Rolemaster, favorite game I've never played.

bottg

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I did write a Lite version of RMU (the new one) a couple of years ago but they don't seem to want to publish it now...
 

TheMouse

garmonbozia
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One of my friends during high school was super into Rolemaster, but didn't get to play for a while. He kept buying more and more books until he had this pile almost a foot tall. He kept suggesting that we play, but no one but him was really interested.

Eventually we were bored and let him run a game. With a table full of totally new players and no one to walk us through, stacks of options, and only one of each book, it took us hours to make characters. It was a long and tedious process that involved a lot of sitting and waiting for someone to be done with a book.

Then we played. He decided to start us off with a fight that he seemed to think would be fun and easy. All the PCs died in the first round. I didn't even get my turn before my character's neck got broken and he fell over and began to expire, although strangely he was the last to actually stop breathing.

All the players were just staring at the GM. Saying nothing. He giggled nervously, and he's not the nervous giggling type. Then we all piled out character sheets and books into the middle of the table and never spoke of Rolemaster ever again.
 

Afshin

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I played a bit of this back in the day and while it is complex, most of the complexity is front-loaded. Once you had all of your charts and tables ready to go, it actually played reasonably quick (more than 3rd edition D&D at least). It was just that initial prep that seemed daunting.

What ultimately killed the game for me was the combination of extremely detailed character generation (up to 3 hours to create a character if you used the companions) and high lethality. 3 hours to create a character that could be killed in 30 seconds was completely unacceptable to me.
 

Scurrilous

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They aren't just kidding when they say parrying matters. I think the lethality is a bit exaggerated though RM2/C is more lethal because the characters are weaker. It's not very hard to build a fighter or rogue with an OB or Body Development over 100 at first level in RMSS. Magic using characters are pretty weak at first level and I generally suggest picking up a daily VII item for background points during character generation.

I almost always generate new people's first character for them. I can do an RMSS character in an hour.

Man I've been wanting to run RMSS lately. The more I run and play D&D 5e the more I hate it.
 

Scurrilous

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It's been a while since I went on an RMSS isn't complex rant :D

So, your skill bonuses are usually Profession Bonus + Category Rank Bonus + 3 Attribute Bonuses + Skill Rank Bonus + Item Bonus.

Success rolls are Total Skill Bonus + d100OE + difficulty modifier. Check a chart but it's usually 110+ for a full success.

The most complex thing is that there are a couple different progression rates for Skill Rank Bonuses. Standard is 3% per rank + 2% per category rank till rank 10. Combined is 5% per skill rank because some skills aren't very related to each other. Special is 1% per rank. Body Development and Power Point Development have special, racially defined progressions. Even I'll admit it could be cleaner and there are places where the categories could have been better thought out. In particular, armour skills are categories containing one skill, sure Space Master adds one to each category but I think it was set up that way to mirror RM2's arrangement.
 

DavetheLost

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I ran an RM campaign for a little while. Companion I had just come out, I think, or maybe Companion II. We didn't really use the companion rules. Once we got character creation out of the way, which was a slog, but we had done FGU games, so we weren't put off bu it, actually playing the game was fun.

Every player had copies of the charts and tables for their character, mostly weapons and criticals. We may have streamlined/ignored some of the rules, we tended to do that with fiddly bits in games. It worked for FGU too.
 

randlathor66

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Rolemaster is my favorite game. Period. Is it perfect? No. But I will take it over D&D every day of the week and twice... on every day of the week. :p
Can anyone share their techniques on how to make the game run smoothly at the table?
I would go with Rolemaster Fantasy Roleplaying* (RMFRP), the cleaned up version of RMSS (mentioned above) as they have cut the attack tables down dramatically - you don't need one for every weapon, just weapon type (one-handed edged, polearms, missile weapons, etc...). You just modify the final number depending upon the actual weapon and each weapon has a maximum result & critical (able to be bypassed in some situations), like a dagger has a max of 110/D, while a broadsword has a max of 150/E (higher number/critical generally means more damage and injury). To help out with the TPK situation: parry, Parry, PARRY. To help out, put together the total bonuses ahead of time for full attack, 75% attack / 25% defense, 50/50, and 25% attack / 75% defense with your main weapons. Or some other percentage (80/20, 70/30) that makes the math easier.

Don't worry about every little modifier. Like in D&D 3e (and other games) there can be several different mods to some actions, don't worry about calculating them all, just eye-ball it or pick the highest and use that one. That will help you speed up the game a lot. For example: the PC has an injury mod of -10, but they are in a dark room and can't see more than 5-feet past the bridge of their nose, which imparts a -25, just go with the -25 (or round it to -30 to make it even easier). Along with this, you could use the Rolemaster Classic (RMC) modifiers which stick to a 5-point scale, and divide by 5 to get a D20 scale mechanic, if double and triple digit math is a problem.

Also, look into resources online. Things such as autocalculating character sheets are out there and some of them are excellent and help out immensely. The ERA mentioned above could help out, I don't know as I haven't been able to figure out how to use it - I need someone to teach me, I don't learn so well from manuals (at least not tech stuff, gaming I am so experienced with that it is fairly easy for me to pick up new games).

Biggest piece of advice I can give you: Don't give up after trying once. You are not going to get it right the first time, so don't despair and keep at it, it is truly a game that shines once you get past an initial investiture of effort.
I almost always generate new people's first character for them. I can do an RMSS character in an hour.
Me too. I can make a 20th level character in a few hours. One of the things I LOVE about RM is that my characters seem 3D when I am done with them; a fully fleshed-out individual. In most other games they feel 2D, more cartoon or cardboard-cutouts than full beings.

* Unless you are going the RM2 route, then I would definitely go with RMC. But I would think about using the attack tables from RMFRP, I seriously think they help out a lot. It cuts it down to 10 tables: 6 weapon tables (1h concussion, 1h edged, 2h weapon, missile, pole-arm, & thrown), 2 natural attack tables (tooth / claw & bash / grapple), and 2 spell tables (bolt & ball).

PS: If you want to play a game similar to RM, but not nearly as detailed (I don't call RM complex), then try HARP (High Adventure RolePlaying) also from ICE.
 

Rupert

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I don't think reducing the number of weapon tables actually speeds things up or streamlines anything, and it comes at the cost of differentiation of weapons. With separate tables and rapier behaves differently to a broadsword - fewer hits, better criticals often of a different type, worse vs. heavy armour. Unless all your weapons are on the same consolidated table reducing the number of tables doesn't reduce the number most players will need either.

My personal advice would be to try RM2 or RMC (essentially the same beast) first unless you really want to more complex and detailed skills of RMSS/RMFRP or want the more involved combat turn sequence. See if you like the way it plays, and are okay with table lookups for task resolution. Use optional rules very sparingly, especially those from the companions (which I wouldn't use at all to start with).

One thing I would do for any RM (or Spacemaster) game that I expected to run for very long is introduce some kind of fate points. RM combat tends to randomly just kill PCs every so often, so some kind of meta-game mechanism to protect against that kind of bad luck is necessary if you want PCs to not 'just die'. Sooner or later, some mook will open-end a couple of times, then roll 96+ on the critical table and instantly kill a PC.

People point out that RM has plenty of livegiving and preserving herbs to get round this, and that is true. However, they are really expensive, to the point where someone who can afford them doesn't need to be adventuring.
 
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