Words from the Wise (Guys)

Copyright Peter Mork © 2012

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

Welcome to the 162nd edition of the Guild Companion. This month we present a conversion of potions and scrolls from the Forgotten Realms into Rolemaster statistics.

Last month I talked about how skill failures could be interpreted as random encounters. This month, I want to switch gears to consider skill successes.

In most published adventures, the module indicates how the GM should interpret varying degrees of success. For example, a Partial Success on a Gossip maneuver might result in hearing a rumor that the nights have been especially foggy, while a Full Success might result in more information: "The baron has been seen riding into town just before the fog rolls in."

But, what if the players are in control of interpreting their successes? In a recent session, the characters were interested in befriending the guild that controls poisons and intoxicants. With a successful Interrogation maneuver, one player decided that the guild wanted to gain access to a new drug. Another player (with a successful Region Lore maneuver) decided that the drug only grew in the town of Bedlam (known for the number of insane residents). Over the course of the next half hour, the rest of the party fleshed out the adventure. When the maneuvers were successful, the information invented by the player was correct. As GM, I filled in the details and added some wrinkles, but the story was much more interactive.

In another session, we took this approach one step further. The party needed to escort an old man on safari, helping him to bag a manticore. The party decided that the easiest way to accomplish the task would be to kill the manticore and then to bring it back to life (using Life Mastery or Necromancy). However, this plan hinged on whether or not Lifegiving or Animate Dead would work on a manticore. The party used Religion, Research, Biochemistry, and many other skills to decide (not just learn) whether or not manticores have souls, how quickly their souls depart, etc. In this case, the characters were literally writing the rules based on successful static maneuvers. Normally I wouldn't allow skills to be this powerful, but these are gods, so I'm willing to give them some leeway.

Until next month, may all of your Large criticals be open-ended.
Peter Mork
General Editor