Against the Darkmaster

Gringnr

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Kind of wish there was a softback option here
 

Gringnr

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I'm just a cheapass. I do regret not going hardback on MSPE though.
 

Séadna

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What's cool about MERP or Rolemaster? I'm really happy with the Fantasy Trip, so don't want to miss out on any great classic FRPGs.
 

OHT

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What's cool about MERP or Rolemaster? I'm really happy with the Fantasy Trip, so don't want to miss out on any great classic FRPGs.
Well, for one thing you can trip over an imaginary deceased turtle...or as one of my characters did once - "pull groin -25% activity and stunned 2 rounds. 50% chance opponent out 1 round laughing". I seem to remember a critical result that was something like "target explodes messily into hundreds of pieces. Fetch a spatula."

Critical hit tables and fumbles charts are where the meat of the combat is and its either funny or bad (depending on whether you're dishing it or taking it).

Rolemaster was an expansion of the MERP rules, with many more classes, spells, magic items etc. Character advancement was slightly different (and more complex in Rolemaster) but the system was pretty much the same.

If you don't like looking up results on charts, give it a miss. If that doesn't bother you, its worth a look. One of my favourites.
 

Séadna

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Is it similar to Warhammer in flavour then?
 

TristramEvans

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If you have a GM who knows the system well, it runs very smoothly, the charts aren't an issue at all and effectively players don't need to worry about them, that can all be done on the other side of the screen.

But character creation? A little bit painful, TBH, as is going up in level. It's all front-loaded certainly, so in play it's effectively not that crunchy, but that front-loading is a pain in the ass.

Thats classic RM/MERP I'm talking of though, haven't read this new game yet
 

Bunch

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If you have a GM who knows the system well, it runs very smoothly, the charts aren't an issue at all and effectively players don't need to worry about them, that can all be done on the other side of the screen.

But character creation? A little bit painful, TBH, as is going up in level. It's all front-loaded certainly, so in play it's effectively not that crunchy, but that front-loading is a pain in the ass.

Thats classic RM/MERP I'm talking of though, haven't read this new game yet
The only disconnect I had with Rolemaster was the lethality combined with chargen time. I agree it was fast enough in play.

All those 80's games that had involved chargen were I feel a sort of false compromise. On the one hand you could really customize your character. On the other there were often clear optimal choices. I wish most of these games gave a standard build with maybe a few points left. You see games doing that for things like starting equipment for precisely the same reason. Speed up the process of getting a character in play.
 

AsenRG

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You're right, i'm wavering already, but i really don't have the money for the hardback.
Well, it shouldn't be that fast:shade:. I'm still holding, myself, as an example.

Though I'm also wavering, at some moments, I tend to recover before actually spending money:thumbsup:!
 

AsenRG

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September 2020 though!?
I guess they don't want to be accused of being late? If there's a lot more art to commission, it sounds actually kinda reasonable to me.
 

Gabriel

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I went in on this. The promotion for this game was pretty good. It has good art, and the idea of redoing MERP with the serial numbers filed off seems a good idea.

But I'm having second thoughts. I really don't need yet another 600 page fantasy game. I guess before the Kickstarter I thought this would be a smaller and more accessible book instead of an armor class above and beyond Hero 5er.
 

Bunch

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I went in on this. The promotion for this game was pretty good. It has good art, and the idea of redoing MERP with the serial numbers filed off seems a good idea.

But I'm having second thoughts. I really don't need yet another 600 page fantasy game. I guess before the Kickstarter I thought this would be a smaller and more accessible book instead of an armor class above and beyond Hero 5er.
I'm thinking of getting the PDF. It looks like most of the book is setting and adventure. PDF let's me just print the rules.
 

Tom B

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Over on RPGnet, the rep mentioned, "We'll ship through 2 fulfillment centers, one in the USA, the other in the EU, so in both cases there should be no customs. "

That might help with shipping costs.
 

Chris Brady

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So that means they'll have twice the work? That won't be cheap.
 

TristramEvans

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I think most of the forum is asleep, but I expect you'll get some enthusiastic responses come morning
 

OHT

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Hi everyone, Max here, I'm one of the guys behind Against the Darkmaster, let me know if you have any question about the game of the KS campaign!
Welcome to the forum. This is where the coolest Rolemaster fans hang out. :wink:

I know you've just started this kickstarter, but should this one be a success do you have any plans for further products?
 

Arioch

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Aha! So this is the cool guys club everyone keep taling about! :grin:

I know you've just started this kickstarter, but should this one be a success do you have any plans for further products?
Most certainly! We'll see how the campaign goes, but our intention is to have the Core Book as the first of a new line of products.
 

Arioch

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I'm thinking of getting the PDF. It looks like most of the book is setting and adventure. PDF let's me just print the rules.
Actually, there's no setting in the book. The majority of the book is made up by spells, the bestiary, and character options!
 

Warthur

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It sounds to me like the current direction is "start with MERP, add in some modern-style personality/passion mechanics, pack in a wide range of options and support material in the core book, provide abstracted systems for some previously-fiddly stuff like wealth and encumbrance and go setting-agnostic with it (though still with a bias to epic fantasy)". Is that fair?

If so, this sounds like exactly what I'd want out of an updated MERP/Rolemaster. MERP I always had the issue that the system didn't feel to me like a natural fit for Middle-Earth (and I'd more or less always use The One Ring for that these days), but for something like Shannara or Riftwar stuff I'd be into it, and setting the rules complexity slider to "MERP or below" and the "tools and options" slider to "Rolemaster or more" hits my tastes perfectly.

Whatever you do probably isn't going to win over all existing MERP/Rolemaster gamers, but trying to please everyone is the mistake that's got RMU stuck in development hell; it sounds like you have a clear direction you want to take your game in and that gives me confidence.
 

Arioch

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It sounds to me like the current direction is "start with MERP, add in some modern-style personality/passion mechanics, pack in a wide range of options and support material in the core book, provide abstracted systems for some previously-fiddly stuff like wealth and encumbrance and go setting-agnostic with it (though still with a bias to epic fantasy)". Is that fair?
Pretty much, yes!
I mean, the basics of the game are all in the Quickstart (which, we realize, was misnamed. We should have probably called it "Basic Rules", like we did in the Italian translation), you can play entire campaigns just with that.
In the Core Book we've expanded on those rules, and we've packed them with options and examples.

The One Ring is fantastic, to be honest (and Nepitello is very kind and friendly, I met him at a local Con recently, and he was very supportive, he took some of his time to offer us some advices for the KS campaign!). It does its own thing, and it does it extremely well. Very excited for the new edition!

I'm actually quite curious about RMU. I don't know if I'm gonna play it when it comes out, but I'll definitely buy it. I was really surprised when new ICE parted ways with Tim Dugger. I think he was one of their top creators, churned out a lot of small content that could have helped them to fill the void inbetween big releases.
 

AsenRG

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Pretty much, yes!
I mean, the basics of the game are all in the Quickstart (which, we realize, was misnamed. We should have probably called it "Basic Rules", like we did in the Italian translation), you can play entire campaigns just with that.
I'm really glad you're saying that! I was just trying to figure out what your idea of "quick" would be...:smile:

In the Core Book we've expanded on those rules, and we've packed them with options and examples.
And that sounds...appetizing:wink:!

I mean, between Maelstrom, Mythras and Traveller* I have no need for another game. But your game sure sounds tempting:grin:!


And yeah, it's the cool kids club here. Meaning, no politics are allowed to spoil the fun of talking about games of let's-pretend. Don't know about you, but I find that to be pretty much a requirement for RPG fora these days:devil:!
So, welcome to the Pub!


*Not to mention another couple hundred games, since my Drivethru library is well in the five-digit numbers:shade:!
 
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Arioch

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Thank you!

I'm really glad you're saying that! I was just trying to figure out what your idea of "quick" would be...:smile:
Ahah, we could even do a proper starter kit once the Core Book is finished. We've got a few things planned for the future, but of course we're focusing on the Core Book for now.
 

Arioch

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Isn't MERP copyright, even today?
MERP copyright history is... complicated. To put is simply: in 1999 ICE went bankrupt, and Tolkien Enterprise pulled their MERP licensing rights (they even forced them to destroy any MERP material they still had in stock IIRC).
A couple of years later (in 2001) John R. Seal bought most of the remaining ICE's assets (which obviously didn't include the rights to publish Middle-Earth related material) and basically licensed them to another company called Mjorlnir LLC. In 2011 the rights were transferred to Guild Companion Publications Ltd, which holds them now.

Note, however, that this has little to do with Against the Darkmaster, as we don't use any terms, concepts, words, fictional characters or places that represent specific intellectual property of Tolkien Enterprises or any subsidiaries. We simply take some inspiration (as 99% of post-Tolkien fantasy fiction, probably) from Tolkien's corpus, but to be true our Darkmaster is probably more like "heavy metal fantasy" than "Tolkienesque fantasy"...
 

Tulpa Girl

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Ghost Whistler may have been asking about the rules mechanics of MERP still being copyrighted, not the setting fluff.
 

Arioch

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Ghost Whistler may have been asking about the rules mechanics of MERP still being copyrighted, not the setting fluff.
Even if they were, Against the Darkmaster is ultimately a different game, so I don't see how that would be a problem.
I mean, sure, MERP is one of our sources of inspiration, we make no secret of that, but how's that related to copyright?
 

Dumarest

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Ghost Whistler may have been asking about the rules mechanics of MERP still being copyrighted, not the setting fluff.
Even if they were, Against the Darkmaster is ultimately a different game, so I don't see how that would be a problem.
I mean, sure, MERP is one of our sources of inspiration, we make no secret of that, but how's that related to copyright?
You can't copyright rules mechanics, merely the presentation of same.
 

Endless Flight

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I wonder what the exact definition of “presentation” is, though. Does that extend to the names of things like attributes and skills?
 

Tulpa Girl

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I mean, sure, MERP is one of our sources of inspiration, we make no secret of that, but how's that related to copyright?
Not being familiar with MERP, I didn't know how close ATD was in terms of rules. As Dumarest said, while you can't copyright game mechanics per se, how those rules are presented can be. Since MERP doesn't (as far as I know) have an OGL, a direct clone could still be in murky waters, depending on how closely it might follow its source material.
 

David Johansen

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Well, the text can be copyrighted so reproducing the text is violating copyright. The tricky thing is that tables are a very specific and rigid form or text that is basically impossible to reproduce without violating copyright.

Oh well, the Mjolner to Guild Companion transfer was really ugly and Tim Duger / Rasyr got screwed worse than anyone so it's understandable that he didn't stick around.
 

Arioch

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Not being familiar with MERP, I didn't know how close ATD was in terms of rules. As Dumarest said, while you can't copyright game mechanics per se, how those rules are presented can be. Since MERP doesn't (as far as I know) have an OGL, a direct clone could still be in murky waters, depending on how closely it might follow its source material.
You can check out our Quickstart Rules for free! https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/273729/Against-the-Darkmaster--Quickstart
 

Chris Brady

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We simply take some inspiration (as 99% of post-Tolkien fantasy fiction, probably) from Tolkien's corpus, but to be true our Darkmaster is probably more like "heavy metal fantasy" than "Tolkienesque fantasy"...
As an aside... I'd argue that most fantasy has been trying to be the OPPOSITE of Tolkien fantasy. Almost all the stories I've heard about settings and games have been how UNLIKE Lord of The Rings they are.

Personally, all I care is if I'd find it cool to run.
Ghost Whistler may have been asking about the rules mechanics of MERP still being copyrighted, not the setting fluff.
You cannot copyright rules, just the expression of them. It's why WoTC's OGL opened the flood doors, people realized that they could literally copy D&D and change some of the words in the process and you'd got a new game. Pathfinder is the prime example of it.
 

Tulpa Girl

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You cannot copyright rules, just the expression of them. It's why WoTC's OGL opened the flood doors, people realized that they could literally copy D&D and change some of the words in the process and you'd got a new game. Pathfinder is the prime example of it.
But part of that is because of the OGL, right? Wouldn't making a clone of a game without an OGL at least be a little more tricky?
 

Stan

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Does anyone know exactly who first stated that you can't copyright mechanics? It's probably true but I wouldn't take a risk cloning a non-OGL game. It has been established that you can't copyright an idea, like a zombie movie or game, but only the details of the implentation.

WOTC could probably sue some retroclones and at least make them go broke, maybe even win. They probably figure it's not worth the bad press tiny companies have no money to take.

A few companies over the years have put out products without an agreement that say "for use with...." I don't know how many of them have been successfully sued, but likely not many.

Much of copyright and fair use has never been tested by case law, especially regarding games and rpgs. The main thing that is true is really big companies can routinely steal from individuals but not vice versa.
 
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