Community Created Content

Rolemaster Unified Character Law Cover

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 rights owner, the publisher, makes available some or all of their intellectual property and with it a set of guidelines about what can and cannot be done with it. In return anyone can take that IP and their own ideas and publish their own adventures, addons and supplements. The whole thing is managed through a single portal so the publisher has the final say over what is published and what isn’t and they control the revenue split between themselves and the content creators.

The granddaddy of them all in this is WotC. They have made available the core rules of D&D 5e, a selection of the most common monsters and the Forgotten Realms setting. Furthermore if you create something amazing then there is an option for WotC to adopt it as official and put their resources behind it and your content can end up in the WotC licensed games.

So now WotC have an army of content creators working purely on commission so it costs them nothing. They can cherry pick the best to include in future books and the gaming community gets a regular free flow of new content. On average there are 7 new products released for D&D 5e each day. Many of them are free or Pay What You Want. In the past week 20 of the 49 new releases had prices ranging from $0.50 to $14.95.

For Traveller, the TAS programme, there have been 20 community releases this year so this is not just a WotC and the OGL phenomena.

ICE maintain two avenues for community created content. The forum and the Guild Companion. You can publish your ideas on either but with different restrictions applying to both. On the forum you cannot lists spells, but list names are OK. You cannot quote substantial parts of the rules and the like. What ICE do not want to happen is for people to be able to play RM by collecting the rules piecemeal from posts on the forum.

The Guild Companion on the other hand will allow you to post entire spell lists of your own creation and most recently Nicholas has been posting excerpts of forthcoming books presumably to whet your appetite.

You can publish adventures, new professions, monsters and so on but everything has to go through Peter Mork and his team of editors.

None of these options give the creator an opportunity to get any compensation for their efforts. The Guild Companion has been limping along for a couple of years now with no or just a single community created article per month.

There is a misconception amongst many people that see things like the OGL (open game license) as taking revenue away from publishers. Community Created Content Programmes do not require games to be published under the OGL or anything similar. There is just a simple agreement between the rights holder and the community about what can and cannot be released. The publisher in return is earning probably 30%-40% of the revenue from all the sales for virtually no effort. The community gets a steady stream of new content and as the prices can be so low that they can buy things for less than a Dollar just to use it for ideas.

ICE struggle to put a single new book out each year, mainly because of the bottle neck created by RMU. A new system is a massive undertaking for a small company of part timers. That is one of the reasons why community content should, in my opinion, be embraced. Just how long will it take for Kevin to update all the Shadow World books to RMU? Years? A decade?

I think most of us think that there should be a ‘lite’ or ‘quick start’ edition of RMU to encourage people to give it a try.

I think Shadow World should be made open to a Rolemaster Community Created Content programme along with a core RMU reference. Let the gamers contribute and get something in return.

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.

I encourage readers that have written material, adventure ideas, or want to try their hand at putting out there work to embrace a simple trick. What am I talking about: the “80% rule”, which is also known as the “Pareto Principle“.

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. … 

Similarly, you can get 80% of the work done with 20% of the effort. Don’t worry about page setting, sentence structure, spelling or graphics. Get the bulk of the idea down, the rough narrative finished or the new spell list outlined out. Don’t sacrifice the perfect for the good! When you hit a writers block or run the idea or creative process out, either take a break or work on something different. This 80% rule isn’t hard and fast, it’s a guideline.

I’m a big believer in the 80% rule in many aspects of my life. This makes me a prolific writer but an imperfect self-publisher. Most of my material is pretty raw, but the trick to my writing is the 80% rule–get the bulk of the idea, concept, narrative or story down in writing and move on. The rest of it–finalizing, small details, proofing, editing, layout is the more arduous work that takes time, perhaps expertise and PATIENCE. I would rather be prolific than perfect. Now I’ve started to go back through my various projects: BASiL, SWARM, Legends of SW, Book of Pales, Empire of the Black Dragon, and Priest-King of Shade and finalizing it. I had hoped to have editorial support for some of these works, but now I’m just pushing ahead on my own. So now I’m dealing with the other side: the last 20% takes 80% of the time!

What does all this mean? Writing is EASY! However, writing good, finished ready-to-print material is HARD. Peter and I pumped out 50 adventure seeds of varying length in just a few weeks. Sure, much of our work could use competent editing and feedback, but it was down on paper. 80% was easily done. After that, the adventure hooks need layouts, formatting and finishing up.


the take away is this. Don’t be intimidated by the lack of professionalism or polish in your material. And if you have an adventure, world setting, or just an idea send it to RolemasterBlog. It doesn’t have to be “published ready”–follow the 80% rule and just get it out there. Maybe we can help polish it up. Maybe it really is ready for a free download. Or maybe an experienced GM can fit it to their game or campaign.


Fleckles and Hip Action?

I may be making some assumptions here but I am guessing most of the readers here are English speaking. That most English speaking territories have some sort of TV shows along the lines of Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing with the Stars, Dancing on Ice. I also assume that as roleplayers we do not watch Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing with the Stars, Dancing on Ice.

Bear with me, I am going somewhere with this.

So whereas the fans of those sorts of shows are avid watchers of fleckles, hip action and correctly pointed hands and feet we are more interested in different sorts of moving manoeuvres.

Now, last week Brian brought up the old topic of No Profession and his idea of the free market economy for skill costs. Another element of making Rolemaster more accessible and faster to play is meta skills.

One of the arguments against meta skills was put something like this. Meta skills are fine for fantasy and historical settings but in modern settings subjects are far more specialised.

I am not saying that meta skills are right and a multitude of specific skills are wrong. I do not believe in right and wrong at all in rpgs. We make and play the games we like in the way that we like them. This is all about an idea I had on Saturday evening when Mrs R was watching one of those dance shows!

So in a RM2 game every typical farmer that the players meet probably have the a cross section of or even the majority of this mix of skills.

  1. Animal handling Pig
  2. Aminal handling Cow
  3. Animal Handling Chicken
  4. Animal Handling Donkey
  5. Aminal Handling Dog
  6. Animal Healing Pig
  7. Aminal Healing Cow
  8. Animal Healing Donkey
  9. Animal Healing Dog. No farmer can afford to lose live stock and this includes animal midwifery.
  10. Herding Pig
  11. Herding Cow
  12. Herding Chicken
  13. Loading
  14. Driving Cart
  15. Flora Law for crops
  16. Wood working for repairs around the farm
  17. Rope Mastery for repairs around the farm
  18. Weapon Skill (spear encompassing pitchforks etc) as someone has to deal with foxes, coyotes, mountain lions and join the lynch mob to drive undesirables away.
  19. Perception to spot foxes, coyotes, mountain lions and undesirables.
  20. Body development as farming is hard work.
  21. Trading to buy and sell seed and produce.
  22. Weather watching to know what tomorrow brings.
  23. Singing
  24. Dancing
  25. Musical instrument. These three are essential social skills for finding a wife and making your own entertainment.
  26. Time Sense.

So that is not an exhaustive list. You could add in a lot more Lores depending on how the farmer manages their land. If they have water wheels, a smithy or a tannery on their farm then that comes with a skill burden. If they have farm hands beyond the family then they may need some public speaking or people management skills.

If the typical secondary skill has a cost of 2/6 then my snap shot of skills requires 52DPs per level or straight 70+ in every stat. Or the alternative is that some of the skills come from culture and hobby skills ranks and they do not have all the animal skills, if a cow goes sick they call on the neighbour that does know about cows and people come to them when their pigs are sick and so on.

So the idea that modern settings do not fit in with meta skills as modern skills are too specialised does not work. Portraying historical farmers in RM2 are just as detailed.

Now going back to our Strictly Dancing on Ice with the Stars their are often athletes, sports personalities and former Olympians as contestants. These people almost invariably do extremely well. The reason they do so well is partly down to the fact that almost all sports require a combination of hand/eye coordination, core strength, balance and footwork. All of these translate well to dance apparently. Some of the people who have done well in the past have been gymnasts, rugby players [rugby is like American Football with the training wheels taken off 🙂 ], and track and field athletes.

In my vision of the Athletic Games meta skill the list of  hand/eye coordination, core strength, balance and footwork is almost the skill definition. Taking these dance programmes seem to say that all forms of athletics provide a great level of cross over.

The way I handle unfamiliar situations is by using higher difficulty factors which would mean that as the weeks and months (although it feels longer) that these shows go on for the contestants would be able to apply more of their full skill to each routine and the Difficulty diminishes.

I do not really want to reopen the argument on Meta Skills. I think we have done that to death but this came to me this week as I was writing whilst Mrs R was watching the show and I noticed that one of the highest scoring contestants was Jonathan Peacock who is a para-Olympian and amputee.

Finally, I think it is a damn sight easier just give Vocation:Farmer as a skill and move on to doing something more fun.

Wicked Witches

I want an wicked witch for my next game session and I have been playing with the RM2 RoCoII witch profession.

This is quite easily one of the most powerful professions I have ever seen!

In my world spell multipliers are as rare as hen’s teeth. This means that power points are not overly abundant. Permanent magic items are not common either including rune paper. It does exist and the characters do have a few runes (they are all about 5th level) but there is not much of it about.

The witch can create their own potions, spell infused candles and as they are hybrids they can use Symbolic Ways to create standing stones and Rune Mastery to create runes. One ton stones are not actually that uncommon if you live out in the wilds. That gives the witch access to some home made daily items even if they are low level and not movable.

The runes as I have said are hard to make without the rune paper but if they have some then they are easier to make than standing stones and more potable.

Candles and potions though are easy to manufacture and carry around.

I am extremely tempted to give the witch some candles of Sleep V or Sleep VII and let the characters walk off with them. That is going to do their heads in for a while as I am making them roll resistance rolls almost every evening!

This profession can easily have almost unlimited low level magic. Power points can be burned using their most powerful magic as they will have tons of low level stuff just lying around.

I am thinking along the lines of a pretty high level witch as a sole adversary against 5 5th level characters. I am now thinking that I may have to tone down my NPC or they will eat the party alive (you can interpret that last sentence as you wish).

Have any of you use the Witch as a single Foe?

p.s. The boggle-eyed witch is back just because she freaks BriH out!

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.

In Shadow World Terry pretty much throws away strict adherence to Professions; in my mind this an acknowledgement of the creative limitations such a system produces. Loremasters and Navigators are clearly a Profession, but due to RAW, are first assigned a standard RM Profession and then given extra base lists. The Steel Rain, Priests Arnak etc are all given extra lists on top of the Profession (whether it be Mentalism, Channeling or Essence) with NO REGARD to realm limitations.

As a GM do you build an NPC from the ground up? When creating a 22nd level NPC do you go through all 22 levels of character build using Profession skill costs??  I don’t, I just fill in stat blocks based on a general sense of power level and the narrative needs the NPC serves. Have you looked at any NPCs in MERP or Shadow World and analyzed whether the skill stats have any relation to Profession skill costs, ranks or bonuses?

My point being that “descriptors” are more useful to me than some arbitrary Profession assignment in an NPC stat block that serves no other purpose in the game mechanics. Unless PC’s know the NPC’s Profession and then make meta-gaming decisions based on that, they serve no purpose.

That means, in practice, that Professions only serve a purpose for a handful of people; the 2, 3 or even 5 players in your group. All those rules, all the arguments about skill costs and the nitpicking about whether Weather Watching should be 2/3 or 2/4 for a Animist seem complex for complexity sake.

I’m building a city in Shadow World: Nontataku.  Like any RPG city, this is an NPC intensive environment. Per RAW (RM2), I need to assign a Profession to shopkeepers, blacksmiths, porters, etc. Obviously giving them a RM Profession is absurd. Assigning a shopkeeper the Profession of “Figher, Thief or even Mage” is pointless. Some versions of RM do add non-adventure tropes as additional Professions (craftsmen, laborer and even “no-Profession”) but, for me, that is just another example of “Rule for Rules”.

For me, simple descriptors like “Shopkeeper” or “Loremaster” or “Merchant” work better than some arbitrary, and limited, Rolemaster profession.

Face to Facetime

The last time I posted about my face to face game I was dealing with the issue of how do I make it feel like the characters are fully engaged with the the adventure when they are searching for something that isn’t there. I know they will not find it, or ‘him’ in this case as he is not there to be found.

As it happens the session has been delayed, it was originally intended to be played in June but with real life getting in the way it has been pushed back and we are now looking at late October or early November.

Even so it is time to get my gaming notes out again.

If you strip out meal times and the other game (where I get to be a player) I have about 16hrs of game session available to me. 5 5th level characters and a fruitless search in a monster rich forest.

I had a bit of a eureka moment this morning when I remembered Brian’s Vignette post. What I am going to do is string together a series of one off encounters, each one quite atmospheric and evocative.

I am thinking of a witches cottage in a dark shrouded clearing; a pack of wolves, maybe lead by a werewolf stalking the party; an attack by giant spiders coming down from the forest canopy at night. They are adventuring in the Spiderhaunt forest after all! I think I may throw some ghouls at them and a butchered unicorn for good measure.

These could so easily be my players!

A typical dungeon crawl could take 16hrs and would have multiple combat encounters. I can treat the forest as a ‘dungeon without walls’.

My original intention was to run a more coherent side quest but the problem with that, on reflection, is that if the do not complete it in the time I have available we the players even remember what they were doing and why the next time we play? More than a year of real life will have passed between the day they entered Spiderhaunt and when they complete any side quest.

I am the youngest member of our group but a couple of months so I am allowed to make jokes about their fading memories and how they are all getting on. By the new year I will be the only one still under 50!

The more I think of this the more I like the idea. I can let rip a bit and throw some tough challenges at them and at the same time if things go badly I can ease off. They do not have the meet every encounter I throw at them. I can also have them some problem solving like trying to cross waterways, scale rocky outcrops and so on. It may also be an opportunity to replenish some of their herb supplies.

Can you think of any really cool forest monsters I can do atmospheric one off encounters with?

What’s on My Mind. Rolemaster, Shadow World & Cool News

A mixed bag of stuff this weekend; a combination of Random Musings, Weekend Roundup and Commentary on Rolemaster, Shadow World, news, and my projects in the queue.

  1. One is the loneliest number. Excluding and RMForums, are there any consistent blogs out there on Rolemaster or Shadow World? A quick search only shows 1 or 2 posts in 2017 (see THIS ONE, an interesting take even if I don’t agree with much of it). Part of this can probably be explained by the lack of RM players and partly by the effort needed to maintain new content and postings to stay relevant. Even Grognardia burned out after an impressive output of posts. User habits are changing and I wonder if the “Forum” template used by ICE is as relevant or appealing to younger consumers.
  2. Caltrops. Cool article HERE. I believe there are mechanics for caltrops in one of the Companions or 10′ Pole? I have my own mechanic that accounts for movement rate and damage (using the size scaling rules).

Anantha Padmanabha.

3. Real life tomb treasure.  Sealed vaults filled with gold, silver, gems and jewelry are just a fantasy or legacy of a time long past? I think not. This is the last unopened tomb–in 2011 another tomb in the same temple was opened to find treasure expected to be valued at over $500M!!!!

4. Cool Statues. I blogged about cool statues last year. Here is a new one I just read about: The Appenine Colossus.

The Apennine Colossus.

Even cooler:

Within the statue there are “countless caves, water cascades and ravaged by time mechanical, hydraulic and acoustic devices intended to amuse and impress any visitor of the park.”

Section of Appennino. Illustration by P. van der Ree.

It’s a Dungeon!

5. Priest-King of Shade. Depending on final feedback from Terry and Nicholas I may be posting up my SW module for free here on the RolemasterBlog. It will be mostly formatted, but many of the maps are hand-drawn. I’m looking to purchase clip-art to include to punch things up a bit. Any advice on the best place to look for art? Deviantart? RPGNow? I like old school line art over renderings but open to anything. Priest-King clocks in at over 150 pages with maps, charts and illustrations so it covers quite a bit of material. The module covers the peninsulas in SW Agyra:

Here is a quick blurb I wrote a few years ago:

Agyra. Far from the historic events of Emer and Jaiman, this region has been cruelly shaped for thousands of years by both natural cataclysms and the powerful flows of Essence.  Scattered and isolated tribes are a faint legacy of a powerful nation that sunk beneath the waves in millennium past.  Monolithic blocks scattered along deserted coasts and leagues of enigmatic ruins lying in shallow waters are remnants of a lost civilization.

However, these lands are not dormant. Powerful nations and secretive groups are at odds: a war of not just arms but of politics and commerce. Into this conflict a new power has risen. A mysterious Priest-King and his devout followers have occupied an ancient citadel and are slowly expanding their power across the lands.  For the tribes that inhabit the coasts and jungles, these newcomers are viewed with outright fear. Rumors of demonic armies, dark cults, missing children and empty villages have cast a pall throughout these lands.

But adventurers have come nonetheless. Ancient ruins have been discovered: a sprawling city lying submerged in the shallow waters off the coast of Agyra. Many believe the ruins date millennia back to the First Era and holds untold wealth and the secrets of the Ancients!

The Priest-King of Shade is a module detailing the lands of South West Agyra. This product contains a regional guide, maps and layouts of key places, detailed description of key NPCs and 10 adventures ready to play.  Designed for players levels 5-15th.  Will you confront the minions of the Priest-King?

My group has playtested the whole module–it’s quite extensive and is the prelude to “Empire of the Black Dragon” that runs up to 25th+ level. Plus, I have another 5-10 other side adventures that I will publish over time that fits into the region. I’m outlining the city of Nontataku which would be integral to both but would fit well as the 1st Chapter for players 1st to 5th or so. I’m expecting Nontataku to run about 100 pages and Empire is around 80-100 so all together it would be a great long term campaign. With add-ons they all could hit 500 page count w/o extensive artwork.

6. The Book of the Pales. I was at 32 pages w/o charts but added in some supplementary stuff on the Void Knights. I think it’s going to push well past 50 pages. It’s a Shadow World supplement for adventuring in the various Pales.

7. Legends of Shadow World. Since this is meant as a stand-alone Shadow World tourney series I’m keeping each chapter to 10 pages or less. But…I think I’m going to flesh out the “Temple Complex” which will add quite a few layouts and GM notes. I hope to have Chapter 1 ready for download by the end of the month. Again, I’m prowling for good artwork with a budget of $50/chapter. Any suggestions are appreciated.


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.

If everyone was using firearms, which was not unusual in modern settings then it left anyone who had to move wading through molasses. If you could not get from cover to cover in a single move then you would get ripped to pieces.

Splitting the round into two five second rounds does improve things slightly but there is always going to be a disparity between how long different tasks take. Picking a lock could be seen as a 10 second activity for a skilled thief but it becomes more of a stretch at 5 seconds and surely for the typical PC two seconds is not likely?

Is it better to have some actions take multiple rounds compared to some actions happening multiple times in a single round?

I think I am inclined to go for the very short round and things just take as long as they take. We are used to bows taking rounds to reload. I think those times are a little exaggerated in RM2/RMC but that is because they have been rounded to an easy number of whole rounds. I know that I can shoot five arrows in twenty seconds from a galloping horse and be on target. That does not marry up with one arrow every 2 rounds for a short bow in RM2. One arrow every two rounds in HARP is closer to my observed reality.

But lets ignore combat for a moment. A real dramatic plot device is the hero in action movies defusing the bomb with 3,2,1… seconds to go. If you are in combat time, the rest of the party are keeping the enemy at bay while you are defusing the bomb then ten second time chunks do not fit well with this staple of the action genre. If you treat bomb disposal as a static action you really want to avoid partial or near success as either of those leave you with having another go 10 seconds AFTER the bomb went off.

The more I think about this the more I think the 5 second round is not the right choice for RMU. 2 seconds is tried and tested in HARP and works without compaint. Sure it means rejigging spell casting, durations, movement and critical results (bleeding) but they are rebuilding all of RM anyway so now is the time to do it and not in a future companion as an optional rule.

What do you all think? 10, 5 or 2?

How many skill rolls?

Or how many times can you roll the same skill in the same round?

In a recent forum post there was a reference to mounted combat. The horses were all fast moving, galloping around and their movement rates were huge, in the order of 400′ to 500′ a round.

This is partially a problem with 10 second combat rounds. If two combatants were in melee range at the end of round 1, eg the clash of lances in a joust then 10 seconds later they could be 900′ apart (500′ + 400′). Try using a battle map for that! I for one would need a bigger dining room table.

My suggestion was partially prompted by my recent reference to car wars in the #RPGaDAY posts. If you break the horses movement down into second by second movement over the round and only allow a single melee or ranged attack per round you can more easily manage the scale of the movement.

The problem then becomes that Player 1 sees an NPC wheel their horse off to the left so they change their direction to intercept cutting inside to take a shorter line, the NPC then bears to the right hoping to wrong foot the players horse. This is now much more exciting for everyone as they can move their horses strategically, Fred can try and lead an NPC on until he is right in Ernie’s path as Ernie lowers his lance and spurs his horse up into a final dash.

So when do you make the riding roll? If the players are making 10 strategic decisions about their horses movements which manoeuvre calls for the roll? How about perception rolls? If I am trying to shake you off my tail as you are closing do I need to make perception rolls to see you over my shoulder?

You could make one riding roll at the beginning of the round and have that effect the pace of your horse. On the other hand that does not reflect how your horse is handling. If you are not completely in balance with your horse it may ‘fall in’ or ‘fall out’ of a corner. Falling in is where on a corner the horse suddenly cuts in and across the corner rather than on a smooth arc around the bend. Falling out is rather like drifting a car, the horse is travelling both forward around the arc and stepping sideways at the same time. These are caused by the horse trying to step under the riders centre of gravity so if you lean a little too much one way or the other the horse tries to compensate for that. In a chase situation how the horse handles bends and corners can make a difference when trying to get away or make up ground. Flip that around and a poor riding roll should have a reflection on how the horse handles.

If I am making a single riding roll at the beginning of the round and I know I have made a poor roll I could choose to do only the simplest of manoeuvres in that round.

What if, on the other hand you played the mounted combat out second by second and allowed multiple riding and if necessary perception rolls at a strategic level?

This is where the car wars reference comes in. Each turn had a difficulty factor from D1 for a simple 15° turn to D7 for a bootlegger reverse. Each manoeuvre reduced your handling class by the D number and you then cross referenced your current handling class with your speed for the target number for you driving skill.

So you could let the players describe their planned moves and give each riding manoeuvre a difficulty using the regular RM difficulties, they make a skill roll each second but with an accumulating penalty. A highly skilled horse person could then lead a lesser skilled rider a merry dance or even put them well outside their comfort zone and outside their ability if they wanted to give chase or overhaul the other horse.

So in Car Wars terms:

Routine (+30) Turns up to 15° Drifting 5′ left or right
Easy (+ 20) Turns 16° to 30° Jumping a small log or obstacle
Light (+ 10) Turns 31° to 45° Drifting 10′ to left or to the right
Medium ( +/- 0) Turns 46° to 60° Jumping a medium log or obstacle
Hard (-10) Turns 61° to 75° Jumping a large log or obstacle
Very Hard (-20) Turns 76° to 90°
Extremely Hard (-30)
Sheer Folly (-50)
Absurd (-70)

So each manoeuvre moves you further and further down the table, so two routine moves would result in a light manoeuvre.

As Brian said recently, players love to roll the dice. So giving them more rolls in a round as they try to out race the enemy is not necessarily a bad thing. It does break the 10 second round though.

I also think it will cause havoc with the RMU action point economy. APs tend to imply an amount of time. A fast 2AP attack will normally take place before a full 4AP attack. That makes it seem like each AP is 1.25 seconds long.

So would you be prepared to try this style of mounted combat?

RolemasterBlog Fanzine Issue #0005

So issue 5 is out on both RPGnow ( but more excitingly it is also on Kindle (

I also hope that by the time you read this it is also in print on Amazon (

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.

My guilty pleasure is the other game I have written, 3Deep, which is also available in print on both Amazon and RPGnow. I have both books on my bookshelf and I get a lot of pleasure just to pick them up and flick through them.

We have touched on something a few times recently and that is that you cannot truly divorce setting from rules. The rules exist to bring the setting to life. My game is billed as ‘generic’ and is sold without a setting. The fact that I am one of the ones who says that you need to have setting and rules in harmony how have I squared the circle?

My core rulebook is intended to be used with a setting companion. Each setting has its own companion that not only gives background and flavour for the GM wanting to play with that genre but any necessary rule tweaks. In this way the core magic system can be tweaked to create super powers for a Marvel style game or Mental abilities for Stranger Things.

So rather than being truly generic what I have built is something I conceive to be adaptive. The rules are only half the equation. Referring back to my challenge of writing 2k-3k words a day, my core rulebook is about 26,000 words in length but by the time you add in the obligatory tables and art that turns into an 80+ page rulebook.

3,000 words a day gives me about 20,000 words a week. I have nearly finalised my page layout style by begging, borrowing and stealing from the best looking books I have seen recently. So I theory I can write an entirely supplement in a week to ten days. Give me another week to edit it and another to do the page layout and I think I can publish a 60 to 80 page companion at a rate of one a month.

To make that even more impressive is the fact that I only really write this stuff while Mrs R is watching crap on TV. She rather likes period dramas such as Poldark, The Queen and Downton Abbey as well as Strictly Come Dancing. If you are not in the UK none of those may mean anything to you but the point is that I am just making use of time I would otherwise be wasting in front of the TV.

So far I have only hit the 3k target a couple of times but it is getting easier each day to get in the writing ‘zone’ and start getting productive. This week I wrote less but I did have to read a game for a review for a different blog.

I know that none of you care about my game or my insane desire to produce supplements but this does relate back to Rolemaster as well.

As long as we steer well clear of ICEs intellectual property we can, between us, produce non canon companions. ICE are not going to support RM2 any more but we could. Our 50 adventures are one such project. Brian has a  wealth of projects on the go from adventures to SWARM to BASiL and I even tried to tempt him with another cute acronym the other day, anyone fancy an alternative to Arms Law called BAAL?

So, in theory(!) if RMU turns out to still be one to two years away, and that is entirely possible. What bits of the companions did you find the most useful?

For me it was probably new open and closed base lists for the three realms and new base lists for the core professions.

What about you?