Product– Insight RPG System Core Rulebook
System– Insight RPG
TL; DR-An interesting, simple universal RPG system that’s worth the intro price. 92 %
Basics– It’s time for an every system RPG! The insight RPG system is a universal RPG system that uses a d10 based mechanic for all its rolls. Let’s give this system a point by point break down.
Mechanics or Crunch– Like all good universal system RPGs this needs a few points for the mechanics. Let’s break this up.
Base mechanic- This system uses d10 for all its rolls. It’s an attribute and skill point system that plays a bit like a combination between the Synthicide RPG I reviewed last time and 4th edition Legend of the Five Rings. Basically, you are six different stats that are similar to the standard D&D array most roleplaying gamers are comfortable with. This determines the number of dice you roll. Then, you have skill ranks that you use to determine your success range. If you are untrained and the skill is something simple like dodge (the basic don’t-get-stabbed skill), then every dice you roll can only succeed on a 10. However, as you put points into the skill, the success range increases with two ranks meaning the success range is now a 8-10. If you roll a 1, it is a fumble and never good side effects can occur. So a person with four body control (think dexterity for D&D/Pathfinder) who is shooting a gun with four ranks in the skill will roll four dice and can succeed on a 7-10. Some skills are complex meaning they are a mixture of two skills. When that happens, on skill is instead added as a bonus to your dice pool instead of modifying the success range. It all works well and quickly after some adjustment.
Difficulty and Challenge rating-Insight builds on the base mechanic by adding two different side mechanics to the game. Difficulty modifies the success range in the opposite range of skill ranks. A difficulty 2 task with a character with four skill ranks would only succeed on a 9 or 10. Challenge is the number of successes needed for a task. Climbing an ice wall while being followed by a polar bear would be a challenge 3 task needing three success at whatever range and dice pool you have.
Combat-Like most RPGs, combat is a pretty central tenant of the game. What makes this game interesting is that two different mechanics are introduced for movement and range. One is a custom system that is a hybrid of theater of the mind miniature combat, while the other is a standard D&D/Pathfinder battle map mechanic. In the Insight system, players are different distances and these distances represent different areas of the map. A basics quick diagram of the combat would be a middle band of the combat area where melee combat happens with five different range bands extending on both sides of the melee middle ground. Both systems use an action point mechanics to determine how many actions you can do on your turn. Using a larger, heavy hitting weapon takes more action points to swing, while stabbing quickly with a small knife would be fewer points per attack. One final subject of combat is damage. Damage works by the attacker rolling his attack dice using the base mechanic of ability dice number and skill number determine success range while the defender rolls defense in exactly the same way with the defender subtracting successes from the attacker’s success total. If the attacker still has successes after defense, the number of attacker successes remaining is multiplied by the weapons damage value and the defender subtracts his/her armor value from this damage. Damage also affects specific areas of the body as a random dice roll is used to determine hit location. Each location can only take so much damage before the character begins to take penalties to attacks, defense, and skill values.
Magic- Insight is a universal system set up to run your steampunk game to your high fantasy, future magic system. Magic is a complex skill with a separate pool of points a player spends to cast spells similar to magic points from the Final Fantasy games. It’s also elemental based with different elements being separate skills and granting separate effects such as fire doing damage and spirit healing and summoning creatures. Like everything else, it’s well presented with examples.
Summary-Overall, I liked this system. I do have a few problems with it. First and foremost is the way skill dice work. It’s confusing to get a higher skill number but that lowers the acceptable dice values for a skill check. Now, if you can follow the basics and you play for over 30 minutes, you will be fine and completely understand how the game is played. But, it’s a little new user unfriendly. I do like the addition of the two ways to set up combat. I don’t think I’ll use the Insight introduced distance system at my table, but it’s a new, well designed system. In summary, Insight might not be a perfect system, but it’s got things that I love like variable actions per turn with action points and successes determining damage. It’s worth checking out if you get a chance. 4.25/5
Theme or Fluff- Full disclosure-I was not expecting any theme from the Insight RPG. Insight is a universal RPG, so most authors don’t put the time in to make a world for the players to destroy. However, the last chapter of the book is a fantasy world to play in as well as an adventure. It might not be your favorite world, but this book does have a setting as well as a quick adventure. There is even a map of the place! Well done! 4.5/5
Execution– This book has my new favorite execution mechanic-icons for important subsections. The book understands that the system might not be as simple as say Pathfinder/D&D to get on your first read through. However, the writers just put an icon next to an example to grab the reader’s eye. The book also does this for important rules, notes, and optional sections. It speeds up your reading and rereading when you can glance over a page and get the rules you need right away. Also, the book does a simple introduction before the first chapter. You get the game rules as an intro before the book even starts, and as a person who reads lots of RPGs, that really helps me know what I’m getting into. And, it’s a great reference for advanced players who need a quick start. There is even art from several different RPG styles and the world in the last chapter has a map that I never expected to see. From something I always complain about, the book has well done spacing, layout, tables, and font again making this a pleasure to read. 5/5
Summary– This is a well done system that has more in it than I expected going in. The system is pretty simple if you are accustomed to RPGs. If you are not, then the skill system might be a bit much for some intro players. That’s the only negative thing I can really say. It’s got a story to it that I didn’t expect to read, and the execution of the book makes it fun to read. Honestly the only thing I want from this RPG is more. And, NEVR has several extra PDF available to build on your favorite aspects of the system. You don’t get the custom, out of the box fit for a specific setting you would if you get a system specific RPG, but with a little work this RPG could easily be the campaign setting/system you’ve been searching for. 92%