Wandering in from the cold.

the journey continues…

Greetings! It feels like it’s been some time since I’ve blogged and certainly since I’ve blogged consistently. Now that I have had a little break and refreshed my creative batteries I’m going to focus almost exclusively on adventure content and let the rules focus take a back seat. As we’ve discussed here, hopefully we can develop a bit of statblock “shorthand” that will avoid any IP issues and still be compatible with our d100 products and just let that work for our various adventure publications. For me personally, I’m going to just let the whole RMU/RM2/RMSS/RMFRP/MERP etc. rule arbitration process go away.

While parsing and developing rules is exciting,  RM seems to have less game/adventure content than other systems. That’s where I want to put my focus on for 2019. Peter, Adrian and I have a great concept for the next iteration of the 50 Adventures in 50 Weeks for basic d100 applications–hopefully we can finalize and announce those plans shortly. In the meantime I’m still 3 adventures short of my 25 total for the 50in50! I’ve submitted 1 and working on the last two. I’ve also been slow on the remaining chapters of my “Legends of Shadow World” high level adventure. My group never played more than 1 iteration of the last two chapters, but they are pretty fluid and I should have them out here on on the RM Forums this winter. Finally, I hoping that a new artistic break-through will help me finalize the Empire of the Black Dragon. Like Priest-King of Shade, this will be put out as a free download in a rough draft format. My goal now is to get things out there and then maybe, one day, ICE will decide to polish them up, add new content and officially publish them. Until that day comes I want to wrap long gestating or languishing products before I get too old, too tired or distracted by real life.

Bloody Hell! RMU Bleeding

So assuming we stick with the 2 second house ruled round, which I would like to, we don’t want people to bleed out too fast.

I really like Hurin’s suggestion that bleeding 1-3hits/round will clot. If we can keep that I will be happy. The criteria would be that the character much be inactive for the clotting to start and the wound reopens if the move.

This will stop the a solo character from dying after the very first fight they have almost every time (assuming the GM doesn’t intervene to save them).


  • 1 hit/rnd stops after 10rnds of inactivity. (10hits received)
  • 2 hits/rnd stop after 20rnds of inactivity (40hits received)
  • 3 hits/rnd stop after 30rnds of inactivity (90 hits received)

3 hits per round will most likely still be fatal in most cases so it is the 1 and 2 hits of bleeding that we are really talking about here.

Bleeding in a 2 second round environment is a lot more dangerous than a 10 second round environment, five times as dangerous at first glance.

That is not actually strictly true because that assumes endless combat. In my game I find that unless I intentionally set an encounter up to be longer then most combats are over in about 4 rounds.

With the RMU beta 2 as written then they took a lot longer but in RMC and RM2 four rounds was about the average. I will assume that once the final Arms Law is out then the weapons tables will be delivering more damage. I think it has been increased by 1.5?

So if fights are short, as in sub 10 rounds then the actual bleeding is not going to be the deciding factor most of the time. If it is heavy bleeding of 5 to 8hits per round then yes, that can finish a character or villain off but that is outside the scope of these changes anyway.

The point is that the duration of a round is moot if you are counting time in rounds.

So our upper bound is that if a character falls unconscious and is bleeding 3hits per round or more then they will probably die. So that is pretty much rules as written.

The lower bound is that a character bleeding 1 or 2 hits per round that falls unconscious may survive taking either 10 or 40 additional hits from bleeding.

It was suggested, JDale I beleive, that outside of combat bleeding be treated as hits per minute not hits per round. This allows for people to die up to an hour or more on the battle field if no help is forthcoming. I like this and would like to accommodate it.

What that does is mean that bleeding in combat is no different regardless of the round length. Bleeding when the character will get no help is not always 100% fatal. Bleeding out on a battle field may take minutes or hours.

The times provided by Aspire suggested 10 to 30 minutes for bleeding out. If you are unconscious and bleeding 4 per minute then that will kill most characters in that sort of time frame. It is much easier to die from loss of hits in RMU than previous versions of RM.

The only thing I would like to add is compression.

I personally would allow a character to half the blood flow on a round by round basis if they forego their action and apply compression to a suitable wound. Obviously you cannot apply pressure to internal bleeding. I would do this without the need for a first aid roll. If it were fire damage then a character can drop and roll without a skill roll. I would think that anyone who has trained in using a sword would most certainly have hurt themselves at some point so the most basic idea of stopping the blood coming out would be known.

So compression would work on the rounds when it was applied. It does not count as inactivity for clotting purposes unless the character is actually inactive while doing it. The minimum bleed remains at 1 hit/round.

The compression rule becomes a tactical decision. Which now makes me think of concentration and mental focus. If I am told to keep hold of something and not move and my mind wanders I am quite likely to let my hand drift. So can you keep compressing a wound if you are maintaining a spell?

Taking all of that into account does that seem fair? I feel that bleeding per 2 second round in combat and per minute out of combat is roughly equal to Aspires ‘per 10 seconds’ if you averaged it out. The clotting does only cover the lightest of possible bleeding and is touch and go at 3hits. Compression forces characters to make tactical decisions. Characters will still die from blood loss.

So over to you. Can we make this better?

Public Playtest:Devil’s Staircase Wild West Role Playing

So this is completely off topic and probably of little interest to Rolemaster players but…

I have been mucking around with my Playing Card powered wild west game. Well, this week I have released the public play test version. What I need is constructive criticism. The more feedback the better the game should be.

I do not expect this to be of much interest to Rolemaster players. It is fast and loose and doesn’t have the RM grittiness and realism. On the other hand if you know gamers that like ‘lite’ rules then maybe you could pass on the url?

The play test version can be found here… https://www.rpgnow.com/product/256932/Public-PlaytestDevils-Staircase-Wild-West-Role-Playing

Please feel free to pass this around as much as you like!

HARP Read Through – Combat

I am going to start with a summary, taken from the rules of the HARP combat sequence…

1 Make an attack roll. This is an open-ended percentile roll.
2 If the initial roll is within the fumble range for the weapon,
the attack stops and you roll on the fumble table. If the initial
roll is within the open-ended range (96-100), you roll
again and add the two rolls together. If the second or any
other subsequent roll is between 96-100, you roll again and
add it to the previous total.
3 Add your character’s OB (Offensive Bonus) to the final
die result.
4 Subtract your foe’s DB (Defensive Bonus) from the adjusted
die total. This is your Total Attack Roll.
5 If the Total Attack Roll is 1 or higher, then you have hit
your foe. Now that you have determined that you have hit,
adjust your Total Attack Roll by adding or subtracting the
size modifier for the weapon that your character is using.
This is your Adjusted Attack Roll.
6 Look up your Adjusted Attack Roll on the proper Critical
Table, as determined by the Attack Type for the weapon
that you are using. This is the damage that you have done
to the foe. All damage is applied immediately.

The first big difference is No Attack Table.

That is slightly disingenuous as ever group of related weapons has its own attack table which combines caps for attack size, mods to differentiate the weapons and weapon specific critical tables. There is an example of one of these below so you can see how it works.

But without an attack table how do we account for armour?


Armour is modelled using a combination of DB bonus and Maneuver penalty. So heavier armours are more protective but more restrictive. Armour can be bought as full suits or accumulated piecemeal. Armour also comes as fitted or unfitted.

When armour is fitted to the character is has a massively reduced maneuver penalty. Unfitted armour is no where as easy to wear. All unfitted armour has double the maneuver penalty of fitted armour including doubling the minimum maneuver penalty. These penalties apply to all skills that have QU or AG as a stat.

I really like that last restriction. It is really simple and clear and should more skills be added in other books it is immediately obvious whether there are penalties or not.

HARP details 12 types of armour and 9 location specific elements and/or two complete sets (either with a shirt/hauberk style or breastplate style). 

I personally find the Armour system to be incredibily easy but also detailed. The only flaw of course is that if the protective value of a suit is a flat DB bonus against all attacks then you cannot differentiate between a blade and a hammer which of course individual attack tables, that we are used to, can reflect.

The biggest flaw in the combat system is the criticals. There are only 19 specific criticals for each weapon. What this means is that the same criticals come around again and again.

Imagine you have 5 orcs using scimitars and the PCs are using a mix of broadswords and longswords. Basically every attack is going to do a critical every time. You could easily dish out 40 criticals (8 combatants over 5 rounds is not unreasonable for a common encounter). Statistically every critical would come round at least twice and two or more more than twice. (40 occurrences of 19 possible outcomes). Combat becomes very samey. The strength of Rolemaster combat is that those ‘special’ criticals are rare enough to be special.

The strength of the system is that the entire combat runs off of one page so there is no page flipping between weapons charts and critical tables so it goes quickly but a cost, in my opinion.

It always seems to me that HARP players hanker after RM combat tables the same way that RM players look at HARP magic is a certain envy. That is not an imagined thing either, there is a replacement HARP combat system under discussion on the forums if you agree to the NDA.

Combat Actions

  • The combat chapter lists 18 common combat actions over and above just hitting ot shooting your oponent. Along with each are the rules need to resolve each. This is far more extensive than any I remember seeing for Rolemaster but I could be mistaken. Either way for these to be in the standard core book is a great inclusion.
  • Blade Slap
  • Charging
  • Disarm Foe
  • Disengage from Melee
  • Dodge
  • Fencing Slash
  • Full Parry
  • Hold at Bay
  • Knockdown
  • Move & Attack
  • Multiple Parry
  • Parry
  • Press & Melee
  • Power Strike
  • Stave Jab
  • Shield Bash
  • Sudden Dodge
  • Weapon Bind

So that is a round up the the combat chapter. HARP is a lighter game than Rolemaster and I think this is one area where that lighter ruleset is most apparent. I don’t think any RM player is going to ditch Arms Law for the HARP combat system despite there being a lot of great stuff here.

Next time it is Spells and Magic!

RMU Combat and My House Rules

So this time I am really wide open to suggestions!

What I have done in the past and certainly want to keep is the 2 second combat round. I use this in RMC and it works perfectly.

I have eliminated all notion of flurry of blows. Every attack is discrete. Short combat rounds have a few knock on effects.


Obviously in 2 seconds you can move 20% of what you could move in a 10 second round or now 40% of what you would move in an RMU round. I have never like the notion of the detailed 1AP count down in RMU but I think this is because my 2 second rounds provide almost exactly the same granularity but with out flurry of blows you don’t have to start an attack 5 seconds before you even see your target.

Shorter rounds make things naturally more tactical as it is entirely possible to get peppered by bullets/arrows/spears if you try and cross an open space without covering fire.

Spell Casting

RMC doesn’t have the fast and penalty free casting of RMU but 2 second rounds comes close to emulating that. If your mage is being charged down then because movement is 20% as fast they have more time to prep and cast. So I kept the requirement for 2 rnds prep, cast on the 3rd round despite the rounds being shorter, so 3 x 2 second rounds not 30 seconds.

This has produced some fun situations where one member of a charging party chose to accelerate faster to get to a spell caster that was prepping a spell hoping to get there before the spell was cast. The fact that the players’ plan was kind of dependent on the entire party arriving simultaneously went completely out the window. 

Spell Effects

I do not adjust the spell effects to take into account the shorter round. This does change things. Spells that last hours, minutes or seconds are potentially more powerful especially ones that have a combat usefulness.

Spells that last for rounds/level or rounds/ 5 or 10 RR failure are possibly weaker. If you wanted to blind an opposing magician while you all charge then the charge will take more rounds making Sudden Light less useful in that situation.

On the other hand shorter rounds make ranged spells more powerful as it is harder to get out of range or you need to spend more rounds in range if you are trying to close distance.

I have been playing these rules under RM2/RMC for something like 7 years and this has never been a problem, but it does have an impact of spell selection sometimes.

The impact under RMU should be half that as it was under RM2/RMC as the spells are all set up for 5 second round and not 10 seconds. I don’t think this is going to be an issue.


I do have a house rule that bleeding 1 hit per round will stop on its own after 50 rounds of inactivity. the reason I have this is because I spent a few years when I only had one player and multiple times they were knocked unconscious and bleeding 1hit/round. There was no chance of me being able to justify bringing in an unexpected NPC so they should have bled out. This happened just too often for my liking so once the character is unconscious, and therefore not moving, if there is no one around to save you or finish you off that 1 hit of bleeding will stop.

I mention all of that as bleeding is more dangerous with shorter rounds. I don’t want to halve the bleeding in all the criticals but there is another solution.

The first is the natural clotting I mentioned above and the second is staunching the flow.

Staunching the flow takes 1 hand to do and basically means the character is applying pressure to stem the flow of blood. No First Aid or medical skill roll is required. The character can choose on a round by round basis if they want to apply the pressure. The down side is that you cannot use that hand for anything else while staunching the flow of blood. So no shield or just shield by no attacks.

The effect of staunching the flow is to half the blood loss for that round. I tend to round down so staunching 5hits/round will result in bleeding 2/rnd.

This gives characters a way of mitigating the more dangerous effects bleeding in the 2 second rounds without having to make changes to every critical table. It also makes another tactical choice available for characters.

Action Points

I have never used an Action Point system. I am a big fan of the RMC percentage action system. I have just viewed AP as blocks of 25% activity.

If you eliminate the AP by AP tactical round then lots of the problems with the Action Point system disappear.

I know Hurin has suggested in the past adopting a D&D 5e approach to what can be done in a round but I don’t know much about what that entails now. The last time I played D&D it was in about 1993 and it was 2nd Ed. I think.

So what is the best solution to stay as compatible as possible to RMU but using a 2 second round?

HARP: A closer look at falling

Eventually, things in adventuring go wrong, and you need to deal with them when they do. I will focus on falling, likely to the character’s death, and the various charts and equations for dealing with the impact.

Things were going fine for a while, but now you’ve tripped over something near a ledge, lost the reigns of your flying mount, or been pushed out the airlock in atmosphere. You’re now in a free fall, and this is going to hurt.

How far you fall determines the size of the Impact Critical when you hit.

  • 1′ – 20′ / 0m – 6m: Tiny
  • 21′ – 50′ / 7m – 16m: Small
  • 51′ – 100′ / 17m – 33m: Medium
  • 101′ – 200′ / 34m – 66m: Large
  • 201’+ / 67m+: Huge

Armor, Shields, and your Quickness bonus won’t help you against the impact at the end of your fall. Skill in Acrobatics can increase safe falling distance, a few psionic disciplines and spells can do the same or turn the fall into flight, and your magical and psionic bonuses to Defense will be subtracted from the critical.

In most situations, things that are falling don’t hit the ground instantly. Below is the Falling Table from Martial Law in list format.

  • Round 1: Speed 30’/rnd, total distance fallen 30′
  • Round 2: Speed 60’/rnd, total distance fallen 90′
  • Round 3: Speed 150’/rnd, total distance fallen 240′
  • Round 4: Speed 210’/rnd*, total distance fallen 480′

At round 4 and after, the character will continue falling at terminal velocity until the fall is stopped.

On round 4 and after, the falling character will continue to fall at terminal velocity until the fall is stopped. Gravity can affect both terminal velocity and how long a character has to be saved. HARP SF uses 70 times (the square root of local gravity divided by the square root of local atmospheric pressure) to determine terminal velocity in meters per second. To get the time until a falling character hits terminal velocity in seconds, take divide the the local terminal velocity by ten times local gravity.

Remember, you can fall father safely on low gravity worlds, and falling on high gravity worlds is a bad idea. Good luck, and watch out for that first step.


I doubt if many of you ever used Google+, it doesn’t seem that many people did. Having said that they did have half a billion regular users so it is a sign of the times when I can use ‘not many people’ when referring to half a billion.

Anyway, from an RPG perspective it was actually quite active with indie game developers and minority games. There were/are 18 Rolemaster related communities (groups) on Google+ of which I was a rather inactive member of about six of them.

So Google has announced the winding down of Google+ and its eventual closure in 2019.

There is another social network that has been waiting in the wings and now is welcoming the RPG community from Google+ and that is mewe.

They have a dedicated group called The Great G+ RPG Exodus and that is what the point of this post is all about. If you never bothered with G+ then it may be worth taking a look at the new mewe RPG groups. If you were a user then you should be able to hook up with your previous contacts if the exodus gains enough momentum.

MeWe is not without controversy. It is very pro free speech and as such has, in the past, welcomed some alt-right groups. On the other hand it is ultra pro-privacy. It has a promise of no ads and no tracking. It intends to make its money from offering premium services. You can read about their ethics and business model on their FAQ.

I have joined mewe and created a Rolemaster group. If you want to join the network then you can connect with me or just join the group.



If it all works out for them then great, if it withers away and dies like so many upstart social networks then too be honest I would not lose any sleep over it.

HARP Read Through – Adventuring

The adventuring chapter starts with an overview of skill resolution and when you should or shouldn’t roll a skill tests. It the goes on to describe the typical skill test types, all or nothing, percentage, bonus and resisance roll. The last is what we would consider an opposed test.

I will cover bonus and resistance rolls in a second.

HARP uses the phrase Target Number a lot more than I am used to in other Rolemaster games. I think this is a good thing as Target Number is pretty much a normal phrase in so many games that adopting it would make HARP a little bit more approachable. I don’t think one phrase in isolation will make much difference but when one phrase becomes one of many such minor accommodations I think they do add up and make the rule book easier to digest for people coming from other games.

We are used to a target number of 101 or 111 but in Rolemaster resistance rolls can have all sorts of target numbers.

So for percentage skill tests you roll, add your skill, deduct any penalties and basically round down to the nearest 10 and that is your progress. So a real example imagine you are climbing a cliff face in a raging storm which is Sheer Folly (-80). You roll a 67  add your climbing skill of 45 gives 112 minus the 80 difficulty leave 32. This leaves 32 which is 30% completed.

HARP has very neatly removed a frequently used table with this simple mechanic. Any result below zero is a fail and there are rules/consequences for that.

Bonus skill rolls are when you can use a complimentary skill. You roll your skill roll and then if you get over 100 then you get a bonus to the primary skill when you roll it. If you get below 101 then you get a penalty. Again there is a really simple formula to the bonuses so you do not really need the table.

Resistance Roll skills are for opposed skill tests. So you roll your skill as normal and the result on the table is the target number that the opposing character has to beat to win the contest. So this is what you would use for stalk vs perception as an example.

The Resistance Roll column is also used for attacking spells or what we would recognise as base spell (BAR) rolls. The idea that the casters casting roll  becomes the resistance roll target number of course is now part of RMU but it started here. The difference being that it was all neatly parsed into round numbers from 65 at the low end to a whopping 260 if your spell casting roll total 301+! Resist that spell if you can!

Utility spells get their own column. Depending on the roll effects such as range or duration can be doubled or tripled on an amazing spell casting roll.

All the skill based fumbles are compressed into a single page table including the classic moving maneuver fail of “You stumble over an unseen imaginary dead turtle.”. That is what you get if you fail you MM and then roll an 01.

Attacking Objects

My favourite rule is the attacking objects rule. This is incredibly simple. So it is a Percentage skill roll using double the characters strength bonus or a suitable skill to make the skill roll. The other half of the equation is the difficulty factor. There is a single table of example materials and their difficulty factors. So it is routine to smash a glass window, extremely hard to break manacles but only a medium difficulty to smash a packing crate.

This rule is going to make it into my RMU house rules as it is so simple. If people want to do this sort of thing in time critical situations then this mechanic works perfectly!

The end of the skills section covers throwing things and what happens when they miss including rules of hand grenades or Slatar’s Bombs as they are called. How to handle anything for which there is no obvious skill, so called unusual actions.

We now get a bit of a GM’s adventuring instruction manual. How to handle things like light sources, how much they illuminate and how far characters can see with different talents. It also covers things like fighting in water or undergrowth. I particularly like the treatment of invisibility with perception roll modifiers if the invisible person walks across a dirty floor or it is raining and all that sort of thing.

There are falling rules with the distance fallen specifying the critcal severity rather than an attack table for falls. There are rules for different types of traps. Most of these rules specify difficulties for the related skill rolls. So there is a difficulty for spotting the trap, deactivating the trap and so on. It is a bit of a whirlwind tour of how flexible the skill system is in HARP and seems quite impressive, at least to me.

Just to give you an idea of how broad this second half of the adventuring chapter is here is part of the contents listing (the numbers is the page number) …

Using an Untrained Skill 73
Using The Maneuver Table 73
All-or-Nothing Maneuvers 74
Stat-Based Maneuvers 74
Percentage Results 74
Bonus Results 74
Skill vs. Skill 75
Modifying Maneuver Rolls 75
Resistance Rolls (RR) 76
Resolution Methods 76
Spell Casting 77
Casting Utility Spells 77
Casting Attack Spells 77
Elemental Attack Spells 77
Fumbles 77
Attacking An Object 79
Grenade-like Attacks 80
Unusual Actions & Maneuvers 80
Light & Vision 81
Light Sources 81
Special Combat Conditions 82
Invisibility 82
Limited Visibility 82
Fighting “Blind” 83
Occupational Hazards 83
Falling Damage 83
Traps 84
Sample Mechanical Traps 84
Magical Traps 84
Asphyxiation and Holding Breath 85
Watery Hazards 85
Drowning 85
Quick Sand 85
Starvation & Thirst 86
Heat 86
Cold 86
Other Dangers 86
Injury, Healing, & Death 87
Non-Magical Healing 88
Concussion Hits and Stat Loss 88
Other Damage 88
Magical Healing 88
Death 88

You have got to be impressed with the breadth of the hazards covered and the brevity of the rules.

So that is the Adventuring chapter. Next time We will cover Combat, everyone’s favourite!

RMU House Rule #2 Skills

Before we start I want to set out two core concepts.

  1. These rules are based around No Profession.
  2. Characters will only be buying skills once. (Thereafter training and experience will take over.)

So I am quite happy with the RMU cultures rules and free skills ranks. I do think that GMs should tinker with the ranks both number and distribution to fit their game and play style but apart from that I am cool with cultures.

The biggest bone of contention is the category cost vs individual skills costs.

The individual skills cost for professions is rather moot if you don’t have professions. The hang over is that I can see why people would want to differentiate their characters.

I don’t want to go down the Training Packages route which of course would put a ‘skin’ or ‘build’ over the top of the No Profession.

The No Profession has the nice feature of being able to choose where to place your professional skill bonuses. That guarantees that each player can customise their character.

The best solution so far is Intothatdarknesses variable skill costs.

So there is a standard skill cost progression which I assume will not change again. So I am think that in each category each player may reduce one skill cost by two steps and one skill by one step.

I was concerned that assigning skill costs up front may mean that should a future skill be introduced that characters are then unfairly penalised. I am thinking about RM2 and when Two Weapon Combo was introduced in RoCoII.

On the other hand if the players are only adjusting two skill costs in each category they are not actually locking themselves out of any skill.

This solution also solves another potential problem. The default number of DPs had has been increased from 50 to 60 but the No Profession profession is less efficient than most others so I have been upping the number of DPs 70. Now if each player can reduce the cost of their preferred skills that will redress that balance between the inefficiency of the No Profession and the off the peg professions.

RMU Skills

I like the RMU skills and I like the way combat expertise works. On the other hand I don’t like passive skills and passive bonuses. In all versions of RM each and all skill has been optional and I cannot see any real reason why I cannot simply drop the skills I don’t like, or more the case of redefining the skills. Just dropping the passive skill bonuses solves a lot of my issues.

So I think with just those two house rules I am good with the RMU skill system.

Against the Darkmaster

I don’t know how many of you know of this game? To cut a long story short what Against the Darkmaster (vsDarkmaster for short) is is MERP plus house rules rebranded and launched as a new game.

It is so new that we only have the public play test, quickstart adventure and pre-gen characters to play with so far. The kickstarter is not even ready yet.

What is also interesting is that vsDarkmaster also has a marque called open00 under which they are going to release an SRD, system reference document, so any indie developers can release their own material for the system.

Even more interesting is that my own attempt at free to use monsters, under the brand of Open100 appears very close to the open00 and vsDarkmaster. By very close take a look at this.

AT3(1-20), 2(1-10) or by armour typeRigid Leather
DB5 + shield30 inc shieldnone
OB67 weapon60 weapong+/-7

You can see that there is barely a gnats whisker between the two versions of the same creature. In one you get a slightly higher OB but less hits but they pretty much trade off.

vsDarkmaster vs RMU?

So right now both games are technically in public play test. The difference is that vsDarkmaster is actively looking for play testers and engaging with bloggers and reviewers. I have emailed them and got a personal reply within hours, which considering the time difference is as prompt as you could wish for. They are also building a contact list of everyone who has play tested the game, you need to register to get the free version of the game. This is good marketing sense. 

The Kickstarter will also create a bit more buzz around the game. It gives them something else to talk about and share.

I would be shocked if there are less people queuing up to back vsDarkmaster than there are firmly committed to converting to RMU right now. The real uphill struggle for RMU is the ‘U’. RM2 players are reluctant to give up the RM2 way of doing things and the RMSS crowd are reluctant to give up the RMSS way of doing things and neither really want to give up their mass of companions, supplements and house rules.

vsDarkmaster does not have that fractured community. They have a whole new bunch of gamers waiting to play this new game.

vsDarkmaster also has a release date of 2019. I hope that RMU has the same release year but I would not be overly shocked if that slipped into 2020.

vsDarkmaster also has a sense of momentum. There is a public play test edition. That play test will end and it will be followed by a kickstarter campaign, and that will end and the game will be released in 2019. There will be stretch goals published as part of the kickstarter so we will know what future publications are in the pipeline.

With RMU we live in hope of the ‘singularity’ we don’t when that will be and we don’t know how long the post singularity period will be.

*IF* vsDarkmaster hits the shelves first, and that is certainly possible then what unique selling point does RMU have? Open ended rolls? Criticals? Weapon specific combat tables? Point buy skills? Spell lists? Sorry but vsDarkness has them all.

The real killer will be open00. I can honestly see 20, 50 or 100 publications for vsDarkness for every one for RMU. You could claim that the RMU publications will be more substantial or higher quality than all the indie releases for vsDarkmaster but that misses the point. Rather than spending $20 for an RMU supplement that you may use some, none or most of you can spend $0.50 or $1 on a booklet here or a booklet there that fill a particular need at that precise moment. It is a different world and a different way of selling gaming material.

Referring to Brian’s last post there is nothing to stop either Brian releasing Priest-King of Shade or Jengada releasing Nomads for vsDarkmaster, they could even combine the two and set Priest-King in the world of Nomads. 

I am not advocating that we all give up playing Rolemaster and play vsDarkmaster instead. What is viable is to use vsDarkmaster books, adventures and all the other weird and wonderful supplements as and when they arrive with RMU as the games are close enough. Once that is established we can write and sell our own adventures as compatible with any open00 system.

I don’t want it to happen but I could see vsDarkmaster being the death of Rolemaster. The cliche is ‘not with a bang but a whimper’. I think that will be the case. We won’t move over and abandon Rolemaster but I can see vsDarkmaster swallowing up all the new players who would be interested in RMU but discover vsDarkmaster instead. Without new players and new members coming to a community it will wither and die. If vsDarkmaster and RMU have to share the market and sales for this sort of game how viable will they be? Who knows but open00 gives the publishers,  
The Fellowship & Sego | Games, a revenue stream that ICE do not have. I know how much money ICE makes each year and it is not a lot. Also most of that is likely to disappear as ICE must withdraw RMFRP and RMC from sale when RMU is released as you cannot compete against yourself and the reason for developing RMU was to get away from the IP restrictions hanging over the older games and to unify the market so they did not need to support two versions of the same game. Supporting three versions of the same game makes even less sense.

If you have a look at vsDarkmaster you will see it is no RMU. It is not intended to be. It claims to be an evolution of MERP and it is true to its word. The thing is that we know how easy it is to drop a new spell law or an arms law into a MERP game to expand it. It is easy and it doesn’t break the game.

Take a look and see what you think.