Shadow World Master Atlas 4th Edition

Best Selling RPGs - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

SeaJay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
211
Reaction score
191
Hey all

I'm looking at the Shadow World Master Atlas 4th edition setting for my Rolemaster Classic game. Does anyone here have experience with it?

What are its strengths and weaknesses?

I know it has sci-fi elements, which is excellent, but what else can you tell me about it, what are its pros, and cons?

On a grade of highest fantasy to lowest, where would you place the setting of Shadow World:

Exalted
Forgotten Realms
Greyhawk
Harn

Thanks all.
 
Last edited:

David Johansen

Legendary Member
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
4,274
Reaction score
7,465
It's between Exalted and Forgotten Realms except when it's below Harn. Shadow World is a whole world and there's very high powered stuff like The Iron Wind and Cloud Lords of Tannara and there's fantastical places like Eidelon but there's also dirty little nowhere fishing villages and medieval country sides out there. I can't really tell you much on the current edition but Terry Amthor and Nicholas Caldwell do good work and aren't likely to publish a mess.
 

Akrasia

Legendary Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2017
Messages
201
Reaction score
534
I'm mainly familiar with the continent of Jaiman (the book by the same name and most of the supplements set there, e.g., Haalkitaine, Green Gryphon, Tanara). I like it quite a bit but I've used it more for ideas and to borrow locations, etc.

Sadly, Terry Amthor passed away last year, so there probably will not be any new material for the world. But there's already enough to last for several campaigns.
 

Akrasia

Legendary Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2017
Messages
201
Reaction score
534
In terms of low-to-high fantasy, I would rank Jaiman around the level of FR but it can easily be dialed down to Greyhawk. A few elements of the setting remain stubbornly high-level (e.g., the Navigators, Loremasters, etc.).
 

SeaJay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
211
Reaction score
191
The really high magic stuff is easily ignored, though?
 

TJS

Legendary Member
Joined
May 5, 2018
Messages
2,184
Reaction score
4,488
The setting is strange design wise, and probably not the sort of thing people would do now - but that's part of it's charm.

The early versions of the Master Atlas were criticised for being very high level overviews of the world with little real playable content. The 4th edition as one of the later editions might be one of the editions that has a particular starting area detailed (although it's not one of the areas that later products tend to be set in.)

Can you do low fantasy in it? Depends what you mean by low fantasy - you could go as low I guess as D&D style fantasy can go (which to my mind doesn't really qualify as low). I would place it as being fluctuating a bit between Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms depending on where you are and what you're characters are doing - but bearing in mind that it's the high level stuff that the author is clearly interested in - you won't really find interesting local villains to overturn, the books will instead detail the schemes of millenia old demon princes, and their strongholds (old ICE books were big on detailing the strongholds of high level villains)

I would probably recommend either the Jaiman book or the Emer book as better starting points in terms of actually getting something detailed - but the setting can be difficult to grasp in some ways - there's not really a particularly good entrance point.
 

Akrasia

Legendary Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2017
Messages
201
Reaction score
534
The really high magic stuff is easily ignored, though?

You can run a campaign that doesn't involve a lot of high-level NPCs, sky ships, floating cities, Navigator services, etc. There's less of that stuff in Jaiman, so that might be a better continent (than Emer) for a "low-ish" magic campaign.
 

Akrasia

Legendary Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2017
Messages
201
Reaction score
534
I would probably recommend either the Jaiman book or the Emer book as better starting points in terms of actually getting something detailed - but the setting can be difficult to grasp in some ways - there's not really a particularly good entrance point.

The Green Gryphon adventure pack is a good starting point. It provides a low-mid level campaign and describes an area that is not a power centre.
 

SeaJay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
211
Reaction score
191
Jaiman seems to be the best bet for the low fantasy setting I want.

Thanks all for the information, much appreciated.
 

Mankcam

Coiner of Thread-Falls, & Inadvert Founder of Swo'
Joined
Sep 24, 2017
Messages
3,490
Reaction score
8,792
I would recommend getting the Jaiman book for a background canvas, but definately use The Tales of the Green Gryphon Inn book as the starting sandbox kickoff zone. It provides a great localised setting - the small township of Gryphonburgh & its environs, nine short adventures, as well as numerous story seeds. It's a great setting by itself, you can definately get good mileage from this book.
 
Last edited:

Sharrow

Legendary Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2021
Messages
100
Reaction score
254
The setting is strange design wise, and probably not the sort of thing people would do now - but that's part of it's charm.

The early versions of the Master Atlas were criticised for being very high level overviews of the world with little real playable content. The 4th edition as one of the later editions might be one of the editions that has a particular starting area detailed (although it's not one of the areas that later products tend to be set in.)

Can you do low fantasy in it? Depends what you mean by low fantasy - you could go as low I guess as D&D style fantasy can go (which to my mind doesn't really qualify as low). I would place it as being fluctuating a bit between Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms depending on where you are and what you're characters are doing - but bearing in mind that it's the high level stuff that the author is clearly interested in - you won't really find interesting local villains to overturn, the books will instead detail the schemes of millenia old demon princes, and their strongholds (old ICE books were big on detailing the strongholds of high level villains)

I would probably recommend either the Jaiman book or the Emer book as better starting points in terms of actually getting something detailed - but the setting can be difficult to grasp in some ways - there's not really a particularly good entrance point.
I think the best entry point is the city of Sel-Kai, detailed in the Eidolon sourcebook. This includes some low-level adventures and quite a few adventure hooks and seeds. They're urban in nature, as you'd expect (a mystery followed by a fight being a common arc, for example), but because of its status as a trade centre the city is a good place to start and then branch out from.
 

SeaJay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
211
Reaction score
191
I think the best entry point is the city of Sel-Kai, detailed in the Eidolon sourcebook. This includes some low-level adventures and quite a few adventure hooks and seeds. They're urban in nature, as you'd expect (a mystery followed by a fight being a common arc, for example), but because of its status as a trade centre the city is a good place to start and then branch out from.
Is Eidolon a setting other than Jaiman and Emer?
 

Sharrow

Legendary Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2021
Messages
100
Reaction score
254
Is Eidolon a setting other than Jaiman and Emer?
It's a sourcebook for the city of Sel-Kai (and it's flying 'suburb' Eidolon), which is situated in the North-East corner of Emer, and has trade links by sea and by airship to pretty much all of (civilised) Emer, Jaiman, and other continents. Sel-kai is a city of canals, so you have plenty of opportunity to catch exciting diseases by falling in. It also reduces the chances of PCs burning down the entire city if they get fireball-happy.
 
Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com
Top