Rolemaster
 

I am currently running a Rolemaster (Rolemaster Standard System) campaign in Palo Alto. The campaign is set in the Forgotten Realms before the 4.0 reboot.  The original plan was to go through the Shackled City game path, so we placed the city of Cauldron in the southeast corner of the Silver Marches, in the mountain pass that leads from Silverymoon to the High Forest.  That plan quickly went awry as the party turned out to be much more interested in the outdoors than in a city campaign.  They are currently exploring the Oasis of the White Palm in the second module of the Desert of Desolation series.

 

The players and their characters:

Alex: Syrio

Graham: Aidan

Jeff: Tyrion

Louisa: Yoelle

Rowyn: Saskia

NPC (sometimes played by my sister): DeSean


House rules for Rolemaster:

Stat  gain rolls:  

If the temporary stat is at the potential, a roll of 66, 77, 88, or 99 increases the potential by 1.  A roll of 00 increases the temporary by 1 and the potential by 2.

Items:

A Ring of Protection +X is a General Item, as in the Treasure Companion, of type (X/5)+1.

An item that increases a stat bonus +X when equipped is a General Item of type X+1.

An item made of Alchemical Silver costs extra for the base item as in D20 and has an OB of -5. 

An item made of Cold Iron costs twice as much for the base item and has no OB modifier, but it costs 2000 gp extra if enchanted.

Blocking:

In combat, a melee combatant can attempt to prevent another melee combatant from getting past by making an opposed maneuver roll.  If the blocker has the higher maneuver roll, the attacker does not get past; if the attacker's roll is higher, the attacker can bypass the blocker.  This allows a front line combatant to block one enemy from getting to a spellcaster or archer. 

Background options:

A character can use a background option to learn a related spell list as a base list (thus increasing the total number of base lists).

Spell Mastery:

The spell mastery rules as currently written are quite lame, as you need to succeed at a very difficult skill check before even making a SCSM to cast the spell.

In place of this, we are going to try something where the spell mastery penalties affect the SCSM.  Learning spell mastery for a given list reduces the penalty in the same way learning Transcend Armor reduces armor penalties.

The various bonuses and penalties still need to be worked out.

Magic Ritual:

None of the magic ritual rules in any of the companions are particularly satisfying.

We are currently trying the following replacement:


A character typically learns how to magic ritual his or her own base
lists and their realm's open and closed lists.  Learning other base
lists or another realm's spells would require training that skill
separately.

Working on a magic ritual for two minutes (12 rounds) lets you roll to
cast the spell.  The base bonus is your magic ritual skill.  If there
is a penalty for casting the spell normally with 9+ rounds of prep on
the SCSM table (eg. high level spell), that penalty also applies.
Every time you double the ritual time, you get an extra +5, up to a
maximum of +30 for prepping for an hour.  (Round to the nearest
quarter hour for 15, 30, or 60 minutes of prep time.)

Other modifiers:

+10 for a base list
+X for knowing X levels of the spell list being cast
+10 for a spell the character knows

-30 for not being able to sing

-30 for not being able to dance

 

The results of the maneuver roll are as follows:

Unusual success/Absolute success: as Success, with a +10 to the next ritual within one day
Success - spell cast, no power point cost
Near success: can roll again immediately with +10 or cast the spell by paying the PP cost
Partial success: can roll again immediately with +0 or cast the spell by paying the PP cost
Unusual event (66): spell cast, but you lose half remaining PP
Failure: must start over if you want to cast the spell, -10 for repeated attempts (cumulative), roll on the spell failure table
Absolute Failure: as Failure, but you also cast the spell of the same level on a randomly chosen list
Spectacular Failure: as Failure, but you also cast the worst possible spell given the current situation on a randomly chosen list

For example: Yoelle taking one hour at fourth level to cast the Joining spell on the Bone list would have bonuses/penalties of:

+30 for preparation time
+40 for skill
+4 for knowing 4 ranks of Bone Mastery
+10 for base list
-25 for casting a high level spell

total: +59.  A very good chance of success with an hour's preparation,
a much lower chance with only two minutes prep.

Syrio casting Leaping at fourth level in two minutes:

+73 for skill
+10 for base list
+10 for knowing the spell
+4 for knowing 4 ranks of Lofty Bridges
Total: +97.  A sure thing except on a roll 01-05.


So far, this seems to be working.  There are enough drawbacks to trying magic rituals with these rules that they don't seem to be too unbalanced, although they may be a little too powerful.