This was prompted by an idea that edgcltd put out there this week. He mentioned Hero Kids and the success it has achieved in bringing RPGs to a very young audience. Its very existence is great for our hobby. I honestly do not think you can make a viable Rolemaster for the 4yr to 10yr old market…”Sweep lays foe out and heel strike
to foe’s sternum collapses the ribcage. Foe is helpless and dies in 4 rnds.”…is the sort of thing that makes Rolemaster great and I just cannot translate that into fluent 4yr old.
But how about 12yr old?
I was fettling about with a spreadsheet last night and came up with something that looks like a playing card. In the top left is an open ended dice roll. You can add your OB to that and deduct the opponents DB. below that is a 5×3 table with the attack roll down one edge and three armour types across the top. They are unarmoured, soft leather/light mail and rigid leather/heavy mail and plate. The body of the 5×3 table has the damage and critical result for that weapon against that armour for that roll. A row would look something like this.
|Slice to foes chest. +12 hits and bleeding 2 hits per round. Stunned no parry 1 round.-10% to all actions||Cut to foes chest. +9 hits and bleeding 1 hits per round. Stunned no parry 1 round.||Cut to foes chest. +8 hits and bleeding 1 hits per round. Must Parry 1 round.|
There would be a pack of cards for each weapon, the result above is from a Dagger card on a total roll of 100, so it retains the unique weapons. The cards retain the A-E criticals and the location specifics. Some critical include armour breakages, fatal wounds and witty comment that we all know and love.
It gains armour by the piece as you can see each card is tied to a location so if you opponent has no leg armour then you apply the No armour column. If you strike him on the head and he has a full helm then you apply the heavy armour column.
The cards are generated by spreadsheet and can build in all the features of the Arm Law specifications such as slash criticals against lighter armours and crushes against heavy mail.
Using the same methodology I can make static actions and moving manoeuvre cards with a themed dice roll plus a simplified Absolute Failure to Absolute Success. One pack of cards for influence skills, one for perception and tracking, another for picking locks and disarming traps.
Initially I thought you would need too many packs of cards but then it would be no more complicated than the board game Talisman and my group love that game.
I could imagine each player would buy their own sets of cards. If their fighter uses a broadsword then you would want the broadsword pack, it they used a heavy crossbow then you would want the crossbow pack. Later on there may even be a market for additional packs to give different and new criticals.
Taking onboard other comments from the last couple of weeks then I would write a completely open source/ OGL simplified character generation set of rules.
What I am looking at is a really simple feeder game to try and attract a younger audience into Rolemaster. The mechanisms will be familiar the skill system will work the same way, combat will work the same way but the natural progression will be from cards to the ICE rulebooks.
I would like to keep the entire rules down to about 40 pages or less as Hero Kids which is the most successful of model has a 39 page rulebook including sample characters, stand up figures and first adventure. I am aiming at a slightly higher age range but we wouldn’t want to be accused of being rules heavy would we?
So the question is, if you could be 12 again and there was a version of Rolemaster just for you what would it be like? What would any feeder version NEED to have?