Words from the Wise (Guys)

Copyright Peter Mork © 2012

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

Welcome to the 161st edition of the Guild Companion. For the handful of people who haven't heard, Iron Crown has announced that a new edition of Rolemaster is forthcoming. According to Nicholas Caldwell, "It is time for the reunification of Rolemaster." Moreover, "this new edition of Rolemaster will include the best of all versions of Rolemaster as well as new enhancements and improvements to the Rolemaster system." For more infomration, see the official announcement.

Perhaps one of the issues that will be addressed are anomalies with the movement rate system. In the meantime, this month's article discusses ways to fix anomalies that exist in extant versions of Rolemaster, including RMC and RMSS.

This month I'd like to return to the idea of using a Skill Challenge (as borrowed from D&D, 4th edition) in Rolemaster. Historically, when traveling or exploring, PCs run the risk of random encounters (or wandering damage). For years I've stopped including random encounters in my game because they seem only to prolong the game and distract from the actual plot.

As an alternative, I propose using "random" encounters as the penalty for failing a skill challenge. Before the session starts, I select a handful of quirky creatures native to the area. If the PCs fail the challenge (or boff a static maneuver in spectacular fashion), I pull out one of these encounters to get them back on the right track.

For example, when exploring the plane of Mechanus, one of the characters failed gloriously in her attempt to use a spyglass to observe the forces pursuing the party. I pulled out the gear spirit encounter; the spyglass came to life and the spirit within refused to let anyone use the spyglass until he received a "kissy-poo" (as an aside, "kissy-poo" is now a forbidden word at our gaming table).

As another example, while exploring the Library of Thoth in search of information on how to create a new world, the party was struggling to find the right books. Given this failure, a flying scroll began flitting about. This turned into a new skill challenge as the party chased the scroll about the library. Once they were successful, the scroll landed atop the book they needed.

Not every "random" encounter ended up helping the party, but in every case this extra encounter a) added some levity and b) gave the PCs a second chance to accomplish their goals.

Last month we also noted that ICE's print-on-demand was up and running. So far it seems like this process is running relatively smoothly. Hopefully most of ICE's catalog can be made available in this manner.

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