Tactical Movement

Rolemaster Tactical Movement Rules (House Rule)

For this campaign I am using the Tactical Movement Rules from the Rolemaster Unified playtest ruleset, with a couple of alterations and keeping the 10 second rounds, as detailed below:


Movement includes all types of movement, whether by walking, running, flying, climbing, or swimming. All characters and creatures are given a movement rate in feet per 10 seconds (the length of a tactical combat round) called their Base Movement Rate (BMR), which is the speed at which they “walk” (an unhasted speed whether swimming, flying, etc., but still called walk for pace purposes).

For normal movement, a roll is not required; however, for stressful situations such as moving in rough terrain or while stunned, a Move manoeuvre roll is required. For example, a combatant who is running in a zigzag toward an enemy outpost should make a manoeuvre roll; likewise, a manoeuvre roll is called for if a combatant is stunned or moving across slick ground, broken terrain, or other similar obstacles.

One can move slower or faster, up to 5 times one’s BMR, assuming one is not limited by encumbrance. A table in FG will summarizes the different paces, from x1/2 to x5 one’s BMR, but the penalty ranges from -10 for a Creep pace, to -200 if Dashing.. Each pace indicates a name, the distance multiplier and a penalty that applies to other actions performed in the round. A walk is a casual pace, while brisk is a faster walk that one would use when going longer distances.

Characters can move no faster than brisk backwards, and the movement penalty is doubled. Characters who are prone can move no faster than walk pace, and the manoeuvre penalty is quadrupled.

Tactical Movement

Movement is a unique action during the combat round, because it is often combined with other actions, such as casting a spell while moving forward, advancing while drawing a weapon, or charging into combat.

The combatant can move up to his BMR x Pace during the round, but the penalty applies to other actions that round. If a roll is not normally required for other actions (e.g., drawing a weapon), then the pace penalty instead applies to the movement roll itself, if one is required. If neither a roll for the action or for the movement is required, then it is assumed that the combination of the two is trivial to perform under these circumstances. Movement into, during, and out of melee combat is handled in different ways depending on the situation.

Example: Walter (BMR of 55’/round) needs to move 55’ to get his target within range of his spell. He walks the 55’ while casting his spell, putting the target in range when the spell is released. Walter suffers a -10 to his spellcasting roll for the walking pace.

Example: Tolan (BMR of 50’/round) wishes to move backwards at a creep while preparing a spell. Creeping backwards allows him to move up to 25’ with a penalty of -10 to all actions. Since preparing a spell does not require a roll the -10 instead applies to the movement roll itself, if one is required. If the area is clear, even terrain the GM may decide to forgo any roll at all. However, if Tolan is in tight quarters in the middle of a combat, or backing up over a field of loose rocks, the GM may have Tolan make a Move manoeuvre roll at -10.

Closing & Charging

Closing occurs any time a combatant gets within melee combat range of another combatant. If a combatant is within melee range at any point in the round, he gets to attack with a penalty due to his pace. The defender, assuming his weapon is readied and he is not engaged in other activities, does not get a penalty and can attack and parry as normal. This represents an initial ‘clash of blades’ that could be anywhere from one to a few seconds but can be just as deadly (or ineffective) as a full round of combat.

If a combatant closes into melee at high speed, then he has the potential for a more damaging blow. This is called charging, which sacrifices accuracy (reflected in the penalty due to pace) in favour of power. A successful charge increases the size of the attack based on the charger’s speed as shown below. NB, for Halvard’s Leap-Attack skill, with a successful skill manoeuvre, the attack will be equivalent of a 100’/rnd charge, or 200’/rnd if the skill manoeuvre result was 150+, or 400’/rnd if 200+.

Speed (ft/round) – Modifier
100’/round – x2 damage and +1 critical severity.
200’/round – x3 damage and +2 critical severity.
400’/round – x4 damage and +3 critical severity.

If both charger and target are moving, the difference (or addition if running toward each other) in speed is used. Pole arms can be braced against a charge, thereby gaining the same bonus to size for an attack against the charging combatant.

Example: Halvard (BMR of 80’/round) spots his prey from 200’ away. He draws his axe and charges into combat. He must move at a Run (x3 pace) to move the 200’. As long as he reaches his target this round he may make an attack at a penalty of -50. Since he is moving at a pace greater than 200’/round (he is moving 240’/round) his attack does x2 damage and a +1 severity to any critical. If the GM decides the terrain is rough, he may also require a Move manoeuvre roll to determine if Halvard actually closes the full distance, and suffers no mishaps en-route.

In a chase situation, one combatant is pursuing the other. In order to attack, the pursuer needs to be able to move at least as fast as the person being chased (possibly faster, if the pursuer did not begin the round in melee range, and the attacker needs to catch up). As long as the pursuer is within melee range at any point during the round, then he will get an attack, but suffers the normal action penalty based on pace (although likely gaining the bonus for a rear attack). If the pursuer is moving at least 100’/round faster than his opponent, he gets the appropriate charging bonus.

If the attacker chooses to move alongside the target and match pace, or if the defender chooses to slow down and match the attacker’s pace, this can become a running combat (see below).

Withdraw & Press
One combatant can retreat from combat by moving backwards at a creep or walking pace. He suffers a penalty of -10 (backwards creep), -20 (backwards walk), or -40 (backwards brisk) while fighting. If his opponent chooses to press the attack, the opponent will need to advance and will suffer normal movement penalties, likely giving the attacker a net advantage (unless the defender is much faster). If the withdrawing combatant wants to move faster, he must turn around and break off, in which case it will become a chase. In any case, the chaotic nature of melee will often require a Move manoeuvre roll (as always, GM discretion).

Running Fight
In a running melee, both combatants are fighting while moving in parallel paths, rather than one chasing the other (e.g., two warriors riding side by side along a road attacking each other). Both combatants suffer the normal penalties for movement, and both must be willing to stay within melee range of one another. If one party tries to break off, the running fight becomes a chase.

Tactical Movement

Rolemaster - Shadycreek Flpster