RMU Update: No Maneuver Chart Required!

Perhaps the most common criticism of Rolemaster over the years is that it is ‘Chartmaster’: overly reliant on charts for basic actions. I think everyone should rejoice to hear that RMu has now dispensed with the need for a chart to handle basic movement.

JDale just noted that the default method for movement in RMu is now what I call the ‘pay AP to move’ method (if you have a more succinct name for that by the way, please let me know!). Characters simply pay action points for movement, just as they would pay for any other action. You get to move up to your BMR for each point spent. Want to move 1x your BMR? Pay 1 point. 4x? Pay 4 points. There is a minor wrinkle in that to get to 5x (the maximum pace normally allowed), you have to spend your instantaneous action for the turn. But otherwise, the system is very simple. (In fact, it is similar to the system in Pathfinder2, though we started doing this in RMu first, before we’d even heard of Pathfinder2).

RMu does have an optional method if you want to try to combine movement with other actions. You can move at up to a run (x3 BMR) and combine your movement with another action, but those actions suffer the pace penalty (-25 x pace) if you moved during any phase while performing them. If you don’t like the complexity this adds, you can just not choose to use this optional rule.

You can read JDale’s description of how this works on the ICE forums, here: http://www.ironcrown.com/ICEforums/index.php?topic=19163.20

All of this makes for a much easier system that allows RMu players to dispense with the maneuver/pace chart altogether.

And there was much rejoicing!

13 Replies to “RMU Update: No Maneuver Chart Required!”

  1. Am I being a bit dense here 1AP for each BMR but 2AP for 2xBMR? Surely 2xBMR still takes 1AP because if I run I cover the BMR in half the time.

    1. You’re not being dense, you’re just used to movement in Rolemaster being more complicated than it needs to be 🙂

      In RMu, you reach 2x BMR in the round only by spending 2 AP on moving. You reach 3x BMR by spending 3 AP, etc. But you spend your action points on movement individually, so you don’t ever have to multiply your potential movement by your pace; you simply spend points to move. The most you can ever move for any individual action point you spend, then, is your BMR.

      Example: My BMR is 20′. At any point during my turn, I can pay an action point to move up to 20′. I could:
      –Pay 1 AP to move up to 20′
      –Pay a second AP to move 20′ more
      –Pay a third AP to move 20′ more
      –Pay a fourth AP to move 20′ more
      –Pay my instantaneous action to move 20′ more

      I have thus just effectively moved 5x pace (100′) for the round as a whole. But I haven’t moved more than 20′ for any individual point I spent, nor have I had to worry about any pace multiplier.

      Think of BMR not as your 1x pace for the whole round (as it was in RM2), but rather as the maximum amount of feet you can move for each Action Point you spend. That makes understanding the new system a lot easier.

      1. Ok so Usain Bolt gold standard for 5x pace moves 50m in roughly 5 secs (RMU round) 5AP but if he walks he will spend the same 5AP on moving 10m? Why can’t he dash for 1AP and the use the remaining 2AP on something else? (If we ignore the mechanics of sprinting as a sport.- which is more complex than a chart could ever show). And to add to the confusion if I walk I could probably draw a weapon, fire a modern firearm and possibly open/close a door. Not that this is a conflict in my GM head as I would resolve at table with an argument on mechanics vs reality. Yes you can kick the door down it will just be more likely to reduce your total distance travelled let’s roll to see by how much.

        1. > “Ok so Usain Bolt gold standard for 5x pace moves 50m in roughly 5 secs (RMU round) 5AP but if he walks he will spend the same 5AP on moving 10m?”

          No. Usain Bolt would have a BMR of about of 30′ in RMu (assuming a 100 quickness stat and a bit of a stride bonus). If he only spent 1 AP on movement, he would move 30′ (about 10m), but still have 3 AP (and an instantaneous action) left to spend in the round. That would be enough to make a quick melee attack, or draw a bow and shoot a quick bow attack, etc.

          If he spent 2 AP on movement, he could move 60′ or 20m, and he would still have 2 AP and an instantaneous action left to spend.

          If he spent all 4 AP and his instantaneous action on movement, he would move 150′ or 50m.

            1. > “So the BMR is equivalent to the old 5x pace then?”

              Yes, that is a good way to think of it. It is the maximum amount you can move per action you spend (and you get four actions and an instantaneous action per turn).

              It’s not really your ‘Base’ movement rate per round; rather, it is your maximum movement distance per action spent.

              It is somewhat similar to the new Pathfinder 2 system.

              1. Thanks for clearing that up Hurin. So what if I want to walk firing off a shot with a pistol (I say pistol because its easier to envision over a bow but that is still a possible) is that 1AP because as a GM I would have made it possible with a penalty determined from a MM roll.

                1. You have two options:

                  –The simple option is just to pay AP for movement, but that means you would have to pay 1 AP to move first, then pay 1 AP for your pistol shot next. The upside of this is that there is no additional movement penalty for your shot, because your movement is ‘sequential’ — you are essentially moving first, then shooting.

                  –There is a more complex optional rule too that handles combining movement and actions. In this rule, you can combine actions with movement up to 3x pace (faster than 3x prevents you taking any actions). If your maximum movement is 20′ per phase, your walking pace is 5/phase, so you could move up to 15′ and fire your shot all in the same phase for 1 AP. Simultaneous movement like this however imposes movement penalties on the action. The penalty is -25/pace step. So if you are moving at a walk (1x pace), the penalty would be -25. You could move up to a run and still attack, for a penalty of -75.

                  As you can see, this optional rule adds complexity, but offers the option of combining movement and actions in a way similar to earlier editions.

  2. So in RMU there’s no chance of rushing and hurting yourself, or failing to move fully, or doing better than expected? How is that even “Rolemaster”? It’s fine in a D&D-like or a tac wargame, but the point I got from RM2 was to always make risk/reward behavior actually risky.

    1. Of course there is a chance of rushing and hurting yourself, or failing to move, or doing better than expected. Maneuvers still have difficulties; and indeed the harder (faster) maneuvers impose Fatigue checks. It is just that the terrain/maneuver now determines the difficulty, rather than the speed (pace).

      Having the speed impose the difficulty (as RM2 did) created massive math problems that had to be (partially) corrected in Rolemaster Companion IV (section 3.1, p. 8, ‘Movement Pace Anomalies’). As the RoCoIV noted, the core rules for movement generated ‘unrealistic results’ because the high difficulty imposed by very high paces too often resulted in running characters moving slower than jogging ones.

      RMU thus fixes this by having the terrain/maneuver (rather than the pace) impose the difficulty, and by streamlining the movement system, with no loss of function that I can see. You can still fall, hurt yourself, or run your personal-best time in a 100m dash. The results will just be more realistic… and you won’t need a chart to determine them.

      1. The difficulty levels of each pace (as the MM table) were always broken from day one and I suspect tried to cover the difference between distance running and sprinting (I might blog on that from a runner’s background as I started that some time ago). Over any distance covered (ignoring unusual circumstances), for one individual, or a population, there is an average time and then a range of times either side. It is simple statistics. Now what that range of time is I can’t tell you without some digging but I can tell you that in the same state of fitness and training, my time over a 5K run is pretty consistent (within mins) and the same over 100m, 200m (at which I suck) and on up into the distances I was good at. The question then is how the mechanics emulate that system of statistics which is essentially Pareto’s law (80:20) two 10% tails representing the worst and best results and then the rest are marginally better or worse than your average. What should that wobble be as a percentage of base MM? I don’t have an answer, but I am sure with some research in the sports science archives we could get some idea. From what I’ve skim read of the RMu I don’t think that has an answer but Hurin’s suggestion which sensibly ignores, as a near as makes no difference, unless it is an extreme is a better workaround in a 5 sec round.

      2. “Massive math problems” is overstating it. RMC IV had a munchkin cheat so their low-skill characters could use high pace with a lowered difficulty. In a RAW game, you’d level up, and/or use Agility-enhancing herbs and items before trying to do 4x or 5x pace, and with appropriate skills you got high movement. That was the reward for taking risk and putting in a lot of development. A 10th Level Warrior Monk moves like Usain Bolt or Jackie Chan (and Jackie faceplants a few times each movie…), a 1st Level No Profession is justifiably scared to run with scissors.

        We never got any of the “tactical” rules beyond RMC I to produce reasonable results for the effort, or they were cartoony nonsense, except that CEATS worked well for duels but it was too heavy for regular use.

        So in RM2, in 10 seconds you could move 50% and melee at -50, or missile fire once at +0, again at -50 (depending on weapon). By risking a higher pace, you made that 50% worth something (and skilled characters would take 20-30% movement and higher pace to move just as far and do something else useful).

        In this AP rule, you can’t do that; you either waddle into a single attack (now with no penalty, free bonus OB!), move 1x at -25%, or you take fast movement and no attack. There’s no other options? If there’s a roll for terrain then it’s still a chart-roll; except the RMU MM table is a generic single column thing with no fun end cases, which is not something to rejoice over.

        There’s nothing in that forum thread about difficulty, and the 5 to 8-year-old RMU documents have an almost totally different mechanic (which I also loathed, but at least you could run and fight at penalty). Is there any coherent writeup without having to read thru 10,000 forum posts?

        1. @Mark: I appreciate your positive attitude towards RMu, but you are making some assumptions and saying some things about RMu that are not entirely accurate, and I don’t want anyone to be confused, so please allow me to explain how things really work.

          First, you are right that the original beta rules had a different system. It was even more complex, however, so after playtesting, the movement system now has been streamlined to do everything you want the system to do with less math and no loss of functionality. RMu is not unique in this regard: rules change in the course of a beta. That is the nature of a beta.

          I don’t know about you, but 99% of the time I try to run, I move faster than when I try to jog. I didn’t need to ‘level up’ or use agility herbs to make this possible. This has been true of me since I was level 1 (adolescent). The RMu system fixes the problem earlier editions had with low level characters moving more slowly at a run than they moved at a jog.

          Secondly, as I just outlined in my response to Aspire to Hope, RMu does indeed offer you an option to combine movement and actions, and to try to move faster, at a penalty to actions. The choice is yours.

          Finally, yes, the RMu Movement table is a generic table, but it does have some fun end cases (criticals up to ‘E’) as well as text describing unusual effects for success and failure. You are right to say that this chart is not as detailed as the original RM2 maneuver chart, but the RMu chart has one great advantage over the RM2 chart: the RMu chart is simple enough that after a few uses, you can actually resolve actions without the chart at all. This allows RMu to avoid being ‘Chartmaster’, which was one of the main charges against earlier editions of the game. If you really want to keep using a chart when you don’t have to, you can probably still use the old RM2 chart with the new rules. The new chart is pretty much backwards compatible.

          If you want an updated discussion of how the new movement rules work, there is a current thread going on (about the issue of the cost of melee attacks), in which JDale has just given a good summary of them. It is probably best to pick up the discussion here:


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