Rolemaster Kids – Skill Points?

I am building some real enthusiasm for this idea now. I think it is certainly achievable with a target age down towards the 10yrs old mark or even lower. Hero Kids goes down as far as 4yrs old and I just don’t think that is viable for any sort of Rolemaster-esque game. Just think of the sorts of sums we do adding open ended rolls, adding OBs, adding and subtracting positional modifiers, adding a negative DB and applying percentage based penalties from criticals or faster actions. That is beyond any reasonable expectation for someone below the age of 10 unless they were unusually gifted.

It is also almost impossible to remove those things as to not give a bonus for sneaking up behind your target before attacking is illogical as is expecting someone with a broken arm to just as good at fighting.

So to knock this idea about a bit more if the starting point for skill costs tends to be 2/6 and a 50 DPs seems to be the starting point then we can half both figures to make the numbers smaller and more friendly 25 skillpoints and one rank in a skill costs 1 skill point , every additional rank after the first each level costs 3 skill points. The 1/3 progression will vary from profession to profession but I am only planning on have 4 professions Fighter, Thief, Magician and (Lay) Healer. A fighters weapons skills would most likely cost 1/2 skill points (that is one stroke two not a half)  whereas a Healers would be 4 points and the magician’s 5 per ranks.

I don’t think cultures are overly complicated and can just give a range of skills to make first level characters rounded.

The skills they would be buying would be just a core of skills without all the specialisations. This will keep the number of skills down and make real Rolemaster a much richer experience when people move on.

Skill resolution could be simplified down to partial success at (try again next round at +20) at 76 or more; success at 101 or more; absolute success at 176 or more.

I would make skills ‘rolls’ a card based system with the roll printing on the card as long with a simplified skill resolution table. Different types of cards would be available for different types of skills so the the results could be themed to provide added colour. Such as: “Partial Success: You keep talking and your audience is still listening. Try again next round at +20” for a social or influence type skill.

Intothatdarkness brought up the issue of lost or missing cards and that is easily avoided by making the cards all free PDFs that can be printed at home either on stock card or by using a glue stick to paste them on to standard playing cards.

I think that that would be simple enough to be understood by a ten year old but also Rolemaster enough for there to be a natural progression.



10 Replies to “Rolemaster Kids – Skill Points?”

  1. You could have the game with an expandable degree of complexity. So, you have the basic game, then more, optional, sets of cards to make it more complex.

    1. The latest is that I have contacted John at Iron Crown to see if I need a licence or whether I would have to go so far as put a proposal to Nicholas.

      The problem with expandable complexity is at what point to you start to cannibalise the existing rolemaster audience. If the objective is to bring new people in then taking away the reason to upgrade is not ideal.

      Right now this is just on my todo list. I have a week or so in August when I could concentrate on writing the whole thing in a solid week. The cards I reckon I could automate so I could produce many hundreds or a few thousand cards in a day or so.

      1. I’d be interested in knowing what he says, and what the cost of a license would be – I’ve thought about asking. It might be they’d want to make it an official product.

        Regarding expandability, I was thinking about if it would be possible to have a very basic game for 4 year olds, adding complexity up to 12, then going to the full Rolemaster system.

        1. My problem is that I cannot visualise what a 4yr old Rolemaster would look like. I was looking at the UK National Curriculum for Mathematics today because of this and the concept of negative numbers is not introduced to school children until age 7/8 and percentages are not introduced until age 8/9. I think that that would cap Rolemaster mechanics to ages 8 to adult and that would be pushing it. Take a look at there is a healthy dose of fantasy but look at the math demands and the ages.

          1. Ah, Uno, I remember playing that!

            I had been looking at the National Curriculum myself recently, after taking a look at some educational adventures. The idea appeals.

            I think, for a four year old, you’d basically have to cut out all the mathematics, and then broaden the scope from there. Admittedly, that would mean it wouldn’t resemble RM much at lower ages.

            1. For me the absolute core feature that cannot be lost is the criticals and I don’t want to be the person who has to explain ‘disembowel’ to a horrified 4yr old or their mother!

              1. Yes, there’s a warning in Hero Kids about making sure that the parents of any children are comfortable with the concepts of violence and religion in the game. And that’s way tamer.

                You could always make humorous slapstick criticals!

                1. I avoided adding the Cleric and the entire channeling realm for pretty much that reason. It is one can of worms that is easily left closed. I think 8+ or even 10+ is enough to catch a younger audience without losing the essence of what is RM.

  2. The bone structure of MEAG (Middle-Earth Adventure Game) could be a good starting point for some Lite rules (converting the 2d6 system into a 1d100 system, of course).

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