Category Archives: Shadow World

Weekend Roundup: May 5th 2017

I’m straight out with projects, but I wanted to get something posted today to maintain our 1 post/day goal for this month! After this month, for the summer, I expect we’ll slow the posting frequency for the next few months so we can finalize the 50in50 adventure challenge and get some other files finished. This would be a good time for guest bloggers, so if you have any interest reach out to Peter.

Every news article is an RPG idea!

If this is true, how much power in a Dragon bite?

Gun Powder in Shadow World.

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 level adventures in Rolemaster. Does it work?

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.

Rolemasterbloggery: Happy Anniversary–to ME!

It completely escaped my notice until today, but April 26th was 1 year since my first post on Since that first blog I was able to put up 114 posts in 12 months–almost 1 blog post every 3 days! I’m not sure how long I can continue that pace; part of the reason Peter and I would like to see other contributors on the blog (plus it’s nice to have new voices, thoughts and viewpoints).

Rolemaster Character Creation in 15 Minutes.

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.

Monks kick butt. Meta-physical or not.

It’s no secret that Monks are my favorite profession. From the early days of AD&D to the later days of Rolemaster, when I have been a player it’s always been Caylis the Monk. As I have mentioned before, I like the independence of the Monk—a class that uniquely breaks the whole trope of the balanced party. Monks don’t need equipment (10’ pole, oil flasks or iron spikes), don’t need armor or weapons, have stealth, resistance to disease and poison and can hit as a magic weapon…WAIT…just had an AD&D flashback….

RPG Maps. A new tech solution?

In my opinion, maps and layouts are the linchpin of RPG’s and adventures. While you could argue that form follows narrative, it is possible, and perhaps easier to build a story around a map than it is to come up with a story first. Peter touched upon this with his decahedron blog post: how many of you thought to use this great 3d layout?

I am a poor artist, mapmaker and layout illustrator–that’s fine when my group never sees the source doc, but a horrible handicap when creating products for print!  My perfect solution would be to find an artist that can create awesome maps and layouts and I can fill in the content. What I call the “Elton/Bernie” solution. Unfortunately, I have yet to find my art muse…

Random Musings: Dealing with Undead in Rolemaster.

Like a lot Rolemaster’s content, much of the mechanics around Undead are design artifacts from D&D; more specifically the issues of “Turning” and “Draining”.

Turning. It’s generally accepted in RPG’s that Clerics have the holy ability to “Turn” undead: basically, repel or even destroy them based on the level of the cleric. In D&D this is a class ability and in Rolemaster was converted to a Base spell list which is essentially the same thing, an implied core ability of the Cleric/Priest class.

Monumental Sculptures. Fantasy & Reality.

I found this shot, from the TV show Lost to be evocative. Perhaps more so because it’s just a remnant of a much larger construct. The mind fills in the blanks–envisioning the size and appearance of the “original” construct. There is something awe inspiring in monumental architecture and sculpture and it’s often featured in fantasy illustrations and images.  I’m reminded of this powerful shot from Jackson’s Fellowship of the Rings.

But massive statues are not just found in the realm of fantasy.  Our own world is scattered with ancient and contemporary works of similar magnitude. A few of my favorites:

Shadow World: Master Encounter Table

One of the earlier files I posted on the Shadow World thread was a master encounter table. I put a lot of work into it, included every creature, plant, herb, profession, race or group found in SW Canon products.  These encounter categories include: weather, accidents, essence, flora, herbs, creatures, creature (unusual), humanoids, groups, sub groups, vehicles, professions, objects, structures, events, special.

It starts with an encounter category table divided into simplified environmental zones with sub tables depending on the result. It also has two aux charts for distance to encounter and attitude/behavior of encounter if applicable. With just these tables it is easy to randomly generate SW encounters on the fly, generate a quick NPC group or other random event or encounter.