We had a debate in our RP group last night (22/12/2014) regarding the application of hobby ranks and how/why they are used. The argument was based on the fact that a thief can be a better weapons master than a fighter simply by applying hobby ranks.

One of the players (also an experienced GM) stated that hobby ranks should only be applied to skills that earn 0 level bonus for the profession.

On thinking about this I decided to take this a step further and allow any skills to any profession (with the usual maximum 6 of 8 split), based on the fact that, as I am a developer, I love to learn about different methods for, and languages to write code in as a hobby.

I've never used any of the later versions of RM: do any of them use alternative methods for managing hobby ranks?

Just to clarify: Several of us have thought up different ways of implementing hobby ranks. One method was to only allow hobby ranks for skills that have a level bonus of zero. My idea was to implement across the board, negating the need for skill type restrictions (e.g. allowing a fighter to invest hobby ranks in their primary skills).

What I'm asking is - how are hobby ranks implemented in the later versions of RoleMaster, and are there any useful changes to the way it has been implemented?

  • This is for RM-Classic, right? Just to be clear :) – Rob Dec 23 '14 at 13:31
  • Certainly is... – Paul Dec 23 '14 at 13:32
  • There are plenty of options available for hobby ranks, principally in RMC-1 (That I recall) I'll dig through some books. – Rob Dec 23 '14 at 13:33
  • I've updated for you. (PS: I don't have access to later material at the moment). – Paul Dec 24 '14 at 9:58
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Hobby Ranks in other editions

RMC-2 (aka RM Second Edition plus companions)

This is from RMC-1

Option 1: Assign a number of "free" secondary skill ranks during their adolescence and/or apprenticeship (perhaps 5-10). These skills should be consistent with the characters' backgrounds.
Option 2: As Option 1 but give the players additional development points (perhaps 10-20) that must be spent on secondary skills.
Option 3: Each level give the character a percentage of their normal development points to spend only on secondary skills (in additional to his normal development points). Perhaps 20-30%
Option 4: Allow a character to gain as many different secondary skill ranks as they have time for through "practice" (ChL&CaL Section 13.53). This should still be limited to one skill rank for each secondary skill for each half level.

RMSS

RMSS Changes things very drastically from RM/RMC2, characters can buy packages of skills for different proffessions as well as skills per level. Level bonuses are gone and you can buy ranks in categories to do the same, generally you get more DP than in RM/RMC2.

There is a table that defines a number of hobby ranks for each race.

These hobby ranks may be used to increase the ranks of any combination of skills and/or skills categories The following restrictions apply when using hobby ranks.
* No skill or skill category may be increased by more ranks than the maximum ranks that normally may be developed when advancing a level.
* The skill or skill rank developed must have a development point cost of less than 40.

Hobby ranks are: Common Men: 12 High Men: 10 Wood Elves: 10 Dwarves: 12 Halflings: 12

My suggestion

Hobby ranks should be kept to secondary skills and given a cap in DP cost (eg 10) to stop characters buying outlandishly complicated skills for their profession, they shouldn't be allowed to buy more hobby ranks in a skill than they can buy normally per level as well. E.g a 3/3 skill = max 2 ranks, a 8 skill = max 1 rank.
I always gave characters a small smattering of knowledge based skills as well depending on their race/culture as well to ensure that they had at least a grounding in some common skills for their background for free.

E.g. A common man from the city of Lan, a trading city on the borders of the notorious Ice-Elf Kingdom would get:
History: Lan - 4 ranks
History: Kingdom Of Man - 3 ranks
History: Ice-Elves - 1 rank

  • Hmmm. That's interesting. I like the idea of using development points, it seems more natural to the whole process. I do disagree with the limiting of hobby ranks to secondary skills, though - I myself enjoy learning about areas of code development that relate to my profession outside of my professional environment. To be honest we tend to assume local knowledge to be part of the character, but I can see where you're coming from. – Paul Dec 24 '14 at 11:54

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