[Let’s Study] Fantaji Universal Role-Playing Game, Part 4: Character Creation

Posted: July 22, 2015 by pointyman2000 in Fantaji, Let's Study, Roleplaying Games
Tags: , ,

Now that we’ve had a chance to brush up on the 4 different tiles and how the system of Fantaji works, let’s move on to Character Creation.

The process of creating a character takes six steps:

Roll Niche
Roll Two Powers
Choose Two Traits
Set Health
Choose Milestones
Decide Starting Equipment


A characters Niche is composed of three different components that define their place in the game world. This is divided into Political, Social and Personal axes.

Each of these is given a table that you can roll a d10 to reandomly determine each component, and you string it together in a concept.


For this article I’m going to go for the default rolling option for character creation. I’m pretty certaint hat there’s nothing wrong with just selecting the components for a niche but there’s a bit more exercise of creativity if you try it randomly.

So, I roll 1d10 three times and get the following: 6, 10, 10

That gives me the following:

Political Aspect – Sympathizer, Hates the current structure, but loyal to leaders
Social Aspect – Religious
Personal Aspect – Pervert, Individualist, Misfit, Bitter

Ooookay, that’s a little harder than I thought. But let’s roll with it.

So, essentially my character seems to be some sort of priest who has issues with the current social structure, but believes in the legitimacy (and possibly the benevolence) of the leaders. He is also a non-conformist, and possibly nearly a heretic given his opposition to the structure.

Overall, not bad!


With it’s default rules, Fantaji allows characters with two Powers each. Fantaji provides several charts to roll on, and for powers you roll 1d10 for a category and another to get your specific power. Fantaji powers are Effect-Based, meaning that you get the mechanical stuff first, then the player gets to skin it accordingly.


Now that I’ve got my Dissident Priest, let’s see what powers I get. For the first one, I roll a 4 and a 9.

That grants me an Asset (Can move Drama from hero to Asset or vice versa “At Will,” All start at 2[1]. The asset in question is a Minion.

The second power roll gets me a 4 and a 6.

This gives me another Asset, and A Dynamo: Check @5: Generate DT+ for Asset (At Will)

For some reason I have a mental image of Gru from Despicable Me.


Characters begin with at least two Traits. Traits are phrases so we’ll have a free hand at coming up with what these might be. For the sake of time, I’ll use a few Traits from the list they’ve provided in the book.

I choose:

Hungry Like the Wolf
Silence is Golden

Somehow the idea of him being ambitious and yet very careful with his words fits the concept.


Starting characters are recommended to have the following Health track:



Fantaji keeps track of experience with Milestones. In this case I don’t have a default setting to work with, so let’s just get something generic:

“Get invited to participate in the political arena”

Starting Equipment

For my character starting equipment should be things that would make sense for him. I suppose that given his nature, having a Dagger on hand would make sense, as well as some Flashy Robes that reflect his standing in the Church.

Character creation in Fantaji is quick, and I couldn’t help but be amused at just how it shares a little bit of DNA with Early Dark, especially with the Niche. It didn’t take very long to make this character, and I appreciate this kind of approach as it means we can get started with running a game right away without wasting an entire evening character creation.

The Fantaji Universal Role-Playing Game is available from DriveThruRPG in PDF format for $15.00 or roughly Php 675.00

  1. Den says:

    Can you parse what this game is doing that Fate is not? I don’t mean how it’s different — you’ve done a great job of laying out game-play and details about the system — but I mean, as someone like yourself who is familiar with Fate, is Fantaji doing something with its design that justifies its existence? Right now, I’m getting this feeling that Fantaji is a kind of Fate ‘heartbreaker’ and using different jargon for really similar game play goals. Since Fate is so well supported nowadays, how is Fantaji justifying its existence?

    • Hey Den,

      Thanks for dropping by the blog! Okay, first off, excellent question. I’m still going through the rest of the book but with the mechanics I’ve read so far, Fantaji occupies a similar niche to Fate given the similarities in several gameplay concepts. This is going to be a little difficult for me to explain though, but I found Fantaji a little easier to grasp than Fate when it came to gameplay. I’ve always felt a little lost with Fate (despite having tried running it already,) while Fantaji’s structure just makes more sense in my head.

      But that might not be the answer you’re looking for. In some ways, consider Fantaji as something similar to an OSR game. Certainly it uses similar mechanics as with a host of other games, but the Fantaji crew believe that the gameplay of this one, matched with the settings they’re planning to come out with, will be able to win players to their fold.

      Of course, that’s just my opinion. Let me see if there’s a way we can get the Fantaji people to weigh in on this!

      • Den says:

        Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I didn’t mean to imply that this game doesn’t deserve to be heard — like the OSR movement, there are plenty of games in the chorus and some are honestly great. I’m just curious how it relates to its very obvious cousin of Fate which I like but don’t love. I’ve bought the Fantaji pdf and I will take a long look at it tonight. Thanks again for your posts!

        • Hi Den, looking forward to hearing your thoughts about Fantaji too!

        • Calvin says:

          Glad you took the plunge with Fantaji, Den. As the designer of the game, I’d add that when you are actually playing Fantaji, it is clearly very different from FATE despite the surface similarities. There are two big differences that I imagine might show up in later reviews, but I’ll offer them here:

          1. As a “story game,” FATE relies on “story points,” which are meta-game bargaining tokens the players use to influence the story. The game really is focused on telling a dramatic story (even when that means you want your character to lose, get hurt, or suffer). The players and characters are divorced in that sense, and the meta-game “story points” that the players use are more important/central to the game mechanics than the actual dice are.

          On the other hand, the “Drama Tokens” of Fantaji are nothing like that. They measure the character’s in-game momentum and add more dice to every single roll. They are visible in the game-world as intensity, momentum, rage, poise, crackling eyes, etc. There is no meta-game bargaining about whether or not you succeed in the story; Fantaji has a focus on overcoming enemies not telling a story (However, we fully believe Fantaji produces great stories as a byproduct of great mechanics so the story emerges on its own).

          So… Yeah: “Story Points” in FATE and “Drama Tokens” in Fantaji are VERY different even though they might at first seem similar.

          2. The “Aspects” of FATE are optional quirks or bonuses that come into play when players spend “Story Points” to either compel or trigger them. They are qualitative, yes, but they have a fixed meaning. Even a very artsy or creative Aspect is meant to represent a real “thing” about the character that everyone understands and agrees on. They are in that sense literal regardless of how artsy/metaphoric they seem. They are also optional, in that they ONLY matter mechanically AFTER a player DECIDES to make them relevant. Someone has to spend a “Story Point” to bring the Aspect into play.

          On the other hand, the “Traits” of Fantaji are nothing like optional flavorings or bonuses. Traits in Fantaji ARE your character, and they are meant to inspire your actions and lead you in a certain way. They are ALWAYS in play and ALWAYS matter to every single roll. You MUST qualitatively riff on your Traits to decide on what your character does and to gain dice for your roll. Without the Traits there is no turn.

          We like to think of Traits as song lyrics that must be re-interpreted on every turn, showing you what your character is in each new moment. The Trait has NO FIXED MEANING at all, and the fun of the game is the riffing and creative re-interpretations of Traits and Themes on EVERY turn. You literally learn MORE about the character as you work with the Traits and see all the new ways you can bend, tease, and twist them.

          For example: If you had “Hungry Like The Wolf” as a FATE Aspect, then even the most creative use will be both fixed and deliberate. Firstly, you do not redefine the Aspect each time it is used (that would RUIN the game’s “compel” mechanic, among other things). Once you create the cool quirk to your character, then you are done with the creative meaning-making. Secondly, it ONLY comes into play when someone spends a point on purpose.

          On the other hand, in Fantaji, you get to re-imagine and riff off “Hungry Like The Wolf” on EVERY SINGLE turn. Your character will ALWAYS be doing SOMETHING that riffs on, alludes to, plays off, etc. that lyric. Maybe your character “asks for Doritos with a growl.” Maybe you “squint your eyes at your friend, staring him down, and snatch the Doritos from his hand without asking.”

          The cool thing about Fantaji is that MANY Traits (and Themes) can matter in a single turn. So the character above will want to do things that riff on “Hungry Like The Wolf” AND “Silence is Golden” at the SAME TIME. Maybe you “Stalk your prey from afar before moving in closer.” Maybe you “give into the rage inside yourself and leap up at the giant without a word, holding your breath before the strike.”

          And when you add Themes, you might try to hit five or six “lyrics” in a single action!! Creative players are better at the game regardless of their character sheets.

          Each turn in Fantaji is a fun, creative, riffing, artsy, open-ended, puzzle-like, meaningful action. The fun of the game is coming up with bad-ass actions for your hero. And that fun is built into the very mechanics.

          So… Yeah: The “Aspects” of FATE and the “Traits” of Fantaji are VERY different even though they at first look similar. D&D is a “combat game;” FATE is a “story game;” Fantaji is a “role-playing game.” That’s the way we see it, anyway.

          FATE is awesome when you want to focus on the story and have fun telling a twisty story with your friends. Fantaji is awesome when you want to focus on heroic action and have fun making creative choices and tackling puzzles. Two VERY different games. FATE is an award-winning game that keeps lots of players happy. We respect it and aren’t really trying to challenge it directly, but I think some people who “like” FATE will “love” Fantaji for the reasons above.

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