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Tabletop Game / Role Master

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Rolemaster is a fantasy Role-Playing Game created in 1980 by Iron Crown Enterprises. Like Dungeons & Dragons, it is a game system with classes, races, levels and experience points (no Character Alignments, however). Unlike D&D, it uses many more detailed tables (one for each of the several dozen weapons) and presented lots of optional rules from the beginning. There are dozens of magic-using classes who have hundreds of spell lists available with more than 2,000 spells altogether. Some fans and non-fans call RM "Rulemaster" or even "Roll-Master" because of the large number of charts and options; another popular nickname is "Chartmaster". The game has been through several editions, the most recent being Rolemaster United in 2012.

The game Middle-earth Role Playing by the same publisher is a streamlined version of Rolemaster.

This game provides examples of:

  • Armor Is Useless: Due to open-ended rolls and the critical hit system.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: Combat Languages Type 1 in the Arms Companion supplement.
  • Character Level: Standard for games of its time period.
  • Class and Level System: Ditto.
  • Critical Failure: You are capable of failing in many specific ways. The fumble chart is as large as any of the Critical Hit charts.
    • Nearly anything you can do can kill you if you roll bad enough. A Killer GM will make players roll to tie their shoes.
    "Your fall turns into a dive. You crush your skull and die."
  • Critical Hit: Combats are often ended by critical hits rather than mere hit point loss.
    • Critical hits, in fact, are the rule rather than the exception. Whereas in most games a critical hit happens once every 10-20 attacks or so, and results in a simple increase in inflicted damage, each attack type in Rolemaster has an entire table for determining the effect of a critical hit, at 5 or more different levels of crit severity. A hit that doesn't result in a crit is little more effective than a miss.
    "Strike through ear destroys brain. The unfortunate lummox dies instantly, and any ear wax is removed."
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  • Diminishing Returns for Balance: The skill system
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: More a case of Almost Anything CAN Kill You - with open ended attack rolls and instant death criticals, it was entirely possible for your level twenty hero in magical full plate armour to get his head torn off by a kitten.
  • Gold–Silver–Copper Standard: Or in this case, mithril-gold-silver-bronze-copper-tin-iron standard.
  • Hit Points: Called "concussion hits". When your hit points reach 0, you're unconscious — it takes a lot more damage to die. The main form of character injury comes in the effects of various critical hits, such as loss of limbs, stunning, instant killing, a whole variety of bleed effects, and other "crunchy bits".
  • Kryptonite Factor: Some editions have included detailed elemental rules. One section is metals that have elemental properties. Striking an elemental creature (which can include dragons) with a weapon of opposite elemental properties automatically converts all critical hits to slaying criticals, which, on the normal critical scale of 1 to 5, are about a 9.
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  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards
  • Loads and Loads of Rules: A great deal of these are optional, though they also add to realism.
  • Non-Combat EXP: Iron Crown Enterprises' games (Rolemaster, Space Master, Cyberspace, etc.) often gave experience points for non-combat actions, such as coming up with useful ideas, performing movement maneuvers (e.g. running), traveling (5 XP per kilometer), using spells or psionic powers, performing research and building or repairing items.
  • Perpetual-Motion Monster: The Black Reaper, an extremely powerful demon that is commonly used to guard items or places. Once disturbed, it will never stop pursuing the offender until he or she is dead. It is immortal and doesn't need food or air, and is never bored. When it follows its soon-to-be victim, it will just walk underwater through oceans or use its magic axe to tunnel through all but the hardest material.
  • Pit Trap (with Spikes of Doom at the bottom): In the Arms Companion.
  • Spell Levels: Spells were arranged by level within spell lists. In order to cast a spell, a character's skill rank for that spell's spell list had to be greater than or equal to the spell's level.
  • Surprise Slide Staircase. In the Arms Companion.

The Shadow World campaign setting has the following tropes:

  • Adjective Animal Alehouse: Multiple examples
  • Apocalyptic Log: The miner's diary in Norek: Intrigue in a City-State of Jaiman.
  • Auto Doc: The Bed of Suspension in Kingdom of the Desert Jewel and Medbeds in the Jaiman: Land of Twilight adventure "The Tomb of Andraax".
  • Beat Still, My Heart: The Shards of Viour rip out the hearts of their victims and eat them while they're still beating.
  • Cannibal Tribe: Star Crown Empire and the Sea of Fates. They help to guard the Elephant Graveyard in the Chimen jungle.
  • Common Tongue: Star Crown Empire and the Sea of Fates. Trade Common (AKA Imperial Common) is spoken across the Central Basin.
  • Elephant Graveyard: Star Crown Empire and the Sea of Fates. Can be found in the Chimen jungle in G'thal.
  • Fictional Colour: Void creature spellcasting creates a rainbow of them.
  • Fungus Humongous: Sky Giants of the Brass Stair. The Hall of the Forest Wyrm in an underground cavern has fungi more than 8 feet high.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Kingdom of the Desert Jewel. Under the Halls of the Mountain King, on a beach next to an underground river, awaits a giant crab.
  • Giant Spider: Jaiman: Land of Twilight. The H'taan is a huge spider that digs holes like a trap door spider and lies in ambush, paralyzing victims with their venom. They grow up to thirty feet or more across.
  • Hideous Hangover Cure: Jaiman: Land of Twilight. Eating the fruit of the Siene bush cleanses the body of any intoxicant (such as alcohol) in seconds and can cure hangovers, thus making it a rare example of both types of this trope.
  • Ley Line: Essence Flows on the world of Kulthea.
  • Lightning Gun: The underground insectoid creatures known as Krylites have these.
  • No Immortal Inertia: Jaiman: Land of Twilight, adventure "Cult of the Third Moon". The Priestess and Sisters (acolytes) of the title cult have remained young for 150 years by Vampiric Draining the Life Energy from sacrificial victims. If the Priestess' amulet is removed she will suffer Rapid Aging, become her true age and die. If the amulet is destroyed, so will the Sisters.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Demons of the Burning Night. The accumulated aging as a result of wearing the Helm of Kadaena only takes effect when it is removed.
  • Only Shop in Town: The town of Borbinak and the village of Ryne in Star Crown Empire and the Sea of Fates.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: Star Crown Empire and the Sea of Fates. Centaurs are Imperial citizens, live in buildings and are farmers and shepherds.
  • Quicksand Sucks: The Elder Swamp in Demons of the Burning Night and the Deadmar Bog in Nomads of the Nine Nations.
  • Rainbow Motif: Occurs in the supplements Quellbourne: Land of the Silver Mist, Jaiman: Land of Twilight and Gethaena.
  • Rapid Aging
    • Demons of the Burning Night. When the wearer of Helm of Kadaena takes it off.
    • Jaiman: Land of Twilight adventure "Cult of the Third Moon". The Priestess of the title cult when her amulet is removed, the Sisters (acolytes) when it's destroyed.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Many different monsters/opponents have this.
  • Scary Scorpions: The Gemsting scorpion in the Master Atlas and giant scorpions in Kingdom of the Desert Jewel.
  • Speak Friend and Enter: Emer. A door made of frosted green laen inside the Ahrenthrok will open if the Iruaric word "Iken" ("open") is spoken.
  • That Was the Last Entry: The log book of a murdered lighthouse keeper in the Star Crown Empire and the Sea of Fates adventure "Terror at Fang Rock''.
  • Vampiric Draining: Jaiman: Land of Twilight, adventure "Cult of the Third Moon". The Priestess of the title cult performs a human sacrifice ceremony at midnight in order to drain the Life Energy of the victim and maintain her immortality.
  • Weakened by the Light
    • Demons of the Burning Night. Anyone wearing the Helm of Kadaena is at half resistance rolls in sunlight.
    • Jaiman: Land of Twilight. Stone trolls are turned to stone by sunlight.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve
    • Kingdom of the Desert Jewel. A Class V Wraith will attack the PCs each night at midnight until they are killed or it is.
    • Jaiman: Land of Twilight
      • Adventure "Cult of the Third Moon". The Priestess of the title cult performs a human sacrifice ceremony at midnight. She does so in order to drain the Life Energy of the victim and maintain her immortality.
      • Adventure "Pride of the Gryphon". In the Back Story, the burial ceremonies of the King Zor took place in the Catacombs of Ur at midnight.
  • Wizarding School
    • Journey to the Magic Isle: The University of Magic Arts.
    • Star Crown Empire and the Seas of Fate: the Great Colleges of Sorcery.
    • Nomads of the Nine Nations: The Academy of Dar-e'sen in Ghagian.
  • Wolf Man: Werewolves can become this.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: The Soulslayers of Murlis.

The Spacemaster system and its Privateers campaign setting have the following tropes:

  • Alcubierre Drive: Privateers campaign setting. The Quantum Drive uses quantum fields to contract space in front of the ship and dilate space behind it, allowing the ship to effectively exceed the speed of light.
  • Ammunition Backpack: Privateer campaign setting. Backpack energy cells can hold 35,000 energy units and are often used to power large weapons.
  • Escape Pod: Privateers campaign setting. Life pods are small, five person ships that only have maneuvering thrusters and are usable only if in orbit. They have heat shields and parachutes for atmospheric re-entry.
  • Flynning: Privateers campaign setting. The Swashbuckling skill allows the user to perform elaborate maneuvers with his melee weapon, including flourishes and feats of weapon control (such as recovering a dropped weapon).
  • Intrinsic Vow: Privateers campaign setting. The Telepathy Psychic skill had several powers with this restriction.
    • Behavioral Trigger: If the psychic tries to get the victim to do something that is totally out of character (such as betraying everything they care about) the Task Difficulty is Sheer Folly (-50% to chance of success).
    • Suggestion: If the suggested action is completely alien to the target's personality, they will not follow it.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Turlog is an Ice Planet and Tiernarock and Hasockoth are Farm Planets.


Example of: