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Rolemaster's Spell Law has a spell list called "Lofty Bridge" (Spell Law 13.2, page 79). It is part of the 'closed essence' spell lists and allows the caster to move the 'target' over short and long distances (essentially teleport them), and make them levitate or fly.

Most obviously the target seems to be the caster who wants themselves to fly/levitate/teleport. But lately in a campaign the question arose whether it would also be possible for the caster to use the spells on this list on unwilling, i.e. hostile targets.

The reasoning behind this is the age old issue where some inconspicuous low-level spell can turn out to be an instant kill if only just (mis-)used in the right way...

E.g. the level 3 spell "Leaving", which allows the caster to instantly teleport the target of the spell to a location 30m away (visible and not obstructed). Teleport just about any foe 30m straight up and... well, you get the idea.

Our group quickly decided that this kind of usage was way too powerful1 (on an already incredibly powerful spell list), so we house-ruled that the spells would only work if the caster did not intend to harm it's target (because it can very well happen that the target is harmed by accident if the spell caster is not careful enough).

I'd be interested however, if there is an actual rule which prevents the spells to be used in the fashion described above. I'm also interested in answers/rules that take into account other RM2 source books or even later iterations of RM rules that address similar issues.

Update

Thanks for the answers. I thought I'd update the question with the house-rule our group decided on after some longer discussion:

  • We decided that the spell can be cast on unwilling targets, but not with the intent to harm them. So it would still be possible to zap an Ork over to the other side of a chasm, or teleport threatened hostage to safety - but there are not cheap insta-kills anymore.

1 Yes, in other places spells on 'unwilling' targets must overcome a resistance roll by the target. It has been our experience however, that given the usual numbers involved the target has an absolutely negligible chance of resisting any spell cast by PC characters, even at the same level.

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RMSS: No, you cannot use these spells on unwilling targets.

In the RMSS Spell Law (ICE 5522) the teleport and Longdoor spells are "U" - Utility.(page 6)

These spells only affect the caster, a willing target, or a target incapable of resistance.

RM2 Yes you can, although there are limitations.

In RM2 Spell Law (ICE 1200) the teleport and Longdoor spells are "F" - Force.

I've not seen a rule or expansion explanation for handling Long Door/Teleportation in any of the Rolemaster Companions (1-7), Spell Users Companion, Essence/Channelling/Arcane Companion (Although those three are RMSS)


But:

  • The target will get a standard resistance roll.
  • The range to cast the spells is 10'
  • There is a weight limit:

11.0 Special Notes: p34 Spell Law, "Encumbrance Limits for Movement Spells" "When dealing with movement spell (e.g. Fly,Levitation,Leaving,Long Door, etc.) we suggest that such spells normally handle up to 1.5 times the caster's mass (weight) there is a 5 "Extraordinary Spell Failure" (ESF) modification for every 40lb (or use 20% of the caster's mass) over this limit. (See Section 10.9)

So no teleporting dragons ;)

There is also a possible inconsistency in the rules which is a likely a typo, but could be worked either way:

"If the arrival point coincides with solid or liquid material, the caster does not move, he is stunned 1-10 rounds, and the PPs for this spell are expended." Note the word "caster" here, not "target". The spell probably was meant to say "target" as the travel is implied, but that then means the caster can longdoor a target straight down into the ground and stun their victim for 1-10 rounds for no PP cost!
I'd advise that therefore any teleport failure penalty (if they're allowed to be cast on an unwilling target) is applied to the caster, or...

However These spells can make a lot of other damage spells seem very pointless.
I have a lot of house rules for Rolemaster as the spells are very loose in their description which can lead to a lot of wierd or stupid situations, one of these is that Long Door, Leaving and Teleport must be on a willing target, other RM GM's I have played with also use this rule as well.

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    \$\begingroup\$ ☺ I tend to use the spell mastery skill whenever someone wants something that is not my interpretation of the wording on the spell. It works really well as it allows more player agency and more varied spells. \$\endgroup\$ – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Sep 27 '18 at 10:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ I let the players do all sorts of wacky things with Spell Mastery, or tinkering with spells to make them a bit more powerful (bigger shield spells) to certain limits. \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Sep 28 '18 at 13:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @paul That is not how we ever read that skill. If so, it makes the skill utterly worthless. \$\endgroup\$ – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Dec 1 '18 at 15:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ In RMSS Spell Law, referenced by the OP, this is not correct. The whole list is Utility, not Force. \$\endgroup\$ – ucbpaladin Dec 31 '18 at 4:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Paul: There are various options regarding Spell Mastery -- some of them in the Spell User's Companion but I am somewhat sure I have also seen some in the Companions -- about whether you learn that skill per spell, per group of spells, or per list, basically making this GM's choice. (Similar about whether the various skills are similar with regards to "similar skill" rules.) Which is fair, since the GM also decides what you can do with that skill. ;-) \$\endgroup\$ – DevSolar Jan 8 at 10:41
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Short answer, yes Lofty Bridge spells can be cast on willing and unwilling targets, like other spells with a range other than self. Standard Resistance Rolls apply.

But Leaving and similar spells should not allow cheap Fall/Crush criticals.

A “Location” means on the ground

The description of the Leaving spell did not change much between the first and second edition, except that “teleports target to a point” (Spell Law, p. 71) was changed to “to a location.”

The word “location” was chosen deliberately, as a clarification. And strictly speaking, a location is a place on the ground, not just any point in space.

Per Merriam Webster:

location

1.a : a position or site occupied or available for occupancy or marked by some distinguishing feature : SITUATION

1.b : a tract of land designated for a purpose

Per dictionary.com

noun

  1. a place of settlement, activity, or residence: This town is a good location for a young doctor.

  2. a place or situation occupied: a house in a fine location.

  3. a tract of land of designated situation or limits: a mining location.

There are other words, such as “position,” or simply “anywhere” that would include points in the air.

This is how we used to play the spell (in RoleMaster 1st edition) — the destination of the Leaving spell had to be someplace the target could stand. It was still quite useful for its level, when you had an unobstructed view that far.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, good to know they fixed this with later versions. Was there also a change to "Teleport", the level 10 spell? Beaming an enemy to some point 100 miles away would still be rather effective, even if that location is on solid ground (and quite aside from the side effects if the teleport spell goes wrong). \$\endgroup\$ – fgysin reinstate Monica Sep 26 '18 at 6:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I like this "Location" thing, will remember for the future! \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Sep 28 '18 at 13:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ In the version of Spell Law referenced by the OP, it looks like this is back to 'point', but the spells are also Utility...so you could potentially murder a willing target. \$\endgroup\$ – ucbpaladin Dec 31 '18 at 4:08
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Yes you can. However, the range for most spells are "touch"1 and the target can roll a resistance. I seem to believe the resistance level is versus the spell level and not the caster's level. This makes resistance actually quiet trivial for higher level targets.

This still does make Lofty Bridge one of the most powerful spell list around as it can be applied easily. Other spell lists are no less powerful, just require a little more finesse.


1: I cannot remember if this happens before or after melee.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The range for the "Leave" spell for example is given at 10' - making it totally applicable in combat. \$\endgroup\$ – fgysin reinstate Monica Sep 26 '18 at 6:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fgysin 10' is close range enough for some melee attacks… But yeah, it's a powerful spell list. \$\endgroup\$ – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Sep 26 '18 at 13:54
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No, at least under Rolemaster Standard System, Spell Law (pg. 87). The entire list is type 'Utility', which 'only affect the caster, a willing target or a target incapable of resistance.' (pg. 6) Potentially, after a Charm or Suggestion, this could be used on an enemy.

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