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Rolemaster, favorite game I've never played.

Gridlocked Morloc

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Validated User
#21
Thanks for all the advice! We spent game day today playing board games and next week we will be giving RM another chance. I'll come back here after the game to ask for more help with anything that doesn't seem to go well during the game.
 
#22
I played the old 80's era Rolemaster boxed set with some friends around 1990-91 and we had a blast. We were by no means playing deeply thought out characters and were quite amused when we fumbled our weapons and accidentally committed suicide. I played again in the mid 1990's, using the single book version (it was a hardcover that had artwork from the newest box set as the cover art). We were using it to play in the Wheel of Time world. Sadly we never got to finish our game as my relative moved away. I have some good memories playing that game with my relative in an all-night mini mart/deli at one o'clock in the morning.

But yeah, my preferences now are in a different style...
 

bottg

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Validated User
#23
One houserule we always used thst reduced lethality a bit was to use the lowest dice as the tens for crits. A high double can still be nadty or kill and E crits are aldomgad, but you get less instant kills
 

torus

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#24
I found MERP to be a better 'streamlined' version of RM, and is pretty easy to run as a generic fantasy rpg, dropping the Middle-earth connection. Plus you can add components of RM if you want.
 

Marius B

Euro-Trash
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#25
I ran RMFRP for years and years. I did convert rounds to three seconds and move distances and ranges to metrics and I simplified the turn sequence system from RMFRP a great deal. I did not, however, use multiple copies of AL. I had a single one where I'd put in post-it notes sticking out at each attack table for weapons PC's normally used and I'd stick them in for tables that I knew I'd need.
Under RAW, parrying is of questionable merit. If you think you'll probably have initiative, it's almost certainly not worth it - you can only parry against the opponent you're attacking, and since it protects your opponent as much as it does you, you're likely better off putting everything into OB and hoping you'll at least stun them. If I run RM again (and I might), I'll definitely make some houserules about parrying.
 

randlathor66

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#26
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.
As someone who has done both, I can say with certainty that it did at our table. But, I also don't believe in giving the players the attack tables. Why? Because they don't know the numbers (OB, DB, how much they are parrying, etc...) of their opponents so it really doesn't matter if they have the table. All the players have to do (which I think makes it much easier for them) is to determine who they are attacking, how much OB to use for DB, roll the dice and add it up and tell the GM. Then the GM will tell them if they need to bother rolling a critical or not. They don't/won't know the exact effect of the hit (even if their opponent "drops" because who knows if they are faking it or not?), just the flavor description the GM offers.

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.
Yes, yes and Hell yes. I even give Fate Points a greater effect when using them defensively. (Not sure if that is RAW or a house rule, I forget.)

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.
Herbs never seemed to make it into my games (as player or GM). I think that is primarily because they would generally follow the D&D route of making sure someone had healing magic, so the herbs would be not as necessary. In a game setting like MERP I would feel they would be much more necessary as healing magic isn't nearly as prevalent as it is in you typical fantasy setting.
We were using it to play in the Wheel of Time world.
Oh lucky you! I would love to play a Wheel of Time game using RM rules. I feel it could/would work out great. The one time I played a Wheel of Time game we were using the HERO system, which worked OK, but I feel that RM (and Earthdawn with it's thread magic) would be better. The one time I ran a WoT game I did it with the new D20 book that came out way back when (early 2000s?), and while my players loved it, the system just didn't fit imo.
I ran RMFRP for years and years. I did convert rounds to three seconds and move distances and ranges to metrics and I simplified the turn sequence system from RMFRP a great deal. I did not, however, use multiple copies of AL. I had a single one where I'd put in post-it notes sticking out at each attack table for weapons PC's normally used and I'd stick them in for tables that I knew I'd need.
Under RAW, parrying is of questionable merit. If you think you'll probably have initiative, it's almost certainly not worth it - you can only parry against the opponent you're attacking, and since it protects your opponent as much as it does you, you're likely better off putting everything into OB and hoping you'll at least stun them. If I run RM again (and I might), I'll definitely make some houserules about parrying.
This actually brings up one of my house rules, as I felt that RM RAW was far to punishing for players (take the worst bonus, can only defend against the person you attack - in a 10-second combat round, no less!, etc...). I like to say that whatever OB you use for DB applies to all attacks in a round. "What?!?" You say. "That is far too powerful." Nope. Think about it. You are surrounded by attackers. The guys from the front arc will be "normal" (no special modifiers), the guys on the side will get a +15 and the ones in the back are getting a +35. Still not too bad, huh? Well add in the fact that everyone on the sides and back are not likely to be using any OB for DB (not like you can attack them effectively, so no need to worry - lets not get into "Reverse Stroke" here just yet, ok?), so they will likely be using their full OBs, as well as one or two of the guys in front. And, like in other games, just getting attacked multiple times per round is likely to mean bad things for your character. Add in RMs critical hit system and it becomes really bad. Being ganged up on in RM is bad enough, no reason to make it the ultra-kill situation.

Also, I would suggest ditching the percentage of action concept, it can be really confusing. The idea that someone couldn't fire an arrow each 10-second round without taking a negative for "loading" is silly, and I would just use some of the percentages as initiative modifiers. For example: you have to first move to attack your opponent, so the distance you move will modify your initiative, making you act a little later in the round. (I really don't like the "I do everything in the fraction of a second" style of initiative anymore. I can deal with it, I just prefer to not.) I would keep the declaration then rolling initiative process, and keeping the "Snap, Normal, Deliberate" action mods. Its as easy as saying to your players, "do you want to rush your action (snap), take the normal time (normal), or wait for a better opening (deliberate)?"
 

Rupert

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#27
Under RAW, parrying is of questionable merit. If you think you'll probably have initiative, it's almost certainly not worth it - you can only parry against the opponent you're attacking, and since it protects your opponent as much as it does you, you're likely better off putting everything into OB and hoping you'll at least stun them. If I run RM again (and I might), I'll definitely make some houserules about parrying.
Indeed. Parrying has the primary effect of slowing the fight down. The main value is if you are more skilled than your opponent, but slower, in which case lowering their chances of stunning you is very worthwhile.

Because RM combat is very swingy, long fights favour the less skilled, and that usually means the NPCs - the longer the fight goes on, the more likely random open-ends occur, and they tend to be fight-enders. The PCs really want to fight like Spec Ops operators - from surprise with maximum violence and intensity, keeping the fight length as short as possible.
 

Spartan

Tarpit Gamer
Validated User
#29
Rolemaster is one of my favourites. You do need to be organized though. It is also swingy, like any other linear system. Don't make the players roll more than necessary. If they're competent, just take normal situations as an auto succeed. The more rolls, the dicier things get. Definitely use "let it ride" as much as possible. For things like climbing, fails don't have to mean a fall, but rather failure to find a way up, etc. If there is a fall, allow an opportunity to catch themselves.

The declaration of intent is important, as stated earlier. Otherwise parry is too potent. It's an assumption of the system that combatants will parry with a significant portion of their OB, though.

I also use narrative devices such as fate points. Once you've gotten everything in place, Rolemaster has a feel like nothing else and is worth the effort.

MERP is also another great option, as seen in my sig.
 

smug

Better you better you bet
Validated User
#30
I love what's nowadays called RM2 or RMC, and it's a big part of why I moved away from AD&D 1e (Runequest being the other part, although I didn't really get into Runequest until III, when they moved away from the ties to Glorantha. Fucking ducks). I wasn't a fan of RMSS, because I found chargen too fiddly (unlike RM2, where I loved chargen and did it for fun), but opinions vary on that subject. On the charts, I think they're great and don't find them problematic, particularly not when the core rules are in pdf and I can just print out a bunch as I want. Some people hate the idea of charts (some people even disliked the resistance roll table in RQ because it's a chart); I don't have any problem with them, myself, but not everyone is me and just as well, there's only so much handsome the world can stand.

I find that the system in practice isn't too complex, although how you decide to do the action order does make a difference (CEATS gives you a second-by-second approach, I think that's available at GuildCompanion). I love how professions are really aptitude templates, and all skills are available to all people; I far prefer that approach to the D&D-style classes.

On the whole, I don't have a huge amount of confidence in new ICE's ability to bring a workable new edition to market, or that it'll be great, but I like the old edition anyhow so I don't need to wait for the one Rolemaster to rule them all. I do think that John Seal (the owner of the ICE IP) has his heart in the right place, however. Also, I love Shadow World, and Terry Amthor is still working on that (and I have a full collection of the ICE Middle Earth material: not the same as Tolkien's Middle Earth, but I think a lot better for RPGing in than the literary version).

I am really looking forward to seeing what Blacky the Blackball produces. He really knows what he's doing in the retroclone business.
 
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