This actually took place a while ago now but what with Christmas and the #12daysofRolemaster this post got pushed back somewhat. My playtest player is back from university soon and it suddenly dawned on me that I never posted this write up. It was also useful to me to come back up to speed with where Gao is.
We left Gao out cold after losing a sword fight with a couple of assassins. Unbeknownst to Gao the assassins had left him for dead. The Emperor had used the body of the assassin that Gao had disabled to cover himself with fresh blood and had played dead. Eventually the assassins had been discovered by the palace guards, the alarm raised and a running battle ensued as the assassins attempted to flee though the Forbidden City.
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.
This is a preview of
Legends of Shadow World pt3: The %#!@ hits the fan.
. Read the full post (249 words, 3 images, estimated 1:0 mins reading time)
The second half of 2017 (yes, know that June is technically in the first half of the year!) seems to be about completing projects.
After much badgering, Lightning Source found the print master for the RolemasterBlog Fanzine issue 1 and that is now in print and available.
This weekend I will start the selection process for issue 3 and start to write the new unique content. I want the Fanzine to diverge from what is posted here and contain more playable content, more detailed NPCs, more new magical items and more fully detailed hoards using the treasure rules in C&T. Out posts here are open for all to read but the Fanzine is easier for a GM to keep close to his or her chest and not spoil the surprise if an adventure has a sting in the tail.
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.
So, I’ve introduced gun powder to Shadow World. Part of this is based on hints that Terry has made in various SW products and the other is my integration of “Alchemy” into my rule set. I’ve already established that the Essaence affects covalent and ionic bonds (which explains magical materials) and Kulthea is not rich with reactive minerals.
Gun Powder is interesting, unpredictable, and not necessarily a game changer in a world with Elemental Magic, but technology is still progressing. I like the steampunk opportunities in Shadow World, and I like the “Musketeers” angle that can be created by combining simple guns with sword play.
If you are a regular reader here than you probably know that Rolemasterblog is putting together a challenge of writing 50 Adventures in 50 Days! These are short adventures or “hooks”, and while there is no such thing as a new idea, I think that Peter and I have come up with some twists and turns that add depth to a one dimensional challenge.
This is a preview of
Rolemaster Adventure Hooks: Head Fake or Trope Embrace?
. Read the full post (171 words, 3 images, estimated 41 secs reading time)
There is one bit of every version of Rolemaster so far that I absolutely detest. That is the use of cryptic lookup codes. These are the codes that appear on the herbs and poison list and the monster locations/habitats.
It is the monsters habitats I really cannot stand. I know this has come up in the past but I was statting out an adventure the other night and these codes had me flipping back and forth through Creatures and Treasures yet again.
This time is was the Black Stalker. This is the first line of their entry in C&T.
Search around the internet for Rolemaster discussions and you’ll see that a lot of people gripe about how much time it takes to make a 1st lvl character. Much of this complaining is grounded in the deadliness of the system: it sucks spending an hour or two on creating a character only having them die with a bad fumble or high critical roll in their first outing. I get it.
Part of my deconstruction of Spell Law was to come up with simpler rules for various alchemical processes that could be more easily used “in game”. One of the appeals of original RM was the framework for creating magic items, but the time and effort involved in making items needed to occur outside gameplay. The alchemist was better as an NPC or the spells should have been shifted to Closed lists (like the detailed healing spells lists in the Channeling Realm).
What sort of alchemical processes could be simplified to be usable in actual game play?
If we’re soapboxing, I’ll jump on one of mine: First Level shouldn’t suck! The whole premise behind first level should be giving a player a character who’s gone through her formative years and experiences and is ready to set out on her own, not some abstraction of early adolescence who can’t survive being stung by a bee, let alone a minor encounter with a wild dog. The old joke about D&D magic users having to hide behind fighters until they were about fifth level has a sad basis in fact, and Rolemaster (in my opinion) seems intent on turning first level into a collection of those magic users.