What an intriguing game.
The campaign setting is almost but definitely not our own world so there's no chapter about the fantasy play environment. Instead, aside from a brief introduction, snippets of the world background find their way into the enjoyable writing style. If you remember Bloodshadows - this game will ring a few bells but it is its own game, not a knock-off and the player characters are all humans. A decision I applaud, for me, I either need the protagonist or the world to be identifiable, if both are alien, I'm lost.
Next is the rule system. For the most part it's a nicely realised interpretation of White Box or old-school play with subtle tweaks to make it stand out from the pack. Classes are brilliant - slender as befits an OSR game but packing some unique elements that create interesting and viable heroes with little effort on the part of the players or referee. Monsters are all re-written to fit the game's new world view, there's a lengthy beginning adventure - an essential addition for ALL new games (other writers, please take note). A very light skill system is included which dove-tails with a previous career ranking which doesn't feel tacked on but integral to the game; and occult magic sings.
The experience section seems out of place - you get experience points for killing things and looting their bodies and in VERY small quantities. The writer adds a sentence about awarding points for other things but there's nothing to support the idea and finally he adds words to the effect of "darn it, just give 'em the points you want to advance the game at rate that suits your play". Yeah... The report card would read "could try harder". This is an odd cop out. It doesn't seem the kind of game where loot and murder should advance characters and the alternatives are too wishy-washy.
For the most part the game flows beautifully, like a well-oiled machine. Until you hit the tail end of character generation and you have to choose your character's gear. Ouch. What a nightmare. Everything has to be accounted for in dollars and weight units. Everything (except kits which inexplicably have cost values but no weight). This just doesn't mesh with the rest of the game. It's agony to slog through page after page of spread sheet-like tables. Then you tot-up your weight carried which gives you your movement rate (there's no spot on the character sheet for that by the way).
One final gripe and it's really minor - characters are likely to speak lots of different languages. I find that a little unusual. Some might say - 'yeah but that's how original D&D played it' but it just doesn't sit well - I know people that struggle with one language let alone being fluent in 4 or more.
So, overall a game that is nothing short of brilliant. Not perfect but there's little that is. I'll need to write a workable experience system but that's a paragraph worth of work and sort out a less tedious method of equipping characters but that's it.
I spotted only a couple of typos - having a high Wisdom reduces your chance of saving versus magic and the d6 language table repeats the number 5.
I would score the game a "5" if experience and equipment had earned a little more love from the writer.
[4 of 5 Stars!]