There was a comment to my last post that read:
I am spending the day travelling today. I was up at the crack of dawn to get the train to London and right now I am sat in Caffè Nero at Heathrow terminal 5 waiting for my flight to Switzerland. Initially I thought I may end up missing my Friday article this week. One the Iron Crown forum there is a discussion going on about allowing a character to change professions.
Professions are so ‘loaded’ in Rolemaster that I knew this would turn into one of those rambling threads.
We all know the skills system(s) in Rolemaster are a bit of a shambles, the stats system is decidedly wonky with its 11 stats working in several different ways. The magic system seems to have as many people favouring HARP scalable spells as those that like the lists and those that like spells as skills. What almost everyone seems to agree on is that the Criticals with their mix of graphic description, dark humour make Rolemaster completely Rolemaster.
A nice round 11 stats
Deconstructing Rolemaster a little, the stats system is not particularly outstanding. The whole stats system lacks conviction, there is one option to use just a single stat bonus with skills, another to use the average of two or three stats and the latest version with smaller stat bonuses that are added together. If you bring HARP into the frame then there are 8 stats, in Rolemaster there are 10 stats if you ignore the poor relation of Appearance that makes 11 stats.
I thought I would skip my “Weekly Roundup” for a player challenge. The challenge: suggest an interesting, creative or clever RM profession/magic item combination. The basic guidelines:
- One profession and one item.
- Artifacts are excluded.
- The combination should strive to make the “whole greater than the parts” or add an interesting dynamic or ability to the character.
- Extra kudos to the player who comes up with the best combo using the least powerful magic item.
I was reading Gnomestew blog the other day (and linked to some on the Weekend Roundup) and started thinking about optimal party size for me personally as a GM. It’s certainly harder to put together any group as I get older—conflicting schedules and responsibilities of adult players creates significant barriers to game times. Right now I have 3 core players who can attend our bi-weekly game and another 2 that attend less frequently.
After decades of GMing one of my greatest challenges has been to consistently invoke the feeling of surprise, wonder, fear and even caution into gameplay. While they may not be “jaded”, my gaming group have seen it all: there is no plot device, game trope or foe that will truly surprise them. We will probably never replicate the wonder and surprise we felt gaming when we young teenagers but I would still like to instill some caution into my players—they often make decisions based on the assumption that every encounter is perfectly balanced or that they will get bailed out by “greater forces” if they get in over their head.
I have an idea for a game I want to run. Rather than strict ‘rules as written’ this time I want to house rule to fit the game world. I intend ripping out as much of the rulebook as possible and stripping things back to as close to ‘no rules’ as possible whilst still being recognisably Rolemaster.
Most people seem to say that the thng that drew them in to Rolemaster in the first place was the critical tables. I think the two most striking features are both the critical table and the open ended roll. I will keep both of those.
I just read Nicholas Caldwell’s directors briefing January 2016. Is really exciting to see that RMU won’t be going to a third beta but rather straight to a draft edition of the final rules. The draft edition should be there just for us to catch any missing tables spelling mistakes typos that sort of thing. It will be cool to see how the final rules I’m sure they will not have satisfied all of the people who are not happy with how the rules frankly I don’t think that was possible anyway, we have all modified our own versions rolemaster and no new edition that ever satisfy everybody.
Firstly I do not envy the dev team on bit. If you have a hard core player community that have ben playing the same game pretty much for 30 years or more and then you wan tto come along and ‘improve’ it then you are on a hiding to nothing in my opinion.
Now I think I am a pretty reasonable guy, I know and love RM2 (which is obviously and clearly the best version of Rolemaster every written and I am not in the slightest bit biased at all) but I have bought and embraced RMC and I can see it is an improvement. I have bought HARP and I can see good things in that as well. Rolemaster Unified on the other handis a pretty big departure from what has gone before.