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Rolemaster Rules


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#1 centauri

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 06:27 PM

Could someone provide a little run-down on the basic rules of Rolemaster? I hear a lot of numbers tossed around, but I don't really see how they interact.

What constitutes a "Hit"?
How is damage determined?
When is a hit a "Critical"? It seems like almost every hit is a critical.
What do the letters and numbers of a critical mean?
What does it mean to "max" a target?
How do skills work, in general?
How many skills do the characters have? All of them? With how many are they considered "good"?

Thanks in advance.
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#2 Hal

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 07:12 PM

I'll take a crack at this one just as I am finishing up in class :)

What constitutes a "Hit"?

Each character (and monster) has an Offensive Bonus with certain weapons or natural abilities. This is derived from the number of ranks in the appropriate weapon skill plus a number derived from their stats (the average of Str/Str/Ag for melee and the average of Ag/Ag/Str) plus a bonus derived from their profession which increases each level. This can be further complicated by the use of magical weapons but we are not going there.

This number is their total bonus with that category of weapon (there are 6 categories). To attack someone they roll a d100 and add this number to the roll - so you will hear Chris and David sometimes get very large numbers when they roll well. You then minus the targets Defensive Bonus (their ability to dodge out of the way).

This number is then compared on the table for the appropraite weapon - so for David he would look up the resulting number on the War Mattock table. This table lists the 20 armour types and weapon results from 0 - 150. Crossreferecing the targets armour type with the weapon results gives you a hit result. This is expressed as a number of hits and possible a critical. Different types of weapons do different damage against different armour types. So you might get a 24BK (or 24 damage to hit points and a B Krush critical).

If you score a crit you roll again on the appropriate column of the approrpite crit table :)

There easy. It is very long winded when you type it out but it is really quite quick as the players have photocopies of their weapon tables and I know my way around the book :)

How is damage determined?

See above :)

When is a hit a "Critical"? It seems like almost every hit is a critical.

Not all hits critical - sometimes they just do extra damage. Due to his armour type of 20 (plate mail) Chris takes a lot less crits than David in AT 12.

What do the letters and numbers of a critical mean?

See above :)

What does it mean to "max" a target?

If you max a target it means you have rolled 150 or over. If you roll a truly huge number you can do what is called a wrap around (not a reach around) and hit so hard you do two or even 3 crits with a single hit :)

How do skills work, in general?

Generally skills are determined the same way as weapon skills. You have ranks which you purchase each level, a bonus from stats and perhaps a bonus from your profession. This determines a total bonus. When you want to perform a skill check you roll d100 and add you skill minusing any penalties and if you get 101 or over you succeed. If you are being resisted than you can roll on the Movement or Static Maneuaver table (you can also use this if characters try something silly.

Then the GM deteremines how difficult the task is (from Easy to Adsurd) and they make a roll and add their skill, compare it to the table and protentially roll again or fall and break their face :)

How many skills do the characters have? All of them? With how many are they considered "good"?

There are loads of skills in Rolemaster. The characters have a good broad spread of skills. Generally 20 - 30 is considered about right but it depends on your profession and where you want to take it. Technically if David wanted to (as a Bashkar) he could learn magic if he wanted to spend the skill points each level.

Hope that helps :)

Cheers
Hal :hal:
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#3 centauri

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 07:48 PM

Thanks, that will help make the recordings much clearer.

There easy. It is very long winded when you type it out but it is really quite quick as the players have photocopies of their weapon tables and I know my way around the book :)

It doesn't sound like it takes much time in-game. How do the players know what armor type to reference? (Maybe it's mentioned and I just don't notice it - or maybe you're referencing the table for them?)

How about magic? I hear mention of magic points and spell lists. Can characters cast any spell on the list, if they have enough points and are willing to take the risk of overcasting?
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#4 Wryce

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 08:10 PM

Hal tells 'em what armor type they are hitting, usually. In Hal's game, the players have power points, and spells cost a number of points equal to their level on the list. You can't cast a spell over your level without overcasting, I don't think. I'm a little hazy on those rules, because the players have items that provide Adders, which are basically free spells. Because of an optional rule, they're also free spells that can be of any level.
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#5 Hal

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 09:54 PM

Thats mostly correct :) The characters who can cast spells have an innate number of Power Points which they can use to cast spells. You can easily cast spells of their level or lower using these points. If they try to cast spells above their level they have to overcast and things get sticky.

When a caster spends skill points they are spending them for a chance of learning a spell list. Pure spell casters (like Lindsay and Ned) can learn the first 10 spells on a list with a successful roll. Then they have to start at 0 again and spend more points to study further. So technically a level 1 character has the knowledge to cast level 10 spells :)

There are magical items call spell adders which allow a caster to cast any spell they know. We are using an optional rule that lets the casters use the adder to overcast as well without suffering the overcasting penalties. Unfortunately for Lindsay it still takes 3 rounds to cast spells so if she wants a spell to happen in the same round she has to overcast to reduce the casting time :)

There is also an additional category of magical item called the power point multiplier. This multiplies the natural power points a caster has so that he can cast more spells each day (without using an adder).

That making some sense?

Hal :hal:
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#6 centauri

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 10:58 PM

Pure spell casters (like Lindsay and Ned) can learn the first 10 spells on a list with a successful roll. Then they have to start at 0 again and spend more points to study further. So technically a level 1 character has the knowledge to cast level 10 spells :)

A list has one spell per level?

That making some sense?

Yes, and in fact it sounds very familiar, as if maybe you've posted this before. Sorry if I'm making you tread over old ground (though, I gather it's a topic close to your heart.)
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#7 Mordion

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 11:49 PM

It's funny it should feel familiar to you too centauri. While I was reading the thread, and while reading an intro to rolemaster (http://www.ironcrown...owDoIPlayRM.pdf, if you're interested) I had the strongest feeling that I'd seen this before, though I could swear I've never looked it up and I've definitely never played it.

Maybe rolemaster knowledge is just instinctual. :D
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#8 Telemergion

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 02:44 PM

I'm actually learning the rolemaster system as we speak, largely due to the recordings here. I have to say, this system would take a lot longer to pick up and figure out if it wasn't for Hal and the gang pretty much covering all my questions.

One thing that is proving difficult will be character creation if/when I get some players onboard. We'll be playing online, likely, and my friends I would love to get involved don't all have the time to work through the books on their own, learning to build a character and whatnot. But it seems like I recall Hal saying something early in the recordings about having written and tallied the sheets himself after getting character concepts and rolls, and I'm wondering if that's true.

Also, Hal, any tips for a beginner Rolemaster GM?
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#9 Rum_151

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 09:40 PM

Also, Hal, any tips for a beginner Rolemaster GM?


You mean besides a good set of spectacles for all the flipping tables???
8O
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#10 Telemergion

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 07:53 AM

Also, Hal, any tips for a beginner Rolemaster GM?


You mean besides a good set of spectacles for all the flipping tables???
8O


I've had those since I was 9. However I am adapting the Dewey Decimal System for an RPG, which strikes me as an odd thing to do for something that's supposed to be "fun" :P
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#11 Quark35

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 06:41 PM

I love playing Rolemaster, but am glad we have a GM beihnd the screen who knows like Hals does!
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#12 centauri

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 05:38 PM

Some more questions:

What does "Foe loses initiative" mean?
What does "Foe forced to parry" mean and why is it bad? Do combatants ever parry willingly?
What's a "stun maneuver"?
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#13 Wryce

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 05:52 PM

When you start a battle, you roll for initiative, i.e. who goes first. In regular rules, it's complicated and you have to do it every single round. Hal just has a straight roll plus quickness to determine turn order for the entire combat, as it's much simpler. When a foe loses initiative, that means they go after whomever hit them with the critical that caused them to lose initiative. That or they go last. I don't recall.

In Rolemaster, you have an offensive bonus, that adds to your attack, and a defensive bonus, which subtracts from the enemies attack. If you so choose, you can take part of or all of your offensive bonus and add it to your defensive bonus instead. When you are forced to parry, all of your offensive bonus has to go to defensive.

Stunned Maneuver is a skill, and a successful use of this skill allows you to act normally when stunned.
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#14 Hal

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 06:02 PM

Thanks for that :) Yes, Initiative can be terribly complicated in the actual rules. Technically everyone is supposed to generate their initiative and then we start with the slowest and they have to declare their actions so those who are faster can react appropriately. It is a good idea but when you have to run backwards up the initiative for declarations and then the other way down for the actual actions to be resolved.

Essentially it doubles the time it takes for combat so we use an optional rule that makes things faster and easier :P

Hal :hal:
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#15 centauri

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 06:14 PM

When a foe loses initiative, that means they go after whomever hit them with the critical that caused them to lose initiative. That or they go last. I don't recall.

Okay, so basically it means that if they've already gone whomever hit them will get another turn before they do, right? What if they're already going after you in the initiative order?

When you are forced to parry, all of your offensive bonus has to go to defensive.

I assume that means that there's almost no chance of you being able to hit in that case. On the other hand, it seems as though parrying would make you pretty hard to hit.

If this were D&D, I'd expect to hear things like "Oh, actually that's a miss because he's fighting defensively," but I don't recall hearing things in Hal's game like "Sorry, your last attack made him parry this round, so your attack this round misses." I guess what I'm saying is that this seems like more than a little to keep track of, and I'm wondering what Hal does to keep it all straight.

Thanks for the answers. They will enhance my listening. (And my apologies, as I'm sure these were addressed at an earlier point, probably in one of the recordings.)

I like the idea behind the more complicated initiative, but it does sound time consuming.
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#16 Hal

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 06:20 PM

I have a notebook full of scribbling :)

Generally I only let intelligent creatures parry. I have issues with animals blocking incoming blows to be honest and their ability to dodge is already covered by their defensive bonus.

It can be a pain if you are forced to parry but you are correct, you are much less likely to be hit. The party rarely parry, I think Goggles does it sometimes when he is fighting and I think Chris has done it from time to time but it is an excellent tactic to use, especially against a single large creature.

Whoever the monster goes for, parries completely and the rest of the group all out attack. If it switches targets, the new target all out parries the next round and so on.

I do not tend to use parrying overly much with my NPCs as they are generally bandits and mutants and stuff. When they get to fighting highly trained combatants they will see much more parrying. I also have the issue of trying to hit the party (who can have some very high DBs) :) It is walking the line between having enough skill left to hit and keeping enough back to defend.

It is a nice mechanic when it is used correctly :D

Hal :hal:
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#17 Mordion

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 03:33 PM

I was considering buying a few rolemaster books and trying to get some people together to see if it's as much fun playing as it is listening, but I've found myself a bit stymied by the options at ICE's website. So, a few questions, if I may:

What's the difference/which do you use of Rolemaster Classic, Rolemaster Fantasy Role Playing, and Rolemaster Standard System?

What books would you consider to be 'core' books? (Hopefully not more than 3 or 4 :) )

Any particularly brilliant non-core books?

This isn't really a question about buying books, but I just finished listening to sessions 8 and 9 (the great shopping episodes) and was just blown away by how interesting, creative and generally multi-faceted the magic items acquired were, is that typical of rolemaster? ie, were many/most of those published items, or is this just Hal's creative genius?
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#18 Wryce

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 03:44 PM

Well, you need the character, spell, and arms law books as the 'core' books. Rolemaster Classic is a revised version of what Hal is using. If you can find the Rolemaster companions on Ebay or something, I recommend getting them, as well, as they're very nice.
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#19 Bazorkin

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 05:15 PM

And there's now HARP, which, from a review I listened to, is still very strongly Rolemaster.
Anybody got any experience with it?
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#20 Wryce

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 07:04 PM

Oh, and I do believe the magic items were all works of Hal's personal genius. I think he should have a talk with the DnD 4e people about what magic items REALLY are.
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