George's review of Elthos

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George's review of Elthos

Postby George on Sun Nov 15, 2009 1:13 pm

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.
George
 
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Re: George's review of Elthos

Postby vbwyrde on Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:57 pm

Thanks George! Much obliged for the comments!

I think that's a very interesting suggestion about a points build option for characters in terms of skills aquisition, as opposed to the Guild Classes method. The way I have it now there is a Freeman option, which allows you to spend your Skill Learning Points any way you want, at a double monetary cost, and an Experience base which is a little higher than for Fighter class. I think this might balance the flexibility of having a non-class (Freeman) character with a limitation that to my mind makes sense, at least so far as having a Guild that teaches adventuring skills is concerned. The Classes are really intended to do a couple of things for the Guild. One is to provide specific training courses that classes can learn so that the characters don't get too splayed out with unassociated skills. It also provides a structure for character development that has some benefits. Another thing that it does is allow the Guild to organize groups by classes. The Guild has formulated a variety of Party Types, based on their experiences over time. There's the Standard Adventure Party of 8, 10 and 12 (small, medium and large), which contain a specific number of fighters, spell chanters, clerics and thieves. Exploration and dungeoneering parties are usually standard formation. However, special Guild Missions can require other configurations, such as the Scouting Squad, the Storm Team, and so on. So the Class structures help the Guild to keep track of how many people they have available so that they can organize them into teams for specific missions. In Elthos the Guild takes an active role (usually) in the organization of adventures because they're in the business of exploring and charting the world, much like the Royal Society of Britain. Anyway that's the concept.

That said, I'd definitely be interested in discussing options and exploring alternative Class / Skills development ideas!

Now that I've looked at some of the other "rules light" systems I agree. Elthos is probably more accurately defined as mid-weight. :)

Thanks again George for the review, and more importantly for helping me game test. It's been a lot of fun!

:)
Mark
* Aspire to Inspire *

Literary Role Playing Game Society of Westchester: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/LRPGSW

Elthos RPG Website: http://www.elthos.com

Elthos RPG Blog: http://ElthosRPG.blogspot.com
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Re: George's review of Elthos

Postby laurading on Sat Aug 13, 2011 7:43 pm

Thanks George! It is so wonderful and I will use the information in my life.
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