Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 28: Rolemaster Fantasy

Here we are at Day 28 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge. Today we will be using another game that I was able to pick up cheaply at the SaltCON game swap. Rolemaster Fantasy Role Playing by I.C.E. Inc.

This book was published in 1999 and is a second edition. I had read a challenge entry from someone who had used an earlier version of Rolemaster and they expressed a lot of frustration. I wonder if I’ll run into the same thing. The physical book is 255 pages in length and has an ISDN number of 9-781558-065505.

This appears to be a percentage system. I like the percentage system in the FASA Star Trek RPG so I’m hopeful for this. The character creation steps are listed on page 11. The character sheet is four pages long.

Step one is the character concept. Since I haven’t made any halfling characters yet, this guy will be a thief from that race. Using a random name generator I came up with Hobson Silversting.

Step two is to select the race (done, see above), I wrote down the halfling stats that were provided. Choose a profession (again see above) and choose a realm of power. Which is something that has to do with spell casting. So I don’t know why a thief would need this, but I selected one after reading the descriptions

Step three is to generate the stats for the character. The attributes are Agility, Constitution, Memory (the ability to retain what your character has learned), Reasoning (i.e. intelligence), Self Discipline (control of mind over body), Empathy (aka wisdom), Intuition (luck and precognition and stuff), Presence (control of one’s own mind. How is this different from Self Discipline?), Quickness and Strength. Now you don’t get the stats themselves, you generate the temporary stats (which you then use in the game if I’m understanding this correctly). Then you generate the stat potential (uh…. yea…. OK). I think I followed the math and math and math and math.

Steps four, five and six all have to deal with skill groups and individual skills. You get some when the character was young, when they were trained and in their profession. More math came out of the woodwork and I’m starting to get annoyed. I don’t mind some math, but school assignments are long behind me.

By now I’m skipping ahead. I write down some items that it states that the character gets. I didn’t write down anything else because I decided that I was done. I have to agree with the person who posted about the first-edition of Rolemaster, it’s too much and it’s scattered everywhere in different sections of the book. I threw the sheets in the scanner and here they are.


I liked how they showed different sections of the character sheet being filled in during the character creation process. It did help answer a few questions, especially with how spread out everything was on the four sheets.

While the writing was OK and the flow had a good start, it dived into the curse that alternative games had in the 80’s and 90’s. Too much crunch and too much math. They were trying to be a little too realistic. Most participants in the hobby know that you can’t come up with a system that is going to be 100 percent accurate. Just give us a system that will not interrupt the flow of the game while giving us the randomness of a failure/success process.

I don’t see myself playing this game or homebrewing for it. After I’ve used it in a secondary project, I may put this game in the trade pile.

Additional Notes:

I had a different reader comment on Mastodon that he would play fourth-edition Dungeons and Dragons, as long as someone else ran it. He liked the miniatures-first/heavy combat play because he had a large wargame collection. I had heard from several other RPGers prior that they thought that fourth-edition was a good tactical game, but not a very good roleplaying game. Had it been a side game called D&D Tactics, it probably would have been better received.

A few of you wanted to hear more about Cowboy Bebop. I’ll do an unboxing post in February. By then I hope to have more information to share about my thoughts. I’m going to explore another avenue after the Character Creation Challenge is done.

Coming Up Next:

Tiny Frontiers

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