Monday, January 4, 2010

Presenting....Our 2010 Special Project

OK, so I promised that with the New Year I'd be announcing a certain "old-school" game I'd be doing some special articles on this year. Old-school, but still in production. Misunderstood, maligned, but with a place in the development and legacy of gaming. A RPG almost never discussed in our current blogosphere. A game with imaginary, unseen turtles. Did I say too much?


No? Here's a visual hint:





Need another? No peeking, now!:






OK, you'll get it this time:





That's right, Rolemaster. Mainly Rolemaster 2nd Edition (surviving nowadays in new form as Rolemaster Classic). Rolemaster of the open-ended critical hits. Rolemaster of the hilarious fumble charts. Rolemaster of the reputation for a ridiculously complex ruleset. Rolemaster, where even a pissant stableboy can sometimes--just sometimes, every once in a great while--get lucky and kill an evil knight with a sharp stick.

Actually, I think you'll find as we go through this that there's a simple concept and ruleset at the heart of Rolemaster, and once you figure out what's what and what products go with what and the history of the game (all of which we'll be covering, along with special Iron Crown interviews, coupons, in-depth articles, and more--my readers get taken care of), well, you might give it another look. Even if you don't, it should be a fun ride along the way.

Obviously, this isn't the only thing we'll be doing at RPG Blog 2 in 2010. But I do hope you'll join me over the next 12 months for an in-depth look at a game that deserves another look.



Oh, yes. This is going to be fun.

21 comments:

Rich said...

Oh wow! Awesome--I wish you luck! Looking forward to this. MERP player who dabbled in RM before going to HARP here. Been really curious about Rolemaster Classic.

Mouse said...

I loved and hated MERP's combat system. With those horrific critical tables one thing was always certain... combat was always taken *very* seriously and entered only at need! Best of luck on the project!

Zachary The First said...

That's true. Both MERP and RM encourage a stealthier, more cautious mindset. Wading into combat is fun, but like real combat, can be immediately lethal.

D. G. Martin said...

Rolemaster has definitely received a new breath of life in the last couple of years thanks to Rolemaster Classic and now Rolemaster Express. One of the most enjoyable things about the system is that I feel true roleplaying is encouraged more so than moving from encounter to encounter in a D&D like fashion. Looking forward to the series.

- ArmoryDave

Chgowiz said...

Knowing nothing about Rolemaster save its reputation, I'm looking forward to learning more. Is there a free option to get the jist of the game?

Bonemaster said...

Rolemaster. Well, This should be interesting set of posts. I personally haven't done RM in at least three years, even though I have a whole shelf of RMSS and RM2 stuff.

RPGProfiler said...

Well, there’s Rolemaster Express, which is sort of a stripped down Rolemaster Classic in 88 pages, but it isn’t free. It’s only like 3.75 at ICE’s store or 5 at Drive thru RPG, and I think it’s like 10 bucks for the print copy. It’s a really good value—I picked up that, then added bits and pieces from Classic along the way.

Ragnorakk said...

Yay! Looking forward to this! RM is where I went and stayed for a long time to escape 2nd edition AD&D - still love it, still recognize it's influence in my own more rule-lite gaming these days.

Invisibvle turtles indeed!

Dr-Rotwang said...

Okay, so I totally figured this out as soon as I saw the dice, because "96" is the threshold for open-ended rolls in Rolemaster. So I rock. Hard, too. Like...making ninja weep. I don't know how I do it.

Ah, anyway. So -- there was a time when RM was my go-to FRPG, especially after I was getting a little burnt out on AD&D 2nd Ed,and a guy named Jeff Lee gave me his old Rolemaster stuff. I felt, at the time, that AD&D felt like playing TSR's game, but RM felt like my game. (Whatever.) At that point I dropped AD&D like a greasy fingernail taco.

These days (19 or so years later), it' different. The other day I tried to roll up a spell-user and I was all, like, HOLY CRAP I DON'T REMEMBER HOW TO DO THIS AND I DON'T FEEL LIKE READING UP ON IT TO REMEMBER. It's weird.

But still...! I'm looking forward to whatever you hafta say about it because, yes, you're right, the RoleMaster doesn't get its love anymore.

And it should. Dammit!

YOU KIDS GET OFFA MY LAWN!

greywulf said...

Woot! I adore Rolemaster and would kill to have a gaming group who aren't such stick-in-the-mud tightasses so I could play it again :D

Give me Character Law & Campaign Law, Arms & Claw Law and Spell Law and RMC II and I'm like a pig in clover. Heck, I've even got my original Arms Law yellow cards sitting on the bookshelf right now.

Looking forward to what you have to say. Swink the Killer Ferret forever!

greywulf said...

Oh, and for a free system which gets you into the Rolemaster way of doing things, I highly recommend HARP Lite, from the Free Downloads section at HARP HQ.

Zachary The First said...

@Doc: Man, I hear you. Rolemaster was a blast when I got burnt out on what I had been playing. CharGen can be a bear, but that’s one of the things I hope to cover. Our last CharGen session (for Rolemaster SS/FRP, with a group containing some seriously math-hating people) resembled that Bataan Death March. But once those characters were made, it was all like “ZING POW BAM BLAST K-POW!”

Zachary The First said...

@Greywulf: That’s true. Although HARP is definitely lighter, it does give you an idea of the entire ICE-style percentiles business, and how it works.

Harald said...

Heh. Rulemaster... I had temporarily forgotten that golden oldie. I used the system in a low-magic world back in the day (little available magical healing), and the PCs soon had crushed knees, missing fingers, hands, or eyes, hideous burns, gangrenous legs and similar hilarious damages and scars. Good times :)

Zachary The First said...

Rolemaster is one of those games where it seems like everyone has a good, lethal story!

Schuyler said...

I must say Zach that I miss this system so. While it was crazy to create characters at the time (seems quite simplistic now) I was totally thrilled by the concept of your editorial. I would totally love to find a group to play it again. It was a blast sir.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just remembered! Rolling 66 was always great fun as the result was seldom leathal, but always painful.

Johnn Four said...

We had one of our best combats ever with RMSS. Wolves, guards, night, fog and river mixed with lots of steel and a bit of mentalism. Good times!

I also think the Heat Water I spell is highly underrated.

Eric Wilde said...

Ah, Rolemaster. My wife and I played this game exclusively for about 10 years. Great fun. Looking forward to the articles.

bookmarked your site just now because of this post (just discovered your blog today from Grayhawk Grognard.)

Eric Wilde said...

Ack! I can't spell. Greyhawk Grognard, of course.

Zachary The First said...

Yeah, Greyhawk Grognard's a great blog--one of my favorites.