On Rolemaster, part four

When we left Heliana, the hero in this ongoing journey through the classic Rolemaster role-playing game, we had just finished creating her character and killed off her family. Oops.

Here is Heliana’s finalized character sheet with the stat and skill bonuses calculated. She is a pretty well-rounded character, well able to survive in the forests, and more than capable of looking after herself. It’s worth remembering she is still just 1st level though; she has just 28 hit points, and still a fledgling when it comes to combat.

In fact, let’s put that to the test, right now.

She heard him before she saw him, and knew he  was coming long before then. Birds flew overhead, and deer darted past, ignoring her familiar presence entirely. Someone was coming, someone who did not belong in the wild wood. Heliana quietly thanked the Green Man for sending the warnings, and moved forward.


High above the ancient path knelt on a tree branch, she commanded a clear view of the approaching soldier. An old man, a sergeant most likely, with the colours of his uncle on his shield and a rusted hauberk chaffing his neck in the heat. His horse snorted as he muttered under his breath.


“Waste of bloomin’ time, that bitch is long gone. Least it gets me out of sifting through them damned ashes. Got out of that one. Heh. Smart me, volunteerin’. Waste of bloomin’ time though…..”

Heliana has plenty of time to prepare. She touches the tree branch and casts Hues, calling on the Green Man to hide her. There’s a small chance of spell failure (just 2%) and we roll d100. It’s fine. She takes on the colour of the bark (granting +25 to her hide checks) and drops to the ground, drawing her bow.

Most checks  in Rolemaster are open-ended d100 rolls. Roll a d100, add the relevant skill or stat, and any other modifiers. If the d100 is over 95, roll another d100 and add the result. If the d100 roll is under 6, roll another and subtract it. Keep going until the d100 roll is between 6 and 95. It’s possible (though uncommon) to end up with a result in the plus or minus hundreds!

Heliana makes a Stalk & Hide check as she drops from the tree and moves closer. She rolls a 91, +30 from her skill bonus, +25 thanks to Hues and +30 for being in excellent cover, for a total of 176. The sergeant is completely oblivious to the fact an arrow is pointing directly at him from the underbrush.

There’s an optional rule in Rolemaster that gives a penalty if a bow is fired too quickly. Each type of bow (short, composite, long, etc) has to be held a number of rounds before letting fly. That might be a touch more realistic, but where’s the fun in that? In our games, any bow can be aimed and fired in one round without penalty (rounds are ten seconds long, after all), though crossbows can’t be reloaded while moving. If a shot is aimed for a round, it’s a +10 bonus, up to a maximum of three rounds and +30.

Heliana waits.

She holds her aim and her breath, allowing her Ranger instincts to guide the shot. This is just another prey, nothing more. Let it come close. Feel the movement of the wind through the trees, sense the spirits of the forest guiding the arrow’s flight.

She shoots.

We roll d100, +21 for Heliana’s skill with a Long bow, +30 for holding her aim. We roll an 81, for a total of 132. This is going to hurt.

The sergean is a Level 3 Fighter. He is wearing a chain hauberk (AT 16) and has 45 hit points. He is completely surprised, so has no Defensive Bonus and can’t use his shield. Usually, DB would be deducted from Heliana’s roll, but not this time. He is (literally) a sitting target.

The roll is checked on the Long bow table, against the sergeant’s armour. A roll of 132 on the Long Bow table is 19 hits and a D Puncture critical. Now we roll to see just how bad that critical is, and these can range from just a scratch to very, very messy (and often hilarious) death. Crits are rated in severity from A to E, so a D critical isn’t likely to be good news.

We roll a 25.

“You wound foe along side of hip. Foe is stunned for 1 round and takes 2 hits per round.”

I’d say he got off very lucky, even though he does have an arrow sticking in his leg.

The sergeant drops down from his horse, cursing violently, and draws his sword.

“Where are you, ya welp? Yer uncle wants you dead!”

Heliana steps out from the underbrush, smiling as the sergeant gasps to see her bark-hued form, before dropping the guise. She switches to her rapier, and gives a mock salute.

“My uncle? Oh, I will be paying him a visit, I promise. Pray to your gods, old man. You will be with them soon.”

Till next time!



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