Thought Experiment Update

I huge thank you to everyone that sent me character sheets!

The brief was intentionally vague to give everyone creative freedom. Most people produced a non spell using rogue or thief which is what I has sort of expected. My Xan is exactly in that vein.

Things that really stood out were that I got three RMU characters. Seeing as RMU is still in play test and the experiment was for people who had house ruled character creation I had only expected one RMU character and that was Hurin’s who uses individual skill costs.

An interesting aside here but RMU is not yet published and the developers are pretty determined to stick with category skill costs. On the other hand there is already one ‘officially sanctioned’ optional rule in the form of Hurin’s individual skill costs published in the Guild Companion completely undoing the developers work. Only in Rolemaster eh?

The fact that RMU character creation is being house ruled while still in play test make one wonder about what is being tested? My personal intermittent play test is still RAW but with JDales new tables applied.

Back to Xan

I have distilled the character down to just a few really basic numbers. If you were reading a module or adventure and she was an incidental NPC then you may just get a one liner.

The ‘average’ Xan taking every sheet I received looked something like this.

#Hits 64, OB (shortsword) +59, DB +14, Perception +28
She typically has 18 additional skill including primary and secondary skills.

If you compare that to the off the peg NPCs in Character Law (RMC version) you get

#Hits 20, OB (shortsword) +30, DB +0, Perception +15.

The house ruled characters are far more functional than the off the peg NPC. In addition nearly every Xan has a secondary attack and either multiple attack or two weapon combo and many have given her a thrown dagger as well.

Interestingly, one came back with a single spell list.

I do want to look at the characters in more detail later but I thought I should really do something immediately as you all took the time to send them to me.

So the immediate take away is that all these Xans are more functional than RAW characters. I make my starting characters more functional as it is more fun to be capable than not. There is more fun in being able to survive more than one hit with a sword, all baring the critical, than not. These heroes are more heroic than RAW player characters.

The impression I have got so far is that house rules in general are making RM more survivable for starting characters than the rules a written.

More to follow…

7 Replies to “Thought Experiment Update”

  1. Fascinating stuff!

    A couple of further points to note:

    –I don’t see my individual skill cost option as undoing the developers’ work, as you put it; I just see it as offering an option to the RM2/RMC players who prefer a more RM2/Classic game. Rolemaster has always been about options!

    –The starting characters in the final version of RMU will be more viable than in the RAW right now. One of the developers (I think JDale) noted that they have responded to the criticism that first level characters are too weak by raising the number of culture ranks starting characters will get. I’m not sure how far they will be raised, but we know they will be raised.

    –The increase in starting hit points in RMU is good, but I personally worry it is a bit too much now. Characters can have a LOT more hit points in RMU. That is good for starting at level 1 perhaps, but by the time you get to level 5 or so, hit points are so plentiful that they start to mean very little, and battles can drag on and feel like you are fighting in Sumo suits. This problem has been compounded in the beta by the fact that the hit points that weapons do have been reduced significantly (I am assuming to fit the new size rules, but not entirely sure about that) and there are now more sources for DB (DB inflation). In any case, JDale mentioned that the hits delivered on the weapon charts will likely be increased, and I would suggest that they actually be doubled, so that battles don’t bog down into wars of attrition that last 15 rounds.

    So, the final version of RMU I believe will at least somewhat address the issues of first level characters being too unskilled, and hopefully also the issues of DB inflation and hit point Sumo suits.

    1. I was thinking of the resistance that was put up about individual skill costs when it was discussed. That and the publishing of the first optional rules before the actual game 🙂

      In.my own play testing the problem with battles being wars of attrition was also present. The more lower level criticals meant more small penalties until no one could hit anything. The individual penalties in critical results may be on a par but we found that fights went on an on with ever lower results.

      1. We found the exact same thing, and I have struggled to put my finger on the reason why.

        Things that definitely contribute to the longer battles include:
        –More starting hits
        –DB inflation (more sources of DB, including the shield and running skills, and the Quickness bonus applying even for low strength characters in heavy armor)
        –Weapons do less hit point damage (on the weapon charts)
        –The critical threshold (number at which you start getting criticals on the attack charts) has been raised for the higher armor types

        I wondered if the new charts had higher injury penalties, so I compared some of the old critical charts to the new (just a cursory analysis adding up penalty numbers), but it doesn’t seem like the new charts have higher injury penalties. But perhaps there are more sources of impairment now, since they now include also fatigue and breakage (the latter was always in the game of course, but we never used it).

        I have long wondered if it would be better to make injuries/fatigue affect quickness bonuses to DB, just as they seem to affect everything else. Now THAT would speed up combat, I am sure!

        1. Given the speed at which penalties accumulate would that not just devalue quickness as a DB source?

          There would be no point putting a decent stat in Qu if it would get wiped out in the first fight.

          1. It would definitely devalue quickness, though I wouldn’t go so far as to say there is no point in putting a decent stat into it. It would still save you relatively often. But it would make quickness-based fighters hesitate to get caught in the thick of phalanx warfare.

            I’m not saying that this should be done; rather, I’m just kind of brainstorming here. My players do sometimes find it odd that an enemy with a broken leg and back still gets his full quickness DB.

            1. I can certainly see there point. I am just trying to think what I would do if I were the player.

              Went a play arms characters I prefer thieves, rogues and pirates, all of which tend to be fadter and more lightly armoured and not use shields.

              Footwork or adrenal defence then become the key sources of DB if Qu is unreliable.

  2. Yes, and Fortitude too: the skill that allows you to shake off injury penalties. The skill right now allows you to shake off half the penalty, though JDale initially considered allowing it to eliminate the entire penalty.

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