Just realised that I had failed to add this classic to my Goodreads.com bookshelf. It is without doubt my favourite rpg. Full stop (or for my American friends, ‘Period’).
At its heart is a simple rpg system. Roll a d20, aim to roll under or equal to a target number (your skill etc.). If you manage this you succeed. If you roll equal to your score, that is a critical success. If the roll is opposed (eg. in situations where two characters are competing against each other) the higher succeeding roll wins (unless one is a critical, ie. exactly equal to the target number) as this is a higher rated success.
What makes this game so special, however, is the way it marries the system to the genre the game is set in: Arthurian legend (primarily Marlory’s take on it). Its introduction of Character Traits and Passions brings personality to the fore and reinforces and encourages playing in a style that accords with the source material. Love, honour, glory and even fits of madness are the heart of the game, rather than combat or spell lists.
The Fifth edition is more streamlined than the somewhat bloated fourth edition, and along with the Great Pendragon Campaign provides in my humble opinion, a perfect example of great game design.