The Drow (a Rolemaster Unified Race)

A while I ago I created a direct comparison between a Wood, Grey and High Elf and a Drow Elven fighter (see my previous post on Elven races). As part of my commitment to Rolemaster Unified (RMU) I started to look at adding Drow to the list of races provided in Character Law.

The way that stat bonuses work in RMU diminishes their importance somewhat in comparison to RM2 (especially if using the Companion I background options). Gone are the days of walking around with a +40 Strength bonus. Because of this I did not really feel the need to adjust the stat bonuses as provided.

Here are the stat bonuses for a High Elf in RM2 and RMU

System Ag Co Em In Me Pr Qu Re Sd St
RM2 +5 +5 +5 +10 +10 -20
RMU +2 +2 +2 +2 +2 -4 -2

You can see that the basic concept of the elf is the same with pretty much the strengths and weaknesses lying in the same areas, although RMU elves are physically weaker it would appear.

What really defines the races are their racial talents. I have never used talents before. I believe they first emerged in Talent Law, a RMSS book I do not own and have not read. RMU also uses Talents and as a way of defining the particular specialism of one fantasy race over another they do work very well. RMU gives every race a number of bonus development points (DPs)  as a one-off bonus, the more the races talents benefit the race the less bonus DPs, the less bonuses or even if the Talents are actually flaws then the more bonus DPs you get.

The RMU elf is the most talented race in the starting line up and as such get the least bonus DPs. There talents are immunity to disease, meditational sleep and nightvision. OK I am happy with that, that is exactly what you would expect to find if you opened up an elf and looked inside. So how do you turn a generic elf into a Drow?

Firstly the Drow are well documented as being totally insensitive to light. They live in the underdark and if they do ever venture to the surface they only ever do so at night. RMU usefully has a light sensitivity ‘flaw’. I have given the Drow a -75 when operating in full daylight.

Secondly nightvision is not going to get you very far in the underdark but RMU has the option of Darkvision. This allows you to see in any natural darkness. This is just what a Dark Elf needs to stop it falling over the furniture so we have that.

According to all the sources on the Drow they have two innate spell-like abilities. Levitation and creating Darkness. You can add innate spells to a race by buying them of their spell level. In this case Levitation is 4th level so 8 points and Darkness is 5th level (Dabbler base list).

That is it. The Elf now looks exactly like the Drow in the books and given the net pluses and minuses of buying talents the Drow get 7 bonus DPs.

The first character I will be rolling up will be our Drow warrior from my previous post who in RMU terms will be a Drow Reaver Fighter. I will attach a character sheet as soon as I have one!

Looking at the RMU playtest discussions on the ICE forums one of the issues seems to be a lack of monster stats for running a test campaign. This Drow race gives anyone wanting to playtest the new RMU an evil race to use in addition to the goblins and trolls provided in Character Law.

One Thursday I will be giving you the Quaggoth and Boogin races meaning you run adventures set in the underdark.

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