Shadow World as a cross platform setting. What would it take?

I’ve written dozens of blog posts about my thoughts on the future of Shadow World and now with Terry’s passing, it’s unclear if there is even a future for the setting. Of course, there are many RM users that have no interest in Shadow World and there are other settings that might not fit quite neatly into the world. But that’s true for any setting; I have no interest in the Forgotten Realms or Tekumel (although that setting is intriguing for it’s “alienness”!

But now we are at a crossroads. RMU is being rolled out without any supporting setting or adventures; Terry won’t be writing anymore material; and yet, TTRPG’s are more popular than ever AND building a new world setting for any game system has a high barrier to entry for anyone.

Look at the cover art for EMER. Wow. Look at the material Terry has written over 30 years. Again

How might Shadow World survive or even prosper now?

  1. An aggressive re-statting for RMU.
  2. A d20 version.
  3. A flexible game license for writers to place their adventures in the Shadow World setting.
  4. An editorial schedule of micro-adventures, modules and regional books over a 5 year horizon.

While some resources would need to be deployed (art, page layout and editing) much of this framework is already in place. I wrote about this HERE in early 2021….

I’m not a big believer in “production by committee”, but we already have a core group of productive resources that could be deployed. Rolemasterblog has proven consistent material for over 8 years, over 70 adventure hooks and multiple publications. I’ve written extensively about Shadow World and have posted up quite a bit of SW material here and on the RMForums. My brother Matt (Vroomfogle) is the Shadow World moderator at the RMForums, was the architect and project manager for the SW Players Guide, was the early primary author for RMU Core, ran the Nomikos library, and was a participant in many RM products in the 2000s.

There is a roadmap of ideas, products, role-out and support–what do you think?

3 Replies to “Shadow World as a cross platform setting. What would it take?”

  1. If i where ICE, i would make Shadow World accessable from RMU, HARP and 5E, but also thinking about conversion guides to some other popular systems like Zwei, D6, YZE, PbtA or FitD etc etc.

  2. I never didn’t manage to run a MERP adventure I don’t know what it was but it just didn’t feel right, but when Shadow World appeared I loved it. The box sets also helped make it seem that it was massive. I ran a long running campaign starting with Quellborne and working through Norek, and used other modules or adventure hooks as I could, it was great.

    When Terry released a new module I had to have it and read it from cover to cover. Sad to say but in the end life just got in the way and I moved away from the gaming group, and lost touch.

    Even through I don’t game currently, I have been following RMu since it was first announced, I must admit I did loose faith a little when it was taking so long, however I came back for another look this year, and when the release date was announced I just knew I was going to have to buy it, I am so glad that I did.

    Now reading through RMu Core I can see that it screams out for a setting, a world for player to find adventure in. One clear part is in the Culture paragraph, language skill, and it talks about where you can spend your culture ranks in languages, both written and spoke it uses the examples of Erlini and Shay both of which is a races from Shadow World, that one small piece of text screams to me that there should be a background and world to go with this rules system.

    So yes there has to be something and Shadow World fits the bill nicely and as you say both you and Rolemasterblog has been burning that candle for sometime now.

    ICE does need to catch up with the times and provide you writers with a useable game licence thingy to work with, that would give you the confident to put in the time Shadow World deserves and what I think Terry would have wanted, I guess it also depend on where ICE are with IP of Shadow World maybe you know something of that.

    I was sorry to hear of Terry’s passing it was a shock, but didn’t think that I could add anything more to what had been said by others who knew him far better then I did.

  3. If they’re going to stick with SW as the main setting for RMU (something they should have decided ages ago in my view), they need to start restatting everything last week. Ideally something would have been ready to go with core, or at the very least when the last main book is released. Following that, they should commit to keeping SW going and start planning a combination of restatted old material and new stuff (I’m a sucker for setting products, but having a production schedule for modules or adventures would be good as well…optimally geared toward newcomers mostly but with some higher-level stuff mixed in or farmed out to things like the blog).

    You’re going to have a bit of “production by committee” by default, but I think this works if you have a solid structure and some core areas in place. RMU suffers from the same weakness every earlier version of RM has…undeclared setting syndrome. Just get on with it and declare SW the setting and start moving forward with that. People will convert the rules for other settings if they want…like many have before. But for newcomers, you have to have some kind of grounding. And SW is in RM’s DNA (even though I don’t care for SW, I understand its unspoken role in how RM writ large has developed).

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