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In the last podcast of RPG Circus, I had a short rant about Rolemaster. I'm sure this what lead me to referring to Tim Dugger's Alternative Realms in my last post. Then of course I went to a party on Saturday and ran into some gamers (yes, some of us do have social lives), and we talked a little on Rolemaster. I guess you could say that lately, I have Rolemaster on the brain.

It sort of makes me wonder, if I will ever dust off my copy of the rule and play? After all, most of the old Rolemaster players I know have given up the system and tend to play D&D 3.5 or Pathfinder. After all, there are several things that have been slightly translated to D&D. Which is sort of interesting since early Rolemaster was presented as some optional replacement rules for D&D. So as to the question as to if I will ever play Rolemaster again, I guess it would depend on a variety of factors.

Perhaps the biggest one would be which Rolemaster rules would be used? Even Iron Crown has a hard time answering this one. After all, it currently has Rolemaster Classic (which is basically the RM2 rules) and Rolemaster Fantasy Roleplaying (which is basically RMSS). I do find it very interesting that they actually brought back RM2 as Rolemaster Classic (RMC). I wonder if this is some sort of acknowledgment that the RMSS got pretty stupid after a while? Of course some would argue that it was always that way. If you look at ICE own breakdown. I think it's clear that the RMSS/RMFRP is just way too complex. Which is saying something since every seems to think that RM2/RMC is way to complex. So, I guess if I were to ever play a game, it would like be RM2/RMC.

Another factor of course would be willing players. I don't think there would be too many willing players. Like I said before, I doubt that I will ever actually play Rolemaster again for this very reason. I'm not sure how many people out there would even be interested in playing Rolemaster again. Among my circle of gamers, those that had played Rolemaster in the past, have said no way. Again, I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder fill the complexity void and there by they are satisfied.

Factor two is hard one to beat. Still, Rolemaster still has a warm place in my memory. For that alone, I doubt that I will be giving up my rulebooks. I know that my shelves would be rather empty if I did. Nor will I be giving up my memories of rolling 100 E Crush Critical. This rant has got me wondering are there still any Rolemaster gamer still out there? And if so what version are you playing?

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Rev. Lazaro's picture


I'm still relatively new to the RM experience. I've only played it for one session, but that session left a big impression on me and scared away a lot of the fears and claims I've heard from others. Of course, we were playing RM2.

A couple years ago I picked up my own copy of the red books and a few companion books; then went crazy on eBay and picked up some more. I must confess though, the Red Books to me were pretty confusing and it took a month or two of walking away from it and coming back to finally "grok" it.

I then went ahead and splurged for the Role Master Classic line, and I'm glad I did because I love the new layout and the re-write a lot better. It also made teaching it to a few players a lot faster as well.

Alas, my campaign only lasted about 3 sessions. It's hard to talk my gamers into giving it another shot, because char creation did take a long time, and character deaths were pretty easy.

PS -- Side confession: I admit I wasn't too big into the Monster stat blocks for some reason. I usually ended up using the Red Books' AD&D conversion guides instead for all my monsters.

Rev. Lazaro's last blog post... Thoughts on UK2: The Sentinel

bonemaster's picture


Well, I'm glad to see that someone is still trying to play Rolemaster. I guess I'm not surprised that is RM2/RMC. I think with all the flaws of the game, they are still better than all the flaws I tended to find in RMSS/RMFRP.

infocyde's picture

I loved the crit tables.


I loved the crit tables. Back in the day Spacemaster more so than Rolemaster ruled out daily lives after school lives. We all loved Rolemaster, but usually a campaign would only last a few sessions, where we were able to keep a Spacemaster campaign going for quiet a while. I think the reason was Spacemaster was much simpler, which is the way ICE tried to go with Rolemaster Express and HARP.

I think with new players I would try out HARP. Never played it, but it is allegedly Rolemaster light and it gets good reviews. There is even a HARP SF version. Maybe the future of ICE gaming goes along those lines.

But for me, having 100's of spell list and 100's of combat/fumble/skill charts that always produced excitement and a few laughs will always be held in high regard as well. Thanks for posting. May chartmaster/rulemaster live forever :)

bonemaster's picture


I played a lot of Spacemaster as well. In many ways, I agree with you. I think the system tends to work much better with Sci-Fi than Fantasy. With medical treatment so much more ready available, it's easier to deal with. I didn't care much for the RMSS reboot of Spacemaster. I still have my edition that came out before and could be used with the Star Strike and Armored Assualt Games. Heck at one point I actually had a spreadsheet that I could use to design Starships because the system was so spreadsheet friendly. I also know I wrote something using Object Vision a long long time ago when Compuserve was king. Hell, it's still likely to be floating out there somewhere.

flup's picture

always curious but never took the plunge

Back in the 80s I was crazy about all the MERP stuff, but could never find anyone who wanted to play, I bought the MERP rulebook off ebay out of nostalgia, but now that I'm living in Moscow there's no way in hell I'll find anyone to play with other than maybe my wife or daughter.

I was always curious though about rolemaster - if I understand MERP is like a simplified watered-down version of that game. I've even been tempted to buy some of the rulebooks off ebay, but my already bulging gameshelf is scaring me away.

The Crazy GM's picture


Thanks! I'm glad we could clarify some with the re-write when we did RMC. I must admit, I was new to it too when I took the gig. Even having helped re-create it, I'm still confused. :) I never did get to see it in play though, as you have said, no one was willing.
I do however love MERP a great deal. If it plays as a supped up version of that, I would probably try to talk some more people into it.

Michael Garcia, a.k.a. The Crazy GM
P.S. Credited in the RMC Team info as Michael "maikeru" Garcia ^_
P.P.S. I iz not spam!

The Crazy GM's last blog post... WTF? Peter Jackson

Realm Master K's picture

Do I play Rolemaster? You bet I do!

Hi all,
Just found this site, and joined today. So the question is; do I play Rolemaster? You bet I do!

I have been running an epic Rolemaster campaign for over 10 years in the United States Virgin Islands. Well to be honest, it began as AD&D 2nd edition in 1999, and morphed into Rolemaster Standard System soon after that. I currently have 8 players, and I have my own world that they play in. I am not currently using any of the ICE modules that were available. (I own them all) but instead have created a very unique world all my own.

I love Rolemaster for the way that characters are not limited in skill choice, and my players have learned to use their skills in some very creative ways. Until another system gives me the flexibility that Rolemaster offers I will continue to use it.

Thanks for reading,

May your sword be sharp and your boots well worn.

Realm Master K

About bonemaster

bonemaster's picture


Bonemaster (aka Jeff Uurtamo) is a long time RPG gamer. He started playing back in early 1980s. The Bone Scroll is his latest attempt to give something back to the gaming community.


Should I try to revive this site?:


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