A few quick thoughts on “Level-less” Rolemaster.

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We’ve discussed “Level-less” Rolemaster before here on the RMBlog, but Vladimir’s recent post on the ICE Forums had me thinking and I wanted to put some quick thoughts down.

While RM was a bolt-on to D&D, character levels were never an integral part of Rolemaster. Levels didn’t impart any names or titles, there were no special abilities granted at “X” level, and no other real benefit of levels except to measure the “when” of imparting more development points except for 2 areas: spellcasting and saving throws.

  1. Spellcasting. Early RM only allowed a caster to cast spells up to their level. This restriction was removed in later alternate rules and now with newer editions “overcasting” is not only allowed it’s basically baked into the system via special skills (grace or spell mastery?). My understanding of RMU is that character level and spell level are now disconnected. The other aspect of spellcasting and character level is casting time. I believe this has been discarded as well. Either way, it’s fairly easy to separate character level, spellcasting level and casting time.
  2. Saving Throws. This is a bit trickier since it’s DEEPLY ingrained into RPG psyche that more powerful, higher level characters are better able to avoid, fight off, repel spell effects, poisons, diseases and other similar type of attacks. However, when you have a system like Rolemaster that is completely skill based, level based RRs seem like a artifact from a past era. I blogged about it HERE and HERE.

I’ve eliminated any RM mechanics based purely on the character level. Level is just a measure of experience/development points, but meaningless otehrwise. My question to you all–what MECHANISTIC function do you think levels serve?

One thought on “A few quick thoughts on “Level-less” Rolemaster.”

  1. I’ve been using some level (no pun intended) of level disconnection for years. Its mostly laziness that has kept me from fully cutting the cord (like your home phone or cable). I think / hope RMU offers some options to completely explore this as an option. Realistically though, I think it might be the fan base that fills in these gaps. In any case I love the fact that through the various iterations of RM its easy to see how you could disconnect the two. For my players and myself, one of the selling points to RM is that any character can be just about anything, judging the book by its cover might get you into more trouble than you can handle.

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