RPG Rant: #@$! Potions.


I hate potions. Ok, perhaps I don’t feel that strongly but I certainly don’t use them a lot., and thankfully Terry doesn’t use them either in his Shadow World setting. So what is it that bugs me about potions….

Potions are a common trope in early fairy tales and mythology, a standard in RPG’s and are a critical mechanic in many computer video games for health or hit point rejuvenation. Maybe that’s why it feels like potions have “jumped the shark”. Rolemaster already has a comprehensive spell and herb healing system–why duplicate that with healing potions?

Melos, A contribution to Aioskoru

Quite a while ago now I produced half a dozen blog posts in support of Ken Wickham’s Aioskoru world setting. Things than kind of went off the boil a bit and I didn’t do much more beyond describe NPCs, three settlements and some adventures based around a ship full of orcs.

So recently Ken emailed me and said that he had bundled up a lot of his Aioskoru material from his blog and posted it on RPGnow. He had kept the format simple so that it was easy for him to update but he was putting it our there. He has had over 200 downloads of the material he has produced which hopefully means that the setting may get more supporters and continue to grow and develop.

Revisiting Spell Law: Spell Casting Mechanics Pt. 2 Essence


Now that we’ve laid the theoretical groundwork in Pt. 1 I wanted to explore each realm in a bit more detail. Since the original Spell Law, Essence has included the traditional spells established by D&D: fireballs, teleports, sleep, charm, fly etc and most of the general accepted “rules” of Magic-User spells.

  1. Casting Time. Spells take 1-3 rounds to cast.
  2. Metal armor interferes with Essence.
  3. Spells require a verbal and hand gesture component.
  4. Spell Powers. Spells cover a very broad range of power but exclude healing and most “animist” style spells.

Azukail Games – 100 Creepy Things and Events to Encounter Outdoors

Azukail Games has given me another new toy to play with in the form of the booklet 100 Creepy Things and Events to Encounter Outdoors a sibling product to http://www.rolemasterblog.com/100-creepy-things-events-find-spooky-house/.

Azukail Games aim to, in their own words, “Publishing RPG Supplements to Help GMs” and their supplements normally comprise lists of really useful things that normally a GM has to come up with off the top of his head. These could be NPC names, tavern names or books on the shelp of a library or in this case 100 Creepy Things.

Revisiting Spell Law: Spell Casting Mechanics Pt. 1


There has always been basic indications that the Rolemaster spell realms operate under different mechanics. Essence and Channeling are affected by armor, Mentalism by helms, verbal and hand gestures are necessary components of Essence but not so much Mentalism etc. At the same time, the general casting mechanics of 3 rounds for most spells were uniform across the three realms without any serious mechanical differences.

Most of these rules were more the result of built in game tropes, the need for “balance” and to facilitate gameplay (combat) than any rigorous attempt at realm differentiation. During our Spell Law rewrite (Project BASiL), we started from scratch—deconstructing the various spells, powers, categories and casting requirements and then rebuilding spells and realms in an intuitive and organic fashion.

Further musing on the skills system

I really like Brian’s take on skills where the number of ranks has an important role to play as well as the total bonus.

As I see it there are four types of skill roll in Rolemaster.

All or nothing.

This is the classic pass or fail test. You either heard the cocking of the crossbow or you didn’t. In RM2/RMC you need a total of 101+ to succeed in RMSS/RMFRP it is 111+ (which always struck me as a weird number if eleventy-one works for you then who am I to argue.)

Progress towards a goal

Rolemaster Skill Bonuses and Skill Ranks

In our attempt to reduce skills to the absolute minimum possible AND to create a unified action resolution for all actions we’ve come up with a hybrid system of ideas from RM and RMU.

The basic premise is that total skill bonus is used for action resolution (MM, SM, combat, SCR etc) and # of skill ranks are used for “proficiency issues”.  The following chart breaks down skills into 3 overall categories: Lores (knowledge), Vocations (job that represents a number of skills and disciplines) and General Skills (everything else).

Skill Ranks Lore Vocation General Skills

Is RMU missing an opportunity to fix the rules system?

I have been doing a bit of homebrew rules writing this week and I have taken bits and bobs of other games and mashed them all together to get a set of rules that did a particular job. It isn’t rolemaster so doesn’t belong here but bits of rolemaster ended up in what I was doing.

Now if you take bits of different games you get different mechanics and different ways of doing the same thing. In rolemaster particularly RM2 if you look at how skills work you you get different ways of doing things in the same game!

Shadow World Revisited: “Here be NO monsters”


One of my favorite aspects of Shadow World is the general lack of fantasy “monsters”. Perhaps the early emphasis of the Fenlon Middle Earth campaign set the tone, but both Rolemaster and Shadow World were relatively light on the D&D style monster encounter.

As a younger player strange and unique monsters helped set the tone of wonder, mystery and even fear but as my players got older, introducing a never ending stream of monsters seemed to work the opposite by taking them out of the game.

Is Rolemaster Rules Heavy?

I saw a survey today that listed Rolemaster as an example of a ‘Rules Heavy’ system. If you bought ALL of RMC that would be Character Law, Arms Law, Spell Law, Creatures & Treasures and Companion 1 you would have the entire published system and the entier page count runs to about 800 pages. That is roughly the size of just the three core DnD 5e PHB, DMG and Monster Manual.