There are two significant bit so to learning spell lists for my house rules.
Firstly I will be using pretty much the Spells as Skills rules. You only need to learn the 1st level spell to enable you to start progressing up the spell list. This means that for the most part you will only need to spend 5 -15 development points to get the full list at first level.
Beyond first level it will typically take a week of study from a suitable source to gain the first rank in a spell list. That is taken from the spell research rules. That would give you the first level spell and from there you need to use the list to progress in it. If we take a list like lofty movement then that has no 1st to 3rd level spells so it will require 4 weeks of study or 20DP as a first level character to learn.
The second part is the way that spell effects are based upon level. There are spells that have a duration based upon level and these are the easiest to adapt. Here you read ranks in the spell list as the level with that spell. This means that you may have a duration of 3 minutes with one spell and only 10 seconds with another but then if you rarely use the second spell you are likely to be less good at it!
The second reference to level are spells like Sleep V that effects 5 levels of target. For this I will use 2 ranks in Body Development equates to 1 old style level. So Sleep V now effects upto 10 ranks in body development.
That seems balanced to me. Of all the changes to make to Rolemaster these changes to Spell Law are the simplest but also have the greatest effect on balance and game play.
Spending just 5DP (out of 50 at 1st level) to get a spell list means that anyone wanting to play a Mage like character can easily afford possibly 5 or 6 lists and still have a range of other skills.
All the rules for learning portions of lists are now gone.
Everyone is always 1st level so resistance rolls will work the same. If you are casting a (Base) spell then the rank in the spell will be the attack level.
That all seems to work. I suspect that in play spell users will end up with more spells sooner but the self regulating nature of the experience system means that this will soon level off. As it is at the higher levels that Rolemaster seems to breakdown that point should be almost pushed back to the points where it doesn’t happen any more.
Interestingly This house ruled version should work brilliantly with the RMU spell law when the final version is released as every list in that has all slots filled. That would standardise the cost of all the lists and give beginning characters a nice range of spells.