Powers of Light & Darkness
Review by Brent Knorr
The Powers of Light and Darkness is the second Shadow World product to be released by ICE in their new incarnation. (If you aren’t familiar with the history of what happened with ICE, you can find a write up on it at http://www.ironcrown.com/welcomewagon/ICEhistory.htm)
Powers of Light & Darkness is a 128 page soft cover book that details the major movers and shakers on the planet of Kulthea, aka Shadow World. Chapter One is a one page Introduction which explains what is included in the book, it expands and updates information that was presented or hinted at in previous books, some of the religions are covered as well as several major political groups, including two new ones, The Alliance and the Empire of the Raven Queen of Gaalt.
The introduction also explains that this book presented a bit of a dilemma. Expanding a little on the information there, the author, Terry Kevin Amthor, had continued to produce Shadow World material after the original ICE had dropped it as a setting and then gone bankrupt. However, his material was all done for Second Edition Rolemaster (RM2), not the newer Rolemaster Fantasy Role playing (RMFRP). A lot of the material for this new book was created during that time. Then ICE came under new ownership and arranged a new agreement with Terry to make Shadow World an official Rolemaster setting again. However, if they were to include the statistics for the new RMFRP system in the book, they would have had to cut the book down to make room. They choose instead to leave the book with just the RM2 statistics and post the RMFRP statistics as a free 27 page PDF on the ICE Website at : http://www.ironcrown.com/ICEforums/index.php?action=tpmod;dl=item225
This decision generated a lot of debate on the ICE forums in the Shadow World section. It will be interesting to see what they decide to do for future Shadow World products.
Chapter Two covers the Forces of the Unlife. The “Unlife” is the major force of evil on Shadow World, basically a collective energy of Anti-Essænce that strives to destroy and feed on the destruction. The chapter starts with an explanation of why beings might choose to serve the Unlife. The first group detailed is “The Iron Wind”, and the chief servants of this group, “The Priests Arnak”. There are six high priests, each of which leads a separate cult. They operate with subtlety and guile. This is in contrast to the other major group, “The Messengers of the Iron Wind” which are overt in the use of their power. There is one Messenger serving each of the Priests. The Priests, Cults and Messengers are all described.
The next group described is The Silver Dawn, “The Daughters of the Silver Dawn” are a group of women, travelling in pairs, posing as healers that live a nomadic life travelling around villages and towns offering aid. Strangely, people and occasionally entire villages tend to disappear when they are around. Two pairs of Daughters are described, as well as the House of the Silver Dawn, where the Silver Mist resides, consuming the human life force that the daughters provide it.
Another all female group is described next, the Steel Rain, a group that specializes in using seduction and infiltration to turn other institutions to their cause. Again, several members of this organization are described, including some lower level members that could make good opponents for lower level players.
The “Golden Eye” is the next of the Forces of Unlife to be described. This group was formed by the Elf Cydin and his three sons which posed as gods to tribes of superstitious Jineri and trained them to be exceptional warriors. The history of the group and several members and their equipment are described.
The final group described in Chapter Two is the “Heralds of Night”. Twelve ancient beings that ride black unicorns and act as servants of various Evil factions on Shadow World.
Chapter Three covers the Dragons and DragonLords. The DragonLords are Dragons that have the power of Shapechanging and, by use of the Dragon Helms, can remain in human form indefinitely but still use their breath weapon with almost full potency. The first part of the chapter discusses Great Dragons in general, their mentality, spells, senses, physiology, weapons, nesting and mating habits. This is followed by a description of the creation of the Dragon Helms, items created for the six oldest and strongest of the Great Drakes. Each of the DragonLords is then described in detail. A minor errata note on the first DragonLord, Drul Churk, the Statistics listed under “Dragon Form” should actually be under the “Human Form” section and vice versa.
Chapter Four is The Lords of Ess