05 November 2014

New Shadow World Novel

‘Shadow World’ (also known as ‘Kulthea’) is a fantasy world created by Terry K. Amthor, one of the original members of Iron Crown Enterprises.  It was designed for use with the Rolemaster fantasy role-playing game in the 1980s.  (Amthor’s Middle-Earth campaign module, The Court of Ardor, is sort of a ‘rough draft’ of Shadow World, and is a very poor fit for Middle-Earth, even by the rather loose standards of 1980s ICE.  Severed from Middle-earth, though, Ardor is an excellent setting – easily one of my favourite of all time.  But I digress…)

Amthor recently published a novel set in Shadow World, entitled The Loremaster Legacy.  The ‘Loremasters’ are a secret organisation of mages committed to fighting the ‘Unlife,’ similar to the Istari of Middle-earth, but without the semi-divine background.  (Interestingly, an earlier version of the Loremasters – the ‘Guild of Elements’ – exists within Ardor.)

I used to be a huge fan of Rolemaster, and Amthor's work in particular, including his Shadow World setting, or at least the continent of 'Jaiman' (I never really got into the other areas).  I remember finding the mix of fantasy and science fiction intriguing decades ago.  Now I know that such ‘mixing’ was common in the early days of FRPGs, in such settings as the Wilderlands and Blackmoor, but in the 1980s it seemed quite novel to me, as I was unfamiliar with those settings. 

Anyhow, it's been many years since I last thought about Shadow World at any length, but I may check this out!


  1. I love Ardor- and I've stolen shamelessly from it over the years. I just joined an online Rm campaign that's going to be set in Shadow World, so I pulled out the books. I might have to pick up that book just for flavor. I remember reading another Shadow World novel years ago- but it was a little odd. It used that "people ripped from the real world into a fantasy setting" trope that I'm not as fond of. But I read the whole thing.

    1. Great to learn that there is another Ardor fan out there! I really think that it is a sadly overlooked gem from the early days of RPGs.

      I also read the Shadow World novel you mention (from ~1989?). It was a fun read at the time, but I don't think I would enjoy it today.


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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who divides his time between Milwaukee and Toronto.