September 17, 2018 0 comments

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Adapting Darkmaster to Rome

Hi there!

Some months ago (well, more than a year really) I was directing a game set in a Roman era (non-fantasy) using the Rolemaster rules. At the end tho, I had to stop directing it because in an effort to ease my players entry to the rules, I got swamped in work trying to manage all characters and stuff ... it got really overwhelming.

I still want to continue that game, but was discouraged by the rules and the prospect of using a ton of house rules to ease the work. I would prefer to point my players to a one PDF instead of a collection of books and PDF full of notes like "we're using this part, but not that one".

So ... since I found A.T.Darkmaster I've been eyeing the QS rules, and just today (it seems I'm slow) I guessed I could use the rules to continue my Roman game. It's still based on something similar to RM rules (which I like because they are gruesome in combat and continuity with previous games), but a lot more streamlined and easy to follow.

And while I will try to not mess a lot with it with house rules, there are a pair of aspects I would like to expand just a bit ...

One of them is armors. QS rules come with only 4 types of armor. Because my game is semi-historically, it means I don't have a lot of weird creatures to throw to my players. One way I added a bit more color and variety was with enemy armors (an "historical" accuracy regarding them). Even Romans had a bit of variety within their own ranks.

So while a typical soldier would use the Lorica Segmentata, one player (with a gladiator background that acquired emperor's grace) used a more complex Lorica with a Manica Segmentata and a full face helmet that gave him a very menacing look (he was also big an extra strong) :


Barbarians (Gauls and Germanic tribes) used more simple and lower quality armors (unless they where highly regarded warriors or nobles).

Using the RM system I could use their tiered armors to represent any kind of armor, but with the Darkmaster rules I lose all that. Of course I'm not going to add 10 columns to the attack tables, as that defeats the purpose to streamline rules. But I was thinking maybe I should give bonuses/penalties to Defense values, and increase or decrease penalties to movement.

How does that sound? What are the appropriate numbers for that? increase/decrease in intervals of 5 or 10 or bad idea at all?

I mean, even the Basic Lorica Segmentata comes without bracers or greaves, which I find relevant and it even affects rules regarding criticals. What would you (anyone reading) suggest for benefits on not using bracers/greaves (as QS armor comes with them)? Maybe remove the CMB penalty and lessen movement penalty by 10 ?


You'll be happy to know that an equivalent of the Lorica Segmentata is present in the full rules!

So, yes VsD has only 5 types of armor (unarmored, soft leather, rigid leather, chain and plate), but they can be used to obtain many different armors and protections. So, for example, the Banded Mail (that would be your Loric Segmentata) use the Plate Armor column to resolve attacks, but is slightly different from, say the Half Plate present in the QS Rules.
They have different Move Actions Penalties, cover different areas of the body (which, as you've seen has a huge impact in the Critical Strikes) and also give different bonus or penalties against melee or missile attacks.
This way we managed to keep the attack tables manageable, without having to sacrifice too much detail for those who prefer more "realistic" or historically accurate games.

So probably a typical roman soldier would wear a banded mail, while your character could be wearing a banded mail a half-plate (which includes bracers) and a full helm (which protects the head, neck and face).

As for your last question, the answer is penalties: armors with bracers and greaves impose higher penalties to actions and limit your SWI bonus to DEF more than lighter armors.

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.