This work represents a labor of love spread out over the course of some 15 or so years. It represents my fascination with the medieval period, not only for its grandeur and pageantry but the study in contrasts between the great and the common that it also represents, and the fact that from this era the seeds were planted from which grew so very much of what we now know of as modern society and social practice. Everywhere one looks, the remnants of what was sewn a thousand years ago can still be seen, if one but knows where to look.
And it would seem that in recent times the great disparity between the great and the common is coming upon us all over again, as well.
Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.
These pages and passages were compiled for the purposes of entertainment, however, of enhancing the medieval era roleplaying experience, so to our purpose!
My approach to writing this game was an open one from the start. Before I ever set pen to paper to write I set out to learn. I wanted a medieval fantasy game that would celebrate all that was wonderful in the period of the game, while adding in the fantasy that is so vital to making it fun and also providing a solid basis in the realities of the time. To truly appreciate what their characters have and will earn through play, the players should be aware of the grit and grief that lay beneath the shining pageantry of the nobility and the heroes of the day that absorbs most of the modern readers’ attention. This is important due to the fact that the great majority of the characters are most likely to hail from humble origins. The humble folk comprised the overwhelming majority of the population of the period of the game. I learned a great deal in my researches in the process of writing.
It is important that the reader of these game books keep an open mind to the details laid out in these pages. While some of these are not especially pleasant, they undoubtedly enrich the gaming experience. Most of these details are in place to enhance roleplaying. They do NOT necessarily mean rules complications.
This game, while streamlined in a number of ways in a fashion similar to more modern offerings in the industry, is also something of an homage to the “old school” RPG’s of the 70-80’s, most notably in the approach to the characters themselves. The characters in more modern RPG’s tend to be amped-up dynamos with portfolios of astounding and dangerous powers and abilities, obviously heroes in their own right from the get-go, head and shoulders above the commoners who surround them. This stands in stark contrast to the characters of the older games played by those of us who grew up with the hobby, which always started out as little more (very little) than average folk with nothing more than a simple desire to make something of themselves.
In the old-school games, we all merely aspired to being heroes, and many of us died trying along the way. We recognized that the world was a wide and dangerous place we had to explore and get to know. There were many foes far greater than us that we had to walk carefully around, biding our time until we had earned the skill and power necessary to face. Our characters were us, the underdogs, the most popular kind of heroes once we finally arrived, for we came from the same place as everyone else in the gameworld around us.
The characters in the more modern games actually start play in a state noticeably above the common people around them. They are practically godlings by comparison that can do awesome things. They never walked in fear into ruin, cave or dungeon dank knowing they might never come out alive. They are just so powerful right out of the box than the mainstays of the old games, the orcs and goblins and other fantasy races, and especially such common but deadly Real World beasts as lions, tigers and bears (oh, my!!) which are just too weak for them to bother with. By their reputations alone they attract henchmen to deal with such trivial annoyances.
The old-school characters we played back in the day had a healthy respect for death and a sense of their own mortality that the newer generation just doesn’t – or just barely, in any event. Unlike the old-school characters, the newer generations never came from the ranks of the common folk as we did of old. They were never just regular folks. There was something intrinsically more “human” about the old-school games and characters. Even non-humans need a touch of humanity to make them more sympathetic characters. We have striven to preserve that old-school spirit in large part in designing and writing this game.
It is my fond hope that no part of this text comes across as too complicated or simplistic. A happy medium was sought to suit the widest audience. As often as possible, tables have been set up to refer to in favor of math equations, to save time and headaches. Most, if not all, practices and procedures have not only been explained at length, but examples provided as well. Of course, as in any other RPG of the genré, those characters that wield magick in some form always require more care and attention in creation and also in maintenance once brought into play. RoM is no exception in this.
It is my wish that you enjoy the work as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope you find much of it new, yet familiar enough in content for all to be comfortable with it.