Well, I have played several sessions with Mark in the Elthos game system/world. Thanks Mark, for letting me help play test your game.
I should have posted this a month ago, but havent had the time. So, I will at least give some of my thoughts here now. More to come later. Sorry for the delay Mark!
First off, I have to say that I was very impressed by the game. In the past when I have come across somebody with "their home-made game" that has usually translated (roughly) as "that which is utter crap, and a waste of time". Elthos does not fall into this description thoughm, if you can see "the big picture" of what this system intends to be. After hearing Mark talk about the game, and actually playing it, I have come to understand it and take it for what it is. That is, a game intended to facilitate a quick moving game with a rule system that doesnt take over the game and bog down the purpose (story and RP). It seems to me that this system does in fact challenge DM's to do alot of their own creating. I think that alot of the other complaints I have read, about it being non-descriptive are intentional. The purpose is the system allowing a creative DM to focus on world building, story, and RP rather than rules, feats, and so on. This would not be a game for "lazy" DM's or players who are looking for guidebooks and handbooks to tell them what to do, how to play/build their characters, or what the world they play in is like. So, at least in my mind, the game accomplishes what it sets out to do.
It is a system that Mark and I have used in group combat as well, and the combat was fast paced, tactical, and engaging. We have just begun to work with the magic system so I wont say too much about that right now.
Is it perfect? No, but I dont think Mark claims it to be. He has said several times that it is a work in progress, which is an important thing to remember. If anything, I think his knowledge of the imperfect nature of the game is evident in the fact that he includes numerous optional rules for almost everything. One aspect of the game where I disagreed with the main rule (initiative) has several satisfying options. Also, I would like to suggest that in place of character classes possibly using a point based open character build. This would maybe do away with criticisms of the usual fare of fighters, clerics, and so on. Also, I think that the open nature of this system would make sense with an open character build. This would really allow players to truly make the character they want. (would you be interested in discussing this Mark?)
One comment in particular that I have read made by others I do agree with however. I would not consider this "rules light", its "rules moderate (medium)". However, in the games that I played, it plays as if it is rules light. The combat was very quickly determined, which allows the game to get back to where it belongs which is the story. Is hybrid the right word here? Comments on that?
Overall, I really like the system and would recommend it to people who want an informal rule system to help them facilitate a game that is focused on story, RP, and world-building.
Keep working Mark, your doing a good job.