Mark’s Games Mastering style is amazing. The world is infinitely detailed and Mark must have tons of threads and events going on in his head that we never even approached. I especially like his NPCs; the characters that he creates feel like individuals with their own agendas and personalities. Each NPC is intriguing and entices the players to dig deeper into their past; even the animals (like Ember and Pepper) have personalities and are interesting! The down side to having so many different threads is that one is tempted to go explore all of them, therefore never finishing any given line, and it can be a little frustrating when you don’t get to get to the end of a situation. For example, when Juliet and the group were aphid sized, and hiding from the big battle above, the group came across this mysterious spider web with phrases woven into it and it was eluded that there were human souls trapped in the egg sacks. But because there was this exciting and dangerous battle going on at the same time, we were not given the time to fully explore what was going on in the spider den even though I really would have liked to learn. That being said- I feel that having too many details is better than not having enough.
I find the Tarot system very interesting, and I wish that we had used it more. There isn’t a strong mechanical system for using it (yet, anyway) the way it was used by Mark was phenomenal. The Death card very well may have killed Mr. Montague (an NPC that fell in love with one of the party members), and it was using the Death card reversed that allowed my character come back from death. It should be known that the Elthos Tarot deck is similar but not quite the same as a traditional Tarot deck, it has been customized for the Elthos world and a few cards deviate from the traditional deck.
The Elthos ODS rules are an interesting mix of complexity and simplicity. If one was to create a character without the web application, the process would most likely be confusing. But once the character is created, gameplay is very simple. Elthos ODS is like a boiled down and rationalized version of 1st edition Dungeons and Dragons. Most of the things that I don’t like about the rules are fundamental things about 1st ed. D&D that I don’t care for (I started playing D&D with 3.5, so to me 1st ed is weird and scary).
I love what Mark has done with the web app. He has come up with so many features for it. Primarily it’s for character creation. But you can use it to keep campaign notes organized or make new spells, and contains all the information that you need to play a game. I know there are other functions that I can’t remember. Mark has spent a lot of time on the app, making it easier and always adding more options, and while it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing application, it’s fast and easy to use.