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Vow of Honor RPG
Publisher: Sigil Stone Publishing
by Sophia B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/05/2015 09:10:32
http://dieheart.net/voh/

What do you need to know?

Vow of Honor (VoH) is a narrative indie game by Ben Dutter from Sigil Stone Publishing. It comes with a strong theme: you play arbiters from the Order of Fasann in a harsh fantasy world who travel from enclave to enclave to uphold the Tenets of Honor. The game was successfully kickstarted in 2014 as a digital-only product. Later on, the author provided coupons for print-on-demand-copies distributed by Onebookshelf.

I stumbled over the Kickstarter project last year when some of my G+ contacts recommended it to me. I must admit that it was a spontaneous buy-in because the author had a reasonable approach to crowdfunding, not because I was particularly sold on the game. Ben Dutter did a good job of explaining what VoH is about, already had some art pieces, a complete draft of the game and a playable Quickstart. I also liked that there were no unnecessary stretch goals which can easily torpedo a Kickstarter project. The PDF was USD $10 at that time, so I just took a leap of faith.

Please note: I have no affiliation with the author and I bought the game from my own Kickstarter budget/money. This is a “reading review”, I haven’t playtested VoH.

Setting

The game is set in Sasara, a fictional place on another planet, populated by descendants from Earth, the Forebears. It feels like a fictional Middle East/North Africa. The technology level is on par with the 15th century. Sasara is still wild, brutal and unexplored. People live scattered in isolated settlements and survival is their foremost priority. The player characters are assumed to be Arbiters in The Order of Fasann. It’s not a religious organization, but they are quite powerful. Whereas they do not govern the populace, they help to keep it safe and honorable which means that they are at least tolerated by most governments. The Order follows the Tenets of Honor: Compassion, Commitment, Purity, Righteousness, and Understanding. The book goes into detail what the Tenets mean and how to interpret them. They are strongly tied into the mechanics of the game. Enemies of the players might be the Adabhuta, some kind of evil furry demons who prey on humans and the Dishonorable, factions like criminal organizations or militants. Although there are some example settlements, the setting is still very broad strokes. The author does a good job on conveying general information and a feel for the setting, but specific details (for example with fleshed-out districts and maps) is missing.

Rules

Character Creation

The character creation process takes both fluff and crunch into consideration. First, there is the fluff. You’ll need to come up with a character concept: Who is your character? (How would enemies/friends/teachers describe you?) and What is your character’s role? (What is your role as an Arbiter, what is your skill set, your appearance etc.?). Next you’ll need to incorporate your character into the Order of Fasann. This includes your background (childhood) and your foreground (the immediate history leading up to the start of the game). Usually, Arbiters are recruited as teenagers but exceptions exist. The new recruit has to train for at least one year and you are encouraged to think about how your character’s training went. Now, we come to the crunch: there are eight Skills in VoH: Awareness, Coordination, Influence, Knowlege, Logic, Might, Resistance and Stealth. Skills are ranked as Poor, Average, Good or Exemplary (natural language, how nice!). The game uses a pool of six-sided dice for resolution. The rank of a Skill determines what number counts as a success. With a Poor Skills only the roll of a 6 is a success, Average Skills count 5s and 6s, with a Good Skills a 4 already does the job and Exemplary Skills allow you to tally up everything equal to or above 3. Skills can be bought as different arrays: Standard, Versatile, Focused and Specialist. For instance, the Focused character has 1 Exemplary, 2 Good, 3 Average, and 2 Poor Skills. Additionally, you are allowed to choose a talent. You can define this knack yourself, examples include Smooth Talker, Excellent Shot or Strong Climber. When your talent is applicable to a task you may add a +1D bonus. Arbiters must also choose two of the Tenets as Oathsworn Tenets. Mechanically, if you act in accordance to a Tenet, you’ll get additional Honor Dice (bonus dice) and when you act against these tenets, the penalties are respectively higher. Every Tenet also has a pair of Tenet Maneuvers and you are allowed to chose one of them for your starter character. Let’s say, one of your Oathsworn Tenets is Righteousness. Then you can select either

Each HD (Honor Dice) spent counts as an automatic success while rolling to act Righteously. or

You are immune to fear, and allies in your presence gain +1AD (Advantage Dice) to resist fear. As you can see, the theme of the game is deeply ingrained to the mechanics and into character creation. Tenets can also be Stained. That’s when you violate a Tenet three ties before you act in accordance with it. Interestingly, the Game Master is encouraged to mirror Stained Tenets in the game world. It’s recommended to start with one Stained Tenet, so your character has the chance to go on a quest of redemption. Mechanically, acting in accordance or violating a Stained Tenet has no repercussions and no benefits, other than a normal Tenet. Yet the default rules assume that you can’t advance your character if she has a Stained Tenet. There is an optional rule which allows it if you’d like your game to assume that PCs have to act a bit dishonorably in your setting.

All in all, I like how character creation asks you to come up with a bit of background story and personality (fluff) but also is tied into mechanics (crunch). While it might take a while to come up with good ideas for flavor, the basic mechanics are easy to grasp and shouldn’t delay you too much from beginning play.

Game mechanics

Resolution is divided into Tasks, Enemies or Scenes. Tasks are difficult actions, Enemies are opponents that act like Tasks and Scenes are multiple Tasks and Enemies. The Game Master never rolls, only the players do. For every roll, you need to pick an applicable Skills. This tells you your success threshold. You get one free Base Die (BD). Remember, the game only uses “normal” six-siders. If circumstances are favorable, you may add up to 3 Advantage Dice (AD). Additionally, you may select up to 5 Honor Dice (HD) from your pool. Your pool builds itself from your Honorable or Dishonorable actions (in regards to the Tenets). At the end of each scene, you tally up your actions and may gain or lose HD. Luckily, the book explains how that works in detail. There are also some bells and whistles about sacrifice, forsaking a Tenet etc.

So, your dice pool looks like this:

1 BD + (max. 5) HD + (max. 3) AD vs. Difficulty The Difficulty is between 1 and 5. That’s the number of successes you need to overcome a challenge. Moreover, there are Short Tasks (one-time actions) or Long Tasks (tasks which require time and multiple rolls). Long Tasks are just “rolled down”, so you tally up your success until the Difficulty is reduced to zero. But they can also have a Threshold. That’s the number of successes you need to roll before the Difficulty decreases. Scenes and Enemies are just extensions of the base mechanic. Scenes merely sum up the Scene’s Tasks and Enemies into a single Scene Difficulty. You can already see here that the game is fairly abstract because everything can be shoehorned into one of the three resolution types.

Naturally, characters will suffer if they fail a Task. If you roll successes lower than the Difficulty on Short Tasks you get an Injury or Consequence. If you ever roll zero successes (Short or Long Task), you definitely get one of those. The Severity equals the Difficulty and if you suffer Injuries of 5 or more, you’re Defeated.

A Consequence is a narrative detail that either result in the opposite of what you wanted to happen, forces you to roll a Task with a different skill or places some negative effect on your character. The Consequences are scaled in Severity (1-5). However, they are normally removed after a Scene ends. This system allows some kind of partial success mechanic. The book gives the following example: you fail to leap over a chasm, so the GM decides that while the character clears the chasm, rocks fall and when allies attempt the same task, it will have +1 Difficulty. Injuries add at least +1 Threshold to any Task that would be logically hindered. If you’ve got a sprained ankle it will be harder for you to move fast or jump around (Coordination Tasks). Healing is done with a Knowledge Task based on the Severity of the Injury. The author also included rules for sickness and fear. Enemies are like Tasks, they have a Difficulty Rating, a Severity Rating, and a Threshold. You attack against the Difficulty and defend against the Severity. Initiative is a Task roll with Awareness, Coordination or Might. Success count, Enemies count their Difficulty. Movement is abstract and the GM judges if you can attack or if you’re too far away. If it’s reasonable you can move, draw a weapon an attack on the same turn. Time is also abstract, you can zoom in on the action or group actions together.

Game Mastering

The advice for GMs is very good. The author took a book out of my favorite indie games (“fail forward”) and blogs, for example The Alexandrian. He does a god job of explaining the job of the GM in this ruleset and also how to prep a game, how to handle Honor Dice, setting Difficulties, more on Thresholds or how to handle Scenes. There is advice on how to drive action and on how to create interesting settlements and situations. Additionally, there is guidance on how to create NPCs. The method includes a Who and What (like in character creation) and an Approach (how the NPC interacts with the players). Another chapter is dedicated to Factions. These organizations are build like NPCs and mechanically they work the same. This can get interesting if the players want a Faction to act: it can use its Skills and Talents to change a situation. I like the mechanical aspect of this because most games just handle factions narratively and the GM has to decide herself how things work out. What’s more, Factions can either follow the Tenets of Honor and have Honor Dice (HD) or they might have their own motivation which grants themMotivation Dice (MD). The content in the GM chapter is pretty solid and should help a GM mitigate the subtleties of this game. The appendix has additional rules and setting information which flesh out the game world. They also provide some random tables and plot hooks for inspiration. Kickstarter backers at a higher level were allowed to contribute “Vignettes”, so there are some short stories, tales, ideas for Forebear artifacts, organizations, NPCs or articles about the lifestyle in Sasara. The appendix further contains the Quickstart rules which should be handy if you need to look something up.

From the players’ perspective

Character creation is fast and easy. Generally, the rules are accessible and simple to learn. The most interesting thing will be how to handle the Tenets of Honor, but that’s more of a problem for a GM. With choosing two Oathsworn Tenets and distributing Skill arrays plus narrative background information, there should be enough to distinguish characters. If players are interested in a game that ties morality into game mechanics, this should work out fine.

From the captain’s chair

The author does a superb job of explaining the rules. Basic stuff is laid out first, there are plenty examples and rules summaries. A new GM will find it a bit difficult to adjudicate the honorable or dishonorable actions and also how Consequences work. While the rules mechanics are clearly well-thought-out, there is a bit of a learning curve on how to decide what kind of Tasks are appropriate, how to handle Consequences and Effects and where Scenes and Factions come into play. The setting description is enough to evoke a certain feeling for the world and the appendix certainly helps, but there is still lots to do for the GM in order to come up with settlements etc. It would have been nice to have a ready-made adventure or a detailed settlement to start out in the core book. (If you’re interested, there is a patreon which provides supplements and adventures, USD $1 per creation.)

The game is mechanically tied deeply into the Tenets of Honor, so it’s not a universal game. Nevertheless, you could hack it to do different things. The author himself is running a Kickstarter for Hunt the Wicked, a space bounty hunter game based on the same rules engine. Like Dogs in the Vineyard (see below), this could also be re-skinned to play Star Wars Jedis (I think the patreon also has a Star Wars hack with serial numbers filed off). :-)

Look and Feel

The game comes at around 260 pages. The physical copy is digest-sized which makes for a nice compact book. (I have the softcover version.) The book uses a well-layed out design, pretty basic one-column-styled text but headers are differentiated and important rules mechanics are summarized in text boxes. This is especially neat, as it makes learning the game much easier. The art is sparse but very good. This is not a full color “art book” but a game book: mostly text, some illustrations, and boxed text. That’s why the price for full-color books hurts a bit. For me, the quantity of the artwork doesn’t justify having to pay the additional charge for full color. What I don’t like is that each page has a large border with a watermark illustration. Although it looks pretty it’s a lot of wasted space. The softcover version uses the normal OBS-paper which means that the colors are a bit muted.

The PDF is bookmarked sparingly and there is no index.

Furthermore, the .mobi version was quite useless for my Kindle Paperwhite. Unfortunately, it’s just a converted PDF to .mobi format which means that it also copies the complete layout. It doesn’t take advantage of the adjustable text options of an ebook and was pretty unreadable on my Kindle. Still, all things considered, VoH’s layout is adequately done.

Dogs in the Vineyard?

VoH feels similar to Vincent D. Baker’s Dogs in the Vineyard. In Dogs, you play a bunch of young Mormon troubleshooters who travel from community to community to enforce the judgments of the True Faith of the King of Life. It is also an indie game with some interesting mechanics which puts a focus on conflict resolution vs. task resolution. Dogs was published in 2004 and is obviously much older than VoH. The mechanics are also different, but I still feel a kinship between these games. Both feel pretty unique and have a strong central motif.

Summary

What do I like: The base mechanic is simple and easy to learn and looks pretty solid. There are some interesting wrinkles with choosing Skills, Oathsworn Tenets etc. I like how everything builds up from the same foundation: Tasks -> Enemies/Combat -> Scenes. The GM chapter is very good.

What would I’ve liked to see: The setting could have been (at least partly) more detailed, with an intro adventure, pregens and a setting with maps. I’m not too fond of the layout and, unfortunately, the .mobi version doesn’t offer any additional value. But all things considered, I’m positively surprised by the game. I’m still not interested that much in the theme and setting but VoH is a pretty nifty game and I’m definitely looking forward to Hunt the Wicked, as it’s more my style.

Some bullet points:

easy to learn, simple base mechanic with a d6 dice pool which “escalates” to more complicated resolutions strong emphasis on a central theme which is tied mechanically into the game “abstract” obstacle rules (Tasks, Scenes) well written (if broad strokes) setting which is strife with conflict a distinctive “indie”/narrative feel (handling the Tenets of Honor could be a bit more wishy-washy which could make the job for a GM slightly difficult) some learning curve for the GM on how to adjudicate the mechanical bits (the players’ part is pretty easy) rules are very well laid out with practical rules summaries in boxed text layout and design of the game are so-so: it looks nice but has too much white space and the ebook versions don’t work properly the price point for the digital versions is ok, not exactly cheap, but the print copies are a bit pricey (full-color)

I'm giving this 4.5 out of 5 stars.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vow of Honor RPG
Publisher: Sigil Stone Publishing
by Bruce B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/08/2015 13:34:09

Vow of Honor is a digest-sized roleplaying game, available from DriveThruRPG in hardcover and softcover print versions (usually $45 and $25, $40 and $20 as I write this) and PDF (usually $12, currently $10). It's written by Ben Dutter, edited by Joshua Yearsley, has layout and graphic design by Philip Gessert, and includes art by Markus Lovadina, Lee Che, Winston Lew, and Stephen Garrett Rusk. It's 260 pages long, with chapter-level bookmarks (and additional depth in the odds-and-ends material at the back).

This is a lovely game both physically and in its contents. It's gorgeous, with great page design, illustrations that are simple but rich and appealing in both black and white and color, beautiful typography, the whole deal. And it's another of those relatively rare games that's very strongly about people doing the right thing in the midst of difficult situations.

The Setting

The player characters in Vow of Honor are Arbiters, members of the Order of Fasann, an institution apart from any local government or other authority dedicated to applying its tenets of honor—compassion, commitment, purity, righteousness, and understanding—to help the people around them. They live on, or rather in, Sasara, which is...not exactly a world.

Vow of Honor is set in the distant future. Sasara is a manufactured place, built as the crowning glory of humanity's spacefaring days, now long passed. People live in Sasara's interior, where the horizon rises gently in the distance and the skies have constantly shifting, glowing clouds instead of sun or stars. The civilization of Sasara's builders has long since gone, and, as the game explains:

The majority of Sasarans live along the Spine; a strip of land roughly 2,000 kilometers wide, stretching away north to south. It is here where crops can grow and trees can be felled, and its climate is tranquil enough to be tolerable.

To the distant east and west lie the Void Lands. There, strange plants flourish, and glassy craters fill its fields and forests; twisted obelisks of unknown materials stand silent vigil, and evil energies and caustic gases fill the air. Brave explorers have attempted to conquer the Void Lands many times, but not one has succeeded.

In the nifty tradition of a bunch of good far-future settings, including Tekumel in the RPG world, the people of Sasara are on the far side of a whole lot of intermingling, and show it. They're pretty much all tan to dark-skinned, with dark hair and eyes, and no contemporary ethnicity has survived. (I do think the game misses an opportunity here to cultivate a wide-ranging diversity of uncommon appearances. Convergence of features does happen, but so does fresh radiation out into new combinations.)

Life is hard on Sasara for most people most of the time. It's simply not feasible to maintain a lot of industrialization—unlike some big artificial structures like the Ringworld or Rama, it has miles of earth and rock, but the mineral concentrations aren't there and the infrastructure that industry takes isn't there even if they were. So there's room for local innovation, but overall, life continues in seldom-changing broad strokes. People make the moral compromises and transgressions that survival on the margins requires, and there's seldom the physical, mental, or social free space in which to dream of things going better. The mysterious Forebears are long gone, strange things fill the world wherever people can't keep up a constant guard, and that's just how it is.

Into this situation comes the Order of Fasann, and the player characters.

The Order's members commit themselves to advancing the cause of Honor, defined with five tenets: commitment, compassion, purity (including freedom from physical, mental, and spiritual corruption, and seeking the best possible from oneself and others), righteousness (the pursuit of what is just, good, and noble), and understanding. The Order's many Enclaves train promising teens and young adults (and sometimes older people in the wake of life changes) to seek out and respond to Dishonor, the negation of these tenets, and to help the people and lands around them.

The Order's vision of Honor is all-encompassing: it's equally appropriate for Arbiters to deal with blighted, infertile farms and pastures, with monsters haunting ruins and roads people need to use, with civic corruption, and with family strife. Cruelty, infidelity to one's commitments, dishonesty, hate mongering, and ignorance are all aspects of Dishonor, all deserving of Arbiters' efforts to cure them.

There's a lot of supporting detail for all of this, which I'm eliding so that I don't end up just copying the whole game. It's kinda tempting, though: Vow of Honor is rich in well-chosen, useful details. Take the section on settlements:

A typical Sasaran settlement is extremely well fortified, well masoned, and very small. Sasara's violent weather precludes working with weak materials, and the bloodthirsty beasts and demons stalking its wilds ensure that any settlement intended to last will build a high and powerful wall.

Most Saharan cities are several days' journey away from one another, enabling them to pull upon large areas of wilderness and natural resources without starving or constantly going to war. Several settlements have grown into seats of power, defendable against any invader, surrounded by lush and fertile lands, with well-built walls and edifices.

However, many other towns and villages aren't so lucky. It isn't uncommon for you, as an Arbiter, to travel to a town you've known for several years to be prosperous, only to arrive and find it burnt to the ground, or destroyed under a new basin of water—or, worse, you discover that its population was forced into slavery, or savaged or eaten by adabhuta.

Well-established settlements and cities invariably have an Enclave. Many have a Church of Creation, a place of congregation for those who believe in the holy omnipotence of the Creators.

In a simple view, most Sasaran cities are similar to Earth's cities from the fourteenth to fifteenth century in southern and eastern Europe, northern Africa, the Indus River Valley, and the Middle East: their structures are built with stone, clay, brick, columns, tiles, and mosaics. Most are masterfully crafted, and some are accented with scavenged materials and technology from Forebear ruins. The wealthiest and most powerful Sasarans often build decadent and powerful castles and palaces, well stocked with the relics of the previous age.

Like I said: useful. In just a few paragraphs, we get historical references, a sense of stable norms and common kinds of threat to them, some ideas about what would constitute a bad situation that locals would like to fix, the whole deal. It goes like that throughout, on each subject from clothing to exotic creatures from future lineages.

The Pedagogy

That is to say, the theory and practice of teaching as Dutter's carried it out in Vow of Honor. I said in Google+ comments as I was reading that I wanted to talk about this particular topic, and I still do.

Vow of Honor is a little weaker than I'd like in infrastructure, if that's the word I want. There's no index, and the table of contents and bookmarks have only chapter-level entries. But it's still quite easy to find particular topics and their substance. Every single section gets a recap: boxed text with a border and color that set it very strongly off from the main body of the book, which summarizes the most important points. Game terms get repeated to build familiarity, and descriptions are expressed in slightly different terms than they were in the preceding exposition. You can flip through a chapter, just looking at those, and very quickly get to the thing you're looking for.

It's a basic principle of teaching: tell your students what you're going to tell them, tell it to them, and tell them what you told them. Among other things, game books very much are works of instruction, conveying information that includes both data and views about the data. But, to put it mildly, a lot of gaming authors aren't especially good at putting their info out in ways that work with how people actually learn things. Dutter's recaps do the job as well as any game book I can ever recall reading.

If you're interested in good instruction via game book, Vow of Honor is worth a look even if the setting and system don't do much for you.

The Spirit of the Game

I love it when a game offers up rules that work very well for the particular setting it presents and that also cover a whole spread of other related cases. I find myself a little short for useful terminology here, because it's not exactly a matter of genre but of a specific approach to a kind of challenge that can occur in many genres. The Arbiters are people committed to doing a broad spectrum of good deeds in the midst of a difficult world. Their moral challenges aren't really much different from the one Raymond Chandler proposes in "The Simple Art of Murder":

But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. I do not care much about his private life; he is neither a eunuch nor a satyr; I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honor in one thing, he is that in all things. He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks, that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness. The story is his adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in.

If there were enough like him, I think the world would be a very safe place to live in, and yet not too dull to be worth living in.

Look at the Tenets of Honor the Arbiters swear to uphold: Compassion. Commitment. Purity. Righteousness. Understanding. All there.

All of which is to say that as a rules system, Vow of Honor would work fine in milieus other than the fascinating default of Sasara.

The Game

Vow of Honor uses a straightforward d6 dice pool system. You roll one or more d6s, and see whether each is a success depending on your character's relevant skill level—if they're just barely trained at all, only 6s are successes, while if they're exemplary in that skill, 3-6s are all successes. Complications ensue, of course. :)

Each character has ratings in eight skills: Awareness, Coordination, Influence, Knowledge, Logic, Might, Resistance, and Stealth. The rating in each is Poor (6+ to succeed on a roll), Average (5-6 to succeed), Good (4-6 to succeed), or Exemplary (3-6). There's a standard skill array—one exemplary, one good, five average, one poor—and some alternatives in the book for different mixes of focus and diversity in aptitude. You also pick a talent, a special thing your character is good at that cuts across the standard skill lines and gives you a bonus die to roll when it applies; examples in the book include Smooth Talker and Tracker.

Challenges, whether tasks to perform or enemies to overcome, come with Difficulty, Threshold, and Severity. Difficulty is the number of successes you need to roll to win. Threshold is a property of long, ongoing challenges: when you roll that many successes, the difficulty goes down by 1. If a test is Difficulty 3, Threshold 2, for instance, it takes a total of 9 successes to beat: 3 to reduce it to Difficulty 3, Threshold 1, 3 more to reduce it to Difficulty 3, Threshold 0, and then 3 more to beat what's left of it. Severity is the enemy's skill level: your character has to earn that many successes with whatever means of resistance they're using. It's also the level of harm your character faces for failing. The details depend on the kind of challenge, with guidelines for level and duration of injury, short- and long-term penalties to affected skills, and so on.

(Vow of Honor is one of the games where only the players roll. What would otherwise be the GM rolling for NPCs' efforts is handled by players rolling to resist enemy Severity.)

Your character has a pool of Honor Dice, or HD, which you can spend for bonuses on individual rolls. Unsurprisingly, they earn HD by acting in accord with the tenets of honor, and lose them by acting dishonorably. You usually spend HD in a straightforward "I'm also rolling this die" way, and aiming for successes with the threshold set by your character's skill level for that particular challenge. But it's possible to get more out of an HD.

In addition to their skills and starting talent, your character begins play oathsworn to two of the five tenets of honor. Each tenet you choose gives your character a pick from two benefits. If they're oathsworn to Understanding, for instance, you can decided whether HD they spend on efforts to learn, understand, empathize, or deduce provide automatic successes, or whether they can spend an HD to automatically know the difficulty, threshold, and severity for a particular task or enemy.

Character advancement depends on upholding the whole spectrum of honor. When your character's upheld each of the five tenets in a notable, significant way, they earn an advance, which you can spend to improve a skill or to add or improve a talent. Acting significantly against any of the tenet costs your character HD, and three major violations make your character stained with regard to that tenet. It takes an act of significant sacrifice to remove the stain and recover the ability to make further progress.

I could go on—it's a good system—but there is a quick start document, so I'll settle for linking to that: http://www.bendutter.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Vow-of-Honor-Quick-Start.pdf . It's not just that it's a solid, simple but very flexible system, but that the book shows how to use it in a whole bunch of different ways, with generous discussion of examples and possibilities, and keeping it all very much a coherent whole.

Summary

I really like this game and am really looking forward to putting it to play.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vow of Honor RPG
Publisher: Sigil Stone Publishing
by Jacob R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/30/2015 15:06:01

I had the privilege to back this title on Kickstarter. It's a very fun system which ties in nicely to its setting. You play what amounts to a paladin in a post-apocalyptic world. The society looks and feels very Arabic, and there's a fantastic effort made to include people of all colors in the artwork. The setting is a ringworld in the far future, so far that people have regressed to a medieval level of technology, with scattered high-tech items and monsters providing story flavor.

The game rules remind me of a mix of the Storyteller engine and Fate. Even though the characters are pretty much all playing members of the same organization, they get a wide latitude to customize their motivations and abilities. A character gains much of their power through acting in line with their convictions, and with some flexibility of interpretation, PCs can find themselves working together or at odds.

The setting and system are very closely intertwined, but there are rules in an appendix for playing generic characters, and with very little effort this game could be ported to emulate something like the Knights Templar in the Crusades.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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