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.
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:
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.
Tuesday night my gaming group ran the first chapter of the 50th level adventure I’ve been working on. Overall, it’s a 3-part adventure: chapter 1 is the introduction, in chapter 2 the plot is revealed (mostly) and chapter 3 is the grand finale. Each chapter takes different skills and strategies, but based on Tuesday’s game I’m not sure the current group can survive and make it to the end!
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.
50th lvl…the mythical pinnacle of roleplaying achievement. I vaguely recall 1sted. D&D and I don’t recall 50th lvl (maybe it was 20th in that game system?). I do remember looking through Rolemaster for the very first time and thought the 50th lvl spells were so crazy—and cool! It opened up a world of possibilities. After that, MERP modules continued to introduce VHL (very high level) NPCs that continued pushing this perception of Rolemaster: deadly, complex and high level. After that…Shadow World. Again, the inference was that this was a high fantasy world, only populated by incredibly powerful NPCs and organizations.
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.