Grading the Rolemaster/Spacemaster System

How do you feel about the Rolemaster/Spacemaster System?

  • I love it.

    Votes: 11 13.1%
  • It's pretty good.

    Votes: 21 25.0%
  • It's alright I guess.

    Votes: 18 21.4%
  • It's pretty bad.

    Votes: 13 15.5%
  • I hate it.

    Votes: 2 2.4%
  • I've never played it.

    Votes: 19 22.6%
  • I've never even heard of it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

Laurefindel

Legend
Warm nostalgic feeling from my first RPG. It has some really good stuff but it's ultimately too heavy for my taste nowadays. There were days when I really dug that stuff however.

When I was first introduced to 3e D&D, my first reflex was to think “cool, it’s like rolemaster scaled down to d20 scale and without tables!” It indeed had many similarities,

Even though Rolemaster isn’t among my favourite systems, it was the most influential on my houserules/homebrews/original systems. I learned a lot from rolemaster
 
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ART!

Deluxe Unhuman
We played a lot of RM and SM back when they were new, and well into the 90s.

For me, MERP was the best version, paring things down nicely and providing some of the best maps any rpg has ever had.

The skill-specific success tables was the one level of crunch (in the vast world of RM crunch) that I still use system-appropriate homebrew hacks of.
 

GreyLord

Legend
I played Rolemaster and MERPS. I never even heard of Spacemaster until today. I was unsure whether to answer or not because I had never heard of Spacemaster, but decided I'd answer it was okay.

The system was overly complex for what you got and what you did. Too many different numbers you had to deal with. I had a blast with MERPS but that was more due to the theme of the game than the game itself.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
We played a lot of RM and SM back when they were new, and well into the 90s.

For me, MERP was the best version, paring things down nicely and providing some of the best maps any rpg has ever had.

The skill-specific success tables was the one level of crunch (in the vast world of RM crunch) that I still use system-appropriate homebrew hacks of.
MERP had many very good products and beautiful art, if anything.
 

soviet

Hero
I think Rolemaster 2e and MERP are great. The difficulty of the maths and managing the tables etc is pretty overblown IMO. I find it less complicated than modern D&D. I ran it a few years back for my group, none of them had any experience with it before and it worked out fine, admittedly I am quite good at the mental maths part. I think the tables and the general feeling of verisimilitude all add depth to what in other games can be quite flat skill checks or combat encounters.
 

jolt

Adventurer
I think Rolemaster 2e and MERP are great. The difficulty of the maths and managing the tables etc is pretty overblown IMO. I find it less complicated than modern D&D. I ran it a few years back for my group, none of them had any experience with it before and it worked out fine, admittedly I am quite good at the mental maths part. I think the tables and the general feeling of verisimilitude all add depth to what in other games can be quite flat skill checks or combat encounters.

I agree. And most of the complexity is front loaded in character creation. Once that's done, I thought it ran pretty smoothly.
 


GuardianLurker

Adventurer
I've played both RM2, RMSS, and SpaceMaster. And GM'd in them as well. I could honestly place it at anywhere from "Love It" to "It's Alright".

On a theoretical basis, I absolutely love the system; it has some of the best theoretical underpinnings of almost any of the 1st Gen RPGs (i.e. those that came out pre-90's, for the most part). It's still one of the best. As a result, it doesn't take long until you're able to tweak/homebrew things and still have them work. I like the fact that it divides chargen into Race, Culture, Apprenticeship, and Class. I like how the healing system works.

On a practical basis, however....

When I was playing RMSS regularly, I had my character fully printed out, along with all of its reference charts. And even so, there was a combat where I and the gentleman right before me in our combat round, played an entire game(!) of MtG before our turns came up again. Now, granted it was a quickish game, but it also wasn't an unusually complex or long combat either.

Contrasting this, some of my favorite play experiences came while playing RM - the very first time I heard (and witnessed) "The Dice Gods have spoken! <GM mutter>dammit</GMmutter>"; watching my wizard friend successfully over- and quick- cast a spell and confuse/daze a dragon by vibrating its eyeballs; and more.

I love the system, but I've promised myself I'll never play it again without automated instance. That said, maybe I should checkout FantasyGrounds' Rolemaster plugins.
 

Kannik

Hero
Huge, huge fan. My first failed attempt to break into the industry was as a second-party developer for ICE.
Oh that's neat! Sorry that it didn't work out...
The settings OTOH, those are pretty great, and my goodness, the artwork (especially the SpaceMaster module covers) was enough to get Kid Me's money.
I very much dug the art as well, on the whole I found it very evocative, some of which really have stuck in my mind over the years.

1707367466094.png

A good number of the vehicle designs by Paul Yeh were also very cool.
While the RPG engine leaves me cold, their Silent Death board/minis game (still available through Metal Express) is arguably the best starfighter combat rules set ever made, X-Wing being the only one that rivals it IMO. Lovely miniatures too, and quite inexpensive by 2024 standards - my personal gallery is here.
I'd almost forgotten about Silent Death. Another one that I own but unfortunately haven't had a chance to play.
 

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