Bloody Quest – A Demo

Today I bring you all a look at Bloody Quest, or at least the demo pack available right now.

Bloody Quest

I should get this out of the way nice and early, so no one thinks something suspicious is going on. One of the creators for Bloody Quest, Mathew Lee, is associated with Pixel Pop Network, the sister site for ATGN, and is a contributor. I don’t know the guy, never met him, so I will not be biased in my examination of this RPG. There is nothing underhanded going on. You have been… Disclaimer-ed? Disclaimed?… You have been forewarned.

A second disclaimer; this is a demo, not the full game, so what I say about this may not be true later. Things I experienced may be changed. Some of the issues I came across can be explained away due to the unfinished nature of the piece. Keep that in mind.

Reading a little history about Bloody Quest up on their website, this game first started as a modification on the Warhammer Fantasy RPG rules, played within a group of friends. It must have been deemed extremely awesome, because Tony Petterson and his crew sallied forth and converted it to their own rules set. It is touted as having a quick and brutal combat system that doesn’t sacrifice on role playing depth.

bq-defenceAs I read through the rules, I realised that it all seemed somewhat familiar. I’ve played a fair amount of Warhammer Fantasy Battles (the tabletop miniatures wargame) in my time, and I remember the rules fairly well. Similarities between Bloody Quest and WHFB are quite obvious. As I mentioned earlier, Bloody Quest was originally based on the Warhammer Fantasy RPG (WHFRPG for short). I’ve never had the opportunity to peruse the rules of WHFRPG, but I can guess those rules are quite similar to WHFB. Character profile elements are similar across the games; WHFB has things like Movement, Weapon Skill, Ballistics Skill and Strength, where Bloody Quest has Movement, Melee Skill, Shooting Skill and Power. The characters are more expanded than those in WHFB, having additional stats like Dexterity, Intelligence and Perception. All the other things you would expect from an RPG are there in some form, even if only minor.

The problems I have with this game are to do with the rules. When it comes to rules, personal preference matters more than anything else. What I like and what you like can be vastly different. So in my opinion, these rules are a little too convoluted. The ‘quick and brutal’ combat system falls a bit short on being quick. I played a game with three others of varying RP experience, with myself being the GM. We played the included scenario. We jumped right in, almost straight into combat, and that’s where the confusion began. This is a basic rundown of how attacking another creature with a melee weapon works:

  1. Determine the amount of d6s needed to make the attack, such as from class, weapon, spells and so on.
  2. Compare the Melee skill of the attacker to the melee skill of the defender. If the attacker has a score higher, the target number is three or higher. If the attacker score is equal or lower, the target number is four or more.
  3. Check to see if the target is either a mook or an elite. If so, make the roll one harder for elite, or one easier for mook.
  4. Discard all dice that do not meet the desired numbers.
  5. Now roll as many d3s as you have dice left.
  6. Once those dice are rolled, one must apply an algebraic equation, which is thus; d3 + P – C = D, where d3 = the previous die, P = Power, C = Constitution and D = Damage. This is applied to each die individually.
  7. Ensure you include the Critical modifier if any of the first rolled d6s were criticals, which is a -1 to the enemy Constitution.
  8. Remember that even though you can roll high numbers, your weapon will have a max damage value that will likely reduce the amount of damage you can deal per hit.

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And before you think that is a lengthy process , that’s not all of it. There is still the save process for the defender, which can involve several saves of different types. Then there is damage resolution, where damage is applied to different locations within the hit box. Then there are the Follow-ups the defender can use against the attacker. That is a long process just for one attack. I’m sure those who are adept at the rules can probably cruise through pretty quickly, but it is pretty daunting to new people.

The magic system seems fairly straightforward. I uses the same hit/wound method as melee, but with different saves (I think). I did come across a problem when a vital piece of data required to run the Mage wasn’t present within the demo. I contacted Mathew to let him know and get that info, so it should be present within the next update or FAQ.

Since I gotta have some positives in here somewhere, and stop just ragging on all the hard work this team has done, here are some things I like:

The artwork is well done and suited to purpose. I’ve seen some dodgy artwork in RP books before, or the odd mix of some awesome pictures and some terrible ones, but not in this case. The general idea of the Bloody Quest in total is quite interesting, I see it as a cross between a standard RPG and a miniatures-based wargame, since the focus is absolutely on the combat side of the game. Miniatures are a must for playing the game, whether they be proper ones or the supplied tokens that you can print out. The movement system takes a more free-form system, disposing of the grids and just using inches. The downside is you need a tape measure or something of a similar nature.

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So now the TL;DR

If you like heavy combat, miniature based RPGs, and don’t mind tackling some slightly complicated rules that might get easier once you get your head around them, then this game could be for you. However, I don’t overly enjoy those sorts of games; I like RPGs with more open, freeform rules, and where I can employ ‘Theatre of the Mind’. Often, my games are played where we are sitting around in the lounge, on couches and such, and have no main table. Bloody Quest needs a table, and needs that big map with the miniatures on it.

I think this demo could even be doing the opposite of what it is intending to do because of the unfinished nature of the rules themselves. Instead of making me want to play the game, it turned me off the idea somewhat. As a person who has played so many different systems and learned so many rules, when I looked through the Bloody Quest demo, I was a bit turned off because it was all over the shop with no index to easily find specific rules and certain parts missing completely. This is not saying that the demo is bad, it just didn’t meet my expectations, but that could be because mine are too high. Once the progression of the game has gone further and a more finished and more polished product exists, I would be happy to look at it again, but I’ve put the demo aside and shan’t be looking at it again.

The Bloody Quest demo is available as a free download from the Bloody Quest website which also includes a lot of imagery and information.  You can also follow the game on Facebook.

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