Saturday, February 13, 2010


I just found a nifty free game called "Elegia." It is intended as a hybrid between a simple old-school game (think 3LBB) and 8-bit console RPGs. I never really played console RPGs, but I still found the implementation to be charming. It looks like a solid, simple, and playable system. I was hooked when I saw that the author also chooses to use stones for enc! I was also happy to see the movement rates and such which line up nicely with my thoughts on Hexploration. It also shows a four-attribute system implemented pretty smoothly, and the skill list is not bad.

I was originally disappointed by the magic system, which focuses on flashy evocation. However, the author's notes later in the text explained the reasoning, which does make sense.

But video games actually have one noteworthy advantage over the traditional
model of tabletop RPG, and it all boils down to those oft-derided limitations.
In video games, the magic system is simple and focused. Wizards are good at
raining down fiery death upon their enemies, but they lack the game-breaking
spells that allow them to solve any challenge easily and one-up the other
character classes at every turn. Wizards can’t divine for secrets, polymorph
themselves or their opponents, fly or teleport past physical obstacles with
impunity, or end the adventure with a single well-worded wish. And magical items
are rare enough that nobody else can do these things either.
In a nutshell,
the truncated magic system forces players of all experience levels to think
creatively. Even players in control of 20th level characters can’t rely on
spells or items to solve all of their problems. This frees up the referee to use
a wider range of challenges—things that would make high-level characters in
other RPG systems yawn, while the players look to their character sheets for the
half-dozen ways that they can bypass the obstacle with no thought or originality
involved. (Unless, of course, the problem at hand is monsters that aren’t dead
yet. Elegia magic remains pretty darned good at cracking that particular

In any event, its free and takes only 10 minutes to skim. Could be a fun way to burn an afternoon someday!

I've labeled this as an "indie game," but really just because that's my tag for "3rd party games." This is really more of the "Old School Renaissance" flavor. I need to go add it to the list of retroclones...

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