One of my problems with the book is the layout:
Not enough references - ex. league definition, stats of an Idea or Concept is not in one place or table, instead it is spread out in the page. Notice that Price, Weight, Bonus/Penalties, Character Gen cost, etc... are not simplified in one table for reference. Instead you have to search around for it. With my straining eyes and being very carefull not to damage the book moving back and forth it was a test of patience.
As a lesson learned and after editing a ton of D20 and GURPS material for my games, tables really have to be efficient. I have a bad feeling that if layed-out more pragmatically and easy for the eyes of someone who will diminish due to age, the book will be much thinner... In fact the book would have been perfect for Digest Size (half of a letter size) IMO. I am growing a fondness for the size.
I really need to use post its and move stuff around. I'm half tempted to slam the book down and get GURPS.
Ideally processes and steps are a side bar. Having to explain each step in blocks of large paragraphs or very sparse text between visual zones is confusing to me.
There are 18 Abilities (like Ability Scores)
There are a bunch of Specializations per Ability (that are like Skills)
Operations - This is skills behind the scenes. I lean towards operational mastery because its the details age has allowed me to appreciate and in my military studies. Most of these activites are long actions and are complicated. The thing is, operational effectiveness is what gets you to ambush and sieze the battle field (both in its literal and metaphor meaning) in order to have an edge on the opponent. Also, it allows you to win "without drawing a sword", if your a Sun Tzu nut, operations is where I'd rather fight because I have the opportunity to pull out and lick my wounds in very lethal games. Operational includes Intelligence Ops (scouting and thievery).
Front Line: Combat - I dont like front line. Its like court or gambling... it can swing any way and the costs can be very very high. If you've heard about the bidding cognitive bias (escalation of commitment and anchoring). I have low appetite for risk, and thats how you survive a lethal game.
Front Line: Social - Much like combat, but has less risks if you check out the Intrigue rules. Influence, damage control, and information gathering, are common tasks of social. Social is one step removed from danger, as compared to combat.
Note where skills overlap in multiple fields (Combat, Social, and Ops). Those are the skills that have more strategic flexibility. Min-maxing, I will work along a frame work that will maximize survivability - that is focus on staying behind the scenes via being valuable and effective in Ops, a secondary strategy in social, and having one feat in reserve saved in combat.
One of the best strategies is to Specialize and outsource where you are weak - this is where the party and NPC allies come in.
My Game Format.
A lethal game, is about Ops and Influence. if it was about fighting, then play DnD, because games like SIF and L5R are lethal. To make for a survivable character in combat brings one to escalation of commitment - basically you are ignoring diminishing returns and spending inefficiently in character creation.
Running this Game.
I need compressed and efficient tables. I need all the Ops related data - travel and exploration, the statistical data, all the uses and alternative uses of various skills and abilities. Which is a F*cked up use of my time. I wish I can assign this to an OJT. Right now I'm working in compressing the character sheet in Statement sized paper. Shrinking the data helps.
If it was not a Rights issue, I'd like to make a video to explain rules and showcase how to resolve activities. Because of rights issues, its hard to do this as a fan. I wish I had time and players to help me finish my open system.
* Characters run slower than GURPS. .67yrds/sec walking somehow translated to 3mi/hour. I'm not sure if this corrected in the errata.
* Sprinting characters with 4b can travel 4yrds/sec which is pretty slow. I wanted to play RAW but to do so with some logistical sense means gutting the movement system. The big deal about the movement rates is that Logistics have a kind of physics inherent, that despite the broad deviations over time the average stays relevant for centuries.
* Administration is built into Status, and Coordination is built into Will. I'd rather have organization be part of Cunning or some other skill. I am free mix specialties with other abilities.
Recently, in editing my D20 SRD digest booklet, I realized how much of a BLOCK OF TEXT DnD 3.5 can be and how much formulas can save on table space.