Okay I downloaded the zip. I read through the book... Its different (and I do like different). The intro says the players choices are the bioggest part of the game, not the dice. This I liked. Then I read on...
Oh it uses all the dice, d20 on down. interesting
Backstory seems cool, godzilla and friends crashed from the sky, kicked the crap outta us. Now you fight back
The Character creation talks about minor math problems on the sheet, I will come back to this but ugghh (and full disclosure I did this too in an RPG and it seems fine, but really when I dropped it things got better)
The system is balanced so you can play with anyone character and be a part of this game. Nice, I hope its true.
You always round down is a rule? Math rules.....?
Character creation: Wow lots of math to do when you create and level your character. Oh I get to play Sudoku to set my starting attributes? the total has to equal 0. Interesting but point buy seems simpler and gets me the same result. So Your character gets a zodiac power and then medium powers (spirits channeled through a weapon) Plus 3 attributes and 6 skills. Every time you level you redo the soduku for attributes and skills. I see this is to keep things balanced; I HATE THAT. you say in the beginning I have choice, but really its just what car I can visit on the train. That said lots of games do this, just not my fave.
Oh I get to make a cool magic weapon with its own character gen, that's kinda neat
Making a high level character means more maths to keep it balanced. Lots of math and the only Role play is my height and weight. Still it is a simple Character Gen would not take long. I can see a savage worlds or DnD person being okay with it, but players of Fate or more narrative games would walk I think.
No XP system, gain a level after you complete an adventure. That's fine, not exciting but fine.
You pick a spirit and get traits (feats) for you passive and actives. Passives are out of combat actives in. All fine again balance. As A Player I woul;d have to step away from combat to activate a passive and use it to help in combat or a scene. That is a choice, not sure how interesting it is. Spirit has stories and such, nice. I hope they connect to the world. Cool art
Now we pick zodiacs? Lots of earth references here. Leprechaun? Clover ? Would be cooler if these were more world specific (could be they are). Each adds a Feat/ability to the character. Not sure how they would be used for role play, they just list mechanical abilities. Certainly could be done.
5 Skills - More Sudoku 3xlevel is max total. Again to keep things in line as far as I can tell. I can min max at the expense of other stuff.
3 Attributes -- Same as skills and above description this is more detail. Some spirits are linked to an attribute, some are not.
Whole big thing on abilities and stacking or unique (should be up by spirits where I get the abilities?)
List of abilities and rules and maths.
Medium (Weapons) Pic a trait for it (Int, Agl, Str). You can add more, I think later not sure... Seems you get all three pick one as the main, lots of explination, but no example confusing me. Give it one of the enchantments from the spirit its channels (so the spirt abilities are here not for the character ahhhh(nope whole new list of powers for the weapons). Thats kinda cool.
And 6 more starts with maths to figure them out. Sure they will change as I grow. interesting, no history of the weapon no way to use that mechanically, very ADnD/2e. Feeling kinda video gamey.
Lots of charts and mechanical bonus when you attach attribute X to Item type Y, Kinda limiting.
Combat chapter should be actions or scenes, with combat in it?
Meat of the system
d20 + Stuff vs Set value +Char Level (3 levels norm, hard, very hard)
Conditions and saves chart, interesting usable.
Saves v Conditions are always 15+ Level (normal)
So in combat I can do Active spirit abilities or step out and do passives. Some stack and get more powerful as I take them more...ok
fair and simple, not so interesting. I can use my primary action to pump up an ability (with the stacking) over time. Or maintain one and keep using it.
So the combat rules assume I am using my Medium. I assume if I lose it regular weapons have a set attribute and value I have to use. Thats kinda cool if true. Else I get the feeling I might have 3 or 4 different mediums.
Steps to attack 1) pick target 2) Pick attribute from your medium 3) roll d20 + attribute from medium? (it says source B
not clear). ranged ios the same with range mods of -1 -2 -3...
Defenders can use 2 attributes to defend ok sure.
Crits when you break 20 (21+), double damage assuming the total hits
Damage comes from you medium (reading this again it seems you combine character and medium starts for the attack and defense with that medium. Mediums are all over the place it seems.)
Other options, Delay, distract, Escape Grab Focused attack, grab, Guard, Jump, Move, run, Spirit Heals, Switch weapons (medium, so seems you get lots of these), Throwing, Talk, Perception. Then the with an experienced GM do what you want: Guidelines.
The the GM sections talks about rest and rewards, then the bestiary. Seems normal creates are like 10 -50 (but this varies), doing around 20 damage. (I think your hits are around 100 but if you have more than 1 medium they could change in combat based on that choice) Elite creatures are like 50+ and do 50 damage when they hit.
The the market/equipment section very old school feel. You get 10g an adventure or less if you get stuff from here.
So This is my take. Pretty old school, I saw no mention of using dice other than a d20, but its a demo. The link between the user and the weapon is cool, but the Illusion of choice is that you get all this stuff to do, but old school GM fiat rules to make it happen. Not interesting. Characters are just a bunch of numbers (given whats here). There could be huge swaths of improv given the abilities, but no creating at the table. Granted that's not the game it is, it has a DnD 4/ Iron Kingdoms feel; tactical with powers to move about and kill things. Can you tell good stories with it sure, but it would be me telling my players answer these 3 questions about your character, warhammer style to find out where to take it. So if you want this to appeal to old school players who want a light system, with decent options great. But more narrative players Fiasco, Fate, even DnD5 where people have really invested in the backgrounds and such, are gonna pass this up. The demo needs more of the world you built, even if its just a description of a town the adventure is in.
How would I change this (not that you care)
Your hook of the magic weapons should be the driver, This is the story of the weapon and the hero finding their power; together. The character is a farmer or a town guard. They got this medium (somehow) the town mayor shoved this in their hands and it spoke to them. Chargen should be make the weapon (giving it a name of legend), boost your meager stats from the archetype you picked and some bonuses for your backstory. Now you go save your town, and then the world. Advancement should be all about the character, when they hit a point (set by their medium), the weapon grows in new ways. Suddenly the whole thing is a wide ranging story of unready heros getting closer and stronger with that one weapon. Very Samurai/ronin with powers that escalate as quickly as your bestiary. The zodiacs could be a narrative power I can use once per session to change an outcome or reroll or something. Link it to my past and its even more powerful. These are all cues I can use to role play in this world.
Giving the whole system a feeling of I am using ability X to cause Y to happen I roll and the roll pushes the (Yes),(Yes,but) or (No, but), (no) results would make many of these choices more story and flow better than a binary pass fail. Maybe a d20 with a zodiac die, based on your choices in chargen. roll odd on that die its a but? just floating ideas here.
That is the game I want to play. This is not that game. I wish you luck with the game. Its yours, I hope you can find an audience for it.
First of all, I thank you A LOT for the feedback
Point 1: you mentioned soduko and math, maybe this is my weakness. Because I think, there is only very little math. Maybe this video would clear it up.
This is a preview page and has videos in it. When you level up, there is very little math that you have to do.
- Add 3 points in skills (keep in mind that the limit is 2x the level for each skill)
- Add 2 in one attribute or just 1 in all 3.
- Pick an Affix for your medium that has only 1 number. Add that to your stats.
Now you are done with the math.
Point 2: More stories (even in the demo). That is really useful feedback, because it is true and we knew it. Hence we are working on it, it just takes time and effort to have good stories.
Point 3: You mentioned that choices are illusions. Hmm... I will try to rephrases all the choices.
Picking stats (numbers increasing), I would NOT count that as choice. So level up increasing attributes, skills etc. are not in my consideration as choices.
Choice 1: The Zodiac
Choice 2: The mediums build (Building your medium to be unique)
Choice 3: Pica combinations of abilities set (this is grant through 2 spirits)
Choice 4 (minor): The extra finishing touch for your build by picking Traits /feast
Choice 5: The enchainment that would change your combat style. Go life steal with a shield? Go berseker with a wand? Go support with a daggger? Sure!
Choice 6 (most important one): The choices in combats. You can build a tanky Archer with the choices: Should I stay away and do some damage? Or should I run in to tank? If so when and how?
again, thanks for the feedback