Rolemaster Fighters Rock! pt II

It is easy to build almost any kind of fighter in Rolemaster but you should not be blinkered, there can be a lot of cross over between the different types of non-spell caster. Is a pirate a fighter with some maritime skills who steals things or a thief that likes to fight first and ask questions later? In Rolemaster the answer is which ever you want to play it.

Armour skills are increasingly expensive as the armour gets heavier which means that if you want to play a light, nimble warrior then what you save in armour costs you can spend on other skills. A platemailed knight will spend more on armour but probably would not be spending points on acrobatics and tumbling.

Now I am dredging  my memory here but as we went up levels in D&D fighters got to do more attacks, something like:

Fighter Level Attacks per Round
1-6 l/round
7-12 3/2 rounds
13&up 2/round

In Rolemaster you have more than one option for doing this and none of them are hard and fast level based.

You really have two options which are not mutually exclusive. The first is two weapon combo or fighting with a weapon in each hand thus:

It is expensive to learn fighting with two weapons but it is open to everyone. If you are not particularly skills you will get a penalty while using this style and it has disadvantages. Unless you are seriously deformed in some way you will not be able to use a shield and I would like to see you parry an incoming arrow.

Your second option is what is called an Adrenal Move Speed, this is a skill where you take a minus in one round to ‘prepared’ and in the next round if you are sucessful with your skill roll you are effectively hasted for one round. So no you can have your three attacks every two rounds if your adrenal move speed skill is good enough.

If you really have the need for speed why not combine these two? Yes you can really get two attacks/four attacks/two attacks/four attacks but combining two weapon combo and adrenal most speed. From a game play point of view  the balancing factor is that the rounds when you are preparing your adrenal move you would be at a minus, if you failed the skill roll then you don’t get the bonus and the development point costs would limit the character in other areas. You would also be at a disadvantage compared to a shield user against bow fire or other missile weapons.

Now almost every combat system I have ever experienced has the same feature of when you start to lose it is very hard to swing the balance back the other way. In Rolemaster this is equally true. With things like criticals giving wounded characters penalties to their actions, stunning them and bleeding wounds losing can be a steep slippery slope. Figthers can use this to their advantage.

I always like to start a fight by going in hard and fast, the proverbial bull in a china shop. Most fights take place in relatively confined spaces and at short distances. If you are surprised then there is not a great deal you can do about it but if you are the agressor then heck lets give it to them! Learning skills like two weapon combo with thrown weapons like hand axes means that you can open the fight with a opening barrage before they even get into melee. Hopefully you manager to get your sword out before they do crash into you but that double hit in the opening round can make all the difference between back foot or front foot for the rest of the fight. Unlike arrows axes do not go that far so you should be able to recover them If over time you manage to build up that adrenal move speed then you will be truly scary in that first round.

In a recent game we knew there were a group of Uruk Hai guards beyond the next door guarding a staircase we had to get up. The ranger wanted me to open the door so he could take a shot with his long bow to which I argued back that compared to him I had a broadside like a battle ship in such close quarters. It was true at such short rangees and with us choosing when to open that door and open fire I could prepare everything. I killed, maimed or otherwise put down two out of four Uruks and wounded a third. There was no way the Ranger could have done anywhere near the same damage despite being better with a bow than I was and him having an item that give him haste.

So if you like your fighters big and heavy then build them to go in like a ton of bricks and you will be very pleased with the results. you may not be able to cast fireball but you can be just as dangerous all day everyday as a fighter.

4 Replies to “Rolemaster Fighters Rock! pt II”

  1. Excellent points. In your closing statement, the fighter COULD cast a fireball if he wanted to dump the points into learning an open spell list that had some type of elemental attack in levels 1-5 🙂

    That’s the beauty of Rolemaster.

    You did touch on a great point; the variability of Rolemaster and the skills in which you can make different types of fighters using skill purchases. Now add to that, the myriad selection of the non-spell user professions that are available to the player.

    Off the top of my head, Fighter, Barbarian, Bashkar, Thief, Burglar (which are different from Thief), Cavalier, Sailor, Leader, Romantic, Professional, Non-Professional, Shaikan, Trench Fighter, and more.

    The other gaming system; fighter, rogue, barbarian. Did I miss one?

    1. Regarding the magic, in RM2/RMC there are no elemental attacks in the open lists for those first 5 levels but there are so many companions there there could be one I have forgotten. In RMU there are attacking spells in the open lists.

      Your list of RM professions includes nearly all of them from all the companions. A new player with just the core rules or anyone who takes up RM starting with the new RMU will not have that many professions avaliable and to be honest I am not sure we that many professions. In my next post I am going to talk about the different combat skills such as Ia, Yado, reverse stroke and how these can help realise the vision of all the different types of fighter/warrior.

  2. yea…… I do have all of the Companions 😉

    Perhaps a list of the Professions and the descriptions of each so the readers can see how the professions, play styles, and maybe costs differ between the classes. Couples that would benefit from clarification could be Fighter/Cavalier, Thief/Burglar, and Barbarian/Bashkar.

    A definite boon to any player would be to pick up Rolemaster Companion I. I always viewed that as part of the “core set.” There is something about the way it is written and the amount of material that seems, to me, so essential to the game that it should have been included in the core set.

    1. I have moved over from RM2 or RMC recently but as a RM2 GM I had all the companions bar companion 7. I always felt that companion 2 was the one that was the absolute must have. Logically though the early companions are going to going to address the biggest needs and the later ones more specialist needs.

      I was going to look at thieves next so I will take up your suggestion but include the Rogue and Nightblade as well I think.

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