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Independent Game Review
Brian's Small Press Picks - No. 59 - September 2001

Independent Game Review

It is recommended that you create 3 or more characters, as they tend to die off quickly once the battles and adventures start." I think this quote from the character generation section sums up this game very well. The game is BRUTAL, and the name fits it well. Though fantasy role-playing games are a dime a dozen these days, this is a diamond in the rough. A brutal diamond.

However, it is more than a deadly combat system that sets this role-playing game apart from most of its kin. It is also simultaneously a miniatures wargame. Characters and creatures easily translate from one game to the other, due in large part to the simple but elegant combat system. In BRUTAL, everything is resolved with an opposed roll of a certain number of d6s. Skills and abilities are defined in terms of number of dice rolled. This value applies to attempting a skill as well as defending oneself from the use of that skill. When the d6s are rolled, the higher sum wins. Simple and clear. In addition, there are several non-traditional player character races to complement the standard fantasy fare. Ever wanted to play a cyclops character? Now you can. How about an adventure beetle or warrior fly? Though the book advises against it, I plan on playing a saht'vah (now Zeetvah - editor)character, just because the art is so cool.

BRUTAL is a greate small presss game that proves you can still make a good RPG in the wake of the d20 system, and that's no small achievement. The blood flows quickly and the deaths pile up, and the result is a game that is a blast to play. I can give a game no higher praise than that.

Additional Information 

Shortly after this game review, Larry Elmore allowed David Stanley to incorporate his Zeetvah character race within the game, ...replacing the above mentioned Saht'Vah race.

David J. Stanley
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