Category Archives: Shadow World

Shadow World: Gods, Religions and Spells

Over on the Shadow World thread at FM Forums I posted up dozens of files on Diety specific spell lists and new SW religions plus an “Invocation” chart for any player that wants to call to their God for help. I’ve bundled all of that into 2 files below and you can read my blog on SW Religions HERE.

SW Religion pt 1

SW Religion pt2

I’m curious. Magic item ubiquity in your Rolemaster or Shadow World game.


I’ve followed several forum threads on the “commonness” of magic and magic items and thought I would ask people what they would consider as an average magic item kit for various professions at 5th lvl.

In general, in your game, what would the following have for magic or bonus items (but be specific on item and bonus, power or ability):

5th lvl Fighter

5th lvl Magician

I’m on the rarity end of the spectrum, plus I use a lot of single use magic items and roll for breakage on items. If I were starting players at 5th lvl I would do something like this:

Rolemaster Combat Maneuvers: Fighting Naked.

So RM & RMU has introduced a variety of combat maneuvers and combat penalties: blind fighting, close quarters, protect, mounted combat etc. How about a new one: Naked Fighting.

Sure you might not have the advantage of armor, but you would, or could, have the advantage of “shock & awe”. Maybe an extra “stress” or “depression” critical is dealt when the naked fighter crits?

How about a whole cadre or group of warriors that went into battle naked?

So, I did have one naked NPC attack the group once years ago. But I like the theatrics of a group of naked beserkers rushing the group. Thoughts?

Shadow World Spin Cycle: Court of Ardor pt. 3

I started SW Spin Cycle almost a year ago and wanted to get back to it again. Today I want to discuss one of the cooler and larger fortresses found in the Court of Ardor: Mirisgroth. I remember when I first saw the drawing, the size and scope of the MERP/ICE products really struck home. This was something more than simple dungeon layouts on graph paper…it felt MONUMENTAL. Not only is Mirisgroth just cool (supposedly Fenlon used a similar fortress in one of his projects later?) but it can substitute for one of the Secrets of the Jerak Ahrenrath: the Ahrenraax in Thuul. I’ll admit that it might not be as good a match as some of the other Ardor fortresses to Shadow World, but to me it just feels right.

Random Reading: Red Sister

This is not a book review…I recently started reading a great book, Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. Mark is the author of 2 other series: The Broken Empire and the Red Queens War. Like his other series, Red Sister takes place in a fantasy world with a lost high tech heritage—a bit like Shadow World!

When I’m reading a new fantasy series with a magic system I try to figure out if the portrayed system can be based on Spell Law/Rolemaster or if there are any cool spell ideas I can incorporate into Project BASiL. Having read quite a bit, I can say that many of favorite spells and lists were inspired by fantasy fiction.

Shadow World Flavor: Cool suits of Armor.

Just a few days ago I posted up some of the unique armors that I had developed for Shadow World cultures and groups. This included a laminate process, slate armor and various hide armors using Wyvern and Quarnak skins. You can download the file HERE (you need an RM Forum user account)

So it was interesting to see this short article on historical armors HERE. I thought the crocodile armor (pic above) was really neat!

Shadow World Weapon: the Urumi

I was doing some research and looking for ideas for a interesting cultural weapon and came across the Urumi. Functionally it’s a steel whip–deadly to opponents and deadly to use for the wielder!

Using RM weapon tables, the whip table makes the most sense with only slash criticals. To differentiate even more, I can devise weapon specific performance using our “Weapon Modifier Chart“.

Of note:

urumi-wielders learn to follow and control the momentum of the blade with each swing, thus techniques include spins and agile maneuvres.[2] These long-reaching spins make the weapon particularly well-suited to fighting against multiple opponents

Shadow World Speculation: What is the Mazatlak Pillar City?

For those that have perused the extensive Shadow World timeline in the Master Atlas or Part IV: Lands will have seen a few references to the Mazatlak Pillar City. Call me intrigued! There are four references in the Master Atlas (I’m using 3rd Edition):


  1. Mazzara Delta: [Cool Temperate/Seasonal] Y’nar (Mixed economies/Monarchy/TL: ) A vast delta/archipelago; this fragmented land and the shores to north and south are controlled by a Y’nari kingdom. At the head of this delta is the capital: Mazatlak Pillar City.

Rolemaster: Outside Looking In.

I’ve been reading quite a few RPG blogs lately, and as you might imagine most of them discuss DnD or one of it’s near variants. Some of it is nostalgia (OSR), part curiosity, and general interest in other viewpoints and experiences. One thing I notice over and over–most of these other blogs and forums don’t spend too much time on rule litigation/arbitration. Most blog posts are:

  1. Product reviews or retrospectives
  2. In game experiences
  3. General advice on creating content or running games.

Channeling, it’s not just for Gods anymore?

Why do I keep coming back to Channeling? Tackling Spell Law deconstruction and rewrite forced me to look at all the underlying assumptions around the magic system—not just RM but other games as well. I think Essence (generic magic) is easy: as long as you allow for the phenomena, then simple rules allow for casting spells. Mentalism is not much different than Essence and often conflated as Psionics. Channeling is a whole other can of worms: God given magic REALLY needs to work in a completely different way. We’ve discussed Channeling in depth in several blogs HEREHERE and HERE.