Being intended, at least in part, for newcomers to role-playing, the Introduction launches with the obligatory discussion of 'what is roleplaying?' - including that while the GM is not playing to 'win' he can consider himself a winner if the group has fun! It also has an overview of the book and details of what you need to play - chiefly, some people and a handful of d6s - no other dice are required.
The first part is titled For The Players, and dives straight in to how characters are created. To start with, each character has six characteristics - fighting, magic, strength, charisma, stealth and knowledge - each of which has a value between 0 and 10. Then comes the six main character types - warrior, magician, barbarian, priest, thief and sage - and each of these has a base set of characteristics and some other information, the special rules that apply to characters of that type. All characters also need a score in Health and in Mana, and a Defence Rating which has a base of 10 and increases if you have armour or a shield. Using characteristics in play is simple, when asked to make, for example, a Strength roll you just roll 2d6 and add your Strength characteristic to get a result, the higher the better, which is matched against a GM-set difficulty.
Next comes that all-important bit: how combat works. It's pretty simple. At the beginning of combat everyone involved rolls 2d6 to determine initiative, then the combat proceeds with everyone taking turns according to that order. Each turn you can do one thing, generally cast a spell, use an item, move or run away. If you choose to fight, then you roll against your opponent's Defence Rating (using your Fighting characteristic), and if you connect you do 1d6 damage, plus a modifier based on the weapon you're using. Nice and simple!
While a few weapons were listed under combat, a character is likely to pick up some other equipment as well and a selection is given next. Money is simple with gold, silver and copper coins being available. Encumbrance is handled very simply by adding the number of items carried (100 coins of any type count as an item) and comparing it to a number equal to 10 plus your Strength. Finally, the Player's section explains how characters can be improved during play. And that's it. Simple, straightforward and yet hangs together well.
So, on to the second section For the Gamesmaster. This starts off by explaining how to set difficulties for the players to roll against. Next, how to handle non-standard characters, if you choose to allow them at all, and thence on to a discussion of the way to deal with the common situations that are likely to occur during play. Things ranging from climbing walls and opening doors to bribery attempts and even eating and sleeping. After a brief note on experience, a number of fantasy monsters are introduced: after all, those characters do need some opposition! Dwarves and elves turn up here, the base assumption must be that all player-characters are going to be human but it wouldn't be too hard to make such other races available to the players if you so choose. Appropriately, after the monsters comes treasure. Loot available includes plenty of magic: scrolls, potions, and of course magical weapons and armour.
That's the rules done and dusted. Just about all the elements of a standard fantasy game reduced to utter simplicity - excellent for the stated intentions of an introduction to role-playing for beginners or a quick and easy game to be played by anyone who perhaps is short on time and just wants to get on with the game without having to spend ages on character generation or, once they've started play, with complex rules for doing things.
Two scenarios are also included. One, Min's Pearls, is intended to be played solo game-book style, and involves the recovery of some pearls stolen from a young lady called Min during a street robbery. It's a simple introdution to the rules, and about my only comment is that the PDF version could use hyperlinking to avoid an awful lot of scrolling back and forth on screen. For all that, there's a fair amount going on and plenty to do. The other adventure, Tomb of the Warlord, is designed for a GM and some players and concerns rumours of treasure to be found in some long-dead warlord's tomb. There's a nice clear map of the place and well-referenced descriptions of everything therein, with everything explained so that a novice GM should be able to cope. Again it is a neat and straightforward 'dungeon crawl' with plenty of opportunity for both combat and working out what to do, and even a bit of conversation - a good introduction to both this particular ruleset and to the concepts of role-playing in general. For those who want to jump straight in, some sample characters are provided; and there's a blank character sheet as well.
As an introduction to role-playing, this is unmatched as a simple yet playable ruleset clearly explained and well-demonstrated in the scenario provided - with my teacher head on, I'd use this if I could find a way to wangle role-playing into the college programme!
Return to QUERP Core Rules 2e page.
Reviewed: 26 April 2009