The back cover of “Novus” says:
” Firehawk Games did not set out to reinvent the fireball, it tried to make a fun and flexible game that can easily be adapted to many different styles of role-playing and many different settings. Firehawk Games wants to give you and old school experience with modern, up to date rules, and we believe that Novus fits the bill perfectly.”
I think the author did a good job with what he wanted to do, reading through the book was reminiscent of reading the old D & D Rules Cyclopedia, with some of the style of Rolemaster and HARP, which isn’t surprising since the author was involved in both of those, particularly HARP.
One thing that was new to me was the Snags and Boons. If you suffer a fumble, failure or are exceptionally successful then instead of just getting a bonus or being assigned a particular occurrence, the player gets a certain number of Snag or Boon points which they then immediately spend to purchase a modification to whatever they are doing, which could be extra damage, or breaking a weapon or many other choices. It’s interesting to me because it does give the Player more control over what happens in those cases.
The 128 page book gives you everything you need to get started in playing a game, character creation rules, races, backgrounds, character classes, spells, and monsters.
The system could easily be used to run most of the older AD&D or Basic D&D modules, particularly the ones designed for lower level characters.
Although I haven’t play tested it yet, it seems like a nice little system. Unfortunately, I don’t really think there is anything outstanding enough about it for it to get much attention, or to cause most players to want to switch from whatever their current favorite system might be.
I think to really be successful, it would need to get used as the underlying system for some sort of popular setting like “Game of Thrones” or another popular TV or book series.
Having said that, it will be interesting to see what sort of follow up material is produced and how well it does. There are a set of short pdf “Libram Novus” articles that are available that I will have to check out as well.