Category Archives: Opinion

Shadow World Wish List: the definitive Master Atlas.

With every new product Terry Amthor publishes, the world of Kulthea grows larger and more detailed, but it’s been quite a while since an updated version of the SW Master Atlas was produced. In truth, there has been a tremendous amount of world building material generated, but it’s been scattered among the various SW supplements over the last 30 years.

Brief thoughts: masks in your fantasy setting.

In my recent blog post I referenced the Mayan, Lord Pakal. Pakal was buried wearing a jade funerary mask and it reminded me that masks are very cool! You’ve probably used or encountered a mask in your RPG game—maybe it’s a powerful magic item, a funerary mask found in a crypt /tomb or worn for a festival or celebration. I was reminded of masks worn by cultures or organization in popular fiction and how the mask itself became a defining trait.

Miscellaneous Musings

Heading off to vacation so I probably won’t get new posts up for the next 10 days or so, but I thought I’d put up some random thoughts.

  1. It’s great to see new contributors to the Rolemasterblog! People who don’t sign up for the RM Forums don’t see the various RMU development threads and may not realize there is ongoing discussion and activity. I think this blog helps spread the word about RM and perhaps reaches other RPGers who might not go the forums.

Rolemaster, Combat, and Firearms

Hurin’s recent post got me thinking about combat and general and Rolemaster’s combat in particular and how various Rolemaster products handle firearms. That (of course) led me to thinking about how I’ve revised those rules for settings outside of standard fantasy. It also got me thinking about the proposition that lots of combat mechanics equals an emphasis on combat.

Special skills, special spells. Gods in roleplaying.

As part of the ongoing discussion of Clerics and Channeling in Rolemaster and Shadow World I thought I would call attention to a great blog and commentary over at Grognardia.

Peter has talked about rolling Channeling into the Essence Realm and I have basically rolled all of the Realms together–only organizing them by casting mechanism.

But this blog raises some earlier thoughts I had about Clerics and Channeling in general. Before Shadow World I was running a “diety-lite” setting where Gods were mere abstracts providing the homogenous powers provided by Spell Law Channeling. Now with Shadow World, I’ve fully embraced the use of active, involved Gods and built the Orhan/Charon spells lists and organizations to better define Clerics “special skills”.

Combat realism in Rolemaster & RMU. Good, bad, neither?

Interesting writing over on “Takeonrules

By this time, I had been playing Rolemaster and Dungeons & Dragons, games that placed a tremendous amount of rules explanation on combat and fighting.  And I maintain that by placing emphasis on combat, combat is more likely to occur.

Blog Post worth a read. Thoughts? I haven’t spent much time on 5th Ed., but I get the impression that the focus has deliberately changed to support role-playing and narrative rather than combat. Other new games like Monte Cooks Cypher System are paving the way for new role-playing narrative forms.

Rolemaster and Professions – Another Take

One of my least-favorite elements of Rolemaster is the whole idea of “Profession = lifeway.” While this concept may have some merit when it comes to settings with magic (and I’m not convinced that it really does), it breaks down when you leave the realm of fantasy and start dealing with more modern, magic-free settings.

Weekend Library

Greetings all and welcome to my new column: Weekend Library.  I read quite a bit so I thought I would offer up a list of books that might be a little obscure but worth checking out for great game or campaign ideas for your Rolemaster, Shadow World or fantasy setting.

The Mechanical (3 book series). Interesting take on Clockwork men and alchemy. I got some ideas to update my adventure “The Lair of Ozymandias”.

Six of Crows. A grittier version of “Lies of Locke Lamora”. Good characters and ideas for a urban “Sting/Heist” campaign.

An introduction to Solo Roleplay

I thought I would write a short mini series on Solo Roleplaying, what it is, what it is good for and how to do it. At first glance the very idea of Solo roleplaying is almost oxymoronic, how can a hobby so dependent on conversation and social interaction be done on your own. Isn’t that just day dreaming?

Firstly I would say that solo roleplaying is slightly miss named. It should really be GM-less roleplaying. You can solo with a whole group of players or just a single player, namely yourself. The only thing you don’t need is the GM.

Thoughts on Resurrection in Rolemaster & Shadow World.

First off, Happy New Year! Over the holiday break I’ve been able to plot out a number of blog topics for the coming year and working on at least one new interview. I’m also hoping that my long gestating Shadow World module: Priest-King of Shade will make publication this year! (It seems unlikely that “Empire of the Black Dragon” will be published anytime soon even if I get the final draft to Terry and Nicholas in the next few weeks).