I am very pleased that my game will be going from two long weekends a year to three weekends. Furthermore rather than my game being the Friday night/Saturday morning game it will be moving to the Saturday afternoon, evening and Sunday morning slot. In real playing terms that will mean 16hr+ hours of actual game play rather than about 10hrs. Over a year we are talking 48hrs play compared to 20hrs. The game is going to get bigger in another way as well. I am starting some players in Waterdeep this summer.
As you know I am primarily a face to face, paper and pen roleplayer. I have been dabbling with play-by-post (PBP or PBM) gaming and I have been enjoying playing that game. It is my intention to start a PBP game this summer set in Waterdeep but still in the same campaign as my face to face game. Geographically the centres of action will nearly 1,000miles apart so they should not interfere to frequently but there is always the chance that news will flow in both directions about significant events. What I do have to do is get Waterdeep ready for the players.
I am a GM that likes to have everything prepared. One of the really nice things about the forgotten realms materials is that it gives the race, level and class of all the significant NPCs. So right now I am creating all these NPCs as Rolemaster characters.
If you are new to rolemaster then creating characters is one of the best ways to become familiar with all the rules. As a GM it will be your responsibility to assist your players to create their characters so the more NPCs you create the easier it is to help other new players get started. It also helps, I think, to create many NPCs to make you faster at creating characters. It can take inexperienced players and GMs the best part of an evening to create their first characters if they do not know the rules.
I would have said that the biggest single difference between the systems (Rolemaster and D&D) is the way that magic magic is handled. It would definitely be to the GMs advantage to have created a few magicians and clerics before trying to help a player create their first PC magic user.
When you are converting the significant NPCs from the Forgotten Realms source materials then as a rule of thumb you should multiply all levels by about 1.5 so that a 12th level fighter in the D&D rules such as Helm Dwarf-friend, Master of Sundabar would be an 18th level warrior in Rolemaster. For a more powerful game you would make the NPCs higher level but as a rule x1.5 works pretty well.
Right now have a number of sourcebooks to re-read to refresh my self about this location and maybe fifty important NPCs to create before I can let any innocent PCs loose in the city. All the new players will be running around as solo characters initially, probably for the first couple of levels, ‘enjoying’ adventures created especially for them to let them bed in and get a feel for the setting. As always I will share as much as I can here.