"Not The End" is the most recent title of Fumble Gdr, written by Claudio Pustorino and illustrated by Pietro Bastas, which is now a media phenomenon in the world of Italian role-playing. After a Kickstarter campaign in which he raised over forty thousand euros, a very interesting goal for an Italian project that does not concern Dungeons & Dragons, the title finally presents itself to us in all its beauty. If you missed our Quickstart article, you can find it Thu.
Fast times and a middle pandemic
The first thing to praise about this product is the speed and professionalism with which Fumble Gdr delivered the product. Managing all the work and deliveries, during a pandemic that forced Italy to close, must not have been easy. In these days Facebook is populating with photos of the first arrivals, an evident sign of the excellent work done in logistics.
What is "Not The End"?
"Not The End" is not the name of a setting or a system, but of the concept behind all the work that has been done.
The volume of about 230 pages is cleverly divided into two large sections: the first for the player and the second for the narrator. In the first part, HexSys, the system used by "Not The End", is presented, and in the second, excellent suggestions are given to the master on how to create your own setting, take a cue from the existing ones and use "Not The End" for any type of adventure.
The Pillars on which the title is based
The philosophy behind "Not The End" is governed by three large pillars, perfectly capable of justifying all the design choices made by the author.
Risk for what you consider important: Not the End puts the player in a position to expose their hero to risky and problematic situations, without feeling punished. The complications experienced by the hero are an integral part of the game experience and should be experienced as an opportunity to explore his personality, motives and values.
Let the story change your hero: characters of Not the End evolve when they experience the consequences of their actions on their skin. The player will be able to decide what are the crucial tests for the evolution of his hero, but he will have to decide it before knowing the outcome. In this way, each character will evolve based on the significant experiences he will experience throughout the story.
Live each End as a new Beginning: Every hero of Not the End, throughout history, is face to face with the end. Sometimes it's the end of it, sometimes it's the end of something
important to him, like a journey, a friendship, an oath, an ancient grudge. Not the End highlights these moments by allowing the player to evolve the hero in a unique way.
HexSys allows you to create absolutely unique characters, even if starting from the exact same base. The game board looks like a grid of hexagons to fill and this is where the players' imagination is perceived. The narrator will guide his players in the compilation of these hexagons until a hero is done and finished in front of his eyes. What distinguishes one hero from another? All. Although the archetype to which each character refers may be the same (jedi knight, knight of the round table, Hogwarts student, etc ...) the traits and characteristics will be unique. Since there are no stats or abilities, creating clones is practically impossible. HexSys allows you to play YOUR jedi, magician, knight.
The narration in "Not The End" always continues
The HexSys system is based on the extraction of positive and negative tokens, placed in a bag according to the hero's traits and the difficulty of the test. The first positive draw will allow success in the test, with bonuses or advantages for each further positive draw. All negative extractions will add complications for the group, the hero or other. The narrator has no power over the matter, since he never extracts anything.
The presence of advantages and complications makes the scene dynamic, avoiding the "fail to break the door you needed to continue" effect.
HexSys is easy to explain and learn
Thanks to the supports made available by Fumble Gdr, such as the bot for Discord and the mobile application, Not The End can be played anywhere and explained in five minutes. The basic mechanics of the game do not require you to do calculations, roll dice or light skills, so it is excellent for both more experienced players and beginners.
The proposed settings are incredible
Although Not The End can be played literally with any setting, no matter the context or the assumptions on which it is based, in the final part of the manual we find excellent proposals from the author. The suggested ideas, besides being excellent examples on how to build a setting in Not The End, also allow you to play fantastic adventures.
Who is the game recommended for?
"Not The End" is not recommended for build lovers, for those who want to throw a bucket of dice and for those who like to shout at the world for having done 300 damage in one turn. It is simply an experience based on risk, growth and choice. It offers a game engine that places little emphasis on small-scale combat or skill testing, but rather on the importance that a given event has for the character.