TL/DR: Glad I bought it, but I doubt I’ll play it.
Tequendria is a roleplaying game written by Scott Malthouse and published by Trollish Delver Games. It is billed as “a fantastical roleplaying game inspired by the works of Lord Dunsany”, but one can see the influence of Lovecraft, Bierce, and Chambers as well. I picked this game up on a whim… I had a Lulu coupon (one of those buy 4 for the price of 3 deals) and was, quite frankly, taken in by the cover by Ivan Bilibin. (Note, the electronic version at RPGNow appears to have a different cover than the printed copy.) Tequendria is a 77 page, softbound book. About two-thirds of it is devoted to the actual game rules; the last 24 pages contain three stories by Lord Dunsany.
Tequendria uses the Unbelievably Simple Role-playing system (USR), published by Trollish Delver Games. It’s only a buck at RPGNow, so if you want a look it won’t break the bank. Characters are defined by three attributes and an archetype. The attributes are Action (anything physical, strength, agility), Wit (mental things like intelligence, perception) and Ego (social things, persuade, charisma). Players have 1D6, 1D8 and 1D10 to assign to these attributes. The higher the die, the more competent your character is. What really makes Tequendria cool is the archetypes. You don’t play a warrior or a wizard in this game. Instead, you play a Moonblade or a Bathraka Cloudmind. Each archetype has three specialties (think skills) and a singular ability that sets it apart from the others. For example, a Necronaut may travel to the “Hollow” and speak to the dead. All of them look really interesting to play and the author has conveniently included a table so your players can randomly generate an archetype instead of agonizing over what to choose.
Apparently, all characters in this game are capable of casting spells. There is a list of serviceable spells included in the game, but I didn’t see any rules for choosing how many your character knows at the start of the game, or how to learn more. It could be that everyone just knows them. Spells are powered by a characters life force (i.e., hit points). Tequendria has a level-based system for advancement. Characters will gain more hits and can improve existing or learn new skills. I’m not a fan of increasing hit points with level, so I’d probably need to house rule something for this and for spell casting…
The USR game system is (not surprisingly) pretty simple. If there is a task, you figure out what attribute makes the most sense, roll the die, add any bonuses you might get from a specialty, combat advantage, etc. and attempt to beat a target number. When facing a foe, both characters roll their attribute die and the winner of the contest succeeds. I didn’t see any rule for a tie in this situation. I guess you can fall back on the “defender” wins or the contest must go another round or something. For static contests like climbing a wall or picking a lock, there is a table of difficulties. The only quibble I have with this system is that the target numbers don’t progress in a mathematical fashion. You’ll need to memorize or refer to the table in play. Overall, the system seems robust and should be entertaining for a “one-shot” or short campaign. There’s enough “meat” here to make me happy and it only needs a few tweaks or clarifications to run easily.
There are excellent chapters on the world and the creatures that inhabit it. I would love for this to be fleshed out even more. Tequendria looks like a fascinating world, but we get only the barest glimpse of its many lands and cultures.
The book ends with three stories by Lord Dunsany. I’ve never read any of his works before. Let me warn you, the prose takes some getting used to. I found “Idle Days on the Yann” to be a complete snooze fest. It’s basically a travelogue of the weird and fantastic places the author journeys too. It was a hard slog to get through it since nothing exciting ever happens. The other two tales were more engaging and better examples of how one could structure an adventure in this world.
Tequendria is not an easy game to get into. The author has stated that this is a game about the worlds of Lord Dunsany, but he offers little advice on how to run such a game. There are no sample adventures. The snippets about abandoned towers and underground caverns sound like standard dungeon crawling to me. We do have some stories to read to “get the feel” of the world, but I think I’d need to read a lot more Dunsany to convey the world to my players. The game certainly is evocative and has a lot of cool ideas I’d purloin for other “weird fantasy” games. I’m happy I picked this game up, but I’m not sure I will ever run it.