Source Material for Rolemaster Standard System

Copyright Ray Ward 1999

This is a method for resolving tactical situations (ie. rounds) without using action phases or snap and deliberate actions. Activity is continuous and is based on the principle that 10% of Activity takes up one Initiative Point and one second of time.



Action Activity Cost
Movement 10-100%
Prepare Spell 90%
Cast Spell 70%
Cast Instantaneous Spell 10%
Disengage from melee 9;(may move 10'; countered by Press and Melee attack)
Melee attack 50-100% (-10OB/10% less than 100%)
Missile attack 30-60% (-10OB/10% less than 60%)
Parry missile attack 50%
Load sling or short bow 50%
    composite bow 60%
    long bow 70%
    light crossbow 160%
    heavy crossbow 220%
Shift weapon 10%
Draw weapon 20%
Change weapons 50%
Static/Moving Manoeuvre varies- usually 100% but depends on skill
Awareness Static Manoeuvre 10%
Rapid Observation SM 30 (-40)
Half Observation SM 50 (-20)
Full Observation SM 70%
Mount 50%
Dismount 30%
Ride Animal 10-100%
Stand from sitting 10%
    from crouch 20%
    from lying 50%
Crouch from lying 30%
Drop to ground 20%
Drop item 0%
Press and Melee attack 60-100% (-10OB; may follow 10'; counter for disengage:-10OB/ 10% less than 100%
React and Melee attack 60-100% (-10OB; do not have to declare target; -10OB/10% less than 100%)



Actions are determined in the following order during a round:

1) Action Declaration Phase

2) Initiative Determination Phase

3) Resolve Actions

Action Declaration Phase

    At the beginning of each round, each player should state or write down what actions he wishes his character to perform for that round and in what order. Each combatant may declare any number of actions but only the first 100% will be determined in each round.

    At the same time the GM should decide what actions the non-player characters will take.

    If the character wants to resolve actions earlier than they normally can they must declare if the round is Hurried or Rushed. If movement is declared, then the pace and destination should also be indicated. If an attack is declared it should indicate the target. If the character would like to parry then the proportion of the Offensive Bonus used to parry must be indicated.


Initiative Determination Phase

    Each character must make an initiative roll of 2d10 + Quickness Bonus. If the character chooses to perform a Hurried round then roll an additional d10 for the initiative roll. If the character chooses to perform a Rushed round then roll two additional d10 for the initiative roll. If a character is surprised then roll one less d10 for the initiative roll.

    Characters involved in melee combat have additional modifiers which affect their relative initiative to determine the order that the combatants actually strike at each other. These modifiers do not affect their initiative scores relative to other non-melee actions. Use the following modifiers to arrive at the Melee Attack Initiative Score for each character in melee combat.


Condition Modification
Longer weapon- Engaged +1
Longer weapon- Closing +1 +1/foot difference
Longer weapon- Charging +3 +1/foot difference
Using shield or two-weapon combo -1
Engaged - Weapon Speed


These rolls determine the order in which all the actions are performed. Note that 100% activity is performed in a 10 second round over a span of 10 Initiative Points. So activity is performed at a rate of 10% activity for each Initiative point, and each Initiative point lasts 1 second.


Resolve Actions

    The characters perform their actions in order from the first action of the character with the highest initiative score in a countdown until the character with the lowest initiative score finishes their final action. Each action is performed separately and takes a number of Initiative Points equal to one for each 10% activity of the action (eg. a 40% Action takes up 4 Initiative Points). The action commences on the first Initiative Score and is usually resolved then, however the action does continue until it is completed on the final Initiative Score. The remaining part of the action (remaining Initiative Points) is generally considered to be a recovery time. Note that a melee attack action while the character is engaged in combat (not while they are entering combat) is not just a single action (ie. It is not just a single swing with a weapon), it involves a continuous 10 seconds worth of feinting, parrying, dodging, advancing, retreating, weapon swinging, etc.


Opportunity Actions

    When it comes time during the round to resolve a character's declared action, they have the option of putting their prepared action into an "opportunity" state. It becomes an Opportunity Action. Any further actions that the character has declared for the current round are nullified.

    An Opportunity Action may be resolved on any later initiative score before any other actions on that initiative score are resolved. An Opportunity Action has priority. A character may not perform any other action until his opportunity action is cancelled or resolved; however the character may use up to 20% Activity for movement each round or make a free rapid Observation roll once each round.

    Opportunity actions represent activities like: waiting for a target to pop their head up, setting an ambush, etc.


Cancelling Actions

    During a round a character may elect not to go through with the remainder of their declared actions. Some reasons for doing so include: the target for their attack has already been eliminated, or the difficulty of the manoeuvre they wanted to do is actually much harder than they realised. Their uncompleted actions are cancelled. If the actions cancelled total more than 30% Activity the character may attempt further actions. These actions must be declared immediately. There is then a 30% action spent where the character reorientates themselves in preparation for these new actions. Then the character may commence the new actions for the remainder of the round. Note that if a character has already used part of their Offensive Bonus to parry an attack they may not cancel the related attack action.


Spell Preparation and Casting

    Spell preparation and casting is not a multiround action. Spell preparation is a completely separate 90% activity action and casting a spell that is not instantaneous is a completely separate 70% action. A spell caster need not declare ahead of time how many rounds of preparation he will take, that is, he can declare a spell casting action at the beginning of any round. Instantaneous spells are unaffected by preparation and require only 10% activity. However no more than one spell may be cast in each round (or each 100% activity if hasted).


Haste and Speed

    Certain spells will modify the normal turn sequence to some degree, The most common of these modifications will be Haste or Speed. A person who is Hasted receives a +5 bonus to their initiative and has 200% activity each round. It is treated in all respects as if the Hasted character has two complete rounds of consecutive activity within the standard round. Only one spell may be cast in the first 100% activity and only one spell may be cast in the second 100% activity. Hasted characters expend exhaustion points and bleed at the normal rate for each 100% of activity in the round.


Concentration and Slow

    While concentrating or suffering the effects of a Slow spell all the characters actions take double the normal activity percentage. The normal 100% activity is stretched so that it fills two actual rounds (ie. 50% each round). However the character still makes declarations and rolls initiative each round as normal.

Engaged, Closing or Charging

    A combatant is engaged in melee if:

  1. a foe attacked him in the previous melee phase, and
  2. that foe is still within striking distance (ie. within 5' to 10'), and
  3. that foe's action for the current round is to melee the combatant.

    A combatant is closing if they move from outside of striking distance (more than 5' to 10' away) from an opponent to that opponent with the intent of attacking them ie. their weapon is prepared.

    A combatant is charging if they move from a distance of greater than 50' away from an opponent at a pace of run or faster to that opponent with the intent of attacking them. ie. their weapon is prepared and the attacker is moving at such a speed that he is unable to avoid attacks directed at him as normal.


Weapon Speed
Aklys 1
Ball and Chain 4
Bastard Sword 4
Battle Axe 5
Battle Club 7
Blackjack 1
Broadsword 3
Cat'o’Nine Tails 2
Club 4
Comet Hammer 4
Cudgel l2
Cutlass 2
Dagger 1
Falchion 3
Foil 1
Footmans Flail 5
Footmans Mace 5
Ge 5
Gladiators Net 5
Glaive 6
Great Flail l8
Great Sword 8
Halberd 6
Handaxe 3
Hatchet 1
Horsemans Flail 3
Horsemans Mace 3
Horsemans Pick 3
Javelin 3
Jo 2
Katana 3
Knife 0
Kynac 1
Kyotetsushoge 2
Lance 7
Light Javelin 2
Long Kynac 2
Longsword 3
Maine Gauche 1
Man Catcher 6
Military Flail 6
Morning Star 4
Nagamaki 5
Naginata 5
Nodachi 5
Nunchaku 1
Pike 8
Pole 7
Quarterstaff 3
Rapier 2
Rope Dart 1
Sai 2
Scimitar 3
Short Stick 1
Shortsword 2
Sodegarami 5
Spear 4
Spiked Mace 4
Steel Whip 2
Three Section Staff 4
Tiger Hook 3
Trident 5
Two-handed Falchion 6
Two-handed Scimitar 4
Two-Handed Sword 5
Usriev 5
Wakazashi 2
War Fan 3
War Hammer 4
War Mattock 5
Whip 4