As a long time role player, I enjoy “new” rpgs. And the one thing I love about RPGNOW is the ability to buy a “discounted “ PDF of new games that interest me, before I buy a hard copy at full price.
Eldritch Fantasy appealed to me as it is a non d20 system, and, well, right about now the world needs more of this, if you ask me.
Eldritch has a default bog standard fantasy setting, with all the usual suspects, Humans, dwarfs, elves, etc. Nothing out of the “norm” here, and nothing that felt even slightly inspired.
The mechanics remind me a lot of Savage Worlds. Attributes are ranked by die type. D4 through d12, with d4 being the default human “norm”.
Character generation consists of point a buy, where players can either pick and choose or purchase racial packages,. There are in addition to attributes, assorted advantages and disadvantages and occupations to be picked from. All are what you except in a largely generic fantasy world.
The mechanics are, also largely unoriginal or uninspired, and in general consist of rolling the appropriate die plus assigned bonuses and comparing it against either a static or randomly generated target number. Even the slighty more interesting "Open" magic rules, for createing your own spells, seems like yesterdays news.
Again, this all felt remarkably similar to Savage Worlds, with one distinctive and unattractive difference. Where savage world made efforts to keep it simple, Eldritch piles on the additional rules, and assigns each an annoying series of abbreviations :ADP, PDP, ADC, MRV, ETC, gahhhhh enough!. There is nothing that breaks immersion, like when the GM asks a player “Whats yer series of random letters” and the Player answer is “HuH?” .
In addition to the games love of abbreviations and acronym are flow charts, specialized rules, and a multi paged character sheet (I don’t know about you, but if a game requires more the 2 sides of the same sheet to keep track of my character, it is asking me to record and remember way to much information) all of which seems to fly in the face of it’s claim that the rules are “Transparent”. Even in a slim book such as Eldritch, having to stop and flip through in search of an obscure caveat, is a game breaker, for a “Quick and easy” system.
Eldritch also gets negative points for being way to generic, the sample world description is less then three pages long . It includes sample spells, I assume these are suitable to this default paragraph, er, ah, “world” and no where even a hint at what sort of beasties trouble the world, just rules for inventing your own (in all honesty it looks like rules for converting them from “that other game”).
In short I found Eldritch to be unoriginal, uninspired, overly complex and incomplete, to be worth even the price of the PDF. You are not really getting anything more then the barebones minimum of an FRP system , and that in and of it's self should be a deal breaker for a system that claims to be an all in one book.If you are looking for a simple, transparent, original, and all inclusive sysem, there are plenty of better options to had (BRP, D6, and T&T come to mind).
For thoses planning on making a go of it, you have your work cut out for you (I wouldn't even recomend using Eldritch as an alternate rule set). If you are lucky, the future no doubt holds a metric ton of additional books to flesh out the world of Eldritch.