Rolemaster Survey

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Another cloudy day of stay-at-home quarantining, so I thought I would throw this out to our faithful blog readers! Please respond in comments by #, answer as few or many as you would like.

  1. Favorite magic item. Do you have a favorite item found in a RM book or module or something you made up yourself?
  2. Best 1-5th lvl spell for a non-spelluser to have. What single low level RM spell would be the most useful to a non-spell user?
  3. Favorite spell. What is your favorite RM spell. Why?
  4. Favorite weapon. Most of my players seem to make weapon choices based on the attack chart and/or how common it might be as a magical item. However, weapons can be a great component of a character build. Putting aside efficacy, what RM weapon is the coolest?
  5. What is the best adventure module you’ve played using the RM rules. It doesn’t have to be a ICE product.
  6. Favorite profession. Why?
  7. Favorite setting. Do you have one or do you just run adventures without a setting?
  8. Favorite Shadow World NPC. If you are familiar with SW, do you have a favorite?
  9. Coolest skill. Yes, perception might be the overall utility skill, but what skill (from any RM edition) do you think is the coolest?
  10. Best non-cover artwork. We’ve discussed cover art quite a bit in this blog and elsewhere, but interior art is also important in providing tone and atmosphere. Do you have a favorite piece of interior art found in an ICE product?

12 thoughts on “Rolemaster Survey”

  1. #1 A spell multiplier, any spell multiplier will do.
    #2 Sound/light illusion (open mentalism Illusions 3rd level). There is just so much you can do with a simple illusion!
    #3 The spells I have had the most fun with was Summoning. I was being charged by a column of cavalry and I summoned a blue whale abut 180′ above the line of their approach. Not only did it inspire many Douglas Adams jokes but it skilled an awful lot of cavalrymen. Summoning apes and things were brilliant as substitutes for telekinesis when in jail and summoning any kind of bull is always fun in a fight. I managed to summon a bull rhinoceros once for that full Jumanji moment.
    #4 I do like Spears, although handaxes and shortswords are always fun.
    #5 I thoroughly enjoyed the D&D Module Secret of Spiderhaunt. My players were about 4th level when they went through this (warrior mage, sorceress, cleric, elemental warrior, seer).
    #6 Lay Healer, because they are obviously the best. I likementalism magic, I like big weapons and heavy armour and I like unconscious spells. What is not to like?
    #7 I don’t care much for settings. I don’t seem to get as excited about them as many other GMs.
    #8 None, I have played in SW and I think I met the dude with six fingers, but he was a bit of an arse.
    #9 This is a hard one. I think I will go with region lore. As a GM it have offered a player an opportunity to to make a Region Lore test and on success offered them an obvious adventure hook in the form of a piece of local lore and half the time it just get accepted as an interesting piece of local lore and other times it spawns entire adventures. I love someone in the party having it.
    10. There is a piece of art in one of the Space Master 1e (back of future law maybe?) books of a guy on one knee firing what looks like a 9mm automatic. He is wearing a long coat. That is my favourite piece of ICE art and I have played that character four or five times with different GMs.

  2. #1 — pp-multiplier or spell adder
    #2 — anything Shield Mastery
    #3 — mostly in Flesh Destruction, “Limb Death”, because its evil
    #4 — Falchion, Main-Gauche for me.
    #5 — never played a module with RM rules.
    #6 –Arms Master, combination of Combat and Spells
    #7 — Shadow World, Forgotten Realms and some Homebrew
    #8 — Andraax is cool, but Voriig Kye is a nut to crack.
    #9 — Power Perception, had many discussions because of it.
    #10 — the “smif” art work, but the “Tarot Mage” illustration inspired a whole campaign

  3. Trying to answer these before I look at Peter’s answers, so I can just give my gut reactions:
    1. Flaming Sword. It is only a low-level item, but it shows how in Rolemaster, you can create an effect that doesn’t just add damage, but gives you a whole other type of critical, with its own flavorful chart. That was just so cool to me, coming from D&D.
    2. Shield. Especially for a 2-handed weapon user.
    3. Shatter. It is currently my favorite, because it is so flavorful. It fits perfectly into the Sorcerer’s portfolio of destruction; is nicely balanced (can really only use it on an enemy with a weapon or shield made at least partly out of wood); and its effect is perfectly understandable. Just fun.
    4. Spear. Stab with it in one hand, stab with it in two hands, throw it, brace it against a cavalry charge, and if you ever lose it, just make another one the next time you find a tree. I still think my players don’t entirely appreciate the utility of the humble spear.
    5. Quellbourne. It is just a tight, well crafted area with lots of hooks to pull in the players. Runner up: Cloudlords of Tanara. Not the best organized, and certainly not the easiest adventure to run players through. But quasi-Dunedain with heat-ray sceptres riding flying horses? Beat that.
    6. Paladin, because I love martial semis. Runner up: Armsmaster/Noble Warrior, for the same reasons.
    7. Haalkitaine. Because it has a nice map with businesses described, and is a great starter area.
    8. Randae Terisonnen. For nostalgia reasons!
    9. Adrenal Defense. Who doesn’t feel like a badass when you have that running?
    10. That picture of the Syrkakar with shield and spear in Iron Wind. It just seems iconic to me.
    7.

  4. 1. My Nightblade had a laen dagger with +1 spell adder, and later also a meteoric iron dagger. I was trying to get a match for the laen dagger for dual wield, but a few times the Referee ruled my meteoric dagger ignored Essence spell protections, so really I should’ve been looking for a match to that! Spell mults are amazing, of course, but I never got too attached.
    2. Shadow or Shield. Can’t get hit if you can’t be seen, but also can’t die if you can’t be hit.
    3. Greater Demonic Gate. Nothing more fun than watching players try to take out the magician, before the demon kills them all.
    4. Longbow. Murders every AT, twice per round, at the longest range where they can’t stab you back. Up close, Daggers have the virtue of always being on your person, and don’t need you to square off at 5′ and dance a minuet with your foe, just don’t be seen first.
    5. Vog Mur, probably; it’s a great mix of locations and foes in an enclosed space. A couple of the MERP modules (Dunlendings, Pirates, Raiders) run in Generic Dark Fantasyland. Dark Space as a setting with all sorts of hybrid fantasy/SF adventures.
    6. Nightblade. Good mix of combat, stealth, and roleplaying skills, great spells, and generally not terrible at anything; could use a second two-rank weapon. Not a stand-up tank fighter, but that’s what hired mooks are for. Must enjoy Mentalism, which can be an acquired taste with some gaps in the available lists.
    7. Dark Space. Dune + weird biotech on 20 different worlds. Otherwise it’s Generic Dark Fantasyland.
    8. Not enormously into Shadow World; I have a lot of it to pillage, I’ve run it, but the superpowered fantasy and Tolkienisms annoy me.
    9. Ambush.
    10. Not just one piece, but all thru the Cyberspace line there were these sketchy cartoons of chromed-up punks playing a tabletop RPG. Ah, here’s one in Death Valley Free Prison, pg. 75, with a dude in a tank top labelled “EAT”, guzzling from a Big Discount Chips bag, while 3 other punks argue over a percentile roll, and a ruling in a copy of Cyber Space.

  5. #1 – One of the most talked about items is a chess piece of a horse that turns into a real one. It’s the only way my players will agree to have a mount, otherwise they know they lose it every time an adventure requires them to enter a cave or building.
    #2 – Anticipate Missile and Blow, for that extra DB. Any race/culture that gives some ranks in spells makes for the best low level troops to send against the characters!
    #3 – Gonna skip that, I though about it for a while and couldn’t settle on any one particular.
    #4 – I’ve had great fun using characters that wielded hand axes. They are not that powerful and not that common as magic items, but once my character lost his good arm and it was replaced by the GM with a hand axe prosthetic, so I have fond memories of that.
    #5 – We never used adventure modules that much. Maybe the best was Jaiman. I had a lot of fun GMing the campaign in Emer III as well.
    #6 – Elementalist from RM2 Companion VII. They kept getting killed and I kept making new characters of the same profession. I always felt there was even more to enjoy from its spell lists, and the low costs for a profession so intent on elemental magic.
    #7 – Shadow World, nothing else gets near that. Been playing and GMing there almost my whole roleplaying life.
    #8 – Ehhhh, Voriig Kye. He’s the most hated ally my characters have ever encountered.
    #9 – Locate secret opening, or find hidden, or however u call it. My players just can’t leave a room unchecked. And I’m happy to provide secrets for them to find every now and then.
    #10 – I don’t think I have a favorite. I’ve skimmed so many books for so long that most images remind me of the idea for the adventure related to what’s nearby. Some favorites could be the Fire & Ice images in general, which have spellcasters using the elements with grace, and also the images next to the training packages in the realm companions, most provide a good inspiration for the concept they represent.

  6. This is great – I don’t have answers for all of them, but it’s a fun set of questions.
    #1 – Favorite magic item:
    #2 – Best 1-5th lvl spell for a non-spelluser to have: 2 wands of Familiar. I’ve had a couple of characters benefit from this, and it’s fun to watch them fret over what kind of animal to go after as a familiar, to enhance whatever their profession is.
    3 – Favorite spell. I do like the Leaving spells, and by extension the Nightblade “Smokeflash” spell.
    4 – Putting aside efficacy, I like scimitars. While they may seem “basic” the adaptation of a sword to a weapon well suited for foot or mounted combat feels elegant, to me.
    5 – I have actually not played in any modules using RM. Almost as soon as I started using RM, I was GMing, and using all home made adventures.
    6 – Favorite profession. Mystic, always. I like spell casters, I like mystery, and I like indirect action. In spite of the issues raised in the recent posts, I see the mystic as the best combination of subterfuge, manipulation, and mind-over-matter.
    7 – Favorite setting. My homemade campaign world. If it wasn’t my favorite setting, after 30 years, I’d be pretty disappointed in myself.
    8 – Favorite Shadow World NPC: pass, never used SW
    9 – Coolest skill. Maybe Adrenal Moves-Landing. The other Adrenal Moves all require that prep round, and intent. AM-Landing works for intentional acts but can also be a life-saver in the case of a surprise fall.
    10 -Best non-cover artwork. No specific image, but I definitely liked the artwork in the original books (2nd Edition) better than what came later in, say companions 3+. The latter – no offense to the artists – felt more like they moved from detailed realism towards, but not to, caricature.

    1. Jengada, do I remember you saying that your world was what Nomads of the Nine Nations was based on? Have you done anything about releasing it again if so?

      1. You remember correctly. I haven’t done anything beyond consider it. I’ve used that part of my world for 30 years since that was published, and built a lot more – subcultures, ecology, city maps, more creatures. I would want to do a lot of rewriting and rearranging if I were to release it again. (The biggest lesson I learned from ICE in the process was that it was relatively low-conflict, and that made it difficult to adventure in. I’ve put in a lot more points of ambiguity, places with potential for conflict, etc.)

  7. 1: Mated Rings of Friendvision. Your spells can target enemies you can’t see but your “mate” can.
    2: Landing (L2, Lofty Bridge, Closed Essence) Makes falls significantly less dangerous.
    3: Mind Invasion (L3, Mind Domination, Evil Mentalism). Can anyone say “over-powered’?
    4: For the sheer “yikes” factor, I need to go with Tebuje here. Ripping & Tearing criticals were just NASTY.
    5: I remember adapting “The Secret of Bone Hill” (AD&D, L1) to Rolemaster back in the day. The module was a mess, but it was easy enough to wing through the bad parts.
    6: Warrior Mage. The RM2 version was seriously broken, but I’ve enjoyed every version since.
    7: No real favorite.
    8: Not familiar enough with Shadow World to make an informed choice.
    9: Wne Companion 2 came out, I thought Spatial Location Awareness (SLA) was the best thing ever. A skill for fighting blind? Heck Yeah!
    10: Related to #6, the character piece for the Warrior Mage in Companion 2.

  8. 1: Magical Item: Doorknocker of Agonir. A door knocker that attaches to any physical door. When activated, it places the spell ‘Intangible Object’ (RMSS Arcane Companion, Shifting Law list) on the door for 5 minutes, where after the knocker falls to the ground. Usable 1x/day. No idea where this came from, but need to convert it to RMU.
    2a: Combat: Flowstop V (Cl Ch: Blood Law). Stopping up to 5 hit/round is lifesaving. Had too many PCs from blood loss before they realized the need for it in RM. Non-Combat: “Locate Object”: Dabbler list (RMU). Woe unto the GM who sends the players on a McGuffin quest and doesn’t account for this little beauty.
    3: My favorite spell: I’m with Terefang, the Evil lists (like Flesh Destruction) are brutal.
    4) Gladiator Net. Good ol’ grappling. I tweak the rules to make it a bit more onerous to untangle oneself from a net.
    5) Had a crazy GM who converted a fair bit of AD&D’s Temple of Elemental Evil over to RM2. Not sure any of our parties ever made it out alive; great fun though.
    6) Dabbler/Mystic. One I’m drawn towards a more Investigation style campaign currently, and two I just like the Mentalism realm.
    7) Shadow-World. Once exposed to it, everything else fell aside. That said, Greyhawk was my first love.
    8) Loremaster: Randae Terisonen. Dragonlord: Kydak Dum. Political power: Whatever the hell is going on in Lankanôk and the Heart of Agoth.
    9) Swashbuckling (SoHK) – Had a character with this and a metal Whip who was very memorable.
    10) Computer art: Shadow World Players Guide: Orgiana illustration. Ink Illustration: RMSS – Glen Angus’s illustratiosn litter the book and are all excellent.

  9. 1. There are several items I made up that I like, but the one most enjoyed by my players and myself would be a pair of magical socks. If, at night, their owner hangs them before she goes to bed, whilst putting a piece of money inside each of them, she finds out in the morning in the first sock three chocolate bars, each with a different flavour, each with the nutritive value of a full meal, and in the second sock three flasks of fruit milk, each with a different flavour, each with the thirst-quenching ability of one liter of fresh water. OTOH, the pieces of money disappeared. The power of the socks works regardless of the surrounding conditions —including in the middle of a storm or in the middle of a desert— as long as they are hanged, a piece of money is put inside, their owner sleeps and no one pay them any attention during the night.
    2. Closed channeling, “CREATIONS”, #2, _Sustain self_ as eating and drinking well, or rather, having one’s food and water needs fully satiated, is the very first prerequisite to perform anything well. Especially adventuring, since that includes thinking clearly and quickly, and fighting, both not being matter one may do well if hungry or thirsty.
    3. I don’t have any preference for any specific spell.
    4. *RM* weapon? Meaning a *RM*-specific weapon? Err… polearms then, since it only has one unique table, even though it actually encompasses several hundreds of different weapons. I think I posted in the forums my love of polearms already, as I never understood the predominance of the sword in fantasy and its role as most characters’ main weapon, which goes against historical evidence the overall main weapons in warfare (BY LARGE) were polearms and probably the spear (which is incredibly weak in RM2). If you have to go adventuring with only one weapon, why the hell would anyone sane choose the sword over the spear or a polearm?
    5. “Minas Tirith”! Well, okay, it’s not really an adventure module but, by Jove!, it’s such a beautiful and wonderful module I’ve been using it pretty much as my human city template for the past thirty years (the other city template being Laelith for people who know it, for a full multi-racial city template).
    6. The RoCo. IV’s Enchanter because my all-time favourite NPC was an Enchanter.
    7. I have my own setting, my world of Gwathyr.
    8. I don’t play SW.
    9. Seduction, with Diplomacy and Leadership being second ex-aequo.

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