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Simplifying Resistance Rolls

Copyright Jonathan Dale ©2002

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

Rolemaster uses a relatively simple game mechanic for resolving most actions: the static maneuver. Roll the dice, apply modifiers, and compare the result to a familiar table, one straightforward enough that many of us memorize the key numbers. In addition to this mechanic, Rolemaster uses the moving maneuver, the combat table, the base spell attack table, and the resistance roll table. This assortment of mechanics requires more page flipping and table-lookups, and more learning for new players and gamemasters. For those who want to streamline play or simplify the learning process, eliminating some of these mechanics can be desirable.

RMFRP and 10 Million Ways To Die offer combined combat tables for those who prefer them. Moving maneuvers can be glossed over in favor of static maneuvers; we have played this way for years. But the base spell attack table (the BAR) and the resistance roll table (RR) have remained requirements. In this article, I present an alternative method of resolving resistance rolls based on the static maneuver table. This method completely replaces both the BAR and the RR tables, so it eliminates one roll and two mechanics with their associated tables. New tables are provided with this article as a PDF file, at the end of the article.

Casting The Spell

Use the Spell Casting Static Maneuver table T-4.5 (pg. 46 in RMFRP) to resolve the spell-casting attempt, as normal. Since the BAR provides an additional chance of spell failure, I suggest requiring a SCSM roll for all basic attack spells (i.e., all spells of type F), even if the requirements for automatic spell casting are met. Normal modifiers apply to this roll.

The result on the SCSM table modifies the resistance roll as follows:

Partial Success: the RR is an Easy maneuver (+20).

Near Success: the RR is a Light maneuver (+10).

Unusual Success: the RR is an Extremely Hard maneuver (-30).

Success: the RR is a Medium maneuver (+0).

Absolute Success: the RR is a Very Hard maneuver (-20).

This results in very successful spell casting being more difficult to resist, replacing the same effect from the BAR table without the need for a second roll, mechanic, and table. These modifiers are also listed on the RRSM table.

Resisting The Spell

Use the Resistance Roll Static Maneuver (RRSM) table provided with this article to resolve the resistance roll. All normal RR modifiers are listed on the table; special modifiers to resistance rolls (from spells, or from spells or items which are unusually difficult to resist) should also be applied to the RRSM roll. The different columns of the BAR table have been replaced with modifiers for armor type and spell realm. Any special BAR modifiers should also be applied to this roll, but as penalties. For example, the Mental Assault (Attack) skill from the Mentalism Companion adds its number of skill ranks to the BAR roll. Instead, subtract these from the RRSM roll.

A new modifier is also added for target and caster level. This exactly mirrors the structure of the normal RR table.

Many of these modifiers will be constant, and can be computed in advance for each realm, reducing the number of calculations needed during battle. These include:

  • The character's stat bonus vs. each realm (e.g. +3 x Em against Essence spells).
  • Racial RR modifiers.
  • The +15 modifier for resisting spells of your own realm.
  • The target's level modifier.

When resolving spells whose duration depends on the amount the RR is failed by (durations such as "1 rnd/10 fail"), the duration should be computed based on the amount the roll fell short of success. For example, if the total roll is 91, it is 20 less than 111 (the roll needed for success). If the duration were listed as "1 rnd/10 fail," the actual spell duration would then be two rounds. For these types of spells, you may prefer not to modify the duration according to the RRSM table (which would exaggerate differences in durations by halving them for near successes and multiplying them for absolute and spectacular failures).

Resisting Other Effects

A second RRSM table is provided for resistance rolls against poisons and diseases. Apply normal RR modifiers (three times the character's constitution bonus, the racial bonus, etc.) and use the poison or disease's level in place of the caster level. Gamemaster Law provides much more information about the meaning of mild, moderate, severe, and extreme effects of poison and disease; the table simply provides a quick summary in most cases and is not meant to replace the GM Law results when these are referenced.

Resistance Chart.
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