On Friday 28th September 2012, as I was sweating in preparation to meet the guys for Friday Night Roleplay, the new Rolemaster Beta Playtest began.
Meeting the guys to begin our new fantasy RPG campaign in the world of Heroic Mykenaea
, we were also pouring over the rather excellent new rules from Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE). You can read my response to Character Law
, the first of the new books to be released, on The Iron Tavern
later today, and some thoughts on Spell Law
will be posted their later in the week.
So, without spoiling my articles elsewhere, what's left to talk about here? In short, I want to talk about my unbridled enthusiasm for the new Rolemaster.
Rolling up our first four heroes using the new rules was a delight, quite frankly. For me, these rules seem to combine the best features of what I look for in an RPG: attention to details combined with flexibility, yet presented with a heavy dose of simplicity. And by simplicity I don't mean simplistic: I mean Edward De Bono style simplicity.
Simplicity is about making something slick and efficient without removing the essence of what makes it great. New Rolemaster, at least on first test, is just that: slick, efficient and still feeling great.
For the first time in a long while I felt the group energised and focused on one thing: creating a roleplaying experience that was more than combat-ready. Instead of the old D&D4e sense of characters being tooled up for the next line of combat encounters, these new Rolemaster heroes begin to feel like just that: heroes, ready for the test of story-telling.
The new rules have also immediately energised my setting development. During creation I was forced to improvise eight languages for the setting, which was easy enough but a necessary step forgotten thus far. I was also challenged to make decisions about suitable Cultures for the heroes, and even which Races and Professions would fit. And yet, in reading the new Rolemaster rules, I felt immediate confidence in having made reasonable decisions.
Why? I felt that confidence because the rules are clearly written and very straight-forward to understand. As a GM I didn't feel like I needed to double-check my decisions because the rules projected an air of calm confidence in their own quality and balance. In short, I felt myself trusting the author. Time will tell if my trust is well-placed... but I have to admit that it's rare for me to feel such confidence in a rules set.
Preparation for Adventure
We await Arms Law
, the combat system for the game. While we do so, I am pouring over Spell Law
and enjoying it. Alongside this I feel myself energised to up my own game ready for the first session on October 12th. I'm going to create some NPCs and play around with the rules, and I'm going to keep my reactions posted on The Iron Tavern
Labels: fantasy, GMing, Mykenaea, news, Rolemaster, roleplaying