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The Role of Magic in Professions.

Copyright A. Cherry ©2002

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

                When taken down to the bare essentials, professions in Rolemaster are a collection of skill costs, which in turn define what a character can learn easily, or only with difficulty.  In essence, a profession appears to be not so much what a character has been trained to become (those are the training packages) but rather is what a character can learn with ease.  Unfortunately, this elegant interpretation breaks down when one looks at the spell using professions: pures, semis, and hybrids.  There is no way that their base lists can come naturally to the character (the self-trained Chaotic aside), and seems to suggest that professions are the result of training.

                This is unacceptable.  Training should be the realm of training packages; profession is the realm of skill aptitudes. 

                In the original Essence Companion, the concept of the Training Package Spell List was introduced.  Unfortunately, in my opinion, it was not carried far enough.  Every single spell using profession can be reflected as a training package—even the Chaotic is little more than an Amateur Mage (Revised) of the Arcane realm.  After careful consideration, it seems that the path we must take is clear—remove the spell using professions and replace them with training packages of equal magnitude.  All Base Lists then become Training Package lists. 

                For those who are unaware of the costs, Spells, Own Realm Training Package List cost 8/8/8 for all non-spell users, and Spells, Other Realm Training Package List cost 16/16 for all non-spell users.  I have added Spells, Arcane Training Package at 12/12.  (Note: Training Package Spell Lists are Restricted unless they match the character's background, usually via a relevant Training Package.)  This decision also increases the accessibility of spells, as well as increasing the variety of spell users one can meet—though a Magent training package would likely be cheapest to a Thief or Rogue, an Outrider Magent might give the players a hard time of it.  Similarly, a Sage who was a Bard would probably not be the same as a Swashbuckler who was also a Bard.

 

This author suggests the following non-spell using professions:

¨       BarbarianSchool of Hard Knocks

¨       Diplomat—Described below

¨       FighterRMSR/RMFRP

¨       LaymanRMSR/Character Law

¨       Ninja—Described below

¨       OutriderSchool of Hard Knocks

¨       PriestChanneling Companion (non-spell using)

¨       RogueRMSR/RMFRP

¨       SageSchool of Hard Knocks

¨       SwashbucklerSchool of Hard Knocks

¨       Technician—Originally from Black Ops and Pulp Adventures, a Fantasy version is also described below

¨       ThiefRMSR/RMFRP

¨       Warrior MonkRMSR/Character Law

 

                The author also suggests that the DP costs for the Directed Spells, Power Awareness and Power Manipulation categories should be equal to that of the Layman, regardless of the character class.  That would be 3/6 for Directed Spells, 4/7 for Power Awareness and 8 for Power Manipulation.  For those who don't want to go quite this far, I would suggest using the fantastic 'Irregular Realms' (see the Guild Companion's March 1999 archive) for generic pure and semi spell users, and simply not use base lists; however, the author firmly believes that giving any profession spell using capabilities destroys the conception.

                By now, some of you may be wondering about Open and Closed lists.  After all, the old RMSS Magician profession could learn Open and Closed lists as well as his base lists, all cheaply, while a Magician TP would only give access to base lists, and those at 8/8/8.  Though it is the opinion of the author that base lists usually work very well on their own, especially since many TPs can give whatever spell list one desires as a TP list, there is still room for the magic user who can cast most any kind of spell one can imagine.  For that mage, as well as for other players, there are the following talents available:

 

Archetype (Major): Power Point Development now costs 4 DP—20 talent points [replaces Archetype out of Character Law]

Archetype (Minor): Power Point Development now costs 8 DP—10 talent points [replaces Archetype out of Character Law]

Directed Spells Master (Minor): All Directed Spells are now Everyman—8 talent points

Greater Archmage Abilities (Greater): Open and Closed spell lists for one realm are 4/4/4; TP lists for your realm are 3/3/3.  Costs for other realms remain the same; you also get DP costs for Power Awareness and Power Manipulation as per the pure spell user of your realm—30 talent points [replaces Archmage Abilities out of Character Law]

Hybrid Archmage Abilities (Greater): Open and Closed spell lists for two realms are 6/6/6; TP lists for either realm are 4/4/4; costs for the remaining realm remain the same.  You also get the DP costs for Power Awareness and Power Manipulation as per the appropriate hybrid spell user—30 talent points [replaces Archmage Abilities out of Character Law]

Lesser Archmage Abilities (Major): Open and Closed spell lists for one realm are 6/6/6; TP lists for your realm are also 6/6/6.  Costs for other realms remain the same.  You also get the DP costs for Power Awareness and Power Manipulation as per the appropriate semi spell user of your realm—20 talent points [replaces Archmage Abilities out of Character Law]

Spell Discovery (Minor): You may learn one Open or Closed list as a TP list of that same realm—6 talent points

 

                Yes, it is costly to be a full-fledged spell user—50 talent points for Greater or Hybrid Archmage Abilities, plus Archetype, plus the development points for TPs to award base lists.  Being a semi-spell user is less costly—only 30 talent points plus the appropriate development points.  And that doesn't include the spell user's most useful talent: Power.  There is greater flexibility here, but on first glance it looks like one becomes a spell user only at the expense of being anything else. 

                Though this doesn't bother the author one bit—magic should be difficult to obtain—this is also not exactly the case.  There are a lot of flaws that would help someone reflect the Magician out of RMSS, as it was originally built, and free up talent points for other traits.  Assuming we build ourselves a Layman Magician, or perhaps a Sage, flaws like Weapon Bane or Disavowed Weapons would be the rough equivalent of the old profession's weapon costs; similarly, Fear of Armor is fitting for someone with these talents, as they probably wouldn't want to develop armor.  With a proper and judicious use of such flaws, there is no reason why one can't make a stereotypical magician, if that's what one really wants.  On the other hand, this system helps one make a non-stereotypical spell user much more easily than the RMSS allows.

                As for what the training packages for the professions should contain, that is world-dependant—what one world might teach a Mystic would be completely different from what another world would teach a Mystic.  Even one area to another may differ.  But if the demand is strong, this author will do his best to create profession training packages for a future issue of the Guild Companion.

New Professions

Category

Diplomat

Ninja

Technician

Armor • Heavy

6/6

7/7/7

8/8

Armor • Light

2/2/2

2/2/2

3/3/3

Armor • Medium

4/4/4

5/5/5

6/6

Artistic • Active

1/5

2/4

2/5

Artistic • Passive

2/4

2/5

2/5

Athletics • Brawn

3/8

3/6

3/8

Athletics • Endurance

2/6

1/5

2/7

Athletics • Gymnastic

2/5

1/4

2/5

Awareness • Perceptions

2/4

2/6

4/10

Awareness • Searching

2/5

1/4

2/6

Awareness • Senses

2/6

2/5

2/7

Body Development

5/12

3/9

5/12

Combat Maneuvers

4/10

4/10

5/12

Communications

1/1/1

3/3/3

2/2/2

Crafts

4/10

4/10

4/10

Directed Spells

3/7

3/7

3/7

Influence

1/3

2/6

2/5

Lore • General

1/3

1/3

1/3

Lore • Magical

4

5

3/6

Lore • Obscure

2/5

3/7

3/7

Lore • Technical

2/6

4/6

1/3

Martial Arts Combat Maneuvers

5/11

4/10

6

Martial Arts • Strikes

4/9

2/6

4/10

Martial Arts • Sweeps

4/9

2/6

4/10

Outdoor • Animal

2/7

2/7

2/6

Outdoor • Environmental

2/6

2/6

2/6

Power Awareness

7

7

6/12

Power Manipulations

12

12

10

Power Point Development

15

15

12

Science/Analytic • Basic

2/5

2/6

2/4

Science/Analytical • Specialized

12

12

6

Self Control

1/4

2/5

2/7

Special Attacks

6/12

3/7

6/12

Special Defenses

18

6/12

25

Subterfuge • Attacks

6

3/9

6/12

Subterfuge • Mechanics

2/4

2/4

2/8

Subterfuge • Stealth

2/5

1/4

2/7

Technical/Trade • General

3/7

3/7

3/7

Technical/Trade • Professional

8

8

8

Technical/Trade • Vocational

5/12

5/12

5/12

Urban

1/3

1/4

2/5

Weapon • Category 1

3/8

2/7

3/8

Weapon • Category 2

3/9

3/8

5/12

Weapon • Category 3

5

3/9

5

Weapon • Category 4

5

4

6

Weapon • Category 5

8

6

8

Weapon • Category 6

8

8

11

Weapon • Category 7

11

15

11


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