Today I am traveling to meet up with my players for the second weekend of my Rolemaster / Faerun campaign.
For the first session I only had three of the four players so the party looked like a Sorceress, Cleric and Warrior Mage. This time those three will be joined by the fourth player character and an NPC being a Paladin and a Mystic, The mystic is “Little Miss Defensive” from previous posts. I finally made up my mind on Tuesday night as to which version I was going to use and the mystic won out in the end.
All in all this is a very magical group of characters that is pretty much what I wanted. Every realm is represented to some degree and there is a little bit of cross over which is good. In my world magic users of all persuasions tend to have less spell lists each to force players into deciding what is really important to them. If you look at the realms of magic in this party you have essence/channeling (sorceress), channeling (cleric), arms/essence (warrior mage), arms/channeling (paladin) and essence/mentalism (mystic). Everyone is unique but at the same time they can share and learn from one another.
I have seen a few people on twitter talk about tweeting their game ‘live’. I am in two minds about this. Would it be distracting to be constantly picking up your phone to tweet? I think it will not do any harm to try it at least once so it is my intention to tweet the party progress tonight and if it seems OK then tomorrow as well. We will see how that works out.
I have given the stats for a few monsters that are common to Faerun but new to Rolemaster over the past three months. Once the party have met them, and that should happen this weekend all being well, I will share a few more creatures with you.
If you are a D&D DM considering trying Rolemaster then let me know any creatures you know and love and I will make sure you have the stats if they are not in any of the official books. The conversion process is pretty simple and not particularly time-consuming.
In the meantime there is a link to my twitter account to the left and look out for some tweets from me after about 6pm.
I thought I would share a little bit of background as to why I am so interested in Rolemaster and Faerun. The game I am running is not your usual Friday night gaming session. My players and I get together just twice a year for a gaming only weekend where we manage about 30hrs of pure roleplaying once you take out the time needed for sleeping and eating. The next of these mammoth weekends is just eight days away and I have been working up to this session since November last year.
The game is set in Faerun as you know and after the time of troubles. I have never played a game in the forgotten releams before but I do own a lot of the materials, picked up cheaply second-hand, and none of my players have adventured in there either. Due to the infrequency of the gaming sessions I wanted something that would keep the game alive between meetings. There are so many forgotten realms books now on kindle for free or so cheap as to be almost free
that both my players and I could read about the world gaining in our understanding of the setting and its lore.
My players are familiar with Shadow World, a native Rolemaster game setting, and one of the features of Shadow World are Eassence Storms. Faerun after the time of troubles had areas of wild magic and for me I can make the two almost synonymous and give my players a point of reference they can identify with.
I hope you can see that as a setting the realms is an incredibly easy option even if like me and all my players you have busy lives and obligations and cannot devote the hours and days required to create a believable and rich bespoke gaming world of your own. I honestly believe that if you have never visited the realms and you are planning on starting a new campaign then it is definitely worth your consideration.
If you are coming from the D&D world then as a transition to Rolemaster it is easier to have as many familiar points of reference for your players and again the realms can serve you well. Not every monster or race has a direct one to one equivalent but that is one of the things I am addressing here. I am creating the Rolemaster statistics for anything I find in the forgotten realms that I cannot find in the Rolemaster rules and more importantly I am going to create them for the forth coming new edition of Rolemaster, Rolemaster Unified (RMU).
I have up until now been holding some things back. These are creatures and such that my players have not yet met and I do not want to reveal before the game session coming up just in case they stumble upon this blog. They do not know I am writing this and I am not going to tell them. Once they have met/defeated and have the measure of the next new monster on the menu then I will happily share the stats with you all.
I will of course share with you the parties progress as they get on with their adventures.
As a setting Faerûn can be a bit of a marmite setting. The diehard Gygax followers have never accepted it. Greyhawk adherents never needed it and it seems that with every new edition of D&D they feel the need to reinvent it. So why bother with Rolemaster and Faerûn?
I will not deny that Faerûn is not perfect. The original (grey box) edition barely sketched out the world as a setting for half a dozen modules and we were kind of teased into it by Elminster articles in Dragon magazine. After then there were so many seismic shifts that it is hard to keep track of it, gods dying, Mongolian hordes and volcanic eruptions not withstanding. Another criticism leveled at the Forgotten Realms setting is the über powerfull NPCs such as Elminster and Drizzt Do’Urden.
I, like many other roleplayers, cut my teeth in the D&D world, Greyhawk in my case, but then moved on to other games and other worlds. Last year I started to plan a new campaign after not GMing for a few years and I offered my players the option of a D&D game just for old times sake and I was surprised at the negative reaction. Despite that the D&D game had moved on generations since we last played no one was interested. We have always been dedicated Rolemaster players and that is what they wanted.
Setting a rolemaster game in Faerûn is pretty easy. Creatures and Treasures (I, II and III) cover 90% of all the creatures you will ever need. There are very simple rules included in C&T I to convert any that are not there over to Rolemaster and you are 50% of the way there. The other 50% is the NPCs.
There are numerous excel based spreadsheet type character sheets to help speed up character creation and my favourite piece of software (Rolemaster Charactder Utility) makes creating a middle to high level character the an hours work. This is where you can decide if you want and all powerful Elminster or not.
If you have a party of experienced D&D players then having a go at Rolemaster, even with a fairly simple adventure will be an eye opener (in a good way I hope)!
I am a RM2/RMC (Rolemaster 2nd Edition and Rolemaster Classic) player but there are other flavours available including a freebie 3000L_HarpLite (High Adventure RolePlaying) which has everything you need to get playing.
I am perfectly happy to admit that I am a snob. Not just any kind of snob though, I am a monster snob. I am running my campaign set in Faerun and the Forgotten Realms but using Rolemaster in preference to AD&D. There is no problem doing that and Rolemaster gives you a set of conversion rules (Creatures and Treasures pg 92-93) for doing the job. As it happens the majority of common monsters have already been converted so there are not that many to do most of the time. So where does the monster snobbery come from?
Part of the conversion process from AD&D to Rolemaster is in balancing the adventures. A pair of 3rd level AD&D fighters may well wade through 2-24 Kobolds but you try that in Rolemaster and you have a pair of very dead fighters on your hands probably in under 30 seconds. You need to balance the encounters for the much more dangerous combat system for a start. Sometimes you can just reduce the numbers encountered but that often just isn’t an option. Any sensible Dark Lord would not just put a single guard at every gateway, they don’t use just three warders to escort the party of five PCs who have just been captured and that viking longship did not just have two rowers!
So if you cannot balance the game and the challenge there where do you look? Many of the Forgotten Realms source books provide starting adventures and that is where my party of adventurers are right now below the Tower of Ashaba. In addition to the Drow they are going to have to fight, the main point of the adventure, there are a number of incidental encounters.
Here are the cast of monsters (just the races not the numbers) that make guest appearances as one-off encounters: Aballin, Cave Badger, Gambado, Gelatinous Cube, Huge Spider, Moray Rat, Mud-man, Piercer and Rats. That is quite a cast and that is in addition to six additional races including a Drow priestess and an evil magician that make up the core adventure.
Now looking at the supporting cast an Aballin is a pool of intelligent living water and a Gelatinous Cube is a giant single cell creature. It is these two that I have a problem with. Funny enough a Mud-man I can cope with. There is enough wild magic around (akin to Eassence storms on Kulthea) to animate a Mud-man, after all there is an awful lot of life in a pool of goo. I just cannot believe in malignant intelligent water or giant cubes of jelly.
Working on the principle that I am god ergo I don’t like it so it doesn’t exist. And that is probably the ultimate snobbery. If I don’t like you, you don’t count. This also goes part way to the balancing of the adventure.
There was another creature in that cast that you may not know, the Moray Rat. This is a Faerun creation and one that I do like. I will share the stats for them in a future post.