On Rolemaster, part three

Last time we left Heliana part way through character generation. She is now Level 0, and living a happy life roaming the wild woods around her ancestral home, much to the chagrin of her family.

It’s time to switch things up as we take her to level one and ready to play.

Heliana knew she would be in trouble, but that was nothing new. Her father would complain and doubtless threaten to send her away, but there was always something in his eyes that betrayed she reminded him of her elven mother, rest her soul. He could never be angry with his daughter for long.

 

Her horse cantered along the familiar narrow path, and as they reached the edge of the forest Heliana saw the angry glow. Sparks and embers danced in the wind. Heliana let out a yell and dug in her heels, urging the horse to a treacherous gallop.

 

The manor was burning.

Our hero’s life turns on a heartbeat. Her eldest brother is away soldiering in foreign parts. Her father and other siblings are dead, and all she owned is in ashes. Rumours abound of her father having dubious business interests, and what wealth her family possessed is quickly seized upon by creditors.

Heliana did the only thing she could. She returned to the forest.

Rolemaster has a couple of Optional Rules that can be used if the GM approves, depending on the tone and style of the campaign setting. One such rule is Hobbies. This gives your character a one time bonus of 4 Ranks in one skill and 2 Ranks in another, all for free. These help further round out the character, and are a good way to add depth and uniqueness to your PC. In our games, we only allowed Secondary Skills to be taken as hobbies (no, Picking Locks isn’t a hobby!). For Heliana, I choose these:

Animal Healing

XX

Tracking

XXXX

Now it’s on to her Apprenticeship. Heliana is no longer a debutante with a love of forests, but a true Ranger in training. She has given herself to the forest entirely. We spend another 32 Development Points on her skills with that in mind, adding the Ranks to her existing skill list.

Soft Leather

XXXXXX

Long bow

XXX

Rapier

XX

Swimming

X

Riding

X

Stalk & Hide

XX

Body Development

XX

Animal Healing

XX

Dance

X

Foraging

XX

Navigation

X

Seduction

X

Tracking

XXXXX

Spell List: Nature’s Guises

XXXX

Heliana’s skill with her weapons and armour has improved, as has her ability to stalk, hide and track. She has roamed beyond her familiar paths and gained some skill in navigating with the sun, stars and landmarks. She is also learning a Spell List.

In Rolemaster, Rangers are semi-spell users of Channeling. Their magic comes from the Lords of the Forest – the Green Man, Herne the Hunter, the Faery Queen and other such beings of power. Rangers don’t so much worship them (though doubtless some do) as treat them with the respect, deference and reverence they deserve. In return for their service as guardians and protectors of the forest, the Lords (knowingly or unwittingly) grant them a portion of their magic. If you prefer your Rangers to be less dependent on quasi-deities, you can optionally make them semi-spell users of Essence instead, and have their magic come from the land itself. Either works.

Each Spell List grants access to a whole bunch of related spells once it is learned. As Nature’s Guises is a core Ranger Spell List, learning it opens up the first 10 levels of spells in the list (provided the caster has enough Power Points to cast them). This list covers everything from the first level spell Hues (caster takes on the colouration of one organic object touched, for one minute/level – perfect for hiding in a forest!) to creating Light, Darkness, Shadow and moving silently. Other Ranger Spell Lists give heat and cold resistance, aid movement, tracking and locating food & water. Useful stuff, if not particularly flashy.

With four Ranks in her Spell List, Heliana has a +20 on her roll to see if she learns it, and she needs over 100 to succeed. I roll d100+20 and get…. 105! She has the blessing of the Green Man, and can now cast spells. If the roll had failed, we could add more Ranks to her spell list (to reflect her ongoing research, study and meditation) to increase her chance of success every time she levels up. Magic is neither common nor simple in Rolemaster.

One final optional rule is Background Options. These are extra abilities, quirks, magic items or wealth that play further into the character’s backstory. Different races gain a different number of Background Options, to help balance the races out. For example, Common Men gain 6 Background Options, while a Half-Elf such as Heliana gains 3 (but she does gain some nifty racial stat bonuses and disease resistance).

You can choose or roll on the tables. As I know Heliana’s backstory, I choose to choose.

  •  A +10 bonus in Stalk & Hide. Heliana is naturally talented at staying unseen
  • A Daily I spell item. The ancient green stone worn on a chain around her neck is carved with the face of the Green Man. It allows her to use the Pathlore spell for free, once per day
  • 10 ranks in the Elven language. Although she has been raised in a human culture, her mother ensured her elven heritage was not forgotten before she passed away

All that is left is to buy Heliana’s starting equipment and tally up her final stat and skill bonuses. We could also allocate her Development Points in advance for her next level, but that’s something I prefer to do during actual play, so we’ll hold off on that for now.

Next time, I will show Heliana’s completed character sheet, and we’ll find out just how good she is in combat when soldiers sent by an evil uncle come looking for her. Because there is always an evil uncle. Always.

Till then!

Like this post? Why not buy me a coffee? Thank you.

One Comment on “On Rolemaster, part three”

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.