Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Last night, before bed, I was reading my recently-acquired copy of Character Law & Campaign Law. Now, Rolemaster, as has been noted many times, has a reputation for being dry and abstruse and I don't think that reputation is entirely unearned. But I will defy any man who thinks Rolemaster humorless (as will anyone who's used its critical hit charts will as well). Within the first few pages of the book, I came across multiple examples of play that brought a smile to my lips, such as this one from Section 7.12:
Snidepucker the Rogue dies after eating a poisoned bagel.
I'm not sure whether I was more amused by the character's name, his manner of death, or the fact that the whole thing is right smack in the middle of a rather detailed discussion of the deterioration of stats due to death. Then there's this one in Section 7.21:
Bandring is fleeing from the dreaded Malevolent Moose.
As with the previous example, this one appears as part of a larger discussion of game mechanics, in this case "movement maneuvers." I can't help but find this charming, as I always do when I find quirky little bits of text that suggest a real person rather than the Design-o-Tron 9000 has written the book. I think such bits are especially important in games like Rolemaster which might otherwise be mentally painful to read.

Mind you, when I was a younger man, I was, believe it or not, even more dour and humorless than I am today. Back in those dark days of yore, I didn't like this sort of thing in my game books. Roleplaying, after all, was a serious hobby and serious hobbies didn't include puns and anagrams and goofy examples. This attitude all looks terribly pathetic in retrospect, but you must remember that it was not an uncommon one (then or now) and many of my gaming mentors inculcated a number of prejudices into me, many of which had to do keeping things "serious."

I look forward to finding more examples like this as I make my way through Rolemaster. Heck, it wouldn't be a bad thing if I found more examples like this in every RPG product I read.

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