I’m a bit behind on posting up new blogs but I’ve come up with 4 basic titles/topics for my upcoming contributions. So even with a continual stream of new ideas or inspiration I’m going to try and stay within my own topic guidelines! The four I’m focusing on:
- Shadow World Spin Cycle: Re-purposing other gaming material to fill in content in SW.
- RM Combat Hacks: Optional rules and ideas for adding additional depth to RM combat.
- SW Adventure Hooks: Adventure “hooks”, ideas and starting points for SW adventures using the SW Master Timeline and other threads “dangling” in Canon material.
I am back from my weekend of gaming and these long weekends take their toll on this poor old GM. I feel this is game recovery week when I try and get over the effects of too little sleep and the diet of a 18 year old student. Gone are the days when I could game until 3am night after night!
The game went well, the evil magician escaped but following the antics of the players he is going to have to do some serious remodeling at home! The party are all spell casters and when faced by their third locked door resorted to using a pair of lump hammers and entering rooms like some kind of police raid. What was interesting was how often some of the situations turned on a single lucky dice roll.
I have packed up all my game notes and rules and I will soon be on the train to Faerün (so to speak).
The biggest difference in the game this time will be that I have adopted some advice I was given last week. For each major NPC I have given them a post-it note with a mini-flowchart of their tactics and or favoured spells. The idea is that as soon as I pick up a character sheet I can see at a glance what they are most likely to do in the first combat round without having to delve any deeper into the paperwork to look at skills or spell lists.
Next weekend I will be running my next face to face game session. I have read over the game notes and the adventure module. I have just decided that the main trap/puzzle that the players have to solve I don’t like.
Lots of these old D&D modules have magical traps and puzzles in them which seemed fine when I was 14years old but now when I look at them I just don’t like them. Dare I say they are a bit silly? So I need to come up with my own replacement puzzle (in this case it performs as a lock to get deeper into a magicians tomb) that I feel comfortable with and gives a more serious tone to the adventure.
This is a preview of
Five Days until next Game Session plus traps and puzzles
. Read the full post (623 words, 3 images, estimated 2:30 mins reading time)
The Citadel of Ardor.
What is it? A 9 level tower of black “marble” stone. Interior features with familiar SW elements including iron/steel/laen tracked doors, glowing glass panels. There is even a lower level cavern hall.
How and where to use it in Shadow World? The tower feels A LOT like the Loremaster’s Tower of the Winds with its High Council Chamber and the lower cavern could be the repository for the Master Orb. (MA p.72). But the elements, materials and craftsmanship certainly evoke LoE or 2nd Era style.
In Brian’s post [Shadow World Deux ex machina: Gods or Loremasters?] he mentions ‘time-strapped GMs have to rely even more on prepared materials and modules’. It is not only us poor GMs that don’t have the time that we used to. As you all probably know I am one of those GMs that only gets to game a few times a year when the gang all gets back together. It is hard for my players to get into character at the drop of a hat if they haven’t played the character for four months or more.
While there is always demand for new Shadow World material, even after ignoring all the non-canon material there is still an incredible amount of material for a lifetime of gaming! But gamers love new books and while Terry is working diligently on Emer IV and a slew of other projects I thought I would start a new blog series called “Spin Cycle for Shadow World”. In this series I’ll be suggesting old RPG material that can be re-purposed for Shadow World. An area map, a layout, or a fortress from other settings can be a convenient insert to fill in a campaign or flesh out current material. For the most part I’ll keep the suggestions for use in Jaiman and Emer, the two continents that are well represented by canon SW material.
For a variety of reasons, many RPG GM’s have less time to design, develop and write original gaming material. Marathon gaming sessions with the same group in high school or college have given way to infrequent gatherings of old friends. The result: time-strapped GM’s have to rely even more on prepared materials and modules. Part of the magic of gaming is the immersive quality of the game setting—artifacts, creatures, cultures and locales all hint at a rich history and a broader world just beyond the players senses. But what happens when the PC’s stray off the modules defined, prepared course? Even a GM with their own extensive world will find themselves in uncharted territories; unprepared for a quirky player decision or random adventure tangent. Even worse are the groups that muddle about without any real direction and seem incapable of making a group decision to move the game forward!!
One of the more distinctive attributes of Kulthea is the presence of Essaence Flows, Storms and Foci. From the original Loremaster modules to the more recent Shadow World books, Essaence manifestations have shaped cultures and history, provided a raison d’etre for the Navigator Guilds and added a unique flavor to the campaign world. In the earlier Loremaster modules the Flows seem to be more ubiquitous; splitting and separating regions and isolating pocket cultures throughout Jaiman. Not only was this a great campaign hook, but provided a “sensible” explanation for the disparate cultures, races and even climates within a relatively small geographic area.
This is a preview of
Maximizing Essaence Flows in your Shadow World campaign
. Read the full post (695 words, 2 images, estimated 2:47 mins reading time)
I like my game rules light. The less rules the better in my view and the less time spent trawling back and forth through the rules trying to find the exact paragraph you need should mean more time spent adventuring. I accept that it doesn’t always work out that way and without ‘enough’ rules you can end up with not knowing what should happen or what is ‘right’. And so on to encumbrance!