Showing posts with label Iron Crown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iron Crown. Show all posts

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My History (And Future) With Rolemaster

Back in my early days as a young enlisted pup in the United States Air Force, I was introduced to a game very much unlike the versions of Dungeons and Dungeons or Rifts of the day. I really only needed a pair of percentile dice to play it. It had insane critical hits, a massive slew of character options, and the biggest spell lists I had ever seen. The game was Rolemaster, and needless to say, I played that game until my character sheet was worn out.

My GM at that time ran a sort of cheerful Rolemaster Standard System/2nd Edition hodgepodge, which ignored big swaths of the game, and threw in a ton of house rules and optional guidelines from the Rolemaster Companion series. Hey, it worked. When I decided to run it, a couple of years later, I jumped to Rolemaster Fantasy Role Playing, it being the edition of the game that was in-print at the time.

Rolemaster is famously derided (mainly by those who have never played it, I would think), as Rollmaster or Chartmaster, with the suggestion it is laborious to play. I’ve always found that to be false. Yes, there are charts to look up the success of a maneuver or critical hits, but so long as the charts are handy, resolution comes very quickly. It’s also a very fast game, since all your rolls are essentially percentile in nature. It’s also very easy to assign bonuses and penalties, or to express how difficult something is. Actual play of Rolemaster is generally very fast, especially if the Game Master is only using the parts of the system he wants. Yes, character creation is a bear, and that’s just something you learn to make as efficient as possible from experience. I have always thought the longer character creation was worth it, though.

It’s the sort of game where your Halfling Scholar can have a puncher’s chance against a Level 30 Fiend, where if the dice go well enough for you, not matter how miniscule the percentage, the incredible or weird can happen. There’s a suspense when someone rolls a 66 or 100, to see just what happens next. The critical tables are gruesome, unpredictable, and hilarious all at once. Skill monkeys can co-exist alongside fighters and (a dizzying array of) spellcasters. Anyone can learn any skill, albeit sometimes at a very heavy cost, depending on class. No matter your level, race, or class, there’s the potential for great deeds or terrible tragedy. That’s why those of us whole love Rolemaster continue to do so. We’ve seen parties of Dark Tribe Shamans, Halfling Farmers, and Gnomish Alchemists, thrown together with Wood Elf Rogues, Common Man Fighters, and High Elf Moon Mages. There’s a sort of poetry to the pluses and minuses, the modifiers, the spell lists, digging in to find another list of character options and fitting them together with skills and background options. With Rolemaster, you never feel as if you’re making the same character twice.

Now, it’s a well known fact if you threw a rock at a meeting of Iron Crown fans, you’d have just about equal odds of hitting someone who loved Rolemaster 2nd Edition/Classic, Rolemaster Standard System, Rolemaster FRP, or wanted to blow the whole thing up and start over. There are differences in the versions; though RMSS and RMFRP are fairly close together, there are some tweaks. Both are pretty big departures from Rolemaster 2e, which some RM fans consider superior.

I ended up going back to Rolemaster 2e right around the time Rolemaster Classic was released. These books cleaned up the Rolemaster 2e game, and seemed a little easier to comprehend and a bit simpler overall (again, different Rolemaster fans will have different opinions!). It was also linked to Rolemaster Express, an excellent single-volume introduction to the Rolemaster game overall.

Unfortunately, as I alluded to above, Rolemaster has had its share of the Edition Wars, which has made it extremely difficult to unite the fan base. I had hoped the RM Express/Classic would be that unifier, but the RMFRP/SS fans also are a solid part of the fan base. There doesn’t seem to be a single solution here, but there is yet another revision in the works by the current folks behind ICE.

Reading about that upcoming Rolemaster revision, I can’t say I’m exactly filled with hope for the direction of the game. Needing 5 books to play a game—let alone 3 for a player—is a non-starter today. If I had to purchase all 4 of the main Rolemaster Classic books I had to buy again today, as much as I love the game, I’d definitely hesitate—that’s a lot of money for a gamer with a family. Heck, 3 books is pushing it. The best introductory product Rolemaster has had in recent years was Rolemaster Express and the excellent Express Additions (affordable, small pdf supplements), something that has yet to be put back into print since Iron Crown went under new management. I think that’s a mistake, and one I’d like to see addressed soon. I actually lost access to all the Express Additions I downloaded, which also irks me to no end. You can keep the Rolemaster people love while updating the format to something more palatable to current gaming trends and uses. If the usual dialogue is any indication, I’m also not sure that a fan base with so much invested in their current systems will be easily swayed to adopt a new system. Over the years, regardless of Rolemaster version, the purchases add up. The hope has to be it somehow grabs the non-Rolemaster crowd and gets them playing. From what I’ve seen, I’m skeptical right now.

Right now, I’m having an amazing time with games from BareBones Fantasy to StarCluster 3, but there always remains the itch to run more Rolemaster. But when I run it, it will be from old Rolemaster 2e and Rolemaster Classic books. I hope that’s a line Iron Crown Enterprises continues to support—or license to someone who knows the system enough to give it the support and love it needs. If you’re interested in finally trying Rolemaster, and getting that badge of honor among gamers, there are a few Rolemaster Classic products in print and pdf you can pick up that might help:

-Character Law
-Arms Law
-Spell Law
-Creatures and Treasures

That’s 4 books, so it is a bit of an investment (what I wouldn’t give for a Rolemaster Classic Omnibus Edition!!), and understandable if it isn’t your cup of tea, or too much all at once. Iron Crown's price points right now aren't what I'd call conducive to affordability or casual purchase! I would also recommend tracking down a print copy of Rolemaster Express if you can, though it will be a bit tough to find one for the $10 it used to sell for, being out of print as it currently is.

I’m actually trying to fill in my library with missing titles or backup copies of old Rolemaster 2e products, as you might see from my list at Amazon on the sidebar here. If you’re in a Rolemaster 2e/Classic frame of mind, feel free to use it for your own reference as well.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Huge News Out Of Iron Crown/Rolemaster

This is big enough that I'm going to re-post the email I was sent last evening in its entirety. Bottom line, a lot of things are about to change for Iron Crown and their game lines:

Iron Crown Fans:

First, an apology – For too long, resources have been woefully short to fully meet product and service quality as promised to you, our faithful and patient customers. It’s not that our licensee, Mjolnir LLC, run by Bruce and Heike, didn’t have the best of intentions – they did. But they were beset by difficult market conditions in the gaming industry which I’m sure you are all aware of, and combined with the lack of resources, Mjolnir were unable to fully meet your needs. While it is not our place to manage this situation and we are limited in doing so under the license agreement with Mjolnir, we did provide extreme flexibility in terms of foregoing a substantial amount of royalties which provided cash support for Mjolnir LLC to correct this situation, to no avail.

When Aurigas Aldebaron LLC first acquired Iron Crown Enterprises from bankruptcy, it was with the sole intention of supporting a product loved by many, a contender to rival D&D in the 1980’s, a game company known for its exciting criticals and its “true to art” creation of the first Middle Earth -based role playing games. Sure, I hoped to make a little money on it, but really I just wanted, like all role players at one time or another, to write/work/own a game company. I figured it would eventually provide the perfect outlet for retirement from my day job.

We have worked with Mjolnir since that time, and though there were ups and downs, we appreciate the contribution they made to the further development of ICE products.

It is time, however, for a new chapter to begin.

As such, I am pleased to announce some changes at Iron Crown Enterprises. Firstly, Aurigas Aldebaron and its representatives will manage the website and forums. In addition, we plan to manage more actively the sales and marketing of our products, as well as more closely oversee execution of product development and quality, and product deliverability by our licensees. Yes, all products will still be licensed out to creative organizations and as such, we will still only have limited control over the development of the systems and settings (and that’s a good thing to as we are not game creation and development professionals). But the terms of our agreement with our licensees will ensure better performance, and we think that with the freelancing methods’ fully variable cost structure to be employed by Guild Companion, we solve a critical problem plaguing our business – lack of resources – and instead increase the amount of resources brought to bear on the whole of product creation, production and delivery.

You will find that the ICE website will continue to be a central hub for all things Iron Crown. You will find links on the ICE website directing you to our licensee sites and to where you can purchase ICE items in PDF or print-on-demand physical copies. ICE will no longer operate its own store. You will be able to find announcements and product advertisements for all ICE products on the central ICE website.

We also expect there will be some growing pains and we will make some mistakes along the way – please forgive us and we hope we will get things corrected quickly. At the same time, since this is a new way of operating, we look forward to your suggestions.

As you can see, a lot of things are changing, but many things will stay the same. You shouldn't expect a complete overhaul of the website, or major changes to the forum rules, but we do hope you eventually see some big improvements in product releases, product quality and deliverability.

In fact, we really view this as the next generation of game company management. We are attempting to cut out the middlemen, or as many of the layers as possible in getting the creative aspect of the game to the people that play it. We want to eliminate central management and distribution as much as possible. If ICE can support game developers through some marketing and web-support, these developers can do what they do best, manage their own small expenses and sell via pdf and print-on-demand, eliminating upfront and fixed costs, which lowers risk and allows for more game product creation. It also ensures that if people work on a product, they get paid from the source upon a sale.

We are also pleased to announce that Guild Companion Publications will be the licensee for our HARP, Rolemaster, Spacemaster and Cyberspace game systems, and, as they do now, be the licensee of the Shadow World background This includes the re-involvement of Terry Amthor, the creator of Shadow World, so we expect big things! . In addition, they will take over management of Cyradon setting as well.

ICEVerse as a project is expected to continue, which means RM and HARP fans will have access to a virtual table top program, and hopefully into full-fledged computer games.

We are currently in discussions on Bladestorm and the Silent Death game system license Combat Express, However nothing is finalized and we are looking for interest on this license by other parties.

We are in discussion with third parties with some of our properties and are currently seeking interested parties to manage the pirates-based Run out the Guns! and Guild Companion will be looking for help on the Cyberspace systems as well.

We plan to hold an online Q&A session in the near future and will advise you on the details of this in the near future.

That’s all for now. Thanks in advance for your continued patience and support.

The Aurigas Aldebaron Team

Wow. It sounds like this might be a tough transition for those with orders pending with the previous ICE Store. But if the Guild Companion is now involved more in ICE, I'm encouraged. Best of luck in the New Year with Rolemaster, HARP and Iron Crown's other endeavors.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Types of Supplements We Like Most

Looking through my pdf collection, it occurs to me that while I enjoy RPGs that are self-contained and don’t need a ton of splats to be playable or feel complete, I definitely went through a stage of picking up a lot of supplements during the height of the d20 craze. Most of those books are now gone, and my supplements for systems such as Castles & Crusades and Pathfinder are few indeed. It takes a lot more to make it on my shelf these days, apparently.
I think that the types of supplements I’ve enjoyed most are collections of magical items. The Encyclopedia Magica, for example, was a tremendous amount of fun, because I could flip to a random page and find something like a Rope of Ladder Enhancement. Perhaps only a small percent of those items ever saw the light of day in one of my campaigns, but the Encyclopedia Magica still ranks up there as one of my favorite supplements.

Equipment guides also seems to find their way to my shelf. Iron Crown’s …And A 10-Foot Pole is still the best equipment supplement I’ve ever used, but the 3.5e Arms & Equipment Guide found its way to my shelf early on. So did Palladium’s weapon books. I don’t know why, but long lists of weapons, trade goods, daily necessities and the like have always held a bit of a fascination for me.

Bestiaries? Not so much. I had the requisite Monster Manual, of course, but I’ve never needed a lot of baddies. I usually end up repurposing the ones in the main monster book, or creating/generating my own terrible creations. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a lovely mix of terrible beasties, but I don’t seem to support it with the wallet, either.

Other items like campaign settings (love the map, enjoy perusing the settings, but sort of have my own thing going on, unless it’s some tremendous like Hellfrost), new classes/feats/races (if it’s too exotic it probably won’t get used; if it’s another kind of elf, I don’t care), and spellbooks (I don’t play a lot of magic users, and new spells usually need to be at least nominally checked out before being allowed) have seen spot purchasing here and there.

Really, a format now largely lacking that I miss are the old Rolemaster Companions. They might have a few new races, a couple new classes, new spell lists, skills, etc., etc., all in one tome. The closest thing to this I’ve seen recently is the Pathfinder Advanced Player’s Guide, but you also want to be sure with this sort of product that you aren’t superseding or causing tons of rules updates in the original core product.

Of course, there are also GURPS supplements such as Age of Napoleon or Scarlet Pimpernel, I don’t use the GURPS system, but their sourcebooks are golden nonetheless.

So what about you? What sorts of supplements have you favored over the years?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rolemaster Coupon Reminder

Just a quick Sunday reminder--if you haven't check out our special coupon deal with Iron Crown for their Rolemaster Classic line, don't forget to do so!

All you need to do is redeem coupon code 300e81aa13 for any Rolemaster Classic order from their online store, and receive 15% off your order. Offer applies to any softcover or pdf books. If you've been wanting to look at the entry-level Rolemaster Express or the Classic line, now's your chance!

We're always looking for more special discounts for readers, so if you'd like some good publicity and want to volunteer your game or product, drop me a line at mail.rpgblog(at)!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rolemaster Reviews: Robin Hood, Vikings, and Mythic Greece

Iron Crown used to publish some wonderful campaign settings/supplements, both for use with their Rolemaster line and for use as a generic supplement (not mention Fantasy HERO and MERP, mind). This Camapign Classics line remains a very well-regarded part of Rolemaster's legacy. I recommend that if you find copies of some of the titles below, you snap them up, as they stand next to many of the GURPS sourcebooks as excellent supplements:

Robin Hood: A nice fleshing out of Norman England, from after the Battle of Hastings to the rule of King John. As you may expect from the title, the legendary Robin HoThere's some good advice and rules for running an outlaw campaign, and some adventures to round the product out. Really, the rules are the worst part of this product--the source material shines, especially if you love history like I do. At this time, you'll need to find an old print copy, as Iron Crown does not currently offer this title as a pdf.

Vikings: This books was made in two versions: one for Rolemaster, and one for HERO. store. I love the thought of Viking campaigns, but this book wasn't as good as other Viking supplements, such as the one from the RuneQuest line. This is probably the "weak sister" of the three books presented here. Again, good historical content, but I don't know that we ever used the rules portions. Like Robin Hood, this book does not appear to currently be available as a pdf from Iron Crown's site.

Mythic Greece: As with Vikings, two versions of this book (one HERO, one Rolemaster) were printed. This is not really a historical guide, but instead details a Greece passed down to us from myth and legend. I remember using the Hero and Demigod rules to great effect, for playing divinely favored, iconic heroes. The monsters, the cultures presented, and the emphasis on deific interference really help flavor this product for a heroic, fictional Greek campaign of legend. This is one of my favorite books of the lines, and really helped me in planning a campaign involving deities and epic quests that didn't just feel either impossible or a total cakewalk.

Happily, Mythic Greece is available from Iron Crown's online store.

Other supplements in this vein that I did not personally get a chance to check into include Mythic Egypt, Arabian Nights, and Pirates. Pirates seems to get a lot of love for its ship design and combat, though I cannot attest to it personally.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Review: And A 10-Foot Pole

Today, I'm reviewing an Iron Crown product that can truly lay claim to being system-generic. The book ...and A 10-Foot Pole remains one of my favorite RPG supplements, regardless of the RPG system I'm utilizing.

10-Foot Pole is an equipment supplement, purporting to be "the ultimate equipment sourcebook". In just under 190 pages, 10-Foot Pole presents prices and equipment lists for over a dozen historical eras. (For reference, the eras listed are as follows: Stone Age, Copper Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age/Age of Empire, The Middle Ages, Renaissance, Age of Reason, Industrial Revolution, Steam Age, Electric Age, Atomic Age, and the Information Age).

In terms of currency, 10-Foot Pole switches from the gold piece standard to U.S. dollar ($) for the Age of Steam onward. For the GM still wanting to use the GP standard, it would have been nice for some clear conversion standards, especially considering the influx of steampunk influence into the RPG hobby.

After a brief section on an economics system, the book dedicates a chapter for each of the eras. Each era has an 1-2 page introduction on the historical trade and economic factors of the era, which helps a bit in explaining prices.

What follows the introduction is a very impressive price listing of not everything under the sun, but not far from it, either. For example, if I'm in a Bronze Age setting and I need an Adze, I'd better be ready to shell out 25 copper pieces. I'll also know it weighs about 2 pounds, is widely available, and will take about a day to make. This is the sort of information present on any entry. I really appreciate the details such as notes, craft times, and measurements, which all help a GM fake like he knows what he's talking about.

It's not just tools or weapons that are covered, either. Daily items, food, travel arrangements, lodging, clothing, outdoor survival, alchemical materials, scholarly materials, livestock, and many more categories all have considerable entries. The scope of this book is very impressive.

Of course, an entire historical era is pretty vague, and depending on economic or trade conditions, prices can change. But 10-Foot Pole is a great starting spot. It's very easy as a GM to mess up on pricing and either gouge players or be inconsistent with pricing. It's also easy to get caught on the spot by a player request and not know even where to start with pricing. This book can alleviate this issue.

If I were to add anything else to 10-Foot Pole, it would be a few more illustrations for the less common items. The notes do a good job with some description where needed, but a few more illustrations wouldn't hurt.

Despite this, I can wholeheartedly recommend ...and a 10-Foot Pole to any GM looking for a equipment supplement that can come with them as they go from system to system. For $25 (or less) for the print version, this is a good bargain when you consider it won't become obsolete just because want to try a new set of rules.

Because at some point, they will want bagpipes.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Historical Background: Iron Crown Enterprises

One of the things I want to do before we get into the nitty-gritty of the various editions and presentations of Rolemaster is explain a little bit about the history of the company. This way, you can sort of see the roots of Iron Crown, and perhaps how they got to where they are today.

Iron Crown Enterprises (or I.C.E., or ICE) was originally formed back in 1980, when a group of RPGers who were recent graduates from the University of Virginia. The company is named after one of the relics/items of Middle-Earth (the setting the group's founders used for their home campaign).

The Rolemaster line began with the product Arms Law, which was not a true RPG unto itself, but a combat supplement for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. This product replaced the relatively simple and relatively undetailed AD&D combat system with a series of tables and critical hits. When resolving combat, players would look at a table to determine lethality and effect. Spell Law, another add-on supplement, organized spells into various lists. The basic ideas for Rolemaster were largely set with these two products, though Rolemaster as a game still not exist as of yet.

The first "complete" edition of Rolemaster was published as a boxed set in 1982. 1982 also saw Iron Crown land one of the biggest fantasy-related licenses possible--that of Middle-Earth itself!

Pete Fenlon, one of the founders of ICE, was a amazing cartographer, and his maps of Middle-Earth are still considered to be without peer. They were featured in a Middle-Earth sourcebook of 1982, but the biggest Middle-Earth release would come in 1984. That's when MERP, or Middle-Earth Role Playing was released.

MERP was a system that was largely "cut down" or simplified from Rolemaster itself. It also tried to market itself as sort of a generic 3rd-party supplement as well, and anecdotal evidence does seem to suggest that is how many people used the MERP line.

There was a time when I.C.E.'s MERP was the 2nd-best selling RPG on the market, bowing only to the 800-lb. gorilla of Dungeons & Dragons. It was a worldwide hit. MERP supplements would be made into the mid-90s, detailing both the well and lesser-known regions of Middle-Earth.

As MERP was rolling along, Rolemaster was doing pretty well, too. A 2nd edition of the game premiered in 1984. The first of the Companion series, with new rules and options for the game, debuted in 1986. Many other Companion books would follow, adding option after option to an already "crunchy" game.

Like many RPG companies of the late 80s/early 90s, ICE attempted to diversify with multiple product lines. During this time, solo adventuring books (including a Narnia line!), minis games, game distribution (Hero Games), and a series of "mythic" campaign sourcebooks were all produced in addition to Rolemaster & MERP titles. The CyberSpace and SpaceMaster RPG lines also date from this time.

After a rough spot financially in the early 90s, ICE seemed to have righted the ship. Many of the aforementioned products were not commercial hits, so ICE re-focused on the Big Two, Rolemaster and MERP. The early 90s saw a new explosion of MERP product, including a better-focused 2nd edition. However, it would soon become apparent MERP sales were not up to par with where they had been historically.

Rolemaster 2nd edition was still clipping along, too. However, a big change for Rolemaster would be seen with the release of Rolemaster Standard System (RMSS). This was a more complex, rules-heavy "3rd edition" of the Rolemaster rules. It was also the start of a division between fans favoring this newest edition, and the ones preferring the releases of the 9 years prior.

Like many companies, ICE was absolutely decimated by the Collectible Card Game (CCG) boom and subsequent crash. At roughly the same time as the crash, ICE announced there would be no more major MERP releases; the line just simply wasn't what it once was.

That left Rolemaster, which in 1999 saw a 4th edition in Rolemaster Fantasy Roleplaying (RMFRP). However, this edition change saw few actual mechanical changes, and was largely seen as unneeded by many Rolemaster aficionados. The new edition failed to revive the company's now-lagging fortunes.

In 1999, the company went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Tolkien Enterprises recovered the Middle-Earth license. A year later, it was announced the company was going into Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

For twenty years, Iron Crown Enterprises and their games had been a landmark company in gaming. Now, it looked like that was all over. But it wasn't.

What follows was a bit of a mess. Rights, revenue, stock, and other assets went all over the place. Eventually, an entity was formed called Phoenix, Inc. (later Mjolnir, Inc.), which licensed the majority of remaining Iron Crown IPs and assets from Aurigas Aldebaron LLC. They began to do business as Iron Crown Enterprises. One of the founders (and former CEO) of the company, Bruce Neidlinger, was brought back on as CEO.

The New Iron Crown continued support for the most recent edition of Rolemaster, and brought back the old Rolemaster setting of Shadow World. High Adventure Role Playing, or HARP, was created as a rules-lighter percentile-based alternative to Rolemaster, to much critical acclaim.

With a large contingent of Iron Crown's fan base preferring the old Rolemaster 2nd edition rules, they brought back the 2nd-edition rules as Rolemaster Classic, reorganized and cleaned up. An inexpensive introduction to Rolemaster Classic, Rolemaster Express, has also met with generally positive reviews. While celebrated by many fans, this also shows one of the biggest challenges facing Iron Crown--multiple game lines and editions, but only finite resources for support. Rolemaster FRP is still out there as well, after all. As well-received as their products from the time of HARP onward have been, one wonders if there will ever be any unification under a single Rolemaster banner. It is important to note that Iron Crown has successfully brought many of their out-of-print products they hold the rights to pdf format, thus ensuring some form of access for fans of those games.

Going forward, one of the things that will be interesting to watch is how licensed agreements (such as that of The Guild Companion taking over HARP Sci-Fi) progress. However it goes, Iron Crown is a legacy company, one with a history dating back to the latter formulative days of the hobby. It has been at the top of the industry, and also seen its depths. But it's still here, and inspires a dedicated fan base to provide a whole host of fan-driven material.

Iron Crown and their game lines have some truly talented alumni, including Monte Cook, Tim Dugger, Matt Forbeck, Heike Kubasch, Aaron Alston, (now-Mayfair Games CEO) Pete Fenlon, and others. Their games have influenced RPG design up into the 3rd edition of D&D and beyond. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the formation of the original Iron Crown. Let's see what the future holds! As always, questions/comments are very welcome indeed!

(For more extensive detail on the history of Iron Crown Enterprises, you should check out either their company page or Shannon Applecline's great article on the same subject. My thanks to both for aiding my own recollections on the topic. Thank you as well to the always-helpful ICE Webring).

(Edit: Thanks to reader TJones for some clarifications. Aurigas Aldebaron LLC owns the IP, licensing it to Mjolnir, Inc.).

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.