Monday, April 5, 2010

Rules Cyclopedia: A Perfect Idea For Rolemaster?

I make no bones about the fact that I love the D&D Rules Cyclopedia. When WotC still sold pdfs, it was my biggest recommendation to people wanting to dive into classic D&D. It was my introduction to D&D, along with a hodgepodge of AD&D 1e supplements. I think what I loved most, as I took my first turns as a Game Master, was that you had this volume that seemed to include everything you needed for what we thought of as a "full campaign". All the weapons lists, all the compiled rules, progression for levels 1-36, and rules to progress to Immortality thereafter were all in this one 300-page book.

As much as I like the easy-entry product like the Rolemaster Express book for Rolemaster Classic, I really think a book that included all of Rolemaster Character Law, Arms Law, and Creatures & Monsters in one book--not the trilogy it is now. Figure out a way to smash down Spell Law to where it will fit. Add in a full Herbs & Poisons list, as that always seems to be a big hit with the players. Don't tell me it can't be done--D&D Rules Cyclopedia effectively compiled 4 boxed sets, plus new material, plus a setting overview, in 304 pages. Pathfinder is over 570 pages. I have to think the above Rolemaster product would be somewhere in the middle of those two, but hardly unfeasible.

Rolemaster's strength is in its charts and tables, and the abbreviated ones in the Express version of the game do not do it justice. I think the Express approach is great for a low-cost introduction to the system, but more and more, I'm growing to appreciate RPGs that give you everything needed in one compiled product.

I'm sure there are other games out here that would benefit from this approach, but Rolemaster is the first to come to mind. Thoughts, or other candidates for this treatment?


Greyaxe said...

Although from a business perspective selling many smaller books is more profitable. I would love an encyclopedia but rather than do a book I suggest, a program. An app, perhaps pc and another “light” version for smart phones. You could then purchase cheap, perhaps HTML based pages or plug-ins with lots of pictures, based on the version of RM and the next “law” book or “companion” you wish to add. It would eliminate the need for individual PDF’s and given ICE direction at the moment (focusing on a Facebook like game for electronic play) this new application to replace traditional books would fit well.

Zachary The First said...

@Greyaxe: Those are some interesting ideas—I’ve always been a fan of programs as complements of systems, if not directly replacements. One of the things I’ll be tracking closely is RPG integration and utilization for the i-pad.

Gibbering Ghoul said...

I think there was a massive one off combined Rolemaster book right before Rolemaster Classic / Express. Very expensive and was simply the books printed one after the other under one cover. ICE may still have copies left. I'm assuming you want something much cheaper, perhaps softcover?

Well, I do think a single volume Rolemaster would be nice, as having to buy 3+ (3-6?) books just to run a game is a bit of a turnoff and while Rolemaster Express is nice, it is a bit limited and somewhat proof of concept.

HARP I think has a nice balance for the core book, but then it's not 100% Rolemaster and a bit more compact.

As for computer support, yes please! I don't think the promised HARP chargen support ever materialized and Rolemaster would benefit even more than HARP in this regard. A computer aid to track all the mods and numbers would ease the system into the background. IMO Rolemaster's one of the better candidates for a CRPG that has never gotten one.

Eric Wilde said...

I saw the D&D Rules Cyclopedia at a used bookstore today and picked it up to buy it. Its a rare find and I was really interested in getting it. Then I looked at the price.

Shabby condition (broken binding)