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2005-03-11

Bones the Role Playing Game

I purchased Bones the Role Playing Game at RPGNow because I was curious and because it was on sale.

The PDF is 51 pages total with 49 pages of rules and information. The art is fair to good. The layout is fairly standard with the body text expanded by examples in the side bar. The "icons" used to customize dice are very simple but I think that lends to being hand drawn by the players onto the dice.

The book has the expected sections. Character creation and basic rules are up from, magic is also in this section. A simple bestiary and sample adventure are also included. Finally a sample campaign setting is also included.

The big divergence for Bones is the base game mechanic. You construct your character as a set of customized six sided dice. Task resolution consists of rolling these dice. If you roll enough successes, you succeed, if not you don't. I have to admit that the concept does appeal to me. It is a very tactical mechanic and I think that might be why I like it so much.

The character creation rules are described in clear terms and the game mechanic is well described. The examples make any difficult points easy to understand.

The bestiary is where the simplicity of the system starts to shine through. Monsters and NPC are simply described by a combination of standard dice types. So the GM can easily construct an enemy by selected a series of dice. Equipment is also represented by custom made dice.

I would not use the campaign setting, but that is because I don't use a lot of published campaign settings. I just feel more comfortable with my own than with published ones. I would have no concerns about stealing borrowing from this setting though...

Bones seems to be a very tactical game, but to me that is not a weakness. This makes the game ideal for a table top battle royale where is it everyman for himself and the last one alive wins. It also means that for a role playing game, the role is in the Players mind, not defined on the character sheet.

I don't know if Bones would ever become my system of choice but I have already started planning an adventure so the group can give it a try. Overall Vincent K. Raven has done a good job with this game, and at the sale price of $5 USD it was a bargain.

1 comment:

EB said...

I really like your review. I'm already an icon addict, so BONES is more -direct wired- into the way I think. I see a symbol, I know the meaning. It becomes the language. I love the magic system, blah, blah, blah. Ah well. Just exited to see someone else with the same insight. Thanks, and your site doesn't get enough link credit. EB

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