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A couple of weeks ago, we finally got to play Rolemaster (Standard System).  It went pretty well, with only the minor hitches that accompany the first game of any system.

Our Cast:

Snok Ngo’Olek: Goblin Swashbuckler.  4’5″, and all of 70 pounds.  But he has a fighting attitude that reminds me of the saturday morning cartoons.  Remember when something small and full of sharp teeth would get ahold of Sylvester?  That’s right, nothing but a blur and the sound of a buzzsaw, until all that was left was Sylvester standing amid a pile of his own fur.    He believes that everyone else is the bigoted one, and that he’s just misunderstood.  “I’m not antagonistic, I just like to fight.” “I don’t steal things, people leave them to be taken.”  “I’m not a smart-ass, I’m just way ahead of them intellectually.”  Things like that.

Rundarr: Gnomish Mana Molder.  4’6″, 135 pounds.  By comparison to Snok, this guy is pretty pudgy, but he knows how to make things appear out of thin air, can muddle enemy minds, and likes to tinker with machines, and invent new ones.  He has the odd occasional magical flare-up that he doesn’t understand (I didn’t mean to burn that wolf to a crisp, i was just trying to distract it!).  He hasn’t been adventuring for very long, and is still pretty naive when it comes to surviving the adventure. He often gets caught up in the moment and forgets that he has spells, instead trying to use a weapon he has no training in to fight alongside the nimble swashbuckler.

The campaign:

After several abortive attempts to create a playable campaign, I finally threw my notes out of the window and just decided on a situation to throw my characters into.  I figured from there, I’ll let things develope.  As a result, we all had a lot more fun than usual. As things progress, I plan on introducing a lot of steampunk elements into the game (just because I think they are cool and fun).  Besides, this summer Abney Park’s Airship Pirates will be out, and I want to end up with something compatible.

The story:

I started by describing how our two intrepid adventurers were out in the wilds for whatever reason floated their little boats.  They were ambushed, sacks dropped over their heads, and kidnapped.  The adventure started after the hoods were removed, and they saw they had been penned up with a lot of other, scraggly looking people.  It didn’t take long for them to realise that they were taken by slavers and sold to a fighting arena.

Before they can make any escape plans, the pair of them are chosen for a fight, some gear is thrust into their hands, and they are pushed out into the pit.  Their opponent: an emaciated, hungry wolf.

DM Note: I chose the encounter because I knew it would be tough (according to RM rules), but not so tough that while dire, they shouldn’t have trouble overcoming it.  I also chose it so that I could teach them the rules for combat, which work a little different from other games.

The swashbuckler started trying for a flank attack on the wolf, while the mana molder tried fighting it with a quarterstaff (with no skill in it).  After a few exchanges, the mana molder is knocked out.  The wolf turns it’s attention to the swashbuckler, and the two of them take turns exchanging attacks.  Both are scoring hits on the other, but the wolf has more hit points to burn through, meaning unless the swashbuckler pulls something amazing out of his…er…rear, he is going to lose.  The table finally turned when the swashbuckler started scoring critical hits against the thing.  By this time, though, the gnome was back on his feet, throwing stones.  The ploy worked, and as it turned to deal with him again, he enveloped it with flame.

DM Note: I failed to notice that he didn’t have enough ranks to cast that spell, so I retroactively decided that he has occasional flares.  It should be interesting to see what happens with the next flare (Rolemaster is a D% system, and if you roll a natural 66 or 100, the GM can apply any unusual result he sees fit).

The wolf dispatched, the slavers came for them.  They tried to struggle, but until the gnome started using his “Jolts” spell (which stuns the target for a number of rounds)  things weren’t going well.  The Jolts spell came in very handy through the rest of the evening, as they stunned or killed as many slavers as it took to escape the slave pens and steal a wagon to make their escape.  Session #2 starts with them on the run.

And Now, Next Week:

Actually, this is going to happen in just a couple of hours from now.  In fact, the gang should start showing up soon.  The plan is for them to have a nice chase scene.  Them on a wagon loaded with weapons (from smugglers!) being pursued by the remaining slavers and the owners of the wagon.  I’ve planned such obstacles as a ravine jump, and steampunk air pirates.  At first, it looks like the pirates are coming to their aid, but in the end, what kind of story would that be?

I didn’t plan much to happen in last weeks session, because I knew with a group of new players, and me GMing the game for the first time ever, things would go slow.  This weeks plot has a lot more elements, and we’ll just see how far we get before we run out of time.

If you’ve never heard of Abney Park, go here for basic information: www.abneypark.com

Abney park is an Industrial punk band that went steampunk a few years back.  I like just about every song they sing, and since the steampunk stage, they tell some pretty interesting stories as well.  Furthermore, www.jango.com has some of their music (possibly other sites, I don’t know).

And, coming this summer, based on the stories they tell in their songs: http://airshippirates.abneypark.com/

It’s based on the rules for Victoriana 2nd Edition :  http://shop.cubicle7store.com/epages/es113347.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/es113347_shop/Categories/Victoriana  which is a dice pool system, and so will take a bit of work to convert to Rolemaster.  But I think it will be worth it.

Victoriana itself has been a very interesting, well researched and entertaining read.  I may just have to use their settings more often, if not their rules (I’ve sunk way too much into my Rolemaster set to just stop using it).

And for those of you who know nothing about Rolemaster:   http://www.ironcrown.com/, and    http://www.ironcrown.com/ICEforums/index.php  are good places to get info.  Also look here:   http://www.icewebring.com/what-is-rolemaster/

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