1. The classless system. No artificial "class abilities" to worry about--if a PC wants to move silently, she does, and there are no "but she can't do it as well as a rogue could" hassles.
There are also occupational guidelines for players who prefer that approach, but they are just suggested skill bundles.
The action resolution system is very similar to Lejendary Adventure (and also to C&C in some respects)--there are no feats or skills as such, but there are broad Abilities that advance with experience, and it is up to the player to make the case for using an Ability in a certain situation. No thing is written that you must have some feat or class to try something.
However, unlike core LA, you can take narrow specializations and master certain aspects, and those options are built into the core mechanic and action resolution system. So Eldritch has a 3-tier ranking system for ability: basic (1st tier), specialization (2nd tier) and mastery (3rd tier). Each tier has up to five steps of ranking, from D4 to D12. The basic tier can branch out into multiple specializations, and each specialization can have multiple masteries.
it is a "roll high" system rather than "roll low" like LA.
Yes, in some cases actions are resolved using the classic "opposed roll" method. Sometimes the opposition dice is determined by circumstance, and other times by opponent's ability.
Active defense pools, makes combat interesting.
I certainly think so too, but I'm biased. Check out my designer's blog on combat for more talk on that subject (and the Quick Stat covers it well, I think).
4. Magic system. Flexible, and scales with the amount of power expended (no spell levels (well, mostly)). Fun and easy.
Magic also has the "one roll determines all" mechanic that I like. You roll your ability and that determines effectiveness and spell point cost, as well as resolving any opposed rolls. Range determines difficulty in most cases, while some effects require a minimum rank in the 2nd tier of ability (specialization).
Things that I don't like as much:
1. The lack of saving throws. The Resilience defense pool serves in place of saves, but I just don't like it as much.
We have optional systems that work, and are being playtested (by folks like dunbruha).
2. The book is horribly written (sorry, Dan
). But he is working on a revision which hopeflly should be ready soon...
Still, it's a fun game...and yes, I've seen what needs to be done to streamline and better explain stuff. The core book is the result of many cooks in the kitchen, and I didn't write all the parts myself, so...
Well, hopefully the Quickstart is a good example of how I can improve and streamline the explanation (I wrote the QS, sans some cut & paste, plus the sample adventure almost from scratch).
3. Lots of (initially) confusing abbreviations. I am starting to get used to them, but I still have to look up some. (But then, AD&D was pretty confusing when I was starting to learn it back in '82...).
There's ADC (ability-dice-chain), MRV (max-rank-value), and Defense Pool (DP). Those are the only abbreviations that aren't in common use among all RPGs. It could be worse...
4. The iniative system is (in my opinion) needlessly complicated. I just use a simple init order based on the Speed Ability + Weapon Speed. It works fine.
Yes indeed, lots of easy options there.
5. The lack of attribute scores is kind of wierd at first, but most things are covered by the Abilities (but Wisdom and Charisma are not covered well).
Encourages RP and character concept!
Not enough monsters and spells. It's not that hard to convert from C&C, but still...
That's being worked on. Traps first, then monsters...and I've got some good news on the horizon...
But overall, I really like it. So I would encourage you to give it a try. The board here is great, and Dan is very kind in answering questions!
Thank you! I try my best and I have thick skin!