Optional Rules Options

The way our gaming group is set up is that we are a group of five that meet regularly and when we meet we normally play two games, both Rolemaster. Up until recently that has been one Shadow World and one Faerun/Forgotten Realms.

When we next get together to play; the Shadow World game should come to an end as we are about to take on the ultimate bad guy and either save the world or die trying with no other options on the cards.

What this means is that we need a new game and it is someone else’s turn to GM. As it happens the new GM has not game mastered Rolemaster for many years (in fact his rule books are so old his spell law is printed in a hand written style font in blue ink, what was going on with that?). What we are doing is taking the opportunity to go through ever single companion and every single optional rule and skill and between us trying to unify exactly what options we are using.

The Cover of Rolemaster Companion IV
Rolemaster Companion IV

One of the nicest features of all the Rolemaster Companions after Companion IV is that they contain a couple of pages of tick lists with all the optional rules and how important that option is, whether it is considered a core rule now, is it highly recommended, does it add a lot of complexity to the game and so on. As two separate GMs we can complete the tick lists apart, see what is the same and then look at where we diverge and discuss those particular rules.

I think this is a brilliant concept of not only identifying every rule and where to find it but also how important the game designers felt each rule was. I am a bit of a miserable git at times and think that every optional rule I introduce has to add something substantial to the game, to pay its way so to speak.

The framework we create in the coming months will probably be our default game now for the next ten years unless I can convince them all to do a Rolemaster Unified Beta II play test.

Watch this space.

2 Replies to “Optional Rules Options”

  1. I absolutely loved the “master skill list” section that was included in the Companions. That helped me out in the most time saving way you can imagine. I even went the extra steps of photocopying the pages from the Companions and sorting them in my own 3-ring binders.

    I have one binder with all the content needed for character creation:
    – All of the races from the Core Books and RMC I
    – The stat gain, Temp/Potential, and SP/DP charts
    – All of the professions from all of the Companions
    – All of the tables for Background Options should a player choose to roll the dice on them (Even Oriental Companion! :))
    – All of the skills. This one takes up a large section of the binder

    It was a little time consuming and added some costs, but it was so worth it. I can blast through character creation so much more readily.

    I have a binder with all of the new weapon attack tables and crit tables, MM tables, static action tables… all stuff I need as the GM to try to keep the chart referencing more streamlined.

    I have the “GM Book of goodies” which has treasures, poisons, herbs, etc. that are not specifically part of C&T I, II, III.

    It’s been a boon. Keep in mind, this is all before PC… the electronic things we use now. PDFs weren’t readily available. There were no electronic versions of things. We couldn’t use Word and Excel to copy/paste.

    Ahhhh the good ole days.

    I’m trying to get the new group of RM players into another session. I’m hoping I can get at least a couple of them in a session. My kids miss playing too.

    1. I am a great believer in streamlining. I have a folder in which I have the attack tables for just the weapons that the party are using and I need as GM for that particular session. The most common critical table for each weapon is on the facing page. This means I barely have to touch arms law during a session.

      I have a second folder with the spell caster NPCs with all their spell lists behind them with the actual spells they are capable of casting highlighted. At the back of that folder are the attack tables and criticals I need for that session. I barely have to touch spell law during a session.

      A third folder has copies of the monster/non magical NPCs I need for that session. I then do not need to use creatures and treasures during the session.

      By having these tiny sub sets of the rulebooks to hand it makes looking up things so much faster. I just ‘load up’ up the folders with what I need before the session starts.

      All my NPCs these days are in PDF format, all my rulebooks are PDF and all the game notes I create and adventures I save as word docs that I edit but also save a PDF. All of these documents are held in shared droopbox folders for cloud back up.

      I could run an entire session just off my smartphone if needed or I could fish out any NPC. I even scan all the PCs character sheets and hae them in Dropbox so I can bring them up when I need them.

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