From the earliest days of the 1980 World of Greyhawk Folio, it’s been expected that comprehensive fantasy settings include a “Master Atlas” or a “Gazetteer” to set the tone and include fundamental information about the world. Nine years late, ICE introduced Shadow World: Master Atlas Boxed Set.
There has been endless speculation about adapting Shadow World to the RMU ruleset, but every year that goes by only makes the task of converting all the Shadow World books into the new format less and less likely. On top of that Terry is methodically going through older source books and updating them and adding new content still using the RM2 ruleset. A third iteration of that process seems hard to imagine.
So where does that leave a new, revised Master Atlas? Last spring I wrote a blog post on this subject, but now with the Rolemasterblog having new readers and another year gone by in the RMU development process I thought I would revisit this topic.
For a game system that was predicated on “no limitations” for player characters, I still find the need to cling to Professions curious. More importantly–beyond PC creation and occasionally leveling–do Professions serve any other purpose? Is a Professional label important for NPCs–the most generally the predominant characters in a game world?
Besides acting as a general trope label, NPC’s in ICE products still list out all skills, skill bonuses and spell lists. Unlike D&D, there are no intrinsic skills or abilities imparted to professions at various levels in Rolemaster. The Profession listed on an NPC stat might give a GM a “sense” of that character, but what really matters is the stat block itself. There is really no need to know a Profession for an NPC–only their stats and abilities. That’s the whole point of a skill based character system.
Brian recently touched upon the need for Rolemaster to fully commit to Shadow World as its default setting. I am 100% behind this idea.
It is obvious from Brian’s deconstructions that as soon as you start to look critically as Spell Law that the amount of setting specific magic is far greater than one would have given credit for initially. This will always be most pronounced in the Channelling realm as gods have a big role to play in most fantasy settings. That then throws up the issue of why is a cleric of a fire god just as good at healing as a god of healing?
So I’m heading to Spain for some vaca time but wanted to get a few blogs scheduled to post while I’m gone or getting prepped. I still have some work to do on 50 in 50 adventures so I thought I would post misc. points for thought and/or discussion. In no particular order:
So I am continuing with the #RPGaDAY but I have more exciting news!
The August issue of the Rolemaster Fanzine is now for sale on RPGNow and this is the Shadow World special.
This issue has a reprint of two of my favourite BriH Shadow World articles from the blog, the interview with Terry and chapter one of the Loremaster Legacy, Terry’s novel.
Whilst not RM related I am really pleased to be able to link to my game on Amazon. This is my latest achievement and it is really nice to see the book in print. The PDF and print version should be on OneBookShelf this week and the Kindle edition the week after.
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.
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.