Before I left Phoenix I walked into a Bookman's used books in Mesa and to my suprise they had the entire Rolemaster Standard Rules System available used for about 60 bucks. I used to own the first version of Rolemaster and Spacemaster, and I really liked the games (especially Space Master) so I bought the books.
Well, I finally got a chance to mess with new (but not newest) version of pen and pencil RGP Rolemaster last night. I started rolling up a character, just to mess around, and one thing dawned on me.
If you had never before played Rolemaster, let alone another role playing game, you would be absolutely lost trying to wade your way through "chart master". I knew roughly what I was doing, but as a beginner or experienced RPG'er who is new to Role Master, I would have been lost.
So, as a product review, I'm going to have to give my beloved Rolemaster a thumbs sideways. Why?
1) It is to complex in general.
2) Hard to get rolling as a beginner.
3) A lot of time needs to be spent as a GM getting a campaign setup (more then in other games).
On the plus side, Role Master is
1) More "realistic" then other RPG Fantasy games.
2) Provides a better combat system that is descriptive and more dangerous then most RPG's.
So, if you are a die hard RPG fan, pick up Role Master. If you haven't played it before, you might want to invest in AD & D or another fantasy RPG. I think it is awesome that I.C.E (the parent company of Rolemaster and Spacemaster) lives on in some capacity, and I encourage die hards to support ICE by buying their products. But the rest of you, I'd advise leaving "Rule Master" on the shelf.