PRESENTATION & LAYOUT
The PDF itself is 89 pages laid out in a single column. The fonts are
readable with color being used for section titles. Colored text boxes
are used to highlight rules options and notes. It is serviceable and
readable, with nothing especially artistic or beautiful about it. The
artwork is primarily clip art and thus not much to look at. It
includes a brief index.
The game describes itself as being best for modern or future
campaigns, of relatively short duration. As longer campaigns will
result in the character's breaking the system by becoming too
The game itself is based around a trait description ladder, modified
by a roll of D4-D4. In this it is reminiscent of FUDGE. The basic
system itself is solid and workable, and easy to use. You modify your
character's trait rating up or down a number of steps on the trait
rating ladder (listed on the character sheet) based on the roll of the
D4-D4. So if the roll of the D4 is +2, I would adjust my trait rating
up two rungs on the trait description ladder, say from Fair to Good,
this result then becomes my performance rating. So I would have
achieved a good performance on my action. I would compare this to the
difficulty rating of the act to determine if I succeed. If I only
needed an ordinary result, my good performance would result in
success, for instance. The bulk of the game is simply elaborations on
this basic mechanic.
Character creation is fairly detailed, but light on number crunching,
requiring you to consider elements of your character's background,
figuring the details of his appearance and considering his personality
elements. These personality elements include philosophy, demeanor,
habits & mannerisms, likes, dislikes, and ambitions. The bulk of the
rather light crunch is in defining your character's Traits. Traits
includes common character skills as well as attribute like qualities,
such as agility, as well as some advantages such as absolute
direction. If a character doesn't define one of his assumed qualities
then it takes a rating of ordinary. That is, you only consider
attribute like qualities when they are extraordinary, bad or good, in
Traits are of one of three types, anyone traits, specialist traits,
and bad stuff. Anyone traits are traits that anyone is capable of
performing, jumping or running for instance, these default to
ordinary. Specialist traits are traits in which you must have some
training in order to perform, Karate or Brain Surgery for instance.
Bad stuff are traits that hinder your character in some manner.
You receive 20 levels (Depending on power level) to spend on your
character's traits, raising them up from ordinary for anyone traits,
or buying them at ordinary for specialist traits. You can take up to 5
levels of Bad Stuff, gaining you that many extra levels to spend on
your other abilities. Bad Stuff here covers the typical disadvantages
you find in most systems.
The combat rules are serviceable and workmanlike. D4-D4 is out of step
with most RPG rules in that it discusses the psychological trauma
associated with killing another human being. It provides rules for
requiring a trait test by your character to actively try to kill
another character in combat. Again, something that isn't discussed in
most RPG's. The author even takes time to point out that detailed
weapon stats and rules are not included with instead the focus of
combat supposed to be on the effects of combat on the character,
Combat itself is a series of trait tests pitting your weapon skill
against the opponents Dodge (Speed) or Parry score. Damage is of one
of two types, stab or bash. With Stab being the more deadly and harder
to heal. It should be noted that the rules don't include a death
spiral, penalties for injuries are not suffered till after combat has
ended. The character must only avoid incapacitation, being knocked
down and knocked out, during combat without having to suffer penalties
for injury received. Shock and survival is determined after combat has
ended by making a test against a difficulty based on the level of
wounds suffered during the combat.
The combat system doesn't go into great detail with regards to
maneuver or tactics, movement and facing and such being handled
abstractly and represented by applying a penalty to an attacker's
trait test to hit in combat where appropriate, as determined by the
GM. There are no detailed rules for firing automatic weapons,
explosives, or fully automatic shotguns. It is a simple, lite combat
system for those more interested in narrative than crunch.
This chapter provides an interesting and conversational discussion of issues of game style. It also discusses finding a gaming group and keeping one. Readers will also find references to several gamerisms, such as Cat Piss Men. Internet gaming is also discussed, a task that D4-D4 is well suited for.
This chapter provides a brief discussion of the elements of games that
engage players, and how to provide those to the players as the GM. It
also discusses issues of character gain and character death.
This chapter also issues some tongue-in-cheek advice to provide a
sometimes good, sometimes bad gaming experience to keep players
involved. Pointing out the infrequent reward as keeping players
addicted, much like gambling.
To summarize, D4-D4 is good. It is a solid and workmanlike system
based around a descriptive and narrative style of mechanics. Players
looking for crunch and detail will be disappointed, but those wanting
a simple system to run a game with will find themselves quite pleased.
LIKED: Easy to understand text. Quick and easy to understand Mechanics. Interesting character creation options
DISLIKED: System is rather light on detail, with little crunch. Guns & other weapons are are given little detail, and thus any gun is much like another.
QUALITY: Very Good
VALUE: Very Satisfied
[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]