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RoleMaster on the Web

Copyright Brent Knorr ©2003

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

There are a lot of good resources for Rolemaster information on the web, but trying to find them can sometimes be challenging.   This article will highlight some of the best sites for finding information, try to provide a little history on the sites, and point out the best ways to find even more sites. I've done my best to get the dates as accurate as possible, but I was often working with very limited information so my apologies if some of them are incorrect or vague.

ICE Homepage

http://www.ironcrown.com

The first place to look for Rolemaster information is, of course, with the makers of the game, Iron Crown Enterprises, or ICE for short.  For those that may have missed it, ICE is alive and well and selling new products.  Their Webpage got a major overhaul in March 2002 and has continued to grow since then.  The main page contains the latest announcements and links to all the sections of the sites.  There is an online store for ordering products, a "Rolemaster Moments" section where players of the game share their favorite gaming moments, which can also serve as a good source of adventure ideas. 

There is a fairly large downloads page with lots of goodies like Character Sheets, additional Professions and Training Packages, House rules and other treats.  There's also an extensive links and resources page.

Another important feature of the ICE Homepage is the Official ICE Forums.  It's a very active forum, with new and experienced Rolemaster and Spacemaster players, including ICE Staff and authors of many of the Rolemaster and Spacemaster books.

Guild Companion

http://guildcompanion.com

The Guild Companion is an online magazine that was started in December 1998, with the second issue published in March 1999 then going monthly beginning with the third issue in May 1999.  It was really the only major source of new material for Rolemaster while ICE suffered through their bankruptcy. 

The new ICE has close ties with the Guild Companion and they have been working together on a number of projects including new campaign settings and releasing some of the older Rolemaster products as pdf files.  Check out the "Words From the Wise (Guys)" at the beginning of each issue for updates on what these projects are, and check the "Voices of Reason" link, which takes you to the Guild Companion forums for more information on these projects and all sorts of other discussions.   The Guild forums have been quieter since the ICE forums started up, but they are by no means dead and there's some very good information to be found in some of the threads.

 All the back issues of the Guild Companion can be found by following the "Scrolls of Wisdom" link, definitely worth looking through, this is really the meat of the Guild Companion site.

The "Fellow Travelers" link takes you to the links page. It's not very extensive, and a few of the links have gone dead, but there are some sites listed here that aren't on the ICE page. 

To get back to the main page from the other pages, click on the "Guild Companion" logo found in the top right hand corner of most of the pages.

Shadow World Homepage

http://homepage.mac.com/terbob/

After ICE stopped producing the Shadow World line, Terry K. Amthor continued producing new material under an agreement with ICE.  His material was designed for the RM2 system even though ICE had moved onto the RMSS system by that time.  Now that ICE is back in business, they have decided to revive the Shadow World line and produce new editions of the Terry's Shadow World material that is compatible with newer editions of Rolemaster, as well as the RM2 system.

The Shadow World Homepage contains some fiction written by Terry for Shadow World, some maps, errata for the Shadow World products, a News page, and some very nice artwork depicting various locations in Shadow World.  Navigating the site can be a little tricky at times, but if you are at all interested in Shadow World, this is a "must see" site.

Jonathan Dale's Rolemaster Resources

http://www.vsf.cape.com/~jdale/rpg/rpg.htm

The biggest feature of this site is that it contains what is generally considered to be one of the best character generators available, which is up to date with the latest Rolemaster releases.

There are several other good articles, as well as a link to Sheila Miguez's page (http://feafaroth.org/rpg/), which has a Spacemaster version of the Character Generator and general-purpose Training Package Cost calculators for Rolemaster and Spacemaster

Middle-earth Role Playing Product Catalogue

http://www.chapter-one.com/merp/

This is a fantastic resource for information on MERP products.  The easiest way to describe it is just to quote the introduction from the site:

 

"This site fully details every Middle-earth Role Playing (MERP) RPG product (including solo adventure books and board games) ever published by Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE) - from 1982 up until the very last one in 1997 (over 110 in total).

Front cover images, the front and back cover text (as well as introductory text for some of the earlier products which didn't feature much information on the covers), location maps that the products detail, ISBNs, publication dates, authors, reviews, current average eBay value, and cross-references / replacements / sources between publications are all provided."

That sums up the site fairly well, each product has its own page, and the site gives you the ability to add your own comments on each product.  There is a message forum attached to the site as well, but it isn't very active.

Brent's Basement

http://www.ob1knorrb.com/gaming.shtml/

My review on this site is bound to be a bit biased as it's my own site, but it is referenced a lot so I don't think it's unfair to include it.  The most commonly referenced material is on the Resources page, this contains the Full Product list for ICE, which is a listing of all the Rolemaster, Spacemaster, MERP, Shadow World, Silent Death, and Cyberspace modules that were ever produced by ICE. Most items have a small graphic that can clicked to show a bigger picture of the cover.  Many of the RM2 items and some of the newer RMSS/RMFRP items have individual pages with a larger cover image, the text from the back cover, and the Table of Contents from the book.  I usually add 3 or 4 of these detail pages each week. Eventually I hope to be on par with the MERP Product Catalogue for the other ICE products.  The MERP list is just text and refers the reader to the MERP Product Catalogue.

Another popular item on the site is the article that compares RMSS to RMFRP.  These are the two newest versions of the Rolemaster System, which are very similar.  The article describes what the differences are and is useful for people that may have access to a mixed set of books, or for people trying to figure out which books they might want to replace and which ones the don't want to replace.

The Errata page contains documents and links to documents containing errata for various ICE products.  This includes the "Rolemaster Rulings" pages, a collection of official rulings for the Rolemaster RPG. This includes the rules for designing Training Packages.

Brett Nash has been working on reformatting and updated these pages, his version can be found at http://www.nash.nu/Rolemaster/rules/rulings.html and will probably replace the pages currently on my site.

I also have several reviews of ICE products on the page, most of which have appeared in the Guild Companion at some point.

There are several other gaming related items on the site, and the humor section is quite popular as well.

RPG Gateway

http://www.rpggateway.com/Systems/Role_Playing_Games/Rolemaster/

The Rolemaster section of the RPG Gateway probably has one of the most complete listings of Rolemaster and other ICE RPG sites anywhere on the web.  It's really just a big list of links.  If you do know of a site that isn't included, please add it, or let me know and I can get it added, as I happen to be the editor for that particular section.  I can be emailed at brent@ob1knorrb.com

Rolemaster/ICE RPG Webring

Hub page: http://h.webring.com/go?ring=rmring

Home page: http://www.ob1knorrb.com/ICE_RPG_Webring/

This is another one of my projects, which has quite an interesting history.  A WebRing consists of a group of sites that share something in common, in the case of the Rolemaster/ICE RPG WebRing, all the sites have information about Rolemaster or another role-playing game made by ICE. Each site contains a navigation bar that allows you to move to the next site in the ring, the previous site in the ring, pick a random site, or go to a page that lists all the sites in the ring. It's a good way to surf through lots of Rolemaster sites.

The original WebRing system was designed by Sage Weil using his own cgi-script in May 1994.  The idea caught on quickly, and in June 1995, Weil created WebRing, which officially launched around February 1996.  Stephen Brent Turner started one of the early rings on this system in 1996, The Rolemaster/MERP Webring.

In 1997, Sage Weil sold WebRing to Starseed, Inc.; in 1998 Starseed was acquired by Geocities, who made no major changes to the system.  In early 1999, Yahoo! bought Geocities.  Eighteen months after acquiring WebRing, on September 5 2000, Yahoo! unveiled a fully overhauled WebRing, known as Yahoo!WebRing.

At this point, Stephen Turner lost control of the Rolemaster/MERP Webring, and it took him until November 2000 to get back Administrator privileges. This resulted in new applications to join the ring not getting processed, and dead links not getting cleaned up.  A WebRing is really only effective if there aren't any dead links, otherwise the integrity of the ring is compromised and you can't navigate the ring properly.

Shortly after this, I believe Stephen Turner just gave up and stopped trying to maintain the WebRing at all. More sites went dead, and people started to give up trying to add their sites to the ring. I tried several times to contact him to offer to take over managing the WebRing but failed.

On March 21 2001, I started the ICE RPG WebRing as an alternative to the Rolemaster/MERP WebRing. I recruited about 26 sites fairly quickly.

On April 15th 2001, without any announcement to the WebRing users, Yahoo! pulled their support of WebRing, leaving it in the hands of one technician, an original WebRing.org Tech.  This technician was able to acquire WebRing from Yahoo! and on October 12, 2001 he unveiled the improved WebRing, completely free of Yahoo! once again.

On December 17th 2001, after additional attempts to contact Stephen failed, I was allowed to adopt the Rolemaster/MERP WebRing.

It took almost a month to get the WebRing into reasonable shape.  There were close to 40 outstanding requests for admission to the ring, about half the sites in the ring didn't have functional navigation bars, many of the sites listed no longer existed, several sites were duplicated, etc, etc. As a first step, I gave blanket approval to all outstanding requests to join the ring, and then suspended all sites that failed the navigation bar test. This left me with 70 active sites and nearly as many Suspended sites.

After that, I visited each Suspended site, if it was no longer relevant, I deleted it, if it was still valid, I attempted to contact the owner of the site and helped to get the navigation code working.  If I couldn't contact the owner, I made sure the site was included in the RPG Gateway list and deleted the site from the Webring

This was complete by the end of Jan 2002, the sites from my new ICE RPG WebRing had been moved over to the Rolemaster MERP WebRing and I then renamed the combined ring to be the Rolemaster/ICE RPG WebRing.

The ICE/RPG WebRing currently has 85 active sites and gains about one additional site each month.  I'm hopeful that with ICE back in business, there will be an increase in the number of Rolemaster and Spacemaster sites on the web and the WebRing will continue to grow.

If you are navigating the ring, you should be aware that there are several different navigation bars in use in the WebRing:

The original navigation bar designed by Stephen Turner:

The default navbar from WebRing

And two new logos:


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