Category Archives: Opinion

Ascendancy. The pathway to Godhood in Rolemaster.

Earlier this year, I blogged about the concept of players channeling power and or spells to “followers”. To me, this was a natural progression of the original Channeling Skill & Spells found in the earliest versions of Rolemaster. I was always intrigued by the channeling concept in RM, but we never, ever used it in any of our games. It’s a powerful concept, especially for game system in the early days of RPG’s, but the game mechanics were clunky and the upside benefit during gameplay was never really clear.

‘Well sir, if I were you, I wouldn’t start from here’

This is my reply to Brian’s http://www.rolemasterblog.com/rmu-mission-accomplished/

Well here is a real bunch of thoughts for you…

Firstly, I don’t think the RMU devs have any intention of attracting new players. Through their inaction they have proved their intention. If they had reached out to any one of the other games systems communities and looked for play testers they would have got fresh eyes on the rules. They would have found out if the rules as written are enough to engage those new to RM. They would have started the discussion about the new version of RM with the wider gaming community. They would have raised ICE’s profile all over the world and the on going conversation would have drawn in more people.

RMU: Mission Accomplished?

I’ve been reluctant to comment directly on RMU; the rules are still in Beta and I’ve already decided what pieces to adopt in my own game. I think there is a lot of fantastic stuff in RMU–some of it inspired me to modify my own house rules or change the way I think of an RM mechanic. That’s a positive sign for any new rules in a system played predominantly by older games who are fairly set in their ways. Early versions of RMU inspired me to make wholesale changes to my game. In all honesty,  despite the time I’ve spend re-writing Character Law and Spell Law, I was never going to tackle Arms Law. I just didn’t have the interest or patience in re-writing the attack tables–but they did need work. So thanks for that guys!

Can Rolemaster survive as a generic game system anymore?

While originally designed as a bolt on system to DnD, the Rolemaster “Laws” were always unwieldy to adapt to a d20 system. That didn’t matter for long, as the full suite of rules were published in fairly short order: Rolemaster was a standalone system.

Unfortunately from there, Rolemaster became ‘bipolar’: it contained quite a bit of DnD DNA but tried to establish an RM specific setting with the Loremaster line of products. (Iron Wind, Cloudlords, Vog Mur). Rolemaster was torn between the path forward in the gritty world of the Iron Wind or the well established cartoonish tropes of DnD. And soon after that, ICE rolled out the Middle Earth setting, although there is general agreement that the first few ME books (Court of Ardor & Umbar specifically) had more the feel of the Loremaster world than Middle Earth.

80’s redux. An embarrassment of fantasy riches.

This week I’ll be turning 48! If you are following this POST on the RM forum, my age seems fairly typical of other Rolemaster players. We grew up in the 80’s, played RPG’s, and waited hopelessly for movies (and TV) to embrace our passion for fantasy roleplaying. Yes, there was Excalibur, Ladyhawke, Conan, Willow, and the Beastmaster; but most weren’t great and were considered “B” movies. There was a long gestating D&D movie that never happened (until the Jeremy Irons fiasco in the 2000’s), but otherwise fantasy fans were really left wanting. A lot has changed since then.

Community Created Content

Following on from Brian’s post about the 80/20 rule I have been thinking about Rolemaster’s attitude to community created content.

Right now, community created content is the ‘big thing’ in games publishing. The big names are shown below but OneBookShelf hosts 18 community content schemes.

 

The way they work is this…

The writing and work process. Embrace the 80% rule.

If you are reading this, you probably play RPG’s and, at some point at least dabbled in writing adventure material. Peter and I have solicited for new contributors to this blog–both articles and adventures but without a lot of response. I know writers are out there…so where are they?

Writing ready to publish material is tough and takes a lot more work than jotting down some adventure notes that might be suitable for a GM running an adventure. But we aren’t asking for print ready material and at this point, a steady stream of adventure or support material can only help the game.

Seconds ticking away

Following on from my last post about movement and mounted combat I have been thinking about combat rounds.

There are three combat round lengths in the ICE world. RM2, Spacemaster and I guess RMSS use the 10 second round. RMU uses 5 second rounds and HARP uses a 2 second round.

If was obvious that the 10 second round didn’t work for modern day and Sci Fi. There is no way you can only squeeze  the trigger of a gun once every ten seconds. The fix was to introduce fire phase 1 and 2 into the standard RM2 phased combat round.

RolemasterBlog Fanzine Issue #0005

So issue 5 is out on both RPGnow (http://www.rpgnow.com/product/220906/Rolemaster-Fanzine-Issue-0005) but more excitingly it is also on Kindle (https://www.amazon.co.uk/RolemasterBlog-Fanzine-September-2017-Issue-ebook/dp/B075D79LH7/)

I also hope that by the time you read this it is also in print on Amazon (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1549678930)


I find the simple fact that anyone can write, publish and distribute a book now in virtually no time and at virtually no expense is very democratising.

This month I am trying to train myself to try and write 2,000-3,000 words a day on RPG related stuff. The fanzine is about 7,000 words but it also includes an adventure and a monster complete with stats. These take longer than just writing an essay or prose.

Setting or Unsettling?

Brian recently touched upon the need for Rolemaster to fully commit to Shadow World as its default setting. I am 100% behind this idea.

It is obvious from Brian’s deconstructions that as soon as you start to look critically as Spell Law that the amount of setting specific magic is far greater than one would have given credit for initially. This will always be most pronounced in the Channelling realm as gods have a big role to play in most fantasy settings. That then throws up the issue of why is a cleric of a fire god just as good at healing as a god of healing?