BESM Dungeon

I tried running a solo game for Russell, using the new Big Eyes, Small Mouth: Dungeon pregenerated adventure. I’d been wanting to try BESM, just to see how the system worked, and this seemed like a good opportunity. As it turns out, BESM isn’t bad–I think a bit better in terms of chargen than actual play (the combat system in particular has the feature that equally good opponents will actually score a hit on eachother at most 25% of the time–which makes for pretty long combats without a lot of decision points); it’s close enough to my homebrew that in the future I’ll probably either swipe some of it for the homebrew (I like the point cost system for buying unique powers), or if I run any BESM tweak it with house rules from my homebrew (e.g. making degree of success matter in combat would fix the problem I mentioned).
That being said, though, the editing in Dungeon was horrible: bad enough that it nearly negates the usefulness of having the adventure written out for you. For instance, it provides templates to make it quick to create a character–but the templates have enough errors and omissions in them that you really have to recalculate them from scratch before using them. Similarly, the random encounter charts helpfully indicate the page numbers for the creatures encountered, but those pages turn out to be templates for creating monsters, not fully-stated monsters. The idea, I suppose, is that you can adjust the difficulty to match the party; in practice it means that you have to spend time building the monsters in advance or try to do it on the fly during the game. I did the latter, and accidentally made the first encounter too tough and it wiped out Russell’s party (timely intervention by an NPC that they had rescued saved them, but still…) Even the monster encounters that are fully worked have problems: one room (that Russell never got to) said it contained a necromancer and twelve zombies. A sentence later it said “Both zombies have swords.” Looking at the description of the necromancer to try and settle whether it’s twelve or two zombies shows that he doesn’t have enough points allocated for twelve unless they are flunkies who can’t attack (but that’s not how their stats look–they have fighting skills and are built on double the points of a flunky), but it’s not enough points for two servants (who can attack) who are a powerful as the zombie description, either. Argh.
The final verdict: BESM, pretty cool rules-light system, but needing some tweaks to make it scale and speed combat. BESM Dungeon: waste of time and effort.