Category Archives: Rolemaster Unified

Deconstructing Magic in Rolemaster. Magical Auras.

Over the past year, I’ve touched upon some new Spell Law concepts:  a different take on “Channeling“, a new way to look at “Summoning”  and the concept of “Links” or “Threads”. When I work on creating new spell lists for Rolemaster and Shadow World, I tend to come at it from a different perspective. I think many new lists featured in RoCos and the Guild Companion were devised from a Profession-centric approach. ie a new profession class is generated and then spells to support the concept are created. I’ve also done that with my Hierax Guard and a few others.

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.

‘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.

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…

More Musings on Professions: Are they Necessary in Rolemaster?

For a game system that was predicated on “no limitations” for player characters, I still find the need to cling to Professions curious. More importantly–beyond PC creation and occasionally leveling–do Professions serve any other purpose? Is a Professional label important for NPCs–the most generally the predominant characters in a game world?

Besides acting as a general trope label, NPC’s in ICE products still list out all skills, skill bonuses and spell lists. Unlike D&D, there are no intrinsic skills or abilities imparted to professions at various levels in Rolemaster. The Profession listed on an NPC stat might give a GM a “sense” of that character, but what really matters is the stat block itself. There is really no need to know a Profession for an NPC–only their stats and abilities. That’s the whole point of a skill based character system.

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.

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?

#RPGaDAY 29th, 30th and 31st

This is the last of the #RPGaDAY posts. My answers the 29th and 30th are pretty generic but skip down to the 31st for the best answer!

29th What has been the best-run RPG kickstarter you have backed?

I have never backed a kickstarter. I don’t think I would for an RPG either. I have nothing against kickstarter or RPGs but I just do not have the gaming group to buy games and play them. With my meagre collection of games I still don’t have time to play all of them so backing games just to get more games that will sit on a shelf and never be played does not make sense. If there was a decent RM based kickstarter then that would be a different case. I guess I am just not part of the kickstarter/crowdfunding sub-culture.