Tabletop Review: The Godsfall Quick Start Rules (Free RPG Day 2014)

The Godsfall Quick Start Rules
Publisher: Godsfall RPG
Cost: FREE!
Page Count: 20
Release Date: 06/21/2014

As there will be only one copy of The Godsfall in each Free RPG Day 2014 box sent to stores partaking in the event, it will definitely be one of the hardest, and perhaps most sought after pieces this year. Stranger still is that The Godsfall makes its actual debut at today’s event so whoever picks this up will be amongst the lucky few to first experience the game. I’ll admit, I was a little because the first Kickstarter attempt for this game was unsuccessful. A morbid part of me wondering if the only release the game would ever see was the Free RPG Day 2014 piece, which was not only why this was the piece I wanted to pick up above all others (yes, even over Mage and Valiant Universe RPG), but also why I backed the second Kickstarter attempt. This one was successful, even though it raised less money than the first. It also brought in more than twice as many backers, helping to spread knowledge of the game. Although the actual core rulebook won’t be released until September at the earliest, this preview of the rules gives you a great example of what to expect in terms of mechanics, setting and art.

The concept behind The Godsfall is an interesting one. It’s a post-apocalyptic game, but it’s not one with future tech of any kind. In fact, the apocalypse occurs in the midst of what appears to be a regular high fantasy universe. A god literally fell from the sky wiping out a good deal of life in an event known as the Godscar. The setting, and the enclosed adventure begins many months after the event as civilization, and the many races that make it up, are trying to rebuild. It’s a whole world for the taking or saving, depending on your mindset.

The QSR comes with six pregenerated characters. There is no hint as to character creation but if you really want to make your own, full character creation rules for The Godsfall are online at the game’s official website. I will say I loved the character choices. You have an Elven Monk, a Machandrian (spider people!) Druid, a Tengu Courier, an Ogre Imperial Breaker, an Orcish Science Knight and my personal favorite, the Merman Necromancer. Holy crap these are some inventive classes and races. I pretty much fell in love with the merman at first site and the concept behind it just sealed the deal. It’s also interesting to see orcs in this game described as cerebral over physical. The website only gives hints as to the cultures and history of each race, so again, we will have to wait until September for a better look.

My only problem with the character sheets are that some aspects of them are never covered in the quick start rules, so you will be unsure how to properly play the game. For example an attribute might have the number 4, which according to the truncated rules, means you would roll four dice when using that stat. However sometimes an attribute will have 4(2) and there is no description in the QSR regarding the number in parentheses. You also might see something like 4+2 for a stat, or just 4+. Again there is no description about what this means or how it comes into play anywhere in the QSRs. So the rules aren’t very well defined in the QSR and some readers may have more questions than answers from reading this preview of The Godsfall. My advice is just to use the rules provided and anytime something comes up, discuss with your group of players and house rule it until the official canon rules come out. Like the QSR says, “It’s Just a Game, Fanboy: The G in RPG stands for Game. The point is to have fun. So if a rule doesn’t work for you, discard it. Change it. Come up with your own version. This isn’t The Rule-Following RPG … it’s The Godsfall RPG.” I love that, and like so much about The Godsfall, a frank commentary on the rules like that just has me all the more excited for the full release.

The rules that are in the QSR are pretty straight-forward. The entire game is played with only d6s, making it very simple for everyone to pick up. After all, if you’re new to RPGs, you almost certainly are lacking a set of polyhedral dice. Nearly everything on your character sheet corresponds to the d6s you must roll. Offense always beats defense in a tie and combat resolutions have each character roll the appropriate number of die and then compare the results. You take the highest die first and compare then. Offense gets a hit if it succeeds. Do the same for each pair of die until all hits have been counted up. The number of hits is the number of damage points you take to the appropriate function – Toughness for physical damage, Knowledge for mental damage and Sanity for spiritual damage. It’ll be interesting to see how people deal with the equivalent of three kinds of hit points to micromanage. It doesn’t definitely help the game stand out though.

The enclosed adventure is ten pages long and consists of a five day period where the PCs must track down the source of attacks upon the Mercenaries’ Guild and its caravans. The adventure is a bit of a tease as it ends on a cliffhanger and whoever is running the game won’t have enough to properly flesh out things any further, so if you really like what is in this Godsfall preview, you have a long five-six months ahead of you. Most of the adventure is exploring and talking. There are only two definite combat encounters and a third possible one if the PCs are extremely aggressive jerks. You do get a nice snapshot of what the world of The Godsfall is like, and it looks like the game is going to be a LOT of fun.

Again, there will only be a single copy of The Godsfall in each Free RPG Day 2014 box your local brick and mortar store gets, so there is a good chance you’ll miss out on this. It is, however, probably going to be well worth picking up the core rulebook if this SQR is any indication. I absolutely love the artwork, setting, races and style of the game and I know I’m counting the days until I get a copy of the final product in my hands. You’ve already missed out on the Kickstarter (twice), so definitely try to get this at your local participating store before they inevitably run out. This is a great little teaser for The Godsfall and I’m expecting it to be one of the better new games of 2014. The QSR isn’t perfect, but as the first release for a brand new system, this QSR does an excellent job of building anticipation for the real thing.

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