Misc Whiskey Thoughts & Challenging RPG paradigms.

  1. First, we are really close to the end of the month and we’ve almost had 1 blog per day! Thanks for everyone’s efforts.
  2. This is going to sound close to criticism…but it isn’t. Obviously all of us that participate here as either bloggers or commentators have specific viewpoints and solutions and we tend to gravitate towards our own rule models when challenged or when rules are discussed. I try very hard to think outside the box, question my own pre-conceptions and challenge established tropes–my own personal Socratic Method. Many times when I blog I’m not taking a partisan stance–I’m trying to create a dialogue to test our views and solutions. To be honest, I can and do generate new Professions all the time. What I have found is that the only real distinction is in “Base” spell lists–otherwise skill costs are washed out by level 10. Nonetheless it is interesting to create and model cultural or pop-cultural profession models with class distinct skill costs. But doing that, I am led back to a more flexible system of “free market” approach that utilizes a cost/benefit system that actually reinforces the very tropes and archetypes that people enjoy.
  3. RR’s, Saving Throws & Innate Stat abilities. So what came first? Spells or spell defense? Does that seem a stupid question? Spell Law was conceived with the concept of Magical Saving Throw already accepted–a PC can “resist” magical influence. As we discussed in an earlier blog, RM took a step forward in at least acknowledging the difference between a physical manifestation of magic and meta-physical one. WTF does that mean? I’ve been working on this…and came up with a few frameworks. Now, I think Dan and his work with RMU Spell Law has improved upon classifying spells by “Force”, “Elemental”, “Informational” etc… Even in it’s earliest editions, Rolemaster had already identified various spell manifestations: physical bolts should be treated as a missile attack, elemental ball attacks were similar but used the targets DB, and most other spells called for “Resistance Rolls”. Not bad–but can we do better? Maybe the solution isn’t conveniently classifying spells by certain types to define avoidance/resistance ramifications but through the spell itself. That might mean that spells are treated more individually like original DnD than the commoditized Rolemaster system. I’m doing major work on BASiL combining it with various stat driven mitigation rules. For example “Levitation” is found on my version of WIND LAW, GRAVITY LAW and (not yet published Mentalism spells). So Levitation/Wind Law uses a cushion of air which can be countered by “Still Wind” while Leviation/Gravity Law would not be affected by “Still Wind”. Should an unwilling target be allowed to “resist” against either one one of these? Can we resist an air cushion or a manipulation of gravity!?
  4. BTW: Matt is over in Europe for a while longer. Peter, I’m heading to Iceland in June to reinforce my love of the Iron Wind!
  5. Only 3 people for our 50 adventures in 50 days? Sad.

Alright…time for bed but I have more to say about all this (in a more comprehensive manner!)

6 Replies to “Misc Whiskey Thoughts & Challenging RPG paradigms.”

  1. Talking about spells that have the same effect but have different types, this could also be clarified by more interesting spell names (I find RM spell names really boring; I may have a go at renaming some). So you’d have Dynamo’s Gravity Nullifier, Windius’ Supporting Gust and Derren’s Mental Levitation.

    Okay, better names are possible, I was just trying to come up with something!

      1. I think someone did rename all the D&D spells that used to have things like Mordenkainen in their name, because that was Wizard’s IP and wasn’t covered by the OGL, resulting in names like mage’s disjunction. Although I may take a look at some of the Pathfinder spells, thanks!

        I do think spell names tend to be far more boring than their Vancian origin (there was a White Dwarf article about that which resulted in me starting to read Vance). I feel that many spell creators are going to be at the very least proud of their creation (“The Excellent…”) and at worst totally arrogant (“The Amazing Aarglebarg’s Incredible Exploding Sparrow”). Only the most common spells likely to have been made by multiple creators – a fireball is a fireball after all – are likely to have become generic.

    1. On a more serious point when GMing I try and obfuscate the spells my NPCs cast, give them new unique spells, encourage my players to research their own spells and to visualise the ‘special effects’ that accompany common spells. My illusionist’s ‘light’ spell created a clouds of firefly-like motes of light that whizzed about lighting the same area to the same intensity as the Magician Spell of the same name (Light Law: Light I). There were no game mechanic effects but I felt that normal light spells were pretty much taken for granted by players and any wonder or grandeur of such minor magics was completely lost on experienced players. Change it up a bit and it all become more interesting.

  2. Is there any rule in Rolemaster in any book for which there is not at least one optional rule already published?

    I am curious off the top of my head the only thing I can think of is the BAR roll for base spell resolution.

    I am just curious if some ideas have been challenged that I maybe read back in the late eighties and have not looked at since and have forgotten about.

    Rules imply structure but if there is an alternative to every rule then that would make Rolemaster more cloud-like.

  3. I have a nagging recollection that something came out messing with BAR, but I couldn’t quote the source off the top of my head.

    I have used profession-less systems before, as well as some which have classes but they’re used more for allocating XPs than actually determining skill costs. I’ve always found systems with classes of some kind easier to explain to new players. Hurin has already pointed out their utility as templates, and I agree with that reasoning. Professionless is great if you’re dealing with experienced players, but I have always found it to be less than helpful when you’re introducing someone to gaming.

    Again, though, I always viewed professions as reflecting access to training or utility of XPs. Gangbusters did XPs based on class/profession, as do a number of other non-fantasy games. This reflects how experiences help you advance in your chosen profession, and how that changes when/if you change professions. The same goes with access to training. An assassin will have cheaper weapons costs, for example, because her agency or guild makes training and facilities available and prioritizes her access to that training. D&D and by extension Rolemaster never quite captured that link, but you see it in other games.

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