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”?
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:
I’m fine tuning my “Legends of Shadow World” adventures and debating the mechanics of firearms used by some particular nasty Demon Warriors: basically a large caliber gatling gun! Here is what I used:
Gϋthϋraxx Auto Gun
Weighing 22lbs and 42” long, this ornate hand held rotary gun is the preferred weapon of Gϋthϋraxx Shock Troops. The guns are ornate constructions with a bulbous receiver, curved metal stock and a cylindrical clip of grey/black metal.
This past Tuesday, the group ran through the final chapter of Legends of Shadow World. Unlike the back to back nature of the first four chapters, the group was able to return to Eidolon, rest, heal and gather resources for the final task. They felt prepared and more optimistic…until the mission briefing. Apparently even a group of 50th level PCs can feel apprehension!
Von l’edor, First Secretary to the High Scion hastily adjusted his robes and consulted his schedule book once again. This meeting was highly unusual; unscheduled with no information provided to his office. He hoped his last-minute apologies to the Delgaran Trade Delegation would suffice; the Laan merchants were generally insufferable and easy to offend. He made a notation to provide them with a cask of Vermillion House Red—a rare vintage that should appease their egos.
This coming Tuesday (last night when this post is published) I’ll be running the final chapter to my 5 part series: Legends of Shadow World. The last chapter could be a stand alone adventure but is the denouement to the adventure path, typing up a lot of loose threads and presenting the group with an incredibly powerful adversary.
I’ve been parsing some data from the previous 4 sessions and feedback from the other 2 test groups (chapter 1) and will probably run my group through the series again. It won’t have the surprise/reveal elements from their first iteration, but we’ll be able to have a more open analysis during game play.
Due to a vacation it’s been a few weeks since out last session playtesting our “Legends of Shadow World” tourney series for 50th lvl characters. Last night the group reconvened for Chapter 4: “The Plains of Despair” (or alternatively The Fortress of the Dread Lord).
Narrative wise, it felt a bit broken; the PC’s got killed or beaten badly in Chapter 3 and the few weeks off disrupted the story line. However this is playtesting, so the group was brought back to life, I doled out some moderate damage, adjusted hits, PPs and item charges etc and sent them on their way through a Portal.
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.