Sneak Peek

For some time now I’ve been rambling on about my modern game stuff (to the great annoyance of many, I’m sure…). Well, I thought it might be time to give people a sneak peak at some of its bits. Not much, mind. Part of an attack table, a bit of background, and one Profession with skill costs. They’re working drafts, so the formatting is a bit ‘off’ in spots and they aren’t pretty by any means. But it will give you an idea of where this is going.


Below is a link to the AT1 column of the Pistol Attack Table for my system. Note that it’s got two lines of division: overall weapon Mark and specific calibers. Since my system allows you to determine maximum damage based on actual numbers (bullet weight and muzzle energy), some calibers are capped at that point. This does two things: shows why it’s popular to “move up” in caliber and why small caliber weapons do maximum damage more frequently. With a lower max damage, recoil penalties (modifiers to hit) don’t hurt as much.

Attack Table


The next bit is a sample piece of one of the elements of my character generation system. This bit represents a generic college eduction OR four years of work experience. This is the third part of four in my character generation cycle when it comes to skills. The first two (Culture, Background – which is optional) come before this and the last piece (Entry Training) comes after. The end result is a first level character who’s MUCH more capable than normal for RM. The numbers here are skill ranks, not DPs or anything else.



Or more to the point – how much skills cost. This is the skill cost matrix for one Profession in my espionage genre system (which is the core product). You’ll see the biggest change is assignable skill costs. Any Category that has more than three sub-skills is broken up like Combat Training. Players may assign the lowest cost to whatever skill they wish, then the next cost, and so on. The last cost goes to any remaining skills in the Category. GMs may also set some of these costs, creating an agency that prioritizes (say) Rifle training for their Direct Action operatives. That puts the lowest skill cost in Rifle. It’s a flexible, yet standardized system.



Why put this out there? I’m doing it to show how the Rolemaster engine can be used in different genres. It’s also helpful to illustrate some of the things I run on about here and on the RM message board, especially when it comes to character generation and skill costs as they relate to Categories. I firmly believe you can retain elements of individual skill costs this way, and it keeps every character from looking more or less the same. Some of the reductions are small, but at lower levels that’s a big deal.

6 Replies to “Sneak Peek”

  1. That is all pretty cool.

    I don’t think we would have half the problems agreeing on the design criteria for RMu if the previous ICE had not created the two lanes that became RMC and RMSS. Running the two side by side simply entrenched people into a my way is better than your way mentality. I cannot abide the RMSS/RMFRP skills structure and nit picky detail but I honestly believe that I would have come to terms with it or house ruled around the worst of it if I had had no choice.

    Fast forward to this decade and because there are two distinct camps of Rmasters neither of them were ever going to be happy with RMu. For the RM2/RMC people they see too much of RMSS/FRP in the rules. For the RMSS/RMFRP people they see too much RM2/RMC in the rules.

    You get some very strong personalities trying to pull things in their own preferred direction for good and for ill. It is good in that you need passionate people to care, it is bad as if they are passionate about all progress being bad then it is not going to help.

    What we all agree on is that RM characters are crafted and not just rolled up. I think that is why there are so many char gen house rules.

    House rules that make char gen more complicated and more time consuming are fine for experienced GMs and players who know the basic rules and are choosing to go more complex.

    Your onion skin or life path approach is one I wholeheartedly agree with. It is a case of here is a logical step and you character gains these skills at this time, now move on. More skills, more unique characters without having to repeat the leveling process which is nonsensical, time consuming and a real turn off.

    1. Glad you like it! Early on I decided the best way to augment characters was to take the “whole life” approach and start awarding skills based on culture and so on. It’s simple, easy to balance, and still gives players a reasonable number of options when creating their characters. Assignable skill costs seems to me the best way to balance the category versus individual skills debate. You’re still allowing shading, but preserving some balance and not making later skills too expensive.

  2. I read the attack chart. The logic looks sound to me. What about DB? You have the option to parry in a melee fight. But in a gun fight… Just take cover, I guess? Most people do when they’re under fire. It would be interesting to play test.

    1. You still have the stat-based DB, but new things come in with firearms. Range penalties, moving target penalties, consecutive shot penalties, and so on. Taking cover helps greatly, of course, but there are other things that come into play. Range penalties are based on weapon class, which is determined by (among other things) barrel length.

  3. Thanks for the sneak peek! It looks very good.

    I very much like the way you were able to rationalize the different characteristics of the weapons, and tie them to measurable factors (e.g. bullet size).

    One little note: You probably know this, but RMU now has a 7/10 skill cost step; I’m not sure if you have that in your lists. Some of the skill costs also looked a little high: did you get the list of baseline costs that JDale posted a while back? I have it if you don’t.

    1. Yeah…skill costs haven’t been finalized yet because RMU is still in flux. I may modify them even more based on some genre factors. Some of the costs are higher than one might expect because I base skill costs to a degree on availability of training, and an agency training a Direct Action operative won’t prioritize those areas. I also allow Profession changes in these rules, so high skill costs aren’t fixed in the same way they are in RMU.

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