Generating High Level Characters

Generating High Level Characters

High level characters invariably produce a significant affect on the game’s setting and situation, so it is important to make sure that they are reasonably well detailed. At the very least, the Gamemaster should develop the character’s (1) stats; (2) background and personality; (3) skill and level bonuses; and (4) equipment. 


High level characters are bound by normal stat generation guidelines (see MERP Section 3.1 or RM/​ChL Section 2.0), although two other considerations should be taken into account. First, high level characters generally have better-than-average stats, since high stats give an adventurer a much higher probability of surviving for a long time. Second, characters sometimes attain high levels because of their racial makeup, as in the case of Vala and Maia characters. These groups may have some inherent stat bonuses (e.g., Elves) or they may have across the board additions to the stats themselves. For instance, we suggest that Vala characters receive a + 50 addition to some or all of their stats (as we have done in LOME). Maia stats should be increased by +25.

Example: Where a Man’s stat is 97, a Maia would receive a 122. A Vala character would then have a stat of 147. (See Section 3.4 for bonuses based on stats, including stats above 102.) 

Background And Personality

A character’s background colors his outlook and provides depth” to his personality. For Player Characters, a background facilitates both role playing and the adoption of clear goals. 

High level characters, of course, tend to have a long and/​or ex¬citing past which demands some sort of documentation. The most important points to consider when designing a background are (a) race; (b) culture; (c) place, environment, and circumstances of birth; (d) childhood and adolescent experiences; (e) family orientation; and (f) adult experiences. 

Once a character’s background has been outlined, address his per-sonality, keeping in mind that the background should have some bear¬ing on your choices, Get a general picture first, determining certain pertinent features of the character’s makeup. For example, note whether he is surly or jovial, optimistic or pessimistic, generous or mean, withdrawn or outgoing, stable or unstable, bold or full of doubt, cautious or incautious, etc. Then, play with the specifics, such as preferences and prejudices, loves and fears, strange mannerisms, and so on. 

Equipment And Magic Items

One of the key elements in creating a character is determining the character’s equipment and magic items. This becomes especially im-portant for high level characters because they normally have had the time and opportunity to accumulate quite a few items. In most cases, the GM can assume that the character has access to most normal, non-magic equipment. 

The best and often the easiest way to generate a character’s magic items is for the GM to create and assign the items based upon the nature of the specific character. There is no substitute for a GM’s creative mind and his feel for play balance in his game. In this sec¬tion, we provide several options to aid a GM in generating a high level character’s magic items. 

Option 1
Use existing tables for generating magic items: MERP Table CGT-2; RM/ChL&CaL Table 15.73; and RM/​Creatures & Treasures Sections 3.0.
Option 2
Assign existing items from your or someone else’s game or items described in commercial products: MERP Part III, RM/C&T Section 3.0, any of ICE’s Middle-earth Modules, etc.
Option 3
Use the Equipment Generation Chart provided below to determine the base characteristics of a character’s items.

Equipment Generation Chart

This chart provides a tool and guidelines for aiding a GM in assigning magic items to a high level character. Remember that all magic items in a game must be allocated with care: it is very easy for magic items to become over-rare or over-abundant. One way to maintain this balance in magic items is to use this chart to make sure that the quantity and quality of the character’s items do not fall below or rise above a certain level. 

For use with this chart, the GM may modify a character’s level due for special factors such as: + 5 to +10 for the Eldar, Maiar, Istari, etc.; –5 to –10 for Orcs, primitive men, etc.; +5 to +20 for special rank or position (e.g., kings, generals, rich characters, shamans, etc.). Additionally, the GM may wish to make a roll (1−100) and then add the following to the character’s level to be used on this chart: (roll — 50) / 5, rounding down. 

Once a character’s level for this chart has been determined, the GM should refer to the the section of the chart corresponding to the character’s race. The item characteristics given in the chart are very general and should be fleshed out by the GM based upon the character’s nature. 

Equipment Generation Chart

Common Men
PR Item Characteristics
41 – 50 +30 bonuses; x6-x8 spell item; special traits; an artifact.
30 – 40 +20 armor/​shield; +25 other bonuses; x5-x6 spell items; special traits.
20 – 29 +15/+20 bonuses; +5or +6 (with special traits) or x3-x5 spell items; other items with special traits/​spells; might have a single +30 item but few others.
13 – 19 +10/+15 bonuses; x2-x4 or +4 or +5 spell items; +10 item of slaying; spell casting items should be appropriate to level.
6 – 12 +5/+10 bonuses; x2-x3 or +3 or +4 spell items; might have a single item of great ability (e.g., +15/+20 item, an Orc- slaying weapon, etc.).
4 – 5 +5 bonuses; x2 or +2 or +3 spell items; if spell casting or special items are owned their powers/​durations should be reduced.
0 – 3 +0 bonuses; x2 or +1 or +2 spell items; perhaps a single +5/+10 item.
Elves and Special (like Istari)
PR Item Characteristics
61 – 70 +30 to +50 bonuses; x8 to x9 spell items; artifacts.
51 – 60 +25 to +45 bonuses; x7 to x8 spell items; artifacts; may possess a great number of very potent items.
36 – 50 +20 to +40 bonuses; x5 to x7 spell items; items may possess potent special traits.
21 – 35 +15 to +35 bonuses; x4 to x6 or +7 to +8 spell items; some items may possess potent special traits.
17 – 20 +15 to +30; x3-x5 or +6 or +7 spell items; items may possess special traits (e.g., slaying Orcs, returning, etc.).
12 – 16 +10 to +25 bonuses; x3-x4 or +4 to +5 spell items (with special traits); may possess a single very powerful item and very few others.
7 – 11 +5 to +20 bonuses; x2-x4 or +3 to +5 spell items; may possess 2 or 3 special items.
0 – 6 +0 to +10 bonuses; x2-x3 or +1 to +4 spell items.
PR Item Characteristics
30 – 50 +20 to +30 bonuses; special traits certain; several po¬tent items.
21 – 29 +15 to +30 bonuses; some special traits; if many items are held they usually will be in the +15 to +20 range.
16 – 20 +10 to +20 bonuses; one or two item with special traits.
11 – 15 +10 to +15 bonuses; one item with special traits.
7 – 10 +5 to +15 bonuses; mostly weapons and armor.
0 – 6 +0 to +10 bonuses; mostly weapons and armor.
PR Item Characteristics
9 – 12 Rare individuals; +15 to +20 bonuses; some potent items; slight chance of a single item of great value, power or danger.
6 – 8 Powerful for Hobbits; a couple of +10 items; slight chance
of a single item of great value, power or danger.
3 – 5 One or two +5 items; slight chance of a single item of great value, power or danger.
0 – 2 Perhaps one +5 item; slight chance of a single item of great value, power or danger.
Trolls, Half-Orcs, and Orcs (well equipped or rare individuals)
PR Item Characteristics
12 – 20 +10 to +20 bonuses.
9 – 11 +10 to +15 bonuses.
7 – 8 +5 to +10 bonuses.
5 – 6 +5 bonuses.
0 – 4 +0 bonuses.
Orcs (Regular Tribe)
PR Item Characteristics
14 – 16 +10 to +15 bonuses; almost always the major leader; will usually have one favorite item and then a number of items of lesser power; Sometimes the favored item is a +10 item of great power.
10 – 13 +10 bonuses; often have several lesser items.
6 – 9 +5 bonuses; Orc spell casters are very rare but will often have some special item (e.g., x3 spell item, protective devices, etc.).
0 – 6 +0 bonuses; very rare spell casters might possess a spell adder.

Skill And Level Bonuses

Since high level characters necessarily take a great deal of effort to generate, we provide the following chart covering typical skill and level bonuses. 

Skill Bonuses Based Level Chart

This chart provides level bonuses based upon the amount of a character’s level bonus: +0/​lvl, +l/​lvl, +2/​lvlor + 3/​lvl (see MERP Section 2.4 and Table BT-6, and RM/ChL&CaL Section 4.0, Section 5.21, Section 14.22 and Table 15.72). After 20th level this chart assumes that the “ + 1/​lvl” bonuses only increase at a rate of + .25/​lvl, the “ + 2/​lvl” bonuses increase at a rate of +.5/​lvl, and the “ + 3/​lvl” bonuses increase at a rate of + 1/​lvl. These increases may vary depen¬ding upon the optional rules used by a specific GM (e.g., +0/​lvl above 20th level for “ +1/​lvl” and “ + 2/​lvl” bonuses). 

This chart also provides skill rank bonuses based upon the average number of ranks/​lvl” developed by a character: 2 ranks/​lvl”, 1 rank/​lvl”, or a rank evey two levels (i.e., “.5 rank/​lvl”). These bonuses assume a +5/​rank bonus for ranks 1 – 10, +2/​rank for ranks 11 – 20, + l/​rank for ranks 21 – 30, and +.5/​rank for every rank over 30. See MERP Section 2.31 and Table BT-4, and RM/ChL&CaL Section 3.1 and Table 15.22. 

Converting Fantasy Hero

Fantasy Hero (FH) from Hero Games is part of the Hero System family of role playing products. It uses a significantly different com¬bat and spell system from those found in MERP and Rolemaster. The conversion of characters and creatures from one system to the other requires some mathematics but, if you play MERP or Fantasy Hero, the task should not present a great obstacle. 

Skills And Skill Bonuses

MERP skills can be translated to Fantasy Hero skills by simply comparing the name of the skill. Bonuses may be converted by using the following conversion guideline: + 10 MERP bonus = + 1 FH bonus 

Stats (characteristics)

The MERP/RM system uses percentile values (1−100) to describe a character’s stats (characteristics). FH uses an open- ended system with most values falling in the 5 – 20 range. We suggest the following conversion guideline: 

MERP stat = FH stat x 5 

FH stat = MERP stat / 5 (with a minimum value of 8)

MERP/RM Fantasy Hero
ST (Strength) STR (Strength)
AG (Agility) DEX (Dexterity)
CO (Constitution) CON (Constitution),BODY
IG (Intelligence) INT (Intelligence)
IT (Intuition) EGO (Ego)
PR (Presence) PRE (Presence)
AP (Appearance) COM (Comeliness)
QU (Quickness) DEX (Dexterity)
RE (Reasoning) INT (Intelligence)
ME (Memory) INT (Intelligence)
EM (Empathy) EGO (Ego)

Thus, a MERP character with a stat value from 01 to 42 would have an 8 value for his Fantasy Hero characteristic. The following con¬version table shows how MERP/RM stats and Fantasy Hero stats relate. 

When two MERP/RM stats correspond to one FH stat (i.e., DEX, 1NT, and EGO), use the highest stat. Average FH STR and BODY to obtain the equivalent MERP/RM CO

Spell Conversion

There is no room here to list each of the spell lists and the myriad spell descriptions found in MERP/RM, nor is there space to demonstrate how to construct Fantasy Hero spells which correspond to them. The easiest approach is to use the following guideline to relate MERP/RM spell lists learned/​picked” to FH spell-caster Character Points spent on spell construction: 

1 MERP/RM spell list learned/​picked” =

10 to 15 FH Character Points 

Note the common themes of the character’s spell lists and spells (e.g., fire” in the Fire Law list) should be retained when converting. 

Creature Conversion

Use following equivalences as guidelines for creature conversion:

MERP/RM Fantasy Hero
Offensive Bonus (OB)/15 OCV
Offensive Bonus (OB)/10 Damage Class
Defensive Bonus (DB)/7 DCV
Armor Type (AT)/2 resistant ED and PD
Armor Type (AT) x2 total ED and PD
Base Movement Rate/​10 Move in inches per phase
Hits/​10 BODY (min. 10)

When two FH stats are given for one relation (e.g., ED and PD for Armor Type), average them before converting to MERP/RM. When there are two relations given for one MERP/​RMcharacteristic (e.g., OB and AT), calculate both resulting values and then average them for the final value.


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