Jump to content

rolemaster as a guide for fantasy


Recommended Posts

I heard good things about Stormbringer but never got a crack at it. I'd rather try that than play MERP again.

We've played this, way back in the dark ages. It was a pretty cool, very atmospheric game, based on the call of cthulu ruleset, but awfully unbalanced with regard to magic. In true Elric style, magic was based on summoning, and it was not that hard to get something that could do whatever you needed. The major block was negotiating with the GM to persuade the summonings to do what you want. We used to joke about casting the spell "I win".

Combat was also extremely lethal, and without access to ready healing, I recall lots of dead PCs littering our adventures. Still, compared to all the D&D clones around at the time, it was a breath of fresh air.

 

Cheers, Mark

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 122
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Stormbringer has gone through a few editions, there have been quite a few changes, especially the magic system. I think I have the first edition, where all sorcery involves summoning extra-planar beings. Makes for a nice sword & sorcery game, even if you don't set it in Elric's world. I just ran a module a couple of weeks ago. It went pretty well.

 

I may alternate running MERP and Stormbringer. May I'll even run a Fantasy HERO game soon. ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Stormbringer has gone through a few editions, there have been quite a few changes, especially the magic system. I think I have the first edition, where all sorcery involves summoning extra-planar beings. Makes for a nice sword & sorcery game, even if you don't set it in Elric's world. I just ran a module a couple of weeks ago. It went pretty well.

 

I may alternate running MERP and Stormbringer. May I'll even run a Fantasy HERO game soon. ;)

I would just set a Fantasy Hero game in those world settings and be done with it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

 

Other than that, I find RoleMaster to be difficult when it comes to exporting bits and pieces of it. It's a pretty integrated system. I know that Arms Law was intended to work with other early RPGs, but I haven't ever seen someone doing that.

 

I had been playing AD&D 1st edition when Arms Law was first published.  I did adopt it as a combat system for AD&D.  It is too lethal for my taste for low level characters.  Above about 5th level it works quite well.  It discourages PCs from wading in to bash on everything because it is a more "dangerous" system.  I absolutely loved Spell Law as an addition to AD&D and used it that way until all of Rolemaster was available.

 

I used both AD&D and Rolemaster as sources for magic years ago in creating a fantasy campaign using the Champions rules in the days before Fantasy Hero.  Fantasy Hero did a much better job of consistent rules and game balance than I did.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There has always been a strong tie between RoleMaster products and the Hero System thanks to licensing at that time and the fact that many of the I.C.E. staff were huge Champions players (shout out to Rob and Chad). I actually worked for I.C.E in the late 80's and did the RM to Hero conversions for the ShadowWorld products.  It was my only actual paid gig for the gaming industry - pay was crap, but I loved every minute of it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There has always been a strong tie between RoleMaster products and the Hero System thanks to licensing at that time and the fact that many of the I.C.E. staff were huge Champions players (shout out to Rob and Chad). I actually worked for I.C.E in the late 80's and did the RM to Hero conversions for the ShadowWorld products. It was my only actual paid gig for the gaming industry - pay was crap, but I loved every minute of it.

So you're the culprit!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep ==> Blame me if there are things wrong with the conversions - which I know there are.

 

Wow, that was so long ago... Damn, I'm gett'n old.

 

Those writeups were awful!

 

Dont get me wrong though. I understand what happened.

 

1:in all liklihood, they didnt give you a whole lot of time to do them

 

2: you had an extremely limited amount of space to work with.

 

3: back in those days, most Hero players were coming from Champions and had very little to no experience balancing Hero for a Heroic Fantasy game.

 

In other words, you did the best you could with what they gave you to work with.

 

It didnt help that the Fantasy Hero book back then didnt really take advantage of Hero's versatility. The book was fond of telling you that you couldnt do X or Y which ended up severly limiting peoples games (such as "In Fantasy Hero, we dont use Power Frameworks for spells...those are for Superhero games"....when Multipowers were the perfect mechanic to mimic the Rolemaster spell system)

 

So yeah...not much you could do there. Your conversions were extraordinarily handy to give us a base to work from. Which saved me a lot of time having to wwrite everything from scratch.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep ==> Blame me if there are things wrong with the conversions - which I know there are.

 

Wow, that was so long ago... Damn, I'm gett'n old.

I just revisited your conversions for the Emer book and Atlus Addendum. I have to apologize sir. Your actual conversion work is quite good at closer examination. At least in the Emer boxed set, you are very consistent in your conversions from Rolemaster to Hero stats. Not an easy feat to be sure. The main problem with some of the information is mostly stuff thats missing, which in all liklihood is an editing issue and not at all your fault.

 

One of the problems I do have with the writeups are the skill competence of some of the signature NPCs such as the Jherak Ahrenreth. At least two of these characters have an entire list of skills in the 24+ skill roll zone. Thats crazy, even for their level of competence. Even with their INT of 30, most of their skills default to 15 or less. I can see most of their skills being in the 18-20 zone, but more than that seems excessive to me. I'm just curious as to the method you used to convert RM skill ranks amd bonuses to Hero skill rolls.

 

Oh and your conversion for "Reesilliance of Form" is something I really liked and still use to this day. Defending as a Large creature adds 25% damage reduction. And defending as a Super Large creature adds 50%damage redduction. Sheer brilliance.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just revisited your conversions for the Emer book and Atlus Addendum. I have to apologize sir. Your actual conversion work is quite good at closer examination. At least in the Emer boxed set, you are very consistent in your conversions from Rolemaster to Hero stats. Not an easy feat to be sure. The main problem with some of the information is mostly stuff thats missing, which in all liklihood is an editing issue and not at all your fault.

 

One of the problems I do have with the writeups are the skill competence of some of the signature NPCs such as the Jherak Ahrenreth. At least two of these characters have an entire list of skills in the 24+ skill roll zone. Thats crazy, even for their level of competence. Even with their INT of 30, most of their skills default to 15 or less. I can see most of their skills being in the 18-20 zone, but more than that seems excessive to me. I'm just curious as to the method you used to convert RM skill ranks amd bonuses to Hero skill rolls.

 

Oh and your conversion for "Reesilliance of Form" is something I really liked and still use to this day. Defending as a Large creature adds 25% damage reduction. And defending as a Super Large creature adds 50%damage redduction. Sheer brilliance.

 

Thanks NSG for revisiting the material and your comments.  I was starting to take it a little bit personal there ;-)  My wife pointed out that since I have now acknowledged doing those conversions, I should expect some criticism after 25+ years. Also, now you folks know my real name.

*Peeks out the basement window with a paranoid look on his face*

 

I originally had no skills for any NPCs with more than a 20- roll. My philosophy was that even at a -5 modifier, they would still succeed 90% of the time.  But, in the editing process, they wanted the major NPCs to be very powerful, so values were changed after my conversion.  As for my actual conversion process, that was 25+ years ago - I just don't remember or have that information any more. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Any tips or examples for how to use Spell Law on the fly in Hero?

 

My advice is to never use any Non-Hero material on the fly.  Take the time and plan what you want to do and how you want to do it.  If you want to use Spell Master spell lists, go ahead and convert the lists your characters or NPCs will be using.  If you want to have the spell lists as tomes found as treasure, either convert the lists ahead of time or tell the players it will take time to research the tomes. The later gives you time to convert them while they are doing the research. The point here is to know what you are tossing into the campaign before you add it.  That way, you don't end up accidentally unbalancing things.

 

In the campaign I am currently creating, I want to have something akin to Lay Healing (e.g. RoleMaster).  I am finding this very difficult to do cost effectively, but I will keep tinkering with it until I get it the way I want it.  Had I just thrown it in, I would have to go back and change it over and over until I got it right.  This is very frustrating for your players and looks like you didn't plan appropriately. All of us GMs want to always appear like we're really smart and have our shit together.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My advice is to never use any Non-Hero material on the fly. Take the time and plan what you want to do and how you want to do it. If you want to use Spell Master spell lists, go ahead and convert the lists your characters or NPCs will be using. If you want to have the spell lists as tomes found as treasure, either convert the lists ahead of time or tell the players it will take time to research the tomes. The later gives you time to convert them while they are doing the research. The point here is to know what you are tossing into the campaign before you add it. That way, you don't end up accidentally unbalancing things.

Itcan be done on the fly, but the GM needs to know both Hero and RM very welle to get the balance right. As long as they make notes of what they do for later referrence to maintain consistency.

 

In the campaign I am currently creating, I want to have something akin to Lay Healing (e.g. RoleMaster). I am finding this very difficult to do cost effectively, but I will keep tinkering with it until I get it the way I want it. Had I just thrown it in, I would have to go back and change it over and over until I got it right. This is very frustrating for your players and looks like you didn't plan appropriately. All of us GMs want to always appear like we're really smart and have our shit together.

What element of Lay Healing did you want to mimic? I'm suure I could throw out some suggestions.

Link to post
Share on other sites

RM's his healing paradigm was quite original for a RPG community used to Clerics being both healer and utility caster. The sheer variety of ists you needed to learn meant you'd probably have to be a specialist healer,and the Transferral Ways (take the wounds onto yourself and have lots of "cast while unconscious" cures to fix all the broken bits was... novel.

I mimic the RM2 healing method, just in a less draconian way. I require a Transform spell to heal the wound itself (if its an Impairing or Disabling wound) to remove wound penalties. Then a Healing spell to restore the Body and/or Stun. If one wanted, they could use the Transform method to force the healer to cast a different spell per type of organ being healed (skin, bone, muscle, nerve, blood, vital) which means on the worst wounds, up to 7 spells are needed to completely heal the wounded patient. I am not that mean. I only require two (wound and hit points).

 

As far as Transferral Ways is concerned, that is easily done as a Side Effect on the individual healing spells where the caster takes as much as they healed. With an spell on a trigger that kicks in automatically which regenerates everything eventually, as long as it was acquired as a result of using Transferral Ways.

 

RM (like the (prestige) class proliferation of D&D) is its own argument against class-based systems: all those hybrid classes just so people can play the character they want to... Why not use a classless system like BRP or Hero and build your character the way you want it?

Indeed. One of the reeasons I moved to Heroe. I was playing RM2 fairly regularly when I first encountered Hero and quickly discovered it solved most of the problems I had with class and level based systems with its point based approach. Havent looked back since, except to do the occasional conversion of course.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am starting a Middle Earth Campaign for my group. We're all new to Hero System, and apparently they found the combination of a modern Dark Champions setting and a new rules system too complicated. So we've agreed to continue to learn HS but with a familiar setting, Middle Earth.

I have gone through my Rolemaster and MERP books and worked up racial templates. There seems to be two rates of conversion for the stats and stat bonuses, divide by 3 and divide by 5, I opted for the latter.

I took the Racial Quickness Bonus from RM and the average height for a race in MERP and applied them respectively to the Base Movement Rate table and the Stride Modification table (Campaign Law p.14) to get an average racial mod for running. The resulting average racial running speeds were:

 

Race                     Running

Dwarf                                     6m

Harfoot Hobbit                       7m

Fallohide Hobbit                    8m

Stoor Hobbit                          6m

Umli                                       7m

Half-Elf                                  12m

Sylvan Elf                              11m

Sindar Elf                              13m

Noldor Elf                              13m

Most Men                              10m

Haradan (northern)               11m

Haradan (southern)               12m

Lossoth                                  9m

Half-Orc                                 9m

Half-Troll                                12m

Forest and Stone Trolls         14m

Hill Trolls                                17m

Snow Trolls                            18m

Cave Trolls                             20m

Mountain Trolls                      25m

 

Trolls amy be slow but they take really big steps, so run little hobbit run. :)

 

PS: my spelling and grammar may be a tad off today, as I am currently high as a kite on endone, (sneezed and threw my back out) :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I found this site that has a chart for martial arts attacks for MERP. I never liked the rank system for martial arts in Rolemaster; Instead, I group the attacks per 5 skill ranks the character has. Note that MERP 2E has its own version of martial arts, both for strikes and sweeps. The link puts everything into one attack table and one critical hit chart. The Robin Hood Sourcebook put out years ago also had the Unarmed Combat skill.

 

Since the rules tend to be all over the place, I just wrote down my house rules and incorporated what I intend to use. I also translated a few Star Wars weapons for my science fantasy game (not set in Middle-earth).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...