New Old World
Monsters & Magic is a new game by Sarah Newton of Mindjammer Press based on the current trend of going back to the heady days of OD&D and BD&D known as the Old School Renaissance (OSR).
Now, in a departure from a lot of the other stuff out there it’s been designed with some rather new style mechanics to complement the old style mechanics, I’ll be honest and say it up front I was already a fan of Sarah’s work, if I hadn’t been at the start I certainly would be now.
In Monsters & Magic Sarah has effectively blended mechanics from the more narrative FATE style games to some very old style systems. After my first read through of the rules I felt this might even be a gateway drug to the full on FATE rules, more on this later.
The character creation relies on the standard six attributes between 3 and 18 and the method of generating these scores is pretty much up to you and your group, the races and classes presented are the standard fare of the fantasy roleplaying game and to be honest I think anyone with a little experience in games can get a feel for how the game works just flicking through the rules.
The system is designed to allow you to use all your old characters and modules from back in the day, a shrewd move when you think that there are loads of us from back in the day with much more disposable income than we used to have, not that the cost is outrageous you can buy this game on PDF from Drivethru for a measly £6.46 or $9.99.
Now then, back to the FATE style rules, this game uses something called “The Effect Engine” which at its core is a tool to allow the participants to narrate what happens and assign an “Effect” to it, the “Effects” can be anything appropriate that fits within the graded scale or level your success brings. To determine that scale you roll 3d6 add modifiers and compare to a resistance determined by the situation, the situation could be anything at all, this is actually one of the main strengths of “The Effect Engine” in my opinion and a genuine reason for everybody to try it out.
Combining this style of narrative with the very old style play and feel does in my mind make a very gentle introduction to FATE, the way the PCs determine personal traits and advancements as they level up will bring about a general acceptance and comfort with what to a lot of people are some of the more difficult aspects of FATE.
(did you see what I did there?)
As to be expected for such a new release from a small publisher the support for the game is currently residing with the author and is likely to be mostly community driven there’s a Google+ Community here if you want to get involved.
TLDR: It’s great, go and buy it!