This is a delightful game! I've been running twice to thrice a month short (2 hour) sessions for 3½ months, my players' have hit 4th level, and we're having a wonderfully silly time. The game plays fast, plays well, and while tilted in players' favor, isn't obviously so.
The rulebook tone is fairly neutral, but will easily support both serious and humorous playstyles. Now, to be blunt, this is based upon a board game, and embraces the setting therein by making the map a direct morph from the boardgame. It's also a game related to Warhammer, so weapons are very samey... but that's not unrealistic. Yes, it's based upon Talisman: The Magical Quest Game. Don't let that make you turn away, tho', for it's a solid RPG where NPCs have Strength, Crafter, lifepoints, a Threat score, and some special abilities. The ebook is very pretty; there is some errata, but overall it's well written and fairly clear, with great and evocative art.
Key points about the system:
- D6 only - but you need either two sizes or two colors.
- Skill & Attribute driven mechanics
- Player Facing Mechanics - players make almost all the rolls
- 7 Ancestries (species), 3 backgrounds each
- 10 classes, each providing skills and abilitiees
- Robust NPC rules
- Simple enough for Theater of the Mind combat, but supports gridded play as well.
- Pretty good bestiary.
- Tone and art can support a range of tone
- Metacurrency: Fate Points. Used for rerolls and/or triggering special abilities, adding an extra die rolled, improving success to Great (but not exceptional)
- Weapons list simple
- As with Warhammer games, most weapons are pretty generic.
- a significant number of magic items, most with good and bad points.
The core mechanic is a 3d6 roll, using one of them being different in color or size, being called the kismet die. The fate die showing 6 gets you a bonus, showing a 1 a side effect or complication. You get to modify the roll by an aspect (comparable to attributes in other games) if you are skilled. The sum of the 3 dice (plus aspect if skilled, and situational modifiers, if any) is compared to the target number, for equal or greater than it. Quaflity of success is by tuples: a matched pair in the roll is a Great Success, and triple is an Extraordinary Success.
In combat, the quality of success matters heavily. Players go in any desired order, picking their opponents. If that opponent can attack back, they do so, and so the player's attack resolves the turn for both. Opponents who were not attacked go at end of round. NPCs don't roll to hit. If they're attacked, the player's success level on attacking determines if the NPC hits. If the NPC wasn't attacked, the player rolls a defense. This lends itself really well to Theater of the Mind play, while not being a problem at all for gridded play. (I've used both with no issues.) If the player fails, they take full damage; a simple success, they do full and take half; Great Success is take none and do full, and Exceptional Success is as Great, but with a bonus.
The various special abilities have 5 kinds of triggers... kismet die shows a 6, kismet die shows a 1, spend a fate point, always on, or a specific condition thematic for the ability.
Advantage: spending fate, having certain special abilities, or particular circumstances can grant a 4th die... the kismet die and 2 of the 3 others are read, player's choice. Sometimes, it's the highest, sometimes, it's the one that gives a tuple so that one can claim a better success.
Note that the key element of NPC's is the threat rating; that's essentially the target to hit them and the difficulty of avoiding their attacks; this makes adding new ones pretty straight forward. Pick a strength, a craft, a life point total, and a threat around 10+Strength or 10+Craft, and add some special abiliteies.
The rules provide robust handling for, and a long list of, NPCs as followers and as stangers.
There are a good number of magic items, many of which are taken from the board game. The spells, likewise, will be familiar to the players of the board game.
Advancement is actually a bit quicker than I expected, with our two hour sessions generating 2-4 XP, and the few 4 hour ones being 4-7 XP. Leveling up costs 6+current level XP be spent. Extra XP can be spent on followers. Treat your followers well, or they can and will go away. They also get XP for coming into use in the session.
My group opted for silly; I could easily run this on serious fantasy mode, but if youo want to slow down just adjust the needed XP.
Bottom Line: Solid game, fun take on the setting, well executed.
[5 of 5 Stars!]