Spin Cycle for Shadow World: Court of Ardor pt. 1

While there is always demand for new Shadow World material, even after ignoring all the non-canon material there is still an incredible amount of material for a lifetime of gaming! But gamers love new books and while Terry is working diligently on Emer IV and a slew of other projects I thought I would start a new blog series called “Spin Cycle for Shadow World”. In this series I’ll be suggesting old RPG material that can be re-purposed for Shadow World. An area map, a layout, or a fortress from other settings can be a convenient insert to fill in a campaign or flesh out current material. For the most part I’ll keep the suggestions for use in Jaiman and Emer, the two continents that are well represented by canon SW material.

So where to start? Obviously the first place to look is in other I.C.E. publications and we don’t have to look too hard! Luckily early MERP material is easily adapted to Shadow World; not only is it built on RM stats but the flavor and design aesthetic of Peter’s maps and Terry’s layouts were used in both the Loremaster modules and early MERP campaign modules. But even better, some of the coolest MERP products were authored by Terry himself. The first we’ll discuss, The Court of Ardor, shares the structural DNA of Shadow World and could almost be adopted whole and dropped into Kulthea with little effort.

I’m not a Tolkien expert, so I’m unclear on how much material in CoA was derived from his work, but most of the material seems to cover regions, politics and power not addressed in the LotR. It does feature Terry’s creative trademarks: a mysterious and powerful organization–check; cool magic items—check; powerful NPC’s—check; unique fortresses with great layouts—check. Great stuff and very familiar to Shadow World users. The Court and its members certainly has the glimmerings of the later Jerak Ahrenreth and the various “Suits” (Staves, Helms, Swords, Orbs) echoes the Eight Emerian Orders. The organization of “Darin Tesarath” is virtually identical to the Steel Rain and the Guild of Elements feels like a precursor to the Earthwardens.

While the organizations may be useful, the real benefit is the layouts of the Court’s 9 citadels and the city maps provided in the module. We’ll look at this in more detail in CoA pt. 2.

5 Replies to “Spin Cycle for Shadow World: Court of Ardor pt. 1”

  1. I think I remember reading on the forums that Court of Ardor was more of a Shadow World adventure than one for Middle-earth (and I think some of the people from Ardor actually wound up on Kulthea) which makes it a good one to adapt. Unfortunately, if you didn’t buy it when it was originally published , or picked it up second hand some time ago- and boy, I wish I had – it is probably the single most expensive ICE product to buy.

  2. The sad thing is that I know of at least three copies of Ardor that are sat on shelves or plastic storage boxes that will never be used. They belong to players and GMs that bought every source book and module just so their collections were complete but they will never play them.

    1. I have to admit that I have three MERP modules that I know I will never use. I think I purchased them from a shop that was going out of business and, for whatever reason, never opened them. So they’re still in the original shrink wrap and I’m never going to open them, seeing as they’re worth a lot more like that.

  3. I bought out some inventory from hobby shops as well back in early 2000’s–mostly MERP, all in shrink wrap and sold them over eBay during the height of the LOTR movies. I almost wish I had kept some of the better ones–hardcover Minas Tirith, Laketown etc but I think the market peaked and the availability of pdf’s has leveled off the price bubble.

    I also bought up 3-4 dozen ea. new Iron Wind’s and Cloudlords of Tanara from ICE when they were selling off inventory. They came shrinkwrapped in bundles, not individually. I gave them to Matt to handle when he had the Nomikos Library database and started with RMU development and pretty sure he has most of them in case someone is looking for a new copy.

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