Saturday, September 26, 2009

An overview of QAGS (finally)

Quite a few weeks ago I purchased QAGS 2nd edition from RPGNow. I had started to give it an overview on twitter but then I had a couple of surgeries on my back and the whole project sort of lagged. My apologies to the folks at HEX games for my flakiness but I really have been working at about 30% since the operations.
But enough of my pathetic whining- on to QAGS!

The 2nd edition of the Quick Ass Gaming System (QAGS) by Hex Games is available at RPGNow. It’s a rules light beginner friendly system that weighs in at 98 pages and will cost you $7.99 for the PDF download.

First off, a word of warning – QAGS pulls no punches and handles some material in a very Adult manner. The rules read at PG-13. Although the system is an ideal one for children, I highly suggest that the rules information be disseminated by a responsible adult. We are not talking porn here folks but there are a few off color remarks and enough adult language that parents should be advised.

Okay, enough of that.

Right off the top, QAGS takes the unusual step of really preparing potential players by going over the fundamentals of roleplaying and the importance of character concept and archetypes before even touching the mechanics of character creation (kudos!).

I just wish they organized their presentation better. They have so much to say and all of it is good- it’s just that they present it in such an annoying way. You try to read the main text, and suddenly there is a big ass box text on the next page talking about something totally different.

It’s like all the folks at Hex games are surrounding you as you read it saying “Oo, Oo, look at this, look at this.” “No, no look at this, at this.” “Hey, hey over here, over here, look at this!”- Frankly, it was damned annoying. The good thing is that what they had to say was interesting, otherwise I would have closed the PDF right there (and don’t even get me started on the three column text).

I’m not sure if chapter 2 was any better or I just learned how to mind shield myself from the sidebars that aren’t sidebars. But it seemed to go much smoother for me. Basically it’s all about task resolution. It’s a rather nifty system with degrees of success worked in.

The Damage system in chapter 3 is very cool. It’s quick and easy to grasp and I would think makes combat in QAGS move at a very brisk pace. The mechanics are very basic and friendly. An additional touch that helps is that each chapter has a little example of play tacked on at the end.

Chapter 4 is where they explain their systems use of Hero points, Bennies, Action points etc. In QAGS they are called Yum-Yum’s and are basically pieces of candy- M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, raisins-whatever you want. I’ll give the folks at Hex points for originality. They definitely know their audience.

Chapter 5 goes into the fine art of roleplaying. Something that all of us experienced hands SHOULD know by now. But it never hurts to be reminded. As in the chapters before there is plenty of good advice dispensed here and worth reading, even for RPG veterans.

Chapter 6-8 turn the tables to help the GM with the thankless job of running the game. One of the many wonderful quotes I took away was:

“The first thing to realize when preparing a con game is that there’s a good chance you’re not going to know most of the players. More importantly, at least 25% of con-goers are card-carrying, USDA-approved morons.
Understand going in that the odds of you having a good time are not good.”

Tell it like it is brothers!

Chapters 6-8 are fluff, but they are important and entertaining fluff. Here again stuff that most of the experienced hands should know but at times forget (campaigns, plots, themes, mood, tone, PC Death, difficult players). QAGS takes the time to go over much of it and do so in an entertaining manner.

Appendices follow with a plethora (yes, I know what a plethora is) of charts, tables, setting overviews, character write ups, equipment lists, and even an outline of Joseph Campbell’s Heroes Journey. This is a ton of stuff, most of it useful, all of it amusing.

At the end I have to say it was a fun read. It could have gone smoother at the beginning. But by the time I was done I was eager to play. I’m going to try it out on my minions (heavily edited for content of course).

Good read?

Easy read?

Good system?

Good value?

Would you play it?

As an overview, on a scale of 1-10 the Evil DM gives it an 8.

Go buy it!