Product- BareBones Fantasy
Producer- DwD Studios
Price- $10 Here as PDF
TL;DR- Rules lite, press your luck fun. 93%
Mechanics– BareBones Fantasy is a d100 extremely rules light RPG. Let’s give this system a full run down.
Character Creation– Each player has four stats: strength, dexterity, wisdom, and logic that range from 35 to 100. Players also choose a primary and a secondary class that ranges from clerics, fighters, scouts, wizards, thief or others. Each class has an associated stat that is equal to the base stat divided by two. You add extra to your primary class and a little less to your secondary classes as this represents some additional training of your character. In addition, each player adds extra to one class that is chosen as their first rank or level. Even if a player doesn’t choose fighter, scout, or thief, you calculate the scores for those classes as they serve as the default for several skills like attacking, perception, or stealth, respectively. Spell casters also get to choose spells. The system also has some built in role-playing mechanics with descriptors that provide opportunities for role-playing with experience benefits and moral code to help a player consider how their character would react in each different situation.
Dice Mechanics and Skills- This games dice mechanics is a mixture of push your luck and running a race by yourself. Each turn a player gets two free actions: a move and an action. The action ranges from looking for traps to attacking. To do any action, a player tries to roll under either the class skill or ability stat with a d100. While a character may get some penalties from attacking some enemies, the roll is largely dependent on the characters stats hence running a race against yourself. To move further than their normal movement, the character tried to roll under their dexterity score. To attack with a sword, a player rolls under their warrior-melee score. To defend against this attack, a character or monster would roll under their strength or dexterity score. The push your luck aspect comes from how many actions you want to perform each turn. After the first free action each turn, a character may perform as many actions as they want, but each action adds a -20% modifier to the characters score. Thus if a character had a warrior score of 70%, for first attack in the round, the player would need under a 70% to hit, the second, 50%, third, 30%, and fourth, 10%. This presents and interesting press your luck aspect of this RPG. Also, a factor to keep in mind, dodging is an action you talk off turn, so, if you want to dodge after that third attack from above, you would have a -60% to your skill since it would be your fourth action that turn! Does your character think they can kill that dragon this turn with that fourth attack, or, should that character just save up some actions to dodge? I love how this makes players think and choose! Additional, some other aspects cause penalties like cover or disadvantage conditions that halves the score you must roll under.
Damage and Armor- The system only uses D10’s. Weapon damage is all d10 based. Short bow? 2d10 +1. Longbow? 2d10 +3. The interesting aspect of this game is all weapons are useable by all classes, but if your strength is too low, you lose one of the d10’s with that weapon. For a longbow, if your strength is less than a 65, the longbow only does d10+3. On the other side of damage, armor doesn’t add to your defense value, it subtracts from damage. Also, since the system is largely classless, every character can wear all the armor types. An elf wizard can wear full plate armor, however, if a character does not have a high enough strength score, then that character can’t move as far and can’t cast spells. Man do I love more choice and freedom!
Spells-It wouldn’t be fantasy without spells. Clerics, wizards, and enchanters all get access to spells. A character gets to cast as many spells as they choose following the rules for attacks with increasing penalties for each spell cast after the first. Each rank in the spell casting class provides gives increasing penalties to defend against the spell.
My thoughts- I really like this system. It reminds me of old school DnD and Numenera. It’s more rules heavy then Numenera but extremely rules light. It takes 10 minutes to build a character even for four completely new players who have never even heard of the system before. The push your luck aspect of the game is something new in an RPG. I really enjoy the breath of fresh air that brings even at low levels. It’s not perfect as the class that does negotiations isn’t a base classes so technically no one can do diplomacy until they have at least one rank in that class. But the system is easy to play and easy to DM, perfect for a rules light RPG. 4.5/5
Theme- Its fantasy. The base book is pretty easy to read, and has a bit of story and world. I wouldn’t call it an epic setup for a world as its less than 10 pages, but I would put it above the Pathfinder base book. It gives you ideas how to play and set up your worlds. It does describe its own world, but that is a few pages. It’s an interesting world that gets fully fleshed out in the setting book for the system. 4.5/5
Execution-Let’s be honest, I bought this RPG for one reason-Its shaped like a comic book graphic novel. There, I said it. If you picked up the Rat Queens graphic novel and this book, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference. This system was designed to be rules light and weight light. Each book for this system is a quick, easy read that fits in standard comic book bag. I LOVE this. The outside of the book give this system an attraction that your standard Paizo/WotC books don’t have any more. Paizo/DnD hardcovers are not bad, but, they are something that every system copies. DwD Studios went a completely different direction and that really drew me in. Inside the book is well written, easy to skim, and well designed. If you get the PDF’s you get AWESOME character generation pages. You honestly DON’T need the book to make a standard character with the quick rules summaries you get. For a group starting out with one copy of the book, that’s wonderful and will encourage the group to play a lot and get more books. 5/5
Summary-If you want a really simple, rules light RPG that comes out of left field, you can’t go wrong with this one. As a GM, I loved running this. This system has few if any fiddly bits for an old school RPG. My players loved the quick nature of this game as well as pushing their luck to the very limit. In one game, I had a wizard try to cast a spell when she could only succeed on 9 or less. That is pure fun. The whole system’s cheap, and I met with the people who created the game. They are great, local guys who are making an excellent product. If you are looking for a quick game this weekend and want a new product to fill a void, give this a whirl. I’ve liked what I’ve seen and I can’t wait to see what’s next. 93%