I love Warrior, Rogue & Mage because of its statistical approach to fantasy role-playing.
It’s a beautifully simple system. Instead of various attributes, races, and classes, WR&M uses three attributes: Warrior, Rogue, and Mage. Each player-character has 10 points total to divide among these three attributes. A character with many points in Warrior and few in Rogue or Mage is naturally a fighter of some kind.
In addition, each character has a few skills — which are simply on or off; no ranks or levels — as well as a few talents (special abilities), and four derived attributes: Hit Points based on the Warrior attribute, Fate Points (allowing for re-rolls, ignoring deadly attacks, etc.) based on the Rogue attribute, Mana based on the Mage attribute, and Defense based on Warrior and Rogue. That’s it.
To attempt an action, roll d6 and add it to the appropriate attribute. If the character has an appropriate skill, it adds +2 to the roll. If the result is equal to or higher than a target difficulty level (or the opponent’s Defense, for attacks), the action succeeds. Damage is rolled based on the weapon, and subtracts from Hit Points.
How It Works
Character concepts translate very directly to stats, as do actions. If I want to do something fighty or brawny, I use Warrior. If I want to do something sneaky, I roll Rogue. If I want to use magic, I use Mage.
Even better, you can easily create a character that mixes two or all three of these. You can be the jack-of-all-trades, or an acrobatic fighter, or a hard-hitting battle sorcerer.
Perhaps this is just because of how my mind works, but I found WR&M incredibly easy to grasp. The system got out of the way, while remaining closely relevant to characters’ actions.
You can download it now for free.