With any 'based on the novels of...' game, I always wonder if it is better to know and love the novels before diving into the game, or if you are risking disappointment should the game designers' view of the alternate reality you already are familiar with differs from yours. Should you not be familiar with Brandon Sanderson's work, this Primer opens with an overview of the setting and what is going on there. It doesn't sound, on the face of it, somewhere you'd want to visit - but picture postcard destinations don't generally make for the best adventure games, and this setting boasts plenty of opposition that's just crying out for a band of heroes to stand up and say, "No more!"
A new game mechanic has been devised for this game, and the next section provides an overview of how characters are generated and described within the game system. It's all based around the D6 - often, handfulls of them - with rolls to resolve actions being based on your character's abilities with the addition of extra dice for favourable circumstances or equipment (or the loss of some if things are really stacked against you), resulting in a roll of 2 to 10 D6s. The GM assigns the difficulty of the task you are trying to accomplish (between 1 and 5), and you compare your die rolls... set any 6s aside and look for any matches between the rest to get the result of your roll. The 6s can be used to modify this. It sounds a bit more complex than it is once you get the dice out and have a practice...
And practice you can, because as soon as the concise yet clear explanation is done, there's a mini-scenario to play through, along with four sample characters. Neatly, it's a prelude to the first adventure planned for the game proper, so if you enjoy it you'll be able to carry the story on once it comes out. The set up is straightforward, the characters are rogues - but with, we hope, their hearts in the right place - and are offered a chance to right a wrong or two, and earn themselves some cash in the process. Plenty of background and detail is packed in, so that those unfamiliar with the setting should have a chance to come to grips with those features that make the Mistborn setting unique and an exciting place in which to adventure; the GM should find what he needs here to make it all come alive.
As an introduction to a new game, it certainly grabs you and sweeps you up... I for one shall be looking forwards to the release of the full game (and to find out what happens next in an adventure that's already got me intrigued!).
Return to Mistborn Adventure Game Primer page.
Reviewed: 24 October 2011