Rolemaster Rule Hack: Inherent stat abilities.

Well I got sidetracked yesterday and missed my attempt to post “A blogpost a day”.

In one of Peter’s blog posts, he sparked an idea for establishing character abilities that are dependent on Stat scores rather than a developed skill, stat bonus or level. For those that follow my blog posts, I’ve been in the process of reducing the # of total skills and trying to decouple level from intrinsic ability so this had an immediate appeal. Tying into RMU and past RM optional rules, I’m calling them “Feats”. Each stat has a corresponding function that uses the full stat value for resolution. Some benefits:

  1. Despite a strong argument for eliminating stat 1-100 scores and just using stat bonuses, this adds functionality for the use of d100 stats.
  2. Stat dependent abilities are “level-less” and give even low level players competencies.
  3. Inherent abilities improve the potency of 1st and low level characters despite the lack of skill levels.
  4. It makes sense. ie Even a 1st level character with a very high strength should be able to perform acts of strength as well as a high-level character with the same stat score.

This is a work in progress and needs much more thought and testing, but I have sent the outline to my players to incorporate into the next game session. (they call them “Interoffice Rule Memos”—I generally make changes or adjustments every session). We will try to assess and fine tune based on gameplay and feedback.

Each Stat gets a corresponding “Feat”. When performing a feat, the GM assigns a difficulty level (+30 to -150) and the player rolls adding their STAT SCORE. If the roll is over 100 that attempted Feat succeeds. Depending on the Feat, the GM may elect to use % success as well.


Of Strength. Attempts at a short, finite burst of strength to lift, move, break or bend an object. Use RMU Feat of Strength rules for guidelines)

Of Quickness. Used for “Alternate Initiative Rules” or quick bursts of speed. (replaces quick draw and similar skills)

Of Constitution. Used for saves vs. Poison and Disease. We replaced normal level assignments for poisons and disease with Difficulty rating.

Of Agility. For use in responding to general maneuvers requiring hand/eye coordination, bodily movements. Also replaces “Dodge” skill. (opposing roll between dodge and attack OB, dodger can’t attack or parry, if Dodge skill fails, dodger loses DB vs attack)

Of Intuition. This is the “Sixth Sense” of the character. This could work passively—a GM could ask for a perception roll and use the Intuition stat score instead. Players shouldn’t rely on this as a skill, but in very rare or special circumstances. A GM could also just roll for the player with the highest Int. Score.

Of Memory. Used when a character/player wants to recollect something from the past.

Of Presence. Used when trying to influence another: charm, convince, persuade, intimidate etc.

Of Self Discipline. Used for saves v. Fear, Shock or Disorientation.

Of Empathy. Hmmm (this needs more work?)…the ability to sense others mood or temperament or to soothe/calm an animal or emotional person.

Of Reasoning. The ability to correlate info, make conjectures or make mental assessment of facts.

You’ll note that these Feats merge some skills, some RR’s and some special rules into a simpler framework. This ties these abilities directly to the player’s inherent abilities (stats) and not a level based resolution or a skills with marginal utilitity. I especially like taking the level assignment from poison, disease and even fear and using the maneuver penalty scale instead.

4 Replies to “Rolemaster Rule Hack: Inherent stat abilities.”

  1. With my group, we do exactly as you are proposing, with a twist.
    Since I want to consider the character racial bonus in the mix, I have them roll a D20, and add the Stat Bonus.
    I tend to use 20 as a target number for a challenging task, 30 for really difficult assignments.
    We use:
    – ST to break/lift things
    – AG to catch stuff mid-air and other hand/eye coordination
    – QU to “think fast” and move out of the way of incoming things
    – SD to fight off sleep during guard duty and also to wake up when a character shakes you (this is easier, but for elves it’s really a challenge)
    – ME to remember facts (I use this to remember stuff to the players when I believe it matters and they are forgetting)
    – RE to correlate facts (when I believe a smart character would realize something the players are not)
    – PR to leave a good impression on an NPC
    – IN to make a lucky choice (mostly only for Channeling users)

    As you can see, most of these also replace some skill mechanics. We use the stats when the character has not trained any skill that could help in the situation, and I determine that despite that they should have a good chance of success.

    We also use the Innate Stat Abilities from RMCIII, so players are encouraged to shine in one or two stats.

    1. that’s great! I was using a simpler, informal version like yours, but I liked Peters suggestion to use d1-100 plus the stat score to emulate maneuver resolution.

  2. I’ve been using stat bonuses for ages to make rolls like Voriig mentioned, but we go for a simple “add your stat bonus (including all racial modifiers) to a d100 roll and go from there” model. I dislike adding more rules and things like feats and talents when there’s a very simple role mechanic that can already be used.

    We also used the d20 bonus for some stats in specific situations. For example, the Str bonus on d20 was always added to Melee concussion damage.

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