RMU Update: Power Point Regeneration

One of the problems playtesters of the RMu beta often encounter is that they find it hard to keep up with the latest changes in the beta. The beta rules are free to download, but as the developers work towards completing the system, they are also continuing to make changes, and discussing them vigorously on the ICE forums. So as a way to bring our discussions together and update people on RMu, I thought I might try a series of RMu updates in blog form. The first is on a topic we’ve been discussing here on the blog recently: Power Point Regeneration.

But first, a little history lesson. Here is how different editions of Rolemaster dealt with power point recovery as well as hit point recovery (I am going to discuss them both together, because the systems are often parallel, and I want to blog about hit points soon too):

–RM2 allowed characters to regenerate 1 hit point per hour when resting, and 1 every three hours when active. By contrast, it allowed characters to regenerate all their power points only after a long period of ‘sleep or meditation (usually around 8 hours)’… and if the sleep was interrupted, you got nada. This was a very simple system, but you can already see the problems: hit point regeneration didn’t scale well, since a 100 hit point person would take 5 times as long to heal as a 20 hit point person; and there were two very different systems for regeneration (hits versus power points). It also raised questions such as, ‘Can I sleep multiple times in a day, and thus get my full PP pool back multiple times per day?’ That was ripe for abuse.

–The RM2 Companions (especially Companion 2) introduced the concept of PP development: that characters could develop PP as a skill. The companions also cautioned, however, that this would enable characters to have much larger PP pools, thus potentially wrecking game balance. It suggested options to address this problem, including introducing exhaustion penalties when a caster’s PP fell below certain thresholds (75%, 50%, and 25% of maximum), or increasing the time necessary to recover all PP via sleep from 6 hours to up to a week.

–RMSS/FRP brought the two systems (hits and PP) together by allowing the regeneration of 1 hit point and one power point per three hours when ‘active’. It also differentiated ‘resting’ from ‘sleeping’, giving accelerated hourly rates for regeneration during both of these inactive times. Resting allowed a character to recover (Co bonus/2) hit points and (Realm stat bonus/2) power points per hour. Sleeping allowed the recovery of (Co bonus x 2) hit points and (Realm stat bonus x 2) power points per hour. The only difference between hit-point and power point recovery now was that three hours of continuous sleep regenerated exactly half your PP (the same rule was not applied to hit point recovery as far as I can see). RMSS/FRP also implemented the RM2 Companion 2’s suggestion of applying exhaustion penalties to casters when their current PP fell below 75%, 50%, and 25% of maximum.

–The RMU beta initially tried to keep this parallelism, but clarify the language and simplify the equations with a new system. The idea was that characters would get their ranks in Power Point Development back every four hours of rest (e.g. if you had 8 ranks in PP Dev, you got 8 PP back for every four hours rest). Later, this was changed to ranks in PP Development + Realm stat bonus in PP every four hours. This raised some problems, however. One was that the scaling was erratic. Another was that the rapid pace of regeneration for casters with a good stat bonus seemed a bit too high, because in RMu, many of the other traditional limitations on casters — the size of their pp pool, the time needed to prep spells, the number of spells that casters can acquire through individual spell purchase, etc. — are all being lifted or adjusted in favour of casters. Compared to RM2 casters, RMu casters can have far more spells and more than ten times the power points. RMu’s initial system also kept in place the fiddly exhaustion penalties for falling below max pp thresholds.

This gets us then to today, and we now (in the last few days) have a new, more streamlined and I think much better scaling system for PP regen in RMU. The new system expresses PP regen in a simple percentage of your maximum PP per 2-hour period of sleep. The rates for the different power levels of game are as follows:

Average: 5%. Superior: 10%. Heroic: 15%. Legendary: 20%. Epic: 25%.

This keeps the equations simple and solves the scaling issue by using percentages, which remain constant across all character levels. This new system also ensures the equation to give you your hourly rate is simple: just calculate your normal regen per 2-hour period, then half it.

Example: A sleeping Magician with 30 maximum pp in a game set at the Legendary power level regenerates 6 pp every two hours (30 x 20%), or 3 per hour.

Overall, I think this new system of pp regeneration is a big improvement on previous editions. It allows a fully smoothed curve of scaling: no longer will your rates of regeneration vary erratically from level to level. It also allows us to dispense with the fiddly penalties when you fall below your 75%/50%/25% thresholds (those were a massive pain to track as a GM). I also like this new system because I think it can easily be applied to hit points in a way that makes the two systems of recovery exactly parallel. But I’ll blog about that next.

I hope you liked this update. Please feel free to say what you think of the new system, and also to let me know if you like the idea of me doing a series of RMu rules updates on this blog.

Power Points: How Much Is Too Much?

We’ve been having an interesting discussion on the ICE forums about Power Points. Different editions of Rolemaster have treated them rather differently:

–In RM2, a typical level 1 Spellcaster might start the game with 2 or 3, and they would regenerate slowly. (I’ve been looking to try to find exactly how slowly in the Rules As Written, but it seems buried somewhere inaccessible. Since hit points recovered only 1 per hour if resting, or one per three hours if moving, we assumed spell points came back at the same rate. But if anyone can provide me with a chapter and verse on that, I would appreciate it!).

–In RMSS, Powerpoint Development was a skill, which meant characters could start the game with an order of magnitude (10x) more powerpoints. And while the regeneration rate was the same as RM2’s while you were not resting (1 every 3 hours), you also regenerated them faster when resting, and much faster when sleeping, such that 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep regenerated all your PP.

The discussion is relevant because the limits on one’s power point pool and the regeneration of power points were some of the primary limits on spellcasters, preventing them from being overpowered in comparison to arms users at low levels. With RMU rethinking some of these limits, it is helpful to get input from players as to what an appropriate amount of spell power should be.

So what do you think? It seems like RMSS users are used to a large pp pool and fast regeneration, while RM2 users tend to be more used to a small pool and slow regeneration. Where do you fit on the spectrum? How many pp should a first level caster have, and how quickly should she get them back?

Going to GenCon: What to See?

This August I will be heading to GenCon, which is one of the largest tabletop RPG conventions in the world. I am really looking forward to it, primarily to see some new and old systems being played (I’m especially eager to try out Pathfinder 2, Starfinder, and Adventures in Middle Earth). I have two questions for our RM Blog community:

For those who have been there before: Do you have any recommendations on what to do or see? I botched my first attempt to navigate the event finder system, which meant that I missed out on all the MERP sessions being offered, but there’s still lots to see and do. What would you say is a ‘don’t miss!’?

For those who aren’t going: Is there anything you’d like me to check out? I will be playing Pathfinder 2, Starfinder, Adventures in Middle Earth, probably some DnD, and I might try Numenera and/or Star Wars d6 too. If you have any booth you’d like me to check out, rules you’d like me to see in play, or anything else that I could quickly find out for you, please let me know. I will be playing and possibly GMing, but if I have time to help you out, I will.