RPG Review – Fantasy AGE by Green Ronin Press

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So, what is it?

Fantasy AGE is a new roleplaying system published by Green Ronin Press, and designed by Chris Pramas.

Some might recognize the name. He’s the man that Electronic Arts (EA) turned to for their roleplaying game based on their popular console game ‘Dragon Age’.

The Fantasy AGE Rulebook has been designed as an entry point and a stepping stone to tabletop roleplaying (at least to me).

By using the Fantasy AGE Rulebook, you can be the hero in your own sword and sorcery adventure or campaign.

So, what’s the book like?

First of all, we have to talk about the size of the Rulebook. The Fantasy AGE Rulebook, is smaller than you might expect for a Roleplaying (RPG) Core Rulebook. At only 140 odd pages, it’s alot smaller than other RPG Core Rulebooks I’ve owned. This is great for new people coming to RPG’s, as you don’t feel that your drowning in rules.

Nine steps. It only takes nine steps to create a character. Believe me when I say it’s actually quite easy to create your Hero.

Three classes to choose from, a Warrior (your classic melee fighter), a Mage (your classic spell caster), and a Rogue (your classic thief like character).

What? Only three classes?, I hear you say. Do Not Be Fooled. The amount of customization in these rules for characters is amazing. I might be showing my age but I keep being reminded of the character options in Eldar Scrolls 3: Morrowind, it’s that customizable.

So, what does it play like?

Ok, so in the Fantasy AGE Rulebook you get your typical fantasy races to choose from. There’s Humans, Elf’s, Orc’s, Dwarfs, Halflings and Gnomes. Want a half- breed, no problem. You can have your typical half Human- half Elf character, hell, you can have a bearded female Dwarf- Orc if you want. All the races have their own innate abilities and a chart that you roll on for additional benefits.

You’ld pick a class (warrior, mage or rogue), and then you’ld start to customize your character thru abilities, talents, weapons and backgrounds.

During character creation for determining attributes you have 2 options. The first option is simply to roll dice for each attribute and then your able to swap around 2 of your rolls. The second option (and the one I prefer) is a point buy system, where you’ld have 10 points to put into any of your attributes (with a max of 3 points in any attribute).

Part of characater creation is ‘Backgrounds’. Backgrounds are a nice addition to character building. There’s 4 tiers of backgrounds (outsider, lower caste, middle caste and upper caste). Depending on your caste your background can range from a soldier, to an artist, to a trader, to an aristocrat. These backgrounds grant your character additional benefits from the likes of gambling, to drnking, to a lore bonus, to a batering bonus and so on.

The game uses 3 six sided dice (3D6) for dice rolls. Two of the dice would be the same colour, and the third would be a different colour (think 2 black dice and a red dice). The red dice would be your ‘Stunt’ dice. When you roll your 3D6 and get doubles on any of your dice, you have just got a ‘Stunt’. Think of ‘Stunts’ as Critical Hits that other game systems use. The number on your Red dice shows how many ‘Stunt’ points you have. You can spend your ‘Stunt’ points what ever way you want. There are 3 ‘Stunt’ tables to spend your points on, they are Combat, Magic and Roleplaying. For example, say during Combat you get 5 ‘Stunt’ points. You can use five 1 point ‘Stunts’, a 2 + a 3 point ‘Stunt’ or even a 5 point ‘Stunt’, it’s up to you how you spend your ‘Stunt’ points.

Another nice addition to the game is ‘Black Powder’ weapons. No more going around with bows and arrows, you can take guns instead. Black Powder weapons come in 2 types, Pistols and Rifles (or Long Arms, as they’re called in the book).

For you spell casters out there, they have a new take on Magic. A Mage has a starting ranged attack. At character creation you select 2 spells from 2 different magic arcana’s (so a Mage starting at level 1 will have a magic ranged attack and 4 spells at their disposal), there’s about a dozen different magic arcana’s to choose from. Spell casting is based on a magic/ mana pool (think spell casting from the Final Fantasy games).

The Rulebook offers a level guide for levels 1 to 20 for the 3 classes and specializations for the classes. It offers advice for players + GM’s, and a small adventure. You also get a small beastiary of adversaries to get you started.

Verdict

I have to say that I actually like the system. Although the Rulebook comes across as ‘basic’ in regards to content, there’s everything you need to play a game and that’s a strength to this system.

The ‘AGE‘ in Fantasy AGE stands for Adventure Game Engine and that’s exactly what it is, a highly versitile game engine. You can use Fantasy AGE to run adventures in a Fantasy setting of your choice or a world of your own creation.

The Fantasy Age Core Rulebook was the first book in the AGE line from Green Ronin Press. They have since released a number of PDF’s, available thru their website and Drivethru RPG, to expand their Beastiary and to offer idea’s for your own adventures or campaigns.

There has also been an expansion released that adds a new race, a Sci- Fi setting and a new adventure to the AGE system. You might have heard about it? It’s called Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana, it has something to do with Will Wheaton (Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: TNG, Thundercats Superfan, and one of the airplane passenger eaten in Sharknado 2) and Geek + Sundry 😛

We’ll talk about Titansgrave in a later post.

The AGE system is definitely one to keep an eye on, and even try out.

– from The Man Cave

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