[Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook (Green Ronin)

atanakar

Adventurer
Really like what I've read so far.

Modern AGE is classless which is perfect for a game in a modern environment in which people can have several unrelated skill sets. Three levels of play (gritty, pulpy, cinematic) are available. Gritty is similar to CoC where characters die easily and don't get many upgrades. Cinematic is like d20 Modern/D&D were characters gains more of everything often over 20 levels. Pulpy is somewhere in between. The surprising fourth option lets the GM mix and match the three levels to his liking. Probably best suited to a GM experienced with the AGE system.


Nine Abilities
Accuracy, Communication, Constitution, Dexterity, Fighting, Intelligence, Perception, Strength, Willpower.

Generated with a 3d6 roll or point buy system. Ranging from 3 (-2) to 18 (+4). In this system an ability bonus of zero is normal for a commoner. Really like that Accuracy is decoupled from Dexterity, Strength is decoupled from Fighting, Communication from Intelligence. Perception, not Dexterity, gives bonus damage to range attacks! Very close to my ideal ten stats home-brew system. More granularity and less single Uber Ability characters.

Actions
One major + one minor OR two minor actions. Free actions are available. All the usual action types are included. Variable actions are used for Power Talents and Reloads. Activation in order of Initiative. A round last 15 seconds thus 4 per minute.

Ability Test
3d6 (average 10.5) + Ability bonus + Focus (skill). I really like the bell curve probabilities of 3d6. I favor this over the linear probability of the d20 or the unwieldiness of dice pools.

To test player rolls 3d6 dice. Two of one color and another of a different color (stunt dice). Average TN is 11 on a scale of 7 to 21. If the total of the three dice plus bonuses is equal or more than the TN its a success. If you roll a double on any of the three dice the other uses of the Stunt dice comes in play. It first tells you the degree of success. 1 is by the seat of your pants success while 6 is an extraordinary success.

The Stunt Dice also tells you how many Stunt Points (1-6) you get to trigger cool effects. Stunts are not attached to characters. Everyone can use them. Categories are : Combat Stunts, Firearm Stunts, Grappling Stunts, Melee Stunts, Anti-Vehicule Stunts, Exploration Stunts, Social Stunts, Infiltration stunts, and Investigation Stunts.

During combat you roll against the targets Defense score. Equal or more is a hit. Armor as well as natural Toughness reduce damage. In a modern setting armor will be very rare. This type of system encourages players to use more brains than brawn even at cinematic level.

Progression
Characters progress by gaining experience points or at milestones decided by the GM. There are 20 levels. Level 2-6 require +2000 xps to gain a level. Level 7-12 require +3000xps. Levels 13-20 require +4000xps.
 

atanakar

Adventurer
CHARACTER CREATION

Character creation is a nine step process. Its very straightforward and easy to follow with examples of a sample character. Background, Profession and Drives shapes your character with Ability Increases, Focuses, Talents and Improvements.

• Concept: Very important to have an concept since this is a classless system.

• Abilities : see above

• Background: Social classes are Outsider, Lower, Middle and Upper. Awards Focuses, ability increases, and Talents. Social Class determines the pool of professions you can choose from.

• Profession : (Ex: Investigator) Awards Focuses, Talents, Health and Resource level.

• Drive: What inspires the character to take risks, get involved in storylines. Awards Talent and some Improvements.

• Resources and Equipment : Modern AGE uses an abstract system for currency. You make «Resource Checks» to buy stuff and borrow money. I know some people don't like this kind of system but I do.

• Determine Health, Defense, Toughness, and Speed.

• Goals, Ties, and Relationships: Short and long-term goals, their ties with other characters, and their important Relationships.

• Name and Description
 

atanakar

Adventurer
STUNTS

Stunts are probably the most unique mechanic about this system. You get them when you roll doubles on a successful 3d6 test. They are not linked to character creation and progression. Anyone can use them :

Example
Quote «Amy is trying to fight her way through the crowd to rescue Brian before he dies. She attacks a tough on the outside of the crowd. Her attack roll is a 16 in total and her dice read 3, 5, and 5, with one of the 5s being her Stunt Die. This beats the tough’s Defense, so Amy hits. Since she also rolled doubles, she receives a number of stunt points equal to her Stunt Die (5 in this case).

Amy decides to perform three stunts:

1) She spends 1 SP to use Skirmish on the target of her attack, moving him to the side 2 yards. He also takes normal damage from the attack.

2) Then Amy spends a second stunt point to use Skirmish on herself to step into the spot recently vacated by her opponent.

3) Lastly, she spends her remaining 3 SP to make a Lightning Attack. Since she is still adjacent to her original target, she could attack him, but chooses to attack a new opponent—the woman now in front of her. She rolls another successful hit and gets doubles again. She does not, however, get any more SP (this is spelled out in the Lightning Attack stunt description). Amy’s player describes how she barrels into the crowd screaming obscenities, smashing the tough aside and pushing forward to rescue her friend. »
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
Good lookin' out, atanakar. I've not yet had the pleasure of playing any AGE, but I've had my eye on Dragon AGE for a while.

It's good to see Goal and Drive in character creation. Sounds like a nice carrot for the GM to dangle :)

I'm curious: if a character has high Fighting but low Strength/Dexterity/Accuracy, can that character still fight well? Do some abilities affect/negate others?
 

atanakar

Adventurer
Good lookin' out, atanakar. I've not yet had the pleasure of playing any AGE, but I've had my eye on Dragon AGE for a while.

It's good to see Goal and Drive in character creation. Sounds like a nice carrot for the GM to dangle :)

I'm curious: if a character has high Fighting but low Strength/Dexterity/Accuracy, can that character still fight well? Do some abilities affect/negate others?
Glad you like it. I'm enjoying Modern AGE a lot. Used to be a Modern d20 fan. But this system is more flexible. Note that Dragon AGE and Fantasy AGE are class based. Modern AGE is skilled based.

Melee : Fighting helps you hit in melee. Strength augments damage. (+Weapon+Skills+Talent)
Range : Accuracy is for range attacks. Perception augments damage. (+Weapon+Skills+Talent)

Dexterity is only for dextrous things like crafting, pick pocket, dodging attacks. It's another mind set than D&D.
 
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Aldarc

Hero
It would have been nice had Fantasy AGE (and Titansgrave) used Modern AGE as its basis. There were a number of fanmade kitbashes that tried to make FAGE classless, and Modern AGE sounds more up that alley.
 

atanakar

Adventurer
It would have been nice had Fantasy AGE (and Titansgrave) used Modern AGE as its basis. There were a number of fanmade kitbashes that tried to make FAGE classless, and Modern AGE sounds more up that alley.
Green Ronin announced a while back a new Fantasy AGE Starter Set box and a new (thicker) Basic book at GenCon. The Basic book will include Freeport as the setting. They are not calling it a 2e - yet. I wonder if it will still be class based or like Modern.

With Covid-19 not sure what the plan for these releases is.

Quote (March 24): «To All Our Community,
As the nation and the world take the vital and necessary steps to slow and limit the spread of Covid-19, Green Ronin Publishing will be suspending shipment of wholesale and online orders of hardcopy products, in order to keep distribution, warehouse, and shipping workers safe. Our distribution partners are doing the same, as are game stores and retailers in many communities, and we appreciate their efforts and sacrifice for the greater good. If you have an outstanding order for print products, they will be filled when the warehouse re-opens (hopefully, sometime in April). »
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
Melee : Fighting helps you hit in melee. Strength augments damage. (+Weapon+Skills+Talent)
Range : Accuracy is for range attacks. Perception augments damage. (+Weapon+Skills+Talent)

Dexterity is only for dextrous things like crafting, pick pocket, dodging attacks. It's another mind set than D&D.
After looking over the Fantasy AGE rules, I'd say that yes, your good Fighting ability can be undermined by other abilities. A low Strength can ruin your damage (and enemy armor can negate your successful attacks), low Constitution can make you a fragile fighter, and low Dexterity will let others get the jump on you. That's actually similar to D&D. For example, your high hit points from a high Constitution don't matter much if your low Dexterity means you get hit all the time (or are they balancing each other?). In a sense, D&D used to require some classes to take the fighting skill, effectively making it an ability. Fantasy AGE gives you the flexibility to use those ability points elsewhere, if you choose.

Does any of this differ in Modern AGE?
 

atanakar

Adventurer
After looking over the Fantasy AGE rules, I'd say that yes, your good Fighting ability can be undermined by other abilities. A low Strength can ruin your damage (and enemy armor can negate your successful attacks), low Constitution can make you a fragile fighter, and low Dexterity will let others get the jump on you. That's actually similar to D&D. For example, your high hit points from a high Constitution don't matter much if your low Dexterity means you get hit all the time (or are they balancing each other?). In a sense, D&D used to require some classes to take the fighting skill, effectively making it an ability. Fantasy AGE gives you the flexibility to use those ability points elsewhere, if you choose.

Does any of this differ in Modern AGE?
It's classless but the same. Modern adds Toughness as non-physical armour since people don't usually walk around using armour. It doesn't protect against ballistic damage.
 

Reynard

Legend
I browsed through the rulebook yesterday and while it looks perfectly serviceable, I did not see anything that screams "Play me instead of X." There isn't anything apparently unique about it aside from perhaps the stunt mechanics. For those that have played and had success with it, why use this over any version of D&D or PF?
 

Aldarc

Hero
I browsed through the rulebook yesterday and while it looks perfectly serviceable, I did not see anything that screams "Play me instead of X." There isn't anything apparently unique about it aside from perhaps the stunt mechanics. For those that have played and had success with it, why use this over any version of D&D or PF?
IME, a big draw for me is that the AGE system runs quicker than either D&D or PF, and it's typically easier for new players to pick up. Apart from spending stunt points, there is typically less decision paralysis for players.
 

atanakar

Adventurer
I browsed through the rulebook yesterday and while it looks perfectly serviceable, I did not see anything that screams "Play me instead of X." There isn't anything apparently unique about it aside from perhaps the stunt mechanics. For those that have played and had success with it, why use this over any version of D&D or PF?
Because: It's not d20 or a derivative. The 3d6 bell curve odds is less swingy. Magic works with points and the caste must succeed a Target Number roll. Armour reduces damages. Tool box design approach, more so with the Companion. And the Stunt system, which brings a fun touch of unpredictability to the game.
 

Reynard

Legend
Because: It's not d20 or a derivative.
Is this a selling point for people? I mean, I play lots of different kinds of games but are there people for whose hat of d02 still knows no limit?

The 3d6 bell curve odds is less swingy.
Yet the game still uses static madifiers, which throws the math way out on a bell curve system.

Magic works with points and the caste must succeed a Target Number roll.
Non vancian casting is nice.

Armour reduces damages.
But hit points still increase per level. Doesn't that just result in fighters getting even longer over time?

Tool box design approach, more so with the Companion.
I'll be honest, I was reading through it to see if it offered a different kind of game than D&D does, with rules for things like exploration or domain management out of the box. As far as I can tell, it treads pretty much the same ground, conceptually, as D&D does.

And the Stunt system, which brings a fun touch of unpredictability to the game.
The stunt system does look interesting. I like games that reflect capability and success after the roll, rather than penalizing the attempt.
 

atanakar

Adventurer
Is this a selling point for people? I mean, I play lots of different kinds of games but are there people for whose hat of d02 still knows no limit?


Yet the game still uses static madifiers, which throws the math way out on a bell curve system.


Non vancian casting is nice.


But hit points still increase per level. Doesn't that just result in fighters getting even longer over time?


I'll be honest, I was reading through it to see if it offered a different kind of game than D&D does, with rules for things like exploration or domain management out of the box. As far as I can tell, it treads pretty much the same ground, conceptually, as D&D does.


The stunt system does look interesting. I like games that reflect capability and success after the roll, rather than penalizing the attempt.
Fantasy AGE does cater to the same tropes and clientele. The first book is called Basic Book. Green Ronin wanted to get away from the d20 but still have a high fantasy type game. It is true that hit points are a bit crazy but the Companion offers alternate rules for HPs.

Not that I don't play FAGE. I only read the books. I play Modern AGE. It's classless and offers a lot of customizing options. With the Gritty Mode on characters are fragile even at higher levels. I like that approach of having three levels of play (gritty, pulp or heroic). Maybe they will include that in the new version of the FAGE Basic book.

If you want exploration and domain management you should go with Forbidden Lands. It's what the game is all about.
 

Reynard

Legend
If you want exploration and domain management you should go with Forbidden Lands. It's what the game is all about.
Tangential, I know, but is that game setting specific? I like the Mutant Year Zero hexploration and community rules but it seems difficult to extract them for non-PA gaming.
 

atanakar

Adventurer
Right. I was saying that I had difficulty trying to translate the systems from M:YZ out of that game and setting, and was wondering Forbidden Lands was more generic and open. The game description seems to suggest a very specific setting.
I would say very specific to the setting. I still haven't finished reading the FL GM book.
 

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