortunately from there, Rolemaster became ‘bipolar’: it contained quite a bit of DnD DNA but tried to establish an RM specific setting with the Loremaster line of products. (Iron Wind, Cloudlords, Vog Mur). Rolemaster was torn between the path forward in the gritty world of the Iron Wind or the well established cartoonish tropes of DnD. And soon after that, ICE rolled out the Middle Earth setting, although there is general agreement that the first few ME books (Court of Ardor & Umbar specifically) had more the feel of the Loremaster world than Middle Earth.
This week I’ll be turning 48! If you are following this POST on the RM forum, my age seems fairly typical of other Rolemaster players. We grew up in the 80’s, played RPG’s, and waited hopelessly for movies (and TV) to embrace our passion for fantasy roleplaying. Yes, there was Excalibur, Ladyhawke, Conan, Willow, and the Beastmaster; but most weren’t great and were considered “B” movies. There was a long gestating D&D movie that never happened (until the Jeremy Irons fiasco in the 2000’s), but otherwise fantasy fans were really left wanting. A lot has changed since then.
If you are reading this, you probably play RPG’s and, at some point at least dabbled in writing adventure material. Peter and I have solicited for new contributors to this blog–both articles and adventures but without a lot of response. I know writers are out there…so where are they?
Writing ready to publish material is tough and takes a lot more work than jotting down some adventure notes that might be suitable for a GM running an adventure. But we aren’t asking for print ready material and at this point, a steady stream of adventure or support material can only help the game.
For a game system that was predicated on “no limitations” for player characters, I still find the need to cling to Professions curious. More importantly–beyond PC creation and occasionally leveling–do Professions serve any other purpose? Is a Professional label important for NPCs–the most generally the predominant characters in a game world?
Besides acting as a general trope label, NPC’s in ICE products still list out all skills, skill bonuses and spell lists. Unlike D&D, there are no intrinsic skills or abilities imparted to professions at various levels in Rolemaster. The Profession listed on an NPC stat might give a GM a “sense” of that character, but what really matters is the stat block itself. There is really no need to know a Profession for an NPC–only their stats and abilities. That’s the whole point of a skill based character system.
A mixed bag of stuff this weekend; a combination of Random Musings, Weekend Roundup and Commentary on Rolemaster, Shadow World, news, and my projects in the queue.
- One is the loneliest number. Excluding Rolemasterblog.com and RMForums, are there any consistent blogs out there on Rolemaster or Shadow World? A quick search only shows 1 or 2 posts in 2017 (see THIS ONE, an interesting take even if I don’t agree with much of it). Part of this can probably be explained by the lack of RM players and partly by the effort needed to maintain new content and postings to stay relevant. Even Grognardia burned out after an impressive output of posts. User habits are changing and I wonder if the “Forum” template used by ICE is as relevant or appealing to younger consumers.
Vignettes. These small story bits were originally used in the Iron Wind and have been a mainstay in subsequent Shadow World books. I think the use of vignettes as journal entries, 1st person narratives, or book excerpts really breathes life into Shadow World. Glancing though the books you can see the start of Kalen and Jad that Terry spun into a full length book, The Loremaster Legacy. Take this short narrative found in the Master Atlas p. 152: