I'm not going to be able to afford the 2nd Edition Collector's Edition, but I will be purchasing the pre-order for the regular book, especially since I DO love the artwork on it, but because I also think there are some important changes coming to the game. I will give you a link to the article and then I will go through section-by-section from that article and outline whether I like a particular idea or not; hint, there's a LOT I'm liking about the changes for second edition, though it would seem from my statements, below, that I dislike more. Consider that the things I comment for liking will have the most impact on the game, in general, and perhaps our game more particularly. I can't wait to see what their character sheet is like and whether or not I will be designing my own, muwahahahahahaha!!!
What’s New in Second Edition?
Well, now you can go find out, by reading here! Scroll down until you get to that title... What's New in Second Edition
And... here are my thoughts on each section of the article...
Body is now Strength – I don’t know what knucklehead(s) came up with this idea, but it’s incorrect. Body covers not only strength, but resilience to various forces as well. Strength does not cover all those things. Wrong move. I know Gandalf talked to Gimli about recovering his strength, but that was STILL only part of the physical makeup of that character.
Target Numbers – Oooh, I like what they’ve done with that. It puts the difficulty on the character, as made, instead of making it arbitrary. I really like that and might implement it in other games, as well.
Callings – In essence, alignments have been put into the game, here, more or less encouraging role-playing within the boundaries of one’s calling. That might take some getting used to, but I think it will end up being for the better, in the end.
Endurance and Hope – I like none of what they’ve done with Hope and Endurance; it’s non-sensical and forces the game to take a step back. The differences in Endurance helped differentiate a tough fighter from a weakling author or singer. The differences in Hope did the same, but on a very important and much different scale. Having a Hope Bonus is a mistake and will make the game be too generic, unless of course that Hope Bonus is based on, say, an average of the three Attributes?
Shadow – First off, they should have let it remain Shadow-weakness, instead of changing it to Shadow-path... Shadow-path clarifies nothing and makes it sound like an inexorable leading into darkness, where there is no possibility of return. A weakness can be overcome, a path once begun down cannot. With a weakness one can see their future, recognize it for what it is, and attempt to change their journey, where with a path one cannot see their immediate future, does not know what’s around the next twist in the path. Apart from silly name-changes, it sounds like everything remains as it was.
Journeys – Okay, Journeys are going to be easier, but they’re also going to take an element of control, an element of agency from the Players who suffer through these things. This change turns the game in “football on TV”, where you’re watching the game but can’t affect it. There are no saves, nothing to allow the Players to get out of it, anymore.
Councils – It’s about time they re-wrote Encounters to be called something else and used in a different way. Encounters are what you have on the road with some monster or bad intentioned group or a caravan of folk, etc., or in towns when someone accosts your character and that word should not be used for talking to prominent folks and requesting aid, introducing yourselves, etc. I’m not certain Councils is the correct word, either... what, in Heaven’s name, is wrong with the word Meetings?
Combat – I definitely DO NOT LIKE the idea of adding more dice to attacks and encouraging people to be more aggressive. The rules have been fine on this, and it’s a mistake to power-up characters. If you have one Player-hero in Forward Stance against three enemies, they should be pushed back until a number of Player-heroes equal to the bad guys ALSO find themselves in Forward Stance and MUST be aggressive or lose their friend, or die. Feeding dice into the combat can, yes, make the combat proceed more quickly, but it also gives unequivocal authority to the Player-heroes to win. Most Players do not just want to win, they want to win with some modicum of fairness, to feel as though their Player-heroes’ life were in danger. This system will take that away from them. Instead of tightening up the rules to make the game more challenging, Cubicle 7 have instead loosened the rules until they are almost ineffective.