Codex: Game System Review


Game System Review

I got about halfway through the first page of chapter 1 when I blurted out, “Damn, this is going to be a fun game.”

In the Codex Core Rule book, you’ll find a dynamic game system that prioritizes strategy without sacrificing speed or pacing. Not an easy feat to accomplish, but they did it. Within the book you’ll find a system for armed and even unarmed combat. There is a large number of rules to this game, but you will find these rules intuitive, easy to understand, and remember. That’s why the Codex system can center on strategy without ending up bloated or slow. Your strategic options are numerous but easy to understand and fast to execute.

Codex focuses on armed combat and historical martial arts. This game offers a few options any GM should take seriously. First, it’s very modular. This system can be effectively adapted and combined with another TTRPG. This would be particularly useful for a low magic setting, but not, by any means, restricted to that type of game. Any homebrewer that enjoys tinkering with game mechanics should pick up this book.

If you have been playing the same TTRPG for a while and want to try something new, the Codex Core Rulebook is worth a read. A series of modules and adventures can also be purchased with this book. The Codex system centers on combat. However, it really is much more expansive than that. It is in fact, a total game system that can be adapted and assimilated by other game systems. Still, it’s totally playable independently.

One of the unique features of the Codex Core Rulebook is its focus on historical European martial arts. The book uses authentic illustrations from historical combat manuscripts. These illustrations offer the reader insight into the Codex world. You have a sense of realism with this combat system, and when combined with the illustrations of real combat techniques as well as the strategic nature of the rules, you get an elevated sense of immersion. Just reading the rules gives you a sense of what it would have been like to live and fight in medieval Europe.

The writers designed this to be a “dice focused” gameplay. As opposed to modifier focused gameplay. You build your character with different features that can be chosen as you level up. However, instead of simply adding a modifier to your character’s stats, you get more dice or can use your dice more strategically. I believe this is a trend that the TTRPG industry is headed towards, and Codex is there now. Rolling dice is fun, it’s suspenseful, it’s why we play tabletop games. Just like any other RPG, you build your character, but you don’t lose the excitement that comes along with the element of chance.

Codex blends strategy, immersion, excitement in a new approach. It can be adapted into a campaign you’re in the middle of or a system that you love but needs some freshening up, but it also manages to stand alone as an independent and fully functional game. Any GM can find something worthwhile in the Codex Core Rulebook. This is easily one of the best gaming systems I’ve read this year.

If you’re interested in picking it up, you can find it at Modules for the system as well as other rulebook systems that work with the Codex core rules are also there.

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