More thoughts on “Level-less” Rolemaster.

Rolemaster is inherently a skill-based system but it has clung to some of the established level mechanisms of D&D by reverting them into skills. Peter had a great blog on making hit points independent of skill. I’m really embracing this idea now–and it gets rid of Body Development skill which is a plus in my endless efforts to reduce skill bloat. (We’ve shifted the other aspects of Body Development  into our meta-skill “Athletics”).

So I’m still struggling with disconnecting RR’s from character level. We use “Spell attack level = PP’s” which makes a lot of sense to me, but could be unbalancing if characters didn’t have a better chance of saving as they progress. Or is it unbalancing? Here are some scattered thoughts in no real order:

  1. Set all RR’s to a base of 50/50 success. The threshold is adjusted by the “attack level” of the spell/poison/disease/effect etc. So a PC resisting a 50th lvl spell would need to roll above 100—but would still have their stat bonus and any other spell buffs. A RR vs a 10th lvl poison would need to roll above a 60 etc.
  2. Magic is powerful and should be difficult to resist. However, using this system, a lower level caster who dedicates enough PP’s could affect a 50th lvl character. Is this unbalancing? Higher level characters should have substantially better protection in both items and spells.
  3. While this may increase the potency of spell casting, our own character law system results in casters having fewer, more individualized spells. Under normal RM rules this system might greatly enhance spell-casters.
  4. More buffs. I’ve always felt that the protection spells in RM were fairly weak, something we have tried to correct in our Spell Law re-write. If protection spells were increased in than this might offset the bump in potency in spell casting?
  5. I’m trying hard to get almost every action resolution into the standard RM 1-100 resolution process. The idea proposed in #1 above doesn’t quite work within that frame. RMU tries this with spellcasting by incorporating +100 into the SCR which I find cumbersome. Perhaps, like weapon attacks, I’ll have to let this be just slightly different.
  6. I’ve seen some proposals to get rid of levels to determine RR and to introduce “resistance skills”: skills that give bonuses against Essence, Channeling, Mentalism. That leads down a whole complicated path on spell mechanics, training etc–anybody try this?

Resistance Rolls seem like the last vestiges of a level based system; one that I would like to eliminate. Open to any ideas.

3 Replies to “More thoughts on “Level-less” Rolemaster.”

  1. My next post is about making more use of Stats. In plain vanilla RM stats have no bearing on play except for indicating the stat bonus, power points and the development points. The actual stat is irrelevant.

    With a smoothed stat bonus system, either (Stat-50)/2 or (Stat-50)/3 depending on how you like your stat bonuses, every small Stat Gain in Co, In, Em or Pr would have an impact on RRs. More experienced characters would have better stats and therefore better RRs.

    This would imply that all potentials would have to 100 as under the RMU stat system.

  2. So you are thinking of increasing the stat bonuses even more than RMU? I agree that stat bonuses should be more influential–writing about it wednesday on my blog post I think.

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