Rolemaster, The Other Open Playtest

Rolemaster? Yes, Rolemaster.

The RPG of my late teens, and (in my humble opinion) one of the greatest fantasy games ever made, is currently undergoing an open playtest. It aims to return to its roots from such a long time in the wilderness, and get back to the core of what makes Rolemaster such a great system.

Character Law and Spell Law playtest documents are already available, and they are both looking pretty darned solid so far though the evil races still need a bit of a tweak.

The three Realms of Magic are still here. We have Essence which draws power from all things, (think The Force or Defilers in Dark Sun). There’s Channeling, which channels (hence the name) spells from the gods, and Mentalism, that draws power from yourself (Psionics, in other words). As well as pure spellcasters for each Realm, there are also Semi-spellcasters who combine one of the Realms with use of Arms and more mundane talents, and Hybrid spellcasters who combine power from two Realms.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what they currently contain (all subject to change, of course).


  • Human
  • Dwarf
  • Elf
  • Halfling
  • Goblin
  • Orc
  • Troll


  • Cosmopolitan (yes, you can play a Cosmopolitan Troll, if the GM permits!)
  • Harsh
  • Highlands
  • Mariner
  • Nomad
  • Reaver
  • Rural
  • Sylvan
  • Underground
  • Urban


  • Fighter
  • Warrior Monk
  • Thief
  • Rogue (a solid non-spell wielding general Adventuring class)
  • Laborer
  • Scholar
  • Cleric (Pure Channeling)
  • Druid (Pure Channeling)
  • Paladin (Semi Channeling)
  • Ranger (Semi Channeling)
  • Magician (Pure Essence elementalist type)
  • Illusionist (Pure Essence)
  • Bard (Semi Essence)
  • Dabbler (Semi Essence. Like the Rogue, but with spells too)
  • Mentalist (Pure Mentalism. Solves crimes on primetime TV)
  • Lay Healer (Pure Mentalism. Heals people with their own innate abilities)
  • Monk (Semi Mentalism. “What Hong Kong cinema achieves with wires and props, the Monk does with magic”)
  • Magent (Semi Mentalism. Psionic secret agent. Love the concept, hate the name)
  • Healer (Hybrid Channeling/Mentalism. Heals people by taking their wounds onto themselves. Awesome concept, but rarely played)
  • Sorcerer (Hybrid Channeling/Essence. Spells focus on the destruction of body, mind and spirit. Frequently insane, I find)
  • Mystic (Hybrid Essence/Mentalism. (Specialize in illusion, misdirection and subtle change)

If there’s nothing on that list that gets you excited, you have no soul.

Head over to Iron Crown for signup instructions. It’s pretty simple – join their forums, and you’re in. Do it! Do it now!

2 Comments on “Rolemaster, The Other Open Playtest”

  1. Rolemaster’s parts were originally designed to give D&D BEMCI some depth to it’s soul. But it evolved into a game by itself. It’s still one of the best roleplaying games ever produced, and it attracts highly knowledgeable people.

    However, I’m very attracted to the game, but on Open RPG, no one wants to play. Bummer.

  2. Finding players who want to play something that isn’t D&D/Pathfinder is a problem for many systems, so Rolemaster isn’t alone in that respect. It’s a shame though, and I do feel that it’s the players who are ultimately missing out.

    As you quite rightly say, Rolemaster is one of the best games ever made, and deserves and awful lot of love.

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