Box of frogs

It is a rare day that I don’t know what I am going to blog about. Today is not exactly one of those days but one where there is so much I could write about that I am not sure where to start.

This could turn into one of Brian’s whiskey rants, but without the whiskey.

Value of Words

In the directors briefing Nicholas “Terry has now produced 26,000 words of new content for Haalkitaine”. When Terry releases these Shadow World books they sell as PDFs for $15.

Sean Van Damme, who you have probably never heard of but he is an independent writer for D&D 5e, Zweihander and other systems, has updated his Concordance series. This time adding 23,230 words of new content. The retail price? $2.99.

The problem is that I think $15 is exceptionally good value for money so ICE is not overcharging. The problem is that indie developers cannot sell equally good quality content at similar prices without some kind of big name behind them, which kind of defeats the entire definition of being an indie game developer.

Shadow World or Calidar?

Staying with Shadow World for a bit…

I don’t know much around Shadow World. I have played in the world but my GM asked me not to buy any Shadow World books because of the potential for spoilers.

So from a players perspective I remember sky ships, we visited a sort of bunker with modern day fluorescent tube lighting and I met a pretentious git with six fingers that our elven mage was fawning all over. I know about Essence storms, dragons, loremasters, that it takes place in the Space Master universe and you cannot sail around the world.

Converting from D&D or Pathfinder to Rolemaster is a dead easy task. Calidar is, in the author’s own words, ” Although written with role-playing games in mind, contents are non game-specific, therefore easily adaptable to most RPG systems. Guidelines are nonetheless provided in the book for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.” Each core book is only $9.95.

On Calidar the races arrived from the moons that orbit the planet, there are threats from space that overarch the petty threats that darken most people’s days. You can read more about it all here

The maps look pretty and there is plenty of source material.

It seems to me that most of what makes Shadow World unique is all the crap going on behind the scenes that the players will probably never get to hear about.

How big a leap would it be to, for example, take The Grand Campaign and remap it to a system neutral setting?

If you are curious you can read a bit more here:

Maybe there is something else that makes people really buy into Shadow World that I missed?

12 Replies to “Box of frogs”

  1. Calidar, I believe, came about because Wizards wouldn’t part with the IP for Mystara, which Bruce Heard had been line manager (?) of during the 80s, when the Voyage of the Princess Ark column in Dragon was written.

  2. I can list a few things that can make me and other people buy into Shadow World:

    –It was more or less the default setting for RM when we played a lot. I loved the cover art, and was super-hyped when it first came out (finally a setting just for Rolemaster!). The list of races, with full stats and descriptions, was indispensable to me for giving characters different build options and RPing opportunities back in they heyday of RM.

    –It is by default a high-magic setting. I actually prefer low-magic games, but I know some people like high-magic.

    –It was fully integrated with Spacemaster. I’ve had lots of fun in Spacemaster campaigns with SM characters landing and being freaked out by Magic, or characters starting on Kulthea and travelling to various different worlds. (You could even integrate Shadow World with Monte Cook’s Darkspace supplement… and I did!)

    –It had sci-fi elements. This is not something that really appeals to me, and in fact it sometimes turns me and my group off a bit, but I imagine some other groups find it cool, in an ‘Expedition to the Barrier Peaks’ kind of way.

  3. Of course I must comment!

    Reason #1:

    Reason #2: Published material. Despite the desire for more material, SW has enough books to handle years of play! Emer I-IV is a lifetime of adventures.

    Reason #3: Terry’s floorplans and great layouts.

    Reason #4: Material is still being written.

    Reason #5: The timeline. This underpins the whole setting—any other game setting have this a detailed history to establish the world build??? (Really Im curious if there is anything else besides MERP.)

    Reason #6. Small but important details: geography, weather, flora & fauna that set up each source book.

    Reason #7. Great bad guys!

    Reason #8. Good maps.

    1. What If the Forgotten Realms where System Agnostic….

      (#2) Published Material: there is so much available across many ages (ie. iterations of D&D).

      (#4) Setting is still being developed in 5e.

      (#5) The Timeline is great and if you take Spelljammer into account, it is huge.

      (#7) i am just pointing to the published novels.

      1. I run my face to face RMC game in the forgotten realms. I think it is the iteration directly after Mystra’s death and there is loads of wild magic around from the damaged weave. The net effect is that the forgotten realms has essence storms.

          1. It works well, my group wanted the old school, low fantasy, dungeoneering and module bashing experience but wanted to play RMC/RM2. RM combats are very different to D&D combats if you don’t adjust the number encountered.

      2. I like the Forgotten Realms, but I’m not keen on how the novels have a tendency to make major, scripted changes to the setting. I also don’t really have a clue as to what state the setting is in currently; there isn’t a 5E equivalent of the old boxed sets.

        1. I wouldn’t know. I chose my starting year and have stuck with it. I suppose because I don’t play D&D I haven’t gone with the versions so never needed to reset and move forward in time.

          1. I probably wouldn’t touch a lot of the post 2E material with a 10′ pole – and I got the impression that Ed Greenwood wouldn’t either.

            1. I like the Forgotten Realms. The 5e DnD campaign I am DMing is set there, and it is our default DnD world. My players know the lore, so it is quite a rich world for us.

              I know the 4e Forgotten Realms age the best (just after the Spellplague), since that was the version I played the most. I’ve never read any of the books though.

              1. I don’t know anything about the Spellplague. I wanted an up-to-date 5E sourcebook to get an idea for the current state of affairs (I got the impression that the Spellplague may have been retconned to a degree) but there isn’t one. Instead, setting info is apparently spread across the adventure books (Dragon Heist, Sword Coast Adventures etc). I published a DMs Guild supplement for the Forgotten Realms – but I used my 2E boxed set for reference! Okay for writing lists of books; not so okay for lists of rumours (the two primary CCP supplements I write).

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