Words from the Wise (Guys)

Copyright Nicholas HM Caldwell © 2005

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion


To the seventy-fifth issue of The Guild Companion.

Articles Wanted

As you'll have noticed from the leanness of this month's table of contents, we're running very short on articles. We need you to contribute articles for any and all systems. We're interested in scenarios, races, cultures, spells and spell lists, treasures, monsters, new rules, and so forth. Write for us and enjoy the fame of being published and the respect of fellow gamers. And you retain copyright on your contributions. Go on, you know it makes sense. Send your submissions to me at editor@guildcompanion.com

The Secret Project Poll

TGC is engaged on and off in negotiations with ICE concerning a secret project. In order to help with the planning of this project, we've had a poll set up on ICE's General ICE-related Discussions that asks which systems you actively play or GM. Please record your vote on that poll, so that we (and ICE) have a better feeling for the active gaming that is taking place, rather than just relying on sales figures for the various product lines. The more votes, the more accurate will be the final result.

A Rolemaster Future?

On ICE's Rolemaster forum, a multi-threaded discussion has evolved covering key aspects of Rolemaster such as skills, professions, combat and magic. It began as an attempt to discover what ICE would need to do to tempt RM2 fans into buying Rolemaster products, but is now exploring possible futures for Rolemaster.

ICE has been at pains to state that no revision has been planned, and indeed no decision has even been made as to if and when Rolemaster will be revised.

Which is probably just as well because some of the ideas being proposed would lead to a "Rolemaster" that is very different from either Rolemaster 2nd Edition or RMSS/FRP - it could look like an "Advanced HARP" or it could be a game as different from HARP and Rolemaster as HARP is from Rolemaster.

In my opinion, there are some aspects of Rolemaster that make it Rolemaster. One of these is Arms Law combat, where an attack roll is cross-referenced against an armor type on a weapon table to generate a result of concussion hits and a possible critical, and a second roll is made to determine the actual critical. Single-roll combat resolution is not Rolemaster. Another aspect is the organization of spells into spell lists. I like the beauty of a well-crafted spell list with a place for every spell and every spell in its place. Granted, it may be slightly easier to balance individual spells and spell scaling as in HARP, but the spell creation system in HARP can be abused too. Spell lists are quintessentially Rolemaster.

The division of magic in Rolemaster into separate realms (Essence, Channeling, Mentalism, and Arcane) is part of the fabric of Rolemaster as well. It may be that Rolemaster does not need sets of Open and Closed spell lists for each realm that duplicate many effects at slightly different power levels. Creating "Universal Open" and "Universal Closed" sets of spell lists would have a major impact on the professions available, collapsing variants such as the Warrior Mage and the Armsmaster into a single arms/magic combo and eliminating the need for some of the hybrid spell-using professions. Hybrid spell users have always had a raw deal in Rolemaster, with the benefit of accessing multiple realms being marginal compared to the hardships of having multiple non-developmental stats as prime stats and the added complexity of hybrids. I'm open-minded on this topic.

However, I'm staying out of the discussions for the time being, since I'd like to finish HARP SF!

Farewell for now ...

My todo list for HARP SF continues to sing its siren song, so I'll leave you to enjoy this month's articles. Our next issue will be published in June 2005 (and we will look forward to a host of new submissions), but until then ...

Keep gaming and have fun,
Nicholas HM Caldwell
General Editor for The Guild Companion