In my previous POST, I made an argument for ICE to license interesting, but perhaps lesser known fictional settings as a way to leverage Rolemaster and/or springboard RMU.
While I didn’t dive too deep into it, my thought was a RMu or RM “lite” version of stripped down rules that could be used as a source book for other settings. Basically, what MERP was compared to Rolemaster. There was a lot of people asking for a RMu lite version to precede the full publication of the rules: some argued that it would get the game to market a bit quicker and raise some awareness, while others thought it would be entry point for new players. My thought was that source books for new settings would solve two issues: growth through licensing IP and ease of entry by simplifying the rules.
For clarification I thought I would propose 3 fictional setting from fantasy literature as case studies.
- Joe Abercrombies “First Law” series. For those not familiar with Joe’s work, it’s considered “grimdark” with gritty, and unforgiving combat scenes. There is already several online discussions about what RPG system would work best for Joe’s world, but no one mentions Rolemaster. While the world of the First Law doesn’t feature traditional monsters or feature a lot of magic (neither did Middle Earth), RM’s combat system and low fantasy approach would work great for this setting. Plus the world is anthropomorphic–which also works well with RM. The downside is probably the removal of most of “Spell Law” from the source book–but the setting should drive the ruleset, right?
- Alex Huston’s “The Crimson Queen“. I mentioned this book here back in 2017. Reading the first of the series made me think it would make a good RM setting. The subsequent books felt a bit lesser, but it’s a interesting (if typical FRPG) setting, but has a following. I described it as being RPGLit, and while that is not high praise, it argues for a game system.
- Steven Erikson. The Malazan series. Look, it’s my favorite fantasy literature bar none. Every time I read it, I can’t help but think how Rolemaster could tackle the setting. The magic would need to get re-configured, but that just requires a larger source book. Certainly Power Points are the best way to handle the constant casting, and the combat is very gritty. Some aspects of the Malazan world touch more upon conceptual rules rather than the quantitative process embraced by RM–I discussed part of this HERE.
So good readers, what setting in literature, film or other might be a great fit for ICE/Rolemaster/HARP or Spacemaster? Again, it doesn’t have to fully embrace every aspect of the ruleset–but fit’s the style and feel of the game.