Authors Note: The same
rules can be used for psychics in Spacemaster: Privateers; to save space I will
refer to bonus items in terms of RMFRP.
Authors Note: Power
Burnout is described on page 27 of the Arcane Companion.
While reading about Power Burnout
in the Arcane Companion, which describes how a character with more power points
than his normal maximum takes damage, I began to think: How do bonus
spell/psychic items work? Do they allow
a character to have more power points than his normal allotment? And should he take Power Burnout if the
bonus item leaves his body? The
mathematics and game effects are very straightforward; an adder allows a number
of additional spells to be cast and a multiplier simply allows the attuned to
have access to a multiple of his Power/Mind Points. So I pulled out my
Rolemaster 2nd edition [RM 2nd], Rolemaster The Standard
System [RMSS] and Rolemaster Fantasy Role-Playing [RMFRP] books to tackle the
From my reading it seemed that all
versions of Rolemaster treated bonus items the same. The character had to spend an amount of time with the item before
it worked (i.e. gained the bonus effect), the character had to attune to the
item, only one bonus item could be used at a time, bonus items had to be held
or worn and all seemed to effect the attuner.
In other words, the bonus item somehow changes the character's ability
to hold power. If the bonus item works this way, then the character would
suffer Power Burnout if the item were simply put down or taken away from the
attuned. This is a great labiality to
any spell caster (let alone the joke possibilities, "Is that a staff in your
bed or are you just happy to see me?").
The other way for bonus items to
work, which seems contrary to my understanding of the rules, is that energy is
pushed through the bonus item. In the
latter case the user would not suffer Power Burnout since the power is pushed
through the item. It also seems wondrous that should I put in X points, I get a
multiple of X back (in the case of multipliers). This multiplication of power breaks the law of conservation of
We shall therefore posit that
adders and multipliers work by increasing the character's ability to store
power. As a result, when the item is
lost or set aside, the character may suffer (dramatically!) from Power Burnout.
New Bonus Items
Recognizing this danger, I know
consider new bonus items that do not subject spell casters to these risks. Let us first consider multipliers, and then
turn our attention to a new analogue to the spell adder.
In chemistry there are substances
known as catalysts which, when added to a reaction, allow the reaction to
proceed to completion with less energy.
Catalysts work like this; the catalyst makes the energy more effective
by lowering the energy barrier for the effect.
That is, 1 Power Point now has the effectiveness of 2 Power Points
because the catalyst has made better use of the energy needed to achieve the
effect (if you have a x2 Power Point catalyst).
Let us know consider adders. A spell adder alters the attuner's ability
to hold power. A more valuable bonus
item is a spell booster. Its benefit is
much more powerful than the typical adder in that it lowers the Power Point
cost by a set amount. A 1-point booster
lowers the cost of all spells by 1 Power Point, but it cannot reduce the cost
of a spell below 1. A 3-point booster
lowers spells costs by 3, so the cost for spells of level 1–4 is a single Power
Point. Since this is such a powerful
effect you may want to limit its use to a given number of times a day or a set
number of Power Points. For example a
4-point booster might be good for reducing 20 Power Points a day, or it might
only work 5 times a day.
Editor's Note: Catalysts and
boosters should be more difficult to produce than multipliers/adders.