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RMSS character generator Rolemaster Character Creation Guide aka. The Way of the Munchkin!
Copyright Peter Brodt 1999
Here are presented my own ideas about how to create characters in Rolemaster. Since this is a subjective process, some of you will not agree with me. Fine! If you disagree, tell me about it!
As the system is written, a lot has improved regarding play balance, so much in fact, that it has become impossible to create a *gamekiller*. Still, some combinations of races and classes are better than others.

  On this page you will find:

! Preparation
First of all, you need to determine the following:
  • Which skills does your gamemaster usually use? If you have played with him previously, you usually know which skills are important and frequently used and which ones are not. 
  • How long will the campaign last? Is it a one-nighter or is it planned to continue for years? 
  • How fast is the average level advancement? 
  • Starting level. 
  • What kind of character do you like to play? Do you prefer the sneaky, talkative, combatty or spelly types?
  • How much combat will there be? Which kinds of enemies?
File Character Creation
File Skills
  Essential non-combat skills
  • Most GMs use the following skills a lot: Observation/Locate Hidden and Alertness.

  • Remember to include a rank of Observation from the start. Ignore Alertness, since a high IN will boost Alertness faster and more efficiently. Locate Hidden also comes in handy if you can afford it, but is not mandatory. 
    If you are not a 85+ IN character, you should accept your fate as a low Alertness character and get on with your life!
  • Languages: Remember to be able to communicate in a common language.
  • Attunement: All players like magic items, but don't you just hate not being able to use them?
  • First Aid: To deal with those annoying bleeding wounds.
Important non-combat skills 
  • Area Knowledge (world): in most games, it's important to know a bit about everything. Thus, Area Knowledge (world) lets you know something about the general buildup of the gameworld.
  • Swimming: If your adolescence do no include this skill, remember to get at least one rank.
"Nice to know"- skills
  • Acting: For lying
  • Acrobatics: For reducing falling damage.
  • Climbing: For those hard to reach places:
  • Detect Traps: For "trap detector" types who specialize.
  • Tracking and Read Tracks: At least one in the party should have those.
  • History: Can provide a lot of clues, especially in an extended and well built campaign.
  • Transcend Armor: Also good for mentalists, who want to wear a helmet, although I would rather not wear that helmet and get a lot of automatic spells instead!
  • Basic Math: Better than counting on fingers. Some GMs are very strict about what you are able to do without some ranks in this skill....
  • Most Self Control skills: These are like free, non-fat magical powers, if you skill bonus is high enough. Another reason to go for that Warrior Monk!
Combat skills

If the game you are going to play in involves a lot of combat, consider the following skills.

  • Body Development!
  • Stunned Maneuvering: Fighter types should definitely have this one, along with Mentalist and other characters with high SD/PR/SD scores who gets Self Control skills cheaply.
  • Quickdraw.
  • Armor skills: If you are using armor this skill is essential.
  • Weapon skills or Directed Spells: A must for fighters and magicians alike.
  • More than one melee combat skill or a barehanded attack skill - if your weapon breaks, this is plan B.
  • Adrenal Defense: A absolute must for Monks and Warrior Monks and people in no armor with a lot of points to spare.
File Campaign duration and level advancement
Here are my suggestions for characters, depending on the starting level of your character and your general expectancy of level advancement. 
Maximum expected level Suggestions
1 Fighter.
2-4 Fighter, Warrior Monk, Lay Healer, Armsmaster.
5-10 Magician, Arcanist, Mentalist, most semi-spell users.
11-up Spell users of some kind.

File Character Classes I would select.
Spell casters are usually preferable, especially at high levels where starting bonus doesn't matter much. A 20th level Armsmaster will kick the butt of an equal level Fighter.
Fighter The best character at 1st level, when skill levels are low. An optimized fighter will have an OB of about 120 and a DB of 60 at first level.
Rogue If you want a sneaky warrior, go for this one instead of the fighter. The Rogue has some of the best DP numbers of all classes. 
Warrior Monk At level 3 and up, this class offers superb maneuvering ability, high Self Control skills (SD prime stat, cost 1/3, +15 starting bonus) and amazing defensive bonus (in effect, double OB/DB development!).
Magician The best choice for that directed spell master. Lightning Bolt combined with FireBall can be truly devastating. Also, remember to buy tons of Spell Mastery and Attunement. With a couple of levels of Transcend Armor, you will even be able to cast spells in AT9 or AT10, although it is often wiser to stick with AT1 and be able to cast automatic spells. Only drawback is the lack of flowsstopping healing spells.
Healer High hit points and the best healing spells. Only drawback is, that you have to transfer those wounds. Remember to buy Adrenal Stabilization!
Mentalist Good for all social contact. Sleep is the best low-level combat spell for this class. Remember to get some lists with Elemental spells, or else you will be toast when facing dragons and undead, that are whole/partial immune to mental spells.
Lay Healer Also a good choice. Remember to take something else than base spells to spread your focus. Remember to buy Adrenal Stabilization!
Seer With a 85 IN, this is a extremely good "awareness" character. Should only be played, if your GM knows what he is getting into. Buy the Self Healing list for good healing ability.
Cleric Decent weapon skill and good undead blasting spells. Good healing spells.
Priest Select a deity, which fits your purpose. A wargod turns a priest into a very good fighter with one weapon.
Paladin The perfect do-gooder class. Strap on an AT12 (if allowed by your GM) and you become a killing machine, especially at higher levels. Avoid Holy Healing at all costs and focus on some Flowstoppers instead.
Armsmaster Prime fighter at low levels. With a high QU, you also get a +1 bonus to DB for each level when using heavy armor. Also, your weapon skill gets a +1 extra each level, so remember to purchase both Weapon and Armor Mastery.
Arcanist Exceptional at high levels. The IN/EM/PR combo makes for a strong leader and a perfect user of magic items and manipulation of magical energies. The drawback is low DPs since you have to place a 90 IN, EM and PR and 85 QU!
File   Stats
The golden rules are: Do not under any circumstances roll the dice to get more than 660 points to distribute and do not spend more than 85 points on any stat, unless you are forced to spend 90 if the stat is a prime attribute.
Your stat options then become: 20 (for that Empathy or Presence), 25,35,45,55,65,75 and 85. If you must, any 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90 should be in the Development Point area (ag, co, me, re, sd).

It is always a good idea to start by putting 20s in Intuition, Presence and Empathy and see how the total turns out.

Idea A fighter who wants to be good at awareness skills also, should ideally look like this:
Stats Value Helps.
Ag 85 Most combat and maneuvering skills. Also for general maneuvering. 85 for most characters.
Co 90 Hits and resistance rolls. 85 for most characters, unless you want to play a sickly character.
Me 25 85 for "sages". Used twice in most lores, so remember to 85 this one.
Re 75 85 only if you want to boost Awareness: Senses or if you want to be good at Lore skills or if you want high DP total.
Sd 85 A must for most characters. 85 for fighters and martial arts types, and types which rely on Self Control skills. Also boost Hits.
Em 20 Only usable for Empathy type skills and for Essence users. If not a ranger, animist or Essence user, 20 this one.
In 85 Good for all awareness skills, along with stalking/hiding. Thieves and Rogues should 85 this stat.
Pr 20 Non-Mentalism users and characters which will not buy Self Control skills should 20 this. 
Qu 85 85 for all characters!
St 90 85 for all characters, who must depend on a weapon for success.

DPs: 89.5

! Fighter, who wants only lots of DPs and high "combat stats" (st, ag, qu, sd, co)
Stats Value
ag 85
co 90
me 65
re 85
sd 85
em 25
in 25
pr 25
qu 85
st 90

DPs: 93.0

File Combat
There are three factors, which determines your success as a fighter. Armor Type (AT), OB/DB and Weapon.

Your best choices are: 
AT 9 For the light fighter, who wants mobility and no penalty to missiles. Easy to master with minimum maneuver penalty of -5 and max of -50.
A 12 The ultimate armor for characters with high QU bonus (+10 or more). It protects as well as an AT 20 against most damage (with the +15 DB bonus gained for high quickness).
AT 17 Good armor for fighters specializing in bows.
AT 20  Best for Dwarves and High Men, who will not have much of a QU bonus anyway. Superior protection, if you are able to sustain lots of hits. A pain in most other cases.

Even though ST is x2 for weapon skills, QU is x3 for your DB. That means, that a high QU contributes more to your final OB/DB total, than a high ST. In the case of non-AT 15,16,18,19,20 types, you should go for the highest possible QU. Also, QU contributes to initiative rolls.

  Remember, that your OB+DB determines your attack strength, since only stupid fighters don't parry!!


Fighter A: OB 150, DB 0.
Fighter B: OB 100, DB 50 (Magic armor +20, Wall Shield).
In a hack and slash contest, these two are equal. Off course, B will not be able to put more than 100 OB into an attack, if A is stunned or unable to parry, but in a battle with more than one opponent, Fighter B is better off!

  I admit, I'm a sucker for high QU, but still, it adds overall defense against a lot of stuff and is not limited to one attacker.

File Thus, my general advice is: Always 85 Quickness!
The most efficient weapons are (presented with the most efficient first and any runners up later - in case you select a race with no access to the primary weapon). 
1 handed edged Falchion - Broadsword
1 handed concussion Warhammer
missile Heavy Crossbow - Composite Bow
Thrown Axe - Dagger
File Spells
Mentalism Good mix of different spell types. Best option for the generalist, unless you go all the way and dig into the arcane. Good realm for characters with Self Control skills. Remember, that the only restriction for casting Mentalism spells automatically is a helmet, so beware of those AT20 Mentalists casting automatic instant spells
Essence Here are the real wizzzzard spells. Bolt and Ball attacks, teleportation, flight, manipulation of the elements, etc... The drawback is lack of healing spells and that you will never get automatic spells unless you stay "clean" and don't wear armor, avoid weapons, women and alcohol.
Channeling In my opinion the weakest of the realms, except from the Open and Closed healing spells. The good part is, that you get good awareness skills from being channeling user. Paladins and Clerics should stick with the light armor on low levels to be able to keep the spells automatic. Some of the only instant attack spells are here, so it's a tough choice!
Arcane If you really want to be a mage and your GM likes magic users, this is the ultimate choice. Drawback is low DPs, often accompanied by low ag, co and sd. Also, the drawback from Essence regarding armor and weapons apply.
Need to know! ...Healing spells suck, flowstop spells rule!

Do not spend your hard-earned DPs on normal AD&D style healing spells. Fighters normally heal most of their hits during the night, so concentrate on flowstoppers and specific damage repair spells for patching up after combat. A single regenerate spell is nice to have, though. 

The only good thing about the Xd10 healers is that using a 1d10 healing spell repeatedly earns you easy experience, as long as you do not overdo it.

Thus, on low levels concentrate on the flowstoppers until you are able to patch any bleeding wound. Then turn your attention to healing specific damage types along with the ability to heal loads of hits with a single touch.

File Lightning rules
If you are anything but an Arcanist with access to Mana and Void bolts, the Lightning Bolt spell rules. A magician should be able to cast that at 4th level and start working on Directed Spell category ranks from 1st level on (category). In combination with the Fireball, this makes for a lethal combo.
File   Talents and Flaws
If you aren't using Talent law, you best option is not to take any flaws! Yes, I know it is nice to save some BOs, but with running the risk of destroying your character, it's not worth it!

The best talent choices are: 
Money Roll Gives you the extra cash you need for an extended campaign, if you are not sure if you will run into cash later. It can be a bad choice, if the GM lets you earn money easily, though. Here, it's really worth knowing your GM!
+10 to a skill A must for fighters and martial artists. +10 to a weapon/martial arts skill or +10 to Adrenal Defense (an instant +10 melee DB bonus!) can be the difference, which separates the dead from the living. +10 to Power Point Development can also be a good choice for a spellcaster on low levels and +10 to a spell list is also a good investment.
+5 to a category Good for spellcasters, who wants to boost their base spell lists.
Magic stuff (Use the 2BO option and select) Will give you two +20 magic items! (Roll of 99) As a fighter (armor + weapon), this becomes the best investment you could ever make in a short campaign (a +40 OB/DB bonus!). A martial artist could wear an enchanted shirt AT 1 (+20) and some magical gloves (+20 martial strikes/ or sweeps). If you expect the campaign to go on for years with even moderate amounts of treasure, this will be a bad investment.
+10 to spell static maneuvers and attacks Good for magicians and directed spellers of any kind
+20 to spell static maneuvers Good for any spellcaster. Especially for Mentalism users, who will not be able to boost their skill with waving hands or shouting.
+X to some stat. The one to go for in a long campaign. I recommend QU J
+25 to Martial Arts: Greater Talent A similar effect can be achieved by selecting: +10 to primary skill: MA strike/ or sweep level 4, +10 to adrenal defense, +5 to MA strike/ or sweep category. Cost: 3 BOs! Off course, you do not get the +5+10 bonus to the category you select as your primary, but still there are some BOs to save...
Impressive Scar: Lesser talent A cheap way to get a random bonus to your PR bonus, if you are willing to put up with the scar. Since mentalism users tend to have large PR bonus and thus Appearance in the first place, this talent will often be good value.

File Training Packs
For fighters: Soldier + Mercenary. I know it's a lot of points, but you get several levels of Body Dev and multiple rolls on the lists to gain bonus items, so it's a must for fighter types.
For mages: the good old Amateur Mage still rules (I think they should find another name for it though)
File Races
Generally: A high OB+DB and a high QUx3 indicates a character, who will be effective with light armor: A character with a low/negative QUx3 and good Melee, will still be a good fighter in AT 19 or 20, where a High Elf will suffer a -18 OB+DB penalty.
Race OB+DB Melee Missile SD/PR/SD CO/SD/CO EM/IN/PR QUx3
Common Man 4 4 2 4 2 0 0
Mixed Man 4 4 2 6 6 4 0
High Man 0 6 0 8 10 4 -6
Wood Elf 10 4 8 -8 -5 4 6
Grey Elf 14 2 4 -6 -5 6 12
High Elf 20 2 4 -4 -5 8 18
Half-Elf 18 6 6 -2 1 4 12
Dwarf -4 2 -2 0 14 -8 -6
Halflings 2 -10 4 -14 8 -8 12

Notes about races
Race Notes
Common Man Poor choice......NEXT!.
Mixed Man Good hits and Mentalism development. No stat penalties. You are able to select a type, which fits your character class (Mariners make the best spellscasters (Use those hobby ranks to buy spell lists....). 5 BOs, allowing you to get Greater Talents without flaws!
High Man Excellent hits and Mentalism development. Good fighters when wearing heavy armor and good starting hit points. Good Self Control skills.
Wood Elf The best with missile weapons. (3 adolescence ranks in Missiles). Low cap on max hits. Good Essence spell casters. Bad SD (causing low Self Control skills, Directed Spells and Awareness).
Grey Elf The road between the Wood Elf and the High Elf. Good Essence spell casters.
High Elf Exceptional OB+DB in light armor. Good Essence spell casters. Good starting body dev development and good general spell ability. +20 Attunement skill.
Half-Elf Excellent OB+DB in light armor. Good hits and mentalism development. Equal good with melee and missiles.
Dwarf The best starting hit points. Excellent Resistance Rolls. Suffers from bad maneuvering ability.
Halflings Exceptional resistance rolls. Good with nice adolescence ranks for thieving, but their SD is low affecting sense rolls, hit points and with their -8 to ST, they are severely handicapped on carrying capacity. Low cap on max hits. Exceptional maneuvering ability (3xAG).

Summary on character creation
Fighters High Man (AT 19 or 20) - frac12; Elf (Other armor types).
Thief Tricky question. This one is very much a matter of taste.
Warrior Monk frac12; Elf
Essence Caster High Elf
Mentalism Caster Mixed Man
Channeling Whatever you like from the above

Level AdvancementLevel Advancement
You are done with creating a super character and having played a couple of sessions, you suddenly find yourself gaining a level!
What do you do? I cannot recommend spending your hardearned DPs without having a plan for your level advancement.
These are my ramblings about how to spend DPs.

I always do the following:
Go through the skill list and figure out, which skills I want to have (this is normally determined by the character class. Why take a fighter and start developing spells or stalk/hide?)

  It then becomes decision time. Which skills do I want to be good at, and which skills do I want to be able to just roll and get lucky on?
The basic premise is that only high-level characters have useful skill levels!

  Example: Without using all your BOs to become the best at one or two skills, you usually end up with skill levels (at 1st level) of 20 to 40 or so in the skills you put DPs into (except weapon skills). Since the number of skills, which are essential to characters are rather large, I always end up with single advancement (instead of the double, which used to be an affordable option in the old system). Since a 40 in a skill gives you only a 30% chance of succeeding, you gain nothing much from just putting a few DPs in a skill and end up with a 50 at level 10.
Example: A fighter spends 7 points of a skill on level 1. On level 2 he spends nothing on that skill. He will be no more effective than a fighter who spends 2 points on level 1 and 2 points on level 2.

  That's why, you have to check you skill advancement!

  What I usually do is to make a character and use the Character Creator for checking how my character will look at level 5, 10, etc..., depending on which level you think you will reach during the campaign.

  I spend points on each level, usually picking a level (normally 3), where the character has "settled down" and I have put points in the "single levellers". I then copy the ranks from that level to the later levels (usually by making them "=" to the 3rd level, making it easy to make changes.)

  If my skill at the "top" level is less than, say, 60, why bother developing skill on top of the 1 rank, which removes the -15 penalty from not having any ranks? (a 60 gives a 51% chance of success on a normal static maneuver roll). Thus, start by removing those skills, which are not absolutely essential to you and concentrate effort on the rest. Also, if you have stat bonus in a category, which is less than 10 and no class bonus, you have to spend a lot of double ranks to become good!

  My advice is, focus those DPs and use double rank progression only if you have spare DPs after removing the non-essentials.
First of all, you have to figure out, which spells are really interesting! For each spell list, you possess, you jot down the levels of the spells, you absolutely need to be able to cast.
Now the work starts, where you have to figure out, which spell lists to advance and when.
Make a table, with all your spell lists on the left side column and with the levels from 1 to 10 on the top row, outside the table, like this:
  Spells 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Movement 1,3,6 +1 - +2 - +1 +2 - - - -
Weapon Mastery 1,8 +1 - +1 - +3 - - +3 - -
Armor Mastery 1,2,3,7 +1 +1 +1 - - +1 +3 - - -
Delving 2 +1 +1 - - - - - - - -
Self Healing 2,4,5,6 - +2 +1 +1 +1 +1 - - - -

You then start filling the table with the levels you must purchase with DPs to reach the levels you need in time....
In this way, you will never reach a level and not have the appropriate spells, unless of course, you are short on DPs (who isn't?).Level AdvancementCombat Options
Against "large monsters", always attack in the deliberate part of the round and gain a +10 to attack. The reason for this is simple. You are not likely to kill or stun the creature anyway, so why not allow your opponent that first initiative and gain +10 for the rest of the combat? Try to see it this way: You foe gets a free attack on you at the beginning of the combat. For the rest of the battle, you always go first and gain a +10 bonus on top of that!!!

Round 1:You attack normally, rolling for initiative. Your opponent does the same.
You have a 10, your opponent has a 15. He goes first.
Round 2: You roll a 15, he rolls a 10. You go first.
Round 3: You roll a 10, he rolls a 15. He goes first.
After 10 rounds of combat, you have attacked 10 times. He has attacked 10 times.

Round 1:You attack deliberately. Your opponent attacks normally.
He goes first. You attack later with a +10.
Round 2: He goes first, you attack later with a +10.
After 10 rounds of combat, you have attacked 10 times with +10 to each attack. He has attacked 10 times.

  So, what did we learn from that?

  Unless you need to down your foe in no time or your foe is stunable and you put a lot of your skill into OB, do not attack normally! It doesn't pay off!

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