TL/DR: Hippy love-child of OSR and PbtA game theories. Takes the deadly, simulationist aspects of OSR, as well as being somewhat compatible with OSR material (to some degree, tho not to my satisfaction, really). Marries that with the smooth, player-driven narrative and 2d6 mechanics of Apocalypse World Engine games.
- Very easy to memorize and implement game mechanics that allow a vast range of freedom for both the players and the GM while still retaining some semblance of simulationism reminiscent in old-school revival games.
- Flexible character creation that should not take a very long time but allows flexibility for players to emulate many different fantasy tropes or mash ups of different tropes.
- Conversion is pretty simple for OSR creature stats to VoD format. But not necessarily that easy for creatures with class levels.
- Things like money, economy, encumbrance, resources, and even equipment are somewhat abstracted to speed up play.
- At least moderately compatible with literally thousands of OSR adventures.
- System lends itself well for "Adhoc" sandbox GMing style where little to no prep can still mean a fun time and meanigful story progress.
- Conversion of characters or NPCs with class levels from OSR material significantly more work than the monsters without too much guidance in rules so far.
- Some things are glossed over while in reality can become sticky points in a simulationist style gameplay going for "harsh but fair" reality. These things can be proactively fixed by adding a little bit more details to the rules based on OSR examples.
- The "speed" or initiative system uses negative numbers, seems as if this should have been scaled outward to simplify it by only positive numbers.
- OSR magic items and spells will not directly translate over well to VoD, but they are so intrinsically important to the balance of a lot of OSR adventures, this will require the GM to prep more and either convert the spells and items ahead of time OR rework portions of the adventures that make use of them.
- While there's a pretty good amount of special abilities for characters presented in the core rules, this is one area that could easily be expanded upon and provide some "advanced" abilities that are unavailable until higher levels. As a result, characters using the core rules only for advancement will tend to have more options and become better at more variety of things rather than getting better and better at whatever their core concepts are about. What you'll end up with is a party of Jack of All Trades instead of a party of specialists, which could make it harder for the GM to spotlight certain PC's for certain things.
When I heard about this Kickstarter for Vagabonds of Dyfed I was elated AND saddened. I had already started my own attempt to write a PbtA / OSR style game compatible with OSR material but using PbtA mechanics! So yeah, someone else was already doing my thing. Which is cool, because it saved me from having to do the work, I guess, but kind of sad because I realized I'd never be able to get my rules out before Vagabonds landed. :) However, they had some really great ideas and things I hadn't thought of, so this along with my own conversion ideas has allowed me to finally have a set of OSR style rules that get rid of the d20 in favor of the 2d6 and most importantly requires no-rolling for the DM, other than for random tables and such (but not in combat, fortunately). I feel like Vagabonds of Dyfed is a good "first attempt" at what ultimately will be perhaps the best fantasy RPG rules I could imagine playing. There's a lot of rough that still needs some polish, but I expect that the community for this game will iron out most of that and maybe in a few years we'll have a Vagabonds 2.0 that will include everything I would ever want.
Until then, BUY THIS, by all means, this is a superb mix of fast and player-oriented indie-gaming Apocalypse World Engine style that can still make use of all of those wonderful toys you've collected in your OSR library. Vagabonds of Dyfed is highly recommended for anyone who likes OSR and also likes Dungeon World, Blades in the Dark, or things like that. Or for anyone, really, looking for a solid yet rules-light fantasy RPG rules.
[5 of 5 Stars!]