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Questers of the Middle Realms

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Average Rating:3.9 / 5
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Questers of the Middle Realms
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Questers of the Middle Realms
Publisher: Silver Branch Games
by Edward J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2008 15:30:59

LOVE THIS!!!! For me, it reminds me of my favorite fantasy setting, Bill Wellingham's IRONWOOD (for THEATRIX)...and that is definitely a good thing. Tongue-in-cheek and adaptable for whatever style you'd rather have, this delivered in ways I didn't think possible when I purchased it. My only complaint is that it doesn't cover the different cultures in the setting as well as it could have done. I also would have liked to have seen a bit more character races offered right off the bat. Only a minor complaint, given the possibilities with QUESTERS and how you want to approach it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Questers of the Middle Realms
Publisher: Silver Branch Games
by Sophie L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/14/2007 00:00:00

This is a light-hearted take on "classic" fantasy adventure role-playing, though it can indeed be used for more serious fantasy. For those gamers who are used to very structured games and are at first disoriented by the basic PDQ system, QotMR offers a gently structures approach to ease into the Do It Yourself aesthetic.

The Setting section packs a surprising amount of information and helpful ideas in a short space. The various places, gods, organisations, creatures and people are sufficiently individual and detailed that they are easy to tell apart and remember, but not so much that they will discourage the players from reading background information.

The GM's advice section is also helpful ahnd to the point, and the book ends with the traditional "sample adventure", a mini-dungeon. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: Short and sweet, easy to read, well laid out, packs a lot of flavour and useful information in very little space. Excellent game to introduce new players to RPGs, including children.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Some of the stock art is a little weak.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Questers of the Middle Realms
Publisher: Silver Branch Games
by orion g. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/24/2007 00:00:00

Very cool game system, lots of fun for those looking for something quick and simple. The humor behind the game is one of it's best points (I especially like the races) but it still manages to keep itself from being just a parody product or a 'wacky' game. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: creativity, humor, magic system<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: light on examples. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Questers of the Middle Realms
Publisher: Silver Branch Games
by Robert D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/29/2006 00:00:00

So, I picked this up based off two things. First, I enjoy the PDQ system as something light, fast and playable, and second, because Chad Underkoffler had some nice things to say about it. Allin all, it was well worth the price of admission. It strikes a wonderful balance between making sure that play and setting grow around the players (rahter than leaving them as pure observers) without going intot he realmof GM-less play.

The humorous tone makes the setting a more enjoyable read, but honestly, while I think the system gives itself to slightly stylized play (with the assumed mode being a tongue in cheek nod to D&D) it woudl work just as well with something like Fahfrd and the Grey Mouser and other adventures on the urbane side of the Sword & Sorcery vein.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: The rules for handling gods are wonderful and easily stolen for other games. They assume an abundance of meddlesome deities, and it handles them in terms of their relationships to the players. The rules for organizations are also quite solid.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Honestly, the rules excited me far more than the setting. It's not that there's anything wrong with the setting - it's a fun read and an entertaining attempt at a world where Adventurer logic makes sense - but if I want a fantasy setting to do this in, I already have a LOT to choose from. Heck, if I wanted to really embrace the satire, I'd just bust out the Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk. Anyway, bottom line is that the non-setting material was so strong that I wish the ratio had been different.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Questers of the Middle Realms
Publisher: Silver Branch Games
by Edward P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/27/2006 00:00:00

Well written, amusing game with plenty to do. System seems to be suitably light to avoid getting in the way of the silliness. The setting is nicely developed, with some pleasantly original angles on the old favourites.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: Good writing and typesetting. The setting has lots of stuff to do. Also, features giant weasels :-)<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Aside from the cover, the art does leave a little to be desired.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Questers of the Middle Realms
Publisher: Silver Branch Games
by Andrew B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/23/2006 00:00:00

Questers of the Middle Realms is sort of a parody of the type of fantasy game typified by the original Dungeons & Dragons game. I say sort of a parody, because its not directly making fun of the game in any noticeable way. Rather, the game presents (with its tongue firmly in its cheek) a world where wildly different characters inexplicably join together to explore treasure-filled ruins?all the while trying to cope with a pantheon of mettlesome deities, hungry monsters, and devilish traps. Why are these men and women (and elves and dwarves) putting their lives on the line? Because they?re adventurers?er, I mean Questers, darn it! That?s what they do.

The setting, called the Middle Realms or just ?the Realms? (sound familiar?) is presented in a bare bones manner with notes on how to expand it to whatever level of detail suits your group. There are a number of sample cities, nations, and other potential adventure sites, each with a few paragraphs to describe them. Though certainly not serious, the default setting isn?t over-the-top silly either, and represents a fairly straightforward (if clich?d) fantasy RPG setting. The clich? is intentional, of course, and the Realms end up looking like something out of a 1976 hobby gamer?s campaign folder. There?s a land of ice and snow, a dwarven kingdom, a forest with a very hard to pronounce name (Yrisiriel Forest)?all the trappings of a world of sword and sorcery that is ready and able to provide adventure without really taking itself seriously.

One of the more innovative aspects of Questers is the built-in rules that allow characters to make the world up as they go along. For example, the Middle Realm is a land in which the gods take a very proactive role in the daily lives of their mortal subjects. Rather than give you a large list of gods, goddesses, and demigods, Questers encourages you to simply make up deities on the spot. Players who do so are rewarded mechanically, and the new god gets added to a list along with a modifier indicating his/her disposition towards the heroes. The GM is then encouraged to utilize this god in later adventurers. Over time, the players will cooperatively build a pantheon of gods to populate their campaign's cosmos.

The rules system, called Prose Descriptive Quality (or PDQ) is a very simple and flexible ruleset. Basically, a character is defined by a number of descriptive skills chosen during character creation. Unlike most RPGs, these skills aren't pulled from a list. Instead, a player just makes up his characters skills, based on his or her character concept. These skills can be as broad or narrow as the player and game master decide to make them, ranging from things like Ranged Weapons to Backgammon. PDQ seems like it would work very well in actual play, with players having a lot of control over what their characters can and can't do.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: Questers of the Middle Realms is a well-designed game, with a simple and elegant rules system. The design the world as you go approach built into the game is a neat innovation, and it fits the style and tone of the setting perfectly. The setting itself is intentionally and cleverly cliched, with a bare bones level of detail reminiscent of the original D&D campaign settings.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: I'm not really sure who this game is targeting and, to be honest, sometimes it feels like the game itself doesn't know either. It presents itself as a tongue-in-cheek ode to an OD&D style game set in a very Greyhawk / Forgotten Realms world. That's not a bad thing to be...but, I can't help but assume that people interested in that kind of game would probably be just as well served by playing OD&D in a homebrewed version of Greyhawk. In fact, I know at least a few who are.

The game isn't overtly silly enough to truly be called a parody of anything. Its streamlined rules don't really lend themselves to mock the goofy, sometimes convoluted game mechanics of the early RPGs. On the other hand, the setting isn't at all serious, leaving the true theme of Questers (at least to my reading) somewhat up in the air.

Its a good game, and a nice adaption of the PDQ system to a traditional RPG dungeon-crawl, but its only a little silly, a little over the top, and a little serious...a combination that ends up feeling a little flat in the end.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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Questers of the Middle Realms
Publisher: Silver Branch Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/15/2006 00:00:00

Median, the setting for Silver Branch Game???s Questers of the Middle Realms, is a pure role players setting, where the players literally make the world up as they go. The book provides enough details to get the players through (while mildly spoofing traditional fantasy) but leaves more than enough out to give players a home grown campaign setting. The whimsical setting is really complimented by the simplistic Prose Descriptive Qualities (PDQ) system, developed by Chad Underkoffler and licensed by Silver Branch Games.

The system utilized 2d6 for task resolutions. Characters are built by first defining the character through prose, and then picking qualities that fit the character. The more you adventure, the more qualities. This type of system needs a good group. By that, I mean you can???t play this system with rules lawyers and munchkins. The entire character is built using a point by system. There are no preset qualities. Characters can utilize any adjective they can think of to define as a quality. This often means the Dungeon Master having to insure that the player s qualities are neither too broad nor too narrow. The qualities then receive ranks. Afterwards, weaknesses and strengths are added. Again nothing is preset. The lack of preset attributes and qualities is fulfilling to the more role-playing oriented, but can be too vague and easily abused by the crunch lovers.

The layout of the book is somewhat confusing. Without bookmarked pages it makes for difficult navigation. This difficulty is ever more increased considering you are learning a new system. I do not find out how to make a character until a fifth of the way through the book, despite explaining how characters are in the PDQ system.

Once you make your way through the system, you are introduced to the flavorful races and setting of Median. Instead of your usual crunch stats, you will see races with traits such as sexless, tastes like chicken and uncouth. Test playing this system often reminded me of a pure roleplaying version of the card game Munchkin.

For the Dungeon Master

DMs know their groups better than anyone. IF you have a group that is craving for more role playing and wants a setting that caters to it, the PDQ system may fit you well. The fantasy world itself is quite traditional with your usual assortment of elves, dwarves and magic. There is a light hearted approach to the descriptions but nothing over the top.

There is enough here for a DM to get started. There are maps, NPCs and adventure suggestions. For the Player

This is a players gaming system. If you are bored with your current system and know that your fellow adventures are not enjoying being bogged down in numerous stats, purchase this for your DM.

The Iron Word

The layout is less than stellar and makes a simplistic system seem more complicated than it really is. But once you maneuver your way through the pages, you will find an interesting gaming system with a fun setting perfect for those seeking a more role playing oriented game. <br><br><b>LIKED</b>: I liked the simplistic way the system works. <br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Just didnt like the layout too mucjh.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the review, Nathan. You obviously found a lot to enjoy in the strengths of the game, which is heartening. It's unfortunate that the way the information is organised didn't work for you, but everyone's different and I guess that's bound to happen with some readers. It worked (after several revisions!) for the playtest/review group, and I don't think the term "atrocious" is warranted. I have to own up to the lack of bookmarks, though: both I and the computer were slightly unwell when I finished it, and I sort of thought I'd done it :| I'll add them in shortly.
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