Legends of Shadow World: Surviving Chapter 2

This is a continuation of my previous blog post on “Legends of Shadow World“, an adventure series I’m writing for characters level 40-60th. Last night the group attempted Chapter 2 (out of what is now 5 total chapters)! It’s getting longer….

While I thought I would replace the current group with other SW personalities of higher level, I didn’t have time this past week to put together the replacements. (btw: I liked T’vaar Dekdarion but I think he’s still in a coma an assassination attempt by the Cult of Stars). I did end up bumping the characters levels a bit:

Malim Pelax: 43rd lvl Loremaster (Magician)

Sumendar: 46th lvl Navigator –“Guides of Vurn-Kye” (Magician)

Knight-Captain Kroger: 48th lvl Captain of the Sun Guard (Lightbringers of Phaon)

Chomen Drah: 50th lvl Priest of Iorak

Jan Jo’drin: 54th lvl Changramai Warrior

The biggest change was allowing Chomen access to his 50th lvl Spell “Master”. (this is one of a few allowances I’m making while using RM2) All of the characters were effective, but the Navigator felt constrained due to his organizationally mandated neutrality. I may need to replace the Navigator in the group and just have the PCs use Navigator services when needed.

Chapter 1 introduced some environmental challenges and restrictions (Essaence Fluxuations) while Chapter 2 has different restrictions, this time on Channelers. The PCs were already depleted by Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 occurs immediately so there is no time for the group to “recharge”. C2 is more of a traditional dungeon crawl, with traps, guardians etc. For the most part, the group progressed slowly but steadily, but the challenges continued to erode their resources. The final confrontation proved to be a surprise–there are RM creatures that are incredibly dangerous to even high level characters! And no, they are not Shards.

While the players followed a fairly directed route that I sketched out, I’m going to flesh out the rest of the complex for the eventual published product. I think it’s going to be an amazing place to explore!

I think my biggest take away: even though there is lots of talk about high level spell casters having an advantage over non-spell users at higher levels, the reality is that casters better get good at some type of combat skill! Large numbers of semi-powerful creatures can overwhelm and defeat the most powerful caster and smart opponents will target casters who try and stay back and cast spells. (Isn’t that always how PCs beat tougher opponents?)

So far, I’ve been pleased with how the RM2 system rules are holding up at these high levels but a bit sad my group is back using RAW rather than my own simplified system. (although we are using the simplified encumbrance rules). My players and I discussed the differences playing this in RM2 versus our normal SW campaign using our own ruleset (SWARM). Here are some thoughts:

  1. Set HPs. We adopted Peters idea of set hitpoints and eliminating Body Development. The players liked having a lot more HPs at lower level, but now wonder if it would be better to have Body D back for these high level adventures! Ha, the grass is always greener!
  2. BASiL. RM2 and most iterations just give spell casters too many spells. A 50th lvl caster could conceivably have 25 lists and over 400 spells. By 15th lvl, most casters will have all the Open and Closed, the only differentiation being Base Lists. The players like having less, more distinct, more specialized and more powerful spells that BASiL allows.
  3. Unlimited Rank Development. The group would have liked to have unlimited rank development back. A fighter could have 200+ skill ranks in a weapon. Thats a 200+ OB, but more importantly we use # of skill ranks to offset combat maneuver penalties (not Combat Specializations). So a Fighter (or Monk) with 200 ranks could engage 4 opponents without any OB penalty (-50 per opponent, but doesn’t take into effect position penalties). Or parrry most missile weapons or engage in multiple attacks against several opponents etc.
  4. Meta-Skills. By 50th level, you HAVE to bake in meta-gamer effects and assume powerful characters will just know things and be good at things. Fewer meta-skills lends itself to higher level gaming.
  5. “Level-less” gameplay. We have been using “Stats as Skills” which are basically level agnostic. The players like the improvements that a level based system gave them, but agreed it didn’t make much sense.
  6. Magic Power rules. I nerfed Daily Items quite a bit, so the players liked having Daily items that didn’t require them to provide the powerpoints!
  7.  Great Role-Playing. Having the group adopt pre-gen characters allowed them to stretch a bit without the emotional attachment they might have with their own custom built characters. Out of the 5 characters the group favorite for roleplaying was Sumendar with Kroger coming in a close second! In terms of efficacy, guess who was the most potent character? 


8 Replies to “Legends of Shadow World: Surviving Chapter 2”

  1. I would say the most effective character would be Jan Jo’drin. As the semi he/she would have long outgrown the restrictions of not having enough DPs to build up both magic and skill based aspects.

    Fixed #Hits, I am curious how much difference this made? I have normally found that it is the critical that kills not loss of #hits. I have never tested this at such high level though.

    1. The players feel that they have less hits than they normally would at this level. I’m not so sure, I actually had to go look up the original HP rule in RM. We are supposed to roll dice per skill rank!

      Jan is a Warrior Monk–no spells.

  2. So how do the fixed hits work?

    RM2 also capped hit points at a racial maximum (which could be adjusted I believe by Con), which means a big difference with RMU. In RMU, characters can have MANY more hit points at high level, especially if they take a professional bonus in Body Development. This was one of the issues that was slowing our combats down (even for lower level characters) in recent beta testing: characters’ hit points were significantly higher, and at the same time the hit points that weapons delivered had been toned down. JDale has noted though that they are aware of the issue, and suggested that hits delivered might need to be increased.

    1. I have been working on (and you are not going to like this!)…

      #Hits = Con stat + 1/2 SD stat + Racial Con bonus

      So an average Joe (Human) has 75 hits. An average Dwarf would have 90 hits because if his +15 Con racial bonus.

      I still use Temp and Potential stats so an experienced warrior is going to be tougher than a raw recruit because their stats are going to be higher. In my game all potentials are 100 but stat gains are dependent on skills used. If you spend all day swinging your sword then there is little chance of your ME and EM stats increasing.

      You of course do not use 1-100 stats so this isn’t going to work for you. You would have to use (Con Stat Bonus +15)*3 + (1/2 * (SD Stat Bonus + 15 * 3)) + Racial Bonus or something like that.

      From a Rolemaster perspective it makes Con more important. Otherwise it is a much underused stat.

    2. Just to compare:

      In RM2, a normal human (+0 Constitution) has a maximum of 120 hit points. I’m not sure if the level bonuses to Body Development that some professions get allows characters to go over that limit, but IIRC they do not. So basically, the maximum hit points a level 40 character can have is 120.

      In RMU, a normal human Fighter might have taken two ranks per level in Body Development, as well as gotten a professional bonus of +2/rank. There is no cap that I am aware of. A normal human also gets a +25 up-front bonus as well that is not in RMU. So at level 40 in RMU, that Fighter would have 280 hit points.

      1. Under my rules the maximum human hits would be 150 so characters start with a lot more and may end up with some more than the RM2 rules but not anywhere near the RUM level.

        My version has two effects, stronger low level characters and as there is no Body Development skill anymore you have a few more DPs to spend elsewhere. Neither of those are a bad thing.

      2. Yeah, Racial Base Hits(Maximums) were a thing under RM2, Hurin, but not Totals.

        So while Human PC1 and Human PC2 are the same for their Max Base Hits of 120, their CO total stat bonii might be different based on background options/talents which then bumps up the Total Hits of each PC.

        PC1 has no CO total bonus, while PC2 has a +25.
        PC1 will have the same Total Hits of 120, while PC2 will have 150.

  3. In our regular SW campaign we switched to Racial Base + Co Stat. Most humans have 50 hits as Racial Base, so we are seeing HPs between 100-150. Certainly helps low level characters to survive, and higher level characters have access to a wide selection of protective/defensive spells in BASiL.

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