Barebones Fantasy is a really simple system for GMs, but it does not mean it lacks depth. There is crunch in what DwD Studios call the d00lite system.
The book comes in a whopping 84 pages, but it pretty much has everything you need to run a game.
The rules for magic impress me the most as it is always the stuff I hated to read because it can contain a lot of rules. This game manages to give you 17 spells, but still have variations for each spell without weighing me down with a lot of rules. It also gives rules for magic item creation and rune magic.
The Rune magic is pretty much you write a symbol but you have to decide what it takes to activate the magic. You can say the rune is activated by stepping on it like a landmine, or you can need to say a certain words or gestures.
This game has something close to levels and something close to classes. Classes and skills are the same thing in this system. For example the cleric skill lets you perform blessings, detect aura, smite a chosen enemy with a weapon, and perform miracles which are just spells.
Skills are based off of 4 abilities scores which are strength, dexterity, logic, and willpower. These abilities are rolled using 5 d10 and adding 30. Again, back to the cleric skill, the cleric skill is based off willpower/2 + 10 * level.
The skills and abilities are percentile base with the double zeroes being considered zero. When you roll equal to or under you skill you succeed, but if you roll any double numbers it is a critical. For example a skill of 45, rolling 00 to 45 is a success and the numbers 11, 22, 33, 00, and 44 would be a critical. A critical can mean double damage or ignore armor which is treated as damage reduction. Rolling above your skill would be a failure, and rolling a doubles are critical failures. For example the 45 skill again, rolling 46 to 99 are failures and the numbers 55, 66, 77, 88, and 99 are critical failures.
Certain skills can be done without training, but other skills need training. By having a rank level on a skill not only do you give yourself a bonus to that skill, but you are also trained in the skill. Train skills include cleric, enchanter, leader, scholar, and spell caster. Skills you can use without training, no need to put a rank on them, would be scout, warrior, and thief.
You choose at character creation you get a choice of 2 skill and you need to decide which one is a primary skill at 20 percent bonus and a secondary at 10 percent bonus and one rank to place in a skill which gives another 10 percent bonus per rank. So remember if you pick a skill like cleric to be a primary skill or secondary but don’t train/put a rank in it, you can’t use it.
Now for the DMs stuff. You have a list of 47 monsters to choose from, and if those monsters are not to your liking then you have 8 monster templates to alter into what you see fit. One of my pet peeves when preparing a level base game is finding the right creature to use or re-skin to throw at the party. This game makes it easy to make a monster, and I don’t have to slow down the creativity to look for the right creature.
There is an adventure and dungeon generator. You also have traps table, creature by rank table, treasure, and a rewards table. The rewards table is a different take on treasure for RPGs that I don’t see done a lot in a main rule book. The rewards can be anything from fame to blessings from gods.
Finally there is a map with brief description of Keranak Kingdoms along with a history and the gods.
I purchase this from Drive Thru RPG, and it came with the core rulebook and character sheet, a two page player’s reference which contains the skills and character creation summary, and the adventure Maidens of Mordoth all in PDF format. All PDFs come in printer friendly versions as well.
There is also a color map jpeg of the Keranak Kingdoms at 3300 x 2550, 96 dpi horizontal and vertical resolution, and a bit depth of 24. Oh, and the same map with hexes.
I think the main rulebook is supposed to printed in pocket size, but I had it printed in US legal size 8 and ½ by 11 inches paper, and the font looks very large.
There is not enough good things I can say about the game.
[5 of 5 Stars!]