Unless you are running single session, one-off adventures, you probably have three layers of narratives in your Shadow World campaign: your immediate adventure plot, the regional politics and power and then the world overview/timeline. If you enjoy world building, or are using a comprehensive setting like Shadow World, you want your group to discover the details of the setting. But much of the disclosure has a longer-term payoff when the PCs reach higher levels of power. Coordinating these narrative layers is like building a house—you lay the “foundation” and then erect the structure, brick by brick, floor by floor.
Last night the group attempted Chapter 3 of “Legends of Shadow World”. It did not go well. The session only ended up being 2.5 hours with 3 out 5 players killed and the other two “tapping out” since they could see the writing on the wall. This section was just too hard, and there are still 2 more! However, there is a gap between C4 and C5 where the group can rest, heal and gear up for the final confrontation.
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.
So yesterday I blogged about a simple, unified system for imbedding magic into objects: what we term “Enchanting”. I also noted at the end, and linked to a RM Forum blog about a separate, but related system of Alchemy.
Curiously, most of the original RM Alchemist material had little to do with our common definition of “Alchemy”. Sure, Alchemists could make potions, but most of the spells related to the creation of runes, magic weapons and armor and Daily “X” items.
Although I wanted to slow my blogging pace down for the summer to focus on other projects it’s a hard habit to break! I want to spend less time on house rules; the RM Forums provides plenty of opportunity for rule minutia, and I think most of the active readers here already have their own set positions. So I’m introducing “Short Takes”, a minimized discussion for rule theory where I can offer conceptually ideas without getting into the weeds with my own solutions. If you look over some recent posts, I’ve already started with this approach. By offering a rule theory in more vague terms, I’ve found that people respond more with their own ideas that I can adopt to fine tune my solution. That’s been the case for “Stats as Skills”, “Resistance Rolls”, “Fixed HPs” and a few others.
This is a continuation of my previous blog post on “Legends of Shadow World“, an adventure series I’m writing for characters level 40-60th. Last night the group attempted Chapter 2 (out of what is now 5 total chapters)! It’s getting longer….
While I thought I would replace the current group with other SW personalities of higher level, I didn’t have time this past week to put together the replacements. (btw: I liked T’vaar Dekdarion but I think he’s still in a coma an assassination attempt by the Cult of Stars). I did end up bumping the characters levels a bit:
One of the early appeals of Rolemaster was it’s “realism”, and while most people thought of the combat system there was also exhaustive material around magical herbs. In many ways, RM herbs supplanted traditional fantasy RPGs reliance on healing magic and healing potions. Some even argue that RM healing spells are relatively weak, or that the detailed injury system required too many spells to heal even minor wounds.
I think many players/groups use herbs in different ways: some to augment natural healing processes while others allow for instant, miraculous healing effects. “Chew and screw” so to speak. Instant effects allow groups without skilled healers to adventure, or groups in intensive dungeon environments to maintain their tempo.
As we relax over a long weekend here in the USA for our Memorial Day, it has me thinking about a project I’ve procrastinated on for quite some time: developing a lengthy list of holidays for Shadow World and specific SW cultures.
My plan was to comb through Terry’s work (canon), the SW Players Guide, a deep dive into the timelines to come up with some ideas. It’s easy to forget about holidays in a fantasy campaign, but these days can not only be adventure hooks, but provide more game texture in a campaign.
It’s been a while since I blogged about Channeling, so I thought I would revisit one topic and discuss another: Invocation and Sanctification. As I’ve discussed, the Channeling Realm raises a lot of issues about setting, spell access and the role of Dieties that aren’t present in the more agnostic realms of Essence and Mentalism. That’s one of the reasons that Peter and others have just eliminated the Channeling Realm and rolled it into Essence. Again, this is really driven by the metaphysical underpinnings of the setting.
Shadow World is well stocked with interesting groups and organizations: Navigators, Loremasters, the Iron Wind, Cult of Stars, the list goes on and on. But what organization might be accessible to, and make for a good starting foundation for starting players?
Tucked into the module Jaiman, the Land of Twilight is a good candidate: Gryphon College. Gryphon College is a small monastic school that hides a secret: the institution is a façade for an intel gathering and strike team force working against the Unlife. The college hosts around 100 students, but a smaller elite group of 14 make up the Gryphons. It’s assumed that the college draws from the student body to staff this force.