Windzone Role Playing Game Core Rulebook

Windzone Role Playing Game Core Rulebook

From: Final Level Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Windzone Role Playing Game Core Rulebook is a new Role Playing Game Core Rulebook from Final Level Games.

I am going to approach this a little differently than others in the past.  I am going to review in general 3 distinct parts of a core rulebook –  World/Universe, Rule System and Presentation.

From the back cover: “The world is flat, the sky is forever, and the Wind is Everything”

World/Universe: I have to admit, I found Windzone inspiring.  It gave me new ideas for my current campaign.  Its world is as the quote above says – endlessly flat, with endless sky and where the Wind is everything.  Players play one of 7 species that live in this paradox of a world.  Five of the races can fly in some way or another.  Much of this world revolves around flight and wind.    Even the magic in the world stems from the mysterious wind that rules the day and night of WindZone.  Some cities reside on magically floating rocks, and the wind moves along darkness and light to simulate day and night. Weather rarely changes, and the temperature is usually the same.

Other than the background supplied in  beginning that only basically describes the world of Windzone  and the background given in each species relative to each other, the GM has a clean slate to start from.  Because of the sheer vastness of the given universe, the GM has no limits to what he can create with respect to societies, cities, and politics.  Everything is within the confines of the ground and the sky.

Interestingly also is that it is set in no particular tech level.  A GM can set it in any tech level he feels like, and the rules system presents an easy-enough tech level system to adapt to.

As I said, I found the Windzone universe unique and inspiring.  Although not inspired to play the actual game, I am inspired to use the concepts elsewhere.

System: The system is where I have a problem with the game.  I know many publishers and game writers cringe when we reviewers say this, but I really think this book would have been better off  as a d20 source book. I do not feel like it would lose any value, although it would probably require a little more work creating classes and feats for this universe.

One of the key things about the core systems of many of the popular role playing games out there is consistency.  In d20, you know you are going to role d20. In GURPS, you know you are going to role 3d6.  In d6 (West End Games), you know you are going to role a handful of d6.  No matter what, you know what you’re going to role. Windzone departs from that standard and supports my continued assertion that it should have been a d20 sourcebook. The system is consistent in that it tries to be realistic in using the bell-curve nature of d100 roles or 3d10 roles.  However, what you role depends on what you are doing.  The player rolls 3d10 for a straight attribute check and d100 for anything else.  

Character generation is unique in that it has a set of primary statistics which are either dice rolls or point allocation. Primary attributes are Speed, Dexterity, Strength, Intuition, Intelligence, and Wind Affinity. There are secondary attributes that are calculated via tables, one of which is specific to the race (which limits the game  and the GM’s ability to add new player character species).  They are Melee, Missile, Defense, Move, Endurance, Life Points and Wind Points.  Some secondary attributes are determined through a die roll, but most are shown in tables.  The one attribute that is race specific is Wind Affinity – the magic points of this universe.

The Skills system is pretty open ended, allowing characters to choose from a modest list of skills.  It gets confusing with skills because some act as skills you would expect – with levels and such – while others actually act like d20 feats by just adding extra bonuses to existing abilities and attributes.  So instead of separating them, the writers chose to lump them under skills.

The game system also has general classes or Skill Groups that a character can choose to enter.  They are as restrictive as classes and give a player special bonuses to a specific skill group – like criminal, medical, natural, or windmage. There are no penalties for going outside your skill group and there is no need to ever go into a skill group.  A person that dislikes the d20 class system, might like this kind of open-ended skill system. The skill list is somewhat short but expandable by the GM, if he sees fit. 

Following skills is the short and unimpressive advantage list which is a total of 1 page long.  Basically, I would say they need more advantages.  I love systems with a fully fleshed out advantage and disadvantage system.  This is lacking in a lot of variety and depth.  It needs more.

From the back cover :“ It’s time to learn a new mythology. ”

Windmagic is the magic of this world – magic linked to the mystical winds.  It’s a simple system not dissimilar to the skills system where the windmage spends skill points to gain disciplines. It does note that the windmage is unique in that it has little time to focus energies outside his disciplines, which is a balancing factor to some degree.  However, that boils a windmage down to a character that is only useful when you need magic.  However, it is open ended enough that many people can have a few windmage powers while still be skilled in other areas.

The system also spends a little more ink on movement, because there is a lot more flying involved in this universe compared to others.  These rules are simple and easy to follow. Combat is equally simple.  It is 4 pages if basic rules using the d100 roll as its core dice.  There is nothing overly outstanding in this system, nor overly terrible.

Other Stuff: There is an equipment section that explains the tech level system I mentioned before.  It has a functional list of equipment, from basic melee weapons to ranged weapons; from armor to a wide variety of vehicles (air and land).  Also included is a short list of monsters and other creatures that inhabit Windzone.  

Presentation & Layout: The book itself looks really good.  The cover art is somewhat boring, but the interior art is well done.  The formatting is good, and it is simply an attractive book when you open it up. It includes a glossary of terms at the end, but does not include an index.  However, the book is small enough that an index isn’t totally necessary.

In conclusion, conceptually I liked Windzone, but I get the impression that the writers had a world to present that they were passionate about and just threw a system on it to make it work.  I’ll say again – they were better off putting this together as a d20 sourcebook. By itself, it’s an OK game with some really inspiring ideas thrown in.  

For more details on Final Level Games and their new Role Playing Game Core Rulebook “Windzone Role Playing Game Core Rulebook” check them out at their website, and at all of your local game stores.

Windzone Role Playing Game Core Rulebook
From: Final Level Games
Type of Game: Role Playing Game core Rule book
Written by: Michael Paul Simon & Alan Jay Payne, Jr.
Game Design by: Michael Paul Simon & Alan Jay Payne, Jr.
Cover Art by: Michael Paul Simon
Additional Art by: Michael Paul Simon
Number of Pages: 143 including character sheet and combat hex map
Game Components Included: 1 soft cover book
Retail Price: $19.95 (US)
Item Number: FLGWZ00000010

Reviewed by: Ron McClung