Most professions in Rolemaster can only afford to develop one class or weapon. It just gets too expensive and too slow to learn more than one unless you are a pure fighter type. Over the years I have come down to three favourite weapons that I seem to go back to again and again.
In order of preference I think they must be…
There are two really cool things about spears. The sheer number of ‘similar weapons’ that you can apply the skill to and its versatiity in its own right. You can use it one handed with shield, two handed and if needed you can throw it. It is similar to staves, polearms, javalins, pilums and the ultimately cool weapon the mounted lance. You can poke suspicious objects with it from a distance and even polevault with it.
- Hand Axe
This is another ‘swiss army knife’ of a weapon. Not only is it a useful tool, you can climb with it, throw it, fight with one in each hand and it is similar to the shortsword. The hand axe is also relatively easy to conceal within a backpack unlike a broadsword by comparison.
What did the romans ever do for us? It appears the answer is quite a long list but shortsword and shield is a classic combination that worked well enough for the roman empire. This is another in hand or thrown weapon, concealable and comes in a variety of sizes? Why is that important? Because some are no bigger than a lot of daggers so you can use it at full skill in that roll. A lot of town guard object to people hauling swords around town on a night out but a dagger for personal protection is accepted. With your trusty shortsword you get to have both AND you get to do that Crocodile Dundee scene “That’s not a knife, now that’s a knife”.
I can imagine a lot of Rolemaster old hands will say that none of these weapons do a huge about of damage. That is true but in RM it is rarely the ‘hits’ that take you down. It is the criticals that kill you and give or take 5-10 points on your attack roll most weapons are pretty similar in that respect. For those characters that want to get into hand to hand then their OB (offensive bonus) massively outstrip most people DB (defensive bonus) and maxing out the attack tables is a common thing by the time you reach 5th level or so.
So those are my top three. What is your favourite weapon(s)?