Category Archives: House Rules

Rolemaster Deconstructed: Action Resolution Mechanics

Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings! This is going to be a short post and not as well thought out; I wanted to link to a few RMForum comments and the ICE website is still down with an expired domain. (That’s not good for brand equity). So while I wanted to dive deeper into skill bonus and penalty ranges I’m going to skim over that for now and just open up any thoughts on d100 resolution.

While Rolemaster is a d100 system, success is measured in a variety of ways and using some different mechanics.

Diversity vs. Playability: Skills in Rolemaster

Today I’m looking at the ‘problem’ of skills in RM: consolidated skills (of which RMFRP is the paradigmatic version, and which appears to be a certainty in the new version, although with far less skills) or individual skills, each with their own development cost, as was the case in RM2. Let me nail my flag to the mast: I am rather more in favour of individual skill costs, primarily for the tremendous variety and granularity they offer. You simply can’t get that under the skill category system (although the RMFRP rules do allow a certain amount of tweaking, and my rather freewheeling interpretation of the talent rules enabled more).

Rolemaster Unification: One Size Rule fits ALL!

For me, one of the great innovations in early RMU Betas was the new sizing/scaling rules. Of course, much of that rule was modified due to player feedback, but the core idea is still incredibly useful as a scaling and informational tool for the game. In it’s basic form, the size scaling allowed for damage adjustments between combatants of differing sizes. Player feedback argued that on the fly adjustments added to much work to the game flow, and subsequent RMU beta’s incorporated size differentials into the weapon charts. However, the size rules can be applied to more than melee attacks. What information does/can a Size impart:

Sunday Musings. Projects in the queue and the Monster Squad!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! (here in the USA).  We are winding down another year at Rolemasterblog so maybe Peter will do a “Year in Review”? We have lot’s of ongoing projects and some cool stuff planned for 2018. Personally, I have so many irons in the fire it’s feeling a bit overwhelming! I thought I would do a quick overview from my persective:

  1. Back in April we started a challenge to write 50 Adventures and publish them over 50 weeks. Now we are heading into our 5th week! These are short adventure hooks, place, ideas or small layouts you can drop into a campaign etc. You can find the latest HERE with links to the others already published.

Rolemaster Profession Review: The Many Flavors of Magic-Users.

I got a couple emails on my last blog regarding Shamans so I thought I would expand the conversation to include “Magic-Users”.

First off, my over-arching point about Shamans is an extension of my discussions on Clerics and Priests in general. The Rolemaster Cleric is really just the Channeling archetype; there are numerous variations that could be treated as “sub-classes” or unique Professions (like Shamans or Animists). Herein lies a systemic problem with Rolemaster–what determines whether a class idea needs a whole new profession with base lists and individual skill costs or whether it can just be a variation of skill selection using an established profession? Why have an Animist/Druid and not the Shaman? Why should there be a “Barbarian” profession and not a “Mercenary”?

Rolemaster Profession Review: taking another look at the Shaman.

The original Rolemaster probably ignored a few key class tropes in their original work. Paladins comes to mind of course, but in my mind one of the most important is the  Shaman!

If Clerics/Priests are defined as members of an organized religion, than perhaps we can define a Shaman as a leader of a decentralized or non-organized religion.  Maybe the society or group worships a local god, or a real god under an avatistic identity, but the belief system lacks the more coherent structure and trappings of an organized religious institution. If you are gaming in a “classic” fantasy setting, you’ll probably have, or encounter a variety of primitive societies: Orcs, Goblins, barbaric tribes etc.  These groups will most definitely have  a version of a “Cleric”, but different than the type found in Rolemaster that casts Absolutions and Channels.

Rolemaster Spell Law Deconstruction.

If you follow the Rolemaster threads or the RMU threads you’ll see people  asking for clarification on a certain spell, list or spell mechanic. With so many spells, various realms and lots of companion spell lists, it’s not surprising that the Spell Law edifice is showing a few cracks after 30+ years. For me that started the process of “deconstruction”–tearing down Spell Law and looking at it from a unbiased and objective mindset.

Sleeping with the enemy!

This week my challenge is to read up on OpenD6. The reason for this is that they have have a very simple approach to descriptive critical wounds, they have hit locations based upon the attack roll and features like ‘stunned’ and bleeding. At first glance their combat system seems a lot less fluid or more cumbersome than Rolemaster but on the other other hand the rule set is a lot more flexible in that it copes with spells, shotguns and superpowers all in the core rules.

How many Spells is enough?

BriH touched on this with his high level adventures but a very high level spell caster is highly likely to have every open and closed list and every base list to the max. Obviously the rules in play can affect that. I am playing my lay healer in a game where almost everyone in the world has at least some kind of magic and every family has a spell caster.

In that game 10 ranks in learning a spell list is enough for automatic success and you can learn lists in parallel. You can learn one list for every powerpoint/level you gain. The GM also allows you to add your stat bonus to the spell gain roll if the chance is not automatic.

New Generation Orcs!

Once upon a time Rolemaster was a drop in set of house rules for D&D. These monsters bring things full circle. These are the monsters from the D&D 5e SRD converted back to an approximation for any version of Rolemaster. Some monsters will be weaker than the official Rolemaster monsters for your version of Rolemaster. Some will be tougher. As a GM you should look at the monster and decide if you need to adjust the number encountered to take account of any variation in power.