Monday 13 December 2021

Rolemaster Revisited: Plains Marauders

 I thought it might be time for my blog to do a bit more of what it says on the here is some Rolemaster material, the latest addition to the List of Things Left Undone! You can find the underlying thinking behind this material in this post.

Plains Marauder Cultural Package

Plains Marauders are those highly feared tribes that inhabit the great steppes beyond the borders of civilisation. Although they practice a pastoral and nomadic lifestyle, they also delight in raiding their neighbours – other tribal groupings or those who dwell on the marches of feudal realms. They value self-sufficiency, tribal unity and martial might and spurn those who they hold to be softened by an excess of civilisation. However, they do esteem outsiders who are both worthy foes and honourable in word and deed. They are also highly superstitious, and it is possibly their fear of enemy magic that reins in their depredations against their more ‘advanced’ neighbours.

Cultural Skills:

Body Development 2, Cookery 1, Culture Lore (own) 2, Foraging 1, Herding 1, Language: Own Spoken 6, Maneuver In Armor (Rigid Leather) 4, Perception 2, Primary Weapon 3, Region Lore (homeland) 3, Riding 3, Secondary Weapon 1, Stalk & Hide 1, Tracking 1.

Free talents:

Native of the Swaying Grasses: +20 to Fauna Lore, Flora Lore, Foraging and Navigation in Plains.

Mounted Warrior: +10 to melee OB whilst mounted.


Oral Tradition: learning a written language costs double the amount of development points per rank, until you have reached rank 5 in one written language and spent 1 Background Option, to overcome to your tribe’s lack of literacy and contempt for the appurtenances of civilised lands.

Limited Access: although you may learn any kind of magic, those who can or will teach you of the Essence and Mentalism are extremely rare. Even if you are a Pure or Hybrid user of those realms (excluding the Seer and Astrologer) you can only learn spell lists as if you were a Semi-spell user (in terms of Picks. DP costs are unchanged). You may eliminate this deficiency by spending 2 Background Options after you have learned at least three lists to level 10.

Optional talents (Cost 1 BGO unless noted):

Detect Liar: +15 to Perception rolls when attempting to determine whether an individual is engaging in verbal deception. You must have the appropriate spoken language to at least rank 4.

Well-Seated:+10 to Riding.

Dinner on the Hoof: +15 to Cookery.

Grassland Scout: +15 to Perception in plains only.

Myth-Keeper: +15 to Public Speaking only when relating myths and legends of own culture.

Skilful: 5 ranks in Fauna Lore, Fletching, Flora Lore, Herb Lore, Herding, History, Leather-crafts, Religion, Navigation, Public Speaking, Signalling, Star-gazing, Weather-watching or Wood-crafts* (may be selected multiple times, each time for a different skill).

Totemic Charm: Daily III item (Channeling only)* Cost: 2

Sagittarius: you gain +15 to Riding maneuvers and +10 to your OB whilst wielding a Composite Bow. Cost: 2

Inherited Weapon: +10 non-magic weapon *.

Sneak: +10 to Stalk & Hide.

Nimble Skirmisher: +15 to OB & DB when in melee vs. Armored Cavalry (mounted enemy fighters wearing Chain or Plate) Cost: 2

Nature-Attuned: ‘A’ Pick in one of the following lists: Locating Ways, Lofty Movements, Nature’s Law or Weather Ways*.

Tribal Crafter: ‘A’ Pick in the following three lists: Alchemical Preparations, Channeling Imbedding (as Essence Imbedding, but using Channeling as a base) and Organic Skills. +15 to Leather-crafts and Wood-carving*. Cost: 5

Fear No Sorcerous Foe: you gain a +25 to all RRs vs. one realm.

Centaur-Friend: +20 to all Influence/Interaction and Lore rolls relating to Centaurs.

Herd Guardian: +15 OB & DB vs. one particular predatory species that commonly attacks your tribe’s herds (e.g. Wolf, Tiger, Jackal, etc.) or one race of enemy humanoids (Orcs, Goblins, Ogres etc.) This can not be applied to magical creatures or monsters. Cost: 2

Options marked ‘*’ may only be selected at level one.

Nobles: More Multi-class Roles for Fantastic Heroes & Witchery

The aristocracies of the New Kingdoms are a varied bunch, but they fall - mostly - into the categories outlined below (note that the truly great Court Nobles are not included below). In order to qualify for entry into these multi-classes, the player must select one of the following Character Backgrounds: Aristocrat, Ecclesiastic (Nobles of the Robe only), Scholar or Soldier, along with a combination of social status and wealth as noted in the description of each variant.

The Noble of the Sword

The Noble of the Sword is a variant on the Versatile Combatant: they represent the standard aristocrat -

not the rural, hidebound Petty-Nobles, the tremendously powerful Nobles of the Court, or the urbane

Nobles of the Robe. These folk are moderately wealthy, well-versed in everything a noble ‘should’ know,

and, despite the name, not the quickest to choose combat. Rather, the name reflects a slowly fading

legacy of their place in the now-heavily eroded feudal society of the New Kingdoms. Nobles of the

Sword can select the Nobility or Upper-class social status, but can only choose from the Wealthy,

Affluent or Comfortable wealth levels.

Classes Combined: Professional and Fighting-Man

Requirements: Strength 9+ and Intelligence 9+

BtH Progression: as Fighting-Man

Hit Points: half the sum of 1d6 + 1d8 (rounded up)

Saving Throws: +4 to Strength and Constitution saves.

Weapons/Armors: All armors and shields, and six weapon proficiencies of the player's choice. The

penalty for non-proficiency is -2. 

Abilities: Fighting-Man specialty - may choose from Cavalryman, Duellist or Guard. 

Add their level +2 to the following skills: Athletics, Gambling, Knowledge - feudalism, Knowledge - local,

Knowledge - military, Linguistics, Persuasion, Riding.

The Petty-Noble

The Petty-Noble is a further variant on the Versatile Combatant: they represent the highly conservative,

comparatively poor rural aristocrats (who make up the majority of the nobility in the New Kingdoms).

Petty-Nobles are incredibly jealous of their status and privileges, despite the fact that many of them are

substantially less well-off than successful peasants or merchants. They are renowned for their

obsession with precedence and protocol, their obsolete traditionalist methods of managing their lands

and the violence and contempt that marks their relationship with their miserable tenants. Petty-Nobles

can select either the Nobility and Upper-class social status, but are limited to the Successful,

Comfortable, Decent, Modest or Poor wealth levels.

Classes Combined: Professional and Fighting-Man

Requirements: Strength 9+ and Intelligence 9+

BtH Progression: as Fighting-Man

Hit Points: half the sum of 1d6 + 1d8 (rounded up)

Saving Throws: +4 to Strength and Constitution saves.

Weapons/Armors: All armors and shields, and six weapon proficiencies of the player's choice. The

penalty for non-proficiency is -2. 

Abilities: Fighting-Man specialty - may choose from Cavalryman, Hunter, Mercenary or Soldier.They add their level +2 to the following skills: Animal Handling, Athletics, Knowledge - feudalism,

Knowledge - local, Knowledge - military, Knowledge - nature, Knowledge - religion, Riding.

The Noble of the Robe

The Noble of the Robe is, in fact, not a single multi-class role. Rather they come in three flavours:

Versatile Fighter (the most common, these folk ape the Nobles of the Sword in many respects), Versatile

Clergyman and Versatile Magic-User. Nobles of the Robe are those aristocrats who have risen to the

higher orders through the use of wealth to purchase a title or office, or through exceptional non-military

service of the Crown. They are generally very wealthy, urbane and confident in their place and have a

high-cultural bent to their interests. They tend to view Petty-Nobles with great disdain. Many among them

have advanced or liberal attitudes. Nobles of the Robe can select either the Nobility or Upper-class

social status, but can not select a Wealth level below Successful.

Versatile Fighters

Classes Combined: Professional and Fighting-Man

Requirements: Strength 9+ and Intelligence 9+

BtH Progression: as Fighting-Man

Hit Points: half the sum of 1d6 + 1d8 (rounded up)

Saving Throws: +4 to Strength and Constitution saves.

Weapons/Armors: All armors and shields, and six weapon proficiencies of the player's choice. The

penalty for non-proficiency is -2. 

Abilities: Fighting-Man specialty - may choose from Duellist, Soldier or Guard. 

They add their level +2 to the following skills: Artistic Capacity, Athletics, Gambling, Knowledge -

feudalism, Knowledge - history, Knowledge - known world, Linguistics, Persuasion.

Versatile Clergyman

Classes Combined: Professional and Clergyman

Requirements: Wisdom 9+ and Intelligence 9+; allegiance to a non-Chaotic deity.

BtH Progression: as per Clergyman/Professional

Hit Points: 1d6

Saving Throws: +4 to Intelligence and Wisdom saves.

Weapons/Armors: Mace and staff, and any armor up to chain-mail and shield. Non-proficiency

penalty: –4 to hit.

Abilities: All the Clergyman class abilities (including adding level to Knowledge-religion and Persuasion

skill checks), plus the following skills (to which they add their level +2): Artistic Capacity, Detection,

Gaining Information, Knowledge - feudalism, Knowledge - history, Knowledge - occult, Linguistics,


Versatile Magic-User (also known as Nobles of the Wand)

Classes Combined: Professional and Magic-User

Requirements: Dexterity 9+ and Intelligence 11+

BtH Progression: as per Professional

Hit Points: half the sum of 1d4/1d6 (round up)

Saving Throws: +4 to Intelligence saves, plus all saves against magic (this can never stack to get a

+8 bonus).

Weapons/Armors: Dagger, staff and leather armor. Non-proficiency penalty: –4 to hit. Wearing any

kind of armor hinders spellcasting.

Abilities: Arcane-lore skill and spellcasting ability (white, gray or - rarely - black magic), plus eight skills

outlined below (adding level +2 to relevant skill checks): Alchemy, Artistic Capacity, Astronomy/Astrology,

Knowledge - feudalism, Knowledge - history, Knowledge - occult, Linguistics, Persuasion.

Friday 10 December 2021

ALOT Left Undone: The Barber Petty-Class for OSR Games




The Barber is something of an oddity - to modern eyes at least - in that, in addition to cutting hair and beards and providing a nexus for neighbourhood gossip, they also practice basic surgery and dentistry, although they seldom serve the higher orders (who prefer the services of the Physicker, for reasons that make very little sense). 

Barbers are, of course, hardly effective combatants, but they are physically deft, competent in social settings, adept at sniffing out rumours and possessing a surprising amount of political, commercial  - and criminal - knowledge. Their healing skills are limited, and sometimes do more harm than good, but are better than nothing in a pinch.

Attack Table: 0-level Human

Hit Dice: d4

Saving Throw: Level 1-3 (all 20, except Spells 19); Level 4-5 (all 19, except Spells 17, Polymorph 18); Level 6 (all 19, except Spells 17, Polymorph 17)

Armour/Shield Permitted: none

Weapons Permitted: club, dagger, dart, short sword, sling

Weapon Proficiencies: 2 + 1 per 3 levels

Non-Proficiency Penalty: -3

Base Skills: Charm 2, Common Knowledge 1, Craft (Barber) 3, Gossip 2, Heal 1, Jest 1, Local Knowledge 3, Numeracy 1.

Free Elective Skills (choose 4 skills amongst which you may distribute 6 Competency Levels): Blather, Bluff, Brewing (1), Etiquette, Evaluate, Fence, Gamble, Gossip, Haggle, Heal (3), Herb Lore (1), Jest, Read/Write, Numeracy, Potion Lore (1), Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Story Telling, Surgery (1), Wit. 


Barber Level Advancement

Base Experience

Hit Dice


Points Required






In the Know 10%, Chirurgery 30%




Keeper of Secrets I




Chirurgery 40%




In the Know 15%




Chirurgery 55%, Keeper of Secrets II




In the Know 20%, Chirurgeon's Lore


In the Know: The Barber hears many things, and quickly becomes capable of connecting seemingly disparate facts to deduce unexpected relationships between them. As their knowledge of the political or social context of this data increases, so to does their chance of successfully connecting these previously unrelated facts. At 1st level, their base chance is equivalent to 10 plus a number derived from the Maximum Henchmen column of the Charisma table, but based upon both the Barber's CHA and INT scores (e.g. Hollanby Tourge, is a 1st level Barber with CHA 12 and INT 8. His CHA gives him 5 Maximum Henchmen, whilst his low INT gives him an equivalent number of 3. Hollanby's chance of success in this ability is 10 + 5 + 3=18%).

Chirurgery: This score reflects the Barber's base ability in their side gig as folk surgeons. In addition to standard healing practices - first aid and folk cures - they utilise surgical techniques to (hopefully) cure most agues and maladies. This includes bloodletting, amputation, the lancing of boils and cauterisation of wounds. However, it is a chancy thing, as the Barber's knowledge of such procedures is, quite literally, painfully incomplete. Their base chance of success at first level is equivalent to 30 plus (or minus) modifiers for their INT, DEX and WIS scores (all derived from the Reaction Adjustment column of the Charisma table). Thus, Hollanby Tourge, our previous exemplar, has an INT of 8, WIS of 7 and a DEX of 14. Cross-referencing the Charisma table, we see that Hollanby's good DEX score grants him +5, whilst his 8 INT and 7 WIS give results of -5 and -10 respectively. Although Hollanby is good with his surgeon's tools, he doesn't have a good eye and his memory of the correct procedures has more than a few gaps, giving him a 20% chance (!) at first level. Folk will probably only call on Hollanby's services in desperate straits.

Chirurgery, when it fails, can be catastrophic: patients may bleed to death, lose a limb unnecessarily or be left with permanent damage to one or more abilities. Hollanby bungles an attempt to drain fluid from a consumptive's lungs, leaving them with a loss of 3 CON, and a permanent -5 to Saving Throws against poison and death.

Keeper of Secrets: Sooner or later, a Barber comes into possession of a piece of information that, were it to become generally known, could have potentially explosive consequences. The Barber rolls on each column of the following table, to find the nature of the secret and the range of potential consequences (e.g., Hollanby - now level 2, rolls the following numbers: 7, 26 and 16. His rumour, obtained from a barkeep, tells him that an engineer of high repute is a double agent. Fleshing out these rather bare but juicy bones, the GM decides that this engineer contributed to the design and building of a great fortress on the border of an enemy nation - actually his employers - and left sections of the walls particularly vulnerable to siege engines or sappers.)

Chirurgeon's Lore: having reached the apex of their profession, 6th level Barbers may select one of the following secret lores.

Vitalist: the Barber has achieved a minor but useful understanding of the spiritual life force that pervades all things. Once per week, they may - by using massage, dietary, ritual and hypnotic techniques - provide one suffering from a disease (including magical maladies) with the opportunity to make a Saving Throw to shake off the disease. The Barber must make a successful Chirurgery roll each day of the treatment (3d4 days) treatment to effect this change. This does not repair any damage previously resulting from the infection, but each day there is a successful treatment check, the disease does not advance. If two treatment checks in succession are failed, the Barber has lost their chance to cure the disease and may not attempt to do so again. A Vitalist may oversee the simultaneous treatment of 1d3 + 6 patients at any one time, but apply a -5% penalty per patient for every patient after the first.

Humouralist: the Barber is a considerably skilled practitioner of humoural medicine. Using dietary, exercise and meditative techniques, they can make a Chirurgery check to help a patient afflicted with some form of mental illness return to what passes for normal 'sanity' by rebalancing the six humours. It takes at least 2d4 months to effect a cure, with a successful check required each week. If a weekly check fails, the Barber must roll 1d8 and consult the following list: 
1: serious failure, causing tremendous mental anguish and possible injury (depending on the nature of the illness), and no more cures can be attempted; 
2-5: major setback, start again; 
6-7: minor setback, add 1d4 weeks to the treatment; 
8: a close shave (you're a Barber, after all). If you successfully roll equal or less than your WIS score (on a d20), you lose the week and must repeat that week's treatment. If you fail, treat as a minor setback
The Humouralist can provide treatment for 1d3 patients at the same time, but must distribute their Chirurgery score between all cases (e.g., a Barber with a score of 62% in Chirurgery might allocate 34% to one particularly difficult case, 20% to another and 8% to what seems to be a hopeless case.)

Tuesday 7 December 2021

A Mite Unloved: the Khalkus for Blood & Treasure

Also known, rather contemptuously, as Mites, the Khalkus are a strange mix of Fey, Turyx, and even Callac heritage. Although they are primarily a subterranean folk, some Khalkus have left the Midlands and moved above ground (where they nonetheless retain a preference for small dank dens and caves as dwellings). Given their small size and rather craven nature, they are one of the least heroic-seeming lineages - until one considers the miracle of their survival in a world that regards them as utterly useless except as slaves. Khalkus, with their oversized heads, small, puny bodies and bulbous, staring eyes are also incredibly ugly to most folk. Their skin is a somewhat sickly blue, and the few strands of hair they possess droop limply from their sunken cheekbones and knobbly craniums.

The Khalkus, however, have a number of gifts to offset their apparently pitiable state: they are superb natural spelunkers, devastatingly swift (for their size) and sneaky. They also have an innate knack for magic pertaining to insects, minor telekinesis and curses. This, coupled with their sharp sense of smell, ability to locate heat sources in the dark and their knowledge of - and facility with - tight spaces makes them exceptional thieves, assassins and saboteurs.

Famed as the punching bag for many subterranean peoples, the small Mites have recently begun to establish themselves above ground - dwelling in burrows on the edge of wastelands, on the shores of dismal mires and even, in the sewers and alleys of human cities. They have, of course, found new and old enemies on the surface - Skulks, Ratfolk, Goblins, Dwarves, Boggards, Cliessids and various Fey - and are viewed largely with contempt by humankind (and most other lineages). However, they have also struck up unlikely friendships: often they form alliances with Connives, some of the more downtrodden Halflings as well as Lurkers and Fetchlings. The Mites remain rather grim, but, now that they are in less straitened circumstances, they occasionally express themselves with a rather absurd sense of humour that surprises all who come into contact with it. Most Mites retain a Chaotic alignment (with Lawful Evil the most dominant), but an increasing number are shedding some of their cultural baggage and following Neutral path. Mites (who call themselves Khalkus) begin play speaking Khalkavir (their own language), Tur and one human lingua franca (usually Urdrinn, Avronakiyan or Galse).

Mites average 24” in height, and have a movement rate of 30’. They are generally unfriendly and physically weak, losing 2 from STR and 1 from CHA, but are quick and perceptive, adding 1 to their DEX and WIS scores. They have the following minimum & maximum for their ability scores: STR 3/13, INT 3/18, WIS 5/18, DEX 9/19, CON 3/18, CHA 3/16. They roll 1d4+2 for their Heritage score.

Their long history of furtive fear grants Mites a +2 to Move Silently and Hide in Shadows task checks, whilst their experience in subterranean environments gives them a +2 to all Acrobatics, Climb Walls, Hear Noise and Survival checks when below ground. They have darkvision to 60’.

Mites with a Wisdom score of 11 or more may cast the following spells: prestidigitation (2/day) and doom (1/day). All Mites have the ability to communicate with and direct vermin (chance is equivalent to the Mite’s CHA score less the HD of the target vermin) and gain a +2 on Reaction rolls with sentient vermin.

Mites may select from the following classes: Anticleric, Assassin, Chaos Mage, Chthonic Druid, Demoniac, Fey-Mage, Fighter, Magic-User (Abjurer, Conjurer, Diviner, Illusionist, Necromancer, Transmuter), Priest (Death, Guardian, Trickster, Weird), Prophet, Saboteur, Scout, Shadowdancer, Shaman, Sorceror, Soulknife, Thief, Tomb Raider, Warlock, Wizard Hunter.

Mite Scouts, Thieves and Assassins may multi-class as Chthonic Druids, Fighters, Shamans and Sorcerors. Assassins may also multi-class as Necromancers and Priests of the Death or Weird cults.

RMFRP stats:

Ag Co Me Re SD Em In Pr Qu St
6 2 0 0 2 0 0 -4 8 -8
Ess Cha Men Poi Dis Bdev ChanPP EssPP MentPP
0 0 -5 40 60
Talent Points: 45
Acute Smell, Blazing Speed, Dwarfism (minor), Hated Foes (+5 DB/OB vs. Goblins, Hobgoblins, Orcs), Natural Spell List (choose one from: Essence Hand, Insect Mastery or Revenging Law), Power (3 ranks Essence Hand, 4 ranks Insect Mastery, 3 ranks Revenging Law), Racial Training (+10 to Alertness, Caving, Climbing, Fauna Lore [Insects], Mining, Scrounging), Sleight of Hand
Intolerance (Goblins, Hobgoblins, Orcs), Light Sensitivity (-10 to all activities in bright sunlight), Unique Looks (minor)
Special Skills: Everyman - Contortions, Close Quarters

Wolves of War: The Ulfarga for Blood & Treasure (& RMFRP)

  Ulfarga (Lupine Beastkin) Wild-hearted but honourable wolf-like humanoids, Ulfarga represent one of the largest populations of any Beastki...