Wow, I am pretty disappointed in this product. I'm a fan of Generic/Universal RPG's but this one is not universal enough, more on that later.
So, intro chapter describes main feature of system is the semi-random character generation, noting the use of random results in character creation. The system features a lifepath type character creation with random roll options, much like Interlok and similar systems. Though their Background Professions are closer to WFRP's careers.
The author's also make a point about not using random rolls for damage in combat, relying on hit quality for damage determination. Which is kind of a heartbreaker thing to point out.
Though the back cover blurb implies multi-genre support. The core rulebook is bare bones character creation & combat, with expansions to provide toolkitting and how-tos. The core rules provide a no-magic medieval setting and information.
Ok, so on to character creation, very detailed 15 step character creation. First you determine your parentage, which sets your social class primarily. You then roll 3d6 to get the base points you spend betwen the 3 primary aspects, Body, Mind soul, and then multiplies those by four to set your attributes, 4 per aspect, 12 total. They range from 1-10, with 4-5 average. Then you have some additional randomized details, beauty, wealth luck, etc.
Then you determine some stat based effects, damage bonus, etc. You have a chance for life events. Then you roll on a senses table where you can end up with 'RIPPING" (which is really good, lolwut.) sight/hearing etc, or be deaf/blind, .
You then calculate your combat actions (step 7) (perception+agility+conviction)/4 (lots of divide by 4's from average in this system. You also determine feet per action, by divind speed score by 2. (Lots of little calculations.)
Step 8, you pick gender height, weight and handness, with a chance to be amidextrous. Your character starts at age 14, (you progress through your childhood period and profession year by year to accumulate skills, etc.)
You then have some more stat determinations, including your hitpoints, The system uses a 10 hit location deal with hps/per area based on total of stamina x4, you also have armor by location (more on the armor system later). YOu also determine your reality check, which is like sanity or something. After those detours (Seriously, all these characteristic derivations can wait till later, the meat is the lifepath & skill choicing),
You go back to picking your skills, with a total number of years (and effectively skill points) based your Int and Conviction. Then you choose a name, determine wealth, and buy stuff.
So, the character creation could definitely be arranged better, with more emphasis on attributes and choosing your backgrounds/skills. Then worry about figuring up derived characteristics. Seems a bit scattered and confusing huh? Next is the background chapter, with requirements, apprenticeship time, and available skills, you get 1 per year. This is a lot like BRP/Legend's character design. These are set in the sample game world/campaign. Some of the careers require minimum terms, some require payment of dues/guild fees. No dying during character creation though (go Traveller).
Book features 11 backgrounds, Noble, Knight, Merchant, Scholar/Pirest, Craftsman, Healer, Woodsman/Hunstman, Fighter, Minstrel, Thief and Peasant. You then have about 50 or so skills, suitable to a mediveal background. (A bit of info/guidlines on making your own backgrounds/skill lists would make the base book more useful, with the presented info as an example, it's supposed to be multi-genre.) Each scale has an bonus based on its governing attributes, plus your levels in the skills. (here's where our problem starts, not much info is given on how good your skill levels are, they tend to range between 2-5 for starting characters, with only a point or two bonus from stats.)
OK, after character creation we finally get to General and GM rules. How do you do stuff in the game? There was no handy summary in the intro, so you have to ferret out the info. Now, here comes a MAJOR problem witht he game. Ok so we got, characteristic checks, perception checks. Skill checks. Ok, Characteristic checks are roll your stat or under, on a d12... Ok, that's kind of unusual, they didn't mention D12 being important in intro. Percpetion is less than or equal to Score + sense mod on D12. Hmm, average characteristic is around 5 or so, hmm, not great chance of success. OK, so skills are roll less than or under your skill rating on a d20... WAIT WHAT?
That's right, Skill checks use a different die for some reason, Considering skills are only around 3-5 or so, that's WHIFFTASTIC, 25% or less chance of success. And a different die type for no good reason. Seriously, that is like 80s RPG design. Why are you not using a unified reasolution mechanic?!?!? So major minus there.
Ok, we have a section on XP, you can advance your skills and stats. (Your gonna need to!) BUt your limited to one at a time, and there's not information on how much xp GM shoudl award, but it seems expensive. Oh wait, its later on in the chapter, isntead of with the spending xp rules.
Then there is some optional rules, with contacts, and more family details, an optional alingment system from D&D. Or there is a morality and virtue spectrum system, seems pretty unnecessary. Then there are some alternative character generation techniques and some other miscellaneous rules damaging objects, etc., but only after the alternative character generation stuff.
Ok, we come to combat. So some rules for suprise, some rules for initiative and number of combat actions. Ok, then we get to Offensive and Defensive actions. Ok, to hit in combat, you roll D12 and add your character's agility bonus and weapon skill and other modifiers. So ok, natural 1 is auto miss, but not fumble. WAIT WHAT, combat is add mods and roll high, so that's what, THREE different resolution methods? Ok, a bunch more rules and modifiers. Damage is by success margin up to the weaps max damage, so like that cuts down on rolling like in other games. Umm, ok.
Oh yeah, Armor has an Absorption rate, and a Damage Capacity. It's ablative so you have to keep track of damage to your character, and your armor. That's a pain.
Ok, then we got the medicine and healing rules. So some healing rules, Some scarring rules, and what's this stun/system shock. Hmm, that seems pretty important as an effect of damage, that should be in the combat chapter or before the healing rules, Oh, some bleeding rules, and losing a limb, and character unconsciousness and character death rules. Hmm, why aren't these rules at the beginning of the chapter, instead of a bunch of healing rules first. Ok, that was painful.
Then we got a sample adventure, and some monster stats, and some sample characters. Then a glossary and index, and adverts for upcoming expansions.
Ok, so lets review, We have a nominally Multi-genre system that doesn't include much discussion of using it in multiple genres, it has a default fantasy setting (with no magic system) included and that's it. I am dissapoint.
Next, the rules could use better organization, and the really big one, why the hell aren't the action resolution rules unified! Seriously, D12 roll under for attribute checks, D20 roll under for Skills (Whiff whiff whiff!), and D12+skill and mods roll high for Hit/defense rolls. THis isn't the 80s, use a unified resolution mechanic for gods sake, and explain the basics in the intro so, so we can learn to play your game faster. How about going all D12+adds roll high (or better yet ditch the odd D12 for 2d6 or something.)
The Ablative armor is kind of a pain but workable. Speaking of organization, how about putting all the damage effects together and summarizing them again, seriously.
So want to make me, and your potential customers happy? Unify your resolution mechanic, better organize your rules, include some Scifi and modern setting stuff (we can wait for a separate magic book), but throw us a bone. Include more information on making your own backgrounds, and designing your own game world, that's what Multi-genre systems are all about.
Until you come out with a nice revised, unified, expanded version, your getting a D-, see me after class.
[2 of 5 Stars!]