I spent the past two weeks writing a set of adventures. Bizarrely I have used a format I have adapted from Shadow or the Demon Lord to create an adventure for Zweihander as a writing tool to create a Rolemaster adventure.
Let me unpack that a bit.
Shadow or the Demon Lord [SDL] has a format for booklets that contain virtually entire campaigns or adventure paths in a single book. Each book contains eight to twelve complete adventures that link together to form a campaign. Each book is only 35 to 50 pages in total and each installment is just a couple of pages.
I like this format. As long as the GM knows the How and Why of the adventure, has the suitable maps and the key NPCs then they can actually run the adventure in the style that suits their players and their play style.
So using this layout I have written a set of adventures. They are all set in a jungle covered land. It starts with the characters being shipwrecked on the beach and from there there are several locations that can be explored and challenges to overcome, random encounters for characters that go exploring off piste and a plot that is running through the whole thing which will move events on around the characters.
I have used Zweihander as target system as a placeholder for all the possible versions of Rolemaster. This works because Zwei has a much smaller skill set, for example Athletics covers all physical endeavours from climbing to swimming and Awareness covers all forms of Perception. Zwei also have avery compact bestiary where there are just half a dozen basic normal creatures to cover all of life on earth that isn’t monstrous. The grimoire has only 9 spells per profession compared to the hundreds of RM spells.
From the Zwei version it is easier to add more detail, to cover the many versions of Rolemaster with its wealth of different creatures, spells and skills.
Writing for Zwei is much faster than it is for Rolemaster as you do not need to check as many references for all these professions, skill, spells and monsters. Once the adventure is written and you know what monster/NPC/spell or whatever the encounter needs it is really easy to find the reference you need.
It also means you get a bit of a 2 for 1 as you can sell the Zweihander version as part of their community content programme.
It seems a bit of a roundabout way of doing things but it seems to be working quite well. It is always going to be easier to do a ‘conversion’ rather than trying to develop for multiple versions of the same system all at once. I think that is where the SDL contribution comes in. If you know what the challenge is then you can either take a skills detailed approach then you can, that will please the RM2 players. If you use a reduced skill set then that is easily accommodated as well.
There is little or no difference between Creatures & Treasures, Creatures & Monsters and Creature Law so slotting in the same monsters is not much of an issue, the same is largely true of Spell Law as well.
I have been really careful not to use any ICE intellectual property and the setting is an unnamed and unidentified jungle coastline. You can drop that into almost any setting.
I have never tried to sell an explicitly Rolemaster adventure that is effectively ready to play before. I am curious as to how it will sell.
I released the Zweihander version at the weekend and it is selling OK, at a $3 price tag.
I am moving house this weekend but I hope to have this finished and ready to list on DrivethruRPG by the end of next week. I will let you know when I release it.
It is possible that I will not be in a position to blog on Thursday or next Tuesday so please forgive my silence. I am packing boxes!