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Roll High vs Roll Low


p_clapham

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Does anyone know any systems out there that use a % system, but where you are trying to roll high rather than roll low?  I played in a fantasy game back in high school that used such a system, but I can't remember it's name.  I think the mechanic had us adding what we rolled to our relevant skill to get the final result.  I could be totally misremembering that though.

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I believe you are looking for Rolemaster or MERP

Yes that was the game. It was a painful, awful system for character creation. One of the players put together a spreadsheet character sheet that calculated everything. My character wasn't very effective at the start of the game, but each time he updated the spreadsheet program my character would become more competent.
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Yeah, that's RoleMaster. 

 

Basically, you'd roll % dice and add your skill and try to beat a target number - typically 100. 

Good to know.  It was so long ago I wasn't sure.

 

I think if I were to introduce a roll high variant of BRP/Legend/RQ6 I would go with the Pendragon method and switch from a percentile system to a D20 system.  That is practically going with the D&D skill rank system really, except there would be no classes, just Attributes and Skill ranks.

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Good to know.  It was so long ago I wasn't sure.

 

I think if I were to introduce a roll high variant of BRP/Legend/RQ6 I would go with the Pendragon method and switch from a percentile system to a D20 system.  That is practically going with the D&D skill rank system really, except there would be no classes, just Attributes and Skill ranks.

Oh yeah, now you're on to something. For fun, we did a classless DnD and wrote the edits/rules into the SRD... no classes, just attributes and skill ranks. Hit points were CON (monsters had a bonus based on size). Damage bonus became a die roll (+1 was just +1, +2 = d2, +3 = d3, repeated at d6), armor was like BRP/RQ, you could pick any class special ability. I thought we did a good job with magic too. Anyway, we did it more for fun because of all the d20/ 3.5 material out there. It was a blast. So yeah, you should pursue it for fun :)

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Yes that was the game. It was a painful, awful system for character creation. One of the players put together a spreadsheet character sheet that calculated everything. My character wasn't very effective at the start of the game, but each time he updated the spreadsheet program my character would become more competent.

At heart, it's a very streamlined system that still holds its own today. Basically the authors tried to "automatize" most of the things that in other games require spot rules and special subsystems by using charts, so that the system is "chart heavy" but almost "rules light". It's biggest flaw is the complex and very time consuming chargen process, that is quite at odds with the high lethality of the game (that has both escalating HPs representing a character's ability to "stay in the fight", and critical hits that guarantee that a fight always remains a dangerous proposition for any character), but it's a process that one can speed up playing the game. RM certainly is a game that has a learning curve (especially for the GM) and rewards long-term playing. You might be interested in a Rolemaster-inspired d20 RPG called Blood, Guts & Glory.

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LOL!

Hardly streamlined. It was so cumbersome that they made several attempts to try and streamline it. 

 

Arms Law was kinda neat, but the full RM system is anything but streamlined. And there were so many alternate and variant rules that the BGB looks simple in comparison. The MERP version was more streamlined, but in odd ways, since the Arms Law stuff wasn't hard to run (just swapping out tables). 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Oh yeah, now you're on to something. For fun, we did a classless DnD and wrote the edits/rules into the SRD... no classes, just attributes and skill ranks. Hit points were CON (monsters had a bonus based on size). Damage bonus became a die roll (+1 was just +1, +2 = d2, +3 = d3, repeated at d6), armor was like BRP/RQ, you could pick any class special ability. I thought we did a good job with magic too. Anyway, we did it more for fun because of all the d20/ 3.5 material out there. It was a blast. So yeah, you should pursue it for fun :)

How well do you think D&D DC numbers will work with a modified Legend/ Runequest System.

 

Going with the following DC numbers

 

DC 10 - Easy

DC 15 - Difficult

DC 20 - Hard

DC 25 - Very Hard

 

Now assuming a starting character has at least a 50% (5 ranks) in a skill they expect to be competent in they would need the following rolls.

 

DC 10 - five or better

DC 15 - ten or better

DC 20 - fifteen or better

DC 25 - Twenty

 

I'm just wondering if jumping up the difficulty in increments of five is too much for a character within this system.  Thoughts?

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LOL!

Hardly streamlined. It was so cumbersome that they made several attempts to try and streamline it. 

 

Arms Law was kinda neat, but the full RM system is anything but streamlined. And there were so many alternate and variant rules that the BGB looks simple in comparison. The MERP version was more streamlined, but in odd ways, since the Arms Law stuff wasn't hard to run (just swapping out tables). 

Attack rolls, static maneuvers, moving maneuvers: at his heart RM has very few rules (=/= charts) and I stand by my opinion that is quite streamlined. The companions were ridden with options, often hardly compatible (so I'm told), but you can easily play RM without ever having to read more than a few pages of Character Law (so I've done for years as a player, except for the professions in the companions and the spell lists).

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Attack rolls, static maneuvers, moving maneuvers: at his heart RM has very few rules (=/= charts) and I stand by my opinion that is quite streamlined. The companions were ridden with options, often hardly compatible (so I'm told), but you can easily play RM without ever having to read more than a few pages of Character Law (so I've done for years as a player, except for the professions in the companions and the spell lists).

The actual game play I don't recall ever having a problem with, it was pretty much all chargen.

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The actual game play I don't recall ever having a problem with, it was pretty much all chargen.

Chargen can be sped up, but this requires knowing the process by heart and either always sticking by the same professions, skills, and spell lists, or knowing all the options very well; so basically it takes having spent a lot of time playing the game. I know because I've played it for several years with a group of people that have been playing RM since the early '90s. When their characters die at mid-session, they have new (even high level) characters ready in half a hour; when my character dies at mid-session, I spend the rest of evening making a new one!

 

Characters in RM are very well-rounded and the skill system implements diminishing returns in an elegant way; however this detail is burdensome when your character risks death on your first session. RM imho would benefit either of a very simplified chargen, or of some form of Fate points.

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There weren't no such thang as Google when I played me some MERP / RM!  Back then, we made our characters by hand, and we liked it that way!  :D

 

Actually, MERP chargen wasn't bad - it certainly took longer than 1st ed AD&D, but no more than most systems these days require, including BRP.  RM, though - ya, that took quite a while.  You really had to be the sort that enjoys that sort of thing.

 

I also say that MERP and even RM were pretty streamlined and intuitive systems - but the charts, oh so many charts ...  That's really why I like BRP - similarly detailed chargen and a few streamlined mechanics, but without the eight thousand charts.

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Attack rolls, static maneuvers, moving maneuvers: at his heart RM has very few rules (=/= charts) and I stand by my opinion that is quite streamlined. The companions were ridden with options, often hardly compatible (so I'm told), but you can easily play RM without ever having to read more than a few pages of Character Law (so I've done for years as a player, except for the professions in the companions and the spell lists).

Okay. I guess we just disagree.

 

Funny thing is, I didn't consider Chargen to be all that bad. It was the insane number of tables. You couldn't tie your shoes without having to flip through the books to find the right table. I remember making an 11 page GM screen, and that was for MERP. And that wasn't quite big enough!

 

Oh, and yeah, the various options were often incompatible with each other. Some things weren't bad ideas (smoothing the stat bonuses, and altering the stealth bonuses for elves in RM), but the e3nd result was a mess. Virtually every part of the game system had a variant of alternate.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Just an artifact.

IMO the most useful part of RM was Arms Law. Which was a book of tables that customized the damage of each weapon. Each weapon type (shortsword, broadsword, battle axe, club, etc.) got a page with  it's own set of % tables for damage and which determined the critical hit tables used. Some similar weapons (samshir, tulwar, saber, cutlass) could use the same table but have slight modifiers against armor types to differentiate them. That was probably the neatest feature. 

 

IMO RM's streamlined relative Middle Earth Role Playing (MERP) is a better buy, and more useful. It has fewer tables, more streamlined rules, and somne info on MIddle Earth and the various races and monsters. Plus an adventure (with maps) that could be adapted to BRP. 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Good to know.  It was so long ago I wasn't sure.

 

I think if I were to introduce a roll high variant of BRP/Legend/RQ6 I would go with the Pendragon method and switch from a percentile system to a D20 system.  That is practically going with the D&D skill rank system really, except there would be no classes, just Attributes and Skill ranks.

 

Ray Turney's Fire and Sword, available from this fine site (ie. BRP central) is a system which has done just that: d20 in stead of percentages and high-rolling. It's a good system with a lot of very interesting design notes (which are also available here and well worth a look).

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I have heard a lot about RM and I had considered picking it up just for a read through and some historical perspective (us late 80's kids not staying off your lawns and whatnot ;) ). Anything useful in the game or would it just be an artifact I keep around for occasional perusal?

I use Spell Law quite a bit in my BRP games -- it does not require much conversion and it is quite useful for making sorcerer types. Also the Creatures and Treasures books have conversion charts for Runequest.

 

Recently I've been picking up a few Rolemaster supplements, though mostly for interest's sake.

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ICE's Rolemaster was quite a good rpg for 'old school', level-based gameplay with character classes (which are very broad archetypes that are capable of creating multiple character concepts). Much better than D&D was for character creation, back in the 80s and 90s.

 

The more recent game with the ICE system is HARP (High Adventure Role Playing). Its much more succinct than Rolemaster was, and is the natural inheritor of that system. HARP combat flows a little better than Rolemaster as well, although if you don't play the games side-by-side you may think you are playing Rolemaster; its very similar.

 

My friend loves the system, and I quite enjoy playing it whenever he gets around to running the game.

 

However the game mechanics are far too wieldy for me to actually be a GM for it. It has large calculations and numerous in-game tables for ongoing reference (much less so than Rolemaster, but still quite significant by modern gaming conventions).

 

Some quite good supplements however, and ICE was always noted for such. I still like reading some of the MERP and Rolemaster books, and HARP has some great resources as well. I'm not sure I would recommend them to specifically enhance BRP however, as the systems are very different (unless you are playing BRP with the 'Classic Fantasy' monograph supplement).

 

I'ld recommend them in a broad sense however, simply for those who love collecting rpgs in general.

 

But give me RQ/BRP any day, for being quite a simple and intuitive system to run. Not too much 'gamist' mechanics, yet enough crunch to keep old school players happy, while being quick enough for modern players.

I also love the fact that playing BRP can have several approaches: 'simulationist' or 'narrative' are merely play styles depending upon game master and troupe tastes, rather than upon the game mechanics to dictate such

 

(...okay, I strayed a bit off-topic from the 'roll high vs roll low' title...)

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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