#RPGaDAY2017 12th, 13th & 14th plus more!

So I am continuing with the #RPGaDAY but I have more exciting news!

The August issue of the Rolemaster Fanzine is now for sale on RPGNow and this is the Shadow  World special.

This issue has a reprint of two of my favourite BriH Shadow World articles from the blog, the interview with Terry and chapter one of the Loremaster Legacy, Terry’s novel.

Whilst not RM related I am really pleased to be able to link to my game on Amazon. This is my latest achievement and it is really nice to see the book in print. The PDF and print version should be on OneBookShelf this week and the Kindle edition the week after.

So with that out of the way here are my RPGaDAY questions.

12th Which RPG has the most inspiring interior art?

One of the funny things about these questions is that it makes you think about things that you may otherwise not given a thought to.  I think the original MERP art was probably the best I have ever seen and was definitely in keeping with the original LotR books.

13th Describe a game experience that changed how you play.

I think I have told this story before. We were meeting for the first session of a spacemaster game. Rather than all sitting around creating characters together we were split up and the GM started us playing our characters, describing the scenes and we started role playing before the characters were rolled up. The GM shuttled between us nipping from kitchen to living room and I had drawn the short straw and had the bathroom! This was the first time I actually knew my character before I put pen to paper and picked skills. Now I always have that really strong concept before I even start. Incidentally, that was the shortest campaign I ever played in as we all accidentally killed each other at the first meeting after only one character uttered just one word. There had been a sort of cat and mouse game going on with each character thinking they were being followed or were following a bad guy. We ended up in a mexican stand off but with concealed weapons in a taverna until one character who seemed to be oblivious to all of this walked in, came to our table and said “Hello” at which point everyone opened fire. I was using an assault blaster at point blank range and I remember rolling a straight 66 for my critical. I also ended up bleading about 8hits a round from several wounds by the end of the round, stunned and about to pass out. I don’t think anyone survived beyond fire phase A of the first round.

14th Which rpg do you prefer for open-ended campaign play?

This has to be Rolemaster and RMC for me and to further clarify my level-less and profession-less variant. I am not going to bang on about it because you have all heard it before.

Further musing on the skills system

I really like Brian’s take on skills where the number of ranks has an important role to play as well as the total bonus.

As I see it there are four types of skill roll in Rolemaster.

All or nothing.

This is the classic pass or fail test. You either heard the cocking of the crossbow or you didn’t. In RM2/RMC you need a total of 101+ to succeed in RMSS/RMFRP it is 111+ (which always struck me as a weird number if eleventy-one works for you then who am I to argue.)

Progress towards a goal

So you want to do something that is going to take time, you make your skill roll and depending on the roll and outside factors you get a result. That is how much of the task has been completed. if you get below 100 then you are part way through the task, over 100 and the task took less time than expected.

Opposing Skills

You are trying to hide and I am trying to spot you. Your hiding skill roll result would then be used as a penalty to my perception roll. The GM has to decide which way around to apply the rolls. Does my keen eyesight may your hiding more difficult or does your hiding position may my attempt to see you harder. I always go with the route of least rolls. If there is one hider and five seekers then I would have the hider’s one roll apply to the seekers five individual rolls.

Combat rolls

Here the result is not pass or fail, there is no straight hit or miss, and there is not really an opposing skill although the defender can use skills to make them harder to hit. You make your roll apply all the bonuses and penalties and look up the result on a table.

Now in most RPGs the combat rules take up a huge amount of space in the rule books even if combat doesn’t take up a huge amount of time at the table. Rolemaster in particular takes great pride in its combat system and we all love the critical tables and there blood splattered graphic descriptions. I am perfectly happy with my current version of the combat system and when I migrate to RMU I will junk the rules as written and insert my existing version. I have already rewritten all of the most commonly used critical tables so modifying the numbers of hits delivered and stretching them up to the new 175 cap will not be a massive endeavour.  Some people think that Rolemaster combat can be slow or overly complicated but it doesn’t have to be that way.

I am not so sure about the all or nothing skill roll. In the rules as written (RAW) all or nothing skills have a partial success result which allows a second roll at a penalty. If we were to abandon the whole all or nothing concept and make all rolls as static or moving maneuvers anything else than a 100% success would be a graduation of that partial success. Results at or below 0% would be failures.

In the example of the cocking of a crossbow if you rolled your perception and got less than 100% as a result then you could allow a second roll with whatever the shortfall was as a penalty. If of course there is actually anything there to hear after the event!

The question is would this simplify the game and speed up play?


Is Rolemaster Rules Heavy?

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I saw a survey today that listed Rolemaster as an example of a ‘Rules Heavy’ system. If you bought ALL of RMC that would be Character Law, Arms Law, Spell Law, Creatures & Treasures and Companion 1 you would have the entire published system and the entier page count runs to about 800 pages. That is roughly the size of just the three core DnD 5e PHB, DMG and Monster Manual.

Page count is not the best way of measuring the weight of the rules. If we were to look at spells every spell in Rolemaster works in one of just a few ways. Either you roll on an attack table (eg Fireball), the spell effect is dependent on the severity of the targets failed resistance roll (eg Sudden Light) or the spell is not variable and has a baked in effect (eg Projected Light). If we look at DnD you get every spell with its own bespoke rules and formulae such as Magic Missile that fires of a variable number of projectiles depending on the level of the caster but never misses. As a magic system Rolemaster is a lot lighter than DnD 5e. Incidentally DnD 5e was quoted as a medium weight system in the survey above!

Combat in DnD vs Rolemaster is a hard one to compare because I have never known anyone apply the rules correctly in either system. DnD is often protrayed as Roll to hit, roll your damage and move on. That sounds really easy and fast but then you add in initiative rolls, and weapon vs armour modifications and different ‘to hit’ tables for different professions/classes and a few hundred classes and things are not as simple if you apply the rules as written. In rolemaster the big bug bear is exhaustion points. I have never even read the rules in full, I have never played them and do not know anyone who has played them. If you ignore exhaustion then Rolemaster looks more complicated with books of tables, one page for each weapon and books worth of critical tables but it still comes down to roll to hit and roll damage (our beloved criticals). rolemaster has more pages but actually less rules. It does have a hell of a lot more flavour than DnD combat. It is aledgedly more dangerous but that is down to how many first level magic users you have tried to play in DnD I suppose.

The point I am trying to make I suppose is that what makes one system ‘rules light’, I think my RM variant is very rules light, one rules medium and another rules heavy is I think the eye of the beholder. the person who created the survey thinks or has heard that Rolemaster is rules heavy and therefore puts it as an example of a rules heavy system perpetuating the myth.

I think ICE need to address that perception and one way to do that is to adopt the Adventure Path methodology and literally put a ready to play pa together that new players can pick up and start playing in the same evening. Of course with a new generation of RM about to be released this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Refreshed and Reinvigorated

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I have just got back from Iceland having done a riding tour from the northern coast up a river valley to the last farm before the uninhabitied high lands. The whole experience was amazing as was the riding and the horses.

My PBP game has been faltering recently as I was away, my players had busy lives and it had almost withered away. The day before my flight to Iceland one of my players contacted me and said he was back and able to play. This is great news as we can get the game up and rolling again.

I am also now starting to prepare the next face to face gaming weekend for my RMC game.

It is a real pity that none of my players’ characters are in the Frozen North as I have some great ideas and inspiration but no one to inflict it upon!

So what comes next? The weakest element of my face to face game is that the party are still very much acting as individuals who are traveling together rather than as a robust whole. I feel that if I was to test the party bonds then it would fall apart in a fit of self interest. I want to address that ‘weakness’ and try and knit them together somewhat. The danger is ofcourse that in trying to encourage them to bond I would have them rail in the opposite direction.

My mission tonight is to go back over every characters’ background story and try and write an adventure that furthers all of there individual goals at the same time. That should get them working together. From memory I think I have one idea I can use.

In my PBP game things were about to get really interesting just when the momentum failed. I am really looking forward to getting that going and as soon as I hit ‘publish’ on this post I will be writing an update for Riako the halfling monk.

When I have spent the week plotting adventures I will see what gremlins have popped up to cause complications!

RMC House Rules – My Experience System #3 Spell Lists

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There are really three parts to this, improving the spell lists you know, learning entirely new lists and improving your power points. I will take each in turn.


Improving the Spell Lists you know

This is the easiest bit. If you cast a spell off a list in a meaningful situation (not just rattling off a few spells at the end of the day just to tick the box) then you can mark the list as used. When you are in a situation where you can study, reflect and improve then you can roll to improve the spell list. For every rank you have it counts as 5. Roll a D100 OE and if you roll over the current total you gain a rank. So if you know Fire Law to Rank 5 (5th Level) you would need to roll 26+ to learn the 6th level spell. Progress through ranks 1-10 is pretty quick but then slows down. Once you get to rank 19 you need an open ended to improve.

Learning entirely new Spell Lists

You need to study to learn new lists. I use the same rules as are given for researching new spells for studying new lists. Essence lists require books and a teacher, mentalism require meditation and channelling, prayer. Hybrid lists need to meet all the requirements. If there is no first level spell then the time required would be to research the first available spell and at that point yu would have the number of ranks required to cast that spell.

Improving your Power Points

This is based upon improving your Power Point Development Skill. If power points are used in earnest (just as with casting spells that count for experience above) then when you get a chance to rest and improve then you can roll to improve your PPD skill.

This means that starting characters get more power points quite quickly but it then levels off, just like learning spells. That really is the intention of the entire experience system. Everyone should improve quite rapidly in the skills, stats and spells they are really using. Once they are competent then that progress slows but it never stops. Unless you are a real one trick pony each time when experience would have been dished out you will probably improve in something, a little here a little there. Having characters pay for training brings real benefits at that time, not six months later when they finally level up.

Finally, this system works really well with the new RMU spell law. The diference is that every level in RMU has a spell associated with it. RMU kind of expects characters to be higher level when they start so having characters improve quickly fits in well with that expectation. In RMC, my preferred system the gaps in the spell lists does add a bit of extra excitement when a character gets a new spell as often the rank will improve but this does not bring any new abilities. It is rather swings and roundabouts as to which you prefer.

RMC House Rules – Character Creation #5 Profession

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One of the problems for D&D players coming to Rolemaster is that although ‘Profession’ appears to be pretty much the same as ‘Class’ they are definitely not the same thing!

There are significant flaws in Rolemaster professions.

  1. Once you choose a Profession in RM just about everything is set for life and is unchangeable. If your chosen profession virtually excludes magic then whatever happens in the future you will be forever pretty much excluded from magic.
  2. There are so damn many professions. Professions define the costs of your skills and the base spell lists that can be learned. The difference between a fighter and a barbarian is just the skill costs, the difference between a witch and an illusionist is skills and base lists. Choosing profession comes down to which profession has the best skill costs for the skills you want to buy and the closest fit for the spells you want cast. I have ended up viewing it as institutionalised min/maxing as when you get up to 70+ professions there has to be optimised to give the lowest price for exactly what you want.
  3. The professions are scattered though so many books that if every GM does not have all the same material then your particular profession simply may not exist.
  4. Not all professions are as equally balanced as others. There are some optional rules that when combined with some of the professions either makes them unplayable or unstopable. I have seen games where one single Directed Spells skill is used for ALL directed spell attacks. In the case of the Warrior Mage profession all of their attacking spells are on a single list so with a single skill they can attack with their full OB with every attacking spell. The magician who is meant to be the specialist with elemental attacks would have to spend 10 times the development points to be equally good AND could not even start to learn the skill in Lightning bolt until twelth level. The Warrior Mage could start learning it at 2nd level.

As you can see there are issues with professions as they stand. I propose using the No Profession as the basis for all characters.

The No Profession is a standard set of skill costs that are uniform to everyone.

Normally once you have chosen your profession you have to buy skills using your development points at least twice. The first time is your ‘apprenticeship’ level, essentially 0th level. The second time is your 1st level skills and then a third time to show what you are learning at the moment. As skills are spread thoughout most of the rolemaster companion and Law books it can be a challenge and very time consuming to evaluate all 200+ skills available to you. 200 skill costs for 92 professions makes over 18,000 different combinations.

In my version there is only the No Profession, only about 40 skills and you buy your skills only once. There will be more about skills later.

Professional Magical Realms

In addition to the skill costs your profession also gives you a Realm of magic, six base lists and a set of professional level bonuses.

The realm of magic remains the same as standard RM in that you get the choice of one realm from the three standard realms (channeling, mentalism or Essence). Technically I do not insist you choose your realm until you start to study some sort of magic. On the other hand though your power points will be based upon one of your stats. This means that if you envision casting spells then you will need to ensure you have some power points from your stats before you start.

If you have spell lists from just one realm then all your power points will come from the stat governing that realm (EM), (IN) or (PR). If you learn a list from a second realm then your power points will come from the average stat from the two realm stats. If you then learn magic from the third realm then all three stats will be averaged to find your power points.

You do not need to chose all your base lists right from day one. There are 10 lists in total that you can learn above 20th level and these will be the first 10 lists you learn above 20th level. As you can only learn spells but actually using them it is logical that your ‘speciality’ will be the magic you have proven best at.

Professional Bonuses

The professional bonuses or level bonuses will be the ones as described on pg 128 of the RMC Character Law. This uses the RMSS skill categories. The only variation here is that you may swap up to 2 of the bonus categories for example you may choose to move the +1 from Outdoor Skills to the Urban category and move the +1 from Athletic Skills to Directed Spells. This allows you to customise your professional bonuses a little so if you want to play a wizardly character you can shape him or her into a more academic type rather than the athletic type that the No Profession starts out as. Once you have moved a set of bonuses they cannot be changed later.

That is it. The No Profession is intended to be a bit of a blank canvas from which you start building your character.

RMC House Rules – Character Creation #3 – Rolemaster Races

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I am not suggesting many changes to the Rolemaster races in my RMC variant but first a bit of background on the long running ‘issue’ of Elves and Self Discipline.

Elves and Self Discipline

Most elves in Rolemaster based games get a -20 on the Self Discipline (SD) stat. SD happens to be one of the stats used to determine your Stalk & Hide skill and Meditation skill.

When most people see that -20 they assume that elves have no self control or discipline which is not the way Tolkien’s elves are generally portrayed. Rolemaster elves are the direct decendants of Tolkien’s elves as the roots of Rolemaster are set in the world of the MERP (Middle Earth Role Playing) franchise.

Furthermore when you notice that when you read about the stalk and hide skill the elves -20 should be treated as +20 and that elves get a natural +20 to meditation. It strikes me that if you are having to ‘fix’ the figures because of something you did earlier then the initial thing was wrong.

Elves are not irrational and impulsive and clumsy. You firstly have to remember that all stat bonuses are relative and not absolute. Originally the common man had no penalties or bonuses at all and that all the tables were constructed as the common man being the absolute norm. From that point races are describe relative to a common man so if a typical dwarf is stronger than a common man then it gets a strength bonus. In this way elves are seen as being less disciplined than a man. Not bad at discipline, just less discplined than our common man. This idea was prompted by the idea that elves being immortal have all the time in the world to complete tasks and most problems tend to resolve themselves if given a few centuries to bed in. Your common man with a short and often hard life has to act now. An elf could spend several thousand years building an empire, a man probably has no more than 30 years if he wants to have any time to actually enjoy it!

I have no problem with this concept of ‘relative’ stats. I do have a problem with the elves -20 because obviously this is the wrong implementation if the rule has to be applied only some of the time or additional fixes have to be put in place to fix the problems that the rule introduces.

I would argue that although elves may not be as hasty as humans to interfere in affairs their long view almost breeds more self discipline in that they are inherently patient and this builds tolerance. If you have to cancel out the penalties for mediation and stalking then why not just forget the whole thing?

In my rules there is no SD penalty for any elves including half elves.

Base Hits

There is a table known as “04-01 RACE ABILITIES”, on that table it tells you the hit dice used for each race. Common men get a d8 as do some elves and halflings. Other races get d10. Why? Rolemaster is a d10 based game. The only places where you get all the other polygon dice used is in the variable amounts of healing from some herbs.

My first reaction was to say everyone gets a d10 hits but then I decided to go in a completely different direction.

The way hits are calculated in RMC is your Con stat/10 plus the accumilated dice rolls plus your Con stat bonus as a percentage. Almost every race gets a con bonus so most people get a few extra hits from this. So if you have a Con of 76 and a total of +10 Con stat bonus and you bought 4 ranks in Body development as an High Elf you would have 8 hits from your Con (76÷10) plus 4x1d10, lets say that comes to 28 plus 10% of the total from your con bonus. So 8+28=36 plus 10% = 40 hits.

Some GMs I have played with say re-roll hit points if you get a 1-3 on the dice and others have given out maximum hitpoints at first level. Letting the characters have a decent number of hit points gives the GM more freedom in what he or she can throw at the party.

With that in mind I am going to give a little, take a little and simplify things a little.

In my rules you always get maximum hits, so 8 for a human, 10 for an high elf and so on but you no longer get the con bonus percentage. So under my rule the above character would get 48 hits being (76÷10)+4×10=48. So we now have diceless body development. In fact as you will see all of character creation is now diceless.

Background Options

In table “06-01 RACE BACKGROUND OPTION TABLE” each Rolemaster race has a number of background options ranging from 2 to 6. I personally feel the options in Character Law were a bit limited and those in Companion One were too powerful. I like the HARP and RMU talents and I nearly included them but at the end of it they just seemed a bit ‘wrong’ to me. Instead I am going to steal another RMU feature and that is Knacks. In the RMU beta rules all characters get to pick to specific skills that get a +5 bomus. this makes a character just a little bit better than their peers in that particular skill. It is a one time only bonus and is always fixed at +5 and cannot be doubled up. I am going to replace the background options with knacks but each character will get between 2 and 6 knacks depending on race.

Race Background Options
Common Men 6
Dwarves 5
Halflings 5
Orcs 5
High Men 4
Half-elves 4
Wood-elves 4
Greater Orcs 4
Trolls 4
High-elves 3
Fair-elves 2

This does reduce the impact of background options but then I never liked the way that some good rolls could turn a character into an almost superman and likewise a bad roll could cripple them or destroy the players concept of the character they wanted to play. This solution puts the player in charge, is non-random and always give the character a slight advantage without making a massive impact. They are far easier to administer than Talents and Flaws.

A Safe Place to Camp

There are times when what you want is a world saving adventure and there are times when you just want to kill something. This little adventure is of the just kill something variety. This is really intended to be used with a beginning party of 1st  to 3rd level characters.

In many of the games I have played in it seems like Orcs get used almost as the default bad guy in beginning adventures. This time it is their weaker cousins the Goblin that is going to take the beating.

The entrance to this cave should lie on the parties route of travel and should offer some shelter from the rain or from a storm. As goblins are nocturnal the earlier the party decide to camp the more off guard the goblins will be. There are many lessons to be learned in this little side adventure, not least that it is sometimes better to run away to fight another day. The goblins operate at -75 during daylight so they will be very reluctant to chase a fleeing party. Mind you come night fall they will be out for revenge.

I have included far more goblins than any single party should be able to handle. The idea of charging in madly will probably get you killed but stealth can be your friend. The goblins are not good at coordinating but the players should be working as a team. Low level magic can work well against these 2nd level foes such as Sleep V and even projected light will give the characters the advantage.

You should remember that these round–headed imps  wear clumsy, stone clogs which certainly doesn’t help when they are trying to move quietly.

A Safe Place to Camp 01 (GM)




  1. Sleeping area: this area is where most of the warband sleep. They have nests made up of bits of cloth and vegetation such a furns. The goblins tend to sleep close to the walls as they feel less exposed and are not particularly trusting of their fellows. There are sleeping nests for twelve goblins here.
  2. SPARTAK’s sleeping ‘nest’: this area is where SPARTAK and his harem of five goblinettes spend their days doing whatever it is that goblin warlords like to do.
  3. Communial ‘Council’ Area: This area is not realy used that often. The goblins prefer to be further away from even the little little daylight that reaches here. What this is used for is pre-night raid prep talks. If there are disputes to be settled then the group will gather here sort it out the in a sort of no holds barred wrestling match.
  4. SPARTAK’s bodyguards: There are four burly Goblins here who like the rest are probably sleeping on duty or else slacking off. These are the body guard for the goblin leader. They have decent cured leather breastplates (AT9) and spears that they are wielding two handed. There is a flat topped rock in the centre of this area upon which are many flat pebbles and a leather cup. The goblins entertain themselves during the long summer days couped up in here trying to flip pebbles into the cup. The body guards names are RUSLAN, PETRO, OLGA and OLEK. If they are attacked they will try and form two ranks of two with their spears to the fore. If any of them fall then they will break and flee back to (13) below.
  5. Mess area: Small smoothish boulders have been scattered around here to serve a stools or seats. This is where the goblins come to eat and the northern wall is splattered with left overs flung from bowls and the floor to the north is covered with small bones and scraps.
  6. Work Area: This is where the war band are fixing armour, making weapons, fixing nets and even making shoes. Goblins love machines and as such mastered using leavers (wooden beams) to raise and drop stone blocks to cold forge metals (just poundng out the shapes). Stone hammers are in abundance.
  7. Dressing Chamber. SPARTAK has his armour (rigid leather 10) hung up on a T shaped wooden dolly. Beside it is his woolen cloak (no more than a cape on anyone else) and to the other side a low table holding his weapons (a dagger, short sword and light crossbow). He likes to make a big show of having his body guard ‘dress him for battle’ thinking it impresses the goblin minions.
  8. This area is fenced off using a crude home made corral just inside the narrowest point. Inside the corral is a young mountain lion cub. The goblins are planning on training it into a war cat.
  9. Entrance Guard Post:There are a pair of goblins here that have of course fallen asleep during their watch. They have light crossbows (Goblins love machines of all sorts) and halberds but nothing is loaded or to hand. These goblins are not brave and would rather raise the alarm and flee than die. They are called VSEVOLOD and WOLODYMYR.
  10. Kitchen: Such as it is. A large flat stone serves as butchery block and counter. There are basic rough made kitchen impliments suh as a stone club for use as a tenderiser, an old axe used for seperating joints of meat and cauldron style cooking pots and buckets for water. There is no designated cook, it is just whoever is bottom of the pecking order at that time.
  11. Weapons Store: The goblins are trying to make and stockpile spears, halberds and crossbows. The product of their labours are stored here in piles of shafts, piles of stone spear heads, a few halberd heads and so on. There are very few completed weapons as these are being handed out to the war parties members as soon as they are ready.
  12. Treasure Chest!:Out of sight behind this natural pillar is a small stone coffer holding the war bands loot. Currently standing at 14bp, 9sp and some pretty stones that hold no value to non-goblins.
  13. This area serves a dual purpose. It is SPARTAK’s and his body guards latrine and it is the fall back point for his body guard. The narrowing of the cave walls means it is easier to defend but also the buckets of urine can be thrown to put out torches. The goblins much prefer total darkness.

The total warband amounts to 19 goblins. En masse they will almost certainly kill any party but their leader is no genius. He has visions of crafting a phalanx out of them where a mass of spears and halberds will make them unapproachable. Their love of machinery draws them to the light crossbow and Spartak envisions ranks of crossbow goblins marching forward in regimented fire, reload,  and advance lines protected by a forest of spears and polearms. As it is the crosbows are slow to reload and these long weapons mean goblins struggle to parry and do not carry shields.

If the party enter the cave by day many of the goblins will be sleeping, one or two may be in the kitchen area. As evening falls they ecome more active with weapons being repaired and new ones being made in the workshop area. After night fall they will take a meal in the mess area. Late at night a patrol will be sent out of five or six goblins being three spear bearers and three crossbow goblins.

Each goblin is carrying just 1d10 bronze pieces as treasure. The four bodyguard goblins have have an additional d10 copper and Spartak has an additional d10 silver. That may not sound a great deal of treasure but this is only meant to be a minor distraction. Spartak and his crew are a breakaway group from a larget goblin tribe who have visions of world domination but are probably note going to realise those dreams.

If the players attack and then withdraw the goblins will try and harry them for days. Spartak will initially want to kill all bar one of the players. If they all die then no one will be able to carry the news of his victory and spread his fame. If the losses are too great on his side, say more than four or five actual fatalities then he will just try and drive them off and count that as a victory.

All the stats you need for the goblins are on page 123 of the RMC Creatures and Treasures or 571 of RMU Creature Law.

You can download a players map here.

We love our Giants

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I have spoken about giants and the local legends before in When is a rock not a rock? Now it just so happens that I encountered a couple more giants last weekend then they deserve a bit of an honourable mention, especially as they stood still long enough for me to catch them in a photo.

It appears out first giant has just woken up and could be in a bit of trouble. I think I read somewhere that the head represents about 1/7th of the entire body so the bit you can see was about 5′ and was half his head making him approximately 70′ tall if he stood up straight.
Out second lady giant is considerably smaller at a meer 35′ tall and somewhat more shapely than her male kin. Obviously both giants have been slumbering sor quite a while which is why nature had almost entirely concealed them.

Giants are cool. They make a complete mockery of most parties battle formations. For most spells if you are close enough to fire a spell at them you are close enough to get hit with a pretty big rock by return post.

In my world I get to choose from a whole host of giants from the Arcane and Cyclops which are fairly distinctive to (and this is a pretty give list) Cloud, Desert, Fire, Fog, Formorian, Frost, Hill, Jungle, Mountian, Reef, Stone, Storm and Wood Giants plus Ettins, Firbolg, and Verbeeg.

In the RMU Creature Law (I know, I just couldn’t keep away!) you get a selection of the most common eg Cyclops, Cloud, Fire, Frost, Hill, Mountain, Stone, Storm, Forestand Water Giant plus three known as Minor, Normal and Major. In RMC you get same cast as RMU.

So who has the toughest giants? The answer has to be RMU giants kick arse! The reason being is magic. In AD&D giants did have inate abilites and there was always a chance that a giat has a low leve cast with them. In RMC wach giant has a couple of spell lists (up to four lists for Cloud Giants) but RMU Giants are incredible spell casters with the king of the heap being the Mountain Giant with 14 spell lists to pick from all to the giants level.

Reading the RMC and RMU giant monster descriptions I am reminded somewhat of the original Greek myth variatons of the giants rather than their Norse brethren but most of all I was really impressed with the reworking they have recieved in RMU.

But what about the missing giants? The Jungle Giant, Firbolg and Verbeeg etc.? These are going to be pretty easy to convert over for my game if and when I need them but now I have refreshed myself with the Rolemaster image of giants I think I may be giving them a bit of a shot in the arm and a general beefing up. Now that has to be a job for a lazy summer afternoon.

Rolemaster Classic PBP

I haven’t posted anything for a while about my dabbling in play by post (PBP). The game I am in is ticking along quite nicely. I have nearly killed myself at least once due to massive over confidence in my own meagre abilities and, I believe, technically I am no longer a combat virgin. It was not a traditional fight and whether my oppenent was actually intent on attacking me or not is probably up for debate. The important thing is that I ‘won’. I cannot share any more details both to save my own blushes and just in case I inadvertantly give away a spoiler for some of the other players.

I am 99% certain that I am going to run a PBP game of my own based upon nearly pure Rolemaster Classic rules. The only optional rule I will truly miss would be the expanded character background options from Rolemaster Companion I.

The game setting would be the forgotten realms, of course, around the city of Waterdeep and the North. This would be exactly the same world/campaign that my face to face game would be taking place in. That party are in the Dalelands right now.

The only PBP gaming site I have used is RPOL but there are other sites I have not even looked at but seem frequently mentioned such as Fantasy Grounds. For this first foray I think I will stick with RPOL and what I know. I think I have grasped pretty much has the game administration works from what I can see from the game I am playing in.

I still need to do a lot of preparation before I could possibly run a game and I would like to get more experrience of this style of gaming. There are certainly some aspects that are better than face to face gaming [NPC interactions for one] but at the same time some aspects are lacking [the social aspect and banter]. This will remain a work in progress project for the time being. As it happens my face to face group will be meeting again in early May so that is the perfect excuse not to launch into anything new before then.

Going back the the PBP game. I think the next big evolution I am waiting for is when the party starts to form. Right now I am almost entirely surrounded by NPCs. I suspect that I have encountered another PC at least in passing but one cannnot be sure. While it is just me and the GM and we happen to be both awake at the same time then the posts can come thick and fast. How the game works when you are waiting for the input from several people remains to be seen. I am sure it will be fine, if it wasn’t then I do not think PBP would have such a large fan base as it appears to have.