Bare Metal Edition Update

I know I am terribly remiss in blogging these days. I have two blogs and I post to this one more often than the other, so that shows how bad I am at keeping things updated!

Long time readers of this blog will know of Navigator RPG. This was written back in September 2019. Nicholas had kind of threatened to pull the plug on RMU if it wasn’t finished by the end of the year. He exact words were that RMU would be done, one way or another by the end of the year. That was five years ago and we are still waiting for the game to reach a playable state (if you want monsters that is).

My response was to go back to square one. The origin of Rolemaster was as a set of house rules for D&D. The story goes that a D&D fighter was trapped against a cliff edge and terrible foe. They asked the DM how high the cliff was and was told it was 60′. D&D used 1d6 damage per 10′ fallen, and the fighter had more than 60 hit points, so they jumped, knowing that they could not die from the fall.

Those house rules became Arms Law and Claw Law, and then Spell Law replaced the D&D spells, and then Character & Campaign Law plus Creatures & Treasures turned the game in to a coherent whole.

So I went back to D&D, andthese days we have the OGL meaning that I could take open game content as my base, and rolemasterify it.

I didn’t just clone Rolemaster. I know that Rolemaster is often referred to Chartmaster and Rulesmaster. I think it is a hard sell to ask people to buy four $30 books before they can play a game. So I stripped out many charts, smoothed bonuses for stats so you don’t need to look up the stat to find your bonuses, and used fixed DPs. I stripped back the skill system, knowing that GMs will add in skills as they see fit.

I didn’t go for two hundred different professions, knowing that if anyone played the game they would build professions that fitted their setting.

What I did do was give the rules for creating your own Talents & Flaws, Cultures, Ancestries, Skills, and Professions, and the rules for converting D&D/OGL monsters to the game.

Rolemaster has always be a toolbox, so I built tools.

I also kept the numbered paragraph format, to make it easy to drop in house rules and supplement material.

Navigator RPG was the first of this line.

Navigator RPG

When I created Navigator RPG what I wanted to do was to make something that was backwardly compatible with Spacemaster. We had been told that there would be no Spacemaster Unified. HARP SF also seemed to be in the doldrums, so if I wanted to play Spacemaster I would have to make my own. I had lost my Spacemaster rulebooks in a house move many years ago.

Not only was Navigator RPG going to be backwardly compatible, but I wanted to ensure that Rolemaster never died, even if Nicholas gave up. So I made it Open Game Content, and the book was Pay What You Want on DriveThruRPG. If you buy the physical book you needed to play printing and shipping, but beyond that, anything else was purely donation. the PDF was PWYW, and you can download it for free.

So far, there have been 2,156 downloads, of which 221 have been bought.

Pilot RPG

When I released Navigator RPG, I promised to create Pilot RPG, Nav’s Fantasy sibling. Then things went kind of sideways. Rather than getting on with Pilot, I was distracted by trying to turn the core game system into a generic toolkit. The name of the toolkit was Bare Metal Edition, and the idea was to put all of the rules for creating the rules on to github so anyone could fork the project to create their own games. Open Source Roleplaying in its purest sense. I had help with this, but I am a bit autistic and don’t play well with others much of the time.

Roll the clock forward to May 2023, and I finally get around to converting the rules to fantasy and Pilot RPG is born.

The names Navigator and Pilot come from that quote by Sir Walter Scott on the front cover.

Pilot was released 14 months ago and has had 835 downloads and 48 purchases. Just like Navigator RPG it is PWYW, and you can download it for free.

Guide RPG

Another goal with Bare Metal Edition, was to push Rolemaster into genres that it hadn’t explored before. On the ICE forums, when we had a working Character Law/Arms Law, I had suggested doing some historical genre games, such as Robin Hood, as an example. We didn’t need magic or monsters for real world settings. That idea obviously didn’t fly.

I managed to find the time to convert Eldritch Tales, an OSR Call of Cthulhu clone, to Bare Metal Edition and Guide RPG, Cosmic Horror Open Ended Roleplaying, was put out. This was January 2024, only 4 months after Pilot RPG. That was 10 months ago, and we have seen 669 downloads, 21 sales.

The name Guide relates to spirit guides and fits into the Navigator, Pilot, Guide series.

Mark RPG

This game came out on May 28, 2024, so about 5 weeks ago. It is Pay What You Want, 144 downloads, and 12 sales. What makes it special is that it is the first variant that is set in the real world. Mark RPG is based on The Curse of Capistrano, or as it is better known The Mark of Zorro!

As I said back on the ICE forums, it should be possible to create a game without monsters, and magic, and base them in the real world, I said I could do it, and this game did it.

I freely admit that I pillaged Wikipedia for much of the setting information, and used Guide RPG (set in the real world but with the cosmic horror elements) and stripped out everything that did not apply. That gave me my core system. There may possibly be a few monsters left in, just for a bit of weird west fun, but for the most part, that section of the book is mostly snakes, bears, and bandits.

Sure, the number of downloads is smaller, but we are getting into niche genres.

Survivor RPG

This game isn’t written yet, but I have pencilled it in for a November/December release, and will be post nuclear holocaust, mutants and tech. Think Gamma World, Mutant Future, and Mutant Year Zero and you will get the gist.

This is another genre that Rolemaster or Spacemaster never touched, and will expand the range of the Bare Metal Edition stable.

All these games are cross compatible and build on what has gone before.

Further Forward…

I know when I want to create Survivor, but I also want to convert more OGL/OSR games and bring them under the BME banner.

I have plans for a World War II version based on Operation Whitebox and a Zombie Apocalypse version based on Survive This!! Zombies.

If I can find some good vehicle rules to convert, or if not, write them myself, I would quite like to create a Death Race 2000/Car Wars/Mad Max iteration as well.

Then there are sci-fi Mech warfare and superheroes, and why not prohibition-era gangsters?

These future games are not about creating an entire game from the ground up, they are about building just the rule variations needed to reflect the genre and the playable options. Then the fun of critical tables and some villains to fight.

If there are genres you want to see turned into a game, let me know, and I will do the research and build it.

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