Monday, January 31, 2011

NERO 9th Edition

Like fabled beasts of yore, this mythic creature has been haunting the edges of the NERO world since before the year 2000. Originally called NERO Revised and then NERO millennium, it now enters the realm of the real with the working title of NERO 9th edition. The reviews thus far have been mixed but I am going to pick out a couple of the changes and tell you why I like or do not like them, and then open the floor up for some discussion.

A lot of things have changed most of them are not to major but some of them have been hotly debated. The one that is nearest and dearest to my heart is the lowering of weapon proficiency costs overall for the Templar class. The cost was a graduated one in the past topping out at 25, it is now a flat 18 all the way up. This reduces the cost for a templar to swing 10 points of damage by almost 40 build and reduces the cost to swing 20s by almost 90 build. For the mid level player this will not seem like a huge deal, templars will still have to choose between doing damage and having a lot of spell power. For the higher level player it allows for a more balanced approach to the character class, swinging for lots of damage while having an appreciable number of spells. I believe that this better captures the intent of the class as a sort of caster/fighter hybrid. It allows a high level templar to act as a fighter with an appropriate healer buddy and also act as a healer with an appropriate fighter buddy.

A change was added to making production items that allows for up to 4 times the characters level in the skill to be created. This has allowed for the addition of another treasure type, production components that allow you to produce more goods if you collect enough of them. Anything that adds to the in game economy is a plus in my mind. This should allow for some cool role play moments between creation based characters and adventuring based characters, trading goods for production components, which allow the creation of more goods.

The really cool thing about this new addition is how neat and tidy it is. The old book was filled with inconsistencies and errors. Most of the metagame data was organized nonsensically. The new book has corrected almost all of this. The pages are well laid out and the photographs are much better. The playtests that were deemed succesful were included in the book and the errata were as well. All in all I believe that this book, once everyone has converted, will make the game simpler and easier to play, and most importantly easier to teach to new players.

This rule set has been a long time coming. Many were hoping for less, many were hoping for more. All in all though, it gives us a good starting point for adding some new content and it corrects a lot of the issues that were found in the old game. The system should be faster and simpler than the old system. Hopefully the new formal concepts and cantrip changes will allow for easier scaling by plot teams. The lay out of the magic pages alone is worth the adoption of the new system. I urge everyone to at least try it out, playtest it, and give it an honest chance. Learning new rules can be arduous but the payoff is uniformity and better play.

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