Two philosophies of RMU: rebuild or reorganize?

While it’s  much too late to change the course of events, there are still a number of detailed conversations going on at the RM Forums regarding the RMU Beta test.

For me the endless rules debates became too deep a rabbit hole that I didn’t want to go down any longer and there are still many players who are fiercely engaged. So rather than discuss actual rules, I thought I would discuss the rules making process. A bit of a meta-debate if you will.

I think the RMU development process has become a rorschach test for the RM community. It’s clear that there are variety of differing and strongly held beliefs about the rule resolutions and they are mostly the product of an individual’s ideas on versimilitude and their own tolerance for complexity. I discussed Chargen complexity in a previous POST, but I wanted to broaden the scope of my question into 2 parts. First, does RMU rebuild the ruleset or just reorganize and streamline it? Second, are peoples suggested rule changes a rebuild or a reorganize?

I think the answer to the first question is easy. RMU stayed “inside the box” and merged, streamlined and tinkered with core mechanics without any significant rebuild. Perhaps the only rebuild mechanic that was introduced was the size rules and those were discarded after community input.  Arms Law still kept weapon tables, crit charts and the basic combat structure. Does the round sequence or initiative rules rise to the definition of a rebuild? I think it was evolutionary, but certainly not revolutionary. Spell Law was left almost as-is, with some spell mechanics rewritten or clarified, spell slots filled but little else. Character Law seemingly reduced RMSS skill bloat (but not really) and added to the Chargen process with pages and pages of talents and flaws–rules for rules!

So my second question–are your solutions rebuilding or just tinkering around the edges? It seems like many rule suggestions (including mine) are just an attempt to get RMU to adopt house rules in some fashion. But are these suggestions meant to truly revise RM or are you painting within the lines? I think RMU met it’s name: it’s attempted to unify a diverse community within the established mechanics.

But did RMU need more? If so what?

Did rule changes take you out of your own comfort zone?

Are proposed rules to the benefit of growing the community or appealing to the current user base?

Do RMU rules advance the system into the contemporary gaming community?

I negotiate for a living and a saying in my profession is that the best possible deal is when both parties walk away somewhat dissatisfied.

 

40 Replies to “Two philosophies of RMU: rebuild or reorganize?”

  1. I think the potential changes to the turn structure and action economy are significant, bordering on revolutionary. They have the potential to create a very simple but flexible system that will also be appealing to players coming from other unnamed games, which is a big plus… especially since those two games easily dominate the market. They could be the gateway drug to Rolemaster 🙂

    I am not however a big fan of expanding talents and flaws — or skills for that matter — especially if those are used to fix problems in the core rules. The core rules themselves should be tweaked instead, so that the talents and flaws are purely optional. I’d prefer a little more complexity in the core rules so that we can have less exceptions, rather than the other way around. That is of course just my 2 cents though.

    1. Talents and Flaws are just a repackaging of background options in my opinion. I used to abhor all the T&Fs but now I just see them as background options without the randomness of rolling for them.

  2. I recently read Arms & Character Law beta after someone on the ICE forum pointed me to a fear mechanic therein. I found it an interesting and useful read (and the mechanic most helpful!), but I can’t help viewing this latest iteration as just one more optional set of rules out of which gamers can pick and choose what works best for their tables.

    For example, I found the new initiative and action economy intriguing, though I’m afraid it would be a bit much for my players. I outright ignored the skills and talents and flaws. In truth, my home game essentially uses MERP character stats, “ancestries” and skill lists combined with virtually everything else the Laws of RM2 offer.

    This is my own experience, of course, after a lifetime of gaming that, quite naturally, has contributed to a “Do It Yourself” mentality. Does RMU have what it takes to attract new gamers? That’s hard to say. Rolemaster is a very cool name, and pretty much says it all. But it harkens back to a gaming mentality of the late 80s and 90s, indicated by words “Advanced” and “Expert” in the most visible of rpgs, that might no longer be relevant. So many of us then were interested in increasing complexity and simulationism. Is that really what gamers are looking for now? Or might this trend be coming back around?

    As a footnote, is it desirable or possible for Rolemaster to shed the reputation for complexity that I just here unconsciously perpetuated? Compared to so many other systems — including some of the most popular ones today — this reputation for complexity simply no longer is true, if it ever was.

    1. I think there is room enough for a wide spectrum of game systems in the market. My fear is not that RMU is too complex but that it is too big.

      By that I mean virtually every game these days is but a single volume rule book to get players started, except PF and 5e who have such a commanding market share they are special cases. Asking someone to hand over $100 or more before they even get to read the rules is a big ask.

      1. And even Pathfinder and 5E have the Beginner Box and Starter Set, both of which are low-priced and contain enough to actually play.

        1. Didn’t RM Express try to do something similar? I never really looked at it.

          Perhaps you could do a free RMU starter set, with premade characters and some basic rules.

          Or maybe is the solution to use the ERA, to allow players at least to make their characters for a small price electronically, with the option to buy the rest of the rules if they like them?

          1. Yes RMX was that light version of the rules with regular expansions that filled in the blanks to turn it into RMC by degrees.

            None of the expansions were ‘required’ so you could play with as much or as little as you wanted.

  3. I like were the rules are going, however they have not addressed my most glaring issue from a balance perspective and that is Spell Law.

    The power level between spells and spell lists are off the charts. For example ; the implication on the game world of having a spell like “unseen” (which makes something invisible and lasts for 24 hours) available as a level 2 spell is just mind boggling. And there is no way to magically counter this effect until a much high level and even then permanent protection is out of the question. Assassins are running rampant!

    There are entire professions that don’t have access to spells with such world influencing effects until they are level 15. And its not like unseen is the only offender in that category.

    1. Agreed! Part of this problem stemmed from D&D where you had a “magic-user” that could fly, turn invisible, cast fireballs and charm people. Those are 4 powerful effects that perhaps shouldn’t be in open/closed and made as specific lists for a core archetype. For instance, invisibility/unseen should be a core spell ability of an Illusionist (light manipulation), Fly should be a core ability of an Wind Elementalist, Charm should be a Mentalist skill or “Mesmerist” etc.

      1. I also agree. There is a tightrope to walk here. You can ‘fix’ spell law by making it setting specific and tailoring the spells to really fit that setting but that would then break it even more for those that use RM and Spell Law in other settings.

        I play mostly in the Forgotten Realms so DnD legacies play into my favour.

        Very soon I will be looking at running RM in HârnWorld and that could be a completely different proposition.

        1. Harn! Now that’s a name that I’ve not heard in a long time!

          Though we didn’t play it much, I really kind of liked the Harn combat system, and wanted to explore the world more. I found the spell system a little too ‘make it up as you go along’ for my tastes, but I definitely saw a lot of potential in the system and the world.

  4. Hi,

    So that you know where I am coming from: I am outside of the RM community, although I have had reasonable knowledge of and familiarity with RM for years and years. Decades. It has always been a system I have considered fascinating but never the system I would want to run or play, since I always found much better alternatives for any genre. Again, that’s me.

    I come to this as an interested outsider. On to the questions.

    But did RMU need more? If so what?

    I think so. From here, it doesn’t look like RMU united much of anything. Classic players like their classic. SS/FRP folks like that too. Various veterans already have their custom house rules and are coming out with more.

    RMU might be *a* unified version of the game, but it doesn’t seem to have unified very much.

    I think RMU failed a test of courage, which D&D3 and D&D5 passed: How do we preserve the ancient beating heart of our game while creating something that feels new and authoritative?

    It also failed a test of project management, perhaps by an even greater margin than C&S4: How do we publish a game in a timely way, that meets the standards of current professional standards?

    That’s the kind of something more that’s not here.

    Do RMU rules advance the system into the contemporary gaming community?

    No, except to the extent that OSR is a thing.
    Did rule changes take you out of your own comfort zone?

    Nope. More to the point, they did little to bring me into my comfort zone. If you love RM, you may or may not like RMU. But if you have issues with RM, you’ll have issues with RMU.

    Are proposed rules to the benefit of growing the community or appealing to the current user base?

    Can’t speak of the latter, since I’m not really part of the “current user base.” But I don’t expect it to grow the community.

    Anyway,

    Ken

    1. Ken: Thanks for outside view. I would be interested in your own game experiences or pro/cons. I haven’t followed AD&D in decades, and vaguely remember some problems with 3E (Monte Cook influence?) and Castles and Crusades. You were heavily involved with Atlas Games? Peter here is more in tune with other systems, while I have stuck with RM just from time constraints and economies of scale. You have some insights–maybe participate here on the blog on game development issues?

      1. Hi,

        Thank you for your encouraging words. I do hope that people here find my own words of some use. I have been reading this site for a while and enjoy it.

        My involvement with Atlas Games, such that it is, mostly is of a fan, forum participant and sometime player/GM of Ars Magica. I know and have played some of their other games too: Feng Shui, OTE, Unknown Armies (I think that’s Atlas.)

        And then there’s D&D. Inescapable! Increasingly, I wonder if that might be a good thing. Every game system has problems, and D&D’s problems don’t seem so bad. Of course, I suspect that D&D3’s problems (caster supremacy!) are likely to irk longtime fans of RM. What I admire most about D&D is the way they went back to the drawing board for D&D3, D&D4 and D&D5. All of them are different from each other and from AD&D, yet with the possible exception of D&D4, they all feel like D&D. I’m floored by that combination of ballsy risk-taking and design chops.

        I don’t know Castles and Crusades. C&S is Chivalry and Sorcery, a rather dead and ancient game system from the first wave of “D&D…. but better, more complicated and more ‘realistic'” wave of rpgs.

        I love game systems. I love the idea that a game system to some extent models a world’s reality. I used to think that was very important. I still think it matters. Over the years (decades :/ I’m one of those “in their 40s and 50s people), however, I decided that it doesn’t matter all that much. For a game to be successful, its game system only has to be barely good enough and not get too much in the way. Warhammer, WoD and L5R are not good game systems, imo, but they were good enough to serve their purpose. In a sense, RM lives here too! For me, RM does a *terrible* job of modeling Tolkien’s Middle Earth (Legolas and Gimli vs the horde of Orcs, yet none of them critted with a 66?), and yet…

        I think that I have noticed three broad trends in modern game systems. Instead of trying to model a game’s reality toward some internal consistency or verisimilitude, we get:

        1) Minimalist game systems that border on freeform. I have run homebrew like this. Published systems of this kind include FATE, OTE, Unknown Armies…

        2) Traditional game systems, possibly with updated mechanics based on the hobby being more mature. GURPS 4ed, Unisystem, Savage Worlds, D&D and friends (pathfinder, 13th age (although that partakes of the first type too), Mutants and Masterminds), Anima, Ironclaw… These systems are the most traditional and remain the most common. They tend toward simpler mechanics than games like RM. Yes, it’s weird that I lump GURPS into this category! Yet a close look at GURPS 4e does show an attempt to simplify and rein in a rather extensive and potentially complicated system.

        3) Game mechanics whose purpose is to regulate the *players* more than the *characters*. Burning Wheel, Polaris (not the sci-fi one), Apocalypse World and friends… The idea is that you get a desirable game experience by applying the rules rigorously; the inner reality of the game world doesn’t matter very much if the result is a fun game, similar to the way a movie can hold up solely on its coolness, intenral consistency be damned (or not), but cannot hold up if it isn’t first and foremost a good experience.

        Developments in RM seem to lie squarely in the second category. I think this was also true about the evolution of D&D and Ars Magica. The difference in outcome, I think lies in the different weighing of priorities, of which I see two:

        1) How do we change the game to make it modern, fresh and definitely worth a look despite all the new hotness and despite what you might be playing right now instead?

        2) How do we change the game to make it better without alienating our existing fanbase?

        D&D firmly chose #1 over #2. They might have paid a price for this during the D&D4 era, yet that game was also successful, with D&D3 and D&D5 both being smash hits.

        Ars Magica (5) chose more of a balance. To some extent they had less flexibility. The game is firmly tied to a setting and most of all to a specific magic system. These can refined, updated, tweaked and even twisted. But it simply isn’t AM without the Order of Hermes and Hermetic Magic. Even so, the designers (of whom I am not one, with whom I have some definite disagreements and no influence) did make changes which riled some old-time fans. The result is a successful game, with some of the best sourcebooks around, imo, but not a breakout.

        And RMU… well, we know who this is for and why. And it isn’t for anyone who isn’t already a fan. That’s also true, I think, of the changes proposed here.

        As an outsider, I think…

        * The new action rules are cumbersome and uncouth.
        * Every turn I take should have a meaningful impact. Even if I have the temerity to play a spellcaster.
        * No spell should be on more than one spell list. Or at least not with different descriptive text.
        * There should be no SpellName spells.
        * Monks should not have any spells. These abilities should mostly just work.
        * Essence/Channeling/Mentalism exist only because of D&D. Maybe time to go.
        * Spellcaster armor restrictions also exist only because of D&D. Even D&D has ditched this. After more than 30 years, maybe the umbilical cord can be severed?
        * Too much skill dilution.
        * Points spent on background skills should not take away from combat skills. (13th Age does this better than, say, Anima, and this problem isn’t one of freeform vs fixed skills.)
        * RM has been around for so long and is so well-known, that every interesting feature of RM has already been looked at by other game designers, evaluated and either rejected, incorporated or superseded in a way that better realizes the deeper feature. Therefore, for a new version of RM to go beyond “look, house rules that you can pay money for,” a different level of innovation is needed.
        * I like having lots of character classes in RM. Without these, why not just play, say, Burning Wheel, or GURPS with some restrictions on Magery? I don’t think the classes RM inherited from D&D are the right ones, but that’s just me. I also don’t think these can be balanced through some formula by which skills or categories are given different weights.
        * For a new edition to shine, RM needs new, shiny and kickass content. No, if the cherished favorites of yore were suitable, this would already be obvious, since I believe that a game system tied to great content need only be good enough to get by.

        Fortunately, changes here are explicitly being made by and for the RM community, rather than general publication! There’s a lot of value in tweaking game rules to build upon years of system mastery. The quality of discourse is high here, I think, with an understanding of the design space at least as good as mine, and not only because I have far less RM experience.

        Anyway,

        Ken

        1. * There should be no SpellName spells.

          ===>

          * There should be no SpellName (number) spells.

          (Site did not like my angled brackets around “number”. 🙂 )

        2. This is a fantastic read and analysis!

          In my view, Rolemaster’s main strength and distinguishing feature always has been its Critical Hits charts. “Try a spatula!” I can see this splashed across a gory graphic in a future advertisement of RMU. Over and over again we hear people advising GMs to get “descriptive” with abstracted hit point damage, and Rolemaster, since the beginning, has baked this into its game. I appreciate, as a GM, relying on the charts rather than having to delegate yet another aspect of my imagination to come up with (ultimately) mechanically irrelevant details (in the “other game,” hit points are just hit points, of course).

          A Rolemaster “unified,” it appears, is doing all those things that many here have said, but, as Ken points out, might not be doing much to grow its brand to other consumers. I think a selling point is the combat and critical hits charts, charts perhaps “simplified” for table economy. I’m imagining charts that require one roll to one armor type — an armor type, mind you, that incorporates both the presences of shields and defensive bonuses and perhaps even conditions and cover! This minimizes the additional step of that extra math at the table.

          Rolemaster also is known for character generation and options, but, honestly, though Rolemaster might have been the first, many, many other games also have developed this aspect of the hobby. And now many obviously offer even MORE options than Rolemaster does.

          1. First off, thanks to both Gabe and Ken for jumping in with detailed and thought out comments. Obviously, if you have more to say about RPG’s and Rolemaster you should let Peter know and contribute as bloggers! Pete had a great blog last year about what the essence of RM really is–I think he nailed it with the crit charts. Everything else has been redone, duplicated or done better. I would note, that Matt has a variant on Arms Law that takes into consideration armor and hit location in the first attack roll. Maybe he presented it, but it might have been too “revolutionary” and not just “evolutionary”. I don’t want to put words in his mouth or mis-state facts but it sounded like the next step in RM combat charts.

    2. I think “Unified” is in some ways a bit of a misnomer. My personal take is that one of the primary intentions of RMU is to create a system without any lingering IP problems caused by ICE’s bankruptcy – many of the old Companions can’t be republished because ICE doesn’t own the contents.

      It certainly hasn’t been timely though.

      1. I think the unification is more about ICE only having to support and maintain a single ruleset.

        I would love to see the conversation when they try to migrate Terry from RM2 to RMU.

        1. Given that I recall Terry posting they will have to prize RM2 from his cold, dead hands, I doubt they will easily migrate him!

          1. Yes, simply having a single ruleset that is fully supported is IMHO an achievement for RMU. No more hunting on Ebay for basic books! It may not have united everyone, but at least some of the barriers to playing it will be removed.

  5. I was going to reply to this last night, however my dropping out of the rules debate for over a year prevented me doing that. Last night, this post and temporary insanity caused me to dip into that mess in order to see what the current version will include.

    By the way, for those that don’t know me, I’m a MERP, 5e, and JAGS GM that joined the discussion several years ago at the forum. RMU will be my first RM rules that I will use (beta2 tested), though the forum debates compelled me to learn a little about the prior rules.

    I agree that the beta2 AP, initiative, and size rules could have been revolutionary had they made publication though not necessarily successful. It seemed to provoke opposition from many long time users.

    So, it seems the current 4(+) action phase per round system, reverting to a similar initiative, and simplifying the size rules seems like a simplify, evolve, and preserve the former system tactic.

    Are proposed rules to the benefit of growing the community or appealing to the current user base?

    Competition is probably competing to gain 1% of the tabletop In RPG market which is a extremely successful more contemporary RPG such as Savage World, Dungeon World, and FATE.

    Successful RPGs are sitting at around 0.50% like Cypher, 13th Age, Starfinder, and A Basic Fantasy (not for profit).

    Moderate successes such as Palladium, Burning Wheel, Original D&D, Traveller, Exalted, and Dragon Age are sitting around 0.30%.

    HERO games, The One Ring, and Fantasy Age are around 0.15%

    Other D100 Runequest, Hackmaster, and Open Legend are at around 0.10%

    The only information I could find shows the amount of RM games being played at one source as of 3rd quarter 2017 gaming report (0.07%) is so small that I think that the game needs to attract new users. Specifically, both new GMs and new players for those GMs.
    History of RM according to the yearly reports:
    2014 unlisted
    2015 45th place (0.08% market)
    2016 56th place (0.08% market)
    2017 53rd place (0.07% market)
    Despite almost 50% up in growth from 2016 to 2017, RM fell in market percentage by 1%.

    In my mind a very successful RM launch that gained new GMs and players would result in something similar to Palladium’s 0.30% market (they launched Savage Worlds version of Rifts).

    If RM does okay it might do a 15% to 20% similar to HERO system.

    Just preserving the old GMs and players will more likely pull in a 10% to 14% at most like Runequest’s latest launch.

    A failure might cause below 0.10% which is where it currently is now. Could it drive away customers? Probably not many, who will just continue using old rules and house rules.

    I don’t think ICE has to fear a WotC loss of game users, since they don’t have very many to begin with to piss off.

      1. On that industry report AEG games, maker of 7th Sea & Legend of the 5 rings, are 31 systems ahead of RM systems with 0.30%, the 25th listed.

        It’s not total sales, it’s total games being played on roll20,com out of 85,442 games being played. It’s a rough indicator since no one publishes their info.

        1. That is interesting as I published a supplement for 7th Sea and I sell 5-7 copies a week. It was the first supplement I had to get a Copper rating on Drivethrurpg.

          The RM fanzine sells 10 copies a month on average.

          So using such unscientific data
          0.07% = 2-3 sales per week
          0.30% = 5-7 sales per week

          Also the fanzine is only $0.99 for about 70 pages of content, the 7th sea booklet is $1.99 for 12 pages.

    1. On a related note, when I check the upcoming birthdays on the RM Forums it’s invariably people turning 40’s and 50’s. Its rare to see anyone in their 30’s or younger. I wonder if many are just on the forums out of nostalgia and are not active gamers now.

  6. I see RMU as a combination marketing move and tidying up of RMSS – completely staying inside the lines. To be honest, I looked at the beta versions some time ago, got the gist of what was in it, read a lot of the threads on the Forum, but have not done a deep dive. So I may be off base, but I think my impression is a fair representation of what a RM veteran might see.
    I converted my whole campaign over to RMSS back when it came out, and had to do all of the character conversion for my players – they said no way to digging into all of that. So when I started my most recent campaign, about 9 months ago, I went back to RM2. I know it better, I can explain it faster, and while there may be some problems, I know them better and have largely home-brewed fixes I use.
    Even with RM2, my players are split on the system. Some, the older ones, are OK with the verisimilitude and complexity. Others, the younger ones, are fine with the verisimilitude but find the complexity an obstacle to enjoying the story. This is the first system they’ve used that they couldn’t pick up and learn in a week, and it’s only because I Charmed them that they’ve stayed. That, and I bring food a lot of the time.

  7. I don’t consider many of the changes to be especially revolutionary or evolutionary. I’ve never been a fan of the AP system, especially after seeing the new Top Secret system which uses APs but bases availability on character stats and defines a discrete time for each AP. Why should a character with high Qu and Ag have the same APs as a character with low scores in both?

    They also missed some great opportunities. I’ve always found some of the pet rocks in RM to be quite interesting. For example, they have no problem getting rid of the temp/potential stat table but consider the Profession as life way model to be sacred and untouchable. Someone on the boards described RMU as something like HARP Heavy and that seems to be accurate.

    I agree RM is in no small part defined by the crit charts, which are distinct from weapons tables. But I also don’t think you could easily distill attack charts into “one roll to rule them all,” at least if you were trying to preserve the gritty combat flavor that also defines RM to a great degree. I know you can reduce the number of weapons tables, at least with firearms and likely other missile weapons, and possibly that model could carry over to melee (although I’m not sure how it would react to the “flurry of blows” model that also seems untouchable).

  8. Just to clarify, I didn’t imagine one table to encompass both attack rolls and criticals. And I also see now that my mention of “table economy” (meant to indicate how fast the game moves during actual play) can be interpreted as using one chart to resolve as many mechanics as possible.

    More of what I had in mind was…

    It appears that RMU now has reduced armor types down to 10 (from the original 20). I think we could open these ten types back out to 20, only this time it could be something like, for some examples, Rigid Leather alone, Rigid Leather with Shield, Rigid Leather on Quick character, Rigid Leather on Very Quick character.

    This still doesn’t look necessarily “better.” Perhaps shields and quickness simply should reduce the result by one category or more, depending on the factor. The observation I was trying to make is: Rolemaster is known for tables (and crits) and so we should endeavor to use them to full advantage, to, as much as possible, map one roll onto one result. The proliferation of tables (and maths) is what, in my opinion, gives RM its reputation for complexity. This is ironic, of course, since tables are meant to simplify or streamline the interaction. And then, when you add sums to what is supposed to be fast and efficient, game play slows down.

    1. Hi,

      Although why not just integrate attack/defense/critical?

      If the critical charts lies at the heart of RM, then why not go to the charts more often rather than less? Why not have every attack, even every action result in a chart reference?

      “That would be too many charts” is no excuse! RM has already been there for decades. Besides, modern technology allows easier chart references than ever: Publish as an app rather than a book and have 10,000 charts if you like. Update the app and get new and improved charts guaranteed to surprise even the most veteran veterans.

      Why not get rid of hit points entirely, a vestige of D&D that gets in the way?

      So every action ends up with *something* happening, with crits (and more importantly, charts!) finally integrated into the game rather than bolted on, which has been the case of RM since the beginning.

      Really, not tongue in cheek: Roll dice, go to chart to find out what happens. Always.

      Anyway,

      Ken

      1. I dig it!

        After RMU maybe we’ll get RME — Rolemaster Evolution. All tables of compressed information, rolls of d1000. The electronic resource definitely can help leverage this.

        1. My only reservation on that would be the poor take up of Combat Minion and the number of GMs that do not like computers at the gaming table. Laptops and smartphones have been ubiquitous for over a decade now but there is still resistance to the digitisation of pen and paper games.

          I saw a forum post from someone who had rejected Rolemaster as a game system BECAUSE of the critials. Their argument went along the lines of they needed to constantly paraphrase the written result because they were impossible, such as hitting someone in the leg while they are stood behind a wall.

          I tend to dodge impossible results by revising the result down to the next one viable result. For my players that makes cover more effective and encourages tactical use of terrain and scenery. If you are using Combat Minion then you cannot easily choose a different result as you cannot see the critical table.

          1. When I’m at an actual table, I also eschew electronic resources.

            I haven’t experienced ERA, but I wonder if the limitations might not be “deprogrammed” to enable a view of the range of results as you mention.

            And I love your method of interpreting/dealing with the tables. I’m currently running RM2, and I just reinterpret the results in light of the situation. But your method is genius, particularly paired with the (also genius) RMU method of categorizing results according to hit location.

            1. I do like being called ‘Genius’, What are you after? 🙂

              I do use a Tablet PC when I am GMing. I have created a PDF of just 12 pages that have all the tables I need to run a game excepting the combat tables. I can flick back and forth through that incredibly fast for MM, static manoeuvres, base spell rolls and RRs. There are also all the OB and DB modifiers on a single page.

              I find that a tablet is less obtrusive than a laptop. They tend to stay on and open create a barrier between myself and the GM. When I use a tablet I put it down when not in use. The tablet is faster to reference than the core rule books having tables from Character Law, Arms Law and Spell Law all in a single document rather than me having to chop from book to book.

      2. I think Matt’s idea was to integrate into a single chart or something similar where the crit result is the damage and “special damage”.

        1. That is pretty much the HARP approach. Roll the dice, add your OB and bonuses, deduct DB and penalties then look up the result on the individual weapon’s table. The flaw in the HARP system is too few possible results. That issue can be addressed in a couple of different ways but most people who use HARP seem to agree that it does need addressing.

          1. Since characters tend to use a small subset of the available attacks and defenses, it is very easy to repeat results even when the number of charts seems overwhelmingly large.

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