Its been a long time since I posted last, and part of that time I’ve taken a hiatus from the game. Symbaroum is beautiful- the art, the player-centric design, and especially the lore as it’s published. It has a major shortcoming with rules though.
To put it simply, there is very little apparent thought put into them regarding clarity and balance. Accurate is a near universal dump stat, and stacking damage and armor is so easy for an organized party that- if you are coming from a ‘game the system’ background- you can easily break the game with your starting characters. There is enough ambiguity with the rules as written that GMs aren’t given the resources they need to be able to make calls effectively without extensively familiarizing themselves with the books. Too many rules are referenced outside of the actual rules page or are in extended materials, glaring ones being poisons and the significance of free, active, and passive actions, that players and GMs alike can be left scratching their heads as to what really was intended. Symbaroum really requires players that are more interested in the story telling and less interested in the dungeon crawls, while also calling for a GM who is also experienced enough to be able to fill in the gaps and run the game they want to run.
But there are good things, too. The ability to create a stealthy character that wields heavy weapons with backstab, or a loremaster that can cast mystic powers with their sheer ingenuity is fantastic, and the flexibility inherent in the system allows for all variety of characters to be made without forcing you into a specific path of progression is wonderful. Meanwhile, I strongly support the elimination of skills, and the flexibility of the magic system. The mechanics of the magic system are particularly praiseworthy; giving you impressive abilities that immobilize enemies, ignore armor, and are capable of destroying entire swarms but at the cost of potentially turning into a creature of corruption.
Ultimately, Symbaroum still has a hold on me. The flaws are abundant, but the love that its designers clearly put into the game keeps me hooked buying more of their stuff every kickstarter.