RMU House Rule #1 Stats

So here are the three uses I have for Stats…

  1. Stat Bonuses, this is the normal use for stats in RM. I want to keep the RMU magnitude and the addition of stat bonuses for finding the total bonus for skills.
  2. Fixed Body Dev, I will be using the Con Stat plus 1/2 SD plus Base Hits (From RMU Character Law).
  3. Unskilled Tests, I use the whole stat for unskilled tests. So if you want to know if your character can remember some random fact, for example, you would roll d100 OE and add your ME stat. 101+ to succeed. This means I can apply the full range of difficulty factors for these single stat unskilled tests.

So this means that I want and need a stat on the 1-100 scale. It also means that having a stat of 100 is better than having a stat of 98 even if the bonus is the same.

I also want point buy in some description.

I quite like Hurin’s suggestion of 3d10 – 15 has a lot of merit but that isn’t point buy. My objection to dice is simply the situation where a player that rolls well will forever out perform a character that rolls poorly.

RMU has a point buy option where all stats start at 50 and you get 10 points to spread over the 10 stats. You also get the option to buy down a one stat to have more to spend.

So how about…

  1. All stat bonuses start at +/-0
  2. All characters get 3 +1s they can share between the ten stats
  3. A stat can be bought down so taking a -1 on one stat can add a +1 to a different stat.
  4. No starting stat can have a bonus of more than +15
  5. Once all bonuses and penalties have been assigned Temporary States equal 50 + (Bonus (or penalty) * 3)

So with this mechanism I keep my ‘no dice’ preference. There is no need to have any tables of bonuses.

There is an effective cap at 95 so the stats are not truly d100 but the 100 stat is impossible as +16 equates to a 98 and +17 is 101 which doesn’t exist in RMU.

The 3 +1s equate to 9 points of stat and RMU gives 10 stat points for free so that is pretty close.

I like to share my house rules as I think many eyes make problem spotting easier. We could add in the Hurin option of 3d10 – 15 as a diced option. the dice option gives a range of -12 to +15 which is skewed slightly in the characters favour but I think that is a good thing. The point system does the same but only on a smaller scale by giving the initial 10points/ 3 +1s for free.

Fixed Concussion Hits

Fixed concussion hits is a bigger difference between my rules and RMU beta and almost certainly RMU RAW. Joe public would get typically 100 #hits from a 50 Con + 25 (half SD) plus 25 for race.

Off the shelf RMU characters seem to be starting at level 2 or 3 because of the age analogy so that is probably 8 ranks in Body Dev (+40) plus their stat bonuses plus race so +65 #hits.

The difference then is about +35 #hits in favour of the house rules at the start of play.

The difference balances at about 10th level.

Stat Gains

So stat gains are tied to skill usage or training. When a character successfully uses a skill in a meaningful way or gets specific training in a skill or stat then the applicable stats get ‘ticked’. So if you used the Influence skill successfully, stat bonuses from Em, In, Pr, this would ‘tick’ Empathy, Intuition and Presence.

When the GM chooses to allow experience gains, I know different GMs have different ideas about requiring down time or training time etc, then the player rolls d100 for each stat that is ticked. If the roll is equal or less than the current stat then there is no change, rub out the tick.

If the roll is greater than the current stat then the stat increases by 1. We can now use the genuine Stat -50/3 for the Stat Bonus! We can also get stats up to 100 through stat increases.

The advantages as I see them are that the most used stats are the ones to increase, we don’t need dice for the stat gain amounts and we don’t have to look up that dice on a table. We still don’t need a table for the stat bonuses.

Characters with poor stats tend to increase quicker but stat gains become less frequent as the stats get higher.

The RMU max stat of 100 preserved.

Over to you…

This is what I want to achieve and if you like, my first draft of the rules. Can you improve? Are there other options you would suggest?

Have I broken anything? Would this work just as well in a modern or sci-fi setting? This last question will be a recurring theme as I would like one unified set of house rules with the maximum of utility.

20 Replies to “RMU House Rule #1 Stats”

  1. It looks quite good, and I very much like that you use the whole stat for basic things like trying to remember something.

    You have a fair point about rolling for stats potentially resulting in one character much stronger than others. The way I try to solve that is, once everyone has rolled stat bonuses (since I just roll bonuses directly), we add up all the bonuses and find out who rolled best. Then the other characters get extra development points equal to the amount their rolls were less than the highest character. That is just the way we balance it.

    As I said, though, I have played with both rolling stats or using a point buy, and both are fine. I don’t see any fatal flaws in your system; I like the way you managed to preserve some distinction between a 98 and a 00.

    The only thing I seriously question about what you suggest above is the considerable number of extra hits characters will get. The current RMU attack tables have seriously reduced the number of hits delivered compared to where the weapons were in RM2. JDale is aware of this, and the final version of the attack tables will have the weapons doing more hits. But I do worry that they won’t be increased enough: he had suggested raising them by 25% , but in our present game, we are raising them 100% (i.e. doubling them) and that seems much better.

    RMU already increases the hits low level characters have: the racial bonus in particular makes level 1 characters have far more hits than they have in previous editions. So I worry that this, in combination with weapons doing less (oops, I mean ‘fewer’, Stannis!) hit points, will mean that it is very difficult to drop anyone quickly via just hit point damage, and battles will bog down into long wars of attrition.

    Aside from that, though, I very much like your system.

    1. So two thirds Con, one third SD would bring hits down to around 75.

      I think your balancing house rule probably works for you but is a bit loose.

      There is also a situation where two parties that started separately come together. This happened to me when we were younger and a lot of the players in our groups went off to university. If the groups originally had one generally high rolling party and one generally averagey rolling party merging then after creation would show up their differences.

      That is all hypothetical of course. What happened to me was that my party was created when only Character Law existed and the party we merged with were created after RoCoII had been released and they were like supermen by comparison.

  2. I’ve been looking at RMU for a long time and even now, I’m not impressed. Worse, I’m less impressed and less hopeful than I was when I started going in depth with the system. I’ve said this in other posts on the forum and maybe in this blog too, if the players feel that house rules need to be implemented before they even put the pencil to the paper, the system is already flawed. That alone shows me that investing money into a new iteration is going to be wasted money. I shouldn’t have to make up my own rules to make the game work correctly. Why did I buy all the books? I can take GURPS and run that any way I like.

    (Don’t get me started on the Skills-Bloat. Whoever said RM2 has an over-abundance of skills has NOT seen GURPS 4th ed!!!! HUNDREDS of pages of skills! Think about that…. HUNDREDS of pages!)

    Why would anyone knowingly buy a system they have to fix as soon as they open the box? When I was looking for a new house, my wife kept saying things like “Once we buy it, we can knock out that wall and build this. We can build that on later. Before we move in, we can have the contractors do this and that.”

    No! A thousand times, no! I’m not going to spend thousands of dollars to buy a less-than-ideal house so I can spend even more thousands of dollars to get what I’m looking for in a house. I’m just going to keep looking and find the house I like and pay that price.

    I’ve invested several hundreds of dollars into RM2 and I love the system. RMU has not shown me that it’s worth my money.

    * – line for the lynch mob forms to the right. Torches are $4, pitchforks are $7.

    1. One of my very first blogs was on something like “Roleplaying games do not exist”. What we buy when we buy a game is a toolkit or a framework from which we can make our ideas and adventures come alive. So buying into RMU is not like buying a new house it is more like buying a building plot.

      Right now you have crafted RM2 to fit your every need. Technically you need never buy another book. You may buy some but just because you like new things but I guess you are more likely to buy an adventure or setting based book as you can work that into your existing game. These books will not break your game nor do you have to unlearn the way you have been doing anything since the last century.

      RMU will become a lot more appealing in a few years time when more books start to be published for it. If they completely revamped the Elemental Companion with lots of new cool stuff then you would have a little dilemma, do you buy it and try and backwardly tweak it to fit the RM2 way or not by it and know there is lots of cool new toys but you cannot play with them. Roll on another 12 months and there could be all sorts of new things and you either convert or resist them.

      There is also the question of the forums. It is pretty much a case of every question that can be asked has been asked regarding rules interpretations. Most of the common posts are either RMU Beta discussions or GM/Campaign specific. Once RMU is live most of the ‘new blood’ in the RM community will be most likely RMU. Most of the new campaigns will be RMU campaigns. Eventually, if you enjoy being part of the RM community then it will nudge you towards RMU. Right now ICE has to support both older versions so there is no sense of ‘dead end’ or legacy system but I am sure it will come.

      Regarding the house rules, pretty much every experienced GM is going to house rule every game they play. You either customise by picking the options you want to apply from all the available options or you step outside the box and create those options yourself.

      I chose the second route. Really I suppose my desire for a rules light role playing game but with the richness of detail that Rolemaster gives can only be attained by starting with Rolemaster and pimping my ride until it is as fast and light as I want it to be. That is what we are doing here, pimping my ride. I could do this in private and I could probably cobble it all together in a week but it would be opaque to anyone who doesn’t know what I was thinking at the time. Doing it publically and collectively like this does many things. I am trying to incorporate as much pure RMU as I can but also showcase how resilient to tinkering the core RM system is. RM is, at heart, an incredibly simple system with just two core mechanics, dice + skill – difficulty then total over 100 for success. The other mechanic is attack roll + skill – penalties, higher roll does more damage a second roll adds description plus penalties and impediments. Of course you can take any of those elements and explode it into as much detail as you like.

      I like the way that RMU uses combat expertise, I like the way that RMU handles Base Spells. I like the Vocation skill. I like the simple round but I prefer Hurin’s description of the D&D 5e round and that seems like it will work even better with my 2 second combat round. I don’t have ‘flurry of blows’. I really hope that my ideas for magic will wow you so much you cannot help but chuck your Elemental Companion in the recycling and beg me for more spell lists. That probably won’t happen but I will try.

      My preferred flavour of RM is a long way from ‘off the shelf’ rolemaster. I hope that at the end of this I will have a version of RMU, as it stands at the moment that has a wider appeal than my personal house rules because we have communally built in that wider appeal but also something that is backwardly compatible with everything I already have. I hope that I can enthuse people to my way of thinking and you never know it may end up as a RMU companion, official or otherwise. Who knows that the future holds.

      Regarding GURPs, I don’t see RM as rules heavy and when I see it referred to as that I try and challenge people. By 1980s standards it probably was but by modern standards it is nothing to sing and dance about. Pathfinder Feats is the most commonly cited example of bloat in a system that no one complains about.

      For you I would say wait and see how RMU develops. It is not something you need but once it goes beyond the core books it could well be something you want.

    2. I’m also in the “disappointed with RMU” camp on the whole. I don’t care for the revised combat system, have issues with the skill structure, and am annoyed with the hidden biases in the rules (mostly in character creation and the way levels are handled, at least in my view). I tried running a few test games RAW and wasn’t pleased with the results.

      1. My test games were also not good. Stodgy was the best description but most of my complaints have been addressed.

        My biggest complaint about Rolemaster RAW is that there are simply too many details. I summed it up as Rolemaster being designed by Engineers for Engineers but it is played by people from all walks of life. I want my heroes heroic, combat dangerous and games to be fun. People who want to achieve a true feeling of simulated realism can play the game with every option turned on.

        My way is not for everyone but it does give people the option.

        1. Peter and Intothatdarkness, you both hit on points that I’ve found with RMU. I thought this was supposed to be much simpler, cleaner, and above all, faster than the previous versions. I love the heroic heroes and I love the deadly combat. Yes, there are some great new features that I like about RMU. Uniform critical tables. New Armour system. A truer 100% system. (In RM2, 175% is absolute success? How can you succeed more than you can succeed?)

          I accept that I know RM2 extremely well and I that I am still trying to get through RMU character creation fluently. But I don’t see RMU as any easier. It truly seems like it was written by engineers for other engineers. I have a degree in engineering and, well, I get that reference. What we need is an engineer to write it and an architect to make it look pretty, but we need mechanics and repairmen to show us how things work in the real world, not in a text book.

          I’ve asked in the forum for someone to walk me through complete PC creation to see if I’m doing it right, wrong, or interpreted-differently. I think I’m going to have to make it a post here as there is more ‘intimate’ interaction here with a core group.

          1. Hurin is your man. I have seen his RMU characters and they are outstanding.

            The old saying a one man’s meat is another man’s poison and for some people the breadth of skills in RM2 and RMSS are the systems strength and for others they are unnecessary bloat, the same goes for professions.

            I think one of the ‘core’ simplificiations is the skill category system. Love it or loath it the fact that each profession has a single cost for that category means that over time an infinite number of skills can be introduced but you will never have to scurry through countless books to find the skill cost. Your profession tells you the skill cost for that category so all skills have that cost. In RM2 you had to find the right reference between when the profession was introduced and when the skill was introduced.

            I loath the size rules but they were intended to be a major simplification. A single mechanism to cope with creature sizes, weapon sizes, momentum and charging etc. Anything that adds kinetic energy will shift the size of the attack up any thing that robs the attack of energy will shift the size down. On paper that sounds perfect, in practice it turns everything to shit (IMO). But do I care? No because I can do a combination of papering over it or house rule around it. As long as the net effect is the same then who cares?

            1. I disagree with the skills, but also found a way around part of that: expanding the combat training assignable skill model to other skill categories. That way you can still “flavor” within a category yet allow for new skill additions with a fixed cost. It’s an easy, adjustable fix that allows many, many possibilities. It’s also simple.

              RM2 became difficult when the Companions were introduced. I also got around that by overhauling the ones we used and ignoring the rest. They were all, after all, optional. Even though many never seemed to take them that way.

              1. Can I ask what happens when Character X assigns all their skill costs in a category and then a supplement introduces a new ‘must have’ skill? Are they stuck at having 12/20 or another really high cost as this is now the last skill in the stack?

                I know that is a non-problem right now but it is entirely possible when things like arms companions or martial arts companions come out for the new system.

                1. Frankly if they introduce “must have” skills in a companion or supplement there’s something wrong with the core rules. 🙂

                  Having said that, I would provide rules for GMs to make adjustments based on such events. Also, I have on the whole more skill breakdowns than the weapons stuff does currently. It might prove to be an issue, but for my style it’s a fair trade off to allow much more flexibility both for player choice and GM tailoring. Broad categories don’t allow for shading.

                  1. OK, so at the moment this is a contender for my core costing of skills. I think it creates a flexible bridge between the free for all of individual skills costs and the cookie cutter of the RMU categories.

                    So this is a ‘Hold that thought’ moment as I am going to write a post on Skills and I think we can use this.

                    1. Just by way of example, for Lore skills a breakdown might be (from first skill chosen to the fourth and additional skills): 1/3 for the first, 2/4 for the second and third, and 6/8 for any others. That gives you one primary, two others you’re still darned good at, and the rest which are related but aren’t your main focus. I’m still tweaking things, but that in rough outline is the idea.

  3. P.S. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention we don’t do lynch mobs, all opinions are cool and welcome.

    If I/we suggest something that is beyond the pale then take us to task and challenge the ideas.

      1. I love American prices for just about everything, so yes I was tempted, not for lynching but for mucking out horses over a British winter. It is so wet nothing would catch fire even with burning torches but it would make it warmer.

  4. I like your idea of defining the stat bonuses and calculating the stats. However during stat gain, I think you should stick with this. So my proposal is that you don’t do a stat gain, but a stat bonus gain. You might need to change the roll (may be now the 3d-15 comes into play). I think this is easier to understand and doesn’t swap the data dependency.

    1. I have been thinking about this and if GMs went for the stat buy rules they would then have to get their players to roll 3d-15 to roll over their current bonus.

      That really doesn’t feel very d100 which is the core of Rolemaster.

      Rolling d100 to get over your stat does feel very d100.

      Your suggestion also loses a dregree of granularity as it becomes impossible to ever have a stat of 90 or 100. That also doesn’t feel very d100.

      Finally, there are 1000 different outcomes from 3d10 and only one gives the +15 bonus. With roll d100 and get over your current stat the chances of going from 99 to 100 is exactly 1%. It will be the ‘normal’ that no one reaches their maximum potential in their stats.

      I am not convinced that this adds any benefit. This will always be a problem with a postulated set of rules that have not been play tested.

      1. Concerning the 3d-15 roll I have to admit that I aimed for the +16 bonus you mentioned in your post. Rolling a 15 will allow you to advance to 16. I did not concider a higher bonus.

        1000 outcomes of 3d10? There is not a difference of rolling 3,6,8 to 8,3,6 in a 3d10. So I cannot see how you get 1000 different outcomes (and from my perspective the word “different” is significant). The major difference in these approaches is the statistical distribution of the result. Either results are equally distributed or normally distributed. This definitely does have an impact on stat progress.

        Another point to mention is, that when a player progresses in bonuses he/she more or less increases his/her stat by 3 instantaneously. However from my point of view this is a minor problem, since I can overcome that by reducing the frequency of stat bonus gains.

        And yes I agree it does not feel d100.

        1. There are 1000 possible rolls given 10x10x10 gives a thousand. There are 28 possible resultant numbers from 3 to 30. As you say there is no difference in 8, 3, 6 and 3, 6, 8 except that you could also get 8, 6 and 3. That comes to 17 and there are lots of other ways of making 17 such as 10, 3, 4.

          The chances of getting a 3 is 1 in 1000 as only the combination of 1, 1, 1 will give you that result. There are 3 ways of getting a result of 4 and they are the three combinations of 1, 1, 2. When you get to 5 you can have combinations of 2, 2, 1 and 3, 1, 1, both of which have three ways of coming up on the dice so that is 6 possible ways.

          Roll Freq Prob
          3 1 0.1%

          4 3 0.3%

          5 6 0.6%

          6 10 1.0%

          7 15 1.5%

          8 21 2.1%

          9 28 2.8%

          10 36 3.6%

          11 45 4.5%

          12 55 5.5%

          13 63 6.3%

          14 69 6.9%

          15 73 7.3%

          16 75 7.5%

          17 75 7.5%

          18 73 7.3%

          19 69 6.9%

          20 63 6.3%

          21 55 5.5%

          22 45 4.5%

          23 36 3.6%

          24 28 2.8%

          25 21 2.1%

          26 15 1.5%

          27 10 1.0%

          28 6 0.6%

          29 3 0.3%

          30 1 0.1%

          So you can see there are 75 ways of getting a 16 or 17 result compared to the 1 way of getting either a 3 or a 30.

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