September 17, 2018 0 comments

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MERP - any need for conversion?

Hello.  I'm a collector with about 80% of the published MERP content, but I've never played it.  I'm interested in Against the Darkmaster due to its modern take on the MERP ruleset.  Will I be able to play MERP modules with this ruleset without significant conversion?  If not, what are the major concerns, and could they be overcome at the table while in play?




SOLIDToM and Alex Perez have reacted to this post.
SOLIDToMAlex Perez

Hey Ken, ToM here.

Thank you for your question first of all. I think we answered it elsewhere some other time but this is a good chance to post it on the forums for everyone to display and as an "official" answer.

We started VsD as a collection of house rules for MERP; then we decided to develop it like a stand alone game; yet it remained pretty compatible with MERP material. I myself played with my group a couple of MERP modules (Assassins of Dol Amroth and Phantom of the Northern Marches) and they needed very little adaptation, but some work was necessary nonetheless.

Although the basics of the two games are pretty interchangeable, you may want to take into account that in VsD the power level of the characters, especially at lower levels, is higher than in MERP. So especially if you're playing low-level modules you may consider rising some bonuses and skills of the NPCs. There's no standard formula whatsoever: I found that maybe 1.5 to 2x should work in most cases for combat and skill bonuses. To avoid problems, I preferred to still convert all the major NPCs to VsD equivalents, and use VsD creatures stats when any analog was available.

Furthermore, consider that the feel and skills of some Professions/Vocations (especially the spell casting ones) changes a bit between the two. Converting spells on the fly could not always be the best option: go for VsD equivalents whenever you can.

Finally, here's an analogy I found useful to explain the similitudes and differences between MERP, Rolemaster and VsD. If you should compare them to D&D family equivalents, then it would be something like MERP = AD&D; Rolemaster = D&D 3.5, and VsD = D&D 5e

Hope this helped!


- ToM

Alex Perez and Ken Christian have reacted to this post.
Alex PerezKen Christian
For no one in this world you can trust, my son. Not man, not woman, not beast. But STEEL... this, you can trust!

Thanks, ToM.  I appreciate the detailed and thorough reply.

It might be handy to create some type of formula in the future to identify the specific combat and skill bonuses to modify, although if I were to work through a module or two I might see what those conversions would look like.  Perhaps using some of the lower level monsters available in both systems would give me an idea about converting them.

Thanks again,



SOLIDToM has reacted to this post.

As a suggestion, if a few gidelines like those ones could be included in the final version of the rulesbook, that would be awesome and very helpful. I will use also a lot of old MERP material.

Ken Christian has reacted to this post.
Ken Christian

Yeah, Alex, I agree.  I'm really looking forward to resurrecting all those MERP modules I bought as a kid and playing them with my group.  For some reason, the MERP rules just didn't ever "click" with me as a kid, so I'm hoping that this ruleset is easier to grasp.  So far I'm impressed.


I think we could cook up a quick, unofficial MERP conversion guidelines document, but I'm afraid that putting that in the book wouldn't be possible!

Alex Perez and Ken Christian have reacted to this post.
Alex PerezKen Christian
Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

That would be great, Topramesk.   I think that it would come in handy for quite a few people (looking around the inter-webs, there are others with similar questions).

Keep up the great work.



Hi again!

I've prepared some very rough (and very unofficial) guidelines for converting MERP creatures and characters to Against the Darkmaster.

You can find them HERE.

Keep in mind these are still a work in progress, they're certainly far from exhaustive! Anyway, I wanted to share them with you, hope you'll find them useful.

SOLIDToM and Ken Christian have reacted to this post.
SOLIDToMKen Christian
Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

Thank you, Topramesk!  This is very useful.  This opens up the system to be used in multiple ways and I believe will broaden its appeal.