Just like D&D, Quest is a fantasy tabletop roleplaying game. It started and got funded on Kickstarter, where it was marketed as the "roleplaying game for everyone". In many ways, it is simpler than Dungeons & Dragons but robust enough to have compelling and exciting stories with your friends. If you love the roleplaying and storytelling aspect of TTRPGs, then this system is definitely for you.
What makes Quest stand out
There are several major things that Quest does differently. Below are just some of the major differences we found:
- One D20: Quest makes use of only one d20 for rolls of chance
- Skill Tree: Each role levels up using a skill tree and you get a new skill every level
- Fixed Difficulty: When rolling, there isn't a moving target of difficulty. A 20 is always a Triumph (a critical in D&D), 11-19 you succeed completely, 6-10 you succeed but there's a cost, 2-5 is a complete failure and 1 is a catastrophe (or critical failure in D&D).
- Stats are simplified: For players, HP is always maxed out at 10 no matter what level you are. Basic attacks with a weapon are 2 damage and unarmed it is 1 damage. Enemies are similar but their HP can be more than 10 and there are a couple of special attributes you can attach for variation. Inventory for each character is also maxed out at 12
There are more differences than the ones above but these were the major ones that piqued my interest and made me love this system. If you're interested, their website has a great page guiding you through the basic rules: https://www.adventure.game/rules
Faster, straightforward gaming
As the Guide (Quest's name for Dungeon Masters), anything that has to do with numbers and statistics is straightforward. Everyone playing only has to worry about the d20 die and damage is simplified so that you only have to worry about the differences in a skill that you're using.
In our experience, the simplified numbers kept combat scenes from dragging too long. This can be great for groups that heavily lean on the roleplaying aspect. My players felt like they were accomplishing more in a smaller period and battles felt concise and epic.
For groups that like the numbers game and stricter rules; this might not be you and that's ok. Combat for Quest is more suitable for the "theater of the mind" style and that choice is very deliberate. In groups that are interested in tactical combat, questions of character positioning and strategy get hand-waved to a story-driven 2 damage to an enemy. For players like this, D&D or Pathfinder is probably a better option. But for everyone else, Quest is fantastic and simplifies some of the extra complexity of combat that many people might not enjoy otherwise.
Too much success? Or more forgiving failures?
With the fixed rolling array, Quest was designed to have more success on random rolls. This can be a good or bad thing depending on how your group likes to play. The Guide has to be very mindful of creating encounters, otherwise, your players can steamroll their way through each scene without any problems. In D&D, the difficulty of skill checks is a way to keep challenges from being too easy. The downside was that even if a player rolled a fairly high number like a 24, and the difficulty was 30, then it would still be a complete failure.
In contrast, Quest relies on the Guide to create interesting and meaningful choices when they roll the "Hard Choice" of 6-10 on their d20. A player will still succeed in what they were attempting but will have to compromise. They might be able to pick that lock but will have to choose between breaking their last lockpick or alerting all the guards.
It's an interesting idea where there is still forward movement, combined with twists that will affect the party and story. Not all "bad rolls" have to fail. I've had new players be turned off in their first game of D&D because they rolled a failure on almost every roll that beginning session. That's no fun.
Race-agnostic and skill-focused
A great-selling point for Quest is that the abilities and roles are race-agnostic and completely separate from the character’s backstory and appearance. You can play a spell-slinging dwarven blacksmith or a greataxe wielding fighter mouse and not have to worry about your race or appearance affecting your rolls as they would in D&D. The fixed random rolling array and the role-based skill trees are designed specifically to prevent this. Everyone is on an even playing field and there aren't any perceived differences other than the skills you decided to take.
D&D has recently added some alternative rules to ignore race affecting stats but Quest was designed specifically with this in mind and does it much better. As a common thread throughout this review, this might not be fun for groups that like tinkering with numbers and love modifiers on rolls.
Why I love running Quest and you should too
For many groups, aligning schedules and getting a session together can be the most difficult part of a game. More often, I've only had less than 2 hours to play with my group and Quest has been the perfect system to do it with. We've been able to have action-packed and meaningful sessions. Time isn't wasted fumbling around with long combat and busting out a calculator after someone rolled 4 different types of dice with stacking damage. I've introduced Quest to beginners and TTRPG veterans that love the simplicity of the system.
At the end of the day, use whatever system you and your friends have the most fun with. I've been reaching for the Quest book and core deck more and more for this very reason.
Our team has created a Quest Campaign Template for Notion and some simple game session notes that we'd love for you to check out! Also don't forget to check out Quest and their products on their website at https://adventure.game
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