Category Archives: Shadow World

Artists wanted.

We’ve discussed the difficulty in finding good artwork or artists for our projects. In that vein, if there are any artists, mappers or layout professionals that read this, I have work for you. Among the various projects:

1. A banner graphic for Rolemasterblog.com

2.  Finalized art, layouts and maps for Priest-king of Shade.

3. City map for Non-ta-taku.

4. Layout and item graphics for BASiL.

5. Layouts for Legends of Shadow World.

6.  Layout for Book of Pales.

7.  Art, layouts and maps for Empire of the Black Dragon.

Rolemaster Deconstruction: Daily X Magic Items.

Back from vacation and thought I would dip my toe back into blogging with a short deconstruction article! Today I wanted to address “Daily X” items and the mechanics around it.

When I first started with RM, the Daily X magic items were great: they softened the power of traditional permanent items found in D&D and they worked well with the Imbedding spell lists. These items were also a great way to augment player shortcomings or add spell capability to non-magic users.

Rolemaster & Fantasy RPG’s. What are monsters really?

Since this is my last blog post for several weeks I thought I would write on a more general topic: Monsters. While “Monsters” are the mainstay of fantasy RPG’s, they were not entirely embraced by Rolemaster. Again, probably due to the influence of the generally monster-less Middle Earth and Pete Fenlon’s original campaign.

Even my earliest experiences with RM coming off of AD&D, I always appreciated the monster-lite approach that was in sharp contrast to the Gygaxian Naturalism found in the Monster Manual and Fiend Folio. The parade of fantastical creatures felt like an endless one-up manship that could never be slated.

Rolemaster deconstruction: critical tables.

We’ve spent quite a bit of time deconstructing Rolemaster, analyzing RMU and trading thoughts on various house rules.  One thing is evident, that while some tinkering may be necessary, the critical charts are the core of RM differentiation and perhaps the most beloved mechanic of the system.  I think these critical charts work so well is that they provide expository for combat damage. Where most early RPG’s relied upon simple hit damage, critical charts allow a GM to provide flavor to the combat without having to ad lib damage effects. So while some see charts as crunchy or clunky, I see a powerful tool for combat narrative.

Turning Tropes Upside Down: Feral Elves and other thoughts.

When I was writing “Priest-King” a few years back, I ended up locating the module in SW Agyra and started fleshing out the geographic area. The land to the immediate south was Chaal-chu and in Terry’s description (Master Atlas p.34) was this fascinating tidbit:

In an (apparently) unique and frightening aberration, there
are Half-elven Eritari tribes in Chaal-chu who are cannibalistic.
They believe that feeding on their full-mortal cousins the Thesian
tribes will extend their lives.

Sunday Musings. Projects in the queue and the Monster Squad!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! (here in the USA).  We are winding down another year at Rolemasterblog so maybe Peter will do a “Year in Review”? We have lot’s of ongoing projects and some cool stuff planned for 2018. Personally, I have so many irons in the fire it’s feeling a bit overwhelming! I thought I would do a quick overview from my persective:

  1. Back in April we started a challenge to write 50 Adventures and publish them over 50 weeks. Now we are heading into our 5th week! These are short adventure hooks, place, ideas or small layouts you can drop into a campaign etc. You can find the latest HERE with links to the others already published.

Rolemaster Profession Review: The Many Flavors of Magic-Users.

I got a couple emails on my last blog regarding Shamans so I thought I would expand the conversation to include “Magic-Users”.

First off, my over-arching point about Shamans is an extension of my discussions on Clerics and Priests in general. The Rolemaster Cleric is really just the Channeling archetype; there are numerous variations that could be treated as “sub-classes” or unique Professions (like Shamans or Animists). Herein lies a systemic problem with Rolemaster–what determines whether a class idea needs a whole new profession with base lists and individual skill costs or whether it can just be a variation of skill selection using an established profession? Why have an Animist/Druid and not the Shaman? Why should there be a “Barbarian” profession and not a “Mercenary”?

Rolemaster Profession Review: taking another look at the Shaman.

The original Rolemaster probably ignored a few key class tropes in their original work. Paladins comes to mind of course, but in my mind one of the most important is the  Shaman!

If Clerics/Priests are defined as members of an organized religion, than perhaps we can define a Shaman as a leader of a decentralized or non-organized religion.  Maybe the society or group worships a local god, or a real god under an avatistic identity, but the belief system lacks the more coherent structure and trappings of an organized religious institution. If you are gaming in a “classic” fantasy setting, you’ll probably have, or encounter a variety of primitive societies: Orcs, Goblins, barbaric tribes etc.  These groups will most definitely have  a version of a “Cleric”, but different than the type found in Rolemaster that casts Absolutions and Channels.

Deconstructing Magic in Rolemaster. Magical Auras.

Over the past year, I’ve touched upon some new Spell Law concepts:  a different take on “Channeling“, a new way to look at “Summoning”  and the concept of “Links” or “Threads”. When I work on creating new spell lists for Rolemaster and Shadow World, I tend to come at it from a different perspective. I think many new lists featured in RoCos and the Guild Companion were devised from a Profession-centric approach. ie a new profession class is generated and then spells to support the concept are created. I’ve also done that with my Hierax Guard and a few others.

What Merriment One Can Have With a Broadsword and a Drunken Elf!

Somewhere in our deep dark roleplaying history someone made a mistake. They had misread the racial description for Elves and rather than making them immune to normal diseases had made them immune to normal poisons. This had a consequence of making it impossible to get an elf drunk.

When my last campaign started I wanted to correct this error and pointed out the rules where it shows the immunity and resistance roll mods to show the players that we had been doing it wrong all this time. I was amazed at the players reactions (if those that wanted to play elves.) The ability to drink anyone under the table was really important to them despite the fact that is was a blatant mistake on our part.