[Fantasy Craft] Customizing your Campaign with Campaign Qualities

One of the subsystems in Fantasy Craft that really caught my attention was tucked away in the last section of the book, in Chapter 7: Worlds.  Campaign Qualities are little tweaks, similar to switches that can alter a Fantasy Craft Campaign in small but significant ways.

With the use of Campaign Qualities, it’s possible for a GM to take the generic Fantasy Craft ruleset then configure them to make it cleave closer to their vision.  To demonstrate, here’s a few examples of Campaign Qualities applied that would help configure Fantasy Craft to different kinds of games:

Conan by Frank Frazetta
Conan by Frank Frazetta

Sword & Sorcery

  • Beefy Heroes: Special Characters gain Lethal and Subdual Resistance equal to their Strength modifier (min. 0)
  • Dominant Heroes: Whenever a hero or Special NPC scores a threat with an attack check, it automatically becomes a critical hit  unless the attacker spends 1 action die.
  • Hewn Limbs: Characters must save to avoid a critical injury when they suffer 16-25 points of damage in a single attack; with a failed save, the character rolls 2d20 and adds the result to his damage to determine the critical injury suffered.  Also, characters must save against Massive damage when they suffer 26 or more points of damage in a single attack.
  • Miracles: Alignments grant fantastic powers, and access to Paths.
  • Sorcery, Difficult Magic: Magic is a rare and exotic art, exceedingly difficult and time-consuming to perform.  The DCs of Spellcasting checks increase by 5 and Casting Times of spells double.
  • Triumphant Heroes: Whenever a Hero scores a critical hit or success, he immediately gains Reputation equal to the number of action dice spent to activate the success minus 1
Slayers Revolution
Slayers Revolution

Anime Fantasy

  • Adventure Insurance: If a hero loses a Prize while being heroic or through no fault of his own, he immediately regains 1/2 of the Prize’s Reputation value (rounded down).
  • Bold Heroes: Each hero’s starting action dice increase by 2 and his action dice explode with a 1 and the natural highest result.  Abilities based on the number of starting action dice are unaffected.
  • Complex Heroes: The XP rewards from Subplot objectives are doubled.
  • Dramatic Pacing: Durations and Time restrictions lasting more than 1 hour instead last until the end of the scene.
  • Fast levels: The XP required to gain each level decreases to 1/2 normal (rounded up), and player characters may gain up to 2 levels between adventures.
  • Hearty Heroes: They benefit from natural healing even when not resting, and their natural healing rate is doubled while they do rest.
  • Miracles, Beneficent Universe: When a Character gains his first Alignment, he immediately takes the first Step along one of its Paths.
  • Sorcery: Magic is real and may be harnessed and controlled in the form of spells.
Solomon Kane
Solomon Kane

Dark Fantasy

  • Hewn Limbs: Characters must save to avoid a critical injury when they suffer 16-25 points of damage in a single attack; with a failed save, the character rolls 2d20 and adds the result to his damage to determine the critical injury suffered.  Also, characters must save against Massive damage when they suffer 26 or more points of damage in a single attack.
  • Lesser Heroes: At character creation, players start with 32 points to buy attribute scores and may not start with scores above 18 (even after applying Origin benefits).
  • Paranoia: NPCs are exceptionally cautious, perhaps even suspicious.  Disposition modifiers from skill checks and abilities decrease by 5 (min. 0) and the Persuasion DCs of Contacts increase by 10.
  • Savage Wilds: The action die cost of travel encounters decreases to 1/2 normal (rounded down, min. 1). If travel encounters are determined randomly, the result range triggering an encounter doubles.
  • Sorcery, Corrupting Magic: Each time a character casts a spell, he must also make a Will save (DC 10+ the number of spell points spent to make the check).  with failure, he gains 1 grade of the Tainted Condition.
  • Tense: Stress damage is doubled and no character may take 10 with skill checks.

In addition to these examples, Campaign Qualities may also be non-permanent, applying only to certain situations and even locations in your games.  For example, if a game were to take a standard adventuring party from a friendly Kingdom to one that is hostile to them, the Paranoia and Tense qualities might show up even in an Anime Fantasy Game, only to fade away once they’ve managed to prove themselves to the populace.

I also like the idea of using Campaign Qualities as plot hooks.  To steal from Dragonlance, a game could have an adventuring party eventually become fundamental to changing how the metaphysics of the entire campaign setting by reintroducing divine magic via the Miracles quality.

There’s a lot of potential for something that is admittedly very straightforward, simple and easy to implement.  A lot of this stuff stares most GMs in the face, but it took Fantasy Craft to spell it out and give it structure in a form of a subsystem that empowers GMs to really take the reigns in an established ruleset and make the setting theirs.

7 thoughts on “[Fantasy Craft] Customizing your Campaign with Campaign Qualities

  1. hmm I wonder what qualities in the subsystem would it take to make a Steam Punk fantasy setting (arcanum) or even your version of Exalted using this system.

    Or how about the Avatar world, George R. R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice, or the Wheel of Time world…

    Hmmm the possibilities abound! 🙂

    1. Hey there Dirty Yasuki,

      Amusingly they do have an Age of Reason setting with allotment for Black Powder weapons, so steampunk is possible, just reskin some of the setting for it. No solid rules on Crafting Automata just yet though, so if you’re okay to palette swap Mages for Tinkers (same class, different name, different special effects) then you’re golden.

      Song of Ice and Fire is even easier, drop the points available, make actions matter, improve both Reputation Loss and Gain, and make everythign deadly.

      Exalted might be more of the Epic Fantasy sort of thing though. I’m uncertain as to how to directly port it, but Epic is doable.

  2. I was actually looking at Fantasy Craft specifically for Exalted. The campaign qualities I was thinking of were:
    Bold Heroes
    Dominant Heroes
    Iron Heroes
    Larger than Life Heroes
    Miracles – Generous Universe
    Reputable Heroes
    Sorcery: Potent Magic
    Triumphant Heroes
    Wire Fu

    Which might be a little too much, but using those rules, even a level 1 Solar Exalt will rock the house. I’ll have to see in actual play.

    I’ve really enjoyed your articles on FC, so please keep up the good work. Specifically, what qualities would you apply for your World of Wuxia setting? Please keep up the great and entertaining writing.

    Perhaps a sample non-combat encounter?

    1. Hi there DBV!

      Admittedly those stack the odds generously in favor of the players, hopefully encouraging play. I’m certain the Narrative Control rules will also come in handy for the players in an Exalted game run via Fantasy Craft.

      When I first posted about the Jianghu Wuxia Setting I was working on, my initial choices were:

      Genre: Gonzo Fantasy (Wuxia)
      Age: Reason
      Alignments: Chaos, Order (Law), Good, Evil
      Miracles: Yes
      Sorcery: Yes
      Heroic Species: Human Only

      Permanent Campaign Qualities:

      * Bold Heroes – Action Dice explode on a 1 or the highest value of a die. Also, Heroes begin with 2 more Action Dice.
      * Code of Honor (Xia) – Honor, Righteousness, Grace, Indebtedness to Others, Justice, Forgiveness and Compassion. Each time a hero goes against any of these virtues, he loses 2 Reputation.
      * Complex Heroes – XP rewards of subplots are doubled.
      * Wire Fu – Special characters may move in any direction and on any safe surface – even up walls, over water and through the air. If at the end of his movement he isn’t on a solid surface, he falls (or submerges.) Also all falling damage is halved.

      Though now that I’ve had more experience with the Fantasy Craft System, I’d actually include
      – Dramatic Pacing
      – Reputable Heroes
      – Triumphant Heroes

      I’m glad that people are enjoying my blog, Fantasy Craft is the only other game that has caught and held on to my attention this much since Mage: the Awakening, Changeling: the Lost and Spellbound Kingdoms.

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