Shadow World AI project: Art & Culture

Here is an AI generated poem written in Iruaric with an English translation. I think it’s generic but also pretty damn good?

Iruaric Version

“Viir na Thos”

Na-ia ndar, hith hír shúlare,
Thos aruls kygar suul.
Arul ahren viir,
Lak usuiv, phoen drasul.

K’lav, kort thea vash,
Lirnul man, sa lo spirith,
Emer hûl, mur shú,
Serephoen, phaol ryka trû.

Gaalekar lin, kuul eir,
Linær andos, aen aek her,
Nuul shaut nae, lair lanos,
Serem lorith, throk loar.

Viirnæ, xu darth, Fatean fæ,
Amorul raath mûn, hith ar,
Diræ kyrs kolth aern,
Uscurak phoen karn.

Dom arus, shulu syth,
Vuul lavan ryk mûr,
Rakkul kolth, raath utumkod,
Ahrenul laakh, viirnæ, Xul.

Puk karn, aer drayn suul,
Larn hir, lug neith,
Viirnæ, jaiarul, aerna vë,
Utumwomaw, Fatean—xu darth.

English Translation of Iruaric Poem

“Essence of the Mountain”

In the realm of lands, under the sky so clear,
Mountain casts shadows by starlight.
Seeing the hidden essence,
Through lakes and oceans, journey closely.

The Lord of the old world,
Dreams through dwellings, where spirits rest,
His heart, full of love,
The healer of secrets, his love so true.

Scholars sing, their voices old,
Singers of beginnings, songs of stone and sight,
Islands whisper of past, of days long eternal,
In green havens, where guardians build.

Believing, the mind’s fate, destiny bound,
Loving beyond the mist, beneath the hill,
Keys to unlock hidden gates,
Darken the path where travel once turned.

In shallow waters, where wet meets water,
The creator of souls finds his cause,
Snow falls, cold to the golden ancients,
Finding the lost, believes, the divine.

Through the wild heights, where thirsty dragons soar,
To the tall high, where ugly echoes,
Believing, forgiving, and finally seeing,
The golden secret, destiny—his fate.

For those “Shadow World Scholars”, I think this is a great poem for Kydak Dûm, the Gold Dragon and head of the Dragonlords (if such a title were to exist). You can read my own thoughts on the subject HERE.

Upcoming: The Rolemaster Podcast

This might be too early to announce, but it’s probably given that we have a fairly small, but passionate fanbase so it’s sort of necessary. We are in the process of rolling out a new Rolemaster/Shadow World based podcast: In Search of Andraax. This will be a monthly production sponsored by the

We have the first year production mapped out, but I want to solicit YOUR ideas for future podcasts content. Despite it’s current smaller market, Rolemaster was a GIANT of the industry, a pathmaker for other systems (DND 3ed) and for our readers, perhaps the RPG system of choice. It’s history needs to be further explored.

A quick search amongst Youtube and podcasts doesn’t generate a lot of great results: mostly game sessions, product reviews and the rare interview. I’m quite excited about our lineup and approach to the subject matter. If you have an “in” to a key person tied to Rolemaster, or an idea for us to explore, let us know. Is there someone we should interview or is there something you would like to know more about that hasn’t been explored?

Shadow World AI Project: Astronomy pt 2

This is part 2 of my previous post on Kulthea astronomy and might be my longest post yet–though most of the content will be AI generated. While fleshing out Kulthea’s solar system mechanics further is a goal unto itself, my real purpose is tied into the mechanics of the Essaence flows. I’ve blogged about this before HERE and my opinion has wavered between locating the interdimensional source of the Essaence on Orhan or the lagrange point between Kulthea and Orhan. A few general points from Terry’s work:

  1. The Lords of Orhan arrived from another dimension, opening up a rift that allowed the Essaence into the Kulthean solar system.
  2. The Essaence is a localized effect. We know that it’s found on Kulthea, Charon and Orhan. We can assume it permeates the other 3 moons to some degree, but I’m going to experiment with the orbits to see how that might work. In fact a number of Ka’ta’viir left Kulthea to search for the Essaence in other parts of the galaxy (and returned later to become the Earthwardens)
  3. When the Lords of Orhan arrived, they settled on the near moon of Orhan, implying that they didn’t arrive on the moon itself.
  4. Terry never included material that the Essaence is sourced on Kulthea, or include any mechanism, object or location for such a thing. (my blog posited that the Pillar of the Gods could be that “tuning fork” but the timing seems off.

What we can all agree on is that the interdimensional rift must be located somewhere, it has to be within the Kulthean solar system and the solar system itself is moving through the ether/universe. Therefore, it should be a fixed point that moves with the planetary bodies. I’m settling on my third option, that the rift is in the lagrange point between Kulthea and Orhan and is anchored by some object, although that object could be interdimensional and perhaps non-physical in “Kulthea world”. This allows for some interesting Essance interactions, plays along with some astronomical events like the “Night of the Third Moon”, and partially explains why the Charonic gods are lesser than the Orhanian ones.

For purposes of my simulation I kept the modelling to the interactions and orbits of Kulthea, Orhan and Charon. I plugged in the diameters, orbital distances and orbit lengths into the AI and got this preliminary summary:

To simplify, we’ll assume circular orbits for initial calculations, even though Charon’s orbit is explicitly non-circular (polar orbit with varying distance). For this model, let’s calculate the average orbital speed of each moon and see how they compare.

Key Data

  • Kulthea
    • Diameter: 8,600 miles
    • For simplicity, we’ll assume its mass can be approximated by Earth’s given the similar size, as mass directly influences gravitational pull but was not specified. This is purely for the sake of calculation and the scenario’s understanding.
  • Charon
    • Diameter: 850 miles
    • Average Orbital Radius: 130,000 miles+190,000 miles2=160,000 miles2130,000 miles+190,000 miles​=160,000 miles (Given as orbit distance, matches initial input)
    • Orbital Period: 21 days
  • Orhan
    • Diameter: 3,800 miles
    • Orbital Radius: 210,000 miles
    • Orbital Period: 70 days


For each moon, we can calculate the average orbital speed using the formula:

Orbital Speed=2�×Orbital RadiusOrbital Period in secondsOrbital Speed=Orbital Period in seconds2π×Orbital Radius​

Converting orbital periods from days to seconds for this calculation:

1 day=86,400 seconds1 day=86,400 seconds

Let’s proceed with these calculations.

The average orbital speed of Charon around Kulthea is approximately 0.554 miles per second, while Orhan orbits at an average speed of about 0.218 miles per second.

These calculations provide a simplified view of the orbital mechanics of Kulthea and its moons. They help us understand the relative speeds at which Charon and Orhan move through their orbits, given their distances and periods.

But I am interested in how often Charon eclipses Orhan, which should be a significant physical, metaphysical and societal event given the roles that these moons play in Kulthean culture. After a few simple prompts, AI produces this:

The orbital periods of Charon (21 days) and Orhan (70 days) suggest that any alignment cycle would be tied to how these periods relate. Specifically, we can look for the least common multiple (LCM) of the two periods, which would give us a rough cycle in days when their relative positions repeat, offering potential for an eclipse, assuming perfect orbital conditions.

Let’s calculate the LCM of Charon’s and Orhan’s orbital periods to find this cycle.

The least common multiple (LCM) of the orbital periods of Charon and Orhan is 210 days. This means that every 210 days, the relative positions of Charon and Orhan to Kulthea align in a cycle, potentially allowing for an eclipse of Orhan by Charon from Kulthea’s perspective, assuming ideal orbital alignments.

It’s important to note that actual eclipse frequency would depend on the specific orbital paths, inclinations, and the nodes at which Charon’s polar orbit intersects Orhan’s ecliptic orbit. Without more detailed orbital mechanics and alignments, this estimation provides a baseline for the periodicity with which such alignments could theoretically occur.

I’m also curious about how often Charon is in Zenith to Kulthea. In canon, this is a oft referred to event called “Night of the Third Moon” and Terry has established that occurring every 149 days. Terry also establishes that Charon perigee occurs every 24 days:

Charon Perigee
This is when Charón swings closest to Kulthea—an event
which has no relation to the Darkside Zenith of the ‘Night
of the Third Moon’ because of Charón’s strange ‘wobbling’
as it rolls around Kulthea. Charón Perigee occurs every 24
days, a little further in its orbit every time it circles Kulthea.
But this distance is significantly closer. At zenith the Third
Moon approaches as close as 130,000 miles, swinging near
the orbit of Varin. At apogee it arcs out as far as 190,000
It should be noted that every 10.2 years in certain locales
near the equator there is a correspondence of perigee and
zenith in which Charón hangs huge and red over the night
sky. It is a time to fear.

I’m not well versed in astronomy and there is a lot of comingled terms and effects I need to delve into and it’s not clear that Terry’s numbers are accurate given the physical constraints of the planets and orbits. But again, I’m interested in a eclipse of Orhan which, given the location of the Essaence rift in the lagrange point, would imply that Charon would both receive the full flow of Essaence from the rift, and block and reduce Kulthea’s reception of the Essaence. This would truly be a significant and dark event on Kulthea. Per the AI, this would occur every 210 days.

But Terry has defined zenith occuring every 149 days, so I plugged this into the model:

If Charon reaches zenith from Kulthea every 149 days, despite having an orbital period of 21 days, this indicates a more complex orbital interaction or axial rotation of Kulthea than initially simplified.

Here are some possible conclusions or considerations based on this information:

  1. Axial Tilt and Rotation of Kulthea: Kulthea’s rotation or axial tilt might be such that Charon’s polar orbit aligns with zenith over a given point (likely one of the poles) only at certain intervals dictated by how Kulthea rotates. If Charon is directly overhead (at zenith) every 149 days, it suggests that Kulthea’s rotation period and axial tilt cause the alignment with Charon’s orbit to match up less frequently than Charon’s complete orbit around Kulthea.
  2. Orbital Precession: Another possibility is the precession of Charon’s orbit, where the orientation of Charon’s orbital plane gradually shifts over time. However, for precession to result in a zenith occurrence every 149 days, it would require a very specific interaction between the rates of orbital precession, the planet’s rotation, and the moon’s orbital period.
  3. Synchronization Phenomena: This timing could also hint at a unique synchronization between Kulthea’s rotational period and Charon’s orbit, where the specifics of their interaction only align Charon over a zenith point every 149 days. This kind of synchronization might involve resonances between the orbital and rotational periods, though the mechanism would be complex given the data.
  4. Observation Specificity: The 149-day interval for zenith alignment could also depend on the specific location on Kulthea’s surface from which observations are made, influenced by the planet’s rotation and Charon’s orbit. It might not be a global phenomenon but rather specific to certain latitudes.

In summary, a 149-day interval for Charon to reach zenith suggests a complex relationship between Kulthea’s rotation, Charon’s orbit, and possibly the axial tilt of the planet. This relationship goes beyond simple orbital mechanics and delves into the intricacies of planetary and lunar dynamics within this fictional system.

So this is interesting but not very useful to me at this point. My take away at this point is that a significant event occurs every 210 days. In my Shadow World, that will not be the Night of the Third Moon. But I’m also interested in how my placing the interdimensional rift in the lagrange point could impact orbital mechancis, or raise any issues I hadn’t thought about. So I asked:

can we infer anything about the lagrange point between orhan and kulthea?ChatGPT

Lagrange points are positions in space where the gravitational forces of a two-body system, like a planet and a moon, produce enhanced regions of attraction and repulsion. These can be used to balance a smaller object, making it possible to maintain a stable position relative to the two larger bodies. For Orhan and Kulthea, there are five Lagrange points, but the most commonly discussed for stable orbits are L4 and L5, which form an equilateral triangle with the two larger bodies, and L1, which lies directly between them.

Given the data provided:

  • Kulthea is the primary planet.
  • Orhan is a significant moon orbiting Kulthea at a distance of 210,000 miles.

What we can infer about the Lagrange points, specifically L1 between Orhan and Kulthea:

  1. Location of L1: The L1 point would lie along the line connecting the centers of Kulthea and Orhan, closer to Orhan due to its lesser mass relative to Kulthea. The exact position can be calculated using the formula that considers the masses of Kulthea and Orhan and their distance apart.
  2. Stability: The L1 point is known for its unstable equilibrium. Objects placed at L1 tend to drift away due to the slightest perturbation and require station-keeping maneuvers to maintain position. For a moon and planet system, this is still true but is more relevant for artificial satellites.
  3. Utility: In science fiction or theoretical space missions within such a system, L1 could serve as a valuable position for observational satellites to study Orhan, Kulthea, or the space between them, possibly monitoring weather, magnetic fields, or other scientific interests.

Calculating the exact position of L1 requires knowing the masses of Kulthea and Orhan, which were not specified. However, the formula for finding the L1 point’s distance �d from the smaller body (Orhan) in a two-body system is given by:



  • R is the distance between the centers of the two bodies,
  • �1m1​ is the mass of the larger body (Kulthea),
  • �2m2​ is the mass of the smaller body (Orhan).

This formula simplifies the complex gravitational relationships into a more manageable calculation but requires the masses of the two bodies to apply directly. Without the masses, we can’t calculate the precise location but can appreciate the conceptual placement and significance of the L1 point between Kulthea and Orhan.

When does Charon interfere with the lagrance point between orhan and kulthea?

To understand when Charon might interfere with the Lagrange point (specifically the L1 point) between Orhan and Kulthea, we’d consider the orbits of both moons and their spatial relationships to Kulthea.

Given the scenario:

  • Orhan orbits Kulthea at a distance of 210,000 miles on the ecliptic.
  • Charon orbits Kulthea at an average distance (considering its polar orbit with varying zenith and apogee) but specifically has a polar orbit that could cross the ecliptic plane.

Interference at the L1 point between Orhan and Kulthea by Charon would occur under these conditions:

  1. Orbital Plane Crossing: Since Charon has a polar orbit, it would only potentially interfere with the L1 point when its orbit crosses the ecliptic plane, where Orhan’s orbit lies. This would happen twice every orbital period of Charon, once when it moves from south to north across the ecliptic and once from north to south.
  2. Alignment with L1: For Charon to specifically interfere with the L1 point, its crossing of the ecliptic plane would need to coincide with the line connecting Kulthea and Orhan where the L1 point is located. Given the orbits and sizes involved, this alignment would be relatively rare.
  3. Timing and Orbital Position: The actual occurrence of such interference would depend on the relative timing of Charon’s orbital plane crossing with Orhan’s position in its orbit. Given Charon’s 21-day orbit and Orhan’s 70-day orbit, predicting exact intersections without detailed simulation and precise orbital mechanics (including the specific orbital inclinations and nodes) is challenging.

Given these considerations, while we can’t provide a precise schedule without further orbital mechanics details, we can infer that:

  • Charon’s potential to interfere with the L1 point between Kulthea and Orhan is limited to specific instances when it crosses the ecliptic at or near the L1 point.
  • Such events would be relatively infrequent and predictable with a more detailed analysis of their orbits.

In essence, while Charon could theoretically interfere with the L1 Lagrange point between Orhan and Kulthea, the conditions for such interference would occur at specific, infrequent intervals dictated by the intersection of Charon’s polar orbit with the ecliptic plane at the location of the L1 point.

Can you estimate that frequency within 1 standard deviation?

To estimate the frequency within 1 standard deviation of when Charon might interfere with the Lagrange point L1 between Orhan and Kulthea, we need a basic understanding of the statistical distribution of these events over time. Given the complexity and the non-random nature of orbital mechanics, a true statistical standard deviation isn’t directly applicable without empirical data or detailed simulations. However, we can approach an estimation by considering the orbital periods and the conditions required for interference.

Key Points for Estimation:

  • Charon’s Polar Orbit Intersection: Charon crosses the ecliptic plane twice per its orbital period (21 days).
  • Orhan’s Orbital Period: Orhan completes its orbit in 70 days.
  • Synchronization of Orbits: The key is finding when Charon’s ecliptic plane crossings align with the L1 point between Orhan and Kulthea.

Given these factors, let’s estimate the likelihood of alignment:

  • Charon’s ecliptic crossing occurs approximately every 10.5 days (half of its 21-day orbit).
  • The “window” for potential interference at L1 during each of Charon’s crossings would be relatively short, given the vast distances and relative speeds involved.

Simplified Estimation Approach:

We’ll assume that if Charon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic plane near the L1 point when Orhan is also near this point in its orbit, interference could occur.

Given the orbital periods:

  • Charon crosses the ecliptic plane every 10.5 days.
  • Orhan’s position relative to Kulthea and the L1 point changes gradually over its 70-day orbit.

The likelihood of both moons’ positions aligning with the L1 point (and thus Charon potentially interfering with it) can be thought of in terms of Charon’s crossings during Orhan’s orbit.

Calculation for Estimation:

  1. Cycle Length: Calculate the time it takes for the alignment cycle to repeat, potentially using the least common multiple (LCM) of Charon’s and Orhan’s orbital periods.
  2. Alignment Opportunities: Divide Orhan’s orbital period by the frequency of Charon’s ecliptic plane crossings to estimate how many opportunities for interference exist per Orhan orbit.

Let’s proceed with a rough calculation based on these assumptions.

The least common multiple (LCM) of the orbital periods of Charon and Orhan is 210 days, indicating that the alignment cycle between their positions repeats every 210 days.

During Orhan’s 70-day orbit, Charon crosses the ecliptic plane approximately 6.67 times (every 10.5 days given its 21-day orbit), presenting several opportunities for potential alignment with the L1 point.

Given these crossings and the LCM, we can estimate that there could be about 3 significant alignments within one 210-day cycle where Charon’s position might align with the L1 point between Orhan and Kulthea, under ideal conditions. This is a simplified approximation and actual alignments would depend on the precise orbital dynamics and spatial positions of Orhan and Charon relative to Kulthea.

This estimation suggests that, within one standard deviation or one complete cycle (210 days), we might expect up to 3 opportunities for Charon to interfere with the Lagrange point L1 between Orhan and Kulthea, assuming each ecliptic crossing by Charon has the potential to align closely with Orhan’s position near L1. This frequency is an averaged estimate, and the actual occurrence could vary based on the specific mechanics of their orbits. ​​

So if we were to average this, Charon would eclipse the lagrange point in relationship to Kulthea every 70 days.

So let’s summarize some basic points:

  1. 149 Days. The Night of the Third Moon occurs on the Zenith of Charon. I’m a bit confused on this since Charon has a polar orbit by definition the “highest” it’s in the sky would be when it’s directly over the north pole. Anyone have a better interpretation of this?
  2. 24 days. The perigree of Charon (when it’s closest to Kulthea @ 130,000 miles) occurs.
  3. 10.5 days. Charon crosses the ecliptic (half of it’s 21 day orbit)
  4. 70 days. Charon eclipses the lagrange point between Kulthea and Orhan.

My takeaway:

  1. Zenith. I’m not sure the zenith should have any real impact (physical or metaphysical). The long zenith interval needs to be explained by axial tilt, precession or a combination of factors which I think are too messy and complicated for usable gameplay. Instead, I see the zenith as an dark omen, but given that Charon would be directly overhead of a specific geographic area on Kulthea, there is an increased chance of encountering a creature of Charon. (they would travel the most direct, shortest route from moon to planet)?
  2. Perigee. When Charon is closest to Kulthea there should be an uptick in Charon activity and visits. (ie less effort and power to travel from the moon to the planet).
  3. Lagrange eclipse. The period when Charon intersects the lagrange point between Orhan and Kulthea. This event should drastically modify the Essaence flows bathing Kulthea and dramatically increase the Essaence exposure to Charon.
  4. Moon eclipse. The period when Charon physically and fully eclipses Orhan. This would create the same type of conditions in #3 but also disrupt Channelers of Orhan and reduce or block any interactions between Orhan and Kulthea. This should be a very dangerous and perilous event and in my mind should be the real “Night of the Third Moon”. Charon becomes ascendant and the people of Kulthea are basically blocked from their gods on Orhan. Ouch!

The last piece of my puzzle for game purposes is the impacts on Charon when it’s is eclipsed from the lagrange point by Kulthea. per analysis, such disruption would last minutes or hours and occur once every 21 days. At this point, Charon would be completely cut off from the Essaence, weakening it’s denizens and disrupting the “social order” of the moon. Furthermore, the whole 180 degree arc from the eclipse point would also put Charon further away from the lagrange point. I would consider that 1/2 of it’s orbit Charon is receiving less Essaence exposure. This is a contributing factor to Charons role as a lesser pantheon and why Charon makes for a good “prison planet” for these entities.

So a long post, but to distill it down to the basics. I wanted a simplified model and calendar for celestial events involving Charon and Orhan. I also wanted to tie this into the base mechanics of the source of the Essaence flows. Until now, I’ve just hand waved some answers, but now with AI I can come to a proximity of a scientific solution using orbital mechanics.

Shadow World AI project – Iruaric

As part of my ongoing expansion of Shadow World material using AI, I probably need to spend more time on Iruaric, the language of the Ka’ta’viir. Arguably this is the proto language of Kulthea, (although I created a lesser version called “Alta” to differentiate high and low speak and the eventually evolution into power and magical languages).

Also to keep in mind is that in the Shadow World and Spacemaster, the Althans and/or Ka’ta’viir with “Harbingers” throughout the galaxy–a light inference to “seeding life” theory of sentience. There is a lot to unpack, but Iruaric should not be overlooked despite it being a dead language. Hey, there are quite a few Ka’ta’viir running around (relatively, it’s been 110,000 Years).

So I’ve been running prompt evolutions through the AI machine. To start we have this as a next stage baseline for further development. Some of this feels to derivative of the Kugor language, but in certain theories, Kugor is a sublanguage of Iruaric. I’m not a fan of some of these results, some of it seems over simplistic–pig latin at best by adding a suffix tag, but I’ve done additional iterations, adding in a flavor of science and math to steer results. That makes sense given the advanced nature of the Althans.

Nature and Elements

  • Fire – Fyrag
  • Water – Caelum
  • Earth – Græn
  • Wind – Vexil
  • Storm – Kyrag
  • Mountain – Torgun
  • River – Silyn
  • Forest – Wuldor
  • Star – Astyr

Emotions and States

  • Joy – Jylar
  • Sadness – Sorgum
  • Anger – Kravex
  • Peace – Silen
  • Chaos – Xyran
  • Love – Amorin
  • Hate – Hatyr

Actions and Properties

  • To Run – Ryven
  • To Hide – Cylk
  • To Seek – Søgen
  • To Destroy – Destrak
  • To Protect – Wærd
  • To Fly – Fliyr
  • To Swim – Nævum

Objects and Constructs

  • Sword – Sverd
  • Shield – Skild
  • Book – Bokar
  • Gate – Gæten
  • Charm – Charmyn
  • Potion – Poten
  • Gem – Jemar

Society and Culture

  • King – Kæng
  • Queen – Qwyn
  • Warrior – Krygær
  • Mage – Magyr
  • Priest – Prester
  • Thief – Thyf
  • Merchant – Mercat

New Vocabulary Expansion

Concepts and Abstract Ideas

  • Wisdom – Xuviir
  • Destiny – Fatean
  • Dream – Lirnæ
  • Memory – Naemir
  • Promise – Jairth
  • Honor – Korthal
  • Freedom – Farolæn

Nature and Geography

  • Desert – Rakan
  • Valley – Mûnlan
  • Sky – Hírvir
  • Rain – Shulurus
  • Ice – Rakshú
  • Snow – Rakkul
  • Grove – Serefol

Actions and States

  • To Love – Amorul
  • To Fight – Krygarul
  • To Forgive – Jaiarul
  • To Remember – Naemurul
  • To Dream – Lirnul
  • To Believe – Viirnæ
  • To Discover – Ahrenul

People and Beings

  • Hero – K’lav
  • Sage – Xuviiræ
  • Explorer – Phoenar
  • Healer – Emerlav
  • Scholar – Gaalekar
  • Trader – Mercatal
  • Outcast – Laakhnur

Objects and Tools

  • Key – Diræ
  • Boat – Nuularus
  • Cloak – Kulman
  • Lantern – Hírlight
  • Pendant – Viirgem
  • Tome – BokarPn
  • Herb – Serephoen

Shadow World AI Project: Astronomy

This orrery captures the grandeur of the Kulthean solar system with a central sun made of golden topaz and planets represented by various precious stones, all adorned with gold accents and set upon a base that blends classical and futuristic elements.

We are covering a lot of ground with our Shadow World AI project and with these blog posts I’m just summarizing some of our work or showing our initial results from the last few weeks and months. My hope is to inspire other SW users to generate their own content, provide useful feedback on the work that I’m doing and moving the Overton Window on the discussions around community content. The hard reality is that AI generative material will quickly outpace human creators in both scope and speed and will be able to emulate creative’s style and work product. As much as I try to keep my material “in the lane” with Canon, AI will be able to iterate new material using Terry’s baseline work–which is substantial.

I’ve been working on a simulation of orbital mechanics to understand the interplay of Kulthea, Orhan and Charon (which matters most to gameplay). My first step was to feed the planetary info into the system and model it. Part of that process was to also generate an ornate orrery that is used in the Temples of Phaon. You can see the picture above. Future work will be to create a animated simulation of the solar system but I want to start with a small simulation of Kulthea and it’s moons.

Shadow World AI project – Kugor

One of the areas that AI like Chatgpt can excel is generating fantasy languages. Not just word emulation, but grammar rules. I’ve been playing around with expanding the vocabularies that have floated around Shadow World books since the original Iron Wind, with a focus on Iruaric and Kugor (the language of Dragonlords). I start with uploading the current available words from the Master Atlas to create a baseline for the AI to work from. Kugor was interesting since it seemed to relate to, or draw, from Norse or Scandanavian influences. I’d be curious if that was intentional on Terry’s part.

The following is a basic first run with a sampling of results:


Kugor appears to have a rich tapestry of words, with distinct sounds and themes focused on power, nature, elements, and societal structures. We’ll create new words that reflect and extend these themes, ensuring they’re phonetically aligned with what you’ve shared.

Given the established vocabulary’s emphasis on strong consonant sounds (like “g,” “k,” “r,” and “b”), use of double vowels for emphasis, and thematic focus on elements, creatures, and societal roles, the new words will follow suit.

Nature and Environment

  • Storm – Raathuon
  • Volcano – Shaangarn
  • Iceberg – Raathkarn
  • River – Biarkael
  • Valley – Karnbrod
  • Meadow – Prykachaw
  • Sun – Utumkodur

Creatures and Beings

  • Wolf – Drayn
  • Eagle – Kodry
  • Serpent – Ssovalg
  • Giant – Hoerkarn
  • Witch – Womuulga
  • Wizard – Womawga

Societal and Conceptual

  • King – Folmgaak
  • Queen – Folmgaakur
  • Hero – Breyaalc
  • Villain – Gartgaath
  • Treasure – Utumwomul
  • Curse – Gaarkchaur

Objects and Artifacts

  • Sword – Daagutum
  • Shield – Aalkaed
  • Book – Cuivagak
  • Potion – Rúansig
  • Crown – Aedfolm
  • Jewel – Eanwomul

Actions and Properties

  • To Conquer – Druskarn
  • To Betray – Gartkraaw
  • To Celebrate – Brechaw
  • To Enchant – Womuulchort
  • To Discover – Uscurackarn
  • To Heal – Prykawomul

Additional Vocabulary Expansion

Natural World and Geography

  • Thunder – Raathlyyg
  • Lightning – Piriig
  • Forest Glade – Chawlocha
  • Ocean – Aactoskuur
  • Mountain Pass – Karnny
  • Volcanic Ash – Shaangdes

Creatures and Beings

  • Sea Monster – Aactosdrak
  • Mountain Spirit – Karnorg
  • Forest Guardian – Horlyalc
  • Sky Serpent – Awduussoi
  • Ancestral Ghost – Androskhomul

Societal Roles and Constructs

  • Chieftain – AWkanga
  • Sage – Fawshrydrul
  • Craftsman – Arxduleer
  • Emissary – Druulkaag
  • Rebel – Ordir

Concepts and Abstract Ideas

  • Oath – Kodulryt
  • Exile – Iirmord
  • Alliance – Chaaggagur
  • Ritual – Yhomechooth
  • Prophecy – Koduldrul

Objects and Artifacts

  • Rune Stone – Orguscurac
  • Heirloom Sword – Daagutumleer
  • Enchanted Cloak – Womuulain
  • Druidic Staff – Uscuractarmen
  • Ship’s Figurehead – Progaorg

Actions and States

  • To Envision – Piriidrul
  • To Enchant – Uscuracchort
  • To Forsake – Gartord
  • To Illuminate – Piriolias
  • To Reign – Kangaoran

I think this is an encouraging first step! AI tools will actually build rules around verb and adverb usage, conjugation, gender use and perspective. My own usage is around building a word toolkit that is phonetically related to the baseline and generating compound words and short phrasing. However, someone with a deeper understanding of language building could really run with this.

We’ve already been working on a central repository for non-commercial Shadow World artwork, it would also be helpful to create a wiki dictionary with expanded lexicon of the more prominent languages. I’m simultaneously working on Iruaric which I’ll post up next, but the Elven languages might be very interesting given Terry’s initial work in the Tolkien setting.

Again, as a disclaimer, I understand the concern and issues around AI generative material, but I also see powerful tools able to expand on Terry’s work without a disruption of canon.

Your thoughts?

Rolemaster, Rolemasterblog and the Future!

I was reading James recent blog over at Grognardia, and it made me think about the current state of this blog and what topics to write about in the future. While James has written more posts (orders of magnitude more), I’m currently sitting at 426 posts over the last 10 years. That’s not bad considering I’ve had lots of downtime and gaps in my output.

Also like James, it’s harder for me to find new material to discuss and/or I realize I’ve already written on the topic years ago. I always thought it was odd when someone would tell me they couldn’t remember how old they were (it tracks now that I’m in my 50’s), and it can also be difficult to remember what I blogged about five, eight or even ten years ago! I think I’ve mined some interesting angles with Rolemaster and Shadow World, but I’m not sure where else I can go with this. Inspiration will occur, but I suspect at a much slower rate.

So where does that leave us? RMU is finally out (mostly), Terry has passed leaving Shadow World indeterminate, TTRPG’s are as popular as they have ever been, and there are numerous channels to explore gaming topics. What conclusions can we draw from these basic observations:

  1. The environment is right to promote Rolemaster/RMU. The system is still one of the few “complex” systems for gamers looking for more verisimilitude. Just like in the early 80’s, players converted to Rolemaster for greater realism or grittiness. Those conditions still exist today–most games embrace simplicity and “rule lite’ structures; there will always be a need for complexity for maturing gamers. It’s a cycle. We need a blogger to cover RMU rules and issues.
  2. Shadow World is still a viable setting for Rolemaster and with a bit of tweeking, RMU. I’ll continue to focus on SW as my main blogging topic, and continue to produce material for that setting. I’m currently focusing on using AI tools to leverage that effort.
  3. In general we need more writers with other viewpoints, ideas and material to contribute to this blog. If you prefer long form over short tweets or discord give blogging a try. There isn’t much RM blogging out there, so it might be better to consolidate output into the Rolemasterblog?
  4. Overall we need to keep the Rolemaster flame lit. RMU has drawn new users and brought old users back. When they search the web they need to find a home, content or a community to engage. Basically there are 3 choices: Rolemaster Forums, Rolemasterblog and RM discord servers.

Sometimes it’s hard to gauge engagement when there is a lack of comments–so let me ask directly. What do you like to read about? Is there material or topics that we haven’t touched upon? Is there something we should focus on more? What material would you find more engaging or comfortable commenting or participating in?

“Punching Up”: Warrior Monks in Shadow World

It’s been a long time since I’ve played a character in Rolemaster. Early on I became the GM and have filled that role to this day. But when I did play it was usually as the Warrior Monk “Caylis” (who later became a regular NPC in my Shadow World campaign). In general Monks have been problematic in RPG’s–with some cool abilities but lot’s of weaknesses and shortcomings. Like many of RMs professions, the Warrior Monk was drawn from the templates D&D provided.

Some memorable special abilities in D&D include “Feign Death” and “Quivering Palm”, neither of which made the translation to RM. Due to RM’s lack of inherent professional abilities, RM’s Warrior Monks were just unarmed fighters with a few low cost skills like Adrenal Defense and Adrenal Moves. So unless you play a spell-casting Monk, you didn’t have much for special abilities and had some limitations:

  1. Inability to wear armor or be encumbered to utilize Adrenal Defense
  2. Martial Arts were arguably not effective against animals and much larger creatures.
  3. No parrying.
  4. Martial Arts have to be developed in Ranks, so the most effective Rank 4 will lag in development (and skill bonus).

Early rules did include some options for quick strike, multiple attacks and engaging multiple opponents and also had rules for Weapon Kata so Warrior Monks had some increased combat abilities, but were basically slightly less effective fighters. While I still am a fan of Warrior Monks they definitely had their limits. So where do Warrior Monks fit into Shadow World?

Fortunately, Terry incorporated both the Warrior Monk and the Monk into a famous monastic institution: The Changramai Monastery. As Terry notes in Emer I, the Monastery is more of a school and training center than a true monastic or religious organization. Nonetheless, the Changramai were renowned for their fighting ability and the school hires out skilled Changramai to serve as bodyguards throughout Kulthea. To be hired out, Changramail need to have achieved at least the “Third Veil” which is around 10th lvl.

There are a number of references to the Changramai in Canon with which we can construct a better picture of the Changramai. Some mentions in the books include:

  1. The Nomikos Library used Changramai extensively as guards throughout the facility. Nomikos Changramai are 6th lvl.
  2. The Nameless One is protected by 4 Changramai.
  3. The “Black Velvet” Brothel also uses Changramai as guards.
  4. Kyan Kim is a named NPC and trained in the Changramai school, living in Eidolon. He is 8th lvl.
  5. The Monastary was established in 2500 Second Era. “It is believed that the Changramai are disenchanted Xiosians who left the service of the Titans”
  6. Terry introduces a new special weapon: the Jata. This is a thrown, circular, 3 bladed weapon that has virtually magical properties to attack multiple targets AND return to the thrower.

There are a number of other references of powerful figures in both Eidolon and Haalkitaine that use Changramai for guards. The implication is that they are either very competent, or so feared that they are never tested. But how does the realities of the Warrior Monk profession stack up to this reputation? Throughout the books, Changramai are described as “imposing”, “intimidating” and:

  • Changramai monks can catch arrows, run on walls, leap incredible heights, punch through stone walls, and defeat half a dozen well-armed foes simultaneously with their bare hands.
  • Are fearsome experts at unarmed combat. It is said that they can see things invisible and know a liar by his voice.

Certainly Monks, with their spellcasting ability can perform some of those feats, but are Warrior Monks truly that adept? If you look at Changramai stat block, the typical Nomikos Changramai is 6th lvl, has 90 hits, AT1 with a 90DB and has a 90OB using MA Strikes R4. Depending on your liberal use of Adrenal Moves, Warrior Monks would be hard pressed to “punch through stone”, “leap incredible heights” or “catch arrows”. As an added comparison, using Jaiman stat blocks, a Erlini Sentinel is 5th lvl, has 85 hits, AT1 50DB and a 90OB is Short Sword. Really not much of a difference. Changramai are basically comparable to many of the rank and file warriors in the Master Military Tables found throughout Shadow World books.

Of course those are rank & file. We would assume that the Nameless One, or Haalkitaine Royalty would engage higher level Changramai as befits their position, status and wealth. But even higher level Warrior Monks are just going to comparably scale up by level in comparison to Fighters. They still won’t have those legendary abilities ascribed to them, or attainable by Monks via their spell lists.

But if you want to “Punch Up” the abilities of Warrior Monks, or just the Changramai Warrior Monks, I would offer up a few of my own solutions:

  1. I eliminated the development Ranks for Martial Arts and instead use the Ranks as the effectiveness of the combat style. This is similar to the size limitations found on in the various Claw Law attack charts. The Changramai and Kortri Ta Shiin styles are Rank 4; lesser unarmed combat might be limited at Rank 1, 2 or 3. This represents the superiority of these fighting styles and reflects the deadliness of the Changramai combat system. Removing the Rank skill development also frees up a TON of DP’s for Warrior Monks to expand in other skills.
  2. I allow for parrying with martial arts–no bracers needed. If parrying is really a proxy for an offense or defense posture, than even an unarmed combatant can emphasize active dodging/defense over a full attack.
  3. I use specific weapon modifiers, unarmed combat has very low modifiers for initiative, engaging multiple opponents and attacking and engaging targets in 360 degrees. This gives martial artists a implicit advantage over weapon wielders for a variety of combat situations and allows them to engage multiple opponents with the least amount of penalties. This chart also includes penalties for parrying missile weapons–allowing Changramai to swat arrows away!
  4. I’ve modified Adrenal Defense and rolled in the “Yado” secondary skill. This allows Changramai to not only parry missiles but to catch them.
  5. I use a modified Adrenal Strength and Speed that further benefit martial artists.
  6. I have unlimited skill rank development and a modified rank bonus progression that allows for characters to accelerate a few skills through focused development. The creates a tradeoff between average development of a broad array of skills or fast development of a smaller, focused set of skills. This seems appropriate to a unique combat school like the Changramai Monastarey.
  7. Finally, I use a “no profession” system to my Shadow World campaign. Changramai Monks are neither “Warrior Monks” or “Monks” and have access to the BASiL Mentalism “Self” Spells. With these lists and the changes above, the Changramai skills are complete, indeed they are powerful as depicted in the Shadow World books.

Have you utilized the Changramai in your game? Have your players ever faced off against them or perhaps have Changramai training?

Cool Things in Shadow World

I’ve blogged about the various, unique aspects of Shadow World as a setting, but today I thought I would note some very specific things that differentiate Shadow World and are great additions to the game.

Favorite Familiar:

Tameki. Introducted in the Cloudlords of Tanara, Tameki are small animals resembling black Terran housecats. Tameki have short, silky blue-black fur, large blue or violet eyes, and upstanding
triangular ears. They differ from cats in that their paws have longer, dexterous ‘fingers’ and their torsos are slightly shorter. Very acrobatic, these small creatures are able to leap amazing distances.

Obviously cats are featured a lot as Wizards and Witches pets, but Tameki are just enough that they feel familiar and different enough to add flavor.

Favorite Material:

Keron. A black, very shiny alloy. The substance is strong but flexible and holds a keen edge. When polished it has such a high luster that it looks wet or oiled. It does not corrode, and should be treated as

I don’t use alchemy spells in Shadow World to enchant item bonuses. Instead I rely on Kulthea’s naturally occurring metals and alloys that can be forged by smiths. (Thus, I don’t need to have groups of 30th level Alchemists working in sweat shops batching out Laen or Eog items). Keron is Shadow World’s “Mithril”–a cool material that is intrinsically tied to the setting.


Bloodstone. A soft, sandy stone dark red in color, this material can stop a would bleeding up to 5 hits per round! In seconds. This is often overlooked, but what an incredibly valuable stone. Better than a herb or a spell, portably and rugged.

Baddie Critter:

Gogor. Not unlike gargoyles or huge bats in form, Gogor are black as
midnight, with tough hides and leathery wings. They stand about
7 feet tall. Their heads are elongated with a certain reptilian appearance.
Huge, protruding green glowing eyes see in complete darkness.

I’m a fan of all the artificial and specific “monsters” in Shadow World, but Gogor are a good foe for a capable group. My players have some remorse from opening stone jars found in an ancient facility. What they hoped was treasure….

Special Weapon:

Kalta. A Loari Dart Pistol with a 10rnd clip. Very cool, practical, and not game changing. I’m a fan of small projectile weapons and thrown weapons. They add a coolness factor to combat, are a unique skill for players and they don’t impact game balance.

Riding Animal:

Kith. A giant six legged panther? Sign me up for that!!!

Cool Item:

Rod of Tanys. Not magic, but a tech remnant, this grey metal cylinder is 2″ diameter and 1 foot long. No it’s not a light saber, it’s a “power whip”!!! There A LOT of cool magic items that Terry has created, but I like the cinematic nature of this weapon.

Favorite Practical Spell:

Warning Portal. Found on the Warding Power list in EMER and SWMA, this simple spells allows the caster to set a magical trip wire across a portal. If someone crossed the barrier, the caster is alerted. This is a 1st level spell. It’s practical, reliable and needed in an adventuring group. I’ve been working on BASiL warding spell lists, and this good spell design.

Those are just a few of my favorite things. I found that on each re-read of the SW books I found something new, something I forgot or a new idea is sparked. Are there any particular things in Shadow World that appeal to you?

Shadow World Review: Emer, The Great Continent

If you are like me (mid 50’s) and have been playing Rolemaster and using Shadow World since it’s release in the late 80’s, the publication of the Emer box supplement was a huge step forward for the Kulthea world setting. By 1990, there were over a dozen Shadow World products, but until Emer, only 2 were written by Terry: Shadow World Master Atlas and Jaiman: Land of Twilight. The other 10-12 products were by third party authors. While all of them have their strengths as game supplements, they were generic adventures that were shoe horned into the game setting and did relatively little to expand world building.

Before I dive into my thoughts on Emer, let’s quickly review where “Canon” was in 1990 and the two Terry products mentioned above. For the most part, the Shadow World Master Atlas (SWMA) was fairly generic, establishing a few SW tropes: Navigators, Loremasters and Dragonlords but mostly was meant to connect Rolemaster to a useable setting. These elements were kernels of ideas from the Loremaster module series and expanded and built off of that early material. The Flora and Fauna book was mostly generic creatures straight from Creatures and Treasures and covered all the basics from standard D&D. The timeline was only 2 or so pages and didn’t add any depth that the later Emer regionals provided.

If the SWMA set the table for the setting, Jaiman was the meal. Clearly not a regional book as it was titled, it nonetheless brought a specific tone and style to the setting. A lengthy adventure tied various elements together and promised a larger world (The Grand Campaign took this further), cool “dungeon” style tombs embraced Terry’s architectural background and fused high tech elements in a fantasy setting. It was light medieval fantasy but there was a hint of darker things: Evil Gods, Unlife and enigmatic Lords.

In my opinion, Emer brought a whole new vibe to Shadow World: more mature, more grimdark and more malevolence. One aspect that contributed to the look and feel of Emer was the artwork. You can’t talk about the Emer box set without referencing the incredible box art done by Les Edwards. I suspect that art launched hundreds of adventures and sold many on the Shadow World setting. Prior to his death, Terry even planned on carving the City of the Dead out of the Emer IV supplement to give it it’s due. For more Les Edwards art; interestingly, he did the cover art for the fighting fantasy books by Ian Livingstone who IIRC did one of the Shadow World fantasy fiction books?

Besides the box cover, the interior art was different than that found in SWMA and Jaiman. This piece appears to be done by Michael Alexander Hernandez. It feels modern, perhaps even futuristic but foreboding. It certainly lent a different tone to the setting from previous books.

This piece doesn’t seem to have an artist signature, but it’s in the same style. While B/W, it appears to have a Lugrok tearing into the victims skull…is that rivulets of blood on his face?

History of Emer

The timeline and history of Emer introduced several powerful factions: the Jerak Ahrenrath, the Eight Orders and the Masters of Emer. In further work, the Masters have sort of disappeared, but the Jerak Ahrenrath and the Eight Orders become integral to the wider plots of Emer and the future of Kulthea itself. For me this is entirely new material that expands the Canon; none of this material was seeded in the earlier Loremaster series nor hinted at in the SWMA, so it was a delight to read and shifted my view of the setting–for the better.

Flora & Fauna

Again, Emer added to canon with some new plants and creatures. As I have argued, SW needs more of this and less Terran standard critters and plants to help in game immersion. One of my favorite (if you’ve read Priest King you’ll know this):

It’s important to note, that many of the Canon SW books introduce new flora and fauna, but these weren’t all included in future Atlas’s. For instance, the Shalish, Frask or Boerk were never included in SWMA 3 or 4. I believe I compiled a full list of plants/creatures from all of the core books to be included, but I think it’s a failing that they weren’t included in MA’s.


With a new canvas to paint and a huge land area to fill in, Terry was able to expand on the races found in Shadow World. Of note are the Kuluku. Most of the new Emer races seemed to finalize the racial types found in all later books.


Part V of the main book covers the various regions which, like the rest of Kulthea are wide ranging in styles, cultures, topography and climate. The Essence Flows are given less credit for this phenomena, and I think that the later de-emphasizing of the Flows as Barriers was a lost opportunity to reinforce a key element of the setting.

This section is further expanded in the later Emer regional books and all, if not almost all of it, is found in those later books. (except for the pending and final quadrant Emer IV)

For me a few takeaways:

Kaitaine really needs it own supplement. From the glassed roof grand marketplace to the Palace of the Bankers.

Krylites are very cool and make a better foe than Orcs.

Part XI (slight spoilers)

I recall reading Emer for the first time and it was this section that really shifted by view of Shadow World. The Jerak Ahrenreth, the “Secret Circle” and it’s history became a more compelling plotline than some abstract Dark God or Evil NPC Magician. A dense world spanning history tied the past with the present made this evil and twisted cult the long term antagonist(s) for my Shadow World campaign. Much of the material seemed familiar and is reminiscent of the Court of Ardor (but that’s ok, cuz that was cool too)

The Circle of 8, the Adherents and the cool citadel layouts are Terry at the top of his game.


The second book included in the Emer Box Set is the Atlas Addendum and this is where all the new material and cool stuff can be found.

Part I is a grab bag of topics and delves into world awareness, the nature of “good” vs “evil”, more details on other planes, and even advice on modifying Navigator charges.

Part II is the extended timeline, specific for Emer and greatly expanded in later books.

Part IX Places of Power includes a number of magical, mysterious and relevant places in SW. Most can be moved around and used anywhere. My f

Part VIII and Part X: Other Powers & Goodies

But the Jerak Ahrenreth wasn’t the only power introduced in Emer. Terry introduced is to the Eight Orders of the old Emerian Empire, let by Aldaron (a nod to Star Wars?). There is great material here, either as foils for the group or as possible back grounds for the players. And there are Yarkbalkas! We also learn about the Storm Wizard, who is retconned in later work and his 4 mysterious Storm Heralds.

The Dark Gods

Perhaps the biggest addition to Other Powers is the inclusion of the Charon pantheon, the Dark Gods. Of course this is a major expansion to the setting and impacts the metaphysics of the game, channeling and future SW products.

Artifacts & Lost Technology

Often time we buy and read supplements for the “goodies” and not necessarily to use in gaming. NPC stats, fortress layouts and cool magic items. The Emer box set delivers in spades with a good list of artifacts and notable items. I believe that most of these were never incorporated into later Master Atlas’s, so the Emer Box set is the only source for this material. Notable items include (finally…) the Ilarsiri, the Starsphere, the Leafblade, a number of books which I missed in my previous blog, powerful staves, and a slew of Lords of Essence items. Also included is the Lense of Strok, which was my McGuffin for my high level adventure series: Legends of Shadow World.

Other bits. Terry also threw is a more comprehensive look at magical materials, some Warding and a few other Spell lists and pretty good Encounter Table that I used for my version.

So why is Emer Box set worth a look?

  • It appears that only Emer III is currently available on DrivethruRPG. The Emer book will provide an overview over the whole continent–including Emer I & II and the pending Emer IV.
  • While the material was included and expanded on in Emer I-III, it was a better template than that used in Jaiman. (Assuming Xa’ar is Jaimain: NW; Wuliris is Jaiman NE; Tanara is Jaiman SE and Haalkitaine is Jaiman SW). A broad overview of a continent with smaller regional supplements seems a better format.
  • The addendum was the precursor to the desired “Artifacts and Technology” supplement that Terry always hinted at. There is cool stuff in this supplement.
  • It leaned further into the fusion of scifi and fantasy.
  • It established a globe spanning danger that could anchor any long term campaign.
  • Combined, the SWMA and the Emer Atlas basically “fixed” core canon material. Besides some smaller regional powers, some expansion on the Jinteni and some discarded ideas (like Jewel Wells) the framework is all there for future work.

Like many SW products, the Emer Box Set will never be reprinted. Perhaps the Addendum could be republished as a PDF? Or even better, a Master Compendium could be collated from all of this disparate material.

Ultimately, the Emer Box Set was the maturation of Shadow World as a setting, laying the groundwork for all subsequent material.