Introduction to the World of Novi

Or How High can Fifteen Years' Worth of Game Notes Pile Up?

Copyright Lowell R. Matthews 1998


Greetings, Rolemaster aficionados! Since I'm going to be writing about my campaign in the World of Novi as the setting for a lot of Rolemaster Second Edition discussions, I thought it might be wise to say a few words about how the world came to be.

I created the World of Novi using the AD&D system in 1984 (give or take a year) because the "Middle-earth" AD&D game (a very loose interpretation indeed) I'd run since the summer of 1980 had simply gotten too silly to exist. Sure, we had truckloads of fun getting to that point, but still....

So I created an area I called the Five Kingdoms to be the home of my new AD&D campaign. When I decided to make a unified world for all of my fantasy campaigns, including my first experiments with Rolemaster, the Five Kingdoms area became part of the continent of Annuvia in Novi's Northwest Quadrant -- which is a fancy way to say that Annuvia lies mostly north of Novi's equator and west of its "Earthcore Meridian", the zero point of longitude.

When some friends persuaded me to try Rolemaster, I created the city-state of Alvaron and its neighboring haunted valley of Aquilonia (and no, I didn't consciously realize I had ripped the name off Conan; anyway, my Aquilonia is nothing like Howard's). Alvaron eventually became the center of the continent of Almir in Novi's Northeast Quadrant.

The AD&D and RM campaigns ran in parallel for a couple of years, but as our gaming preferences shifted away from AD&D toward RM the development of the Eastern Hemisphere became far more advanced than that of the Western, and eventually I stopped playing AD&D altogether in 1989. (At the time it was a bargain with my newlywed wife, whose parents (and mine) were strongly opposed to AD&D. Long story.)

Since then I have worked to refine more details on the rest of the world, and bring the West into greater conformity with the East, although the West is still backwards in many respects. As barriers to inter-hemisphere travel are large, and none of the current adventuring parties have tried to break them, it hasn't been a problem. The good thing about all of this is that I have over 15 years' worth of notes, and most of them are computerized. Maybe someday I'll have the opportunity to get it all published somewhere... such as The Guild Companion, and to that end I'll strive very hard to keep everyone interested.

The first map for your consideration is a biome map of central Almir and most of the Sundering Seas area which divides Almir from the Southeastern Quadrant continents of Amazulia and Kharlak. Most of the Novi campaigns to date have focused upon or at least have begun in either the city-state of Alvaron (somewhat comparable to Genoa or Venice) or Paraven, capital of the tropical island kingdom of Paragon. Those cities and the others marked will be detailed in the near future.

How is all this relevant to you as an RM2 or RMSS GM/player? The process of world creation is a fundamental part of any campaign. I opted for a kind of "fantastic realism," using the tools which RM2 made possible. Let's share experiences!