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  1. #1

    Playing Rolemaster Online: What is it like?

    Hi Everyone,

    I am hoping that you good folks can tell me what it is like to play Rolemaster online?

    I used to play it in the 90s and really enjoyed it. Recently I returned to TTRPG via D&D 5e. I found it too simplistic and didn't enjoy it - especially when we had to move our sessions online in March because of COVID-19 (to roll20.net). I missed skill development for role play. In combat, I missed the idea that a high armour class was about being difficult to damage rather than being difficult to hit. Of course, I also missed being able to get a good crit!!!

    I would like to start a Rolemaster game online with a couple of friends but they would be completely new to both Rolemaster and online play. It seems to me that it would be a perfect game for online play with the automation of combat resolution. Unfortunately, I am having problems finding a good solution.

    Roll20 has a free Rolemaster character sheet which is OK but, in my mind, it wouldn't really help much with gameplay because it doesn't seem to help much towards combat resolution - especially crit table lookups. For Fantasy Grounds it looks like I would need to spend a minimum of $10 for the game for a month and $20 for the RMC ruleset in order to just try it out. Alternatively, $155 for non-subscription play is a pretty significant investment without knowing if FGU is actually any good... I haven't been able to find any mention of how the old or new rulesets help with combat and if crits are rolled and managed automatically. Watching a youtube video of a live game wasn't very enlightening either. I assume that it was RMC ruleset v1.8 and it sounded like the GM was actually manually looking up the crits and applying them. If so then to me they would be just as well using paper to manage the combat, perhaps even the whole game and just using free Roll20 to display maps and characters. Needless to say, neither option appeals to me.

    So, with all that in mind, what is it like to play Rolemaster online? If it is still overly complicated, is there an online version of a game system that would be reasonable for newbies, provide some level of skills for role play, and makes combat interesting? (HARP doesn't seem to be supported online yet)

    Thank you very much!
    Kell
    Last edited by 00kell; June 6th, 2020 at 18:01.

  2. #2
    Hi Kell,

    If you watched game play from a player's perspective you wouldn't see most of the automation. It actually automates quite a bit of the combat resolution. Basically everyone is on the Combat Tracker which is a list of combatants sorted by initiative. It contains basic information like Hits, PP, AT, DB, etc. and there are different panels for each combatant that contain the attacks, defenses and effects. The attacks panel allows you to roll the attacks. That will drop the result into the Table Resolver where the tables are handled. There is a section that holds all the attacks until the GM right clicks and selects Resolve. Then it will open up the appropriate attack table and list the modifiers for the attack including information for the target of the attack. The result is automatically selected on the attack table in the Table Resolver. The GM just drags that to the target to apply the damage to the target. Then the GM right clicks the result to open the appropriate critical/fumble table with the appropriate column selected. The GM or PC rolls a d100 for the critical or fumble if required and the GM drags it to the critical/fumble table. It will select the appropriate row based on the roll and the GM just drags the result to the target and it applies all the appropriate effects.

    Hopefully that helps but please let me know if you have any questions or would like more details.

    Thanks,
    Dakadin

    Rolemaster Classic for FG Wish List - http://rm4fg.idea.informer.com/

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by 00kell View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    I am hoping that you good folks can tell me what it is like to play Rolemaster online?

    I used to play it in the 90s and really enjoyed it. Recently I returned to TTRPG via D&D 5e. I found it too simplistic and didn't enjoy it - especially when we had to move our sessions online in March because of COVID-19 (to roll20.net). I missed skill development for role play. In combat, I missed the idea that a high armour class was about being difficult to damage rather than being difficult to hit. Of course, I also missed being able to get a good crit!!!

    I would like to start a Rolemaster game online with a couple of friends but they would be completely new to both Rolemaster and online play. It seems to me that it would be a perfect game for online play with the automation of combat resolution. Unfortunately, I am having problems finding a good solution.

    Roll20 has a free Rolemaster character sheet which is OK but, in my mind, it wouldn't really help much with gameplay because it doesn't seem to help much towards combat resolution - especially crit table lookups. For Fantasy Grounds it looks like I would need to spend a minimum of $10 for the game for a month and $20 for the RMC ruleset in order to just try it out. Alternatively, $155 for non-subscription play is a pretty significant investment without knowing if FGU is actually any good... I haven't been able to find any mention of how the old or new rulesets help with combat and if crits are rolled and managed automatically. Watching a youtube video of a live game wasn't very enlightening either. I assume that it was RMC ruleset v1.8 and it sounded like the GM was actually manually looking up the crits and applying them. If so then to me they would be just as well using paper to manage the combat, perhaps even the whole game and just using free Roll20 to display maps and characters. Needless to say, neither option appeals to me.

    So, with all that in mind, what is it like to play Rolemaster online? If it is still overly complicated, is there an online version of a game system that would be reasonable for newbies, provide some level of skills for role play, and makes combat interesting? (HARP doesn't seem to be supported online yet)

    Thank you very much!
    Kell

    Hi Kell

    As Dakadin mentions there is a decent amount of automation built into the ruleset from the GM side (some player automation as well like Stat generation, Stat Gain rolls, etc.).

    In the 1.8 ruleset criticals were automated. The new 2.x version is also automated for crits.

    Basically here is the way a single attack might go from the GM side:

    1. Player sets target of attack (CRTL+Click, or use the CT target option)
    2. Player would Roll to hit
    3. The table resolver opens up for GM, resolve the hit
    4. Drag damage from hit to target (on the CT)
    5. Right click on the Table Resolver, and if applicable select the Crit option, and have the player roll that.
    6. Drag player roll to the Table resolver to auto lookup the crit
    7. Drag effects from crit to target


    I believe most common things are automated for crit effects (stun, stun unable to parry, must parry, etc.).

    There is a lot of automation built into the ruleset (thanks to Dakadin's considerable work).

    You could see if anyone here might be willing to show it off to you.

    I would recommend if you want to try it out yourself, to use Fantasy Grounds Classic (FGU is beta right now and may be a negative experience for you and your players, some have not had major issues, but some have had bad experiences), do the subscription, $10 option), and get RM as well.

    The Ultimate license is expensive, however, the real benefit of the ultimate license is that your players can get the free demo version and not need anything else (it is otherwise the same as the standard license). Try the subscription first, and see if you like it, and then if you do, spring for the one-time purchase and cancel the subscription. Alternatively, you could keep the FGC subscription until FGU is out of beta, and then upgrade. There will be some work to update your campaign(s), but I've been playing around with FGU for a while now, and it does not usually take that long.


    I'm hoping to get a group together soonish (depends on them really) to play a hopefully long campaign.

    Hope this helps out.
    Not all who wander are lost.

  4. #4
    JohnD's Avatar
    Join Date
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    FG is superior to any other program when it comes to Rolemaster (or any other officially licensed RPG for that matter). Take the plunge it is worth it.

    The Resolver auto looks up your results and applies them automatically... very solid.
    DMing since February 1979. FGC & FGU Ultimate License holder.

    Currently GMing:
    * Yggsburgh and Castle Zagyg - Castles and Crusades Greyhawk (Monday | Friday)
    * ToEE - Castles and Crusades Greyhawk (Thursday)
    * AD&D Bandit Kingdoms (Friday)
    * AD&D (Saturday)

    Thanks for 8+ years of gaming via FG my friends (AD&D 2e / 3.5e / Rolemaster Classic / Castles & Crusades / Pathfinder / Savage Worlds / 5e).

    There/Their/They're are all different words and do not mean the same thing.

  5. #5
    Hi Kell,

    Welcome! I didn't realize that was your first post. I sent you a PM and figured I would let you know since you are new. Please let us know if you have any questions.

    Thanks,
    Dakadin

    Rolemaster Classic for FG Wish List - http://rm4fg.idea.informer.com/

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    California
    Posts
    853
    Hi. Like Rolemaster in general, Fantasy Grounds takes some getting used to. However anyone that can build a Rolemaster character and play the game can easily figure out FG.

    As for how Rolemaster plays online, I've speculated since the beginning of RM that the game was designed to be played on a computer. In the late 80s an online text game called Gemstone used the Rolemaster system spectacularly well for the era which reinforced my viewpoint.

    Rolemaster on FG was a leap forward but the older system was a little clunky for me. The current system is much improved and still improving.

    The key that FG has is an official license allowing them to include equipment, monsters and treasure and such. You basically get the four core classic books with your purchase in addition to the automation systems.

    My advise would be to check it out for yourself. Get a 1 month subscription, buy RMC, try it out. If you're not happy return it for a refund. I think you'll be happy with it.

  7. #7
    Majyk's Avatar
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    Oct 2016
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    Welcome 00Kell!

    Great to have you back in the fold, and if a RM GM, you will be much in demand around the World - nevermind your local group with FGC(lassic) and RMC(lassic)!

    What t’others fail to include is that a single player’s combat round, from initial start of their turn to completion, can take as little as 5-10 seconds.
    This where they roll their attack with whatever weapon they possess, and the GM finishes resolving the lookup on the weapon chart passing the possible Critical result they roll after confirming that an actual Hit result took place!

    Compare this to the 20-30+ seconds it used to take with a good GM that could manually thumb to the exact well-worn page to confirm a hit, then look up the appropo Crit,.
    Now multiply that by however many players you possess, and then again by however many rounds a combat takes...
    ��

    LOVE Fantasy Grounds for everything being in-house and taken care of for your RM game.
    The only thing extra is choosing the FREE voice chat software you want to use(many use Discord for both its voice but also its text chat topic rooms you can create to hold previous house rules used, images/maps, or important campaign data/history/memes/etc.!
    Others use Teamspeak for less network overhead.

    Either way, whatever you choose - great to have ya’ again, man!

  8. #8
    My players and I have been using FGU for about 7 weeks now and have had close to a dozen gaming sessions in that time using Discord as our voice option. I can confirm that FGU is still very quirky due to its optimization such as slow table loads which causes lag at the server side for whoever is hosting the game. The lag issues don't appear to affect my players at all, it's all server side atm. I do think it's improving but it does has a way to go but if you are hosting a game you should expect to encounter some issues here and there.

    Lag issues aside I think it's absolutely amazing. Combat is rapid and the game keeps track of everything for you, i.e. broken bones, hp damage, stuns, etc, and you and your players can view all of this through a Combat Tracker. The ability for creating and keeping track of new stories and campaign notes, creating new professions, skills, races and spell lists makes it even more fun.

  9. #9
    Thank you everyone for your detailed answers! It sounds like RM with FG is everything that I had hoped it would be.

    Someone is putting videos up on youtube about Dakadin's latest update (Wolfshield Games). There are only two so far. Unfortunately, I just noticed that they are 3 weeks apart... I was going to say that I planned to hold off a bit, reacquaint myself with my books, and watch the videos but I probably won't wait for more videos before trying things out. I am not sure if I can afford FG in the long term but I don't think that I will let that put me off for now. A solution might present itself at some point (unfortunately my birthday is a loooong way away!).

    It hadn't occurred to me that a Rolemaster GM would be sought after. If my friends don't take to RM, where would I go to find people to game with? I am in the UK. I would like to investigate this as a backup option so that I am not wasting my investment.

    Thanks again everyone! I appreciate the time you took to answer my question and to welcome me back to Rolemaster! I am feeling even more positive about it now.

    Kell
    Last edited by 00kell; June 8th, 2020 at 00:12.

  10. #10
    Hi Kell,

    If you have trouble convincing your friends to play, then you can always look for people on these forums. GMs are definitely harder to find than players so it's easier to find a game as a GM. The hardest thing is finding times that work out for everyone.

    Dakadin

    Rolemaster Classic for FG Wish List - http://rm4fg.idea.informer.com/

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