New Magics in BASiL

One of my frustrations to completing ongoing projects is that I tend to jump from one work product to another. I started on my “Channeling Chronicles” but got distracted into BASiL Mentalism and then I started reworking BASiL Essence. The positive news is that I continue to create content, but I would rather finish one off, post it up and then move on to the next rather than having 5 projects going all partially complete and moving slowly. I had asked Terry about this when I did my interview with him; I wanted to get a sense for his work flow, motivation and even writers block but we didn’t dive too deep into it. From his own public comments he seemed to have a patchwork approach to his own projects: he was working on Wurilis, moved to Emer IV, stopped to do Green Gryphon Inn, etc.

Anyway, while revamping BASiL (I think I’m going to put up final, revised versions on DTRPG in d100 format) I wanted to formalize some spell casting structures that were still a little loose in all versions of Spell Laws: Power Analysis and Delayed Casting.

Power Analysis.

Broadly speaking, I’m referring to a number of spell abilities that allow casters (or “sensitives”) to interpret power and spells. This could include detecting and visualizing the “Essaence”, Auras, Power Perception, Colors of Magic, and various “Analyze” or “Detect” Spells found in Spell Law or BASiL (Power Analysis).

RM has 3 different mechanisms that can impart information about spells or power:

  1. Passive w/ no latent ability. By allowing spellcasting emanations to be colored by Realm/aspect anyone watching a caster will be able to determine some information about the spell and/or the caster. This allows anyone, even without casting ability or magic skills to visually learn information from someone casting.
  2. Inherent Ability. Some races have or could have the ability to see, feel or detect the Essaence. (Lords of Essaence, some magical creatures, some high Elves?)
  3. Active Spell Ability. All the realms have Detection or Delving spells that can be used to detect the presence of power, or determine the spells effects, level, source or creation.

Like much of RM and Spell Law, it’s a bit of a hodgepodge without any underlying logical framework. Fine. I think that all works, but there is a side to this that hasn’t been fully explored: Caster Signatures. I see this as similar to the Mentalism spells around “Mind Typing”. Basically, every caster leaves a signature, their own flair or style to their casting, that can be detected, stored and analyzed. Much like a fingerprint. So higher level spells like “Spell Analysis” doesn’t automatically provide who the caster is unless the analyzing caster has encountered the target caster’s work before, has “typed” it and the target caster hasn’t hid their spell signature in any way.

This doesn’t add much for real mechanics to Spell Law, but provides a playing dynamic that can add depth to the game. Yes, new spells would include “Spell Typing” or “Store/Recall Spell Signature” and there is a need for counter spells “Hide Signature”, “Distort Signature” or even “Counterfeit Signature” that would utilize another spellcasters casting style. This also adds a clear mechanism for “Evil” casters to hide behind a facade–like Priests Arnak. Currently they are provided this cover with a simple handwave–they all possess a magic ring that hides their evil nature. Bah.

Delayed Casting.

There are a number of “Delayed” spells: Runes, Wards, Symbols, Glyphs, Store Spell and Trigger Spell. Again, I feel it’s a confusing bunch, some of which have individual mechanics that feels more like AD&D then Rolemaster. They are all just slight variations on the same idea: Delaying a spell effect until some variable is met. In BASiL these types of spells are grouped into a different “Realm” due to their similarity and the idea that their casting mechanics, use, rules are VERY different than traditional Essence/Mentalism/Channeling spellcasting. Even moving them into another realm is still confusing. What’s the difference between a Rune and Weapon Rune? Is a Glyph different than a Sigil? How/Why?

Sometimes it’s easier to create a new mental model that acts as a bedrock foundation for spell lists, powers and mechanics. I’m working now on a concept of “Shells” or “Cocoons” to represent this concept. Does it really change anything or does it just help to unify all of these types of inscribed magics? The basic spell concept is the creation of a vessel (shell or cocoon or any other name, culturally or professional) that wraps around another spell and holds it inactive. At lower levels that spell vessel may be visible, may need to be “attached” or anchored (like a rune or symbol) or at high levels float in the air (like a Glyph or Sigil). They can be triggered by simple to complex stimuli and it’s the wrap itself that holds the spell for X time–with that duration growing in spell level. Basically a Spell Bomb Shell.

With “Spell Shells” (say that 3 times fast) you can separate the soft mechanics of Imbedding, Storing and Delaying/Triggered. Right now there is some cross pollination that confuses the situation.

One other possible benefit is that it puts delayed spells back in the normal casting framework, you can stylize it to fit the peculiarities of each realm and you don’t need to have Glyphs, Runes or Symbols with any particular power, it’s the wrapped spell that provides the effect.

Alternatively, it can be just another spell list that adds variety, complexity to BASiL, either as a open or closed list.

Just a few thoughts as a modify, edit and expand upon BASiL. What’s new with you?

Predictive Spells in Spell Law

Some recent comments on the Forums or Discord had me collecting my thoughts on all of the predictive spells in Rolemaster. I’ve always had trouble incorporating comprehensive divination/augury in my games. My experience has been that I go one of two ways:

  1. Make the divination result vague enough to be virtually meaningless
  2. I have to build the spell result into my game, either by incorporating that content into the game world, or by bending the game results to meet the predicting outcome.

I find neither are good choices and I’ve also struggled with those personal biases when designing BASiL. So purposes of this blog post, I’m going to ignore various “Finding Spells” which provide information about a thing or a topic. Most of the spells are poorly designed, but ultimately those spells help provide necessary exposition; useful in a dense world build like Kulthea!

Instead, let’s delve into predictive or forward looking spells that provide information about an event. The first spells that are troublesome are found on the Astrologers Time Bridge list. I already wrote about Astrologers HERE, and since then, several others have tackled a redesign of this admittedly cool profession concept.

Guess. The first level spell just biases the players choice by 25%, perhaps a bit much for a 1st level spell and might encourage guesstimating actions, but it works well in a random rolling game system.

Intuition. Now we start down a slippery slope, with each successively higher level version looking further into the future: 2nd level peers 1 minute into the future while 15th lvl can look ahead 1 min/lvl. How should one DM that without having the “fix in”? Sure, it’s easy to match a few minutes into the future with a quickly generated answer, but isn’t this just predetermination?

Spell Anticipation. This type of spell really makes me feel constrained. First, I actually try and write out spell casting preferences for my NPC’s when designing an adventure: this was common in earlier AD&D modules (see the Slavelord series) but it’s harder to do in RM when RAW can have a spell user with 150 spells by 10th lvl! There is a lot that happens in RM combat, lots to track and NPCs and critters should be played intelligently and to the best of their ability. How can I as a GM lock a spellcaster into a particular spell they may cast in the future? And if I lock it in, how much can that tilt the balance of the combat to the PC’s favor? And is that bad?

Dreams. This is the grand daddy of railroading a party. This literally enables a GM to guide and direct the party exactly as needed: hints about which direction to go? check. Background info on a foe or item? no problem. Provide the party advice on resources and assistance? Sure, they “dreamed” that.

Thinking back, these spells are cool and I probably enjoyed and appreciated them more when I was much younger and starting out in RPG’s. And looking back at the early version of Spell Law it’s easy to see some of that influence: what D&D established, what works for a dungeon crawl, railroad vs. sandbox. But now, these spells are a real hindrance for my GM style and feel very much deux a machina.

How about you? How often do you use predictive spells in your game?

I would like my $279Million Please.

Stolen credit?

Brian, what the hell are you talking about? Well first, there is no such thing as a new idea and certainly there are brilliant writers and developers in Hollywood…but..some of us at the Rolemasterblog might have stumbled upon some of the “plot sauce” that backed the largest grossing movie: Avengers: Endgame.

First, I typically charge a 10% success fee for my work, or a “finders fee” which I will happily share with my Rolemasterblog contributors. Avengers: EG grossed 2.79 BILLION so I think my ask is modest at best.

So how did we earn such a high sum? Well, direct your attention to a blog I posted in 2017. (note bold emphasis)

The idea worth hundreds or millions of dollars?

There is some great commentary but a few that stand out:

Peter, using Voice to Text or similar had this to offer:

Many of the problems with time travel are the same as ghost posed with the forest owl edge spells

Ha Ha, I’m just messing with Peter (who runs this blog and can shut me down anytime). Thanks Peter.

In all seriousness, in response to Voriig’s comment I responded thus:

I’m thinking time travel will be the necessary ingredient to the Grand Campaign–probably via Jinteni tech. I see the GC more and more as a Grand Heist–or stealing back some objects (northern eye, heart of agoth) that has already been stolen. 

So there you go. A world saving disaster, a time travel solution and a complicated heist of needed artifacts. Yep, I completely solved the MCU corner they had backed themselves into. 2 years prior to the movie release.

You are welcome. (And thanks can be expressed with the purchase of our products on DTRPG).

GM’ing Navigators in your Shadow World campaign: Stick to the Code. pt 2

Recently there has been an uptick in discussions about Shadow World’s Navigators on both the forums and the discord server. I thought I would write a follow up to my previous blog that I wrote back in 2016, found HERE.

Navigator Cost. Given the importance of Navigators and the original concept of the Essence Flows, it makes sense that Navigator services should be affordable by the PC’s. Otherwise, what’s the point? Some people have pointed out that the published costs of Navigators (MA ed. 2) are prohibitive and when you calculate the cost for merchants and the weight of trade goods doesn’t hold up under a rational economic system. But first, let’s review the original source, The Iron Wind (not the 1st ed. parchment), where the outlines of the Navigators Guilds were germinated:

To calculate the cost of a Guild-directed trip, use as a standard unit of
either one person or 501bsof cargo. Charge I gp . per mile per unit overland ;
1 gp . per 10 miles per unit by sea. An additional flat rate of 100 gp . per unit
per Jump -as deemed necessary by the Navigator – is charged, with a surcharge
of 10 gp . per unit per mile of Jump travel over 50 miles. (Nearly all
Jumps used at the Navigator’s discretion to bypass barriers and perilous
areas are less than 50 miles.)

I’m pretty sure that this price structure carried over to the Master Atlas, but do these costs even make sense given the prices for other goods and services? I would note that there is very little evidence that Terry actually GM’d in any significant way; he was a writer and creator, but may not have play tested his materials to any degree. Maybe the Navigator prices need to be adjusted?

Or perhaps we need to address what the Navigators do and don’t do.

It wouldn’t surprise me if most SW players perception of Navigators was that of high level magic users that can teleport at will, have extensive spell powers and provide passage AND safety to the group that hires them. Of course there are high level Navigators with formidable powers but the Guilds are very clear on what services they provide. In no particular order and drawn from a variety of SW books:

–They provide swift, relatively safe transport to anyone who has the money to afford their prices

–They will not transport what military personnel or items, either
for the purpose of attack, espionage or sabotage

–They provide is the ability to guide people safely through the Essænce flows, and to locally influence Kulthea’s often violent weather.

–They guide ships and caravans along the safest route; they are able to teleport groups—or cargoes and even ships— across vast distances by using nearby Essænce Flows

–Direct ‘Jumps,’ , especially long ones or those involving large numbers of people, are tricky and correspondingly prohibitively expensive

–Conventional transportation—such as riding animals or sea vessels—is almost never supplied by the Guild, and in fact must be provided to the Navigator by the client. The Navigator, however, will advise the ignorant client on what mode of transport is most appropriate.

–Navigators are notoriously unsympathetic to people with no money in tight situations.

–The Navigator will not fight unless he or she is personally threatened.

–The Navigators will not communicate their knowledge to clients: transport is their trade, not information. 

–The Navigator will inform a potential client if he asks to be delivered to a dangerous location. 

–The official stance of the Navigators is complete neutrality.

The take away is that Navigators are primarily guides an less often are providing “Jump/Teleporation” services which are much, much more costly. But that raises a whole other issue: what powers do they really have and do they match the services they should be able to provide? There are 3 Navigator Ranks: Apprentice, Journeyman and Master that are roughly 5th lvl, 10th lvl and 20th+ level respectively. For the moment, let’s put aside any undefined abilities that the Navigator compasses may provide and just review the profession Base Lists for the Navigators, specifically: Mass Transport, Self Transport, Flow Mastery and Path Mastery.

Apprentice. (Around 5th lvl). These Navigators handle simple tasks like responding to summons via the Obelisk network and negotiate services and pricing. They may even handle simple guide services in safe areas, but they still need to teleport to the client.

Self Transport. At or around 5th lvl an Apprentice Navigator can “Jump” up to 10miles per level and Long Door up to a 1000′. So at this point, until they reach 8th lvl they can’t Teleport to a Obelisk or return to Nexus which would be the minimum requirement to handle initial requests.

Transporting Targets. Apprentices can basically do short “leaving” or “long door” with up to 3-5 targets over distances of a few hundred feet.

Weather Control. An Apprentice can control winds, perhaps calm water and predict weather.

Guidance. With Path Mastery an Apprentice has some decent skills of navigation, location and sensing hazards.

Essaence Control. Barring the ability to locate flows and foci, Apprentices are able to tap into Flows and completely replenish their PPs.

Conclusion. At just 5th level and assuming no ability to overcast, an Apprentice can’t really perform the basic duties ascribed to them. But as basic wildnerness guides they have some utility, but perhaps not more than a Druid or Ranger.

Journeyman. (Around 10th lvl). A Journeyman is allowed to lead low-risk
expeditions that won’t require Jumps or high-level magical weather or Flow control. Can they do this?

Self Transport. By 10th level a Navigator can easily teleport to any Obelisk, return to Nexus and Teleport themselves up to 100m/lvl using Flows.

Transporting Targets. Journeyman can Teleport 2-3 targets 10 miles/lvl.

Weather Control. Advanced spells to calm water, control winds and call clouds.

Guidance. Journeyman gain useful spells for guidance, sensing hazards, scout ahead and create magical bridges.

Essaence Control. Slightly more advanced abilities than a Apprentice including parting a minor flow and the ability to draw power in excess of normal limitations.

Conclusion. Journeyman can probably handle most of the typical Navigators duties. At 10th level they’ll have skills and abilities based on their normal Profession (I have issue with this) so they will be competent.

Master. (Around 20th lvl). Master’s should be considered “full-fledged” Navigators with all of the abilities attested to. Let’s see:

1Self Transport. By 20th lvl a Navigator can basically transport themselves pretty much anywhere.

Transporting Targets. Have the ability to Teleport up to 20 targets 10 miles/lvl.

Weather Control. Excluding complete mastery of weather, Master’s can modify skies up to 1 mile/lvl for 1 hr/lvl.

Guidance. Slightly more advanced than a Journeyman with longer range of senses.

Essaence Control. Masters have the ability to “ride the flows” and by 25th lvl can part Major Flows.

Conclusion. Masters are basically the “full package” but don’t have the ability to move large groups and objects (like Skyships) via Teleport until 50th lvl, and even that is limited by size and range. So the reputed powers of Jumping ships to avoid danger is only held by a few of the most powerful Navigators.

Additional thoughts and comments:

  1. The Navigator spell lists are a mess. Some of it seems like lack of editing but there are quite a few useless spells and some useful abilities are missing. I have it on my list for BASiL treatment.
  2. Exact powers of Compasses are never enumerated, but to address some gaps in Navigators abilities, it would easy to assume that compasses provide the ability to cast above your level–I think 10 levels over would be adequate. Apprentices are given “lesser Compasses” (of more recent fabrication). Perhaps these only allow to cast 5 levels above.
  3. Why would Navigators spend days or weeks guiding parties when they could just Jump them quickly and be on their way? Well as written, the Nav spell lists just don’t provide that ability. Other reasons could be the risk involved, factors due to the loss of the Northern Eye, difficulty in Jumping through various Flows, Storms and Foci for longer jumps.
  4. Why would high level Navigators even stoop themselves to such a mundane task? First, powerful Navigators would only be tasked with the most risky assignments. Second, they are probably working for powerful or wealthy entities which could provide valuable intel or insight. Third, it isn’t inexpensive and they need to keep the lights on!
  5. How many Navigators could there possibly be? If you want Navigators to be an element in the game, they can’t just be a legend or rumor–they need to be seen and attainable. But imagine all of the trade, all of the Obelisks and the apparent need for Navigators to, at least, help bypass Essaence Barriers. Would there need to be thousands of Navigators? Tens of thousands?
  6. How many Compasses could there be? The first batch was found in the City of the Dead, consisting of “a dozen magical wristbands”, and then more were found of various designs. All are thought to be of Ka’ta’viir construction. Are there hundred or thousands? Certainly not tens of thousands. We know that the Ka’ta’viir were a small population subset of the Althans, perhaps a few dozen families. Can they be copied? They are supposedly intelligent…by whom or what? (that could lead to an interesting adventure if compasses were corrupted or changed..)
  7. Where did the Navigator Base lists come from? The Loremasters helped the early Nav’s to figure out the compasses, but spell lists access is controlled. Nav and Loremaster base lists are considered “Arcane”, which date back to proto realms times. Maybe the intelligent compasses themselves have the spell lists and grant their use via attunement.

As NPC’s this is mostly a thought exercise. Terry is known for bending, or ignoring, the Rolemaster ruleset to fit his world building. Certainly we can handwave away any inconsistencies. However, I think there is work that could be done to tighten up the Navigators, and I’m all for hidden knowledge escaping–why shouldn’t a player character discover these erudite lists or find a compass themselves in some unplundered tomb?

What do you think??

  1. ↩︎

Slipped through the cracks?

It never fails that I when I go through the various SW books I find something that “slipped through the cracks”. Sometimes it’s a reference to a Loremaster that is never listed anywhere else, or a herb that is brought up once and was never included with the master list of herbs and poisons.

I’ve been going through the original Emer: The Great Continent boxed set as part of a review and I found these two critters:

I’m a firm believer that the Shadow World setting needs to lean into specific creatures, races and “monsters” and not rely on generic fantasy creatures like skeletons, vampires, orcs etc. So I rather liked both of the creatures and especially the Boerks “azure ivory” which is a great addition to the list of valuable trade goods and special material to be included in alchemy and magic item creation.

I checked for these creatures in Emer I, II and III, Master Atlas 3 & 4 but can’t find them. Did I miss it? Were they renamed and I skipped over it?

The Shadow World A.I. Project

  

Of course the subject of A.I. is all the rage in our society nowadays, and there has been a lot of discussion about using this tech in content creation in roleplaying games. Recently, Wizards of the Coast banned the use of AI generated art in their products. But make no mistake about it, AI content is here to stay and will quickly become a invaluable tool artists, designers and writers. The wave is here and there is no stopping it.

I’m not going to make the argument against AI content creation; many better informed people have done so online and in public forums. I don’t disagree with them. And for now, I certainly support the arguments against using AI in monetized products; but what about fan made material, open source products and free OGL supplements?

First, let’s demise two types of basic content in RPG’s: text and art. Can AI generate basic copy for adventure hooks and seeds, or even fully fleshed out adventure plots? Sure, but they still feel a bit flat, derivative and lacking some “flair”. But that content will get better, more setting and game rule specific over time. But artwork and graphics are very different. My own self-publishing experience has shown me that artwork (illustrations, diagrams, floorplans and maps) are a major obstacle for me to put out average quality product. I don’t have the skills and I don’t have the time or experience to properly commission art for a product. For many amateur writers or small publishers good artwork is just not financially feasible or pushes the cost of publishing a product up to the point there is no profit making ability.

What about Shadow World? A rich setting with significant amount of content, but it’s author now passed away. Many of us believe that simply reorganizing and compiling existing information could make some of Terry’s products better and more user friendly. For example a Jaiman source book or a new, fully comprehensive edition of the Master Atlas. I’ve blogged about these ideas for years, but given the overall pace of SW publications and ICE’s current focus on RMU and HARP it’s getting less likely that SW will continue on in any official capacity or with substantial new publications. But AI can leverage existing SW material and IP and accelerate a publishing schedule that would introduce new SW books that are derived from CANON material.

My brother Matt (Vroomfogle) has started to deep dive into AI capabilities and see how they might be used for his own SW and Rolemaster gaming, but perhaps as an assist to generating some new material as well.

From Matt on his first endeavor:

I ran this campaign with the boys online around Covid…we actually played quite a bit, with maybe a couple dozen sessions.  Some of them took notes which was pretty spotty, random, and didn’t make much sense.   Well I combined the notes along with my own notes, and threw that into ChatGPT to get what was a pretty decent narrative for each session.

I then find myself wanting to expand upon descriptions of NPCs, groups, organizations….e.g., throw all the text about Yinka in ChatGPT to create a 1 paragraph summary.  

Then, I went one step further and started creating images with Stable Diffusion….

This is all because we’re picking up the campaign again and I needed to summarize the story so far.  Now, this still took a fair amount of work, but I finally got it together, in 37 pages!

You can check out the results on the RMForums. This site doesn’t seem to support the file size.

But note the artwork. Barring the town map and the map of Jaiman, this was all AI generated art. Of course they are different styles: watercolor, line drawing, colored etc but it certainly provides a look at the opportunities AI may provide for amateur creators. So what types of projects might AI assist in for Shadow World?

  1. Shadow World Herb Supplement. I’ve been working on fleshing out a supplement on SW herbs and wanted to add artwork for each plant. AI would make that very easy–and quick!
  2. Shadow World Races – Illustrated. Based on previous comments on blogs and forums I think there is a real demand for illustrations depicting the various SW races. There are a lot them, and I think it can be hard to visualize them without a reference point.
  3. The Nomikos Library. What would you get if you partitioned a vault, assessable to AI and uploaded the full SW Timeline and supporting historical materials? Then you wrote code to create a user portal where you could “Ask Andraax” any question about SW. That would be a powerful tool and perhaps add some differentiation and user value to the Shadow World setting.

These are just 3 simple products that could be developed without messing with CANON. They would be done quickly and at a fairly low cost! Combined with PoD and Drivethrurpg it could revitalize SW in a way that hasn’t been possible.

What are your thoughts? Check out Matt’s work on his “Legacy of the Y’kin” campaign over on the forums.

RPG Character Generation and New Players.

I was reading this Blog Post, and this sentence caught by attention:

“I was 90% sure…..This group of four would sit down to learn 5e D&D, make new characters, and run out of time before even rolling a single die outside of character creation.”

To be sure, I am completely unknowledgeable about current RPG rule systems, but I was always under the impression that Rolemaster, beyond it’s reputation for charts and deadliness, was also notorious for it’s lengthy chargen. So I was surprised to hear that these later editions of D&D and 5e specifically were seen as a cumbersome process.

I’ve always find the process of making a character, using flexible rules, was enjoyable and it was certainly the appeal of Rolemaster when I was first introduced in the 80s. But in the context of introducing new players to a game system, the blogger made a salient point:

“When your friends agree to sit down to a game of D&D, they want to *play* D&D, not learn rules or have to make dozens of choices they don’t really understand. That’s nerd shit. They want to start having these thrilling adventures, funny moments, and participate in the experiences that they hear you rave about. Or maybe see in video or hear about on podcasts.”

In other words, immerse new players into the game experience quickly without the minutia of game rules or technicalities. I had the chance to introduce D&D players to a high level Rolemaster adventure recently. By supplying them with pre-made characters, solid backgrounds and ran the adventure as more “high fantasy” than the typical Rolemaster grittiness, I was able to shepherd them through the first 3 chapters. While they were lost a bit on the some of the game systems intricacies, I leaned into the world building aspects of Shadow World. Either way, they had a great time and experienced a game system they might never have tried.

Perhaps Rolemaster will never be the “rules light” system that seem to be in vogue today, but it doesn’t seem to be an outlier any more with the more dense rules introduced in D&D. Is this the right take on this?

Still ranking up there with other RPG blogs!

I like to regularly check the ranking for the Rolemasterblog. We have a lot going against us: the majority of content is for D&D style games, despite RMU, RM is seen as a legacy system and there are only a handful of people writing new content for Rolemaster or Shadow World.

This month we rank 35th. I think that is very impressive, although I admit to being lost on the methodology used for this ranking system. It certainly gives me hope that there is a dogged interest in RM, and the Rolemasterblog in general.

https://blog.feedspot.com/rpg_blogs/

Periscope Up.

I wish I was posting a blog with more content, but I just thought I would check in and see how everyone is doing. Speaking of “dog days of summer” I found my last similar post way back in 2018. Wow, 5 years ago. A lot of changes: RMU is finally release and Terry passed away, but other than that it seems more of the same.

Of course I’m following the forums and discord. It feels like there is activity from new users or players that have found their way back to the Rolemaster fold? Certainly a lot of the usual rule adjudication.

Anyway, I hope all is well with the RM community. My hope is to get back to blogging regularly this fall when things settle down for me. In the meantime, happy to hear your comments:

  1. Are you playing regularly? In person or still online?
  2. Have you switched to RMU?
  3. What are you looking forward to? Treasure Law? Something else?
  4. If you are playing in Shadow World, where is your group now? Any good stories?

Prepping Session #3

My next session of Lost Mines of Phandelver will be a week today. The characters have made it to the town and have been picking up rumours. There were three possible ways that they could have chosen to go from what they learned, and I picked the one that I thought was most likely to appeal to the players.

I am recreating all the maps in the module using DungeonDraft and then importing them into Fantasy Grounds for us to play. DungeonDraft has a trace image function so I can easily screenshot the PDF map, save it as an image and then draw over the top. It makes building maps quite quick.

I assumed that they would go after the bandits, and two of the players immediately latched on to those clues, but then the most stubborn player decided that they needed to head back and deal with the goblins and help rescue their NPC patron.

I, of course, had planned and mapped the bandits and set up all the encounters on Fantasy Grounds. The effort isn’t lost because I know that they will come back and deal with them.

There was more than enough to do in town to keep them amused during the session and it was only at the end of the game that they finally decided on their next course of action.

I now have this week to build all the maps, encounters, and loot parcels for Cragmaw Castle. I also copy’n’paste the adventure text into Fantasy Grounds Story boards so that I can link from those to the encounters, maps, images etc all from within the VTT.

My prep looks to be 8 planned encounters, one map to create, one trap, and about 10 parcels of things that could be found and looted. Then just copy the text over.

So far I have been pleased with how the conversion from D&D to RMC has gone. I have had to increase encounter numbers because the characters are tougher than first/second level D&D characters but apart from that it has been easy to find equivalent monsters, spells, and items.