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Beta Blues….

I love Rolemaster. Have since I first discovered it, and I always will. Unfortunately, Rolemaster is supposedly in the midst of a revision, one that I am not sure will ever be completed, or if it is, will essentially kill Rolemaster.

Read on for more on why I think this is so..

Let’s start off with my use of the word “supposedly” in the above paragraph. I am sure that you are thinking “but it is in revision, they released a Beta”. However, that is actually WHY I say supposedly.

One of the main purposes of releasing a Beta is that you want to get feedback from actual players who are playing the actual rules to make sure that they are working properly. This means that as you get feedback, you update the rules accordingly, and you release the next version of the Beta for more testing and actual gamer abuse (this is one of the FEW ways to actually get that final testing in to make sure you haven’t missed some great big glaring mistake.

I speak from experience here. When I worked for Mjolnir, LLC back when they were “doing business as” (dba) ICE, we released HARP. And then 6 months later, had to re-release it because there was massive problem that both us and our initial playtesters missed. And ever our re-release had major problems that were not discovered for a few years (problems that STILL exist even in the more “recently updated” version.

Anyways, back to the Rolemaster Beta. It has been over 2 years since the revision was originally announced. It has been over a year and a half since the Beta was released. And that Beta release wasn’t even a full Beta release. The core of Rolemaster is supposedly 5 books, but only 3 were released in Beta, with the other 2 promised to be released soon (the Beta contains NO monsters or prebuilt adversaries, so there is no real, proper way to test the combat rules unless the GM wants to spend hours creating NPCs for the characters to fight).

A year and a half, and still no monsters in the Beta….

A year and a half, and no further updates to the Beta….

A year and a half in which those supposedly working on the Beta have slowly lost interest, or even worse, become angry or frustrated with those in charge and quit (I know of at least 2 specific instances of this — especially since BOTH of those instances actually came to complain to me what an asshole the guy in charge of the revision was).

And as to the guy in charge of the revision…. I have to agree with the two who came to me (note: that these 2 were the ONLY2 on the RM revision team who had ANY experience actually working on real rpg projects) that this guy is a major asshat who doesn’t know his elbow from a hole in the ground and who likely could not find his own ass if he had a guide dog leading the way.

From everything I have heard, he has continued to alienate those involved, to the point that there is apparently only one or two people left working on it.

And to make matters worse, this is a guy who likes things to be MORE complicated, and who likes to micro-manage GMs in various ways (basically through how he wants to limit them through the rules).

In point of fact, the “combat streamlining” that now requires a GM to multiply or divide, on the fly, to determine the number of hits delivered, based on weapon size versus target size….

The sort of streamlining that still requires EVERY SINGLE WEAPON to be learned separately, while combining ALL magical bolt attacks into 1 single skill (which makes casters of bolt spells MORE powerful).

The sort of streamlining that results in the removal of the Base Attack Table (which provided modifiers to rolls for RR-based spells), without removing any of the defensive mods (thus making those RR-based spells much much less powerful overall!!)!

Now, slightly over 2 years ago, I wrote this post (shortly before the revision was announced). Apparently, I was even more correct than I had originally thought I would be….

As I said back then….. I mourn the death of one of my all time favorite game systems…

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