Rolemaster began its life in 1980 as individual booklets detailing portions of an intricate combat and roleplaying system: Arms Law, Claw Law, Character Law, and Spell Law. Here, in the RM box set, all were finally brought together in 1982 as the Rolemaster roleplaying game. (See the whole product line at my classic RPG reference site).

The first edition set has a lot of parts, and many sets I’ve seen over the years are missing parts, or the books are disassembled. My goal with this unboxing is to help identify what should be in the set.

Iron Crown Enterprises – better known by their acronym ICE – left us a confusing mess of printings and editions of their early books/sets. It doesn’t help that ICE themselves misunderstood the difference between printings and editions. A new printing has no changes, or at most, minor edits and errata corrections. A new edition involves wholesale changes over the prior version.

Midgård Rollspel site details the intricacies of early Rolemaster, helping to clarify what’s what. It’s worth a look. Their site is primarily dedicated to Middle Earth Roleplaying (MERP), which uses a simplified version of the RM rules. According to them, the RM set I’m profiling today is the 2nd printing of the 1st edition.

Rolemaster relies heavily on charts to determine combat results. I’ve heard RM nicknamed “Chartmaster”. It can appear very intimidating, but I’m told that it’s not particularly difficult to play. I’m not well-versed in the game, so I’m going to stick to comments about the format.

Rolemaster (1st Edition) [BOX SET]

Peter C. Fenlon Jr. & S. Coleman Charlton & Terry Amthor

1982 … ICE 1000

Check Wayne’s Books Inventory


Box is large, measures approx 10″ x 13″. But only 1″ in depth.

Claw Law

Charts stapled in the center.

Arms Law

ICE calls this the “Third Edition” of Arms Law. Charts stapled in the center.

Character Law

Spell Law

Spell Law, in this incarnation, is divided into 4 booklets and 8 heavy paperstock charts.

Spell Law

24 pages.

Of Channeling: Book I

24 pages.

Of the Essence: Book II

24 pages.

Of Mentalism: Book III

24 pages.

Eight double-sided charts


Two product ads for other ICE releases, including MERP. Plus a flier for “The Fellowship”, a Tolkien fan club.

Both ICE catalog pages are double-sided, giving a rare look into the company, ca. 1982.

The Fellowship was not an ICE venture. Membership sheet is printed on one side – but notice the ICE stamp on the reverse, placed behind the return ticket so that ICE gets credit for referring the new member.

See Also: