The Next Generation

Peter’s newest post (welcome back Peter!) had me thinking of a recent opportunity that has arisen. My lifelong friend, and part of our gaming group in the 80’s, asked if I would be interested in DMing a game for his son and friends. These are kids in their early twenties, and are just casual gamers that played around with D&D the last few years.

I’m a bit rusty, my regular game group has slowly dissolved since COVID and for the last 35 years I’ve been almost exclusively a Rolemaster/Shadow World players barring a brief run of Pathfinder that Matt ran 10 years ago. I’d like to give it a try, but it would likely be a 1-shot “all-nighter” since they don’t live in commuting distance.

I’m left with a few decisions:

  1. Run a D&D game for them. Downside: The last time I played it was 1st ed., so I would need quite a bit of review and learning. Upside: I suspect it’s the ruleset they are most familiar and I’m sure I could find a ton of game material to choose from.
  2. Introduce them to Rolemaster. They would have to be open to it, but this would be the easiest for me. Upside: Tons of experience, I have lots of material. Downside: I wouldn’t want to bore/overwhelm them with chargen, but, that is part of the process in learning the character a game.

If I had my preference, I’d run them through my “Legends of Shadow World“. It was designed to be “tourney style” and playable in 4-6 hours. I think it’s dynamic material and I already have pre-gen characters for them to use. There is a “but”. It’s a 50th level adventure that leans into Shadow World quite a bit. So these new players would need to get their heads wrapped around skills, abilities and spells of a 50th level character and would need some deep background on SW given who their characters are.

As I get older, I’m more focused on collaborative story telling and setting material and less concerned about rules. With my SWARM ruleset, these characters have less skills and far less spells than core RM rules allow, so it’s not completely overwhelming. The style of play at 50th level is not that different than most any other level (barring 1st to 5th) and the larger than life personalities lend itself to more of a Superhero game style.

What do you think? Can relatively unexperienced D&D players handle 50th level Rolemaster adventure?