Thursday Review: Sojourner’s Quest

I rated Sojourner’s Quest lower than it perhaps deserves [three stars], but it does have some major issues with it. For one, its editing is, quite frankly, horrible. With a lot of fragmented voice issues and just plain grammatical errors, it’s basically not up to snuff when it comes to reading the way it should. It’s not horrible, but it often detracts from its own points and becomes confusing to read.

I’m dubious about the 6×9 format. While that works great for print format for a professional production, I would have just stuck with 8.5×11, were I expecting people to print it out. It also means that all the text through the book is split into one awkwardly spaced column, with a lot of white space. The PDF lacks bookmarks or layers, which is okay in certain ways, but in a game with tables to look up and no appendix it’s basically required in order to get things done. The note spaces provided would make up for this in print, but in a PDF format game that can’t be counted on.

Rules wise, the game is mostly okay, but with some glaring errors that really are not acceptable. It’s obtuse in certain ways, but not horrible; I think that there’s a few things overlooked throughout, however. I don’t see any rules for actually dying, though rules do exist for being knocked unconscious. This is echoed throughout the game in various ways; the rules are patchy enough that as you go through them you’ll find holes in places left and right; the sort of thing that’s reminiscent of a homebrew game that never got sufficient amounts of testing and editing to actually close all its loopholes. Balance wise there’s no real effort to keep the game coherent with levels, and the character creation system means that almost every adventurer will be more or less equal; with simply class and attributes (eight instead of the traditional six, but also taking the place of skills), and no feats, skills, or actual disambiguation, there seems to be very little that would set two thieves apart, and it’s confusing as to the exact method of completing certain tasks. A lot of things are “convince your GM” or “the GM decides”, at which point you don’t really need a rules system.

So, while it has some interesting ideas, Sojourner’s Quest doesn’t really have what it needs to be recommended to people as a game; it doesn’t really do anything beyond what the d20 system already does, and it manages to take a ton of things and cram them into a single package that doesn’t make much rhyme or reason of its rules. While it attempts to capitalize and highlight the same things that made early systems so appealing even to this day, it just falls short on presenting cohesive rules and a solid presentation that makes it stand out from any other game.

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