Playing EPIC in 28mm.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Rolemaster Magic System.

CNJ Wrote "This has been mostly done for ages. (And I started it quite a while ago – if you remember talking about it in the car park at GW in Nottingham).

Anyway, with the prospect of actually playing next weekend, I remembered that I had always intend to send you the new rules before we played. So you could look over them to see what you thought. I’ve tidied up a few loose ends and this is now the ‘Beta’ version. Obviously it seriously needs a play-test, but for us that really means in Bog’s World.

Personally, I’m quite pleased so far, and would really love to see how it will play.

Radically changing the spell system at this stage in the campaign may seem a bit much, but as I have argued before no one apart from me (vaguely) (and this is including you I feel) actually understands the current system anyway! Which is kind of the point. No one understands the system now because it is illogical, and doesn’t match the background. (It doesn’t even match the rest of Rolemaster actually, let alone anything more story-driven!).

If nothing else, it will allow wizardly characters the option to actually become really good at spell casting. (Which amazingly enough, they cannot in standard RM – go figure.). And if FG is supposed to be (or to become…perhaps an important distinction) the zivorn of the spell-casting goddess. It seems fitting that there is a skill that covers this (i.e. spell casting rather than just magical power).

The attached documents include:
- New Base Spells Table – replacing the ‘Base Spells Table’ in RM (+spell casting skill (‘OB’) –‘Resistance’ of target (‘DB’); +/- range and other mods : basically just like Arms Law)
- Casting Effects Table – results of the Base Spells Table are given as F, PS, NS, etc, which is ‘Failure’, ‘Partial Success’, ‘Near Success’, and so on. This table interprets what these actually mean for different types of spell (the type of spell, which is in basic RM already, becomes more important in this system).
o 66 and 00 results. I’ve included ‘special effects’ from rolling natural 00 and 66. Because I see magic as being rather unpredictable (not to say quirky) and wanted to include more ‘something weird happens’ type results. I had intended to think of more. But this is as far as I had got.
o About the results generally: I wanted to make this more interesting and exciting (certainly more than the numeric ‘he rolls high enough to resist your spell’ which is all the previous system could do. But the need to make it generic overruled that. In theory, we could write a table for EACH SPELL (or at least each list). But I thought we’d see how it works out first!
- Spell Types and Resistance – an overview explaining what the spell types mean and how they interact with the concepts of Passive and Active Resistance. (This will be a bit new to people, but hopefully will become second nature soon enough.)
- Changes to PCs – summarised as lines to ‘drop into’ character sheet spreadsheets, although no doubt a bit of sorting out will be required (cos it always is). There is are quite a few new subtle rules included here (and one or two assumptions/’guesses’ that are subject to change on discussion with you). But these are pretty much how the skills work out in this new system, and I don’t want to bombard you with detailed rules just yet. Since I don’t have any copies of character sheet for Tyra, Val or Nym, I haven’t been able to do theirs yet. But it shouldn’t be a very big job. I have done calculations for some PCs of Resistance as well (a key attribute in this system: replacing the ‘Resistance Roll’ modifiers in the character sheet. But I haven’t collected these in one place.
o List bonuses – some spell lists are easier to cast than others, and this summarises that for each of the PCs’ lists. This info that could be recorded on the ‘character sheet’, and is equivalent to ‘using a +10 sword’ say on combat skills
o Mods to level bonuses – the current level bonuses have to be changed for this system, and this is my suggestion for what they should be (this is one of the ‘underlying rules’ but I have shown this because it is something you could easily alter that might change PCs final skills more than some others).
- Spell Casting Modifiers (part 1) – this is an existing table with various situational mods to Base Spells skill (preparation, use of hands, encumbrance). I include this just for completeness and reference as all these still apply just as before. Part 2 of this table will include all the additional mods to Base Spells (range) and to Resistance (from armour). These are worked out, but not yet written up, because I’m not sure how to divide up these into a ‘handy reference’. I am thinking putting strictly ‘situational’ factors on one sheet, and factors that could ‘go on character sheet’ (be previously worked out) on another. I think they won’t both fit on one sheet! But what would work best for you?

My intention is to print out the various tables and ‘Handy Reference sheets’ a few times (on card if possible??) so everyone can have a copy (or at least, there are lots of copies going around – a bit like the way the Arms Law books etc. do)

I recommend concentrating on the Casting Effects Table, although you might need to read the Spell Types and Resistance doc first so that the column headings make sense. Then look at the Base Spells Table, in conjunction with the Changes to PCs and Spell Casting Modifiers, to see what sort of results PCs will tend to get. I’ll leave it to you whether or not you want to work out some scenarios for PCs (e.g. FG rolling a 90 with no prep…)!

Obviously, I’m very keen to try this out for real – and probably tinker a bit with it in play (ref’s discretion as always is required on what the actual result of any spell is, but consistent over-ruling the tables may mean the tables are wrong!). My aim has been to emulate the basic pattern of RM’s results, and where an exact match wasn’t possible, to change things in favour of what I thought would make a more interesting game. But you might find, even if I have matched existing RM closely, that you don’t like the results it gives and want magic to be made harder, or easier, or less predictable, or something. My aim has been to make it more transparent to everyone (you and players) when a spell is easy, hard, unpredictable, etc. And allow PCs and NPCs to change their actions and tactics accordingly."

I will have a look at the tables and we may use this at the weekend.

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