This is a review of the base game of CASTWorld, including character creation and gameplay. The adventure modules will be covered in later reviews. I played this over Discord using text with one other person who was GMing and playing at the same time. The entire game session lasted 2 and a half hours with actual gameplay lasting about an hour.
Character creation is somewhat clumsy and time consuming with having to roll 3d6 for 8 stats, many of which are entirely useless after you’ve finished making your character. The elemental affinity stat, while interesting in its potential, is entirely unused. At the end of character creation I had made a Privateer and the GM had made a Cleric.
The Privateer is a basic rogue class, with bonuses to lockpicking and such, which are never used in the course of any of the modules. Cleric, however, can choose the favour of a god right off the bat, and one of those favours sticks out immediately. Choosing the god of comedy allows you to attack twice in one round which, as we’ll see later, is basically broken. The GM also elected to sell most of their starting gear and purchase heavy armour and a longsword.
The first adventure begins with the party travelling to the town of Verona (unrelated to Romeo and Juliet) where they have heard that children are being abducted. There is no explanation for how you came to know this or even how your party met in the first place. Immediately after the introduction the party is attacked by kobolds without any chance to look around or take in their surroundings. This is where one of the major flaws of this product becomes apparent: there is a complete absence of maps. This is important for fighting kobolds since they have positional tactics based on whether or not other kobolds are near their target. Kobolds are also disadvantaged in sunlight, but the vague description makes no mention of the time of day, so it’s up to the GM to make a judgement call on whether or not to make the fight harder.
The first fight lasted 2 turns, with the cleric killing 2 kobolds outright with their first turn. I got hit once and that was the only damage the party took for the entire adventure. Following the fight there is a tiny amount of roleplay, mainly consisting of asking where the kobold camp is, nothing of real substance. After arriving at the kobold camp the map problem becomes apparent again, along with the vague descriptions. There is no indication of where anything is in relation to anything else, just that there are kobolds, a cage full of kids and a cage with a dragon. In this fight I attempted to be sneaky and break out the kids while the cleric just ran in. In the time it took me to get to the cage with the kids the cleric had killed all of the kobolds. I also threatened to sell the kids into slavery to spice things up a bit but we decided to just save them and get the reward.
We arrived back at the village for our reward and are offered a free nights stay for rescuing the kids. He mentions to us that he believes the village will be attacked in the night, but doesn’t elaborate on how he knows. I wanted to set up traps in the night but there was no option nor rules on how to do so. In the night the village is attacked and by the time we get outside to join the fight the village is on fire because apparently they decided not to post guards when they thought they’d be attacked. The fight lasts about as long as the others with the cleric killing 3 and me killing one, all outright without them getting a hit in.
The end of that fight is the end of the adventure. There’s not even an epilogue or anything, it just ends with a fight that’s over in 2 seconds.
Following this we had the only interesting piece of roleplaying during our play session, and that was haggling over how to split the reward, which we did entirely on our own. We used the money to purchase new equipment for the next adventure, despite the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a shop in the village, or even a shop mentioned in any of the adventures.
NOTES ON DOCUMENTATION
The documentation for this product leaves a lot to be desired even beyond the utter lack of maps and detailed description. Tables are poorly laid out and are either misaligned or have information missing entirely. For instance numerous weapons are listed, but have no stats or purchase price and an entire section of the armour table is listed disabled.
There are numerous legendary items, but no indication of how you actually earn them in the game. The boons of the gods have explanations but no indication of how you would learn this while actually playing.
The only way to restore mana is by resting and you start with a pitifully small pool barely enough to cast some spells, and nothing even warrants their use in most cases. The number of magical spells is also extremely limited.
The abilities system could be interesting, but is wasted on frankly boring upgrades such as improving stats or armour.
Health pots have a bizarrely dangerous side effect if you drink more than one an hour, in that they have a 50% chance to deal damage instead of healing.
There are numerous inconsistencies, a notable one being the clerics holy symbol. In character creation it’s specified that it’s aligned to the clerics patron god, but it also says in the item list that the GM chooses the deity associated with the symbol. The holy symbol also gives +2 to attack rolls which, combined with the ability to attack twice in a turn, is totally broken.
It’s extremely easy to create an unkillable character, the cleric was at 16 armour at the end of the first adventure, making it nigh impossible to hit them, let alone kill them.
There is no explanation of how alcohol affects characters, as the kobolds in the camp were drinking but seemed to have no disadvantage whatsoever.
Ability rolls are extremely poorly explained. Having to roll beneath your own stat is a strange way to do it and honestly confusing.
Critical hits are boring. They should do something interesting, not just be a guaranteed success.
This product was quite clearly rushed to release and has suffered quite badly from it. It needs much more playtesting and feedback. The combat is entirely too easy, even if we didn’t have the clerics broken abilities we wouldn’t have had any trouble with what we encountered. The lack of maps is unacceptable and the only roleplay opportunities come from free form player interaction, not from carefully crafted scenes.
At character creation the Cleric gets to choose a paron deity and automatically gains any attributes granted by the god, which would mean that if they choose the god of comedy they automatically have the ability to attack twice a turn.
It's annoying more than anything else.
Except that there really doesn't appear to be much use for them in any of the classes?
Except travel is mostly skipped unless something of note happens. It's not lord of the rings where practically every day of the journey is described
The maps don't need to be super high quality, they just need to be able to show the GM where things should be and make it easier to describe where they are to players, and help players make informed desicions. Not having maps actually makes more work for the party, which you just said you wanted to reduce.
We were still one shotting the kobolds and they could barely hit back.
Simply saying that there are some kobolds in a camp really isn't enough. People need to be able to visualise it at least.
He's the village elder. If he thinks that they're going to be attacked, he would tell the party rather than just hope they'd help out when it happens.
It did. The cleric killed the rider immediately. It was really anticlimactic.
If they're identical to the base items why have them at all? If that stuff is going to be released in March, why didn't you wait to release the whole thing in March, with all the adventures?
The problem with that is there's not enough worldbuilding for GMs to make their own homebrew content.
They used the money they started with the buy a bronze breastplate, bronze helmet, Great Shield and bronze capped boots. Also sold their starting gear for full price since you didn't mention resale value, by the end of the adventure they used exp to buy another AP point
Then it's not really alcohol is it?
If that's the only way it's used in GURPS why alternate it here? It just makes it confusing
You didn't really elaborate on how you could make them more interesting. You just said that it's guaranteed to hit. For instance in dnd you do a lot more damage with crits than normal.
- it's pretty broken dude. You've actually misread me here, they were 16 AP at the end, not the beginning
CASTWorld SRD Page 9
Holy Devotion: Choose a patron god. You gain any attributes granted by that god.
What is unclear about this?