This session my PCs grabbed the very first adventure hook! Before even stopping in at their rooms in The Merchant’s Scythe (or the more alliterative Tiviel’s Tavern that’s been ringing so much more naturally from my lips), they went by the alchemist Dorthang to do something about Siegmeyer the Ranger’s missing eye. Dorthang took awhile about getting to the door, told the PCs to scram because certain elements in the town didn’t want her associating with them, then got interested in spite of herself. She said she had a little something for Siegmeyer’s wound, but she wanted a favor in return. You see, her mentor had vanished awhile back, and he had this laboratory out in the hills…
This is where I introduced The Alchemist’s Task, a mini-dungeon and, in this context, obvious “side quest” from Creation’s Edge Games. Overall I was pleased with how it performed. It wasn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but it was a side quest, after all. And I think my players, in later sessions, are going to appreciate more what this adventure means. I mean, they have a lot of potions now.
What? Already? Yeah, if you want to know what happened, go ahead and read the adventure. It’s only a buck. Not much for me to say other than I scaled down some of the encounters. (Hm, maybe it would have been more exciting if I had left them as is. Lots and lots of die rolls = lots and lots of opportunities for critical strikes on PCs.) I lightly adapted and “reskinned” it for play in Middle-earth specifically, with some interesting results! In other words, in the future, you might again be hearing about this place and some of what might have happened here. Or you might not. That’s a sandbox game for you!
One of my gamers asked me how I was enjoying running MERP. I answered him at length, the day after the session, with the following message.
I am so happy to be running MERP for the following reasons:
*I like the system. Perhaps I’m realizing I’m just an old grognard, but it feels supremely comfortable. I feel like, with Rolemaster, I have a full set of tools.
*I like the world. I love Middle-earth. It again is a tool set. I can tell the stories that speak to me without fearing that they will go gonzo D&D, being (with the Rolemaster engine) gritty and simulationist enough for a low magic setting (without denying the future possibility of high magic).
*I can use ALL of my resources. As I demonstrated last night, I can take any old OSR thing that I’ve spent (in some cases) lots of money on and adapt them for M-e with sometimes startlingly cool worldbuilding results (Sauronic alchemical pits).
*I see a full campaign in front of me. I love Yggdrasill. I love Vikings. But I couldn’t figure out how to make a sandbox out of it. I didn’t want to roleplay village raids or even full scale war. I had started designing a secondary world, but again found only Vikings and select northern monsters in that palette. And if I had to create another, secondary fantasy setting… well, why not reach for a pre-existing one?
On another note, I had a gamer quit the game. I guess not everyone shares my enthusiasm. Or maybe I need some perspective on what it means to play Rolemaster, not just run it as GM. I have been casually scouting the play-by-post sites, looking for an opportunity. I’ve been thinking about running something of my own, too, by pbp. But that would just be getting more “game” in my life, not necessarily experiencing what it’s like to be a player.
And on yet another note, I had a new player sit in last session. He asked to continue! You lose some, you win some.