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Irregular Training

Copyright Tim Dugger ©2002

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

Introduction

Several years ago I wrote an article called Irregular Realms. (It and the companion piece, The Philosophy of Professions can be found in the March 1999 issue.) In those articles, it was proposed that Rolemaster had too many professions that were not very different from one another. The suggested solution was to drop all of the regular professions and use a smaller set of core professional templates. My article included some special rules for customizing those professions according to a character concept as approved by the GM.

In that article, I also lightly skimmed over Training Packages. Due to the sheer number of available Training Packages, it would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible to fully detail a Training Package cost for each and every template.

Hence, we come to this article. Within this article, I will continue what I started with Irregular Realms by presenting a simple set of rules by which a player or GM may create their own Training Packages. These rules will not only be usable with Irregular Realms, but they will also be usable with the normal Rolemaster professions.

Training Package Basics

What is a Training Package? It is a collection of related skills that are learned as a group in relation to some specific concept or theme. These skills are learned at a discount to the normal development point costs for these skills, and often come with one or more special items or benefits.

One thing that the normal RM Training Packages allows, that I do not agree with is that you are able to purchase a Training Package more than once. For me, this goes against the actual meaning of what a Training Package is supposed to be. I regard a Training Package as teaching a character a specific set of skills. Once you have learned a particular training package, you have learned everything that it has to offer you. Taking a Training Package more than once has no benefit because you have already learned what it has to teach you.

Therefore this system allows a Training Package to be learned only once. Acquiring it a second time will provide no benefit. In order to learn more of a skill through a Training Package, you will have to learn a different, more advanced, package.

Example: You learn the TP Guild Thief. From this package you gain skill in Picking Pockets, Picking Locks, and Disarming Traps among other skills. To take this package again would be useless, as you have already learned all it can teach you. Therefore, you decide to learn the Advanced Pick Pocket package. From this TP you gain more ranks in Picking Pockets along with skill in Trickery and Duping (among others). While this TP gives you more skill in picking pockets, the focus of the TP is slightly different, so it teaches you different things.

Concept

In building your own Training Packages, you will first require a concept around which to build your Training Package. This concept is a sentence or two that defines the focus of the Training Package. Once you have this concept, then you can begin building your TP.

In defining your concept, you need to determine the basic focus of the package. The focus of the package is used to determine the discounts for this package. When you determine the focus, you are determining for what type of character that this package is being designed. There are five basic foci for Training Packages:

        Non Packages using this focus are designed primarily for non-spell users. These packages normally focus on mundane skills such as crafts or combat styles.

        Semi These packages are designed primarily for semi-spell users. They often include a wide variety of skills to indicate the wider focus of semi-spell users.

        Pure These packages are more lore oriented, often with knowledge related skills pertaining to the more esoteric or mystical topics.

        Hybrid Packages of this type are much like those of the Pure type, except that they normally have a wider focus, translating to a wider range of skills.

        Generic This category is for any package that does not easily fit within any of the other categories. Examples of this type of package can be seen with the current Adventurer and Traveller TPs from RMFRP.

If you are a player, then you should get your GM to approve this concept, as it should fit into his campaign setting.

Skills

The next step is to select the skills for this package. The skills should be related to the concept that you have devised. If a skill does not fit in with the concept, then you should not include it. Weapon skills are a good example of a skill that could be abused using this system. No package should include weapon skills unless the concept of the package also includes combat on a regular basis. There are also a few other guidelines to follow in the selection of skills for packages. They are as follows:

        No more than 20 skill ranks total for any package. This is to prevent abuse of this package system by making packages too powerful.

        It is recommended that no more than 2 ranks be given to any specific skill or skill category. It is conceivable that more than 2 ranks may be given to a particular skill, no skill should ever get more than 5 ranks.

Base Package Cost

Once you have determined the skills to be included in the package, you must next determine the Base Cost for the package. The Base Cost is the development point cost for all of the skills within the package, and is determined prior to adding in the development point costs for special items.

To determine the Base Cost, add together the development point cost for all of the skills based on profession. For skills that have more ranks than are normally allowed in one level, follow these guidelines:

        For skills with multiple development point costs, any ranks past the number normally allowed in a single level will cost an amount equal to the combined cost of the normal number of ranks allowed each level.

Example: If a profession is normally allowed 2 ranks per level of a given skill for a development point cost of 2/7, then a package which grants 4 ranks in this skill would have a total cost of 27 points (2 for the first rank, 7 for the second rank, 9 (2+7) for each of the two additional ranks).

        For skills that normally have only a single development point cost, all ranks beyond the first have a development point cost equal to the normal development point cost plus 8.

Example: If a profession has a normal development point cost of 5 for a specific skill, a package that contains two ranks in this skill would have cost of 21 (5 for the first rank, 13 (5 +8) for the second rank.) added to the Base Cost of the package for this profession.

        The above rules for determining costs counter previous TP creation rules because through the use of this system of rules Training Packages no longer have a cap on the number of ranks able to be learned through a Training Package. This also accounts for the guideline that a given package may only be taken one time. Please note that there may be certain exceptions to this one time only rule, though not many.

Package Specials

Once you have the Base Cost of a package for a profession, the next step is to add in points for each of the specials that you include in the package. Specials are things like extra stat gain rolls, quality items or NPC contacts. Unlike the standard Training Packages in Rolemaster, any specials included in these packages are automatically gained, so it is recommended that you only include them sparingly.

In certain cases, you may not want to make every special automatically acquired. In cases such as this, you have the following option, although it is recommended that this option be used sparingly.

Option

        To include a special with only a percentage chance of being acquired, you would apply a percentage of the point cost equal to the percentage chance of acquiring the special.

Example: If you want include a +5 Quality Item, but only want the character to have a base 30% chance of acquiring the item, you would only add 30% of the special's cost to the cost of the package. In this case, 30% of 10 points equals 3 points.

The following list of specials will give you an idea of how to price other specials that I may not have included. One item that is not on the list below is the one special that every package gains for free. This free special is the person who actually teaches the package to the character. This person is then a contact that can be used by the PC at a later time, perhaps as a medium for delivering clues or adventuring leads. GMs may also use teachers as adventure catalysts in other ways as well.

10 Points

        +5 Quality Item This is an item that is related to the package. It gives its bonus to a specific skill.

        Token of Recognition This is an item that will grant the bearer an audience with a high-ranking person or official. It does not grant the person any favors other than being heard by the NPC.

        Extra Stat Gain Roll This special gives the character an extra stat gain roll for one specified stat. No more than 2 stat gain rolls should be granted in any package.

        Access to a Spell List as a TP List. It is important to note that unless this special has been taken, no ranks in a TP spell list may be taken.

 

15 Points

        +10 Quality Item This is an item that is related to the package. It gives its bonus to a specific skill.

        Minor Loot This is an item or items related to the package. It could be a finely crafted item, or a map, or an item of up to 10d10 sp of worth.

        Friend You have a friend in town. He might be a tavern owner or a shopkeeper. The details are to be decided by you and the GM.

20 Points

        +15 Quality Item This is an item that is related to the package. It gives its bonus to a specific skill.

        Underworld Contacts You have friends in low places, or at least know people who know people in the underworld.

        Government Contacts You have friends in high places, or at least know people who know people that work in the government.

25 Points

        +20 Quality Item This is an item that is related to the package. It gives its bonus to a specific skill.

        +5 Magic Item This is an item that is related to the package. It gives its bonus to a specific skill.

30 Points

        +10 Magic Item This is an item that is related to the package. It gives its bonus to a specific skill.

        Major Loot This is a valuable item that is related to the package, like a valuable gem, or a high priced piece of artwork. It could also be something like a horse or a minor magic item (+1 spell adder, rune with a first level spell, etc...).

Once you have selected which specials you will be granting to the package, you add their point cost to the Base Cost that you calculated earlier.

Applying the Discount

The final step is to determine what discount that character receives for this package. Use the following chart to determine what discount gets applied to the package. The chart is easy to use. Just compare the type of character against the focus of the package to get the discount factor.

Character Type

Focus of Training Package

Non

Semi

Pure

Hybrid

Generic

Non-Spell User

0.7

0.75

0.8

0.85

0.75

Semi-Spell User

0.75

0.7

0.75

0.8

0.75

Pure Spell User

0.8

0.75

0.7

0.75

0.75

Hybrid Spell User

0.85

0.8

0.75

0.7

0.75

Multiply the discount factor by the Total Base Cost (rounding up) to determine the Final Cost.

Final Note

This system has some big potential for abuse. As a GM it is up to you to ensure that any Training Packages created using this system remain balanced with all others being used. Training Packages should only be created by Players with the permission of the GM, and then only with the GM giving final approval for it.


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