Rolemaster at Gen Con 2020

Gen Con went down last weekend as a purely virtual affair, and there was quite a lot of Rolemaster activity. I ran two sessions of RMU via Roll20 and there were several other official sessions (I believe of RM2) on Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds. There was also a lively Discord chat that included Nicholas Caldwell, Terry Amthor, our own Peter, and various other luminaries. So let’s get right into it.

First, the biggest news, which came through the chat:

–RMU is advancing through the editing process. Arms Law and Character Law are pretty much done, aside from some examples, and about to move to layout. Spell Law is being edited as we speak. Art is now being commissioned. The developers wanted to know whether customers would prefer black and white (cheaper printing), standard colour, or premium colour (the most votes seemed to be for colour). The timelines outlined suggested that the books could be published as early as the end of this year, but likely early next. A condensed version of the rules will likely appear before this. So we are really getting very close to the publication of RMU rules.

–Nicholas wants people to write adventures and modules for RMU. There was also talk of providing RMU stats for old modules such as the Shadow World line as well (which I think would be fabulous), so if anyone with a good knowledge of Shadow World and RMU is interested in that, I think you should contact ICE.

–One person asked about the possibility of a Spacemaster Unified in the future, and the response was that writers would be needed for that. I was kind of excited about the idea, and confess I was even tempted to take a stab at it. I wonder if anyone else (such as Peter?) might be interested as well, given the recent appearance of his Spacemaster-inspired game.

–ICE is working on establishing its own permanent Discord server. I think one silver lining to all of us having to play by internet is that it has shown the powers that be in ICE land the importance and potential of Discord and the Virtual Table Tops.

In addition to the chat, there were also several Rolemaster sessions. I ran two sessions of RMU and was quite happy with how they turned out. I got to meet some people I hitherto knew only via the Blog and the ICE forums (such as Siltoneous and Amano), as they played in my games.

One interesting fact was that of all the classes available to play, the Warrior Mage was the most often chosen: two players chose him first, and a third had him as their second choice. The class is still very popular! Also popular were the Paladin and the Lay Healer (so each party in my two sessions had a Warrior Mage, a Paladin, and a Lay Healer). The other characters played were Sorcerer, Fighter, and Mystic, though the guy who played the Mystic was a bit underwhelmed by its abilities. Other classes that players contemplated playing were Druid, Magent, Ranger, and Thief.

The players who had not had prior experience with RMU were generally impressed with the speed of RMU and the simplicity of things like spellcasting (no more need for BAR and RR charts!). One player who I think was an RM2 guy was also very happy with the way RMU allows semi spellcasters to cast spells while also attacking (remember that in RM2, casters have very few hit points and instantaneous spells use 75% activity). So that I think is a real selling point for RMU: casters no longer need three rounds to cast a shield spell, and semis can cast a lot more while fighting.

That’s all I can think of now, but I’d be happy to answer any questions anyone else has.

9 thoughts on “Rolemaster at Gen Con 2020”

  1. Did you record any of your sessions? Even if it’s more scripted and curated, a recorded RMU session may be an effective tutorial for curious players. I think Wolfshield (?) has recorded his SW campaign but that was using RM2 I believe.

    1. I was not able to record any sessions because I’m still figuring out Discord and we got back from our family vacation later than expected, so I was just rushing to get the scenario ready. I do plan to record any sessions I do in the future though.

      I think Wolfhound ran some games, and I know Tbigness was considering it, though I’m not sure if those happened.

  2. Thank you for the fantastic write-up, and for stepping up at Gencon. My expectations were certainly improved some after hearing from those in the know.

  3. It was good to jump into the chat on Sunday with Nicolas and Colin amongst others. I have really been kicking myself as I download and read though beta 1 books, and also download and started to read the beta 2 books but for some reason I don’t know why I put them down. I’ve been playing catch-up now trying to read the books and well as the forums trying to work out which rule has change and which hasn’t, it not easy. Have created a couple of characters, it good to get back to that, will be doing more although I know when the game comes out there might be some differences.

    It was good to find out the shape of the game and to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    I think long term I want to get back into rolemaster, haven’t done much for several years. It’s a big step to join a game let alone run a virtual game, but I think it is something I want to do, just have lots going on at home at the moment so maybe I will put that to put together a small game to start with.

    Can’t wait for RMU to be released putting my UK pennies in a jar waiting for the day I can put the order in. Cheers

    1. I think there was some chat about HARP; I just didn’t mention it because I’m solely focused on Rolemaster.
      A good source for HARP info is the director’s briefings, since they talk a lot about the HARP publication pipeline in them.

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