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River of Heaven, early impressions


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No spoilers. O:)

I’m a backer and have looked over the early release PDF, and I find a very high quality product. Folks who haven’t backed this yet should consider doing so, as the game appears to be in an advanced state of development and the wait for a finished product should not be long. The writing is clear and rock solid, with a surprising amount of good advice for good gaming.

I didn’t want to hijack Newt’s crowdfunding thread, but I thought I’d put my initial thoughts together, as I have been eager for the release of an SFRPG on the OQ engine for a long time. The generous difficulty modifiers, the simplified skills lists, and the fast-but-deadly combat that are hallmarks of OQ seem especially suited to a high-tech future campaign, where you have lots of gadgets and arcana to boost abilities, and weapons of sufficient deadliness it doesn’t really matter a heck of a lot where they strike you. I think OQ is the perfect engine for a SFRPG.

I’m curious to know what others who have read the early release think.

IMO, the Augmentations are handled with a graceful and very playable mechanic, and they are generic enough to simulate just about any tech boost.

I should confess here that I was really looking for a BRP/OQ/d100 game system to bolt on to the gritty 2300AD universe, so perhaps some of my additional comments should be seen in that light. I hope my comments are constructive and perhaps some can get incorporated in some way into the final release of RoH.

I was a tad disappointed to see there is no EDU characteristic, as this seems particularly suited IMO to a modern/future campaign. EDU models something a little different from INT, and seems to belong to the future as much as “Melee Combat” belongs to the past. CHA isn’t really given much to do in RoH, and while I recognize CHA has its roots sunk deep into RQ in all its forms and therefore sacrilege to remove it, I wonder if its basic functions couldn’t be shifted into POW. Most of the tech skills could be easily bolted on to an introduced EDU characteristic. Just 2¢.

I really like the way Science is handled, in the kind of fast-&-loose Keep It Simple model that is a hallmark of OQ. If you bring in an EDU characteristic, you can introduce the Know roll from BRP to good effect. In this way you can simulate the Mr. Spocks and the Professor Bergmans (from Space:1999), eggheads who just seem to know everything. In a word filled with terabyte computers for assistance and eidetic memories at the tap, just knowing the scientific method alone should get you there.

I think the biggest thing I see missing is the concept of Tech Levels for each of the RoH eras. This is a standard concept from GURPs and Traveller—easily lifted from the Trav SRD—and might assist GMs in both understanding the eras and easily ’porting over various gizmos and concepts from other sources. It’s a way of thinking about the future that’s become lingua franca for many gamers.

For example, it is not immediately clear what equipment or Augs might be available in earlier eras of RoH, so while we’re assured the game is playable in eras other than the Bright Age, it is not immediately clear how to do so. Under Augs there's an introduction of "colony tech" without quite enough flesh on the bones.

Maybe just a table.

I hope my comments weren’t too critical. This game looks to be an excellent value, and I really support the Kickstarter! :D



Edited by Lemnoc
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Guest Vile Traveller

I seriously need my credit card, my home PC, my chair and my butt to coincide so I can back this before it's too late. One thing I've been meaning to ask, is RoH stand-alone or does it need the OQ book? And, if so, which edition?

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