Without knowing him or anything about him, I would say that the author of this work, Brian St-Claire King, has a deep-rooted love and understanding of Tibet that he wants to share with as many people as possible. When this volume first arrived my first thoughts were why would anyone base an entire role-play system on Tibet, or in fact any one country. I can understand Tibet being a sourcebook for any number of rpgís but not an rpg itself ?
Set in the late 1950ís when the Chinese were forcibly converting the Tibetans to Communism this volume is filled with, if not accurate then passionate, details of life in this mysterious, magical land. I would surmise that not many of us know a great deal about Tibet. We have heard of the Dalai Lama and the Himalaya Mountain Range, including Mount Everest, but what do we know about the people and their culture, their lives and their beliefs?
My immediate impression is that this is not a book you would pick up and purchase unless you had some fore-knowledge of it. The cover art is impressive but even though there is lettering that (when read closely) states ďThe Role-Playing GameĒ it looks like it is a sourcebook. In fact it is a complete rpg system and includes two sample scenarios which although short not only give a good entrance into the mechanics of the game but also give prospective adventure writers ideas on how they might proceed.
As I see it, and I havenít checked out every piece of information given, Mr St-Claire King has woven and blended history, fact, fiction and mystical myth into a reference book to offer Tibet up as an excellent setting for a game. He has then utilised character creation ideas from several other rpgs and added his own influence so that the game mechanics have something of his own enlightened spirit in them.
For authenticity the book is littered with dozens of black & white photographs and illustrations and by the time you have read a good way in to the book the reference material is so well written that it is easy to forget that you are holding a game book and not an actual historical volume.
Depending on the character you choose and how you intend to command and control him or her your choices are based around actual possibilities from the people of Tibet, with a few game-oriented abilities thrown in to the mix. Combat is normal in any rpg but it is deadly in Tibet and should be used only on occasion. The same is with magic and martial arts, both of which have their place but over use cheapens and dulls them. If you are going to play Tibet then all players, as well as the GM, need to have read this book, almost from cover to cover, and made fairly comprehensive, if not exhaustive, notes. As this is not a sourcebook you cannot have outsiders simply wandering in and conducting any type of investigation or action-based scenario. Each PC must be from within the Tibetan area and know its ways.
I fell that TIBET the Role-Playing Game is of limited appeal but that any games players who have an interest in this region will regard it as a must-play. I congratulate the author on the immensity and excellence of his work though, for it is a stunningly well devised product. Personally I didnít find any humour in this almost-reality-rpg. I like my game to have action, adventure, detective work and humour. This is more for the University educated player than the high-school drop-out.
TIBET is well written, different, interesting of topic and layout and if you are looking for something conservative and quite, almost coldly, different in role-playing, something that hasnít just been cobbled together and something that requires a lot of thought and concentration the Tibet is certainly all? of those things.