Author Topic: Rolemaster Fiction  (Read 4094 times)

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Offline Vladimir

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Rolemaster Fiction
« on: January 05, 2022, 04:04:51 AM »
  Other than the usual fluff in sourcebooks, is there any?
  Is there fanfiction?
  I've played games with hundreds of published novels and literally thousands of stories of varying quality, most based upon gameplay.
I used to keep logs of sessions when I GMed, if just to remind the players of the choices they previously made.

I'm sure many of you have plenty of stories worth reading.
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Offline Grinnen Baeritt

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2022, 04:44:44 AM »
Have to admit I used to run play-by forum games, that due to it's often complex combat sequencing,  I found easier to narrate ALL the combatants actions in a single post, in a round to round fashion, after all the players had made their rolls. That lead to some quite amusing reading.

Now, I often do "Catch-up" posts, not only for players who might have missed a session... but also to remind ME what happened. After all, my Grey cells are just getting greyer. 

Offline Hurin

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2022, 09:01:55 AM »
There's also Terry's The Loremaster Legacy novel.
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Offline Cory Magel

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2022, 10:36:00 PM »
I've got ideas rolling around, but I'd need the free time (i.e. retire or win the lottery) to put them to 'paper' so to speak.

If you read the initial one page short story in the Channeling Companion there exist rough backgrounds of most the named characters, even if most are only mentioned in passing.  Some day hopefully I'll have the time to truly work on the setting for public consumption.
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Offline Wolfwood

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2022, 01:46:17 AM »
Back in my 20s, I ran a campaign that I "storified" after the sessions, basically writing the story out and embellishing it with details that we could not engage in during the play-through. I think I still have the bits somewhere on my HD, but I'm afraid to look at them as even the stories that I wrote a few years later are pretty awful in retrospect. Way too clogged-down with detail, really, at the expense of action. I even embellished my players' 1 or 2 page backstories into 30-40 page novellas... :P

Still, I think it would be a great way to keep the story recorded and accessible to even those who are not part of the game (if the focus is kept on story and the system-specific details are left out - I don't quite get those types of books...).

Offline Vladimir

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2022, 07:22:25 PM »
  One of my GMs had a blog that recorded his weekly campaign sessions that he tied together in a series of stories that eventually had all the previous campaigns intersect at one point. It made for interesting reading as it revealed how the various campaigns leaped from one point in the historical timeline to another and while come campaigns earned no mention in the timeline while others were very significant. All tied together, it was a good read. I wish I had saved it.
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Offline damage

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2022, 07:50:32 PM »
There have been other Shadow World novels besides Terry's Loremaster Legacy. I have Stormriders, by Roxanne Longstreet/Ian Hammel, and it looks like she wrote 3 other Shadow World novels in the late 80's/early 90's.

Offline jdale

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Offline damage

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2022, 03:51:40 PM »
Interesting. Ian Hammell appears to be an Ace Books house name, with at least three authors using it, probably more.

Roxanne Longstreet wrote Stormriders, looks like Clayton Emery wrote Burning Goddess and Shadow of Assassins, and Stephen Billias wrote Clock Strikes Sword, possibly with Clayton Emery (since it seems to be a prequel for one of his).

Stormriders was ok. Not great, but it did at least feel like Shadow World.

Offline Vladimir

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2022, 06:15:56 PM »
Interesting. Ian Hammell appears to be an Ace Books house name, with at least three authors using it, probably more.

Roxanne Longstreet wrote Stormriders, looks like Clayton Emery wrote Burning Goddess and Shadow of Assassins, and Stephen Billias wrote Clock Strikes Sword, possibly with Clayton Emery (since it seems to be a prequel for one of his).

Stormriders was ok. Not great, but it did at least feel like Shadow World.
  I listened to the Clock Strikes Sword audiobook and while it gives you some idea of the races involved, as well as the types of magics and technologies, it sounds fairly generic fantasy.
Since I haven't yet played SW yet (my GM plans to teleport the party from MERP to SW) I have to listen carefully so I don't miss any important details.
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Offline MisterK

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2022, 12:13:26 AM »
I listened to the Clock Strikes Sword audiobook and while it gives you some idea of the races involved, as well as the types of magics and technologies, it sounds fairly generic fantasy.
Since I haven't yet played SW yet (my GM plans to teleport the party from MERP to SW) I have to listen carefully so I don't miss any important details.
Not to sound pedantic or anything, but I think you would be better off starting a new campaign (with a starting level similar to the one your characters have in MERP if you want to get the same power feel). Transplanting characters come will all kinds of issues - for characters as well as players.
Think about it: unless you only have no spell users at all in your MERP campaign, magic comes from a totally different source of power in Middle Earth and in Shadow World, which means that all spell users would basically be powerless. Characters would not have any cultural or linguistic reference, no social network, nothing except the clothes on their back and the gold in their pouch (which would be criminally undervalued because the coin would not be recognised as "official") and no way to communicate except through grunts and signs (because, you know... no magic) until someone takes pity on them and brings them to a caster who *can* use magic to speak *their* language.

It can lead to hilarious situations (and very interesting roleplaying), but unless you then "time jump" a couple of years in the future and say 'OK, during this time, you have learned the basics of the local language and superficial customs so that you're at least able to function', the hilarious situation might become a bit too much very quickly.

Now *converting* characters is something else entirely :)

Offline Vladimir

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2022, 03:11:19 AM »
  The GM has yet to iron out the details but he's been playing since the 1990s so I'll wait and see. He wanted to run a legacy campaign and considered MERP too restrained, but I didn't care -I wasn't interested in the LOTR storyline as we were somewhere earlier in the timeline, so we'd be long dead before all that.
  I'm thinking he'll just convert our characters to SW inhabitants with whatever equivalent skills fit in. We have a Paladin and no other spell users; My Rogue would fit anywhere, really. He may give the other players the option to start new characters at reduced level, as he usually does, which is why I'd rather keep my Rogue -He was on the verge of retiring as a borderland Lord and I'm going to do it, carve out a new kingdom because that's what I do and the GM knows it. Whenever I join a campaign I give my party members a short questionnaire on what they want to do in the campaign and their ultimate goals. One of the regular players passed away so in his memory I game with gusto and take greater risks for greater rewards. So if a player wants to help me achieve my goals I'll do my best to help them achieve theirs.
  I'm guessing the GM may just isekai (Japanese, "otherworld"; a fantasy genre where characters are transported) the party to SW as part of some divine mission, which will explain any adaptations we may or may not have. The GM did ask if I had a problem with firearms and I'm fine with them if I have the same chance to get them, as the players starting new characters might have them.
When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
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Offline damage

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2022, 05:23:16 PM »
Think about it: unless you only have no spell users at all in your MERP campaign, magic comes from a totally different source of power in Middle Earth and in Shadow World, which means that all spell users would basically be powerless. Characters would not have any cultural or linguistic reference, no social network, nothing except the clothes on their back and the gold in their pouch (which would be criminally undervalued because the coin would not be recognised as "official") and no way to communicate except through grunts and signs (because, you know... no magic) until someone takes pity on them and brings them to a caster who *can* use magic to speak *their* language.

As a GM who's done just that to the party in the past, meh, no big deal. Different power source? Channelling users require a bit more work, but not the others. Why would you think a Mentalism (if using the Rolemaster ruleset rather than MERP) or Essence caster from Middle Earth would be powerless on Kulthea?

Gold undervalued? On a world with a timeline as long as Shadow World's, with that many lost or distant civilizations? Doubt it. Most merchants/innkeepers would probably have a bit better rate for local currency (unless it's known to be intentionally debased), but would be VERY used to adventurers trying to buy stuff with some Second Age coinage from a kingdom they've never heard of that they found in a tomb somewhere.

Characters would not have any cultural reference? Given that the rulesets use very similar material, not so. I did end up with the only Halfling on Shadow World, who most people assume is a 12-year old Human...:)

No way to communicate? I got around that with some divine-level magic, I could also have let them pre-spend DP from their next level for a few ranks in Erlin if they'd put some work into it over a few sessions.

Oh, and I did isekai my party, when they got too powerful to run in Middle Earth. Divine interventions gets rid of any minor problems!

Offline Vladimir

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2022, 07:31:03 PM »
Quote
Oh, and I did isekai my party, when they got too powerful to run in Middle Earth. Divine interventions gets rid of any minor problems!

  That's awesome! I wish my party members had enough attention span to stay with one character and level them up but they'd get bored and accept the reduction in levels to play something new. Level 3-5 characters won't cut it in the Barrow Downs (I played it when it was a new scenario...) and the GM tosses enemies at the party that my 10th Level Rogue has trouble with.
  I agree with the currency part -If MERP gold coins aren't devalued, their weight value will be fine, unless gold is so common in SW that
Quote
everything
is made of gold... Most monetary standards in RPGs are generic: Elf, Human and Orc gold have the same weights and values, so the monetary system isn't so complicated (the Medieval method would be used, just using scales to determine value and as a RL jeweler, I know methods of determining the purity of metals).
Dropping players into Medieval Europe would not be much of a problem, a little time for getting used to primitive variants of languages but nothing impossible. Getting dropped into a totally alien world will take time and players would have to devote gaming time to gain language fluency. Again, not a critical problem, so I'm not worried at all.

   I think of the Roman Empire at near its collapse, under Augustus (27 BCE) a denarius was 90% silver and the remaining 10% bronze (that alloy made coins last longer in circulation), by the reign of Gallienus almost 300 years later, a denarius was only 5% silver. Sure, the government could mint more coins but people knew the coins were using far less silver so prices (which increased 1,000%) reflected that fact. By that time, only Barbarian mercenaries were paid in gold. ...End economics lesson...

  Right now I've opened negotiations with the GM on how we're handling the transition from ME to SW. I've been playing my current character on and off for five years and other players have come and gone. I have items crafted by Dwarves in Moria, which the GM said would be similar to owning divine artifacts in SW and he's cool with that, I earned them, especially the ogre skull mounted in mithril that I use for a drinking vessel...
When the Master governs, the people
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Offline MisterK

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2022, 12:24:14 AM »
As a GM who's done just that to the party in the past, meh, no big deal. Different power source? Channelling users require a bit more work, but not the others. Why would you think a Mentalism (if using the Rolemaster ruleset rather than MERP) or Essence caster from Middle Earth would be powerless on Kulthea?
First, because mentalism does not exist in Middle Earth (otherwise, you're not playing in Middle Earth, but in another fantasy world with ME trappings, which is OK but different).
Second, because all magic in ME comes either from the Valar or from the Great Enemy, Morgoth (which is a Valar in many ways, so...). There is no Essence magic either. Only Channeling, and very special channeling - namely, the Valar imbued some individual (or races) with deeper understanding, which allowed them to alter the world in ways lesser people consider "magic", and dark casters worship Morgoth or an incarnation of his power (Sauron in one of his myriad forms).
Third, because Channeling is based on the link you have with the superior being. And obviously, Kulthea and Shadow World don't share the same pantheon at all. They don't even share the same foundation myth (because Kulthea does not have one). So you transport the characters on Kulthea and, lo and behold, even the elves have lost their connection to the creation song.
Obviously, they can learn new ways. But it takes time.

And saying "OK, the MERP rules are close to the RM rules, so we just have to change the name of deities and all is fine" is not teleporting characters to another world, it's basically converting characters, only without going the extra mile and converting their background as well so that they actually fit the new game world.

To each their own, I suppose.

I'm not talking about rulesets. I'm talking about settings. Settings are much more important than rules.

Offline jdale

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2022, 12:37:08 AM »
You can make that as much or as little of a problem as you want. If the character is channeling power from the Valar, a deity could have the same relationship with the world, even if the names are different. Elves lost their connection to the creation song? Perhaps they can hear the new song of Kulthea which gives them insight into how things work here. Or it could be totally different and starting from scratch if that seems more interesting.
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Offline Vladimir

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2022, 02:20:37 AM »
  From what I've read, specifically the Middle Earth Campaign Guide it does not indicate any restrictions on magic other than a division of "Blessed" and "Unblessed" in the West with risks in other forms of magic; By the Third Age, with the exception of Elves, the Maiar, and a handful of sanctioned seers, magic is fading, although "Magic is very rarely used outside the confines of a collection of closed societies".

There are exceptions for the South and East where "Spell-casting and magic may be relatively common" albeit weaker than in the West. Tolkein wrote the ME to be viewed through the filter of the West while the East and its peoples served to supply Sauron with cannon fodder after he corrupted or killed their leaders.

  I don't believe RM meant to straightjacket GMs or players with solid rules prohibiting spell users and I found this:
"Isildur, High King of Gondor and Arnor. 3 Ranger and 3 Essence (RM Mentalism) spell lists to 10th Lvl. Sword is of mithril, does an additional Electricity critical..." among the NPC descriptions in Arnor: The Land. There were even more references to Essence users. So, perhaps the ICE version of ME isn't fully Tolkein's version, or the whole Channeling/Mentalism/Essence issue is up for individual interpretation (which has started many a war)... I'll leave it up to the GM.

  BTW the GM is letting a new player come in as a vampire... and I've already said that he is on his own and if the villagers are peeved when people start dying I won't protect him.
The party has already seen lazy players take lycanthropes for the benefits without looking at the drawbacks and it usually winds up with a dead PC and a new character at reduced levels...and they don't learn. I'm guessing the Paladin may also have issues with a vampire in the party...

I made a couple of typos in previous posts and the site doesn't allow editing after awhile... Grrrr.
When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
-Lao Tzu

Offline MisterK

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2022, 03:12:09 AM »
I don't believe RM meant to straightjacket GMs or players with solid rules prohibiting spell users and I found this:
"Isildur, High King of Gondor and Arnor. 3 Ranger and 3 Essence (RM Mentalism) spell lists to 10th Lvl. Sword is of mithril, does an additional Electricity critical..." among the NPC descriptions in Arnor: The Land. There were even more references to Essence users. So, perhaps the ICE version of ME isn't fully Tolkein's version, or the whole Channeling/Mentalism/Essence issue is up for individual interpretation (which has started many a war)... I'll leave it up to the GM.
To be perfectly honest, I think that MERP did a pretty poor job on the magic section - it was basically slapping RM-light rules and spells onto the setting. I could not play in Middle Earth with RM magic rules at all, and I think TOR did a much better job staying true to the setting on that point.

Quote
BTW the GM is letting a new player come in as a vampire... and I've already said that he is on his own and if the villagers are peeved when people start dying I won't protect him.
The party has already seen lazy players take lycanthropes for the benefits without looking at the drawbacks and it usually winds up with a dead PC and a new character at reduced levels...and they don't learn. I'm guessing the Paladin may also have issues with a vampire in the party...
Depends - in Middle Earth, once again, this would be a very big no-no since vampires were creations of Morgoth. However, in Shadow World, you have may more options, including non-magical ones. Ancient technology (not necessarily K'Taa'Viiri, mind you, other high-tech civilisations existed in Kulthea's pas) might have come up with some kind of vampire-like biological constructs (think replicant, who would have to compensate their inner chemical imbalance with blood in order to avoid fast cellular degeneration). The character could even be unaware of why they are that way.
Even if they are "real" vampires (i.e. undead), they are not necessarily of an evil moral disposition and may view their condition as a curse. Vampires do not necessarily need to drink their victims dry to survive. Of course, unwilling victims might feel a bit vengeful after the act, and it is difficult to come out as a vampire in most societies.

Offline Vladimir

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2022, 02:36:07 PM »
Quote
Depends - in Middle Earth, once again, this would be a very big no-no since vampires were creations of Morgoth.
  Yeah, we had a player wanted to play a Lich in ME and none of the party was in favor of that idea.
  The GM called me last night and said the new player asked him if he had any problem with PKP. *sigh*
  The last time I killed a fellow player in a RPG was in 1986...and he (and several stupid kids who followed him) plotted to kill me. I got the first move and the other half of the party sided with me. I am strongly opposed to PKP, especially in-party. Having a player even inquire about PKP is a red flag. Having a Vampire ask about PKP is a potential death sentence for that player. I told the GM he had better convince me that he is a benefit to the party and not a liability, so I'm willing to afford him a chance, depending what he says and does in character.

The other players might not give him that chance. We shall see.
 
When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
-Lao Tzu

Offline EltonJ

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Re: Rolemaster Fiction
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2022, 04:22:59 PM »
Quote
Depends - in Middle Earth, once again, this would be a very big no-no since vampires were creations of Morgoth.
  Yeah, we had a player wanted to play a Lich in ME and none of the party was in favor of that idea.
  The GM called me last night and said the new player asked him if he had any problem with PKP. *sigh*
  The last time I killed a fellow player in a RPG was in 1986...and he (and several stupid kids who followed him) plotted to kill me. I got the first move and the other half of the party sided with me. I am strongly opposed to PKP, especially in-party. Having a player even inquire about PKP is a red flag. Having a Vampire ask about PKP is a potential death sentence for that player. I told the GM he had better convince me that he is a benefit to the party and not a liability, so I'm willing to afford him a chance, depending what he says and does in character.

The other players might not give him that chance. We shall see.
 

I don't like PvP (Player vs. Player).  I would be dead set against it.