Category Archives: RM Combat Hacks

Player Combat Charts

Do you give your players a copy of their combat chart for rolling their own attack?

I know lots of people do this but I am not one of them. I believe the objective is to speed up combat. Everyone has one copy of every chart they use so there is no page flipping back and forth through Arms Law. The GM only then has to manage the NPCs attacks.

I do something similar with Spell Law so everyone has a copy of their spell lists so the spell casters are not queuing up to get their hands on spell law to see what spell to cast.

Rolemaster Combat Hack: Expanded weapon modifiers for Rolemaster.

Even in the earliest editions Rolemaster Arms Law contained a detailed chart of weapons with a variety of data: mods to hit ATs, length, weight, speed, notes etc. Beyond any additional to hit bonuses we never really referred to that chart at all–but it did give hints to useful information that could be incorporated into combat.

Rolemaster Combat Maneuvers: Fighting Naked.

So RM & RMU has introduced a variety of combat maneuvers and combat penalties: blind fighting, close quarters, protect, mounted combat etc. How about a new one: Naked Fighting.

Sure you might not have the advantage of armor, but you would, or could, have the advantage of “shock & awe”. Maybe an extra “stress” or “depression” critical is dealt when the naked fighter crits?

How about a whole cadre or group of warriors that went into battle naked?

So, I did have one naked NPC attack the group once years ago. But I like the theatrics of a group of naked beserkers rushing the group. Thoughts?

Firearms in Rolemaster – The Mechanics

In my last entry I talked a bit about how I revised the attack tables for firearms in Rolemaster. That’s not the only change you need to make if you plan on adding realistic firearms to a game using any flavor of the Rolemaster rules. I’m a firm believer in using a two second, phased round for firearms, but you also need to make some core mechanics adjustments. That’s what I’m talking about today.

Rolemaster, Combat, and Firearms

Hurin’s recent post got me thinking about combat and general and Rolemaster’s combat in particular and how various Rolemaster products handle firearms. That (of course) led me to thinking about how I’ve revised those rules for settings outside of standard fantasy. It also got me thinking about the proposition that lots of combat mechanics equals an emphasis on combat.

Body Development

This is just a short post today as I am still thinking about whether I am going down the right road or not.

Do we actually need a Body Development skill?

Every race has a racial maximum so it is a bit of a development tax, every character has to buy it, on low level characters. Once you have maxed out your #hits you can just forget about it.

It is one of the more complex calculations and I have seen people posting on the forum getting the calculation for total hits wrong when it comes to a negative Con stat bonus.

RM Combat Hack: Simplified armor & encumbrance


While both encumbrance and fatigue are critical elements in our game it’s always added an extra step of record keeping that was onerous. We’ve played around with several mechanisms but found that the new piecemeal armor and fatigue rule in RMU work great but we’ve taken it one step further.

RM Combat Hack: Missile Parry


Popular fiction is replete with master swordsmen deflecting arrows with their blades or martial artists knocking aside or even catching thrown weapons. In our efforts to reduce skill bloat and add a “cinematic” quality to game play we’ve allowed the ability to parry missiles along with the standard option of applying OB to DB against melee weapons. For simplicity we prefer to build it into the normal OB/DB mechanic but we have also play-tested it as a combat expertise skill as well.

Initiative, the third leg of the RM combat stool.


When it was first introduced in Arms Law the fluid concept of splitting a weapon skill between offense and defense was very compelling. It helped that RM’s d100 system provided a larger result range than the competing d20 systems that allowed for any number of modifiers to be used within that basic framework: multi-attack, drawing weapon, parry rules, combat modifiers etc. Mostly it was just intuitive and the allocation between offense and defense added a layer of combat strategy within a simple die roll.

RM Optional Rules: Skill Qualification

This is sort of an alternative answer to one of the issues that Brian highlights in his post Skill Atrophy. The part that really struck a chord with me was the comment about higher level characters becoming more generic as they learn a broader range of skills once they have maxed out their core skills.

I really hate ‘generic’.

Having said that the character design criteria I ask my players to aim for is a well rounded character who could have survived to reach level one. I like characters that have some kind of answer to the problems of healing, being cornered in a fight or lost in a hostile environment. I don’t want everyone to be the same but also don’t like characters that are pretty one dimensional.