Category Archives: Ask the audience

“what is necessary, but nothing more AND nothing less”

I continued to be a big fan of RM/SM until 1989. I could see ways to do just about every gaming setting, and several non-gaming settings (Aliens, Dune, etc.) using those rules. But, something happened over the summer of 1989. I was at DragonCon, and a naval war gamer challenged me that if I need more than 1 sheet of paper (4 pages) for rules, for a war game, then that was too many. The more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t get away from the idea of minimalism.

Rolemaster deconstruction: critical tables.

We’ve spent quite a bit of time deconstructing Rolemaster, analyzing RMU and trading thoughts on various house rules.  One thing is evident, that while some tinkering may be necessary, the critical charts are the core of RM differentiation and perhaps the most beloved mechanic of the system.  I think these critical charts work so well is that they provide expository for combat damage. Where most early RPG’s relied upon simple hit damage, critical charts allow a GM to provide flavor to the combat without having to ad lib damage effects. So while some see charts as crunchy or clunky, I see a powerful tool for combat narrative.

Is it better to beg forgiveness or ask for permission?

I know for certain that it is a damn sight faster to get things done if you just do it and then ask for forgiveness afterwards.

Here is my dilemma and objective. I spent last evening rereading all of JDales ‘New Tables’ thread to try and come back up to speed with RMU. The motivation is to try and put together a set of rules I am happy with that use the rules as close to what will be in the final released game as possible.

Playing for time

Have any of those reading this ever played an adventure backwards?

What I mean is, your group sits down, you hand out the character sheets and then say “You are stood on the rocky ledge with a precipice falling away into darkness at your feet, opposite you the rock cliff face disappears up into the darkness above your heads. Waves of heat emanate from the depths below. The only sound is the approaching beat of leathery wings, you have found the subject of you quest, the Dragon Lord is coming. What do you do?”

Rolemaster Skill Deconstruction: Perception, is it even a skill?

PERCEPTION: This skill affects how much information and how many clues a character gets through observation. It may be used to notice the right things, to find carelessly hidden objects, to see that pile of old clothes in the corner, to notice the imperfection in the wall that hides the secret door, the trigger for the trap ahead, the ambush. These are the type of things that the GM cannot mention to the players because to do so would call them to special attention that the character’s perception might not allow. (ref. Character Law)

Relative Adventuring

This is not my idea but one I have borrowed from the Conan game by Modiphius.

Imagine you are reading an adventure module for Rolemaster. The adventure describes an ambush by goblins at a river ford. In the details it says ‘There will be two goblins for every character’. In the next encounter, in an outer chamber of the goblin lair the numbers are ‘There will be three more goblins than characters.’

Every encounter describes the strength of the encounter relative to the strength of the adventuring party.

Thought Experiment Update

I huge thank you to everyone that sent me character sheets!

The brief was intentionally vague to give everyone creative freedom. Most people produced a non spell using rogue or thief which is what I has sort of expected. My Xan is exactly in that vein.

Things that really stood out were that I got three RMU characters. Seeing as RMU is still in play test and the experiment was for people who had house ruled character creation I had only expected one RMU character and that was Hurin’s who uses individual skill costs.

What Merriment One Can Have With a Broadsword and a Drunken Elf!

Somewhere in our deep dark roleplaying history someone made a mistake. They had misread the racial description for Elves and rather than making them immune to normal diseases had made them immune to normal poisons. This had a consequence of making it impossible to get an elf drunk.

When my last campaign started I wanted to correct this error and pointed out the rules where it shows the immunity and resistance roll mods to show the players that we had been doing it wrong all this time. I was amazed at the players reactions (if those that wanted to play elves.) The ability to drink anyone under the table was really important to them despite the fact that is was a blatant mistake on our part.

Thought Experiment part one of two


I would like to do an experiment.

What I would like is for everyone who has house ruled character creation to look at the pen portrait of an NPC, or PC, below and create the character using your own house rules.

What I would like is a starting character, not necessarily 1st level as I know full well that an RMU level 1 is a whole different thing to a RM2 or RMSS level 1.

Once you have created the character could you email a PDF of the character sheet to weareallawesome AT rolemasterblog DOT com.