Rolemaster has a total of four editions. These were available initially as individual books, and later as combined volumes and in boxed sets. Second edition RM2 : —[ edit ] In , an initial boxed set was issued containing both expanded and revised rules. Shortly after the first box, a new boxed set was released, containing all of the previous contents as well as The Cloudlords of Tanara, a detailed setting and adventure supplement.
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Edit Rolemaster uses two ten-sided dice Rolemaster uses a percentile dice system and employs both classes called "Professions" in Rolemaster and levels to describe character capabilities and advancement. Task resolution is done by rolling percentile dice, applying relevant modifiers, and looking the result up on the appropriate chart to determine the result. There are various charts to increase the realism of the results, but most of these are optional, and many rolls can be made on a relatively small number of tables.
In addition various modifiers for position, wounds, and other factors are present. If sufficient hits are dealt, the defender may go unconscious, but death seldom results purely from concussion hit damage. In addition to concussion hits, however, a critical hit can be dealt by the result on the weapon table. These are described by type slash, crush, puncture, etc.
Critical Hits or simply "crits" , can inflict additional concussion hits, bleeding subtracted from concussion hits at the start of each new round , broken bones, loss of limbs or extremities, internal organ damage and outright death. If a crit is inflicted, a second roll is made on the appropriate critical table. Death occurs, for both player characters and Gamemaster-controlled adversaries, primarily through this critical damage, and not through loss of hit points.
In addition, specific injuries carry with them injury penalties, which inhibit further actions on the part of the wounded part, and loss of concussion hits which represent overall health , can bring about similar penalties. This means that a halfling does have a chance, albeit slight, to put down a troll with one well-placed and lucky dagger strike. Fans of the system maintain that this adds a great deal of realism not present in many other fantasy games, and reflects the true deadliness of a well-placed strike from a weapon, even a small one such as a dagger.
Unarmored characters may very well suffer serious wounds when mauled by animals, but again this allows for more credible confrontations than in other fantasy games, where the threat posed by an "unfantastic" beast such as a wolf, grizzly bear, or tiger is considered minimal.
Such characters can have a tough time prevailing against even fairly mundane opponents. This can prove frustrating for new players, and has given rise to hyperbolic tales of housecats cutting down promising young heroes in their prime. Supporters of the game argue that many of these rules and charts are entirely optional. Character creation and development Edit Rolemaster is a skill-based system in which very few absolute restrictions on skill selection are employed.
All character abilities fighting, stealth, spell use, etc. These proficiencies are reflected in the cost to purchase the skills themselves. Rolemaster characters have ten attributes, called "stats", which represent their natural abilities in such areas as physical strength, memory, self-discipline, agility.
A self-governing system is in place also such that each skill closer to is more costly than the last. Moving a skill from 50 to 51 is almost trivial; from 98 to 99 nigh impossible. In character creation, and as characters advance in levels, Development Points are assigned, and can be used to purchase skills. These are optional, and can be ignored if the player prefers to design his or her character entirely from the ground up.
Skills are purchased in Ranks; the more ranks a character has in a skill, the more able he is at actions covered by that skill. The number of ranks is multiplied by a set number dependent on the total number of ranks the character has, then added to the bonus for the relevant stats. History of Rolemaster Edit Over the years, a large number of products have been brought out for Rolemaster and it can be rather confusing to figure out which of these were put out for which version of the game and what books are needed to actually play.
There have been four versions of the game produced, which fall into two major groups with a fifth currently in the beta testing phase. The latest release of Rolemaster which was released for playtesting in September is an attempt to unify all previous versions of the game. However, with the publication of Character Law, the full Rolemaster system became able to stand on its own as a distinct game system.
In the information in the books was expanded and revised and some of the books were combined and the material in them rearranged. Several additional books were published from to , including Rolemaster Companions 1, 2, and 3 and the first Creatures and Treasures book. Technically, the products released between and are also First Edition Rolemaster products, but actual differences between RM1 and RM2 were slight limited to a minor modification to the combat sequence, some rearranging of material, and a major graphical overhaul , and few if any compatibility issues ever arose.
This means that, in common parlance, the term "Rolemaster Second Edition" RM2 is often used to refer everything published from to In particular, Rolemaster Companion II included the complete Skill list and descriptions section and Master Development Point Cost Tables as well as several Professions that are often considered the distinguishing features of Rolemaster Second Edition.
Much of this material, and the material that was published under the aegis of the first edition, took the form of optional and variant rules some of which, like the greatly expanded skill system of Rolemaster Companion II, were widely adopted , and new professions and spell lists.
Some variants even replaced whole sections of distinctively "Rolemaster" rules, such as the combat system, with more traditional systems closer to the line established by Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Ultimately it made for a very flexible system with a vast array of options, but could easily suffer from play balance problems if particular sets of rules were used together, since little effort was made to balance different variants against each other, and power creep in the later professions and spell lists was very much in evidence.
The biggest changes were to Character Generation, particularly in the number of skills available and the way bonuses for the skills were calculated.
Skills were now grouped into Categories of similar skills and one could buy ranks separately in the Category and the actual Skill. Also the combat sequence was revised again, and some of the details of spellcasting were changed.
The way Spell Lists were learned was completely overhauled and most of the Spell lists were adjusted and rebalanced. Like most changes, opinions on whether the changes were for the better or not vary widely; some fans really liked the changes, while others were unimpressed and elected to stick with the more familiar RM2.
For the most part the objections from RM2 players had more to do with feeling that Rolemaster did not need such a radical overhaul, and disappointment over the fact that RM2 was no longer going to be supported as such.
Rolemaster Fantasy Roleplaying Edit In the game underwent a slight restructuring when Rolemaster Fantasy Roleplaying RMFRP was released, but this was mostly a rearranging of material with very few changes to the rules themselves. Rolemaster Fantasy Roleplaying is the current edition of the Rolemaster rules, and is thus well-supported and easier for interested new players to pick up and try out.
One positive change made in RMFRP was a single core book Rolemaster Fantasy Roleplaying , containing a stripped-down version of the complete game, so that only one book was necessary for play. Arms Law adds additional Attack and Critical tables, while Character Law adds additional races, professions, skills and the full talent and flaw system.
RMFRP has broken the older single-volume Spell Law into three separate books, Of Essence, Of Channelling and Of Mentalism, each of which expands that realm of power with additional professions and spell lists, and expanding each spell list to 50th level spells.
There are other supplements as well, but most of them build upon the material presented in the books listed. Such as the Channeling Companion, which introduces a new profession called the Priest and adds a passel of new rules. This book contains all you need to know to add elementalism to Rolemaster. Rolemaster Classic Edit The problems that drove Iron Crown Enterprises into voluntary receivership  also created problems with the intellectual property that was the RM1 and RM2 systems.
The company describes RMX as an experimental publication,  designed to address the persistent criticism of Rolemaster as being too complex. Rolemaster Express is a single, page book that contains everything necessary to play.
Known as Rolemaster Unified, the game is an attempt to combine the previous versions of the game into one system. See also.