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Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook
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Quickly rate Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook

Green Ronin Publishing

Game system(s): AGE,
Genre: Fantasy,

Wed 15 July 2015
Chris Pramas,
Hardcover (144 pages)
$29.95 | Buy this product

Fun with stats: Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook is ranked #44 out of 68 products with 10 or more reviews, placing it in the 37% percentile. It is rated -3.3 points lower than the overall average product rating of 76.3%. With 14 reviews, this is the #41 most reviewed product.

73% HIT

Rated by 14 readers at 73% who deem this a HIT. A recommended purchase.
Read all 14 reviews | Write Your Own
There are 2 external reviews of this product with a combined rating of 100%. Read these reviews.

The Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook is your entry point to tabletop roleplaying. Now you can be the hero in your own sword and sorcery adventures! This is the game played on Wil Wheatonís new tabletop RPG show, Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana. The Adventure Game Engine (AGE) rules are easy to learn, and feature an innovative stunt system that keeps the action tense and exciting. This Basic Rulebook includes full 20 level advancement for all three classes, a new magic system, advice for players and GMs, and an introductory adventure so you can get started right away. You can use Fantasy AGE to run adventures in the campaign setting of your choice or a world of your own creation. A new AGE is upon us!
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  1. #11

    4 out of 5 rating for Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook

    Heard of this release before Gencon but had a chance to check it out at the con. Pleasantly surprised, I love the way the dice add to the excitement. Eager to play some games with Fantasy AGE.

  2. #12
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    4 out of 5 rating for Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook

    I am glad I did not read reviews here before purchasing. Yes, there are some types, but I actually really would love to give this system a go. The book presents a character generation system that seems logical and fun. I like that you get talents and specialisations, etc. I especially love how magic is sorted into 'like groups' and the way you either progress through them to become more specialised or simply choose another group to diversify.I actually liked determining part of your race randomly. However, there was one quirk I did not like. Races choose b/w 2 common talents (and these are pretty standard for fantasy races), but later on you roll for some other talents, but nowhere on the entry is the other talent you did not choose, even though those 2 clearly define the race more than the others in the chart.Yeah, D&D-style clerics are kinda missing, but really, they are missing from most fantasy literature too. Still, I am hoping an expansion of specialisations will fix this.Creature stats look a little too basic in parts. The stunt system looks great and in fact has influenced our other games with criticals etc. (I even developed a fighter archetype for 5E inspired by the stunt system here).But the main thing I really love is the core mechanic of using 3 six sided dice, but with a twist. One of them being the stunt dice is genius. Even though my player just love rolling d20s, I still want to give this a go at some stage and recommend you do too. :D

  3. #13

    5 out of 5 rating for Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook

    This review appeared originally at http://www.forgotmydice.com

    In a world where D&D exists, one of the questions I often find myself asking when I read fantasy RPG systems is this: Why am I playing this when I could be playing D&D? Itís a simple question, and not every game system has a satisfactory answer. Fantasy Age, however, is one system that not only do I like a lot, it also has two answers to that eternal question. Firstly, there are three classes in the game, and none of them are a cleric. It is a system that from the ground up has no plans for the divine world and the player character world ever touching. You can make that happen obviously, but again itís not baked in. Secondly, Fantasy Age reminds me a lot of the old D&D Rules Cyclopedia. It is a complete RPG system in one book, which is helpful when you want something a little lighter.

    The Basics
    Fantasy Age is the core rule book of the AGE system, which stands for Adventure Game Engine. It is the system that was first used for the excellent Dragon Age RPG. They have been talking about separating the system out for years, but sadly it was released just after D&D 5th edition, which meant it got over-shadowed by the big kid on the block. Luckily, Fantasy Age got a boost when Wil Wheaton used it for his own YouTube series Titansgrave. So soon after release, the game had a long adventure campaign that you could run. Plus, Titansgrave is set in a science-fantasy world, so you get the added bonus of playing a game with some robots and blasters thrown in, which was a nice change of pace if you have been playing traditional high fantasy D&D for a while.

    Fantasy AGE by itself is a generic high fantasy game. The overview of it covers all the bases you will probably want. You got Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Halflings, Humans, and Orcs. The three classes are Mage, Warrior and Rogue. It has a short section on monsters and how to make more (sadly the book doesnít come with enough monsters on its own, but fortunately the internet has more than made up for this). Plus there is a small intro adventure in the back. All of that in one hardback book for $29.95 MSRPÖ thatís a lot of value in-between those covers!

    One of the biggest draws for me for the Fantasy Age system is that a lot of ďfantasyĒ stories out there are difficult to translate to D&D. The main reason is that one of the core classes of D&D the cleric class, but very few popular fantasy stories feature clerics (at least, D&D clerics which have direct links to known gods which are also the source of magical power for these clerics). Fantasy Age is a very solid and simple game engine. So settings where the gods and religion are much more a matter of faith rather than gameplay, such as Dragon Age or Game of Thrones, you have a rules system that is much easier to for it to plug into.

    The Rules
    Characters are created using a similar system to 5th edition D&D, including picking a Race, a Class, and a Background. Also, much like D&D, early in level players pick a specialization that gives them extra powers and focuses them around a particular sub set of abilities. Unlike D&D, players eventually learn two of these specializations, so mixing and matching these can lead to some very interesting combinations.

    Characters also get ďtalentsĒ as they level up, which in D&D terms can be thought of as feats. What I like about this system is that talents have three levels of mastery: novice, journeyman, and master. Itís up to the individual player how their character will progress. They can focus on and master a few talents, or spread out the points and be novices in many, random talents. So even though there are only three initial classes to pick from, they can be customized to be different in a myriad of different ways.

    The dice mechanic in Fantasy Age is different as well. Instead of rolling a single dice, you roll 3d6. Two of your dice should be the same color, and one of them should be a separate color to symbolize the Stunt Die. Whenever you roll, if you roll doubles on any of the 3 dice and the total roll equals a success, you generate Stunt Points equal to what you rolled on the Stunt Die. For combat rolls, this allows you to add riders onto your attacks. For skill checks, this allows you to add different dramatic effects so you complete a skill with particular panache. Iím also a fan of this system as it makes figuring out the difficulty level of tasks easy. Because youíre rolling 3 dice most of the time, the most common roll result is 10. So if you ever find yourself needing to roll a number higher than 10, especially 12+, you should probably spend some resources or use a class ability to get yourself a bonus, or just use a different tactic to solve the problem.

    Finally, in D&D, the Strength or Dexterity stat gives you a straight bonus to your hit and damage rolls. In Fantasy Age, the stats are more nuanced, resulting in the stats Accuracy, Dexterity, Fighting, and Strength, among others. This means you can have the stats reflect the fluff of a character, such as a creature that is super strong but has a hard time hitting things, like a Ogre. But when one stat affects both those aspects, it means you canít have a character with a low attack bonus but with a high strength stat. So this system allows the Game Master more creativity when creating monsters for the players to fight. For instance, you can make something very skilled at applying weapons to adventurers but also with weak strength (like say a Sprite) so the little sword hits donít do much damage. Or you can make a big giant that will hit you like a truck but has a hard time connecting with the humans that only come up to its shins.

    Final Thoughts
    This is a really great book, and I have a fondness for any game system that manages to fit everything you need in one volume. The game system itself is much more rules-light and narrative than D&D, but still has enough crunch to make things interesting. It is definitely on my list of games Iíd like to play or run, either by running Titansgrave, or by converting it to another setting. Anyone looking for a similar game system should give it a try.
    Last edited by GrissTheGnome; Thursday, 14th April, 2016 at 06:09 PM.

  4. #14

    2 out of 5 rating for Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook

    I picked this up a while back after reading some good reviews, and while in search of a system that would support a rare magic fantasy world I was developing. What I mean by "rare magic" is that magic is something only a very small slice of the population can wield, and is thus something accepted as real, but so rare as to be poorly understood and certainly something to be feared. I'd tried 5e for a while with the world, but it was too hard to yank out so much of the pervasive magic from character classes to make them fit...hence, my interest in this system, which only offers one magic-using class and doesn't assume magic stores on every corner in the nearest town.

    The system works on a core mechanic of 3d6+stat+focus to overcome a static Target Number. Stats are single digit for almost all, if not all, of a character's 20-level lifespan, starting usually from 0-4 and growing through bonuses added at each level increase. There is simplicity baked into this, as one's stat is the modifier to rolls based on that stat. Focuses add a flat +2 to a roll, and are analogous to skills in other systems. Hence, one might roll 3d6+2(STR)+2(Athletics focus) to try to beat a TN13 to climb a wall. Easy; makes sense; seems like a different way of reaching the same thing that most other systems do. Combat is based on that roll versus an enemy's Defense, which is a static number, being 10+DEX, and perhaps some other modifiers. Damage is low, mostly d6+mod, or maybe 2d6+mod, and Armor, which is in the low single-digits is subtracted from this before being applied to Health Points.

    Here's a sample: a guard has a Defense of 11, and a Warrior, using Accuracy (the stat for ranged weapons) of 3 and the appropriate Focus (adding +2) for the bow used, takes a shot at the guard. The archer rolls 3d6+3+2 and tries to meet or beat 11. He rolls a 15, total, and then rolls d6+3 for damage (with that long bow). PCs will start with Health Points in the 20s to 30s, and add around 5-10 per level. That guard (using the Bandit foe as a template) has 15 Health Points, so it's going to take at least 2 arrows at almost max damage to take him down. Remember this example for my comments later.

    When rolling, you use 2 d6s of one color and a third of another, this other one being used to determine the number of Stunt Points earned whenever doubles are rolled on any of the three dice on a successful roll. Stunts are the system's mechanic for providing variability to roll-based play. Using your 1-6 Stunt Points, you purchase Stunts from the appropriate menu - either combat, magic, social, or exploration. These provide things like extra damage, pushing or disarming an opponent, knocking them over, getting the upper hand in a debate, or exploring an area faster or more completely than under other circumstances. There are about 2 pages, total, of all Stunts in the game. Stunts add variability to encounters by providing all charactes - PCs and NPCs - with the potential to do interesting things, regardless of class or level.

    Character creation is spread over several chapters, and requires a great deal of page-flipping back and forth; I've seen other rulebooks put together more coherently in order to avoid this. Character options are pretty restricted at the lower levels, and increase some over time. However, not a whole lot happens at each new level compared to Pathfinder or any version of DnD since 3.0. Each level provides a stat boost and some other ability or increase in an ability, plus another Focus (the systems term for skill) or so, and not much else. The primary changes a character experiences are mechanical, in the form of numerical bonuses, rather than new abilities or noteworthy changes to those they already have. I'm not saying that these do not come along; rather, they do not come along as often, and when they do they aren't really that significant. All that said, there are only three classes: Mage, Rogue, and Warrior, and they are each flexible enough to enable players to create most any character, in the most general terms, available in other systems.

    Magic is based on spells, which are categorized into Arcanas, of which there are 12. There are only 4 spells in each Arcana. Each Arcana represents spells of different types, like fire, healing, light, and so on. Spells are powered by Magic Points, which are a pool that grows over one's levels. You spend MP to activate a spell, roll against a static number to see if it works, and then in many cases the target gets a save to reduce the effects of the spell. Thus it is possible to spend your points and fail your activation roll and that's the end of your disappointing turn - that's not a bad thing, if you like that, but it's something worth being aware of when considering whether this magic system fits your play style. A mage character is proficient in spells from two of these categories, and picks up a new spell every few levels, meaning that the last new spell one would receive is not even halfway through the 20-level arc of a character. And by way of example, the most powerful fire spell only does 3d6+Willpower damage. Mind you, a first level character is likely to start the game with Health Points from the low 20s to low 30s, and adds d6+Willpower per level. Stats start at maybe 2 or 3, and you get to add +1 to one stat per level increase...meaning that a 10th level character could easily have in the neighborhood of at least 70 or 80 Health Points. Do the math. The most powerful fire spell in existence will do, at most, in the high 20s worth of damage...meaning that the most powerful mage might not kill a 1st level character with the most powerful fire spell one can wield. That's just weak. Beyond how weak most spells are mechanically, there are only a total of 48 spells spread across 12 Arcanas. And at your best, Mr. Mage, you will have access to 8 of them. They lack potency and variety.

    The monsters section of the book is 10 pages long, and the selected foes in the corebook are as boring and plain as are the spells. The vast majority can offer only melee attacks, and of them there are only a few that offer anything other than basic attacks, whether ranged, melee, or unarmed. Yes, there are a few that do interesting things, like the giant spider's web or medusa's paralyzing gaze, but those are the exception. Most of the monsters in the corebook and Bestiary (a separate book) offer Health Points damage only, relying on Stunts they generate to make their attacks interesting or varied in any way. When running other games I have often turned to bestiaries and books of foes for inspiration and ideas for adventures and encounters, and found the monster collection for this system to be utterly devoid of that spark that makes a GM think "cool power! I could put that thing in a flooded cavern, and..." It's just a collection of boring monsters that deal damage, and offer little else to differentiate them from one another. And given that all of them rely almost entirely for anything beyond Health Points of damage on rolling Stunts, over the span of a session or two every monster seems like the same thing. "Oh, the dragon hits you with its tail and gets a Stunt, knocking you prone and forcing you to drop your weapon." "Wow! That orc hit you and was able to, with Stunts, disarm you and knock you over." "Huh, the ooze got a stunt and disarmed you..." What at first seems like a neat way to vary encounters runs out of depth very quickly.

    I don't mind the 3d6 core roll, which provides more of a bell curve of results. I like Stunts, for players, and in theory for me, but found that selecting Stunts for NPCs and monsters was cumbersome for me as GM, and painfully so when I ran encounters with a diverse group of foes. The choices that the Stunts provide help to vary combat, social, and exploration encounters, enabling players to do things that would be available to PCs of others games more often through feats or special abilities. That's a good thing, but when you're going through the menu of Stunts at the table it can really slow down the pace of the game. The bestiary section of the rulebook provides ideas about which Stunts a given monster would use, but leaves you to flip pages to find those stunts when the become available - another slowing factor for encounters.

    Remember the combat example from above? And my comments about that fire spell? A big problem we've experienced is that combat can drag on for a while because weapons and spells do comparatively little damage versus Health Points, especially as the level of play increases. This is a problem in many systems, I know, but magic tends to create opportunities to deal some really devastating blows. This system does not provide those opportunities, leaving PCs in most encounters to just hack away, round after round, and me on my side of the screen hand-waving a great many encounters after they bog down in boring round after round rolls.

    It probably sounds like I'm really down on this system and perhaps you're wondering why I didn't give it 1 star instead of 2. While the Stunt system is cumbersome for the GM, it works for players who are on the ball and familiar with the menu and how they like to run their characters in encounters. I've seen my players do creative things with various Stunts, and that's made for good moments in sessions. I am working on a house rules 'port of the Stunt system into 5e for critical hits, actually. Thus, for players I think the Stunts - combat, magic, exploration, and social - are a good, unique aspect of this system, and my players like them.

    Overall, this is an easy system with one interesting aspect, the Stunts, which themselves are good for players and less so for the GM. It had an intiutive appeal for me upon reading about it and reading through the book the first time. It was through a few months of game play, however, that the limitations and shortcomings of the system came glaring through. The magic system, as I explained, is really disappointing, although if you want low magic - that is, magic that's not very powerful, doesn't offer many options, and is easy to get to know given the short list of spells - then you might really like this. The bestiary - both the short one in the corebook and the standalone book - stinks.

    I've been gaming since TSR had just released ADnD, and was hoping to find a somewhat different system that would fit the funky world I've been working on building. In the end, the core dice mechanics fit the world fine, but came up way short in ways that I believe would limit the utility and playability of the system at most fantasy tables, and I've never seen such uninspiring collections of spells and monsters.
    Last edited by lyle.spade; Friday, 24th March, 2017 at 03:24 PM.
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  5. #15
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    2 out of 5 rating for Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook

    Well I really wanted to love this game. I VERY rarely buy books anymore, but I grabbed this one after skimming through it in the shop. The thing is, the core of the rules, which I checked, is very nice; the snag is with all the rest.

    While advertised as "an entry-point into tabletop RPG" (read: our own 5th edition), it's really a repurposed half-finished ruleset, tacked on a nice GM tips section, but nothing else. Mind you, the core rules ARE nice. But if you're the target, that is a beginner GM, I'm sorry but turn away and run for D&D.

    Only if you're absolutely looking for an alternative to D&D/Apocalypse/Cypher, and you're willing to make up rules, could you consider this neat core ruleset - but plan on house-ruling pretty much everything. Considering this a setting-agnostic system, well you're paying for not much.

    That's where the game shines. It's a typical level-stat-skills system, but with neat twists over its well-known siblings:
    * Using 3d6 instead of a d20 allows for low, controlled stat numbers, and makes a clear difference between skilled and non-skilled PCs (but see the Stunt die success issue below...)
    * New abilities alleviate classic issues. The old blurry Wisdom gives way to Perception and Willpower. Charisma-which-is-not-physical-beauty is replaced with useful Communication (and Intimidate is a Strength skill). "Accuracy" is basically the part of Dex that's involved with hitting thing; same for Fighting in regard to Strength: this prevents "mono-stats" builds and allows for strong, but clumsy fighters or deft duellist (except, it doesn't work, see below...).
    * The three broad classes is a nice way to encompass various sub-roles simply (except it doesn't really work)
    * Nice, semi-random creation system
    * The Stunt system is a flexible way to enrich gameplay. When you roll any doubles, you get Stunt points equal to your Stunt die (one of the three dice you roll) to spend on tricks, which you purchase on-the-spot from a list. This works on non-combat encounters as well. (except, it quickly becomes unwieldy).

    * The book contains a few monsters in a clear, concise format, most of which have cool powers (good luck with balancing encounters, though)
    * A nice introductory scenario (which is the oddest introductory scenario ever written, though)
    * Lots of advice, lots of gear in a slim book.
    * Nice presentation, illustrations, and layout

    Now on to the issues. They start springing up when you're done with character creation.

    That's both the strong point and a serious let-down.
    The thin book is crammed with to-the-point gaming advice, from prep time to miniature issues, player style and expectations, and using inspiration.
    This would make it a great game for beginner GMs... if it gave them any help with the rules... And that's where it all breaks down. At every page, the prospective GM is left with classic excuses such as "make it up", "use common sense", "rules cannot be provided for the various situations", but mostly plain nothing.

    The worst example are the skills. There's a single page devoted to the 80+ skills, with one sentence each. E.g. "JUMPING: Springing and leaping". That's it. No rules, no target numbers. This is typical for a cheap 90s ruleset, not a 2015 Green Ronin mainstream product targeted at beginners. I pity the fresh GM who has to come up with rules for jumping, disarming traps, fixing stuff, hiding or finding loot (you know, stuff they will do within the first hour of play?). That's absolutely inexcusable.

    Another example, in the "add insult to injury" category, is the Hazards rules which go on describing the various parameters (danger, triggers, avoiding, effects) in good detail while carefully eschewing any stats or numbers. A beginner GM would be absolutely lost with deciding on damage values or TNs. A seasoned GM could do it - but what's the point with all the text then?

    Another example is the Threat level for the provided monsters: basically there's a whole paragraph dedicated to telling you you're on your own for adjudicating proper combat challenge levels. Thanks for nothing.

    Is it a ruleset for beginners? Then pack it with MORE rules, not LESS. RPGs are complex affairs: help the beginners, don't abandon them. Is it a light ruleset for experienced players? Then do away with the classic advice and empty rules.

    Degree of success is to be measured using the Stunt Die. That's an obvious bad idea.

    First, players hate it when their high skill does not correlate with greater success. With this system, any novice can pull off as great success as you (rolling high on the Stunt die).

    Second, it prevents "multiple difficulty" checks. i.e. define several increasing TNs correspondong to increasing amounts of information gathered. To represent this in F.AGE, you have to define a single TN and let the Stunt die represent the amount of infomation. This compounds the first issue. If a player has invested e.g. in a Lore skill, and rolls high, but low on the Stunt die, he gets little info. This is made even worse by the fact that the TN has to be low (because it's the level at which you get *any* information), enabling the complete ignoramus to get the full information with a lucky Stunt die. Talk about rewarding character choices.

    Third, it plays poorly with the Stunt Effects (what you get when rolling doubles), because they are already forms of improved success. So you can't correlate high success (Stunt die result) with anything that's already covered by actual Stunts (rolling doubles). How do you describe a very successful roll (i.e. 5 or 6 on the Stunt die) if you can't e.g. have it be performed in a shorter time (that's a Stunt), or devastating an opponent during a debate (that's a Stunt). That's kind of lame considering Stunts are a core element of the system, and also because it's easily fixed (use margin of success, and restrict Stunt strictly to secondary effects).

    These issues would be blatantly obvious after the first playtest sessions. Why is it in print? My belief is that no-one, not even the designer, plays it that way, and instead uses classic margin-of-success.

    I like Stunts. But do they work? F.AGE shares the same issue as the new SW or WFRPG 3rd. You get cool special effects on rolls, but it quickly becomes a pain to use. First, you are encouraged to pick from the Stunt tables, which have issues:
    * They're longish. Hand the table to the player when they stunt and the game comes to a dead stop while he reads every paragraph, understands it, and choose. Exciting and dynamic combat? Forget it.
    * Some involve even more rolls, to make everything slower.
    * This discourages improvised effects. In fact, some rules assume you use the provided stunts.

    Also, you roll Stunts in about 45% of the successful rolls. While it's cool to get effects, that's a lot to handle. In combat, it constantly breaks the pace. Outside of combat, you better keep the number of rolls under control. The rules helpfully state that you must disallow excessive rolling. Yeah, but how? As an experienced GM, I know how to do that. But not only the book doesn't give actual tips, it also encourages rolling too much, by using opposed rolls and quick checks (e.g. during Stunt resolution).

    Also, non-combat Stunts, a great idea, peters out as well. I would guess it could work if broken into a dozen Stunt tables, one for each kind of activity (there isn't that many in a adventurous FRPG setting), a bit like the old Rolemaster maneuver tables: exploration, looting, pursuit, investigation, convincing, interrogation, etc.
    Here, with two generic tables, which are not generic at all (the first chiefly involves looting, the second diplomacy) you find yourself at loss to make the Stunt vaguely relevant and exciting. And remember! You cannot use them as a degree of success! They must be side-effect. Cool, relevant, exciting side-effects, every other time someone rolls a Perception check...

    I like Stunts. But they need a lot more polishing to work well in actual play.

    Eight pages of gear. Cool, eh? Except most of it is the most disturbingly useless stuff: piecewise clothing, everyday items, various tools. Each, described in more details that the skills. Yet, as you can imagine, no rules, and stupefyingly, no weight or encumbrance.

    This would be alright and possibly welcome in a larger book: here it just leaves you with the impression that the space would have been much more useful for more rules. Want to know the cost of a hinge, an upholstered chair, a frying pan or a hood? No problemo. You can also have a description of said pan, hinge and hood. E.g. there's an entry for every piece of clothing. "Shoes", I learn, are "sturdy soles attached to upper pieces of leather that cover and protect the foot". Capital information! In case your 4 year-old or Spanish-speaking friend picks up the book.

    But you won't get a TN for climbing the ladder ("Nearly anyone can make an easy, stable climb"), bursting the manacles, not even picking the lock ("They are vulnerable to thieves skilled in using lockpicks". Well, thanks.).
    Ah, but you can make this all up. Also, you can probably figure out that fantasy shop stock pans and hoods for a few coppers, and rip those pages from the book.
    Better: use the space to actually describe the skills.


    That's a recurring issue in FRPGs, which D&D4 and 5e arguably share, but it's especially jarring here. The axe, longsword and mace all deal 2d6 damage, with nothing else to differentiate them. Same for other similar weapon sizes. It's just a matter of having the corresponding proficiency.

    It's jarring, because the game has Stunts, a very flexible way of adding details. How arduous and onerous is it to add e.g. a discount on certain appropriate Stunts (rapier - dual strike; mace - pierce armor...)? Or give each one a custom Stunt? That's a one-line rule! Delete the description for "Bottle (clay)" or "Sawdust (1 cu. foot)" and you have it! Not even the Main Gauche has special defense rules! Spending all my exclamation points budget!

    So there's this Accuracy stat. You can build a low-str, high-hitting Duelist! How cool is that?
    Well, useless. You can hit frequently, but you deal 1D6+4 with your rapier. Problem is, armor reduces damage. An Orc's medium armor shrugs off 5 damage per hit, and he has 30 hit points. Meanwhile, he'll clobber you, your leather armor (3 armor) and 35 hp for 2d6+3. You have about 8 rounds to realize your poor judgement in fighting styles.

    But wait! Surely you are nimble and able to evade blows?
    Tough luck, that's Dexterity, and because it's not Accuracy, you probably don't have high scores in both. Neither does the Orc, but he has no disadvantage here either.

    But wait! Surely you can perform nifty duelist tricks? Oh yes. You can bypass half of the armor with a Stunt, or deal increased damage, or sidestep. But that's the generic Stunts: so can the Orc, with absolutely no disadvantage compared to you.

    Mind you, the Rapier is a fine weapon. It deals 1D6+3 to the axe's 2D6. But the thing is, you always add Strength to the damage, so your duelist-type has no less reasons to have high Str than the barbarian, who simply uses Fighting instead of Accuracy! There is no such thing as a precision strike.
    It's not a prejudice against duelists. Heavy hitter builds face the same issue: you can hardly avoid investing in Fighting (Hitting hard is fun! As long as you hit!). In fact it's even a design goal that fighters do not over-rely on Strength (or Dexterity for light weapons). But the real consequence, because of the armor system, is that you must have BOTH a high Strength and a high Fighting (or Accuracy).

    I guess there's a reason for D&D using a single ability for both attack and damage after all.


    So you've rolled your sword-wielding, spell-casting adventurer? Jump into the introductory scenario. It's quite nice! Oh, but you play a teenager stranded on an island. Remove your armor and weapons from your character sheet, as well as your adventurer gear (you can keep the cubic foot of sawdust and the hood). And that background you developped? It's kind of irrelevant.
    Welcome to Fantasy AGE! The Troll and flaming sword on the cover? Our lawyers insisted.
    (Yet again, that scenario is nice by and in itself. Just not as an intro scenario)


    * Weapon group vs. Weapon focus is quite confusing, notably because you almost cannot learn weapon groups. Also, because it appears all monsters use a different rule, I would think because the rule got changed midway.

    * No flails? No scimitars? Why? Also why is the Morning Star a spiked mace, except it uses a different stat and is a "Staff"? Oh wait, there's exactly three weapons per category, for some reason, so apparently sacrifices had to be made to fit everything into this pointless scheme which means that all F.AGE Mage are wielding Morning Stars. They also wields light shields, because why not?

    * Mages are supposed to represent a broad array of spellcasters, like shamans or clerics. Why then do they all have Arcane Blast, Arcane Device, no armor and wield staves? Same goes for the Rogues.

    * The Primary/Secondary stat thing is a good idea to prevent piling up upgrades on a single stat... but a consequence is that some builds have it much easier. At level 10, a heavy weapon fighter can only have +2 Str and +3 Fight, while the light wpn build can have +5 Str and +5 Acc, and can also choose to increase his all-important Dex. (remember that rapier-and-shield is just as good as longsword-and-shield). The Rogue has it even worse: he cannot increase both his Acc, Dex (vital for his sneak attack and defense) and Per (ranged dmg), and he cannot train in any new weapon.
    Thing is, this rule would be nice for a classic 6-stat game. But a F.AGE PC requires *at least* two stats to be efficient. Therefore it is already constrained in that regard!

    * Talents' power levels and usefulness is all over the place. Would you rather have Contacts (you can make rolls to influence NPCs. Wait. Can't you do that already?), Carousing (Add ONE point to your Stunt die during drinking contests - not gaming, not arm-wrestling, not singing -. Hope you're playing an Irish Dwarf Pirate adventure), or would you rather pick... say, Observation (reroll ALL visual perception tests...), or Chirurgy (heal for cheap during combat)?

    * Same goes for spells. Let's see. Journeyman (PC level 3 minimum) Air spell Wind Blast: 8 Magic Points, small close blast that deals NO damage but knocks enemies prone with an easy save (and the enemy can simply forgo half his move and charge you). Novice Shadow spell Shadow Dagger: 3MP, ranged auto-hit 1D6+1 armor-bypass damage. Now check the Novice Earth spell 1 Rock Blast: 4MP, ranged auto-hit 1D6 armor-bypass , PLUS extra dmg and prone on a failed save (because it's ranged, the enemy probably cannot charge you).

    * With 3d6+Dex initiative, everybody ends up bunched in the 10-14 range. Which makes tie-breaking important. Too bad it's handled by comparing Stunt Dice. So, GM, you DID write down every single Stunt Die you rolled for the NPCs, right? Another issue that pops up in the very first game. It's not even on the Initiative Cards.

    * I defy you to understand the combat actions in the first session. Also, some actions which ought to be Stunts are actions, and vice-versa, adding to the confusion. Be sure to have counters ready to write down the various +1/-1 to atk/def, too.

    So... you see my point? The game really feels like Green Ronin felt the urge to fight D&D5 with its own beginner product. What they did is whip something out of the ruleset pulled from Dragon Age (itself coerced into the video game franchise game), with copious advice inspired by various sources, but no time to develop a fully-fledged, well balanced and unique game. That's a shame because, again the core rules are interesting.

    It's a game crying out for a second edition.
    Oh wait, it is a second edition.

    A lot has to be done, but here's the main fixes:
    * Rules, rules, rules, for skills
    * Task-specific Stunt lists
    * Simplified combat Stunts
    * Weapon-specific Stunts
    * simplify combat actions (I used a minor action Stance system)
    * give more flexibilty to the Rogue and Mage starting features. It's a design goal after all
    * Rebalance spells and Talents
    * allow precision strikes (using Acc or Dex for dmg)
    * rules for aiding checks and passive checks. More advice on rolling checks.
    * scrap the pointless gear. D&D4/5 a solid inspiration here
    * some other intro scenario. Save this one as PDF?
    Last edited by Rolenet; Monday, 5th June, 2017 at 03:59 PM.
    XP lyle.spade gave XP for this post

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