Rolemaster Level Bonuses

There seem to be three philosophies when it comes to level bonuses. I bring this up because I have always used the first method below, I  have been seriously considering moving to the second option but following a discussion on the ICE forums and on the RM2 g+ community I think the third option may be the one for me. So let me explain the three options for level bonuses.

RM Combat Hack: Missile Parry

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Popular fiction is replete with master swordsmen deflecting arrows with their blades or martial artists knocking aside or even catching thrown weapons. In our efforts to reduce skill bloat and add a “cinematic” quality to game play we’ve allowed the ability to parry missiles along with the standard option of applying OB to DB against melee weapons. For simplicity we prefer to build it into the normal OB/DB mechanic but we have also play-tested it as a combat expertise skill as well.

Giving an NPC their Psychological Profile

A couple of weeks ago Loraedor posted an article called The Virtue Continuum which suggested the possibility of dice rolling personalities for PCs and NPCs alike to either provide a starting point for a new character or to give a psychological profile for an NPC.

The Virtue Continuum from Loraedor’s blog

The criteria were Integrity, Discernment, Love, Respect, Humility, Diligence, Temperance and Courage and just like rolling for a stat everyone falls on a scale from minuses to plusses against each stat and their profile would then influence their choices and attitudes. I think rolling an additional eight stats is over the top for my needs but these could be grouped quite easily into three qualities (integrity+discernment), (love+respect+humility) and (diligence+temperance+courage). I wonder though whether these are actually new stats at all.

Trump RPG: Low level characters and property ownership.

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I was doing some work on the training packages we use the other day. Depending on the package, the player gets a starting kit, money, maybe a bonus item etc. Then it occurred to me that even a starting character has a good chance of being “landed” ie they own property. Thinking back over decades, I can’t ever recall giving a starting player land/building/business and can’t seem to think of a reason why not. Whenever a realization like this occurs I suspect the subtle hand of a fantasy trope guiding my thinking process. What reasons, good or bad, might have formed this mental model?

Getting PBP notifications – Update (RPoL Notifier)

Just a quickie today. This is an update to a post I made last year. I promised to let people know if I found a solution to a problem I was having getting regular updates from rpol.net.

I was looking at some of my old posts this week and I discovered the Getter PBP Notifications post in which I promised to update people if I found the solution. A few weeks ago I did solve this problem!

There is an Android app called RPoL Notifier [Unofficial].

Prepping for Atmosphere

I have one player who loves maps and mapping any and all dungeons and buildings the party enter. There is nothing inherently wrong with the party mapping. In fact the character has bought copper plates and a stylus exactly for mapping their route.

My issue is that mapping the parties progress kills the atmosphere in  the game. It can become almost mechanical, the party enters an area, everything stops while the player updates the map, play continues, rinse and repeat.

Nemeses: Introducing “Newman Groups” into your campaign.

Newman NEWMAN!!!

One of the more enjoyable elements of my past campaigns has been creating an opposing group of NPC’s that compete or thwart the party as their characters grow in experience and power. Seinfeld had his “Newman” and Indiana Jones had his “Belloq”; a fleshed out contra-group can add a personal and competitive feel to the gameplay more than just another nameless villain or mob-boss. Over a long campaign the relationship between the groups can evolve based on their shared experiences and conflicts and eventually lead to a final “reckoning” or confrontation.

Initiative, the third leg of the RM combat stool.

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When it was first introduced in Arms Law the fluid concept of splitting a weapon skill between offense and defense was very compelling. It helped that RM’s d100 system provided a larger result range than the competing d20 systems that allowed for any number of modifiers to be used within that basic framework: multi-attack, drawing weapon, parry rules, combat modifiers etc. Mostly it was just intuitive and the allocation between offense and defense added a layer of combat strategy within a simple die roll.

Different GM-ing Styles

I am a bit of a minimalist in almost everything I do. Below is a picture of my gaming table.

The RolemasterBlog gaming table
The RolemasterBlog gaming table

At this end of  the table you can see the adventure, one set of dice, a notepad, tablet PC for the PDF rules and shades. What else does the modern GM need? Tea, but you can see liberal cups of tea around the table so that is sorted as well. (Actually through the tea is in Brian’s honour as that is what he thinks British roleplayers only drink!)

RM Optional Rules: Alternate Skill Rank Bonuses & Aptitude Bonuses

I’m a bit off track with blog content but wanted to continue on the subject of skills that both Peter and I have discussed in the previous blog entries. All of these “rule snippets” are part of a larger “No profession” system that we use within the SW setting. While rules like “skill atrophy” can be used as a standalone option they are put of a broader rule ecosystem that allows for balanced character creation without the arbitrary limitations of the professions system. There are several other parts that might be worth exploring as options: