Random Musings: Rolemaster & Shadow World 2/12/17

Being stuck in severe winter weather is a good excuse to get some writing and work done! I’m still polishing up my next few blog topics but thought I would write a quick blog on some misc. thoughts. This is more to clear my head and refocus my thoughts on various RPG items that are floating around.

  1. There is definitely an “ebb & flow” to the Rolemaster Forum activity. Generally, it seems like the hot topics are created on the RMU forums–intense debates on rules. Right now things just seem slow.
  2. Despite my own frequent blogs about alternate rules I’m having less and less interest in rule sets. Every time I come up with something new, Peter or some one else proposes something as interesting, valid or workable. It feels like a rabbit hole that never ends. In the end I am much more interested in game content than rules. I change rules frequently–with a small group of players it’s less game testing and more about how the rules interact with the narrative flow of the game. My players learned long ago that advocating for rules that allow for min/max, power gaming or mechanistic advantages are missing the point.
  3. Being stuck indoor has allowed me to take a deeper dive in Emer III. I read it when it first came out and scanned several times since, but hadn’t really churned through it or processed new info. I have taken each “canon” SW product and pulled out any world or overview info and added it to our Master Atlas. If you comb through all of Terry’s work and separate local and regional info from world spanning info it results in a much more comprehensive MA. Ours is heading towards 400 pages without creatures or the timeline.
  4. Emer III is fantastic. Like each new product, it continues to fill in gaps in the world building that were hinted at over the last 30 years: Jinteni technology, the Dragonlord, Tower of Vour, Krylites. At 208 pages it covers a lot of new material and straddles a difficult line of overview and specific material. Terry has always been good at that–intensely detailed NPCs, equipment and layouts with broad overviews that still convey a flavor or style.
  5. I’ve said this before but almost every Loremaster or Shadow World product could cover years of gaming. Sure, like everyone else I always want to see new material from Terry, but there is currently enough material now for a lifetime of play. Every product is dense with possible adventure hooks that would be make into a long term campaign!
  6. I’ve been working on an outline to finish the Grand Campaign. My goal was to try and include a snippet of material from each product–that way a group could experience a little bit of each product and visit or explore SW “greatest hits”. Unfortunately I think there is just too much material now! What I have ended up doing is moving several plot lines down to optional to maintain the core adventure path.
  7. My players are finishing up “Priest-King of Shade”. Ideally it would have gotten the PC’s to 12-15th lvl but they are all around 10th lvl. That’s fine–they are segueing into “Empire of the Black Dragon” (which is meant to be Pt. 3 of the series). Empire is less linear than Priest-King; more the style of “Fortresses of M.E.” so the playtesting is an important part of generating adventure layouts for the final product.
  8. I’m hoping I’ve found someone to redo my layouts for Empire. It’s basically 4 facilities, each very different in style and purpose. We shall see!
  9. BASiL Mentalism. A number of people have contacted me about putting up the Mentalism spells. I’m working on it! Unlike Essence or Channeling, I felt that Mentalism needed more work. I started formatting them and ended up making significant changes to the Monk style spells and making changes to the Telekinesis spells.
  10. It’s great to see new contributors to the RolemasterBlog. I hope that the other people that showed interest will participate as well!

6 thoughts on “Random Musings: Rolemaster & Shadow World 2/12/17”

  1. Per your point 2, I agree rules sets certainly can be a rabbit hole. I’ve customized my stuff to either suit my game setting (and with 600 pages or so of world development it needed tailoring) or the genre I’m running (hence my…er…obsession with the RM combat system and tailoring a version to work well with firearms) but otherwise don’t dabble too much. For most of my games, setting dictates rules and not the other way around.

    1. @intothatdarkness I totally agree about setting should dictate the rules not the other way around. I wrote a post probably 2 years ago about how RPGs do not actually exist. What exists are the unique games that we all create. The published rules are just a framework from which all our individual games are derived.

      The only modern rules for firearms I have every used were the Spacemaster ones and I always found them disappointingly underpowered. If you ever want to share your take on modern era RM I would love to read it!

      1. It’s getting there, honestly. I’ve gone through a couple of times and revised firearms stuff (first for Outlaw and in a more comprehensive way for a project I’m working on now), and I think I’ve finally hit the “sweet spot” as far as that stuff goes. Hopefully some of it will see the light of day soon!

  2. @BriH,

    I have only ever played in Shadow World and the only book I ever read was the players guide. Do you think that there can ever be too much world information for a GM?

    I got into Forgotten Realms first and foremost as a teenager reading the fiction. I was playing D&D in Grayhawk at the time but the fiction created the mental images and just like good and bad fantasy fiction the world over; for every book there is at least one role player who says I want to run adventures in that world.

    I have been thinking that with Shadow World there is a huge back catalogue of GMs material, possibly even too much, but where do you start?

    1. I like the originals: Cloudlords or Iron Wind to start. The Fenlon maps are so good you can really plot out the group travel, there are lots of adventure possibilities (using random encounters) and each has a very distinctive flavor. IW is very raw and adventuring in a bleak cold environment adds atmosphere. CL has very unique cultures that is a great start for an interesting PC dynamic. We had a Sulini, Duranaki, Myri and Yinka group year ago that created great role playing situations.

    2. I think the first thing that needs deciding is where you want to play. Emer and Jaiman are the two primary areas, for canon material, and there’s quite a bit available, even though some would need picking up second hand, due to the originals being revamped like Cloudlords and Eidolon were.

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