Recent Posts

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 ... 10
1
Rolemaster / Re: [RMU] Alternative spellcasting
« Last post by MisterK on Today at 01:03:05 AM »
The combatant/sneak may be outshined in both areas, but they will never be powerless in either.

In my opinion, time in the spotlight is not decided by technical abilities, it is decided by GM scene setup and player cooperation. Your combat monster might be very busy slaughtering minions somewhere while the spotlight is on the guy who struggles to fend of a technically superior opponent and protecting a hapless NPC, or a key device - the combat monster does the technical heavy lifting, but the spotlight is not on them. "Moment to shine" is a scene building decision, not a technical one.

On the other hand, not being powerless *is* a technical decision. If you create a system where characters are overly specialised and each action *requires* the specialist to be done properly, you end up with a series of scenes where, each time, some people are busy while others wriggle their thumbs. That's why I don't like the healer classes, by the way (and the Healer class specifically): their area of expertise is purely reactive and not one where you want to put the spotlight on.

Additionally, not having archetypes ensure that the characters can develop according to what they have lived and what they want to do, instead of developing according to what their archetype tells them to do. It's much more organic.

And if you say "but everyone can develop any skill, it just requires more effort for some than others", I think you're missing the point - that's a more like a band-aid on a bleeding wound: it can prevent immediate death, but your patient still requires serious medical attention :p

Honestly, the best RM-like campaign I GMed was the one in which I removed all skill costs and simply provided my players with a list of skills and attributes and asked them to tell me what their characters were good at. Giving back complete control over over character design (unhindered by system restrictions) was the best decision I ever took, because players could think of their characters in terms of background, story and affinities instead of thinking in terms of what they could afford. Doing it collectively ensured that people had the same sense of scale in mind and that expertise niches and overlaps were the result of conscious decisions instead of being by-products of the system archetypes (yes, I also let them mix-and-match spell lists almost at will, providing it made sense in their background story).
2
Rolemaster / Re: [RMU] Alternative spellcasting
« Last post by jdale on July 18, 2024, 04:57:09 PM »
I don't think it's a problem of archetypes per se. In a purely skill based game, if one player makes an outstanding combatant and another player makes an outstanding sneak, then a third player who makes a combatant/sneak is going to be outshined in both areas. It's more about party design.

Rolemaster has a lot of archetypes, and many of them overlap. For example you've got Thief as a stealthy character but also Dabbler and Magent. You can make a party where everyone steps on each other's toes, or a party where everyone has their unique strength. I find that the archetypes are helpful for that planning.

I have previously run a lot of GURPS which is classless and level-less, just skills and advantages/disadvantages, and I don't agree that it solves this problem at all.
4
Rolemaster / Re: [RMU] Alternative spellcasting
« Last post by MisterK on July 18, 2024, 02:07:04 PM »
That sounds like you want the mage to be good at the spells and also good at the skills. That's the opposite of the point. The mage should not overshadow other party members at whatever they do best. If the mage is as good at whatever skill, then you definitely don't need the non-mages in the party.
You kind of prove my point: the problem exists as soon as you have archetypes that are intrinsically better at something than others, because you then *have* to keep those ability areas relevant and you *have* to make sure other archetypes do not overshadow those who are *supposed* to be good in that specific area. And even if the mage wants to spend time being good at lockpicking, they won't be as good as a regular thief because the archetypes prevent it in order to keep the archetypes relevant.

Purely skill-based systems, without archetypes, avoid this pitfall. They have another one that archetype-based systems avoid, which is homogeneisation (characters all tend to migrate towards the skills that are the most relevant and efficient for the problem at hand, leading to characters that could end up being technically similar), but you don't have the case where the system creates a problem (archetypes having predefined specialisations) then tries to sell a solution to the problem (making sure that some archetypes do not overshadow others). It's not specific to RM - all systems that use archetypes have a similar problem.

As a matter of fact, I'm firmly on the side of "yes, if magic gives you the ability to fly, climbing becomes a poor man's solution in most circumstances" I have no problem with magic being the superior tool if all PCs can access it equally. Which brings us back to the archetype issue.
6
Rolemaster / Re: [RMU] Alternative spellcasting
« Last post by jdale on July 18, 2024, 09:45:13 AM »
But that's an issue you'll always have with magic. There really is no way around it, either you want magic, or you don't. That for a few levels you might be better off as a non-spellcaster for many tasks doesn't help at all with "balance", because those few levels inevitably pass by.

Yes and no. The spells exist. But if the caster doesn't have those spells until higher level, then the character with the skills has some time to develop them and be good enough that they can still be relevant, before they are available. It's harder to render a +80 skill irrelevant than a +20 skill.

but the DP spending makes sure that a mage cannot be decent at mundane skills if he wants to be a decent mage (so the mage basically 'saves themself' for when PP spending is really needed).

That sounds like you want the mage to be good at the spells and also good at the skills. That's the opposite of the point. The mage should not overshadow other party members at whatever they do best. If the mage is as good at whatever skill, then you definitely don't need the non-mages in the party.
7
Rolemaster / Re: [RMU] Alternative spellcasting
« Last post by MisterK on July 18, 2024, 07:21:00 AM »
But that's an issue you'll always have with magic. There really is no way around it, either you want magic, or you don't. That for a few levels you might be better off as a non-spellcaster for many tasks doesn't help at all with "balance", because those few levels inevitably pass by.
Indeed, two of the only ways to keep the mundane skills relevant are either to make the spells costly enough that you want to use the mundane alternative whenever you can (to save the 'big guns' for when you'll really need them), or to remove all non-combat-focused magic. RM is more or less on the first option depending on the PP options you use, but the DP spending makes sure that a mage cannot be decent at mundane skills if he wants to be a decent mage (so the mage basically 'saves themself' for when PP spending is really needed). If I remember well, an example of the second option is the Iron Kingdoms RPG (not the D&D version): spells are an alternative to guns, not to non-combat skills, and, as such, non-combat skills remain relevant.

The problem with the first option is that a mage would expect to be able to use their spells whenever the situation requires it, or at least, as often as a non-mage can use their mundane skills, and it leads to frustration on the part of the players (I've had this issue a number of times using RM, which is one of the reasons why I moved to house rules where magic is both easier to learn and less exclusive, and mages have easier access to mundane skills). The problem with the second option is that you can always easily imagine mundane uses for magic and suspending disbelief becomes more difficult.

All in all, I think the issue lies with systems that are based on archetypes that aim at providing specific niches for each archetype. Systems that allow any character to access any skill (magical or not) do not intrinsically suffer from this problem - balance between characters is provided by equal access to abilities.
8
ICE News and Discussion / Re: Director's Briefing - July 2024
« Last post by 5th Knight of Xar on July 18, 2024, 06:23:43 AM »
Lovely, looking forward to add physical copies of Treasure Law to the collection!
9
Rolemaster / Re: [RMU] Alternative spellcasting
« Last post by Thot on July 18, 2024, 02:53:55 AM »
But that's an issue you'll always have with magic. There really is no way around it, either you want magic, or you don't. That for a few levels you might be better off as a non-spellcaster for many tasks doesn't help at all with "balance", because those few levels inevitably pass by.
10
The Guild Companion e-zine / Re: Guild Companion Site Is Down
« Last post by pastaav on July 18, 2024, 01:13:46 AM »
There are a lot of snapshots though. Do you have the title of the article? I will try to find it. I assume you didn't use pastaav as your byline.

I used my name Per-Anders Staav and it was the June 2009 issue
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 ... 10