I started playing Dungeons and Dragons in 1983. There is no doubt that I LOVED the game. Around 1986, I was introduced to the Rolemaster system by Iron Crown Enterprises from a guy who we had started roleplaying with. I thought, “Oh My God! Look what I have been missing!”. I played Rolemaster for over 20+ years after that. But lets face it, even with Rolemaster there are some serious flaws and Dungeons and Dragons players are quick to point them out.
- Looking up attacks in the charts is ridiculously cumbersome.
- Rolling up a character is ridiculously cumbersome.
- Rolemaster in general is a cumbersome system.
But the thing about Rolemaster is that it was so detailed and that what was attracted me to it. I could have this truly customized character. In D&D a Ranger was a Ranger and they only thing that separated two rangers were their magical items. And don’t even let me get into RMSS which my buddies and I called “Rolemaster Silly System” when it first came out. Ok we still call it that. I asked myself many times if I could get the same detail of Rolemaster (old RM2) and not have all the cumbersome aspects of it.
Now Ironcrown seems to be lost. They put out new systems each week. HARP, RMSS, RM2, RM Classic….stop! stop! stop! How can they focus on a system and perfect it when they have so many of them? They seriously have lost their way. I tried to buy Ironcrown back in 2000 when they went bankrupt but we were outbid in court. I heard from an “insider” back in 2007 that it was really a sham and a way for them to get out of their debts with the Tolkien estate and the guy who ended up “buying it” was a friend of theirs who used their own money. Anyway, I never did get ownership of the company which bummed me out.
A while ago I started getting back into D&D 4e, and Pathfinder. Big improvements over the old systems but they both still had some problems. First off, I found a lot of munchkinsim inherent in those systems. Crazy flaws in the system which allowed players to have these ridiculous characters. I was DMing a Pathfinder session at GenCon and I had some guy who could give himself a 29 AC when he was defending. How ridiculous is that??? He was only 5th level too! A system which can allow stupid stuff like that is definitely broken.
So after buying all the Pathfinder books, and believe me I LIKE the guys at Pathfinder and what they are doing, I determined that I was still not satisfied. I wanted a system that had the detail of RM but the speed of Pathfinder. I wanted to be able to have a detailed and fully customized character, especially in the skills department, not just combat feats. I wanted tactics to emerge on the battlefield which are few and far between in AD&D/Pathfinder games. I am talking not talking about tactics with feats but with formations. I wanted a d100 systems because that gives you more flexibility than a d20 system. Basically I wanted my cake and I wanted to be able to eat it too!
Before I conclude this, I should comment on GURPS. GURPS has a lot of good qualities about it, no doubt. The problem with GURPS is that it is WAY too stat based. A guy with a high stat starts out as a monster character. I don’t believe that reflects reality. A game system needs to be skill centric and not stat centric. What I really LOVED about GURPS is how spells build upon spells. The way Steve Jackson laid out the colleges of spells was absolutely brilliant. I want my system to do that! But I extended the idea further. Why can’t I have skills do that? Isnt that how it works in real life? I can’t learn to be an engineer unless I have a certain amount of math background. But lets take that even further, what if spells required skills to? Why should a bard be able to even live if they don’t learn how to play an instrument? Why can’t some bard spells base their effectiveness upon the bards ability to use a particular instrument. How cool is that??
Anyway, about 20 years ago I tried to create a new system but although less cumbersome than Rolemaster it was not perfect. Also, I spent an inordinate amount of time with my RP buddy who was also a statistician and WAY too detail oriented. He couldn’t see the forest through the statistical trees. I figured, I had to do this on my own but creating and FINISHING a roleplaying system was so daunting a task I put it off.
After recently fiddling with 4e and Pathfinder, and realizing those were not where I wanted to be at, I finally sat down and told myself to go for it again. This time I came up with success!
I created a d100 system which has all the good qualities of all the above mentioned systems, without the bad ones:
- Fast Combat
- Skill Centric
- Flexible Character Creation: Yes I can have a fighter who is a master diplomat.
- Classless. The skills you develop end up determining what class you are. I’snt that like real life?
- Easy Character Creation and Leveling.
Advanced Fantasy Roleplaying. That’s what I am calling it.