Monday, August 19, 2013

Only War: Impressions Thus Far

     After playing a couple games of Only War, I've decided to post up a collection of my thoughts on the game thus far to organize what I think of it and to get myself to think about it more critically.

     As a GM, the game seems to be easier to run than D&D 3.5. Of course, I could just be a particularly unskilled DM, but who knows. The planning process for Only War went much faster than when I had to plan for D&D and the system itself flows a bit better for it.

    I'm not gonna lie, I've found it difficult to adjust to the system as it took me years to get as good at D&D as I was. Only War only uses the d100 and d10 in place of the full set used in the d20 systems. At first I had thought this would result in a lack of definition as you couldn't possibly get the same results with fewer types of dice, but I find myself enjoying the simplicity of only having two different types to bother with.

     Only War's method of dealing with the DC for checks is probably my favorite thing in the entire system. Instead of planning a DC ahead of time and wondering if it will be too tough or too easy, it uses a modifier system that works much more intuitively and with less planning time. This system also makes choosing a DC on the fly much easier as well.

     The role-playing aspects of the system are limited due to the military nature of the game, but within that context there are a vast amount of possibilities that can be represented. From a small squad to just a small part of a continent-wide conflict, the system does well to handle it all. You can also run a vehicle-based campaign for armored regiments that I would love to give a try some time.

     Compared to D&D and its beloved "city-time" (our version of a character's personal time in a city to do whatever), Only War is short handed on opportunities to forward personal goals or advance your character's love interests. This restriction is probably my least favorite part of the system as "city-time" was one of my favorite parts of playing D&D. On the other hand, it means that I don't need to plan for it, which saves me tons of time and less time spent planning means less stress during the time between play-sessions.

     A possible alternative to running Only War as a straight-up Imperial Guardsman's life would be to use the rule set to simulate guardsman-like mercenaries in the service of someone like a Rogue Trader. In addition to greater freedom, this would also allow for possible "city-time" and loads of new role-playing opportunities. I may end up trying this in the future as it does sound like quite a bit of fun.

     I hope this didn't come out as being too scatterbrained for anyone to read. I'm more than happy to answer questions about the game or clarify what I meant above if anyone wants to know.

Thanks for Reading!